Monday, March 28, 2016

God is Good‏

Dear Family and Friends,
This week, I had the super neat opportunity to witness miracles.
The first that stood out to me was on Thursday. Thursday, we were impressed to go to Zenaide's house, even though we visited her on Wednesday. Instead of her always-happy expression, she seemed a little taken aback and sad. She let us in, and one of the first things she told us was that she wouldn’t be baptized on Saturday. We were somewhat shocked, as she had just had her interview the day prior. Turns out, minutes after her interview, her brother called and started bashing the Mormon Church. Then, her friends from her old church came to her house, crying and pleading with her not to leave her old church. Then she contracted some pains in her body.
As missionaries, we're used to this sort of thing. Dad calls this "swooping", as the adversary always does his part to "swoop in" at the moment where someone in the church makes an important decision, whether it be a baptism, mission, temple, etc. He does this because he does NOT want God's children to be baptized in the church of Christ. I think that I have never participated in a baptismal prep where something doesn’t go wrong in the last week. It's one more test of their faith.
Anyways, so from that moment to the end of the lesson, the spirit came, and the room (figuratively) caught fire. Scriptures, Liahonas, Conference talks, and Trainings that the missionaries received from the apostles flooded the minds of Elder Lailson Silva and mine. I never felt the spirit so tense in a lesson before. It was basically the following:
"What do you feel when you’re at church, or when you’re reading the scriptures, or when we're here teaching you?" "I feel good, a peace, a warmth in my heart" "Where do you think that comes from?" "God." "That’s right. And when your brother called, and when the Sisters from your church visited, how did you feel?" "Horrible." "And where do you think those feelings come from?" "The devil." "That’s right. So who do you think you should listen to?"
After a super spiritual lesson, Zenaide still was unsteady, and said she wouldn’t be baptized that Saturday. She said that she wanted to explain herself to her church first. We then warned her that the sisters from her church would only cry again and make her feel worse. Putting this aside, we gave her a blessing of comfort to let her mind clear so she could do the right thing. After the blessing, Zenaide asked us:
"Can you do me a favor? Can you call my Niece and Nephew? Tell them that the baptism is on again. I will be baptized this Saturday. I know it's what God wants me to do."
I can’t describe the joyous feeling that came over us. We left from that house so full of the spirit.
The next day, it was drizzling. I threw on my raincoat and left the house, thinking that the rain would stop anytime. Well, it didn’t. We went and visited Marinha in the hospital, and she was in pain. She had some unidentified virus in her stomach. We gave her a blessing of health, and she is now improving. But we left the hospital, and started walking. The rain got worse, and it got colder and colder. And I was without my umbrella. At one point, I got so cold, I said a prayer. When I looked up, there was a perfectly good umbrella just sitting in a garbage can.
The next day, I woke up with a huge stomachache. It was awful. The first thing I thought was "Great. We laid our hands on a super sick lady, and then went out in the cold and lowered our immunity. I’ve got whatever she's got." Then I thought "I don't have time to be sick. We've got a baptism today." So I said a prayer. Then I went to my handy-dandy E-Bola survival kit and pulled out the "Stomach Relief" medicine. Then an impression came to me "Don't take that. That won’t help you at all." That morning, I was guided to take the right precautions, and in 3 hours, I just had a little nausea. I went from an 8 to a 2.
The baptism went off without a hitch.
Well. That’s about all the time I’ve got. I love you all. Have a great week.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Elder Wassom's date to come home is October 4th, and should arrive back in Texas on October 5th!

Pictures: A hat I found in the street and Zenaide's baptism:

Monday, March 21, 2016


Hey Family and Friends,
First off, I apologize a lot for not writing jack squat to yall last week. We had "mission council" meeting to attend, and we were already running late for the bus. Elder Lailson Silva and I presented my Idea to have a sheet helping recent-converts to plan church talks. The idea was accepted, and is being put into play. Besides that, the meeting wasn’t too cool.
What was cool, however, was our Multi-Zone conference here in Alegrete. Some of my friends from all over the pampas of Rio Grande do Sul gathered together to learn from Presidente, Sister, and the Assistants. Even all the ZLs and Training Sisters from the 5 zones had a couple of minutes to give trainings. This happens every 3 months or so. It is always an awesome experience. This last conference, we capitalized on how to get our investigators to keep commitments, when in doubt-testify of Jesus, and other inspired topics.
One thing I wanted to talk about last week was that in the last transfer, Sister Hennefer and Sister Aune went home. The weird thing about that, is that the two of them arrived at the MTC with me. All of the sisters in the mission are now with less time than me. I am officially "old."
More about the transfer, Elder Pastrana was sent to Itaquí. I liked having him in our apartment. Replacing him is Elder Fernando, from Mozambique, Africa. Elder Fernando is super cool, too.
As you can see from the pictures, Zinira was finally baptized! YAY! It was awesome to see such a neat lady come to the fold. I know that you all were hoping that this day would come, and we were, too. It’s a dream come true for everyone, but especially Elder Marcos Cornélio, whom, up to this point, was the only member of his family in the gospel. He is serving in London England. I shot him a quick note, informing him that his grandma was just baptized. We hope that her baptism will also "break the ice" with his parents, J and Mirian.
Zenaide is happy and ready for her baptism THIS Saturday. The Relief Society is happy that their organization is growing, too. They laugh a little with us that Zenaide will be the third "Velinha" baptized this month. "Seems like you two know how to baptize old ladies" they say. We just smile and thank God for the opportunity that we have to bring such neat people to the knowledge of the Gospel. I think children and old ladies have a special sensitivity to the spirit.
A cute way to finish my letter: we were teaching Irmã Rosane, and Loro, her 6-year-old (hyperactive, but super awesome) son, was messing with my watch. Then he said to me "Uh, oh. I have to be careful when I’m messing with your watch. Because if I turn the spindles clockwise, it’ll show that it’s time for you guys to go." It’s always hard saying goodbye to Loro, because he loves us so much, and he cries when we go.
Wow. I love this people more than you know. I’m certainly the happiest I’ve ever been.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Monday, March 14, 2016

quick email‏

Hey Guys,
Itll have to be a quickie.
Newsflash: I survived yet another transfer with my Companion, Elder Lailson Silva. Im happy about that. I have to head out to santa maria again. I love you all deeply.
Com Amor, Elder Wassom

Monday, March 7, 2016

Feliz Anniversario!‏

Yesterday marked an important date in Texas History - the end of the Alamo! (Here we go again?)
Nah, but for real, shout out to my 24-year-old brother, Conner. Love you bro! Dad, your birthday is today. Cinquenta e Um. Eeeita, veio. Tu tá expirando. Já pode contratar alguém pra fazer teu caixão, caduco. rsrs, Love you Dad, Happy Birthday. (ps google translate doesn’t really help with that one, it’s all slang, tchê.)
As you can see, Lurdes was baptized and confirmed. Really, she just beams with happiness. It’s super incredible to see people come to the fold of Christ. And there is something satisfactory when you are the missionaries to begin the teaching and baptize. It’s always a fun thing.
We continue to work with Dionatan, Daniels nephew. He has already decreased his daily cigarette count from 40 to 2. The faith of that guy is pretty high.
Irmã Zenira fell last Sunday. :( Luckily, she came up, unhurt. She might’ve sprained her ankle, but that’s a lot better than a lot of things that could have happened.
Guys, I just want to tell you guys. The mission is awesome. It’s like living in a dream. Miracles happening left and right, and it passes super fast. I’m super happy. Alegrete has been "só alegria" (only happiness) for me. Elder Lailson Silva and I are enjoying each other, and working super hard, and the results are really rewarding. We continue to see lives change in front of our eyes.
Guys - there’s a song from the EFY 2016 that really speaks to me and applies 100% to missionary work. "It’s not about you"
Never has God seemed so real and felt so close to me. He's someone who I know personally, understand and Love deeply. I will be forever grateful and in debt to my Savior. I understand His sacrifice so much more than I did before. I’m so glad I am serving a mission. It’s an opportunity no one should turn down. I look back at the changes I’ve made to myself and think, as Enos: "How is it done?" It’s nothing short of a miracle.
I love you all so much.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

We had a rio grande do sul churrasco last week, and Lurdes' baptism!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A super fast bullet list‏

Friends and family,
Okay, I have a lot of things to say in such little time.
Happy leap day!
My birthday went well. We had a family night with a less active family, Irmã Michele. What I didn’t know is that they brought 5 other young men to participate! That’s being a member missionary! One of them went with the family to church!
Speaking of church, there were 80 people there this week! This made me super happy, because when I got here, the ward was in "code red", or in threat of becoming a branch. At its worst, there were 37 people in sacrament meeting. Normally, it was around 50ish. But these last 3 weeks, it was over 70! Many of our less-actives are returning to church.
We also had 4 investigators in sacrament meeting - all of which are well integrated. Dionatan - Daniels nephew, Zenaide - Leilas aunt, Lurdes, and Gustavo - family friend of Michele.
Lurdes is ready for Saturday. She is Rosane's mom. Lurdes was Rosane's referral. (not too much of a surprse, she's her mom) She said "okay, you can pass by there, but just DONT TELL HER I SENT YOU!" So we went there, she accepted us in her house, and we taught her about the Book of Mormon. She had a few doubts about it, as she was strictly evangelical/Pentecostal. We emphasized that the Bible supports what the Book of Mormon says, and the Book of Mormon supports the Bible. We left some chapters for her to read in the bible and the Book of Mormon to "prove" this point. Mathew 3, 2 Nephi 31, etc. She didn't look like that "golden contact, you know? But surely enough, she got to reading, and soon, gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon. With each visit, she warmed up to the idea of going to church, being baptized, etc.
We had an awesome "pie-in-the-face" activity last Wednesday. Photos galore.
I found out who will be our new Mission President. Presidente Louza - from Sao Paulo. He has been in the church educational system for some time, so I’m sure that his talks, trainings, and sermons will be awesome. We will meet him in June, it looks like.
We saw an opossum the other day. That’s no too crazy for yall, but here in Brazil, opossums, raccoons, and squirrels are all super rare.
There’s a custom here in the south that the people keep a Bible open to Psalms on their mantle. It’s kind of funny, because when we bring it up, they always say "a closed bible isn’t worth anything" "Ah. So yall read the bible?" "No, not really."
Also, on my birthday, Sister de Oliveira made a cake for me. :) It was pretty good. She said it was the first cake she ever made, so it’s a good first.
So sorry or the lack of description.
But. I love yall. I’m super happy.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Alright. So there's a lot of pie in the face pics. The others include the family night with Michele, the wedding of Taiana and Everton, (they asked me to sing at their wedding, so I did. I know it may not be the typical proselyting activity, but I thought it would be a good missionary moment, because there were a lot of less-actives and non-members) and us with Carlos Miguel, who is taking off to the military.