Monday, July 28, 2014

AN AWESOME WEEK FULL OF MIRACLES!

Hello Family! I hope everybody is doing well there in the States. We had an awesome week full of miracles here in Ananindeua. 

Before I forget, I have a request. Do you have a scripture marker pen that has access to various colors at once? That kind that you click it to change the colors? There is a member in our ward that is dying to have one and they don't have them here in Brazil.  If you could send it with the package that would be great!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TANNER! I can't believe it is already your birthday again! This will be the second time I will miss being with you for your birthday. You're growing up so fast! 1 year from now I will already be with you guys and will celebrate your birthday together with the family! Keep being the great young man and awesome brother you always have been!

This week was great for us. The greatest miracle was about the young man, L, that skipped the beach last week to go to church. We later learned that he had been searching from God an answer of which church was the true church and which he should follow. He was a member of the 7th day Adventist church for several years but didn't agree about some doctrinal things. He ended up praying for a response to his doubts and questions. That same day we knocked on his door inviting him to church. 

He felt really good that Sunday, but his real conversion happened on Tuesday, when we had a family home evening with a ward family. L always had a really tough family life and when he saw the pure love this family had he was touched. He couldn't hold back the tears and said he knew this was what God wanted for him. 

We challenged him for baptism this last Sunday and he accepted. He was baptized yesterday by Elder Rolando. He will probably receive the priesthood this next Sunday

He already knows practically everything about the church. We went to teach him on Friday and he was talking with his friend about Baptisms for the Dead. He understands everything and I believe will serve a mission 1 year from now. Hoorah!

My 1 year anniversary was pretty tranquil. I bought açai and stuffed myself. It was pretty normal :D

I got the questions and am still answering them! I'm super busy but I will complete them and mail them to you. 

By the way, we received transfers. I will stay here with Elder Rolando 1 more transfer here in Ananindeua. 

I love you guys! 

Called to serve, 

Elder Gale




Monday, July 21, 2014

WAHOO--1 YEAR ON THE MISSION!

WOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!! I have now served for one year! Yaaaaaaayyyyyy! 

I've finally reached that point on the mission where I'm one of the older ones! By the next letter I will officially have passed 1 year on the mission. Hoorah!

Wow...I think that was enough vocal expressions for one letter, neh? Do people say "neh" in the States or is it just an expression here? I'm saying a lot of "neh" recently...

In response to the letter question, I received 2 mini-letters about 3 weeks ago. Since then I haven't received any letters. But we will pass by the Mission Office in Belém so maybe I have a mountain of letters waiting for me!

Anyways, this was a difficult week for us, but we can't deny the Lord's hand in it. We worked very hard during the week to help our teaching group arrive in the chapel on Sunday, but everything fell through. Almost all of the investigators here in Ananindeua that we had at the start of the transfer have been dropped or dropped us. 

It's an interesting time in my mission right now where I feel like I'm teaching my best, working the best, and seeing few results. I'm not too worried, because I know everything is subject to the Time-Plan and Will of God. I want to be able to lead our zone in the work but we're seeing some trials in our area. 

I feel that we needed what President Ezra Taft Benson called "cleaning the interior vase" (maybe it's different in English). The idea is that before the outside will be clean the inside has to be spotless. We have to sanctify ourselves and our companionship before we can see the sanctification of our investigators and our zone. 

We started this week with some ambitious plans of reactivation and accomplished some critical visits that needed to be made. But our teaching group suffered a bit and it seems like everybody is traveling during the summer. We were looking at Sunday without anybody at church. On Sunday we were searching for people to progress like a hunter searches for animals. We were a bit desperate. :D 

After the rejection of our best investigator (he dropped us because he had to return to college), we thought seriously and prayerfully about what we could do to see a miracle that Sunday. We decided to visit a contact that we had made a couple days ago that seemed vaguely interested. As we got there he answered the door and said he had to work that Sunday and would not be able to go. 

We started talking to his older brother next to him. We invited him to visit the church and see if it is God's will that he be a part of the congregation. He said he would travel to the beach that day with his family. We challenged him to cancel/postpone the visit to be able to make this important visit and he accepted! 

He said he had never felt so good in any church or any place as he had felt in the Church of Jesus Christ. He said that questions he had always had were answered in the span of a couple hours!  We challenged him for baptism this Saturday and he accepted. We'll have to teach him every day this week to prepare him for baptism, but it will be a race :D

I'll have to have a party or something for my 1 year anniversary. I think I will buy a cake or something! Unfortunately we can't burn shirts, ties, or anything else as a mission rule :D 

I am very happy with my life as a missionary. I'm not "trunky" or homesick, but I'm also not overcome with misery that I only have 1 year left. I know I am here where I'm supposed to be and that God's happy with me, and that makes me happy. I'm so happy that Austin is starting this journey in his life. He will help many people to be happy in Chile. 

The Church is true! Jesus Christ is our Savior! He paid the price, unlocked the door, and told us how to open it. The principles of the restored Gospel are made so that we can be happy with our families. Sin brings misery to us and our families. Real repentance can cure us and is the solution to self-fulfillment in our lives. 

I love you guys! 

Elder Carson Gale

Monday, July 14, 2014

THIS BUSINESS WITH THE WORLD CUP IS OVER!

Hello everyone! 

Austin seems pretty excited in the MTC! It reminds me a lot of when I was there.




So, we got so excited about Brasil playing in the Semi-Final World Cup Game that we disobeyed the mission rules and had a party...JK!









President Scisci made an exception for the 
Semi-Final Game and let us watch the game 
with a member. 
We bought soda and popcorn and 
Brasil attire and had a party! 



Elder Rolando and I bought 2 Brasil shirts 
that also had the colors of 2 rival soccer teams 
here in Pará.


I don't know if you guys watched the game. 
In case you didn't see it, just keep it that way. 
Germany took Brasil's pride and spit on it, stepped on it, 
sat on it, and then threw it in the trash!


There were people crying in the streets. 
I was afraid to go out in the street because I look a bit German.
The score was 7-1 Germany. 
Ouch!


At least Germany went on to beat Argentina. 
The ultimate humiliation would be if Argentina had won the Cup. 
Brasil has a rivalry against Argentina. 
There are lots of funny Argentinian jokes. 



Everybody was rooting for Germany to take the cup.  If Germany was good enough to slaughter Brasil, they had to be good enough to take down Argentina :D!





Actually I was rooting for Argentina! Germany has already won the world cup 3 times, now 4 times. He is that much closer to being tied with Brasil for 5 wins in the world cup!


I ended up being impressed with the members here in Brasil. When I learned that the final game would begin at 5 o'clock on Sunday and our Church goes until 6:30, I thought nobody would be there in the Chapel. But to my surprise everyone showed up! 



We even had investigators that skipped the big game to go to Church. Imagine if the Superbowl was the same time as Sacrament Meeting... do you think investigators would go?

I'm glad to have this business with the World Cup over. It was fun! But it was very distracting for the Brasilian people. 

We had a great week, full of surprises! One thing I am learning this transfer...The Lord knows who He wants in His Church. We are seeing the 2 sides-- reception and rejection--in our teaching group. We have investigators that are doing all the right things and are being blessed. People that have been prepared to hear our message. 

One of them is E. He is reading the Book of Mormon, going to Church, and praying with real intent to know if this is God's will. And he is receiving miracles in his life. His questions are being answered, and not by us. 

We are also teaching a man called M. He is very intelligent and has previously questioned the effectiveness of organized religion. He is blown away by the clarity of the doctrine and the Book of Mormon. 

And we are seeing the other side of things. One investigator, A, that would be baptized last week, is listening to his girlfriend and not doing the things he should. As a result he is unhappy. He feels the need to hide from people and run away. 

Another family we are teaching had a similar experience. We had confirmed everything with D on Saturday and he had gone 1 week without drinking. 

On Sunday we passed by to go to church with him. We walked a long way to get there and when we arrived he was sitting on a bench with a large pile of empty beer bottles around him. It was a very incriminating scene. I was struck by how hollow the momentary relief he received by drinking really was. He was miserable and will only continue with the problems he has with his family. 

We will keep working with our investigators if they are willing to try and follow their goals. I know that I am making a difference out here, even if it is in small ways. The people that accept our message will be blessed and everybody else will be left to what they can provide for themselves, which is very little.

I'm looking forward to 1 year on the mission. I love how God prepares us for every point in our lives. If we are doing what we should we will be where we should. When I started my mission I was very ready to start. Right now I am happy to continue serving. When my mission ends I will be ready to accept the other challenges in life. I know that right now I am in the right place. When the time comes to leave I won't be sad, but prepared. It's amazing how the mission prepares you to have the capacity to accept and complete challenges. 

I love you guys! Thank you for everything!
Elder Gale

Random Questions from Mom:

Q: Where do you get your hair cut?

A:  There are a million places here on the streets that cut hair. I just choose one every other month on P-Day. Usually its about 8 reals (like 3.5 dollars). 


Q:  I heard about a Brazilian cheese bread that I wanted to try making.  It's called pao de queijo.  Have you had it?
A:  Pão de queijo is super good. I like it hot and with ketchup :D!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

USA HERITAGE TO THE MAX!

Hey family! 

It sounds like you all are having a blast there in the States. It's such an emotional time for the family, separating for two years! For me, already being separated from everybody, it's all excitement! I know that Austin will love his time in the MTC. I'm anxious to hear about his first week!

I was kind of hoping to get Austin's first missionary letter today...is there any way you guys have it and could send it to me? Or maybe his P-Day isn't Monday. That's probably what happened. 




Anyway, I didn't write you guys yesterday because of a Mission Conference that we had with President. I'll have my writing time today!












We had a special training meeting just for the Zone Leaders. We had this activity where I had to blind Elder Rolando with my tie and he had to follow me everywhere and I helped him to eat. 







Lhaylla and her parents dropped by and gave us some presents! Elder Rolando and I are showing our new beautiful ties that we received. Thank you Lhaylla's family!







The photo of various Elders shows my genealogy on the mission. Elder Lucas trained Elder Wilding who trained Elder J. Santos who trained me and Elder Bishop and I trained Elder Da Rosa. 




And of course, I partied it up for Independence Day! 
As annoying as it might have been for the other Elders, 
I celebrated my USA heritage to the max. 
During the day I gave away the USA stuff that I had to the members and investigators...
they loved it!



This last week was a good one. We've been busy trying to help the 3 people ready for baptism this last Saturday...and then all of them fell through. We're going to have to cut some of our investigators to renovate our teaching group. 

We're focusing on having a teaching group diversified and progressive. Some people only take 2, 3, 4 weeks and some people take more time. (and some people take a few days). But if our teaching group is diverse, we can always have somebody on baptism every week. 

Anyway, we are looking to the future for 3 couples being married and baptized at the same time. 

1. P and M

Their children were baptized a long time ago and became less-active. We went to visit them and started teaching the whole family. P already is 100% converted and wants to be baptized. He just needs to marry his wife first. They are gathering the papers and funds sufficient to perform the ceremony. 

2. F and C

F has been attending church for a long time and just needs to be baptized.
 
3. J and A

I'll write more about the others in a future letter. I need to go!

I love you guys!

Elder Gale