Monday, August 18, 2014

IT'S HOT. SO VERY, VERY HOT.

Hi Family! 

Another awesome week finding the elects here in Santa Rita. It's very hot. Very hot. Very hot. Tell Austin I'm dreaming about life in freezing Chile right now. 

Anyways, I don't really remember what I included on the voice recording, so I'll just try to sum it all up. 

I think I mentioned in my last letter that when I got here it was basically starting with nothing. We had a teaching group of about 0. Last week we had 17 new investigators and this week we had 14. Our teaching group is getting pretty insane right now, but we are able to manage it all because it is in a small area. We establish teaching bases around our recent converts to have that special integration. It's going really well. We have 1 investigator that could be prepared for this Saturday but I think we will wait 1 more week so that he can be really prepared. 

I liked that picture of 21 baptisms you sent to me. Elder J.Santos, (my father!) who also passed in Macapá, baptized 14 in 1 day!  We are working to be able to baptize lots of people and have them stay firm in the gospel. 

Our area is very interesting. Santa Rita ward has 3 companionships. Ours and 2 Sisters. We have the farthest area from the chapel and we have to take an Omnibus 20 minutes to arrive there. However our area is ready to harvest, because missionaries have almost never worked there before! Tons of people have never met missionaries. So we are finding lots of really prepared people. We are the farthest area from the chapel but we also brought 9 people to Sacrament Meeting. 

I was able to travel to another area in the Zone this week and had an interesting experience there. When I got to the missionaries' home, I entered the house and I was shocked. The floor was dirty, the bathroom was covered with brown junk on the wet floor, and there were various containers of leftover food that had been sitting there for weeks. 

I arrived Wednesday afternoon and decided to not say anything about it. We worked in their area that day and I thought a lot about how I could help them. I knew it was my responsibility as a leader to not bypass the problem, but the Elders in that area may not have taken it well if I just told them to clean it up. They would have feelings of resentment and it wouldn't actually get done. 

I remembered something that Elder Malosso had taught me a couple of days ago. He always used to get frustrated with other missionaries that he lived with because they never cleaned the bathroom. One day he decided that he wouldn't let that bother him and made a goal to show the example and always clean the bathroom, every single week. 

I thought a lot about that example of service and what kind of leader I wanted to be. I had my own mini-process of revelation and when I decided what to do I felt a very strong confirming feeling. I ended up setting the alarm an hour early and waking up silently. I got to work on the bathroom and by the time they had woken up had almost finished cleaning that small section. When everybody was awake I called a meeting with the 6 Elders that lived there. We talked about how the Spirit cannot abide without cleanliness and what Sister Scisci would say if she saw the house. After that meeting, they were all very willing to help clean. It took about 2 hours with the 6 of us, but we got it all done. 

I didn't want to sound prideful or anything, because I have problems with that too. But that was one of the first times that I felt like a real leader in the mission. I bet you guys are probably laughing right now remembering my room before the mission :D. I learned a lot out here.

Anyways, we are trying to motivate all the missionaries here in Macapá. We have lots of new missionaries that are still in training and they and their trainers are all working hard. Pray for our zone! 

I love you guys!

Called to Serve,

Elder Gale

PS: 
I don't know if this will work...I tried taking a voice recording on the mission cell-phone. The recording wasn't that good and my voice sounds really weird on the cell phone...(and I wasn't able to remember English very well). 

I'll try do do the same thing next week. Tell me if it works!

P.S. I surprised Elder Malosso when I asked him to speak, so he just spake in Portuguese. I'll try to get him to say something in English next week!



Monday, August 11, 2014

EMERGENCY TRANSFER!

Wow, a TON has happened in this last week! 

On Tuesday we were preparing our materials to present that plan to President Scisci when we received a surprise call from the President. 

I wasn't expecting anything like the announcement he gave me. "Elder Gale you are being transferred to Macapá to be with Elder Malosso". I was shocked! 

Since I would be leaving, we went and said goodbye to members and investigators.  These are some pictures of me with the members that I became close to.  The family of Genivaldo and Rose, David and Jamila and Lizane, and Dalva and Micaela.

Here are some photos of the people I was teaching. P (I wasn't able to get a photo of the family together). A and M, a family we were teaching that was passing a lot of difficulties, and F and C, a family, and finally L with his cousin. L is planning to serve a mission and baptize all of his friends in the next year!































The last photo of me and Elder Rolando together. 
I'll miss the guy. 








Me on the airplane!
As you may know, almost the entire part of our mission is in the state of Pará, Brasil. Except for the farthest area that we have that actually is in another state, Amapá. So I was super startled to be emergency transferred to the farthest area in the mission and to another state in Brasil. The transfer was about an hour by airplane. Yes, I'm serious. I took an airplane by myself to arrive here! 






Macapá is know for being a fairly new area here in Brasil. And for baptizing lots of people. I still haven't found it, but there was a Liahona that featured the area of Macapá. Maybe you guys could look it up for me?





The problem of Macapá is that there are a ton of children baptized that fall away from the church. A couple of months ago there were 44 people baptized in 1 month in the zone, but by now almost all of them are inactive. We are focusing on keeping up the baptisms, but baptizing families instead :D 

My companion is Elder Malosso, from Riberão Preto, São Paulo. 1 more Paulista for me :D He has the deepest voice I have ever heard and is very friendly with the investgators. He had a ton of experience - 1 year and a half on the mission and 5 or 6 transfers as a zone leader. Elder Malosso constantly surprises me by speaking to everybody, literally everybody on the street. This last week we wrote down 130 addresses in our planner, and that is just the people that accepted the message and wanted to learn more! Almost every Omnibus we are standing up and announcing the message to everybody. 

Elder Malosso is 25 years old. He started his mission exactly 1 year after his baptism. I'm learning tons from him and am happy to have such a patient companion. 

The zone is in a very difficult situation right now. There are a ton of new missionaries and recently the leaders of the stake and wards have been a bit discouraged with the low retention rates. Yesterday we were able to bring 6 new investigators (3 families) to assist Sacrament Meeting. The members became very excited to see families being brought to the church instead of children. And I think they liked the violin :D. 

Anyway, we are seeing miracles every day here in our area, Santa Rita. We have spent almost every day in splits which was an interesting but effective way to learn the area. Baptism by fire :D

Macapá is also the hottest area in the mission. I think I will return to Belém the same color as my companion :D I am putting on lots of Sunscreen and drinking lots of water!

Anyways, love you guys! Sorry I can't write you guys more individually!

Elder Gale








Monday, August 4, 2014

PILOT PROJECT

Hello Mother/Family/Friends/Desconhecidos!

Wow, let's see if I can respond to everything in the time that I have...

Responding first to the questions about being zone leader. I do feel like I am getting more confident in the role, even though it is still difficult and I don't know everything yet :D I am learning more and more how to effectively guide the missionaries in my zone to create goals and monitor those goals. Preach My Gospel says that if we set goals but don't report back we are not doing the whole job. 

I think that my greatest difficulty with this whole process is organization. If I am not organized on my desk, my mind will not be organized, and my calls to the missionaries every night will not be organized and my entire zone will lose effectiveness. 

I feel like I am learning how to train the missionaries better in the meetings we have every week and the splits we make every now and then. 

What do I enjoy about being LZ? Being able to leave the house with the cellphone. There is a rule that only the Zone Leaders can leave with a cell to prevent the chance of being robbed. It's nice being an exception to that rule.

We have a fairly new zone. This last transfer we put in 2 new District Leaders, Elder Bitner and Sister Barros, keeping Elder Neres as the LD of Marituba. I will have a more relaxed transfer now because I am only managing 1 district instead of 2. Our strengths are enthusiasm and a willingness to try different things. President Scisci always says "If you want different results you have to do different things". In the past, Zone Entrocamento was a weaker zone, but this next transfer we are looking to see a lot of success. 

On to the awesome possibility of you guys coming to meet me here in Brasil! I would absolutely love being able to show you the areas that I have passed by and the people I have met here in Pará. My biggest question would be if there was any chance that I could be released here in Brasil when you come here so that I could really visit the places in which I served? (Salinas). I don't know if that authorization would have to come from President Morgan or President Scisci, or if it is even possible. I will ask the authorities here in the mission if it could be a possibility. As for the question if the mission lets parents come to pick up the missionaries, I know that in the past parents have done that, so I wouldn't think it would be a problem. 

Anyway, this was a good week. I was able to see miracles as a result of a special fast I did this last Saturday. One family we have been teaching for a long time had a problem on Saturday. We were teaching them and the Dad started yelling at his wife and kids. He yelled at her for strange reasons, because she was always at work and not helping the kids, because she wasn't reading the scriptures with him, or not participating in the family prayer. 

Turns out he had been drinking the whole time we had been teaching him. The whole time, we had been putting the focus on him because he was the only one with the desire to be baptized. His wife never really listened to the lessons or paid much attention. After the fight when we left, we thought it was all over. As we were in Gospel Principles class, his wife entered alone into the room. We were speechless! She came to church even without her crazy husband. When we asked what compelled her to come she just said she felt God wanted her there. 

We are working with the Stake to develop an action plan with the missionary work here in Entrocamento. We called up the Stake President and planned a meeting with him on Sunday Morning. President Castro showed up there and relayed how the stake was worried about all the less-active Melchezidek Preisthood Holders in the stake. We presented a plan we had made to make a coordinated effort to visit every preisthood holder in 2 weeks, with the missionaries and the members together. There are a lot more details to the plan, but the purpose is to fill until the end of the month all of the missing callings (counselors of every organization) in all of the 7 Wards. President Castro liked the plan so much he asked us to present it later that night in the leadership meeting, including all of the Bishops in the area as well as the Mission Ward Leaders and the Stake Leadership. 

The presentation went really well! It just needs to be put into action now. We will meet with President Scisci tomorrow with President Castro to present and approve the Stake mission plan that we developed. We named it Projeto Piloto- Base do Sacerdócio. Pilot Project, Priesthood Bases. 

Anyway, my time is already up. I love you guys!

Elder Gale