Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28, 2012

Good morning everyone! 
Well, here in Araraquara today, it's a chilly 25 degrees with cloudy skies and threats of more rain! That's the kind of weather that I like to see! It seems like the weekends here like to stay rather cold, but then it gets super hot during the week. Which means that people don't always go to church... If it rains, everyone stays at home because of laziness and lack of desire. That's pretty frustrating to me, considering how much it actually rains in Oregon compared to here. But that's alright! That's where I'm here for! To help the people come to church even when it is raining!
So this week was rather difficult in terms of the work. We knocked doors. Every day. And had almost no success. I will give you an example of a normal door contact here.
Dona Maria - "Oh, I already went to your guys' church and I already know lots of members of your church."
Us - "That's great! How did you like attending the church? Were you baptized?"
Dona Maria - "I liked it, yeah. But I don't remember much about it. I went like 20 years ago. I never got baptized because I already have my own church."
Us - "Ah, I see. Well did you ever have the chance to read the Book of Mormon?"
Dona Maria - "No, I never have. But I read the Bible."
Us - "That's really good. Would you like a chance to read more of the words of God?"
Dona Maria - "No, that's alright. I already have the Bible and that's all I need."
(Insert 2 Nephi 29 here...)
Us - "Alrighty then... What church is it that you attend?"
Dona Maria - "Oh, I don't go to church."
Us - "..."
Dona Maria - "I think the work that you young men do is beautiful, but I don't want to mix my religion with yours. One God, one faith, one baptism, right? We're all worshiping the same God, so I think we're all good."
Us - "Alright, have a good day."
And then we leave. It's quite obvious that almost nobody here wants to accept us... However, we are being blessed with other people who are helping us out. Our ward mission leader here knows pretty much everyone in the city, so his connections are helping us found people a lot. Also, we had a new young man move into the ward recently. He is from Ribeirão Preto Ala 1. If you remember correctly, that's a ward that I already served in! I knew that I recognized him from somewhere, and he said the same thing, and that's when we realized the connection. He's now living here with a different part of his family (who aren't members of the church), so he asked us to go to his house this week. We're going on Tuesday. It should be pretty great!
We might have a baptism this week... I'm still not sure how solid it is. But many prayers and some fasting and we'll see what we can do!
So a couple of a weeks ago you asked about tan lines and junk... Well, I took some pictures of my arms for you to see. It's pretty great. And it'll only get worse, I'm sure.

Hope you all have a fantastic week! I know I will! Interviews with President on Wednesday! Woo!!
Love you all!
-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2012

Good morning, family and friends!

This week we had some very big ups and downs, mostly in the weather, but also in the work. On Tuesday it was down to almost 65 degrees, and Saturday it got back up to around 100. While it was raining from last Wednesday to this Thursday, it was clear and sunny Friday through Sunday. And it's still sunny today! Looks like it'll be a hot week this week!

In the work, we had a pretty hard week. The rain kind of prevents us from working too much, seeing as it completely floods the streets. And we don't have umbrellas anymore. They all broke. Who really wants to let two soaking wet strangers into their house? Not many people here! So the beginning of the week was pretty much that. But the end of the week was a lot better. 

On Saturday we had a training with a member of the High Council, Carlos Rocha. He's a really cool guy who is actually part of our ward and teaches an English class that we help out with. He implanted the new stake mission plan this week. We had a meeting with all the ward mission leaders of the stake (which ended up being only 3 of the 6 wards... yaaaaay fubecas!) and he gave us a booklet that had everything in it. Basically he's putting all the responsibility on the members to bring others into the church. We're trying to put programs into action that make it so that us as missionaries don't have to rely on street contacting and knocking doors as much, but rather that the members give us references (they work better, go figure) through bringing friends to church or just simply talking about the gospel with other people. One thing about my current area: it's the smallest area is all of Araraquara. And the church is the oldest here. So everyone already knows the church or was already baptized and has no desire whatsoever to come back. So knocking doors does not work. However, if the members invite friends to come to church, the people come! And they feel the spirit! And they want to learn more! So that's what we're trying to get the members to do here. Bring friends to church. It really works. 

Then we FINALLY had the first executive committee meeting in our ward since I've been here. And now maybe we'll have some activities in this ward. It looks like the first counselor in the bishopric doesn't like me or my companion too much, but the bishop does, so we've got a good amount of support from the bishop with quite a bit of backlashing and hate coming from the first counselor. But that's alright. The work is moving forward and nothing will hold it back! We've just gotta get the members working a little bit more here... And everywhere else! 

Now go invite your friends to come to church! NOW! They deserve it, and you deserve the happiness that comes from bringing someone into the true gospel of Christ!

Have a great week! Love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14, 2013

Helllooo family and friends!

This week we had tons of work! And by tons of work I mean that we almost didn't leave the house the whole week! I got sick. Again. This time they gave me some antibiotics and told me to take it easy on the food and all... And of course the days that I'm feeling the worst, the members of the ward bring my favorite food to my companion and soup for me. But that's alright. I'm better now!

So between the sickness and the absurd amount of rain we've gotten this week, there was not much work to be done. However, we were able to attend a baptism of the other ward that lives with us. They had a baptism of a mom and her son, which they had to fight pretty hard to get. They were supposed to have the interview on Thursday for baptism, but they got a call that morning from her, saying that her husband had gotten reeaaalllly mad the night before and told her that the missionaries could not teach her anymore, and that she couldn't be baptized. Sooo they went to her house and talked to her. Turns out her husband was drunk... And then they talked to him and got it all figured out. So they interviewed her on Saturday at 5, and the baptism was at 7. Yaaay baptism!

I'm sending one picture this week... It rained. And flooded the streets. This picture was taken just after we had helped push a car that had stalled in the water. There were tons of people just walking around in the knee-high water because there was no way around it. 

So I was studying this morning, reading a talk by Elder Eyring. I don't know what it's called in English... But it's "Estar à Altura do Chamado" in Portuguese. But it was talking about callings in the church. He says that in all the callings in the church, we are representing Jesus Christ. We are doing what he would do, if he were in our position. That was something very interesting to me. Us missionaries use this frequently - we are always talking about how we are representatives of Christ, but I never thought about how every calling in the church is like that. We need to always remember that the salvation of an individual always rests on us, no matter what our calling is. We need to magnify our callings so that other people may receive their salvation, along with us.

I also gave a talk this week. I talked about D&C 107:99-100. Kind of. I wrote down a couple of scriptures, and then ended up going a completely different path with my talk. And I guess it went well. Afterwards, in a training meeting we had that night, the bishop and someone on the high council quoted me a good 4 or 5 times. It was good to know that I was able to receive inspiration from the Holy Ghost to know what to say, even though I didn't say what I had originally planned to. It's as if he knows what the ward needs more than I do... Weird how that works.

Well, that's all for this week. I love you all! Have a fantastic week!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7, 2013

Olá  família!

This week was preeeettty slow. Nobody was working still because of the New Year and all that, so that should mean that everyone's home and willing to receive the missionaries, right? Ha! That actually means that nobody is home, and if they are, they're drunk off their rocker. And not willing to talk to the missionaries at all, except to make fun of them.

But this week was still pretty good.  On Wednesday, we got some rain. A lot. (see pictures) We were walking to an English class that we help out with, when it just started to POUR. So we stopped underneath a covered motorcycle taxi place, and waited. Then our Ward Mission Leader showed up on his motorcycle and started talking to us and waited there with us outside of the rain. Then a friend of his showed up! So we started talking a bit about the gospel with him, and he ended up saying that we could go visit him at his house and teach him. Blessings hidden in a rainstorm! Or so we thought... We said that we would go to his house on Saturday with our ward mission leader, his name is Fabio by the way, and so when that day arrived, we went. However. We got to the address that he had given us, and knocked on the door, and some old lady answered. And said that this guy didn't live there. He gave us a false address. That happens more than you imagine. Sooooo maybe it was just a little seed that we planted instead of cultivating a testimony!

So I'll go ahead and explain the pictures now. For some reason, Blogger won't let me upload photos right now!  Check back often and hopefully, I'll have it figured out very soon!  The pics are good ones!

There's one that has  4 little dolls.  Last Monday night all the missionaries in the city went to a members house in Ala 2 to celebrate the new year.  We ate,  did some jokes.... which makes no sense... fizemos algumas brincadriras... that's better. And then went home at about 10. We had a little extra time to stay out. The member who housed the little party thing made these cool little dolls for the whole zone, and so we took pictures in the bus station of the dolls of the people that live in our house.

Then we got some pictures of the rain... And a little flooding...

Then a picture with some money and bills. In our house, there's something wrong with the water tank. It leaks. A lot. So the water bill this month was R$122. It's normally R$20-30. Then the electricity bill came. R$57. And the Elders who lived here didn't pay the last month's bill. So I had to pay that, too. R$52. So I payed a total of R$221.  Hence the unhappy face.

Well, that's about all the good stories we have for this week. We also had an investigator finally accept a date after 2 months of coming to church! So she'll probably be baptized this Saturday if everything goes right. I'll send pictures next week!

Love you all! Have a  fantastic week!

-Elder Hopper #1