Monday, April 25, 2016

Starting off on a hot streak!‏

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was awesome. It was also super hard. Actually, our teaching group was literally zero at the beginning of the week. A recent convert, Mikael was baptized the weekend before I got here, and he was pretty much all that the missionaries had in their teaching pool.
So. We got to work. Elder Silva is a young pup, only 19 years old. Sorry for not shooting yall photos, (forgot my adapter in our house) but there's a photo of Elder Silva that I’ve already sent. It’s him with a "selfie-helper" at our multi-zone conference 5 weeks ago. Anyways, he's awesome, and full of energy, like me. With our drive, we pulled off a personal record of 17 new investigators in a week. That got the ball rolling.
São Gabriel is great. Ramo Bom Fim is normal-sized. The branch president is awesome. Our area is pretty big. It looks like a normal area with a huge tail, reaching 40 minutes (as always, walking distance) outside the city. Inconveniently, most of our members live at the end of the tail, so we have to plan carefully from our lunch appointments to the brunt of our work. And no, I have no idea what "Building" you speak of. I’ll have to look for it.
Dad asked me a question. "What is your favorite moment in São Gabriel thus far?" This one was too easy to answer… Last night's lesson with Irmã Marta. She's the sister of Irmã Hilda, and she "showed up" at church last Sunday. We started to teach her on Wednesday, as a result of her appearance at church. She seemed like a good investigator. Unfortunately, on Sunday, when we went to take her to church (we were having district conference that day), she was having leg pains, and couldn't come. That afternoon, we went to visit her, and she was sleeping. Returning that night, she let us in, and Hilda was already there to teach her with us.
We sat down, and the spirit was already there. Strong. I won't quote everything, because that would take a while. But I won't ever forget. We started off. "Irmã. Im sorry to hear that your leg was aching. That happens sometimes. But that shows us something. You didn't read, did you?" "No." "You didn’t pray, did you?" "Also no." "We already knew that, because if you would have read and prayed, you would have come with us to the conference today. Why not, Irmã?" "Well, I'm not sure what I want yet." "Well, what WE want doesn't exactly matter, does it? We need to be thinking about what God wants." The whole room was calm, despite the tempest rain beating upon the roof and walls of the house. The whole lesson was one of the times where the spirit ran the whole lesson. After reading a little bit in Alma 5, my companion asked "Irmã, do you feel that what we're teaching you is true?" "I do." "Why, Irmã?" "Because I feel so peaceful. I slept so well the night you all came over." "Is that the same feeling you felt when the Sisters were teaching you a few years back?" "Yeah." "Irmã, where do you think those feelings come from?" "From God" "Why do you think that?" "Because..." At this point, the room went silent. No one said a word, no one interrupted. She thought, got choked up, and started to cry. We let her cry a little bit. We didn’t dare interrupt what the spirit was teaching her at that point. Finally, my companion asked "What are you feeling, Irmã?" "I can’t explain" "Is it good?" "Absolutely." Then Irmã Hilda said "Do you remember when the Sisters taught you about the Spirit? How it’s a good feeling you can’t describe?" We read and analyzed Mosiah 18. "Is this the desire of your heart, to follow Christ?" "It is." "Then you DO know what you want, Irmã. We're holding a baptism on the 14th of May. Will you be baptized on that date?" "Yes. I’m not quite sure I’m ready yet." We assured her that she'd be ready. The most spiritual part was the prayer. It would be her first prayer with us, as she is rather timid. She started off rusty, as most do. It’s a pretty thing to watch... like a child learning to walk. Then she said "Thank you, God, for sending the missionaries to my house. For my wonderful sister who is an example to me. For the opportunity that I have now to join your church. Thank you so much for..." And the silence started. And for about 10 minutes, we just sat there, the four of us, absorbing the Spirit. None of us said a word. It was as peaceful as the Celestial room. Marta started crying again. The rain was still pounding on the house, but that didn’t matter. It was as if the world itself was trembling, not by the tempest, but by the Spirit.
She didn’t even finish her prayer. We all, at the same time, looked up at a consensus, as if it were to say "amen." We briefly told her to never forget what she felt, and headed off, so as to leave her bathing alone in the Spirit of that moment. My companion and I turned the corner, and just started running. Jumping. Skipping. Singing. Drenching ourselves in the pouring rain. We arrived at our house and knelt down, thanking God for what Irma Hilda, Marta, and we had learned that night.
I still tear up, reminiscing on the wonderful spiritual experience from the night prior.
I love you all. Have a great week.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tchau Alegrete, Olâ São Gabriel‏

Amado Presidente,
Estou animado pra trabalhar em São Gabriel. No mesmo tempo, foi difícil despedir ao pessoal aqui em Alegrete. Foi, provavelmente minha área preferida, porque as pessoas aqui são tão boas. O campo realmente é "branco e pronto para a ceifa." Se eu pudesse colocar em uma palavra estas últimas 4 meses, seria "milagroso." Quanto mudei... quanto as pessoas mudaram. É incrível.

Dear Family and Friends,
So I was right and wrong. Yes, I was transferred, but I did not call the right city. I am headed to São Gabriel to be companions to Elder Silva (Not to be confused to my current companion, Elder Lailson Silva). Yet another bittersweet transfer. I really liked my comp, and loved my area. Judging from what I’ve seen and heard, Elder Silva is another cool guy, so I'm excited. São Gabriel should be pretty similar to Santiago. About the same size: 50,000. There are two strong branches there, and it is in a district with Rosario do Sul, which, if I'm not mistaken, has two more strong branches. I’ve heard good things about São Gabriel. In my zone are some names you’ve already heard: Elder Capistrano (my ex-comp who will be living in my apartment, he's gonna be the District Leader in São Gabriel), Elder Rodrigues (or, as I might have said, Elder da Silva, who changed his name - worked here in Alegrete, will serve in Rosário) and Sister Porter (Split Vila Rica with Me and Elder Sales/Alves in Santiago, will train a greeny in Rosário, probably until the end of her mission). Should be fun times.
This week was weird. We worked on expanding our teaching group, and got it to a considerable size. Then, all at once, everyone "cut" us. It was a lame way to end my service here in what is probably my favorite area, but hey. God's in charge. Winter was about to hit, as it's about time already, but this week was uncharacteristically (my English no more exists) hot, reaching 95 degrees.
On the bright side, Wednesday, we had a super awesome Family night at Everton and Tatiana's. Many people were there, including Tatiana's Parents, Roque and Conceição. Roque is a less-active returning to the church. Conceição is not a member YET. But the family night was awesome and the spirit was strong.
Another one of the good things that happened this week was church. It was a good meeting. I taught Gospel Principles this week, (actually, I have been doing that for about 3 months now) and the room was so full, my companion had to leave and go to Gospel Doctrine next door! It was hot, sweaty, and crowded, but hey. A packed Gospel Principles class is nothing to complain about for a missionary ;) Jp and Mirian showed up, bringing Zinira and J's mom. Zinira continues to come every week, even without them. Felipe, Norma, and Elza came, all for the first time. Josiano, Maiara's husband, was also there. He is starting to think about baptism, too. Katia, Zenaide, Daniel, Lurdes and Rosane were there, as always. Despite the mugginess of that room, the lesson went great, and there were many tears shed. After the lesson, we got to cool down in Sacrament meeting in the AC. AC is a blessing, not a privilege.
I'm happy to see Conn and Katie's smiling faces. Garrett and his Fianceé looked happy, too. Good for them. I loved the pics. Keep 'em coming, if there's more.
I leave for São Gabriel tomorrow morning, 6:30 am. My suitcases are far from packed, but I'll make it happen somehow.
Guys, I love you all. Thanks for all the support. I'm happy as always. Congrats, Conn and Katie! I'm super happy for yall.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Elder Lailson Silva is the son of a fisherman, so we ate fish frequently.

A storm. It was a lot cooler than the fotos;

our zone (I thought there was less room in the photo than there really was, thus the bended-overness)

Saying goodbye to: Lurdes, Rosane +Fam; Norma+felipe; Zenira, jp, Mirian, and Gma; Everton+Tatiana; Mara and Georginho; Maiara and josiano; Victoria, josele, and ??? (that foto wasnt planned by me); Teresa Carvalho, Teresa and Uallison; Uallison and Daniel; some others; Elizete (she talks a lot); Gerson and Suellen

Showing the difference between brazillian photos and american photos (Brazilians will cut off part of the head just to show their whole body... as seen in my photos with Suellen and Gerson); Luisa and Fransisco; Puff, my favorite dog here in alegrete, eating my comp; Bishop Isidoro and family; Marinho and Fam; Zenaide

My Family's About to Get Bigger!‏


Dear Family and Friends,
The title says it all, right? My brother, Conner will be sealed to his wonderful fianceé on Friday. We are throwing a party (Family Home Evening) for him on that day over here in Alegrete. Good luck, Conn, best wishes for you, and I love you very, very much. Katie, be ready. ;) You´ve chosen to marry a fireball, haha. But as you're well aware, he's the awesome-est fireball. He was my only single brother, making him the most eligible bachelor in the world. I love him a ton, and he loves you. So. I'm super excited to meet you.
Guys, once again, I'm short on time. A brief overview of this week - we had a productive week. We found a whole lot of new investigators, some of which have quite a bit of potential.
Our real success was with some less-actives. On Sunday, Roque went to church for the second time in a row! Yay! Good things are happening in that family.
Guys, that’s about it. I love you all. The transfer gets sent out on Thursday, so I'll be able to tell you if I'm staying here or not. Something tells me, I’m going to be transferred to Santa Maria. I'm calling it.
Don't forget - I love you all.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Monday, April 4, 2016

Amado Presidente, (Dear President)
Conferencia foi ótima! Fiquei surpreendida quando Élder Anderson falou sobre Zuleica de Alegrete.
sábado da manhã, gostei o que Élder Renlund falou à respeito do fato que o mais próximos somos de alguém, o mais gratos somos. Pela mesma doutrina, Somos mais gratos para Deus quando aproximamos Dele. (Conference was awesome! I was surprised when Elder Anderson spoke about Zuleica from Alegrete. The previous Saturday, I liked it when Elder Renlund spoke about the fact that we can become closer to someone to more grateful we are. Following the same doctrine, we become more grateful to God when we become closer to him.)
Na tarde, Élder Ballard falou bem sobre "conselhos da família." Gostei disso, e com certeza vou usar na minha família. (In the afternoon, Elder Ballard spoke about family counsels. I really liked this. Without a doubt, I will be using it in my family.)
Domingo de Manhã, Élder Quentin L Cook falou algo que tocou muito um de nossos recém conversos. "Vejam a si mesmos no Templo." Também gostei da ideia do espelho... Talvez vamos ter que usar isso. (Sunday morning, Elder Quentin L. Cook spoke about and touched on our recent converts and that they need to get to the temple. I also liked that idea....perhaps we will start using this.)
Robert D Hales falou muito bem a cerca do Espirito. Amei o que falou... que foi mas ou menos assim... "Ore a Deus. Escuta os sussurros do Espirito Santo. Siga aqueles sussurros. E tudo dará certo." (Robert D. Hales spoke a lot about getting close to the Spirit. I loved what he talked about. It was more or less like this...Pray to God. Listen to the whisperings of the Spirit. Follow those whisperings. And everything will come out OK.)

Hey Guys! So I went ahead and copied you a bit of my letter to Presidente Parrella about Conference, so you could see my input. Clearly, it had to be quick so I could write yall.
My favorite talk was by Dale G Renlund about gratitude. I certainly am feeling what he said... The closer I come to Christ, the more I feel gratitude towards him. I feel sad for those who do not sustain the Prophet. If I were there at the Conference Center, I would’ve felt the spirit leave quickly. Good thing Ronald Rasband rebuked them, and later, Dallin H Oaks gave a stronger rebuking the day after.
I'm sure yall wondered "I wonder if Mitchell sees Conner!" I was on the lookout, but I have to give you a heart-breaking no. I completely missed him. But. I am downloading the conference so I can see him later this P-day.
But now that we're talking about things that we missed... did yall catch that in Neil L Anderson's talk he spoke about a woman named Zuleica? From Alegrete, Brasil? The second after the conference, I was getting so many calls. "Who's Zuleica?" I had to run after that, because I didn’t know of a Zuleica. We discovered (from an iffy source) she is the wife of Presidente Aidukaitis, 2nd Counselor of the Area Brasil. She no longer lives here. But just by Neil L Anderson mentioning the city, this small town of 80,000 people has gotten famous, lol. What are the chances, haha. She could’ve been from any city in the world... but she just happens to be from the city in which I currently live.
Shout out to my brother Conner. If I’ve got my facts right, he's having his wedding open house this week. Good luck Con! (and family)
And one more thing... The week after sending you the details about my homecoming... they changed. My visa only holds for 2 years... not 2 years and 3 days. So I will be flying home on September 27th (Happy Birthday, Mom) to get home on the 28th. If I’m not mistaken.
I'd like to bear you my testimony, as a missionary with 6 slices of the mission pizza in my belly. I know that God lives and loves us. I know we are His children. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. This, in and of itself, is enough to bring solace to the world. If we all just kept the commandments, we would have world peace. But unfortunately, adversity is a necessity. Dallin H Oaks spoke well about that part. So. What can we do? We can try. Because, even without world peace, we can find inner peace. When the world is falling, we still have the promise of our God, that if we follow the example of our Lord and Savior, all will be well with us in the end. Moroni 7: 41.
41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.
I know that these words are true. The more I learn about Jesus, and follow him, the more grateful I am for my Savior's atoning sacrifice. Without following His path, there is no returning to the Father. But if Christ hadn't taken the sins of the world upon Him, there wouldn't even be a path.

Even with six slices already eaten, I'm far from full. In fact, I will never tire of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's just too good not to share with everyone.
I love you guys. Thanks for all the support. I feel your prayers and hope you can feel mine.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Hey... Cool thing! My camera reached 10,000 pictures taken again! How cool! So the first few are pictures of my "pants burning ceremony." I didn't want to waste a good pair of pants, so I sewed a pair of pants out of a used sock. My house companions think that's like, the lamest thing ever, but that's okay. My other pictures are of my first time eating chicken liver and chicken foot. I'd give them both a 4.5 out of 10. Edible, not bad, but I wouldn't eat it again if i had the choice. The gizzard, on the other hand, I'd give a 6. Not bad at all.