Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013

Good afternoon everyone!

This week was AWESOME. I loved every second of it. This new area is great, my comp is great, our ward mission leader is great, our house is... almost great, and it's not too hot. I'll go day by day.

Monday - We got here, and our ward mission leader came and gave us a ride to our house. He's awesome and Mom has already talked to him a bit.  But on Monday we met Samara, who has a baptismal date for the 8th of March. She's come a long way from where she was when the missionaries first met her, and it looks like she'll be ready here in a couple of weeks for her baptism. 

Tuesday - A HUGE rainstorm came through. With a lot of rain. I took a couple of pictures of what happened to some things here. Gas station lost a roof, three huge trees fell down in the middle of very main roads, and more carnage in other areas. And I saw a Ford Raptor really close to our house.

Wednesday - We met a lady named Maria. Her son is on a mission, but she is not a member. She said that now it's time for her to join the church, along with the rest of her family. So we marked a baptismal date with her for the 16th of March. We'll go back to teach her tomorrow. And I took a pretty good picture of 3 cars at an intersection here. 
 Also, on Wednesday, we found out that in July our mission will be split, along with Campinas, to form the mission Brasil Piracicaba. In this area, I would stay in this mission, but the people in São Carlos, Pirassinunga, and São João da Boa Vista will go to the new mission. Also, our new mission president in Riberão will be Mauro T. Brum.

Thursday - We met a guy named Jeferson. Basically he is really confused about religion. He wants to follow the right church, but doesn't know where to look. That's when we knock on his door, looking for a different person. But we taught him and it was good. He said he would start reading the Book of Mormon just as we left, and accepted a date for baptism. The 23rd of March. Also on Thursday, a Porsche Cayenne S parked right in front of our house.

Friday - I had my first lesson with an Atheist. But she was really nice. She gave us cake, juice, and some other cool chocolates. It was actually a really good lesson, and she said she would read and pray. 

Saturday - We helped a new family move into the ward. Not much else exciting happened this day.

Sunday - We met Bob. He's a really old guy who lives in our ward and is super active in the church, but he's not a member. His wife is. We had lunch at his house. He moved here basically because he wanted to retire. Then he met his wife, got married, bought a condominium, and stayed here. He's really funny and it was really awesome to get to know him. The funny thing is, Bob isn't a member, but he's more faithful to the church than half the members here, and while we were at his house, he quoted Brigham Young. It was a really good visit. I'm thinking we're going to baptize him... Also, we were talking about what we wanted to do after our missions, and I mentioned that I wanted to race cars. While we were getting up to leave, he got up and told me to sit in his chair. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I christen you 'Speedy' - because a 'Hopper' can't be a race car driver." I now have the nickname "Speedy" and an old man's blessing if I want to race cars as a profession. I also took a picture of the road that we live on from Bob's house. There are tons of condominiums. Basically we are neighbors with a bunch of millionaires and billionaires. (Each one of the condominiums costs upwards of R$2,500,000)

So this week was cool. We have one baptism marked this week, Ana Paula, who I actually don't know yet. My companion went to meet her while we were on a division. But it'll be good! I love this area!

AND THE PORTLAND OREGON MISSION IS SPLITTING?!?!?! Salem mission, wooooo!!!!!! Vancouver Washington mission as well!!!

That's all I got! I love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18, 2013

Good (not so early this time) morning, family!

This weeks big news:


I was transfered! It was actually quite a surprise to us. In Araraquara there are 14 missionaries. 8 of us got transferred, including me and my companion. I am now back in Ribeirão Preto! Same stake as last time, Ribeirão Preto Oeste, but this time in Jardim Irajá. Which happens to be the richest area in the whole mission. This place is loaded with cash. A lot of cash. We look out our front window and see tons of Mercedes, BMWs, Honda Civics (which are rich people cars here), and cars of the like. Word is that I'll see various Lamborghinis and Ferraris as well. Should be an interesting transfer or few. Rich people aren't generally as receptive to the gospel, but it seems that the ward here is strong and the work is going along very well despite the circumstances. We've already got two or three baptisms planned!
My new companion is Elder Gade, he's from close to Sacramento, CA and he has almost one year on the mission.

So this last week in Araraquara was pretty good. And very hot. We had a couple of possible baptisms, but they ended up falling through for that week. But Maria Helena will be baptized this week. She just wanted someone else to be there while she signed the baptismal forms... Not sure exactly why. But she did. So the next Elders are going to come and get her baptized this week. By the way, my companion went to Birigui. The second hottest zone in the mission. Elder Galleguillos, who was living with us, went to 3 Lagoas. The hottest area of the mission. And he'll only get there around noon tomorrow. He's got quite a bit of travelling ahead of him!

Something really cool happened this week. On Monday, after I got off the computer and all, Elder Galleguillos and I went to see if a grains store was open. I figured it would be closed, and almost gave up since it was about 20 minutes walking from our house, but we decided to go anyways. When we just got in sight of the store, and saw that it was closed, a car pulled up next to us and they asked through the window, "Vocês são Testemunho Jeová?" Which is always a question we love to get. Of course we said no, but then we got to talking and turns out they're members from São José do Rio Preto and decided to joke around a bit. But then they gave us a reference. And a ride to the house of the person. It's a retired couple that lives about a block away from the chapel, that already went to church many times in Rio Preto, but never knew anybody in Araraquara that was a member, so they never went because they were shy. But they already know that the church is true, they have a Book of Mormon, other books from the church, and want to join the church. Plus, after both the visits that we had, they gave us cake and juice! They're such a nice couple! They'll be baptized within the next couple weeks.

So now I'm working in downtown Ribeirão. Should be an interesting experience! But for now, I think me and my companion might go eat at an 50s American style burger joint! I'm looking forward to it!

Hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11, 2013

Good morning world!

This week not much too exciting happened. It rained quite a bit, got pretty cold (almost 70 degrees), and Carnaval started. 

We had a zone conference! Which means that I got to see all my friends from other zones! Elder Stewart and Elder Guerra were there, so that was cool. We took a couple of pictures. So finally Lainey will get that picture of me and Elder Guerra that she wanted. A little bit delayed, but I still got it! 


And big news in the realm of credit cards!


I guess the Church was too big of a burden for JP Morgan to support so we no longer are using JP Morgan credit cards! We all received shiny new cards from Bank of America. Looks like the church is just too difficult and, especially with the new influx of missionaries, there are too many expenses to handle! So JP Morgan just lost a TON of money. But that's alright. Better luck next time!

While we were at the zone conference this week, the assistants were doing a training and they showed a video. I'm not sure who it was that made it, or what exactly it was about. But basically it was talking about how when we get pushed down, we have to get back up. And then we'll probably be pushed down again. But we need to get back up again. And again. And again. We can never... desistir! Give up! That's the word! And while the video was passing, I got the urge to change my route in the way of career when I get home. Which was kind of weird, because I haven't been thinking much about that. But basically now I'm a confused mess, with no idea about what I should do for the rest of my life. Good thing I still have almost 10 months left on the mission to not worry about that! 

Just to throw this out there: We are super blessed in the States to have chapels so close to us! Every Sunday me and my companion have to walk 30 minutes to get to the chapel. And there are members that live farther away than us. I remember in São Carlos we had a family that walked an hour to church every week. Back home it's only a 10 minute walk for us! And it's never as hot as it is here! Plus we almost always went to church in the car, so the weather didn't even matter. We are so blessed!
Also, I would like to share a quote with all of you! George Washington said it in his Farewell Address.
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. … Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. … Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
“It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.”
I like it!
Well! That's all I got! Hope you all have a fantastic week!

Love you!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4, 2013

Hello Family! Bom dia!

This week was pretty good, although it had some weird happenings. Last week I said that we would have a baptism, but that didn't work out too well. When my companion and I went there on Wednesday to fill out the baptismal forms with her, Maria Helena kiiind of went crazy. She decided that she wouldn't be able to give us her full name, in fear that we would make her pay something later on or rob her or steal her identity or something like that. I'm not sure where it all came from. So we decided to try and talk about other things and come back to that part later. So we asked for her parents' names. Yet another request denied. Names of her children? Nothing. Alright. So, we decided to ask her the baptismal interview questions just to see if we could get anywhere with that and to prepare her for the interview. First question - "Do you believe that God is our Eternal Father?" She sat there thinking... and thinking... and thought a bit more... and finally - "No." WHAT?! She doesn't believe in God?! We got to talking, and turns out that she thinks that the question is waaaay too personal for her to respond to.

Anyways, to make a long story short, we left.

But she came to church on Sunday and told us that she could give her mother's name and would talk to a lawyer to see if she can give her full name on the forms. She's just a bit paranoid... But it'll be alright. She'll be baptized some day. I think.

We also had interviews with President this week. Basically my interview consisted of him telling me that as the senior companion, everything that happens in my area is my fault and that I have to figure out some way to fix everything if anything goes wrong. Not to say that anything is going wrong, just that he was warning me. Like if my companion goes and sins, it's my fault. Or if suddenly we stop teaching lessons and all the investigators fall through, it's my fault. Ooooh how being junior companion was great. But now more responsibility and more blessings!

Anyways, I think that's about it. I love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Hopper #1

P.S. The picture is me and Elder Galleguillos who lives with us (the other companionship), taken last P-Day when we decided to enter the mato (forest).