Monday, January 6, 2014

BAPTISMS & TRANSFERS!

Hello from Brasil! It sounds like everybody had a lot of fun over New Year's. My New Year's Eve was a little less exciting. We had to return home a bit early because of the parties and whatever else that happen here. So we bought soda and food and hung out. I ended up going to bed around 9:30 because I´m the life of the party. Always.

I still haven´t received any packages besides the first Christmas one.   I’m not sure what´s going on with that.

A cute and fat bunny at one of the members houses.
It tried to nibble on my pants. Very very fat.
Speaking of change, it's transfer time! I've enjoyed my time with Elder J. Santos, but it´s coming to a close. Elder J. Santos was transferred to...Macapá! The farthest area away from the mission. It's super hot there, so I´m glad it was him that was transferred. He's super excited, because he will be with his mission father, who is a zone leader there. There is a chance he will be district leader. I´m going to miss my 3rd mission father.

I will stay here in Castanheira with...Elder Nores! I haven´t met him yet, but I’ve heard he's pretty cool. He is from Lima, Peru. Isn't that where Hannah is going? He is also very young on the mission. Actually, I think we have the same time on the mission exactly, because he stayed 6 weeks in the MTC to learn Portuguese. I´m hoping to improve on my Spanish while he's here, but we´ll see how that goes.

He is actually my brother on the mission, because Elder Ramos was his first companion. Elder Ramos didn't say much about him, so I don´t know much about how the first transfer went. I´m excited to meet him.

Elder Cedraz will also stay here. Elder Gonzalez will go to Macapá and be a zone leader there. He´s super excited.  The new companion of Elder Cedraz will be Elder Romero, an Argentinian. He is almost done with his mission, only 2 more transfers left. We will be a very multicultural house! Peru, Argentina, Estados Unidos, and Brasil! Hollah!

Baptism of Y. What a spunky guy!
We did have 1 baptism before the transfer´s over. Y, a spunky rapaz of 18 years, was baptized on the 4th of January. We´re trying to get him to go on a mission after a year. I think Austin would like him a lot. He´s going to be a super solid member.

The other young man, A, that was supposed to be baptized ended up falling through. Everything was great until 1 hour before the baptism when we showed up to pick him up. At the last moment, his dad said he wouldn't let him be baptized. It was heart wrenching. We plead with him for 30 minutes or so, but he wouldn't budge. We´ll keep trying, but I think we´re going to have to lose that family. That was a really hard moment to watch his desire to follow Christ be shut down. And I think his dad may have been drunk. Not sure.
We have these crazy little monkeys with
long black hair and christmas hats
that climb on your arms if you let them.
Admire the exotic creatures here in Brazil!
 But we´ll continue working here in Castanheira. We ended up cutting a ton of our investigators, so we need to work on finding new ones. That´s something fun about missionary life, is that you get to find new investigators and talk to new people every day. Its a mission standard of excellence to find 10 new investigators with a Baptism date every week. We need to adhere to this standard to have weekly baptisms.

We had a difficult experience with church too. We only had 2 investigators attend, and I don´t think they´re really progressing. Our baptism hope for next week was a young girl named M, but she stepped on a nail and wasn't able to come yesterday. We would have to get Elder Romero to authorize her baptism with only one attendance at church. And Í don´t want to baptize someone until they are really ready.

Did you know that here in Brazil the rules on Baptism are a bit more lax? It´s fairly common to baptize someone with only 1 time attending church, and they only have to stop drinking coffee 3 days before baptism. And tea isn´t against the word of wisdom here because it´s different. I had some but didn't like it. So generally the only problem people have is coffee, but we also have a thing that is almost exactly like coffee but a bit different that everybody drinks called cevada. So we just ask people to switch to cevada. Some of these differences were a bit hard for me to get used to. I think it might be a reason that so many people go inactive here in Brazil.





I talked a lot about Açai in my letters, 
but I've never seen the actual tree that grows Açai. 


Until now! 








One of the members has a tree 
and they´re very accustomed 
to picking the fruit.

I didn´t try because of my foot, but he let Elders Cedraz and J. Santos try to climb up a little ways 
to see if they could do it. 
Neither of them could. 

He showed us and made it look easy. 
The Açai tree is very tall and skinny. 
They use a red cloth-like thing 
to attach to your feet to help climb. 


But anyways, love you all!


Called to Serve,   Elder Gale









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