Monday, December 30, 2013

FELIZ ANO NOVO!!

Christmas eve dinner at the house of Kleyton and Milda!
It was super delicious and they had fireworks. Wassup.

I hope y’all enjoyed your Christmas. It sounds like it was a regular Gale Christmas, which is super hectic, awesome, and happy. I missed you guys like crazy, but it was fun to spend my first Christmas on the mission. It has an entirely different focus out here, which is cool to be a part of.


Waiting for the Omnibus on Christmas Day.
Everyone is excited to talk to family!










And naturally, I loved talking to you guys on Skype! It was so nice to see your faces and know that everybody is happy and well. The only problem was that it was so short! It was hard to get in a good conversation with everybody in so little time. But it was awesome anyway!


The day before Christmas, we received a call that the zone in Icoaraci wanted my help with a fun Christmas project. They were going to sing hymns at a local supermarket and they wanted me to play my violin with them. We asked for permission to do it and it was granted. 







We sang in the middle of the supermarket and people were really surprised and liked it a lot. The supermarket even asked us to play on the top level as well!












Christmas Devotional! 

It was awesome!  




Basically 
missionaries sang 
and played hymns 
for a ton of people.


The seats in the Gym and Chapel were completely filled and the only seating room was on the stands on the Chapel. 





 

It was a 
really great experience 
to be a part of!











Unfortunately, the baptism for this Saturday fell. He is a young man named Y, and is a really cool guy. He is committed to coming to church and to living the commandments. But his baptism fell because he drank coffee during Christmas. Its sad how something so small can have such a big effect. This next Saturday we should have Y and another boy named A. They are both very excited.

We had a lot of "snakes" this week. A snake is a woman that goes after missionaries, young or old. Women in Brazil are very outgoing with relationships and sex, and they start very young. I´ve already taught a 14 year old girl that had a problem with the Law of Chastity with 30 year old married man.

But anyway, it was all over this week. We made contact with 5 girls around the age of 12-13 that seemed pretty nice. They kept looking at me and making this weird sign with their hands. Elder J. Santos told me later that it meant something dirty.  Yikes!

Yesterday, we were teaching a lesson to a 19 year old girl. She was very interested in religion and is actually taking Theology classes in college right now. But the lesson over the Book of Mormon was slightly interrupted when her sister came in. The first thing she did was give me a glass of water, "because he´s beautiful". Well...thanks!

As we continued, we taught how the BoM and the Bible go hand in hand. The sister said "I´m passionate about the Bible...just like i´m passionate about you (pointing to me)". That was a bit awkward.

She later asked me if we could go to her house alone and I promptly said no. She tried to give me a hug and I stepped awkwardly away. Yáll would´ve laughed. Elder J. Santos teases me that I have a girlfriend on the mission.

But seriously, it´s ridiculous how open girls are with their intentions. Almost every day when we walk down the street someone will call me beautiful. Not that I blame them...:D And people always stare at my blue eyes. During lessons, I like to open my eyes a bit wider and people always stare. It´s hilarious.

The reason this happens is that I´m American and people think that I have money. But this is only part of it, as missionaries in general are hunted by moças (girls).  The other part is our name-tag. When we have the nametag, it means that we have virtue. And that is an uncommon quality in a culture that condones sexual sin. For unvirtuous people, it creates a challenge to destroy that virtue. They want that virtue and are drawn to it. Be virtuous, my Brethren!

Me being pretty.  :)
By the way, update on our living conditions. The best Christmas present ever: the mission bought the quarter next to us so we have twice as much space and two bathrooms! And a washing machine so we don´t have to wash our clothes by hand! I´m still sleeping on my hammock that I bought a couple weeks ago because it´s more comfortable than a bed and it keeps away mosquitos.

Elder Gale and Elder Xavier--a nearby Zone Leader.
We´re preparing for Transfer day coming up pretty soon. I´ll have one more week until Transfer. Our guesses are that Elder Cedraz and I will stay here, but Elder J. Santos and Elder Gonzalez will leave. I'm happy to stay, because I like this area. It´s actually really unusual that I´ve already had 3 areas in 3 transfers. Elder Gonzalez also has 3 areas so far, but he has a year and a half on the mission.

I´m also preparing to meet my 6 month on the mission mark. It´s amazing how fast time goes here on the mission. I only have about 18 months left, and I need to use it the best I can!

I´m unbelievable excited for Austin to turn in his papers and get his call. He will be a fantastic missionary. And it will be fun to share the mission experience while we´re both serving. I'm hoping for Lawrence, Kansas! If he´s really lucky, he will go to Belém, Brazil or Columbia, South Carolina, the best missions in the world. Only if he´s faithful before the mission and says his prayers right.

 It´s raining a lot during this winter season. Everyday for a couple hours. I like the rain, but I don´t like it when it keeps us from working. We managed to keep the "patterns of Excellence" in our numbers this week even though we lost a lot of time during Christmas. Go us!

Our District--STUDS!!
I´m so blessed to be here in the Brazil Belém Mission. I know I have a divine purpose here and that people were prepared beforehand for me to find them. I understand how important my role is as a missionary, that the lives of many people can be changed by my words and actions. I know that I have power inherent in my missionary calling, and I feel that power blessing and uplifting my life everyday. Christ is our Savior, His Word is with us, and His Church is restored.


Called to Serve,


Elder Gale

Monday, December 16, 2013

NO SKYPE THIS CHRISTMAS :(

I’m emailing a bit early today because I have to travel to Belém this afternoon.  I’m going to be blunt with the bad news. In the last Zone Conference, President Scisci announced a new policy of the Mission Brazil Belém. He explained that in the past missionaries had been very disobedient with calling/skyping their families, and also that after Christmas, the number of baptisms statistically goes down because missionaries are not focused on the work. He asked us if talking to our parents was worth even 1 soul losing salvation.

So the new policy is that missionaries cannot call or skype with their family on Christmas. They are allowed 2 hours of email instead of 1, but that is the only allowance that President Scisci said he was willing to make.

I know how difficult this will be. I’ve been looking forward to talking with you guys for such a long time! I can only imagine how much you would want to talk face to face with me. But I realize as well that the "Christmas Calling" pulls missionaries away from the work, and I am willing to be obedient to this new rule because I know it will bring blessings to me and to you.

Even though I wont be able to talk with you face to face this Christmas, I want you to know that I love each one of you so much and I´ll be thinking of you all Christmas Day.

Thank you so much for the package! It was very hard to wait so long to open it, but it was absolutely worth it! I love how creative and exciting the 12 days of Christmas are. Only my mom would think of something that fun!  ;D

I tried to take plenty of pictures with the presents so yáll could enjoy it with me. My companion and other missionaries are super jealous of me that I have such an awesome family!

So far for packages, I´ve only received the larger Christmas package. Maybe the other one you sent will come today because I´ll go to the Mission Office today.  I hope!

So, speaking of the medicine, I think I probably ought to tell you that I have had an ingrown toenail for the past month and a couple weeks. I will go to hospital today for it. It’s not that bad.

The devotional was so great! I can’t even describe how awesome and spectacular it was. I am writing a more detailed description of it on paper that I will send to you guys next week. Sorry its not done yet, I was pretty rushed this week due to the devotional and other stuff. But next week when it´s done I will send a picture of the paper to you guys. I heard a rumor that we will maybe do the same thing on Christmas Day because it was so successful. I´m not sure. I hope so!

I liked your idea with taking pictures of my journal and sending it to you guys! I don´t think I’ll do exactly that because my handwriting is super messy, I don´t want people reading my journal, and I usually journal in Portuguese. But I´ll use the premise of the idea in the future by taking pictures of letters or whatever so that I´m not so rushed on P-Day Email time.

I´m glad that Grammie seems to be doing so much better. I´m sure this past week has been hard for her, but I'm sure it will be entirely worth it after the surgery!

I´m super jealous about the Christmas Cantata with Brother King. Parabens to Josh for playing so well in it! I´m excited to see the program. I would like so much to be there playing. But, If I was a betting man, I would bet the Christmas Devotional here was cooler :D.

Way to go Austin on getting the mission papers process started! I´m so excited to hear where your going and be on a mission with you. You don´t even know. I´m putting 10 bucks on Lawrence, Kansas.

So I was absolutely lying about the new skype/calling rule. It doesn´t exist!  :D Sorry to be so mean, but I couldn´t resist!  (Mom’s note—what a stinker!!!!!!)

Sorry to not write anything about the skype last week. I was super rushed. Our plan is to Skype at Kleyton´s (the man who called you) house because he has 4 computers and it wont cost money. We´ll call you on his phone before we try to skype, so we can try to work things out that way. I´m not exactly sure what his Skype "name" is, so we can figure that out in the moment through cellular.

We will go straight there after Almoço, so that will be around 2-3 o´clock that we will call you. That´s awesome that you are having the missionaries over! I´m sure they are very grateful. But make sure to kick them out if it interferes with me calling you guys. I´m so anxious to talk to you it´s crazy.

I love you all so much. Sorry for being so mean with the joke! :D

Called to Serve,

Elder Gale

Monday, December 9, 2013

FIRST BAPTISM!!!


So as you've probably guessed, this last Saturday I had my first baptism! Tamires, a young woman whose younger brother is a member. And Lucas, a referençia of Jonathan, a member in our ward. 

The first baptism!!!!
It was awesome! They both wanted Elder J. Santos to baptize them, which made sense, because he taught them both beforehand. Even so, it was so nice to see fruits of the past 4 months. And they are both awesome teens and will be solid members. I´m hoping that Lucas will choose to serve a mission in a couple years. 
 
I played violin for the service, and everybody thought it was great! I also gave a short talk about the purpose and meaning of Baptism. 
Riding the bus to Belem!







So in other news, the mission is going to have a giant musical devotional this Friday. I was invited to be a part of it. Our first rehearsal was this last Thursday. Elder J. Santos and I traveled 2 hours to a chapel in Belém. There were about 20 missionaries there, chosen for the ability to sing or play instruments. It was cool! 



Playing at a devotional rehearsal.
When I first played my violin, Sister Scisci was really impressed. She asked me to play the entire time during all of the songs. I´ll be playing a lot! :D 

We had another rehearsal today, and I led a practice with about 12 missionaries. I was glad to be able to help. 

Merry Christmas!
I hate to write so little. I will take the suggestion and write on paper and take pictures of it. 

Missionaries enjoying a small break!
I love you all! 

Called to Serve, 


Elder Gale
Elder J. Santos & Elder Gale!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

TRANSFERRED!

I was transferred from Pioniero 2, Barcarena, to Castanheiro, Cabanagem. I am very excited to serving here and am loving my first week. My companion is Elder J. Santos. There are a lot of Elders with the last name Santos, so usually they put the first letter of their middle name on the name tag to differentiate. Elder J. Santos is awesome! He is a really fun guy who loves to work hard and have fun. He also teaches really well! He always knows just the right response to thoroughly answer the needs of an investigator.

He also is a very young missionary! Not in age, but in time on the mission. He only has the 12 days in the Brazil MTC and 2 other transfers in this same area. I have two other transfers in different areas and also the 6 weeks in the MTC. So actually my trainer has less time on the mission than I do. What?

Walking down the street, like a boss!
But it’s ok, because Elder J. Santos absolutely deserves to be a trainer so quickly.  I am learning a ton from him every day. I have to admit, I think the best missionaries that I´ve met so far are Brasileiros. A part of this is because there is a strong culture of young men teaching and going out with the missionaries many times a week here in Brazil. We always have more member-present lessons than we have other lessons. The young men here already know how to teach the lessons. It´s pretty impressive. Maybe that´s just the experience I had. It´s probably different wherever you go.

So anyway, I received the notification that I would be transferred about 1 PM on Tuesday. The boat left at 2:30. What!!! It was crazy, trying to get everything packed in such a short time, and with the omnibus commute I really only had about an hour to pack everything and leave. And then the wheels on my suitcase broke. What???

So I looked pretty funny, an American hurrying down the dirt roads literally dragging a suitcase behind him to try and catch the omnibus/boat.

It rained!
And because I love my mother and family so much and want to keep receiving packages, I did not open the Christmas package. It was hard to carry it on the boat and omnibus and streets of Belém, but I love y’all so! No actually it wasn´t that hard. I just made Elder Ramos carry it! :D

Anyways, Elder Ramos is training again. A Brasileiro this time! He was super excited. I heard nothing that night about where I would be going or who would be my companion. I slept Tuesday night in the Mission Home with a couple other new missionaries. Wednesday morning and I still didn´t know where I was going. I asked the Assistants who work in the area what would be going on, and they said I would work in their area that day. So after Almoço at the home of a member, in the middle of the crazy streets of Belém, they handed me and another missionary a list of names and addresses to find in Belém for the next 5 hours. The only problem? We had never worked in Belém before, didn´t have a map, and really didn´t know where we were at that moment. The only other problem? The other missionary was an American that spoke even less Portuguese than I did. What!?!

So off we went. We asked the people on the streets to look at the list and find people for us. We gave out pass-along cards. We even taught 2 lessons to people we found on the streets! But we only found 3 out of the 10 references. It was fun.

Sorry I’ve gotta go. The only other update is that our house is 1 room and has 4 people. Yuck. Our bathroom doesn´t work and we do our laundry by hand. I love my area. Love you!

Called to Serve…

Elder Gale