Monday, November 25, 2013

QUERO SER BATIZADO! (I WANT TO BE BAPTIZED!)

Hello everyone! 
I hope life is going very well out in Missouri/everywhere else. 
I´ll go ahead and write chronologically for this week. 
 A mini sleepover we had outside.
We moved our mattresses outside and slept there (with some fans to keep away bugs).
First off, we had a zone conference this last Tuesday! It was good, but a bit worrying at the same time. Usually this zone baptizes around 15-20 people in 1 month. Which is great! But for some reason this month has just been horrible. We´ve baptized 5 people this month. And 0 of them was Elder Ramos and I! So our zone leaders chewed us out a bit. 
Elder Ashby and Elder Grondim--studs!!
After that, they told us we were going to do a practice lesson and asked for volunteers (about 16 people in Barcarena). No one else volunteered, so I raised my hand. Elder Ramos and I taught the restoration and committed the "investigators" to be baptized on this date.  
Apparently it went really well! Which was good, because the "leader of the trainers" was watching. So good for me! 
It´s not like we don´t do this with real investigators. Because we do! We had like 25 people on date at one time. But "on date" here is pretty different from on date in the US. 
The coconut-looking thing is Cupoaçu, a fruit native to Para. Only found in Para!
Anyways, a couple days later we were walking to a lesson, and we heard somebody calling "Elders, Elders!". We turned to see a little girl and boy running up to us. They were really excited and were yelling "Quero ser batizado, Quero ser batizado!!!" (I want to be baptized!). How many times during a mission does a missionary hear that??
Well we asked if their parents were nearby and they said yes. Their mom said they had visited our church once but they were very busy. They did say we could stop by and share a lesson sometime. Hoorah!
Enjoying a meal we cooked on P-day!
Naturally, we were also very excited for children of the "marriage" families to be baptized as well. Everything was going perfectly. We taught all the lessons, had the interviews, signed the papers. And one of the children chose me to baptize her! And then on Sunday (the baptism was going to be after church), we waited....and waited...and finally the member that was supposed to pick them up arrived...without anyone else. 
Apparently when he arrived to pick them up, one of the dads asked why they had to be baptized again. We´d already talked about this about 3 times with the mothers and they never had any questions or problems. We still don´t know all the reasons why they didn´t come. We are going to visit them tonight. But hopefully they will happen next week!
Some kind of carne (meat)!
On Sunday, about an hour before church during lunch with President Sousa, President asked Elder G to give a ten minute talk during church. Elder G said no. I said why not! So later that day I gave a "ten" minute talk that ended up being 20 minutes! Everybody said it was really good and that they could understand me, so I was very happy with it. 
To answer questions from your email: 
I´m not exactly sure what river/body of water we have to go on to get to Belém. I know that we have to ride off the direct coast of Belém and that is where the water is choppy.
We do not teach an English Class, because the chapel is too far away. It is very hard for people to go anywhere around here. That´s one of our problems.
I don´t really remember what game we were playing, but it was fun!
The weather is always super hot. It usually rains once a day for about 5 minutes, but that´s all! I think that it rains a lot more in other areas. The roads are about half and half paved and dirt. We walk a ton every day because our area is so large. Tracting is super easy because there are always people in the streets. We never need to knock or clap doors, we just talk to people sitting down in front of their houses. 
These are all pictures of a "noite familiar", or family home evening, that we had a couple weeks ago. 







I hope Grammie is doing ok. Tell her I love her and I hope she recovers quickly!
As always, I love you all. 
Called to serve, 

Elder Gale









Monday, November 18, 2013

MASTER, THE TEMPEST IS RAGING!

Josh:  IT´S YOUR BIRTHDAY TODAY!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!  Sorry I’m not going to be able to send you a present. I have no money and I don´t even know where the post office is yet! :D But I’ll write a good portion of the letter to you as my present this year! (I know, lame right? But you´re a man. You can handle it.)

I´m pretty jealous of the morph suit. I can totally see you wearing that. Blue morph suit just screams "Josh".  And I’m pretty jealous of the food too. Brazilians like lots of carbs, but it´s entirely made up of rice, beans, and meats. Mashed potatoes sounds pretty good! :D

Holy cow you finally get to drive. I bet you are so happy right now! :D Actually that´s just if you pass your test. We´ll see if that happens. :D I bet you´ll pass it. I was just a terrible driver and Austin was just too cocky. You´ll pass for sure. 

I remember driving being a definite turning point during high school. It gives you a freedom that you've never had before. Remember that there are very few people in the world that have that freedom at your age. Here in Barcarena, it is absolutely unheard of for youth to drive. Very few adults have a car. We have upwards of 30 investigators right now (all found by me and Elder Ramos!) and not one of them has a car. Ask Lhaylla what it´s like in other parts of Brazil. Here it´s pretty rare.

And dating...wow. Those poor guys at your high school. With Joshua Paul Gale on the loose, there will be no women left for everybody else! Tell me about the dates you go on. Make em creative!

That´s so awesome that you made the basketball team! I know how much you care about sports, even if you try not to show it. :D You are an integral part of the team, even if its only being an example to the other players how to work your butt off. And you´d better be doing that!

Your guess of 30 baptisms a month was a little bit high...but who knows, it could happen! We have tons of investigators right now, but we´re struggling to pick out who in our group is elect and can be baptized. Lots of people have word of wisdom problems, and even more people have problems coming to church.

But, this week we are hoping to have some baptisms happen. We have several moças (ladies) that can be baptized and several rapazes (guys) as well. I´m really not sure what the numbers will be, or if we´ll baptize anyone at all. We´ll see!

Mom: Sorry for the lack of pictures today! My camera is out of batteries and I cant seem to find any at the local stores around here. I´ll try to find some quickly! I know how nice it is to get photos :D I emailed you a photo of a zone conference that happened this last week.

I´ll be honest...the Christmas package is still unopened! I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to do it, and the other Elders all wanted me to open it right away, so I hid it deep under my bed and haven´t looked at it since. I think I’m going to be able to do it!

Everybody is easy-going here and there is a lot less pressure of obligations and appointments here. It´s really a good stress relaxer. But there are definitely times and places where time-laxity is not appropriate, and certain mission schedules are some of these times.

As missionaries, we have to learn to embrace the culture of the people we live with while still being obedient. Right now, and for the next two years, I am Brazilian. It´s really miraculous how much every missionary has to do this. (Another problem we sometimes have in this mission is American missionaries that don´t do this; they try to force their culture on everybody else. That is bad!)

 Grammie: I´m praying really hard for you with the surgery today! I know that this is the right thing for you and that you will be glad that you did it. I know the Lord will be with you at every step!  I wish I could've celebrated your 52nd birthday with you. I´m sure it was great! :D Love you!
Dad:  That´s awesome that you were able to go out with the Elders in your ward! You´d be amazed at how willing to help the members in Belém are with missionary work. We oftentimes have more lessons with members than without! I believe this is one of the reasons that Brazil baptizes so much- that the members help teach and give referrals.

I´m glad that you were willing to share your testimony of the Plan of Salvation. I have to do that a lot! :D Because I oftentimes don´t know how to teach certain principles or respond effectively to the investigator´s questions, I usually end up testifying of the blessings of whatever principle and sharing my testimony. One thing that President Holm taught me is this: "I can never make other believe that what I´m saying is true. I can always make sure that others know that I believe what I´m saying is true."  That helped me get more comfortable sharing my testimony. Good luck with the work in Liberty!
Austin:  Wow that football stuff sounds pretty interesting! Not. I´m still happy that the Gamecocks beat the Chiefs that one time...I think? 
BenI always appreciate your calm and well-reasoned letters. I´m afraid that I am losing my English bit by bit in these weeks-months of Portuguese! Lots of other Elders cant speak or write fluently without thinking of what word it is in English or how to say it. It´s pretty funny.

I miss playing you in chess too! We´ll have to have a game when I return...in 2 years :D You be practicing! Let Tanner win every once in a while. It´s amazing how that keeps people wanting to play with you ;D.  Miss you Ben!
Brindi:  That´s awesome that you are starting basketball! Go and get em! Lots of people like basketball and have shirts with basketball stuff here, but nobody plays it. It´s pretty funny. You´ll be great!
Tanner:  Carson or a bunny? I´ll have to spend some serious reflection on that prophetic dilemma...Good luck with basketball! You´re a soccer star and now a basketball star!
Lhaylla:  Oi! Estou tão animado que voce esta gostando as Sisteres e nossa igreja. Realmente, sei que essa igreja e evangelho pode fazer uma grande differencia na sua vida. Pode mudar sua vida. Tudos nos falamos que "Sei que essa igreja é verdadeira", e voce sabe porque? È porque tudos nos já fazemos uma oração especial e pergunta Deus se essa evangelho e igreja e o uníco igreja completament verdadeira. Sei que Deus sempre responde a nossas oraçoes. Sei que Ele vai responder a suas. 2 Timoteo 1:7.

Sei porque voce tem saudade por comida Brasileiro! Gosto muito de essa comida :D Também, tenho uma pouco saudade por a comida dos Estados Unidos...mas não importante!  Boa sorte com escolha e vida nas Estados Unidos!
Events this week:  We had an awesome conferençia de zonas this last week! President Scisci spoke, as well as...Elder Fernandez! He is a member of the quorum (spelling?)of the 70!  He gave a really exciting talk! At least...it sounded exciting. He talked really fast, and I bet he used lots of specific words that I haven´t learned yet in Portuguese. So I understood very little of what he said. But everyone else said that he was fantastic!
ZONE CONFERENCE!
I had a great time getting to see my friends in the mission. I have not yet seen Elder McCrea. He is serving in Santarém, which is one of the farthest zones away from Belém. To get there, you have to either take a plane or take a 2 day boat ride. Usually most missionaries end up serving there, so I´m looking forward to it!

Some of my other friends in the mission are:
 Elder Daines and Sister Hymas, missionaries from a different district in the MTC that waited with me in South Carolina.  Elder Paoletti, another American.  Elder Ritchie, the cousin of Wade Ritchie that is serving in my mission. I met him by chance in the line for lunch and now were good friends! He only has 9 months so far, so I´ll be with him for a while.  Elderes Cedráz, Texiera, Dos Santos, Bravo, and I cant remember the others names. Other Brazilian-Bolivian-African missionaries that arrived the same time I did.  And lots of other missionaries. Everybody is super close here and I love the other missionaries I get to serve with!

Anyways, when that finished we went to return to Barcarena. We took the last boat of the night which ended up being a pretty scary experience. We had to go through the coast-sea line of Belém, and the waves were very rough. I swear the boat nearly tipped over. The missionaries sang "Mestre, o mar si revolta" - "Master, the Tempest is Raging" and it gave a whole new meaning to that hymn. I asked one of the rapazes working on the boat if this happened often, and he said "every night". Fun stuff!

Really the same things are happening with our investigators. We had 9 come to church yesterday, which was good but we were hoping for more. The van that usually takes our investigators to church broke down, so that made things a bit hectic for us. I miss that 15 seater van right now! :D

Like I said, we´re hoping for some baptisms this week. Keep me and my investigators in your prayers!  E boa sorte a tudos de voces! Sei que os principios e dotrinas na essa evangelho são inspirados! Sei que Deus sempre responde a nossas oraçoes.

Chamado para servir,
Elder Gale

Monday, November 11, 2013

SWIMMING POOL HOUSE...WHAT??

Hi family and friends!
I received my package! Woo hoo!!!!  Do I seriously have to wait until Christmas to open it? I´m so excited! Thank you so much!
Let's try a short sentence to everybody, just for fun!
Dad: I´m glad the families doing so well! Missionary work and spirit is the best, isn´t it? I hope everything is going well with work. It´s funny to remember how much the other siblings sports and activities influenced the rest of us. Good luck with the winter sports season!
Mom: Oí! I think I actually got the letter that was sent while I was in the MTC. I must have forgotten to mention it last week. Thanks for that! It was fun to relive the MTC "missionary just left home tender feelings" experience. It´s funny that it took so long for the mission office to get it to me after I got here!  :D 
Yes, the armadillo was real. Not alive! The picture of me getting comfortable with it was after it had been dead and frozen. They don´t really walk around much...not that I’ve seen. I´m not sure where the members got it. They did cook and feed it to us. It was good! The only hang-up was a bunch of little hard parts of the shell mixed in with the meat. You have to be careful when biting. :D 
I´m excited for the other box! It will take every ounce of willpower I have to not open the Christmas box. I´m not sure if I can do it! Thank you for being so nice to me! :D 
I am so glad that I brought my violin. It has been a blessing with members and investigators! I regularly take it to church and play with the opening song in Gospel Principles. And the wedding was fun! Elder Ashby took a killer photo of me playing, but he is in Belém right now for visa stuff! I´ll send it next week for sure. I played whatever prelude music before it started, (Schindler´s List, Hinos, Phantom of the Opera, etc.) and they asked me to play the Pachebel melody while the bride walked down to the groom. It was so cool! And the newly-weds were very grateful. 
I´m so sorry to hear about the disaster in the Phillippines. Thanks for updating me, I hadn´t heard about it. 
Lhaylla: Estou felíz que vocé esta tendo boa experiéncias com o evangelho. Nossa Igreja é uma Igreja do mundo, nao só de um pais. Espero que vocé vai ter mais experiencias com o evangelho e as missionarias. Brasil para sempre!
Austin: My mother is doing quite swell, according to her letter. Good luck with the marathon! And get used to the foot pain. All missionaries end up having some foot trouble. It´s the bomb. :D
Josh: I´m glad to hear that football´s finally over. I hope you make the team for basketball! If I remember correctly, your age group had a killer team, right? Good luck, boa sorte, get sweaty. I´ll make sure to write back extensively to your letter when it arrives! 
Ben: That Sandra Day O´Connor thing sounds pretty cool! Who´s it with? I feel prompted by the spirit to ask you to describe extensively your relationship, expectations, and feelings for this anonymous person. Hmm...
Good luck with the running thing! Its good for you. 
Brindi: I did actually eat Armadillo. It was a lot like chicken and really good! That´s super cool that you got to go to the symphony! I´m glad you are having such great experiences with the piano and violin. :D  Keep up the good work! Violin and piano are a blessing on a mission! :D
Tanner: Sounds like you are having such a fun time with life right now! I bet the primary program was fun and you had a great time at the party! Did you know Gavin wrote me a letter a long time ago and sent me a tatoo? You two are sure to be great friends. 
Enjoying dinner with a member family
Enjoying crab!

The pictures are: one of a meal we had with one of the members at night for Branch-coordination meeting (Reuniao com o lider da obra) and the other two are from another more interesting meal with one of the members. 


We had crab! I had to summon all of my courage to eat crab. Really we just sucked the juicy innards from the broken-off legs. It was pretty manly, if I do say so myself. And whatever the heck the other thing is. It looked and tasted like some sort of sludge... 


Sludge-like Soup/Stew??

So why is my letter titled what it is? Oh yeah, because on Sunday before church we came home to find that our house was completely swamped with water. Something had happened with the water box on top of our house and it had leaked through the walls so that we were ankle deep. Elder Ramos and I were very fortunate because we live in a room outside of the main area. The others were not very lucky. All of their books, journals, photos, and letters for 1 and a half years worth of missionary service were completely drenched. Bleh. 
Worse than that, we had to spend time cleaning it up, and we weren´t able to help investigators get to church. We had only 4 investigators there. It was so disappointing! (For Brazil standards) And naturally that was the Sunday that President Scisci chose to speak at our branch. We looked pretty lame. Whatevs. 
But other than that, the work is going great. We are looking at the 23rd and 30th for baptismal dates for our investigators. Please pray for them! We have 6 girls we are teaching that have accepted baptism on the 23rd. In Brazil, that´s still pretty shaky, so we are praying that it works out. On the 30th, we are planning a massive wedding and baptism for 5 couples. (A person needs to be married before being baptized). If this thing works, we´re looking at like 10-16 baptisms on that 1 day. Our goal that we set for this month was 4, so if either one of these things happen we will be happy. I know these people will be blessed with this greater commitment to Christ. We need all the prayers we can get!
I love my chance to be here serving as a missionary. This is the best work in the world, and it´s work that needs to be done. I know the principles and standards of the Church of Jesus Christ are inspired. I know that God loves us, and He gives us commandments so that we can be happy in this life and forever. I know that God loves every nation, language, and people (But He has a special place for the people of Brazil!). 
Love you all, keep the faith, 
Called to Serve, 
Elder Gale.

Monday, November 4, 2013

MISSION MIRACLES!



Dear Family & Friends--
Hi!  We had juice of Cupuaçu yesterday and it was heavenly! In case I ever drag one of yáll down to the Belém area one day, you have to try Acaí, Cupuaçu, and Fareina. I probably spelled those wrong. 
Holding a parrot that one of the members owns.

The citade that we live in is the same as our zone, Barcarena. We actually live in Villa dos Cabanos, Lorangal. I had to spell that phonetically, because I´ve never actually seen it written out! :D I have no idea what our current address is...I´ll try to figure that out this week. The streets and houses are very confusing!

Our Branch is awesome! We have about 80 people show up to church on a normal week. But we only have about 10 worthy priesthood holders, which sometimes makes things difficult. The church building is about 15 minutes away by car, which makes it a bit difficult to get investigators to church. Our chapel is super nice. Our building is one of the best I´ve seen. I even think it´s nicer than the ones in the US! It´s a 3 story building with a basketball-soccer court outside. 
Rock On, Elder!

Our home is awesome as well! Elder Ashby told me that it was the nicest in the mission. Lucky me! Elder Ramos and I live there with the Zone Leaders, Elders Ashby and Gondim. Elder Ramos is the district leader. We have about 8 people in our zone and 12 people in our district. We have only 2 sisters in our zone. Very few sisters get called to our mission because it is one of the more rugged areas of Brazil. Only about half of the members in my area have cell phones, and the members are some of the richest in the area. This is a very poor area. 
I am at an internet café right now. There is only a small charge for the time. Elder Ramos and I will have to pay about 3 Reis for the time we spend today, which is about 1 dollar. 
I LOVE TIES!!!!!
 The stores are very different here. We use a supermarket called Lider for our weekly shopping. My first week was very confusing because I didn´t know what to buy. Actually, it´s still very confusing. :D The prices for regular things in the US are very expensive here. A can of shaving cream is like 16 dollars! But other things are very cheap. It´s all dependent on what is made and shipped to and from Brazil, I suppose.

I did get a letter from yáll and from Grammie this week! Thank you so much! It was dated October 15, so if there was a letter sent earlier than that, I haven´t received it yet. I´ll ask the mission office if there is anything sent earlier with my name. I´m very excited for the Christmas package! 


I showed the pictures of my family back home to some investigators who asked to see them. The response I kept getting was how beautiful my mother and sister are. Mom and Brindi are models down here in Brazil! :D
We actually realized that Halloween had happened the day after. We did nothing for it and I didn´t see anybody doing anything special.

I am very healthy! I did take a few adjustments to food, and I am still adjusting. We eat very little besides a very big lunch, so that´s hard to get used to. Elder Ramos has lost a really lot of weight in his 6 months here, so I am interested to see what happens with my weight. I´m working out pretty regularly!


I absolutely love that my Gamecocks ruined yálls (and MU´s) day. I will root for the Gamecocks my whole life, and if I was there in Missouri I would be yelling "WASSUP SON" to Austin. And everybody else. 
These pictures are from a recent service project.
Even the dog is helping!
We helped out a woman who was baptized
a week ago with her 4 children!

Anyhow, our week was awesome! I was able to play my violin a lot this week. Once for another Family Home Evening, and then for Church! :D I played and the other Elders sang for a musical number. We played A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, and everybody loved it. 




One of the women in the Branch asked if we could play at her son´s wedding! Weddings here are absolutely a missionary activity, because we have to work so hard to get people married and ready for baptism, so I´ll be playing violin for a Brazilian wedding this Saturday! 
Unfortunately, we think we are going to have to drop the investigators that came to church last week. They have some problems with the Word of Wisdom and it doesn´t look like they will be willing to stop.  
Elder Ramos and I were a little bummed that we weren´t going to have any investigators attending church. 

But miracles do happen!
The dynamic duo!
On Saturday, we were inviting investigators to church, and none of them could make it. We decided to try one more investigator named Jefferson. 3 women sitting in front of his house told us that he wasn´t home. So we asked them if we could share a quick message with them. 1 hour later, they all committed to church the following day! 
We arrived with a van on Sunday, and they were all willing to come to church! One woman had 2 children, one had 3, and one had 4. And another woman in the area wanted to come too! Only one of their husbands was able to come. 

We packed everybody in the van and went to church. And 2 of our other investigators ended up being able to come! Basically we went from having 0 investigators at church to about 16 (including the children). We were super excited. All of them loved church and want to come back! 

The other churches in this area tend to be very disorganized, so usually the typical church in the area is pretty shabby. Almost everybody who attends our LDS church has a really great time. Next week we are hoping to have a lot more attend!
This is me kissing a tatoo (armadillo).  We later ate it--yum, it tasted like chicken!!
I am loving life here in Brazil as usual. Love you all!
Called to Serve, 

Elder Gale