Tuesday, May 31, 2016

1 ano e 8

Hey People!
Today will have to be quick. I'll send the photos later.
So I finally ate something thoroughly disgusting and foreign! Until now, I have only gone so far as to eat basic stuff like heart, chicken's feet, liver, gizzards, and capybara meat. But on Saturday, We were given something called Sarabujo, or Sarapatel. It’s basically the inside of a ram - liver, intestine, kidneys - all chopped up and boiled in ram's blood. Then they put in some bread crumbs to make it more like a meat instead of a blood soup.
I hope I never have that experience again. It was really funny though, because Sister Lipps, (a new American) didn’t quite understand what "miudos" (innards, spleen) meant, so she asked to clarify what it was that she was eating. You all should’ve seen her face when my companion explained to her.
After the transfer, I stay here in São Gabriel with Elder Silva, Elder Coello, after 2 years of service, goes to Chile, and is replaced with Elder Soares, a short-term Elder. Elder Anfuso, after 2 years of dedicated service, goes to Argentina. Sister Lipps goes to Alegrete, and will be replaced with Sister Cajazeiros.
I love you all, and will be more detailed next week.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Missionary Work and Repentance

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was good. Highlights include progressing investigators and a lot of referrals.
Cassiana continues to progress, and went to a Family Home Evening. However, she was feeling back pain, and couldn’t go to church.
The week was full of "little service activities."
We contacted a referral from Irmão Paulo, a less-active in the ward. Her name is Alessandra. She just moved here, doesn’t have friends or family in the area. She is super poor, and didn’t even have the money to buy diapers for her 2-year-old son. So. We went out and bought her some. When we invited her to come to church, she said she couldn’t, because her son was out playing in the rain and got his shoes wet. They are the only shoes that he has. When we suggested drying them with a blow dryer, she responded that she didn’t have one. So we took the shoes home and dried them ourselves :)

However, when we went to pick them up for church, we had to just drop the shoes off, as Alessandra was having health problems.
The other day, we saw a man selling cotton candy, and, as my spirit is still heftier, I went and bought some. It was good cotton candy, but for some reason, I got full really quickly, and hardly ate any at all. So I just went walking with the cotton candy, and I saw a little kid and gave the cotton candy to his dad and said "Hey. Share this with your son, would ya?" It was a great opportunity to make a contact. We taught his family the following day. His name is João Pedro. Little promptings of the spirit go a long way sometimes.
Juciara is super strong, and almost done with smoking. She told us this week "11th of June I WILL be baptized." As we left that lesson, we were a little bummed that we had to bump back the baptismal date 2 weeks, as we were pushing for the 28th, but we felt calm and reassured that Heavenly Father is in charge.
My companion said "Well, drat. If only she had a little bit more faith, she could stop cold turkey!" And a thought came to my mind that I shared with him. "Well. How long did it take US to repent of much smaller things? God was patient with us, and He'll be patient with her too." This got us thinking. Teaching people is being part of the repentance process for us.
Another circumstance. A recent convert/young man of ours decided to start dating a 15 year old young woman in the branch. "Look… If you want our council, wait until she's 16, and date her the right way, making sure you date several people in group dates and such. Its way better that way, and we testify of that. Just follow the prophet." He seemed to think that he was an exception to the rule. Afterward, talking about the lesson with Elder Silva, we reflected. "Hmm. That talk seems familiar. It’s the same one our parents gave us when we were in the Young Mens. They did everything so I could understand this principle." "Did we listen to them?" "Not really." "Dang it. Why didn’t we listen?"
It’s like, we see ourselves in the people we teach. Just that we can't be too frustrated with the things they do, because they do the same things we did, and react the same way we did. Just that this time, we see a little more of Heavenly Father's vision. "Darn it! Why didn’t I listen!" or, "Gosh, Why did I do things like that!" It’s sort of funny and sort of sad. We were teaching a young lady, and were saddened by the way she treated her mother, and my comp sunk down and said "I treated my mom the same way. Now I know the suffering she passed through."
I hope I conveyed what I’m trying to convey. I'm glad I have the vision I have now, and hope that that vision grows.
This is just one more of the dozens of things I have learned on my mission. If we didn’t have to walk with a limited vision, we would always do the right things. We just have to walk by faith. Our parents know best. Our leaders know best. The prophet knows best. I love this whole mission experience. Not because it’s overly "fun", per se, but it is a different type of incredible.
I love you all. TTY next week.
Com Amor, Elder Wassom

Monday, May 16, 2016

An E-mail without a main subject.‏

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was much better. It was full of Member referrals, and therefore, better new investigators. With the exception of a Pentecostal pastor that we tracted into, our lessons this week were really good.
I'll start off with some funny things. President Parrella headed down to a city in our mission to their stake conference to treat some, uh, business. Some things in that stake were not running as well as God would want. So President made a comment on the pulpit. "If you have a severe sin, and want to confess it without anyone finding out about it, I'll tell you what to do. Write it on a slip of paper and put the paper in the Church Leadership Manual. Don't worry. No one will open and read it." When the ZLs of that zone called us and informed us, we laughed quite a bit.
Another thing. During this last week, the President of Brasil, Dilma, was impeached, and replaced with President Michel Temor. Due to my calling as a missionary, that’s about all I can say about this subject, but I can say that because of this, the southerns are much more relieved, so let’s see if that’ll help us out.
One sister in the branch gave us 7 referrals this week! That was just AWESOME! I didn’t realize how helpful referrals are until I got here. All of the people that she indicated to us (who we've contacted) are people that have a bit of potential.
Unfortunately, I'm pretty dry this week on interesting stories, so I'll tell you one from last week, if I haven’t already told it. Saturday before last was awful. We started out on the streets on time, but our luck was way way low. Actually, our day was well-planned, but all of our commitments fell through, and we had to clap doors again. We were out of things to do. Even clapping doors didn’t work. Until 7:50PM, we didn’t enter into a single house that whole day. It was already dark, and after dark, the day turns very unproductive, especially for clapping doors. We were tired, and had already said several prayers. I looked at my comp and asked "what do you think we should do?" "I don’t know. What do you think we should do?" "Well, I don’t see anything else we CAN do, but just press on." So we continued. It was in the fourth watch when we clapped at one house. She let us in. "Finally." we thought.
Her name is Cassiana. She said "How good it is to see you guys. Do you give bible studies?" "Absolutely! Do you have the habit of reading the Bible?" "Uhm. Not really; I don't understand it. But I want to." And that day we started "Bible class one - The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." She continues to be a great investigator.
It is interesting how many situations, Jesus comes in the fourth watch. What I mean by that is that it always seems like we get aid at the last possible moment, just to push us and try our faith. We were tried very much that day, and frankly, we wanted to sleep. But God was just testing us. And we were blessed for our persistence.
A quick and unrelated thought - to those who have been passing through trials, use them as an opportunity to learn and grow. God gives those moments to you to be tested. To those who have been blessed with health, strength, and a testimony, use them so that other people can learn and grow. God gives those blessings to you to be USED.
Many times I see people who struggle with health problems, family problems, and other things, and I think to myself "why does everything seem to go so well for me?" I see now that all this was given to me so I could serve better. I don't have any excuses, because "when much is given, much is required." And much has been given me.

I love you all. TTY next week.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

"With great power comes great responsibility." -Uncle Ben, Spiderman

Pictures include:
A letter to me from President Parrella saying basically exactly what I have been saying to you guys the last few weeks about working hard to the very end of my mission, and our Brazilian pancakes. I'd give these a 7 or 8. Pretty good! Much better than our last adventure. I’m not sure why I look so creepy in the 2nd photo, but that’s okay.

Monday, May 9, 2016


Élder Mitchell Wassom
Caixa Postal 40
Centro - São Gabriel - RS
CEP: 97300 - 000

There’s my address.
It was great to see yall via skype. It's sort of cool, because when I see yall, I feel like you've been with me this whole time on this journey of mine! I feel at home.
I imagine my parents will keep everyone up with the notices, so I will take this time to remember and paraphrase parts of a letter I wrote to my long-time friend, Sister Breah Buss. A few weeks ago, Sister Buss wrote me a letter asking for some last-minute advice before heading to the MTC. As you all are aware, she is in the MTC now, and serving diligently. She also has the gift of writing long intelligent-sounding letters, a gift that I don’t have.
But, to give an overview, I just told her to be prepared and try her best in everything. Really, that’s all that matters. As we try our best, we are blessed by the spirit, and we will have success. Then I wrote specifically about some things to be prepared for. I surprised myself of the long list of, I'll call it for what it is, "be prepared to..."s. Be prepared to deal with stress. Be prepared to have things fall through and not work out for you. Be prepared to have a comp you don't get along with. And so on.
I took a look at the letter, and realized that I had written 6 pages of, what looked like, somewhat negative stuff. Then I thought: "but... why? I'm more happy than I ever have been in my life!"
So I wrote more-or less the following: "many people wonder why missionaries are so happy. We pass through many difficulties. But when we do God's will, we are blessed by the spirit. And the spirit brings joy and other fruits into our lives." (Galatians 5:22)
And it's the truth. I love my mission so much. It's incredible.
I love you all so much. TTY soon.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom
As promised, the pictures of the family night and the rainbow

Monday, May 2, 2016

Eita! Uma BAITA de um Frio!‏

Dear Family and Friends,
As the name suggests, it is now cold. Very cold. It’s sort of sad how here in the south, its super cold, or super hot. Spring and Autumn just don’t seem to happen. We put the fans away to put out the space heater. Fortunately, it has not rained (yet) in this cold.
This week was similar to last week. A slow start to a slam-dunk finish. Yesterday, our Branch President offered to do visits with us the whole day! Of course, we didn’t refuse. In one of our visits, we went to a less-active member. This member has such a contagious smile. It was sort of funny, he said: "My problem? I have lots of problems. Cripes, the only problem I don’t have is money!" I thought that was funny.
Marta continues to plan on the 14th, but is starting to doubt. It’s just about the small and insignificant things that she's worried about. Like, "Bah, if I get baptized, I won’t be able to watch Carnaval." or "Bah, but I won't fit in because I don't like to wear skirts" While true that Jesus wouldn’t watch Carnaval, she certainly shouldn’t let a silly thing like Carnaval get in the way of her Eternal Salvation.
For those of you that fit in this category in your discipleship, get a grip! Stop it! Do you have a testimony of the church? Do you know that, through following Jesus, you can have an eternal family? Alright, then! You know what to do! It's not that complicated. Be like King Lamoni's dad in Alma 22. "And I will give up all my sins to know thee." Shouldn’t we do everything we can to get to heaven?
Don't worry. I'm confident she'll snap out of it and be baptized.
Nuff said bout dat. On the other side of things, we have another investigator named Juciara. She is a smoker, and, when we found her last Sunday, she was a voodoo-idol-worshipping pagan. However, in one week, she has been reading the Book of Mormon, she went to church, received a testimony that Christ is her Savior, and accepted the call to repent and be baptized. She is already lessening her smoking habit. She didn’t buy tobacco this weekend so she could buy a bus ticket to go to church, as her house is a one-hour walk to church. Her whole family is reading the Book of Mormon, too. Her daughter and "son-in-law" (Talita and Bruno) agreed to get married, and subsequently baptized, just after two days of teaching them. These people are like King Lamoni… Rough on the outside, but completely ready on the inside. The Book of Mormon works miracles.
Other good news - Irmão Jerry (a less active) went to church on Sunday, asked for a calling, did his home-teaching, and bore a powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel.
That was my week in a nutshell. Miracles are just all around us. It’s so darn cool. The Gospel is absolutely true. I know it. Read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it's true. It works. It really does. Just do what God tells you to do. Your family will be happier because of it.
I love you all. I'm excited for Sunday, so I can talk to my momma on Mother's Day.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

The following are pictures:
Saying goodbye to Betania and family,

Derli and Family,

Elza and Walter,

Katia and Family,

Seeing Elder Alves (Elder Donoso, Sister Chaves and Sister Silva) at the Bus station,

Elder Silva and me,

Elder Coello (robbed my camera);

ELder Coello, Me, Elder Capstrano, and Elder Silva;

My Chicken Giblet - and Quail Egg Carreteiro (I’d give it a 4.5 out of 10)