Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Holy goodness, great waters of baptism. Yep.

Oi gente,

This week has been another trial, but a better one than some of the other weeks here. Yay! We are reeeally learning about patience here. I have learned that the most important thing is just to focus on your work and your focus. The baptisms will come and the "success" will come too.

The most exciting news that we have for this week will be 5 BAPTISMS!!!! It has been an extreme act of faith but I think we´ll be able to pull it off, with the help and mercy of the Lord. I´ll explain about each person and what we´re doing/we´ll do with them:


1. Paulo . He smokes, but he really wants to be baptized and knows the church is true. Needs to get married to Daiane and quit smoking. Before the missionaries came to his house he hated church and never, ever went (not even to the Catholic church). Now, he´s been over 5 times and has been to several great activities and knows lots of members. He stopped smoking for a week and then was lying to us after another week, because he gave in after that week and smoked. He doesn´t want to stop because he doesn´t want to fall again, but we´re doing our part - leaving spiritual messages with him that are targeted to give him a chance to feel the SPirit and strengthen his faith. We brought macacão de batismo (baptismal giant monkey, er clothes. Crazy P-guese.) and gave it to him to try on, and practiced the baptism and took a picture. He liked it and we´ll keep up with that for this upcoming week. Our job: get him married and firm to quit smoking, then interview and baptism! He is the man!


2. Daiane. She is sooo strong. I´m pretty sure she´s the person who most wants to be baptized in the whole world, and she´s continuing to help Paulo (her fiancé) quit smoking. She will be baptized for sure and will help Paulo be baptized too. She prays with power and every time she prays we feel her sincerity and love for the church. Awesome.


3. Vanessa. Daiane´s sister, 17 years old. She´s kind of a "doido" (ditz, etc.), but she is really smart and is also ready to get baptized. Stopped drinking the dreaded coffee last week and never looked back. Ready!


4. Jônaton. Son of a less-active member, Irmão Anastácio. Irmão A. served as a missionary here in Autódromo many years ago and baptized a lot of people in the ward, and then married a non-member and became a little less active. She was baptized and then they were more active, but now he started a hot dog stand in his house (it´s cool) and has no more time, so he decides to work on Sundays. Jônaton was reeeally shy when we started with him, but now he´s way more open and responds well to our questions, prays and reads the BM almost daily. We finished teaching him everything and now he´s ready to be baptized! At first his mom was a little hesitant to let him be baptized (even though he´s 9 and is smart) and his Dad wanted to make sure he was doing it for the right reasons, but after we showed him the baptismal clothes and practiced baptizing, his dad said "he´s ready". It was a miracle! Baptism this sunday, too.


And 5. Ziza!!! Irmã Ziza, who is 4,579 years old (actually just 79, but we love to mess with her because she messes with us) has had a date marked and been interviewed 3 times, and each time something happened and she didn´t go to church/wasn´t home/got sick, etc. It´s been a severe trial of patience but now (or never) she´ll be baptized. She´s been ready for a long time and sincerely wants to be baptized - she just forgets about certain things sometimes. We´ll pass by every day to talk to her and she´ll DO IT!!!


These are the people, and now the request: please pray for these people, daily, by name. If you do that, I know that Heavenly Father will hear those prayers and bless them. They will be baptized!

I love you all and wish you all well. Hope you all know that I know that this church is true and real. Miracles happen every single day. I love the Lord, and He loves us more than we can imagine.

Great week! Let´s pray and baptize these children of God!

Elder Brown

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Let the good times rooll

OI gente,

This has really been one of those weeks. Here´s part of the letter I sent Presidente Araújo, for all of you to translate: (good luck)


Tem sido uma outra semana interessante, e cheio de opportunidades de crescer e mostrar nosso desejo de trabalhar. É muito bom ser companheiro de Elder Sousa, porque além de não tendo muitas coisas que nós dois gostamos, nosso foco no trabalho é a mesma coisa. Estamos sendo testados e é um pouco difícil as vezes, mas não podemos nem vamos parar. Vamos ajudar esta ala a ficar muito animado! Realizaremos um noite de Integração no Sábado (Noite dos Doces) e estamos propagandando a gincana muito. Nosso plano é a batizar 5 pessoas, que são Paulo a Daiane, Vanessa, Ziza, e Jônaton.
Quero compartilhar uma experiência breve mas poderoso que tive ontem. Estávamos orando e pensando muito sobre o que podíamos ensinar para Paulo e Daiane (Paulo tem problemas parando de fumar e se casarão semana que vem; ele não sentiu pronto ainda), e realmente não sabíamos o que fazer. Decidimos a assistir Encontrar a Fé em Cristo e desafiar a parar de fumar e ser batizado no dia 30. O dia passou, e foi muito difícil a encontrar pessoas a ensinar. Só conseguimos 2 lições com todo de nossa esforça, e depois de fomos com um irmão da Igreja à casa deles, que é bem longe de nossa casa. Quando chegamos ali, estavam fazendo a nenê dormir e não podíamos assistir a DVD. Fiz uma oração a saber o que fazer, e 20 minutos depois de ensinando e conversando sbore problemas dele, ele me deu cigarros dele. Eles também foram à serão O Cristo Vivo e realmente sentiram o Espírito muito forte. Sei que o Espírito tem poder a mudar as corações das pessoas, inclusive a gente.


google translation:

It's been another interesting week, and full of growth and opportunity of showing our desire to work. It's great to be companion Elder Sousa, as well as not having many things we both like our focus at work is the same thing. We are being tested and is a little rough sometimes, but we can not even stop. Let's help this side to get too excited! We will perform a night of Integration on Saturday (Night of Sweets), and we are very propaganda contest. Our plan is to baptize five people, who are Paul Daiane, Vanessa, Ziza, and Jônaton.
Let me share a brief but powerful experience I had yesterday. We were praying and thinking a lot about what we could teach Paul and Daiane (Paul has trouble stopping smoking and will marry next week, he did not feel ready yet), and do not really know what to do. We decided to watch Finding Faith in Christ and challenge to stop smoking and be baptized on the 30th. The day passed and it was very difficult to find people to teach. Only got two lessons from all of our endeavors, and after we went with a brother of the church to their house, which is far from our house. When we got there, were doing the baby to sleep and could not watch the DVD. I prayed to know what to do, and after 20 minutes of teaching and talking sbore his problems, he gave me his cigarettes. They were also to be The Living Christ and really felt the Spirit so strong. I know that the Spirit has the power to change the hearts of people, including us.


 I hope this shows a little how much I have been able to learn as far as the language. I can consider myself confidently fluent in the language now - hearing, speaking, reading, writing. It is AMAZING to think about how much the mission blesses our lives and those around us!

For those who couldn´t understand the scriblled letters above, let me explain: we have two investigators - Paulo and Daiane - who are by far our most excited and most elect. THey only have a few problems: they have to get married (they will next Friday!) and Paulo smokes. It stinks because he has a lot of desire to quit, but he works with two other guys at a construction yard and they both smoke and give him a hard time if he doesn´t (I would love to go have a quick word with those two retards). Our mission has a goal of 200 baptisms this month and it´s totally possible! It´s been only once before in the history of the mission, and Presidente Araújo wants to go out with a huge bang. We were praying a lot to be able to teach them a good lesson and to help him with desire to change, and we did just that. Although the rest of the day really stank and we only taught 2 lessons, it ended up being an amazing experience and he gave me his cigarrettes. I invited the Spirit to be with us and bore my testimony; then I asked what his feelings were (peace, love, tranquility) and where he thought they came from (God) and if he would like to feel like that forever (Yes). He then explained that he has a strong testimony of the church and loves us as missionaries. It has been very interesting here and their house; normally, I don´t like to create a deep loving relationship with the investigator - just enough for them to trust me and to believe in what we say. In this case, I couldn´t help but thinking all the time about them and what they needed, and because of it they have really begun to show that each lesson and each little thing we have taught is hitting them hard and in the right way. They recognize that we love them, that God loves them, and that baptism is the best thing they can do with their lives. I humbly testify that through prayer, obedience to the commandments, hard work, and love, we can accomplish anything and everything that our Heavenly Father has in store for us. He loves us SO much! He´s ready to bless us and give us all we need and want - we just have to allign our will with His and do HIs work. I´d like to share my new favorite scripture with all of you:


15 For what I seal on earth, shall be brought against you at the ajudgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must bobey. Amen.


This, I think, is perfect faith, trust, and obedience. If we emulate these things in our lives - daily, minutely, secondly - we will be given power to conquer whatever power confronts us.

I love you all. I know that this church is real. I know that Jesus is the Christ - He lives. He lives! The Holy Ghost is His messenger and helps us with all things.


Good week for everyone!

Elder Brown

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Meu pai amado...quase 8 meses

LIke the subject says, my mind is literally going nuts. Can´t believe it´s going by so fast.

One of the excellent things about the mission is the consistency. I was thinking about something that someone said about going home and it really kind of bothered me - you´ll miss doing contacts more than you miss doing homework and studying for tests. That is so true. It is also interest how true the phrase Ask and ye shall receive is. In my interview with Presidente Araújo last month we were talking about what I needed to do to have a more successful mission. One of the things we focused on was humility; I can personally testify that the last month I have basically only received more chances to be humble and to get kicked in the pants on occasion to force the rapid change. For example: I have been directing/singing in the mission choir and we finally are performing after many months of practicing and perfecting our songs. THis last week I got really sick -- not sick enough to make me stop working (that won´t happen), but sick enough to be without any kind of voice, and with singing out of the question. To paint a picture, I sang a low A flat when I woke up on Thursday. I tried everything - praying, fasting, etc., and nothing worked. we arrived at the time to sing for everyone and basically I had to sing like most rock stars do nowadays - bad and with my throat. It stank, and I have never wanted to crawl inside my shell so badly. I cried. I don´t cry like that!! It was miserable. BUT (and there is a but), I am doing very well. I had another interview with Presidente yesterday and he congratulated my on my progress. Obviously there is a long race to run yet but the progress is comforting. Our next target: patience! One thing I have been focusing on is baptisms, being the target and the scale in which success is measured. It is not that way, as I have been learning. It´s been almost a month since the Lord´s last baptism here in Autódromo, but I have been giving it everything I have, and I´m not ashamed. We can only keep going, and do a little better than we have been doing.

I have been starting to enjoy soccer (futebol), mostly because there is nothing, NOTHING else to play or do on Pday when we don´t have choir. We need to introduce these crazies to real Football. Right? Right.
We have a baptism scheduled for Saturday! Ziza! She´s almost a million years old and she has a bigger beard than me! She´s really cool and a lot of other Elders tried to baptize her, but they couldn´t get her to church...we did.


She wasn´t baptized... but she will be this next week.


Wednesday, 12/5/10

This is now the next week, as my last letter didn´t send. Here´s the big stuff this week.

Wé´ve continued struggling on trying to find the elects here in our area, and it´s been a trial. WE´ve been teaching a lot and finding a lot, but it seems to be more and more of the same people that don´t want to do anything, just listen to the message and sleep. It´s been a trial, but I know that our efforts will not be wasted and that we will find the people that are being prepared for us. I have been focusing my studies entirely on faith, and I´ve learned a lot from the scriptures and Preach My Gospel. They really are inspired books, written by God´s prophets.

We had another round of the Musical Presentation, O Cristo Vivo. I´m pleased to announce that I did have a voice this time and it was amazing - one of the better singing experiences of my life. We packed that chapel in the middle of CUritiba with about 1,000 people, and it felt really good and cleansing. The Spirit was very strong, and we´ve already heard of people who have baptismal dates marked because of the presentation. Also, we got to hear an excellent soprano, Phoenix Luz, who is from here and lives in the US. She is awesome! It was a really great experience and we all enjoyed the SPirit there.

Other than that, it´s been a lot of the same thing - work, work, work, eat a little (actually a lot; they feed us until exploding here), work, sleep, etc. It´s been good this transfer because my companion is humble and a very hard worker, and though there are always little things that are weird, the work is what´s bringing us together. Elder Sousa is great!

Really tired...we had an activity with our district today and we played a little futebol. I´m better than I was, but it stinks to be terrible at a sport. More of the humility factor - yes!

We also had - phone call home! It was awesome to talk with the family and I hope they know I love them and hope it was an awesome Mother´s Day.


Love you all! THanks so much for your concern, prayers and love - they are felt by the missionaries. Fogo nos ossos!


Elder Brown

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