Monday, July 20, 2015

The Spirit is Awesome!‏

Dear Family and Friends,
I have quite a bit to tell you this week, and I’m really excited to tell you about how many times better this week was than the last one. In relation to the Marrone-Diessica situation, we decided to just support them in their date for the 22nd of August. They’re only 20 years old, and this means a lot to them. They continue to be strong and firm in the church, and they love it! I included their wedding announcement in the pictures I sent.

I REALLY hope I can be there for their marriage and baptism. As we decided to leave the Marriage date as it is, we went ahead and marked their baptismal date for the 29th of August. Adriano, who passed us the Referral, is just on cloud 9. With the success that Marrone and Diessica showed, he has opened up and passed us a whole lot more referrals.
At church, Marrone, Diessica, Tainã's mom and sister (his sister finally came!), and Luiz's Mother-in-law (first time - we had been working with her for a few weeks) came.
So now to the part where I talk about how awesome the Spirit is. As a missionary, I was surprised to see how much being in the field was like my training. Most of the real-life situations really are very much like the trainings and practices. Because the gospel is like a math... Read the book of Mormon, Pray, show faith through the completion of commitments, and presto… Testimony. But, as you can expect, at times, as missionaries, life throws you a couple of curveballs. And when those curveballs come, you have to be sensitive to the spirit, or you’ll "strikeout." So on this past Sunday, we took Irmão Jaír to visit a less-active member, Thaís. When we showed up, she was not there, but her house-mate answered the door. As missionaries, we made the contact, and began teaching her instead. Her name is Daiane (not sure if I already told you guys), and she must have about 20 years. So we talked to her about the Restoration, and she showed interest, we challenged her to be baptized when she received an answer, she agreed, and so on, and everything was cool and what not. We marked to return on Wednesday.
Wednesday came, we returned with Adriano to Daiane’s, she gladly let us in, and she started off with a curveball. She said "Hey I have a friend who wanted you guys to bless this crucifix, can yall do that?" I paused. Didn’t exactly know what to do in that situation. I could have just said "no, we don’t do that," but I had this impression, that I know wasn’t a thought of my own. That thought said "Look, this girl trusts you guys as men sent of God (whom you are), use this as a teaching opportunity." So, as is the mentality of a missionary, we asked "Is your friend here?" "As a matter of fact, she is, she’s just a little shy." "Could you grab her for us?" She obliged. She returned with her friend, Andrea. At this point, I still didn’t know 100% what I was to tell her, but I had the impression just to open my mouth and speak what came to mind. And so I did. I asked her "what would be the purpose of this blessing? What do you want us to bless this FOR?" "Uhm, IDK, just so that I can have something holy close to my heart, and a symbol of God to pray to." I commended her for her desire. Then I went on to tell her that Jesus had prepared a way; left us with a way that we can feel close to God, and have this good feeling with us always. I went on to testify about the Spirit, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I told her that we can always have this gift with us, and this gift is given to those who are baptized in the Church of Christ. I then testified that we have the privilege to pray directly to God, and that he wants us to do so because He loves us.
It was just awesome. I felt so great, because I always heard of people saying "I felt like it was just the Holy Ghost filling my mouth with things to say", and I hadn’t, until this point, felt like I had an experience 100% like that. But now I had. And it just filled the room with the spirit, and it made for an awesome lesson. We marked for Friday.
Friday came, and we invited two young women in our ward to go visit them with us, to make them feel more welcome and such. But curveball #2 happened. Thais, whom was not present in our lessons until this point, met us at her door. She told us: "Look, I really don’t think you all have much purpose in coming here. I’m not really wanting to come back to church right now, Andrea is already catholic, and I don’t think she’s at all interested in what you have to tell her, and Daiane is travelling outside the city, and I don’t think she’s interested either." She dismissed us. Me, Elder Sena, and especially the two young women with us were a little stunned. It happens, but we had felt so good about those two.
But Sunday came around, and we felt impressed to return to that house. We weren’t going to take no for an answer, especially from a second source. To our surprise, Andrea greeted us warmly, and happily let us in. She said that she had been planning to go to church that morning, but her mom got really sick, and she stayed home to take care of her. She also let us know (without us asking) that she had not read the chapter from the Book of Mormon, because Daiane had been reading, and took the book with her when she went traveling. Rarely is there an excuse that us missionaries like, but that was one of those rare exceptions. So we left one for her, too, and she happily took it and thanked us. She said she had been reading the Restoration pamphlet, however. She then went on to tell us that she had wanted us to bless the crucifix on Wednesday because she had recently had a desire to re-kindle her relationship with God. We told her that that was exactly what we were sent from God to help her with. She started crying. She told us that the way we (the Spirit) explained why we didn’t bless the necklace "just made sense" to her, and that she wanted to learn how to pray and talk to God. So we did. We had a fantastic lesson with Andrea, and she said her very first (un-memorized) prayer to close it off. She told us she was happy that we had been sent there, and that we were welcome at her house.
I’m not sure if Thaís was lying, or just plain wrong, but I am glad that we listened this week to the spirit.
I know my Redeemer lives. I know the church is true. I love you all.
Com amor,
Elder Wassom

Some pictures of our Mission Conference and Scripture Mastery passoffs in Portuguese. :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Uma Semana Meia Chata

Dear Family and Friends
Translating the title: A pretty lame week. This week was pretty lame. My companion, Elder Sena, started to have a bad ear ache last Sunday. The pain died down on Monday, but came raging back on Tuesday. We had to return to our house a little early to treat him with some pain meds (from the E-Bola survival kit). He did not sleep at all that night. On Wednesday, He finally fell asleep at around 6:50 AM, so I thought, considering the circumstances, I would let him sleep through morning study. We went to lunch, but he threw it all up afterward, he was in so much pain. So we returned to our home and I let him rest until he was able to recover enough to leave home. He didn't recover, and we spent the day inside. In the days following, we tried everything, from Pharmacy meds, to natural meds, to urban legends. I spent much time in prayer and fasting for him. At the times when we were inside, I read the scriptures. That part was good. We were able to leave a few times and teach some lessons, but I had to really carry those lessons, because my comp could barely think.
Marrone and Diessica decided to mark their marriage on the 22nd of AUGUST. When we asked why, they expressed that they needed to save enough money to buy the dress and tux. We considered (exhorted) that they rent those things. But for some reason, they were against that idea. We would have visited them on Wednesday but we had to cancel that lesson due to the earache of my companion. Next thing we knew, they have already made the wedding invitations.
My comp got better today. As some might be suspicious that he magically got better just in time for both P-Days, I will immediately shoot down those suspicions. This was 100% legitimate. Elder Sena is awesome and hard-working, and wouldn’t fake sick.
Another sad thing, I think Helmutt relapsed on his drinking problem. He smelled strongly of beer at church on Sunday. At least he came to church with his whole family, for the first time.
The mandiocada was excellent, but unfortunately, none of our investigators showed up.
Good news - Andrea, Tainã's mom showed up to church again. She and her husband show real potential. Let’s see if they can't get married.
As seen in my pics, we have 2 new elders in Ijuí. Elder Jawaad, companion of Elder Jordan Peterson, is actually American. Rarely do we see two Americans together. He speaks Portuguese fluently, as his parents are Brazilian. He’s kind of goofy , just like Elder Jordan Peterson and me, haha.
Elder Marcelino, companion of Elder Anfuso, is from Rio. He's pretty cool, and I like him a lot.
Uhm, I believe that’s about it. Sorry for the bad news, but hey. Bad weeks just happen. At least I had the chance to read a ton of the scriptures, Ensign, and Jesus The Christ. I am really being edified by the power of these resources that we have.
I love you all. I love my mission, just had a rough week. Let’s hope that my companion stays healthy, so that we get back to working in the vineyard. I am still optimistic.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Our new district, in order left to right: Elders Anfuso, Marcelino (new), Sena, Wassom (shock), Jawaad (new), and Jordan Peterson.

ok, so real quick. I always had the same cover on my planner - the one with Jesus and "seeking the one", but it got old and I made a new one. We got a notice that we received some boxes, and that they were dropped off at a members house. Then that member called us and complained that they have 28 boxes for us. No idea why we need literally 2,000 pamphlets (I use the word literally literally) of the Restoration, and thousands of other pamphlets and forms, but oh well. Our mandiocada was a success. We had the leftovers today. We broke the volleyball.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

6 More Weeks in Ijuí Centro!‏

JULY 6th, 2015

So the title is pretty self-explanatory. I survived yet another transfer here in Ijuí. Elder Bispo dos Santos (tall, Bahiano, brown) is headed to Livramento, and Elder Italo Silva (Northeastern, broken tooth) is going to Santa Maria-Tancredo Neves. I'm not sure if that’s important info to you, but why not just throw that in there? Both Elder Jordan Peterson and Elder Anfuso will train, and Elder Jordan Peterson was relieved from his duty as a District Leader, in preparation of his departure to the US in 3 months. Elder Anfuso is our new District Leader.
So on the fourth of July, as some of you asked, we did nothing differently. US Independence Day is irrelevant when you are not in the US. However, Elder Jordan Peterson and I did sing the US National Anthem over the phone in two part harmony to our Zone Leader, Elder Knowles. So that’s something.
On Sunday, it was really really cold. I believe it was below freezing when we woke up. And our house has many perks, but good insulation is not one of those perks. So I had to wake up, put on my gloves, my thermals, my long-sleeve, my sweater, and then my suitcoat. Then I realized- I was still cold. So I threw on my trench coat over that suit. Unfortunately, a lot of our ward and investigators also noticed that it was cold. So our church was a little more empty this week. But that didn’t stop Marrone and Diessica. Marrone bore his testimony. And for the first time, Tainã's Mom showed up to church. That was nice to see her; we had been working with her for some time.
Speaking of other successes with people whom we have been working for some time, Sergio has made a good jump back into activity in the church. He's the man from Rio that lent his computer for us to skype home on Mother's day. He has made a commitment that, because he often works Sunday, that he will try 100% to find a new job, and index 5,000 names this year. He showed us how it all works. It seems easy enough... I will have to do some indexing when I get home. We had lunch at his home on Saturday. That was an experience very close to heaven. We had a beef Fricassé, (Rice, Beans) and a super good mixed salad with different types of bell peppers, cucumbers, and radishes. Ooh and a pasta carbonara. I do like food.
For our final P-day as a district, the three companionships in Ijuí went down and played more volleyball and Ultimate, and then we decided to make a pizza from scratch. It turned out quite fantastic. Elder Anfuso was a little sad because we followed a recipe to make the pizza dough, and it looked like we made too little. So Elder Anfuso went to town and made another batch, just that we ran out of flour and eggs. So he did a little improv using Northeastern Couscous and Baking powder. At this time, he realized that we HAD, in fact, made enough pizza dough, as flattening out the dough increased the surface area far beyond what Elder Anfuso was anticipating. So he threw his couscous mixture in a pan, anyways. Then Elder Bispo dos Santos went ahead and smeared Melada on it (a weird sweet mixture made from sugarcane. We didn’t have very much else to lose, so we just stuck that in the oven, too. To everyone’s surprise, it made a pretty good cake. I’m gonna miss this district. It’s pretty awesome. Our ward is doing a ward Mandiocada on Saturday. A Mandiocada, in short, is pretty much a beef-mandioc stew. If you don't know what mandioc is, neither did I before the mission. I liked it since day 1. One day a Brazilian asked me "What is Mandioca in English?" And I had to say "No idea." So I used my dad’s little green dictionary. It’s a root that is boiled, having more or less the consistency of a potato, but way tastier. So tasty, in fact, I am considering bringing it to the US, and being a mandioc farmer when I grow up. America needs mandioc. And I know it’d make big bucks. So I’m looking forward to Saturday.
We have been working more as a district in respect to activities, too. We are doing more city-wide activities instead of just ward activities. We had a Church Cinema this last Friday. We showed "Other Side of Heaven." So that worked out well.
Hey. Love you all. Pray for you. I'm doing great. Hope all is well with you.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom