Monday, July 25, 2016

Week Fifty Four - Opening a New Area

(I asked Luke if they were excited about the Olympics there..)

There is not really much to talk here about the Olympics. The northeast of Brazil is kind of away from things from the rest of the world, like I've previously said. No one here really cares about the Olympics, haha. But Everything is going well. The work has been picking up more and more everyday. Also the members are helping a lot. They are giving us a decent amount of references and we are having some progress. I'm not going to lie though opening an area and training at the same time is really difficult. It was kind of frustrating at first because I didn't know where anything was and my companion doesn't speak the language. But I learned the area really quickly. I know that God helped me with that though. My companion is starting to speak better and better everyday. I've been helping him out and giving him advice. Also this area is huge. To walk to the meals with members everyday is a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour or more. So we have to plan well our days.

We are teaching this man Francisco and his daughter Fancielle. We found them in the street. She was in the doorway of her house and I said "boa tarde." She laughed and tried to hide herself in her home. So I went up to the door and started talking to them and we taught them and brought Fancielle to church on Sunday. Francisco wasn't able to come but we will get him to church this next Sunday.

During lunch yesterday in the house of a member we were finished and almost leaving. The family has a teenage daughter and a young boy. The daughter's boyfriend was there to eat as well. At the end the daughter asked her little brother to go watch a movie with her and her boyfriend in the living room. I almost died when he responded. He goes, "Why would I want to sit there watching you two make out the entire time?" I was laughing for like a solid 2 minutes but my companion didn't understand. But I explained afterwards.

But everything is all good. I'm liking this area.

Have a good week, miss you.

Elder Batten

Monday, July 18, 2016

Week Fifty Three - In Arapiraca

So I got to Arapiraca on Wednsday at like 11pm at night. My companion needed to do some things for his visa in Maceió so we needed to stay there for a day and a half. My companion is Elder Baires. He is from Farmington Utah. It's been going well so far. He´s been ajusting fine- except for the heat. So the training has been going well so far.
 
So this new area is huuuugge. Like so big. It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours to get to the members houses. So that is the only downside. But there are a lot of members here. It's a pretty strong ward and that is great. The bishop is new/ a little crazy but he is really animated and ready to work. Also our ward mission leader is really good and willing to help. 
 
Also there was a baptism on Saturday. That was cool. Don't have too much to say this week.. sorry
 
Have a good week! take care
Elder Batten

Monday, July 11, 2016

Week Fifty Two - Transfer

So I'm getting transfered to Arapiraca Ward 2. It's back in Alagoas, in a city about 2 hours from Maceió. I will be opening the area and training. So that will be difficult. I don't really want to train very much but it should be a good experience. I've heard that the area is one of the biggest areas in the entire mission so I may be doing a lot of walking. We will have to wait and see. Christensen got transferred as well. He will go back to Maceió. Tobias wasn't shut though. There will be two new missionaries this week.
 
Tiago has been doing well. He had a baptismal date for this week, but he hasn't quite stopped smoking and drinking coffee yet, so he will probably be baptized here in a week or two. He's doing really well. He has a good understanding already of the scriptures, and although he has doubts sometimes, it is easy to explain to him because he is very receptive. We left his information for the next missionaries along with a bunch of info about the area.

We had a home evening last night at a members house. A lot of the youth were there (basically the members since the entire branch is youth). But we were asked to share the message. My companion recently recieved a package in the mail with a bunch of candy. He begged me to do the thing where you do push ups for every person recieving a piece of candy. To represent Jesus Christ and the atonement. It was kind of embarrassing but finally I gave in and did it. I only did a hundred and something pushups, but it was kind of difficult for me since I'm big and fat now.... But it was cool. At the end we were playing a game with cards and we received the transfer call. We attended the call and told everyone we were being transfered. Then 2 girls of the branch just started crying. I don't really know why though. I was kind of surprised. They wouldn't take a picture with us at the end because they were bawling so much. Then Henrique asked me if I have ever made a woman cry before. I laughed and said of course. But I was only joking. I really....haven't... But I think he knew I was joking.

Also this week we were teaching some Seventh Day Adventists. After we had finished teaching the restoration they asked us if we keep the ten commandments. We said yes, and of course since Seventh Day Adventists are annoying they asked us if we keep the Saturday. We said no, we keep the Day of the Savior which is Sunday. She told us that we only keep 9 commandments. So I explained the resurrection and how the Apostles kept the First day of the week after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then one of them told me that that was wrong and I needed to read the Old Testament and New Testament again and to read Isaiah 58 and Hebrews 4. Then I just lost my patience and almost started Bible Bashing her. I especially got upset because Isaiah is obvious because it's in the Old Testament. But Hebrews 4 has nothing to do with keeping the day of the Lord. It only has a reference to the creation of the world. And because she told me to re-read the scriptures. But my companion cut me off because he was dying to leave that house. He nicely said that we can disagree and believe different things, afterwards ended the lesson. Never will I have returned there.
 
But yeah that was the week, until the next time when I'm in Arapiraca,
Elder Batten
 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Week Fifty One - Happy 4th of July!

Happy Fourth of July! It's so wild. I remember last year on the Fourth of July so clearly. I remember sitting and watching the fireworks thinking "here in four days I will be in Brazil serving a mission." I thought 2 years would be an eternity (Sometimes I still do). But now I'm sitting here thinking what happened to this past year? In the mission time is super wierd. It's like a day is a year, a year is a month, and a month is a week and a week is a day. Super wierd. But it's basically like that. I'll hit one year this week which is crazy. 
 
This week actually went pretty well. We had the ward activity for São João/ São Pedro this week which actually went really well. There were a lot of members, less actives, and a few non members there. So we got a few references. That was super nice. I took pictures which I forgot to send but I will next week. 
 
We´ve been working with Milena and Amanda a lot. We bring the youth with us for lessons to make friendships. We´re going to be working with them now to stop drinking coffee. I'm going to bring them cevada (I don't know what cevada is in Ingles, but I think it's barley). So that is going to be the focus with them right now. Maybe they will be able to stop fast, maybe not. In Rio Largo it took 3 weeks for an investigator stop drinking coffee. So we will see. They said they liked the Youth part at church last Sunday. There were a lot of youth there which was great for them to have more desire to come to church. The youth here are pretty great.
 
We had interviews with the president this week, it went pretty well. I was pretty sincere with him in how things are going here and that it has been tense recently. But this week got better so I´m not as worried anymore. But it looks like I may be leaving this next transfer. The transfer is next week so the next email I will let you know. I'm not thinking about that too much. I just want to work and leave the area better than when I found it. Every area that I've ever come to never had anyone progressing and it's so frustrating. So I don't want to leave that for the next missionaries. 
 
During sacrament meeting I was up on the podium because usually I have to bless, so I usually stay seated up by the sacrament table. But while this young girl was giving testimony yesterday these two 10 year old boys in the back just started wailing on each other. I mean like throwing punches and fighting. And she just stopped gapped mouth and everyone heard the noise and turned around. Then someone grabbed them and separated them. I watched the entire thing happen. I was so angry at the moment but then I just started laughing and couldn't stop. 
 
Have a good week, 
Elder Batten