Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012

Hello everyone!

This week was pretty alright. We probably knocked like 5000 doors. It was a bit difficult, but it was fun. This week we had the first real rain since I've been in this area. It was pretty great. It got a bit colder for a couple of days and we got pretty dang soaked. Turns out that umbrellas don't really do a whole lot all the time... And you know how I have those waterproof shoes? Well, they're only waterproof if there aren't rivers in the streets up to your ankles. In that case, the water just enters right into the top and your feet still get soaked. And because the shoes are waterproof, that not only means that water can't enter, but if it gets in, the water can't get out. So I was walking around with a lake in my shoes for a good majority of the day. Much like Elder Hopper #2 over there in Guatemala, I decided it'd be fun to go jump in some puddles. And my companion joined me. It was quite fun.

The work this week was a bit difficult. We found a couple of new families last week, but this week they ended up telling us that they didn't want to learn any more because they already had their religions and churches. So that was pretty sad. But we also found a family that has been less active for about 6 years now, and we are now working with them. The mom and dad are actually divorced, which is quite a sad story that I probably shouldn't divulge here... but the dad is remarried and living with the family of the other woman now. It seems that they all want to return to church, they just have had a hard time actually coming back. Both the mom and the dad have come to church recently one or two times, but they didn't stay for more than one week. So we'll work with them starting later today and see where that goes! Oh, and the dad is actually one of the candidates for governor or something here in São Carlos.

On Saturday night we went to the Open House of one of the chapels here in São Carlos, the chapel of Ala 1. It was pretty cool because they talked about the history of Ala 1 here in this city and how it was the beginning of all of the other wards here. President Prieto was there and he talked about the pioneers of the church a little bit and about the luck that we have to be here in these days partaking of the blessings promised to their posterity. We really are lucky to have the truth and to have the luxuries that we do here in this gospel. Then the missionaries here in São Carlos all came and sang "The Spirit of God" (in Portuguese, of course) at the end. It was a pretty good little open house.

When they went to sing the opening hymn for the open house, the normal conductor said that she didn't know the song, and then they asked a second guy to do it, but he didn't know it either... So I raised my hand and said I'd do it! So I directed the music at the open house. We sang two songs that I have actually never heard before... But it went well. I didn't mess up, so it's all good. 

But that's about how my week went. A little bit of rain, a lot of sun, a lot of knocking doors, and directing some music! Oh, and some stupid little bug decided to sting me on the eyelid yesterday afternoon... But it didn't hurt too bad or really swell. It was just super annoying for like an hour or two.

I love you all! Hope you have a good week!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012

Hello everyone!

This week was pretty interesting. I think here on the mission I have had some of the most bi-polar happenings ever. Coming into this week we had 9 baptism dates marked for the upcoming weeks, and as of today we have 1. That's good, right? Elder Stewart and I have been working really hard to keep the work going in this area, but it's super hard when the people have their free agency. We should just take that away from them and force them to be baptized. That's how it's supposed to work, right? Oh, wait... I think that was Satan's plan. Yeah, I guess we'll not do that. We'll just keep working in the way that we have been.

Sônia and Benedito have been contributing a bit to the difficulties as well. Their relationship is a bit crazy. They have gone between hating each other and not wanting to be married at all to being super happy and joking around about 15 times this week. They are still together at this point, but we'll see how things are going tomorrow when we go over to their house. It might end up being that Sônia stays here in São Carlos and Benedito moves over to Leme for a while. If that happens, Sônia will be baptized here really soon, and then we'll have to wait a bit for Benedito. 

Other than that, not much has happened this week. A lot of our investigators are falling, and it's a bit difficult to stay excited for the work here, but we're doing our best. At least I've got a good companion to be going through these things with. 

Oh! I forgot! Our Stake had some boundary changes this week. Here in São Carlos there are 6 wards. 1st ward, 2nd ward, 3rd ward, 4th ward, 5th ward, and Cidade Aracy. Cidade Aracy is our area. So the 4th ward was done away with and split up into the 2nd and 5th wards. The 3rd ward was also split almost in half and gave some to 5th ward and a little bit to 2nd ward. And the big changes in Cidade Aracy: Nothing! We stay the same. Pretty lame for us, but it makes sense since our area is really off the side of the city down a cliff, so it's not too logical to have any other part of the city with us.

Well that's all I got. Cameron Johnson, if you read this, write me a letter, man! It'd be great to hear from you!

I love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012

Hello family!

This week was the end of our transfer! Aaaaaand nothing happened! In our whole zone! We actually only had one elder leave, Elder Edwards (he's from Oregon, about an hour North of Coos Bay). His companion, Elder Teuscher (he's from Vancouver), is receiving a new elder and will be training!

So first off, so that I don't forget later on, I just want to say happy birthday to my wonderful mother! Happy Birthday on Wednesday, Mom! I love you! Thanks for everything that you do for me and for being such an awesome mother to me! I really don't know where I'd be without you! Especially considering that without you I wouldn't have been born...

This week in church Elder Stewart and I gave talks along with one of the members of our ward, Irmão Franz. I talked about tithing, Elder Stewart talked about Joseph Smith, and Franz talked about missionary work. Kind of unrelated topics, but it's what the ward needed. I was given 5 minutes to talk, but I got up there and started talking about the tithing thing, and ended up not stopping until 15 minutes later... My bad. My companion had to cut his talk a little short because of me. Oh well! Later, the bishop talked about how this was the first sacrament meeting of the whole year that he felt the spirit from the beginning to the end. It's awesome how we can bring the spirit into the lives of the people here. And like it says in 2 Nephi 33:1, when we speak with the spirit, the spirit will lift our words to the hearts of the people! It then goes on to talk about the people that will still reject the message... But that's beside the point. 

So today I was studying with Elder Stewart about America. I'm not entirely sure how we stumbled onto this topic, but it was good. We read in Doctrine and Covenants 101:80 where it talks about the Constitution of the United States. It says that God himself wrote the Constitution through the hands of the creators of the USA. It's interesting how they were inspired so much to write exactly what they did, and it makes me think of the constitution almost as scripture. We are so blessed to be able to live in a country with so many freedoms and with so much pride for our country. On Friday Brasil had their independence day, but nobody really celebrated. It made me miss the 4th of Julys that we have had back home and the pride that the American people has. We are so blessed with our country!

Well that's pretty much my week. I love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3, 2012

Semana 6 dessa transferência!

Hello family and friends! What a wonderful week we had here! Nice and hot! And we actually got some rain this week! That's the first time it's rained since I've been in São Carlos. Quê bom!

So we had a pretty good week. Not much really exciting happened, to be honest. Except for the desert night! Oh my goodness that was amazing! A bunch of people brought cake, and we actually had a couple of investigators, Cássia and Giovanni, come and bring some food as well! There was this cake-type-thing that a member brought that was chocolate with maracujá... oh my goodness it was sooooo goood! I'm definitely going to miss maracujá when I get home. I'll have to find some way to get some there.

Everything is going well with our investigators for the most part. Sônia and Benedito are doing really well. They're both really happy right now and learning a lot. Sônia already knows more about the gospel than half of the members in the ward. She's definitely going to be president of the relief society here someday. 

So I've been studying up on tithing a bit lately because that appears to be a problem here in this area. I found an article today on that talks about it that I felt I should share. 

"We can combat fears by strengthening our faith. Let your faith be focused on our loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
God will heed your sincere and heartfelt prayers.
Keep all the commandments of God. Pay your tithing faithfully. Obedience to all the commandments of God will provide physical and spiritual protection.
Remember, God’s holy angels are ever on call to help us. When we are faithful, God and His angels will help us.
Many blessings will be yours in this life.
God is our Father. Jesus is the Christ. His truth, covenants, and ordinances enable us to overcome fear and face the future with faith!"

Tithing is one thing that God has given us so that we can keep ourselves safe. It's a way to secure the blessings of heaven that God has prepared for us. He has promised us that he will bless us with everything that we need and that the windows of heaven will be opened to us if we pay a full tithe.

And in D&C 64 God says that if we pay our tithing we won't be burned! I don't want to be burned by God, and neither should you!

Anyways, that's all I got for now. I love you guys!

-Elder Hopper #1 (Two weeks in a row!)