Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 25, 2012

This week will be 6 months on the mission! Time has gone by so fast already! It's amazing how fast time flies and how much we learn here on the mission so fast. I feel pretty much fluent in the language, and it's only hard to understand the drunk people in Portuguese now. 

This week was a bit interesting... A few things happened and me and my companion weren't able to work on Tuesday or Wednesday, so we lost two days of work. But on Thursday we went right back to work and everything was good! We have been visiting a lady name Conceição for the past couple of weeks on and off. She's a bit hard to find at home, but she's really accepting of the gospel and loves the missionaries. We talked to her on Friday afternoon, and she said she would go to church on Sunday and everything was good. Then Sunday rolls around and she didn't show! When someone doesn't come to church, it's really hard for us in our area because our chapel isn't in our area. So we didn't have the chance to go look for her. But after church we went to her house with a priest in our ward and ended up teaching her and her son a little bit. Turns out that she didn't go to church because she was a bit embarrassed about clothes and the fact that she didn't know anyone in the ward. So we're going to try and visit her with some members this week so that she gets to know them and gets more comfortable with the ward. We've already taught her almost all the lessons, but she still hasn't gone to church a single time, so she has to wait at least three more weeks to be baptized!

We were also able to talk to Herison's dad this week. Herison is the kid that was told by his dad that he can't talk to the missionaries for a month and all that jazz. So we talked to his dad, Diego, and he told us that we could start visiting Herison again! That made us really happy, and so now we just have to go and talk to Herison some more and he could be baptized this week! He's still strong in the testimony that he had and really wants to be baptized. We just have to make sure that his dad doesn't get drunk again and decide to change his mind!

I was looking on lds.org today and I saw a talk that I really like by Elder Cook. He talks about being in tune with the things that really matter and magnifying our callings in the church. It was really good and I think you all should go read it, too! 

Well, I hope you all have a fantastic week! Recover well, Mom! And I forgot to say this last week, so Happy Father's day, Dad! I love you so much and I'm so grateful for the instruction that you've given me throughout my life!

I love you all!

Elder Hopper #1

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012

We had two more baptisms this week! One was a girl that had been frequenting a different ward (her aunt's ward), and the other was a girl that is the neighbor of a member. It was a bit difficult with the second girl... We got to her house on Saturday to bring her to the baptism, and she told us that she wasn't going to get baptized. So we started talking to her, and turns out she was just really nervous and a little bit scared to be baptized because her family wouldn't be there to watch. Her mom actually decided not to go because she was drunk. Yaaaay alcohol! But we talked to her and talked to her neighbors and she calmed down a bit and everything was good. Then on Sunday the two girls and our baptism from last week were confirmed. 

In this email (and the next) I'll include a few pictures of what's been going on here. Mostly I'll put pictures of the people we baptized. It's a total of 14 people now - I think I got pictures of all of them here.

This week has been a little bit difficult; I'm having problem with my foot still. It's not hurting at the ankle anymore, but now my left shin has started to swell a bit and hurts pretty bad. But I'm sure it'll pass!

We have been working a lot this week with Gleon, the dad of the Barbosa family. It's been pretty hard with him, but he's progressing little by little. On Tuesday we went over to his house with Paulo, a member who had a drinking problem, and they combined to go to AA and another group together every night. But wait, there's more. On Wednesday everything was good and they went together. On Thursday, Gleon got home from work late and ended up not being able to go. On Friday, Paulo passed by Gleon's house and waited for 30 minutes, but then left because Gleon didn't come out. Soooo... We still have a lot of work with Gleon. It's becoming really difficult for his family, too. His wife and youngest daughter haven't been to church for 2 weeks now, and their testimonies are struggling. As soon as we can get Gleon to stop drinking and attend church regularly I'm sure the problems will all disappear.

Here are a few pictures of our city from up in a grain storage tower that we went to last week. I'll have to do that video thing and send it to you guys sometime soon.

Anyways, that's pretty much all the news for this week... We had transfers this week, but everyone in our zone stayed except one elder. So I'm still in Ipiranga with Elder Henrique. A lot of the same working and walking and preaching and baptizing and all that good stuff!
Oh, I have something to ask, too. I need a flash drive! All the elders here carry around flash drives with church music on it and they have what they call a "little box of sound" that you just plug a flash drive into and it plays the music that's on it. I would buy one here, but they're crazy expensive. It's like R$30 for a 4GB flash drive. Que louco!
I love you all! It's good to see that things are going well at home and the downstairs bedroom is looking really good!
Good luck with your surgery, mom!
Elder Hopper #1

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012

Another crazy week at home, it looks like! But I'm sure it'll all calm down now that school's out and all that is done. Just in time for surgeries and more vacation time! Dad's got his sabbatical so you guys are going to Disneyland, right? Wasn't that the plan a few years back? 
This week was kinda crazy. On Wednesday we had a training from President Prieto, but the building that we were going to use was being cleaned, so everyone left. About 4 blocks down the road, President called everyone back so that we could walk to another chapel to have the meeting there! So we all went there, had the meeting, which was supposed to end around 11:30, but we got out at almost 2:00. So we all walked together to a buffet type place and ate, when it started pouring down rain. So 4 of us missionaries that live together huddled under one umbrella and walked back to the chapel where the bishop of Ala 1 gave us a ride home. Boy, were we happy for that ride! 

On Saturday, we helped put a roof on a house. But here all the houses are made of bricks and cement. So we poured cement for the roof for about 5 or 6 hours in the morning. And by poured cement, I mean that we mixed the cement in the driveway, and then hauled it bucket by bucket up to the top of the house where a member poured it on the top. It was a bit tedious, but I can now say that I helped construct a house in Brasil. 

Later that night we had a baptism of a man named Getulho. He is the neighbor of one of the members here, so we met him that way. His family wants nothing to do with the church, but we'll see if that changes or not. He's having some marital issues right now, so we're trying to keep everything sane within his house before we start preaching the gospel to the rest of the family. 

Even later than the baptism we went to watch the Cultural Show before the dedication of the Temple in Manaus. It was pretty cool and all, it was pretty neat to see all the different dances and stuff that they did. 

Then on Sunday we got to watch the dedication of the Temple in Manaus. That was pretty awesome. It was a lot more simple than I thought it would be, but it was still good. They had the dedicatory prayer given by Elder Uchtdorf, and a few more talks. I am so grateful for temples and the opportunity that we have to make covenants with God here on the other, but not only for ourselves. We have the grand opportunity to help those who have already passed through the veil to the next life make those same covenants. I'm so grateful for this gospel and the happiness it brings! I wish more people would understand what we have and the awesome chance we have to become like our Heavenly Father one day. Every day I think about the people back home that I never took the chance to share this gospel with and it makes me a bit sad to think about that, but I know that I'll have the chance again when I get back home to talk with most of them. Never lose a chance to share the gospel with those you love! This gospel is for everyone! 

I wanted to send home some pictures this week, but I forgot the cable for my camera in our house today, so you'll have to wait another week before you get pictures!

I love you all! I hope you all have a fantastic week! And I'm praying for you, mom! I hope your surgery goes well!


Elder Hopper #1

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 3, 2012

Wow! Looks like you guys are doing fantastic! Makes me miss home a bit... But I'm here for 18 more months and then I can join you all again! Things will just keep getting better from here on out! Oh, and speaking of Chipotle, I still have $7 that I am saving so that the day I get back I can buy a burrito. Definitely one type of food that I miss from home.

Tell Carter that I'm way excited for him! I was thinking about him the other day and that he should be getting his call soon. That's awesome that he's going to Guam!

My foot's doing well. We rested a lot this week so that it could get better, so I'm not feeling anymore pain. This week we'll get back to working and baptizing and preaching the good word! On Sunday we had a Stake conference which was actually more like Brazil conference. There were 99 stakes participating in Brazil, and the Prophet and Elder Anderson spoke. It was really good. They spoke about love in the home and being educated. It seems like that's a big problem here, but things should only get better! It's amazing whenever we get to hear the words of a prophet. Even if they are translated into Portuguese.

So, that kid that I told you about with the dad that wouldn't let him do anything at the church anymore... Herisom is his name. We talked to him a couple days ago for about 5 minutes. He's still doing well and he's happy and everything. We went to actually talk to his dad, but his dad decided that he wasn't going to be there for our appointment at 7. So we didn't talk to him. We're hope to find his dad, Diego is his name by the way, at home this week sometime. The one month should actually be up on the 16th, so we'll see what happens there! We just need to pray and fast and do our best and leave the rest to God!

Anyways, that's about all that happened this week. I sent Maren a letter, so she should be getting it in a couple of weeks! I got a letter from Bishop Stott, but that's still all I've gotten since I've been here.

Oh, and about that trombone... I found one for R$800. That's about $400... And I already have almost R$300 and then a little bit more in my bank account. I just need a little bit of help with it!

Well, I love you all! I hope all is well!

Elder Hopper #1