Monday, April 27, 2015


Dear Family and Friends,
I’ve got fotos, I just can’t seem to get them onto the dadgum computer here. So, I’ll just start writing. Anyways, important info.

Elder Mitchell Wassom
Caixa Postal 1031
Ijuí - RS
CEP: 98700-000

Muito importante isso. :) (This is very important)

So sorry about not getting the recording of Elder Pierce and I off to y’all. I just forgot to record it. Plus the file would be too big to send off anyways. But… The past is past, I guess. Whoops :\
So Mom - just so I have it, for Family nights and stuff - Fudge recipe. I would enjoy it a bit. Not too much, but just on occasion and to brag to Americans.
Did Les Mis make nationals? Never heard.
First off, I LOVE Ijuí! It’s AWESOME! I can tell these next few transfers are going to be awesome. Elder Farias is awesome. To describe him, he’s about 5'3", got a cross bite, and has a thick NorthEastern accent. He is from Belém, Pará, making him my first companion from anywhere other than São Paulo. To deschcribe the acschent that theesch people from the northeascht have, I think I made my point. He was a telemarketer before the mission. Poor guy.
So imagine... Rio Grande do Sul is shaped more or less like a baseball diamond. Uruguaiana is right at the left field foul pole. Santa Maria is at second base (The base itself, not the position) And Ijuí is right where the center-fielder is standing when the outfield fields a right-handed batter. A good one. So in short, it’s further to the north, a little to the West.
It’s starting to get cold in Ijuí. We're waking up right around 50 degrees here. So not dreadful, but sweater weather. Fun Fact - Mom, remember that long-sleeve I took with me that was too tight on me, but I said I could wear it under another t-shirt? Yeah, I’m using that as a sweater now.
We started off the week with a pretty small teaching group, so we focused on using the past investigators in our area book to make that grow. We had success. Now, we have 10 new investigators in addition to our ones we already had.
But speaking of the ones we already had. There’s Bruna and Eduarda, moças (young ladies) of 14 and 16, respectively. They are daughters of Tati, a lady that was baptized last Saturday, and sisters of Bruno, a rapaz (young man) that was baptized a few months ago. Baptizing them would complete their whole family in the church. And they’re scheduled for the 9th. Yay!
Keli is a moça, wants to be baptized, but her Grandma is not letting her. We're gonna take the Bishop over to Grandma's soon.
Aline is an "eternal investigator" (meaning, has been an investigator since the Commencement of the Reign of Judges among the people of Nephi, but hasn’t been baptized yet). She is AWESOME! She basically is a Mormon already, she just fears that her baptism would be a separation between her and her husband, as he is an atheist. However, recently, he has started to believe in God. So we're working with him so we can baptize them both.
Marilei is a great lady. Believes in everything, but she is unemployed, and she resorted to moving back in with her ex-husband as a way to sustain her family. We are helping her find a job so she can move out and be baptized.
Paulo is the father of two youth in the Ward. He too, is anxious to be baptized, but his "wife" is against the church, and doesn’t want to actually marry him. So there’s that situation. Very similar to Dorival in Uruguaiana.
To answer what happened to Alcívio in Uruguaiana (sorry to delay the response), he moved back to Alegrete. We sent the missionaries there, and heard nothing since. I bet he’s baptized.
And I found out Veleda wasn’t baptized yet... but I’m confident she will be soon.
So I found a way to get the Brasilians to remember and somewhat pronounce my name... I just tell them it’s just like "O aço", which means "steel." So, it’s not exactly Wassom, but hey I don’t mind all the people here calling me a man of steel.
Also, Elder Fariasch hash had schevral American companionsh that didn’t understand him very well, so he is well accustomed to repeating himself. I understand him fine. Nevertheless, there is the situation that "okay" and "O que?" (what?) sound identical. So for instance, when he says "Let’s go to bairro gloria" and I say "Okay", he repeats himself. So I have learned to, instead of respond with "okay", respond with "Affirmative, Ghost Rider." Problem averted.
Portuguese update - at this point, I am just learning really random, obscure words such as "slingshot," "to besiege," and "to auction." For this, I haven’t included a "useless Portuguese word of the week" in a while, because they’re all almost useless. Nevertheless, I’ve got one for y’all. Chafurdar - To wallow, or roll around in the mud.
OOH! So you know how I teach English lessons down here? Well, the Bishop came up with an idea that should’ve been a no-brainer but that I hadn’t thought of yet. VOICE LESSONS! Our Bishop is too awesome. Starting Sunday at 4pm, I will be teaching group voice lessons. This was proposed in Bishop’s Council Meeting yesterday, and I’m super excited. I already met a guy, Eduardo, (past investigator) that is super excited to get started. It’s something new, creative, and it brings people inside the chapel. Foolproof! I am so happy here.
I have a burning testimony of the Restoration of the Church of Christ. The work is progressing super quickly. I am loving life, and losing myself in the work. Of such a form, that I am absolutely awestruck that I’m making 7 months out here this week. It’s ridiculous how fast time is going. It’s already time to talk to y’all again via Skype! I’m not too worried like I was in Uruguaiana, because people here have computers and such. But next week, I should have details and schedules about our call. Super excited to be here and super excited to talk to y’all.
Até Mais,
Com amor,
Elder Mitchell Wassom

Ah, yes! Subway!

haha, hey! so my pants... Im not gonna lie, they could easily be made into Gaucho Bombachas. Everything is huge on me. Especially my suit. Which is why, (I'm glad you reminded me) Elder Favero is asking me to trade suits with him. I didn't tell him yes, because trading something so expensive is something I wanted to talk to you about, before making a rash decision. But both our suits are in good condition. His is too small on him, and mine is really big. I'm more or less a buck seventy. 78 kilograms, do the math. I will try his on to see how it fits, and think things over.

Some other random?? pics:
The sign says: "Here we meet, Hunters, Fishermen, and other liars"; "I was born to fish, but forced to work"

Saturday, April 25, 2015


April 20, 2015

So here’s a surprise that ought to break the boring streak of my letters. You know how I said I was pretty certain I would be killing off Elder Soares da Silva? Surprise! We're both getting transferred! With problems arising in American Visas again (gotta love government), the mission is finding itself more and more short-staffed on missionaries. The world, in and of itself is always short-staffed. There’s always a need for more worthy and prepared missionaries. Nevertheless, in Brasil, it’s gettin scarce. Therefore, Presidente doesn’t have more of a choice than to close down the least productive spots in the mission. And, Urlândia B is one of those spots. So. Our already-enormous area is being added on to the already-enormous Urlândia A, and being cared for by Elder Ferreira Santos and Elder Chain (Elder Jordan Peterson is also getting transferred). I don’t know Elder Chain, but Elder Ferreira Santos has been made very well aware of the people to care for and how to care for them. I felt like a Dad, sending my daughter on her first date. "Care for these people with your life, they’re good people. You have your work cut out for you. Please visit them. Teach them. Love them. Invite them..." and so on.
Veleda is planned for this Saturday, and Júlia for the 9th of May. Other investigators show some serious potential as well. But personally, I had no baptisms here. As much of a bummer as this can be to a missionary, I remember Elder Neil L. Anderson's words: "You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can't count the number of apples in a seed." Elder Soares da Silva and I put in some really good work here 100% of the time. I know it won’t amount to nothing. In fact, that’s a promise in Preach My Gospel. So, it’s my time to leave to let the Lord work through other elders here.
But as to where am I headed, I am headed to Ijuí, Distrito Centro. Finally a city that’s easy to spell. It was a drag spelling out Urlândia, and especially Uruguaiana. But, in respect to this: I will actually be companions with Elder Farias! He's a great guy, and probably the easiest to mess around with. So I’ll have a good time with him. Oddly enough, he was in my first district out in the field. He was in Porto B in Uruguaiana, so Elder Molina and I worked a lot with him and Elder Vernon. I have already sent photos including him.
As for my Easter package, I will check one final time in the mail after sending this letter. I hope it’s there. If not, well, that’s sad. But don’t worry about it. Missionary Life.
Dad, you wrote about the ward fast that the First Ward did, and explained how it went. Believe it or not, that was at least 7 months ago, because I was there. I was a co-participant, with my family. Can you believe that? Doesn’t seem like that long ago. But, I am in fact approaching 7 months out here.
Dad. This is your occasional reminder. Study up your Portuguese.
Funny thing about Brazillians. As a general rule, they do not have good microphone etiquette. In Sacrament Meeting, they like to stick their face up 1/2-inch away from the mic, and talk loudly. And the bishopric doesn’t even turn the mic down. It just is a loud talk. Sad day for a jazzer. Mic check 12, ABCDEFG, 6 down, please. Boyd Jazz 2013 should get that reference.
I will be taking an early bus tomorrow at 7 am headed northward to Ijuí, with Elder Jordan Peterson, who will, oddly enough, continue being my Lider de Distrito. I know practically nothing about Ijuí, so I will have to inform you next week. I just know they have a hot springs, but that is useless info to a missionary.
But until then, I love you all.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Visiting my friends in Urlandia before being transferred to Ijui

Monday, April 13, 2015

Another Good Week

SO there's me and Elder Peirce

A pic of me, Elder Smith, and Elder Lang (from the ctm) (Elder Lang is actually SMILING, haha! theyre both doing really well out here.)

A pic of a family night with Veleda, her daughter (on the couch, not smiling - don't know why they don't like to smile for photos, they had a great time), ELaine, (recent re-activated YW - back left) and Fabiano/Fabiane e fam (everyone else)

Me and Elder Peterson eating ice cream - I really miss Blue Bell

I am horrible at creative email titles.
Dear Family and Friends,
As I am sure you all know, especially those from my choir, I like to teach and talk in similes, metaphors, parables and other comparisons. So I will start this letter off right, E. Wassom style -
The mission is like a Jolly Rancher. It’s hard, but really good and I like it.
On Tuesday, we had our multi-zone conference in Centro-Santa Maria. It was really good, and Presidente Parrella talked a lot on what everyone needs to focus more on - and that is NEW investigators. He described that the more people that we have in our teaching pool, naturally, the more lessons we will have, the more investigators at Sacrament Meeting, the more baptismal dates marked + maintained, and, consequently, more baptisms. That is one of the ABCs of missionary happiness. Almoços, Batismos, e Cartas (lunches, baptisms, and letters). So that was a confirming feeling, knowing that Elder Soares da Silva and I have been focusing on the correct things to get this (Wonderful) Urlandia missionarily jump-started.
Oh, Conner wanted to know more about Elder Soares da Silva. He’s cool, I like working with him, just really really quiet, and we don’t talk as often. He’s from Sao Paulo, (all 3 of my companions in the field are from Sao Paulo), in a small town close to Campinas. He loves the scriptures, and he wants to be an architect. He has 22+1/2 months out on the mission, and it looks like I will be "killing" him, or, I will be his companion when he goes home at the end of next transfer.
Elder Peirce and I completely killed it up there, singing Go forth with faith. It was so good. But unfortunately, it was not recorded. I will try to record it tomorrow in district meeting.
Also, Presidente Parrella shared with us a funny story. Here in Brasil, there is a law that if you don’t have the money to pay the registry to get married, you can write up an exemption and get married for free. Apparently, some registry (I think that’s the word - its cartório in portuguese) personnel were giving the missionaries a hard time about this one time. So the missionaries called up Presidente. To describe Presidente, he is much like Ms. Logan. (just way less energetic) He is a great wonderful person, and fun to be around. But when he’s angry, he is to be FEARED. He is also a lawyer. So they put him on the line with the registry. The discussion was more or less as thus: (English?)
"Hi, sir. So these guys have..."
"I’m sorry, ma’am. They’re not 'guys', they’re representatives of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And these representatives have called saying that there is some confusion in the registry’s department about law 600-BB which states that a couple may plea exempt from payment of a marriage if they have not the means, is this the case?"
"Well, see, sir, there is no way for the department to know..."
"know WHAT, I might ask?"
"...if the household is capable of exemption."
"And is there a law stating that you must know?"
"Because there IS a law stating that you MUST give exemption to those who have not the means. I will be courteous. If you must know, and there is no law stating that you must, but if you must know, you have 15 minutes to find a way to know before I call up my friend, the local judge in Porto Alegre."
"Your time started 15 seconds ago"
"... ...that will not be necessary, sir. I'll get the papers all set to go for these guys, OK?"
"They’re not "guys", They’re Representatives of Jesus Christ, ma’am. And I will expect they are treated as such."
"Yes sir. Right away, sir. Sorry, sir. Everything will be taken care of."
"Thank you. Have a great day."
Haha I love that story. Also, there was something that sparked my interest. We were informed that we will have a new couple missionary in our Mission - the Spendloves. I’m not sure if these are the same Spendloves as the Spendloves that we know, but I thought I’d let you know in case you have means to find out if they are in fact.
I have continued my cooking endeavors, and have learned not to make carrot crepes in a non-non-stick pan. That resulted in me getting frustrated, and using the pan as an atlatl (catapult) to launch the batter as far as it could fly over our fence.
Something funny about Brasil – it’s cool have t-shirts written in English, but 60 percent of the time its horrible grammar. Makes me wonder about our t-shirts in French and stuff.
And an update on the work - sorry I’m out of time, but I will just say it’s going way better. We re-marked with Veleda for the 25th, and started working with her daughter. Captain Alexandre is going really well, we can tell he has a huge potential. The members are getting more involved, passing a few referrals. AND, we found a "golden" whole family in Vila Urlandia, Edivã, Geoda, and their kids, Edimilson, Edieuson, and Jeiza.
I love this work, and I love you all.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Monday, April 6, 2015

Lap 2.

On Wednesday, I finished lap 1 of the great missionary race here in Brasil. Dad keeps asking if I burnt a tie as part of the missionary rituals. The answer is no. Those who know me even a little bit should know that I wouldn’t be able to stand the sight of a tie burning in front of my eyes, let alone one of mine. Nevertheless, as a way to better commemorate my part of this 'ritual', I decided to give a tie away to someone too poor to have one. That seemed far more appropriate :)
First off, YAY! Rob’s doing better! IM SO HAPPY! I’ve been praying really hard for him.
So. This week was a lot better. Things got worked out really well with Veleda. Her baptism is scheduled for Saturday, but there is a high chance that it will be moved to next Saturday for cause of preparedness. Nevertheless, we are happy that all the issues got worked out :) She seemed to really enjoy conference; I’m anxious to see everything she thinks now.
We also found some good investigators. Their names are Alexandre, Junior, and Iracy. All of them have FAMILIES! :) We first encountered Junior while clappin doors in Tomazette. He greeted us very warmly. He has a wife Graziane, and two twin daughters Ana and Maria at age 7. They seem very promising. Alexandre was a man we found in Antônio Reis, again, clappin doors. Actually, his gate has one of the old fashioned cool little brass bells to ring instead of clapping. That was a big influence in my decision to try that door, haha. The bell was too cool to resist. We tried a few times, but he was always busy. Well, he finally let us in, and again, accepted us warmly. We started, you know, asking about his job, family, religious background and what not. He said he was in the Police/Military (not sure if I told you, but the police IS the military here). So when we were teaching him about the importance of Priesthood Authority, we decided to compare it to authority in the Military. My companion asked, "So what’s your rank in the military?" He said "Captain." We paused for a bit. Not sure how it works in USA, but here, being a captain pretty much means he’s in charge of everyone here in Santa Maria and its surrounding towns. So yeah, we're teaching the Military captain right now. Also, we found Iracy and her daughters. They’re really cool. Her daughters are of the type that, if converted, could be really good tools in activating the young men in the ward. This is good.
Also, Call out to the YSA choir at General Conference. They were really good. This one was impressive. Other things about conference - it was INCREDIBLE! Loved it! L Tom Perry, Jeffery R Holland, Deiter F Uchtdorf, and the french guy were my favorites. Ba, tchê. Foi muito bom, mesmo. I also got to sit by Elders Lang and Smith from the CTM. They’re cool cats. I will run into them and take a pic (with matching ties) with them tomorrow at the multi-zone conference.
Yes, I am singing in that. I am singing with Elder Pierce. Hes... really good. 1st chair all-state tenor 1 of North Carolina, and he spent a year in BYUs opera program before coming here to Brazil. In the mission Santa Maria, there were the beloved "three tenors" that Presidente Parrella named. Him, Me (I’m more-so tenor now than I was, but still not a tenor) (but I’ll take it) and a guy that went home. So now the two tenors are together, in the SAME DISTRICT. District meetings are really fun for cause of this. I will film if I can, mom.
Last thing real quick. So I sent some fotos of some food. I always cooked well. I have never cooked ramen on my mission. I think Sister Parrella would kill me if I did. Nevertheless, I was cleaning our cupboard, and I found a little folder full of recipes from Sister Parrella herself. This sent me on a cooking-mania here in Santa Maria. They’re really good. All really healthy. Most really simple. Among the ones I’ve tried includes: Collard green potato soup (as seen in foto),

Sautéed bananas (awesome!) Chayote omelet (Chayote joins cauliflower in the "completely useless vegetable" club, but this recipe taught me the trick to really good fluffy omelets like the restaurants). I will be making a black bean soup today. I’m excited; I always liked cooking. There’s only one that I wasn’t a huge fan of, and that’s the microwavable cake. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good, you know?
But, I’m happy. It was a good week. And I moved up in my missionary rank from "Novinho" to "novo." At a year, I become "expirienciado" and at 18 months, I’m "vovô."
Love you guys. tty next week.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom.

So the blurry one is me and my COMPANION so yall can identify him. A few others include me and the city, and I am learning to cook better. The soup was good. The... uhm... microwavable oatmeal cake-in-a-mug was about as good as it looks.