Monday, October 26, 2015

When it rains, it pours!

First off, Next P-day for me is next Wednesday. I think next Monday is like a holiday that would optimize our productivity, not sure.
The storms have slowed the internet a bunch, so yet again, this will be short.
So I will start off my letter one-upping Dad with his letter title. When Dad put this phrase as his letter title, I had to laugh a bit, because I was going to put the same thing, lol. So, to start things out, Wednesday afternoon was bright and sunny. Then things started to darken, and I got a call from Sister Chaves. "Hey, I'm seeing some pretty weird clouds moving in, and it looks pretty dangerous. Do we have your permission to return to our apartment?" I went ahead and let them go home, but I thought "doesn’t look too bad, my companion and I will keep working." Within 5 minutes, it started raining. We headed to a tiny little sheltered bus stop for protection. In about 20 to 30 seconds later, the sky fell. Water was dumping, and, I kid you not, softball-sized hail started pelting the street and bus stop. Shards of ice broke off the hailstones and were flinging in our direction, so we stood on the little bench to allow the ice to only hit our legs. We said a prayer, asking God to let us return to our apartment safely. I got the impression "wait until the hailstones aren’t lethal, then run." I wanted to say "really? You can’t just send a taxi or something?" but soon enough, the Softballs turned to apple seeds, and we ran. We got drenched in a matter of 10 seconds. The water on the street was 6 inches deep at its shallowest. Cars passed by, and gutter washed us every time. But, because we were running at the right place at the right time, we managed to flag down a bus that was headed conveniently right to our house.
Speaking of our house, the roof was destroyed. Our repairman told us "Hey it’s not ugly.... it’s hideous." We were, yet again, without water and electricity, but hey. Fun stories to tell in 11 months. Not just our roof was destroyed, everyone’s roof was destroyed. The day after the storm, everyone was on top of the roof. Church headquarters is sending Santiago roofing equipment.
Sorry to make it short again, but I love yall, and wish you a good week!
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom
PS I’m fine, btw. Everything’s fixed and back to normal.

No, my comp did not wet the bed, lol. The first 3 pics are due to rain damage. Our house leaked a LOT, and the third picture is of our neighbor's patch-job. Our landlord said our roof was a whole lot worse. The fourth picture, I’m just goofing off in Ruan's Jacket. Who's Ruan? Our Mannequin Butler. Why do we have a mannequin in our house? I’m not sure.

The first is a picture of the mystery pile of dinosaur crap. The next two are holes in irmã Geni's roof. The next was a super cool circular rainbow, and the last two are of a weird caterpillar rave.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Rain Finally Stopped

Dear Family and Friends,
The rain finally stopped. The Santiago-Santo Antonio region here in Rio Grande do sul for 3 days the past week (or something like that) had received more rain than the whole world combined during those three days. It’s somewhat strange, because there was a huge, horrible hailstorm with tangerine-sized hail that hit the city, but it didn’t do much damage. Then a tiny sprinkle shower comes through and wipes out the power to the whole city for a day and a half. Weird thing is... the running water system here is different, because it has to do with pumps, and tanks and such. Net net, it also blew out the running water. Running water is awesome. You don’t realize what you have until its gone.
The other weird thing is that yesterday, it was in the 40´s, and today, it’s in the high 80's. It’s like Texas weather.
But... The rain stopped. Yay!
Fun things to tell yall. Elder Bicudo and Elder Alvarenga, who live with us, brought home a pizza brochure with like, 100 different flavors. One was an "American Pizza." "American Pizza" had bacon, peas, and onions. Because that’s what we Americans put on a normal pizza, right? haha.
Other funny thing, there’s a soap opera (novela) called "the 10 commandments," which counts the story of Moses. It’s kinda cool, but also funny because every now and again, the people whom we teach will teach us all the things that Moses did (or didn't actually do). And sometimes they’ll talk like: "And just IMAGINE what happened to Egypt yesterday! ""Uhm, they were plagued by wild locusts, maybe?" "HOW DID YOU KNOW???"
Well, we read the bible, people, haha.
We challenged a girl, Gabriella, to be baptized on the 31st, and she accepted. Just that she came down with a fever and was not able to go to church this Sunday, so the date fell through. Our other investigators are showing much potential as well. The work is accelerating, which makes me happy
Love Yall. One day I’ll be able to finish a letter to yall, haha.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

So here’s a pic of what has to be the greatest fast food experience of my life

My new District

Monday, October 12, 2015

So the rest of the letter

Dear Family and Friends,
I hand write to you yet again with the chance of having limited/no time at the cyber café. October 12th is “Children’s Day” here in Brazil, as if Christmas, Easter, and birthday festivities just aren’t enough. But, as in other holidays, EVERYTHING CLOSES, including the cyber cafés. But yesterday we did visits with a member who told us of a place with 3 computers.
Thankfully, I was able to use my “Convincing power of God” to reserve two of those computers for four hours- as there are 4 companionships in Santiago. Being short on time last week, I didn’t have the chance to talk about the District. There is one Ward and one Branch in the small town of Santiago. (population 50,000ish, I believe) Both Santiago Ward and Vila Rica Branch have 2 pairs of missionaries as President has been quite optimistic that now is the time for Santiago to blossom.
So starting with Vila Rica Branch. Elder Capistrano and I are doing very well together. We recently have been doing a “spring cleaning” of our teaching pool and have had considerable success in doing that. More on our work together later in the letter.
We split the branch with Sister Chaves and Sister da Silva. From what I’ve noticed so far, perhaps those two are the best companionship of Sisters in the mission. The interesting thing.. Sister Chaves arrived with Elder Sena and Elder Capistrano. In only 3 transfers, she gained the trust of the Mission President to such an extent that she is finishing the training of Sister da Silva. Sister Chaves is responsible and very obedient. Sister da Silva is from Brasilia (Sister Chaves is from a small town in Sao Paulo), and she is pretty quiet, humble, but powerful. Yesterday, in a boisterous and somewhat heated Branch Committee meeting about leaders leaving the chapel parking lot (and, at time, the chapel) open to the local skaters, Sister da Silva quietly raised her hand and said, “Look, I’m a recent convert, and to me, the chapel is a sacred place where I seek refuge from the chaos from the outside world. If I were an investigator on a chapel tour, I would be appalled to find a bunch of vagabond teenagers in a cuddle puddle in the church hallway.” Her voice was soft, but firm. Everyone went quiet and in an unspoken consensus, we changed the subject.
We share an apartment with Elder Alvarenga and Elder Bicudo from Ward Santiago. They are both from Sao Paulo. The are both fairly quiet. Elder Bicudo is headed home in November, so… the youth and vigor of Vila Rica B is contrasted a bit with Santiago A. I went on splits with Elder Alvarenga on Saturday, and we practiced our Spanish in the streets. Funny thing is that in Spanish, I have an oddly precise Argentinian accent when I speak Spanish. Even Elder Anfuso commented about it. He said, “It’s weird because you’ve been speaking Portuguese for 10 months now (this was 2 ½ months ago), and even though you don’t have too much of an accent, it’s pretty apparent you’re not Brazilian. But in Spanish, which you’ve been speaking much less, your accent is almost perfect.” Funny story coming soon.
Sister Magallanes is from Argentina. She’s got about 3 months left in the mission. Recently, she has been having quite a bit of knee pain, which really worries her. She does NOT want to go home early. Under instructions of Sister Parrella, she stayed in her apartment on Saturday. Our job (Elder Alvarenga’s and mine) was to bring her food for lunch. When we arrived at the apartment complex, I gave her a call “!Hola, Hermana! Estamos agui afuera de su apartamiento con comida y una torta de galletas para ti!” When she came down, she looked worried. Then she laughed and said, “You scared me! I thought you were my brother!” Sister Magallanes is training Sister Vera, also Hispanic. She is from Peru, although she doesn’t look like it. She is not too quiet, not too energetic, always with a smile on her face, so that’s good.
So, yeah, that’s our District. Our branch is big… almost a Ward. We just need 2 more active, tithing paying Priesthood holders. We have some prospects for men to fill that position. Among our prospects are Valdecir and Altair. Valdecir is a man of 45 years, more or less. By the smell of his house, we can tell he smokes quite a bit. We found him on Tuesday. He’s pretty cool. Funny thing is the story of how we met. Tuesday, Elder Capistrano and I were being accompanied by Elder Pierce, our Zone Leader from Santo Angelo. We saw two men working with concrete outside of a house. We asked if they needed help. They said “no, but if you’re here to preach the word of God, go right in.” So we went in. To our surprise, the two men packed up and drove off. We imagined that they would be joining us, but they just hightailed it. Then Valdecir walked into the room with a look that said “What are you doing here? Who are you?” All of us puzzled, I explained the best I could. “Uh, well, there were two men out there that invited us in…”
“Really? That’s weird. Why would they do that? They’re just my employees…”
“…you know, we’re not really sure…”
“But anyways, I’m Elder Wassom, and this is Elder Capistrano and Elder Pierce, and we have a message about Jesus, and while we’re here, do you mind if we talked a little bit about Him?”
So we had a great lesson, and even during the lesson he expressed how neither he nor we had been expecting to have that lesson at that time- that it just happened, and how he thought that was a sign from God telling him to repent.
God works in mysterious ways.
So Altair is the father of Lucas. We met him yesterday. Lucas is a fantastic influence on him. Lucas is a recent-convert. He has been a member for 7 months. In those 7 months, he read the Book of Mormon 3 times, Doctrine and Covenants once, and is finishing up Jesus the Christ. He is also well versed in Preach My Gospel. How’s that for a powerful recent-convert? He gave a great testimony about the Book of Mormon to his dad. It was great.
Well. Gotta go.
Love you all, hope yall had a great week.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Answers to some questions asked: So I am the District Leader of the Missionaries in Santiago. The Half-Mission Conference happens about once every 2 or 3 months, and half the mission goes to Santa Maria on one day, and the other half goes to Alegrete on the Other Day. They go by bus. The bus from Ijui to Santiago was 5 hours. On an American interstate it would be more like 1, 1+1/2, but the road was narrow, bumpy, and dusty.

Our new District:

Monday, October 5, 2015


These are some of my pictures:
I'm saying goodbye to: Luiz and Marissa and company

Saying goodbye to Marrone and Diessica and Salgadinho (their cat)

Leaving Ijui

My new comp (Elder Capistrano)

Saying goodbye to Elder Matoso in Alegrete

Our bus broke down

And I made my own Doce de Leite!

Alright. Answers to yall’s questions.
I too find it a wasteful tradition to burn a shirt after one year passed, but it really was unusable. I even cut off a part of the fabric, in case I need it for mending another shirt.

Elder Wassom
Caixa Postal 29
Centro - Santiago - RS

Elder Capistrano, my new companion, is a recent convert of 4 years. He is from a city close to Forteleza, Ceara. He's spiritual, and a hard worker. I can tell he will be up there on the "Favorites" list. He is a smart guy, and loves physics. He showed up with Elder Sena, and is on his fourth transfer right now.
We watched conference (in Portuguese) in the stake center. It was awesome. I loved Carole Stevens' talk. That’s two conferences in a row. She is a powerful woman. Cheryl Esplin of the Primary is also awesome. I also liked Robert D Hales.
Yall met Pudge! I’m jealous.
Wow. I’m already almost out of time. Sorry a lot, I had a lot of new stuff to do and download and print and such. I have a new calling, and it has got me super busy. But I am happy, healthy, and doing well in general. We had another Mission Conference in Alegrete. It was funny… Sister Spendlove came up to me and said "has anyone told you that you look like an American?" "I am an American." "OH! That’s right. But you speak like a Brazilian!" That made me feel super cool.
They’re launching the new LDS Holy Bible in Portuguese, and that’s got everyone excited.
Gotta go! Love yall
Com amor,
Elder Wassom