Monday, June 27, 2016

The Terrific Trio‏

Dear Friends and Family,
Before I forget, I want to let yall know something WACKY.
The other day, I met a member of the Sao Gabriel Branch named Brother Machado. He started talking to me in English, and I asked him where he learned English, and he said that he lived in the United States.
"What part?"
"The south"
"Really? I'm from Texas."
"What city in Texas?"
"I lived there for a few years, and studied in CCCC."
Apparently he lived in McKinney around 1999, and is real pals with Brother Jeff Brooks. He wants Bro. Brooks' contact information.
He was awestricken when he learned that there are 8 wards in McKinney, 2 from Melissa/Anna, and 2 from Sherman.
What're the odds, right?
I took a photo with him. I know it’s been a while since I’ve sent photos, because my card reader is bugged, but I’ll send photos ASAP.
I bought a new Suit! I bought it from a thrift shop for 35 reais, or 10 bucks! I haven’t come across a better deal in my life! I look pretty spiffy in it, too.
So as the title suggests, Elder Silva, Elder Capistrano and I are still in a trio, overlooking 2 branches. I seemed to have written rather frustrated last Monday, so just know that I have gotten used to the adjustment, and we are working alright. In fact, work is quite pleasant with my old bud/comp Elder Capistrano. Good thing, too, because looks like help will come in two weeks.
Actually, the whole mission is somewhat in a strange predicament, as 5 missionaries left today (with honor), and had nobody to replace them until July 12th.
Interestingly enough, the work is progressing a lot better in Ramo São Gabriel than in Ramo Bom Fim. We have marked 4 baptismal dates in that area, and just one in Bom Fim (Bruno-yet again, he didn’t come to church).
Here's something cool. A month ago, Elder Silva gave a challenge to the zone to memorize the 100 seminary scriptures before today. Well, they took to it. Sister Condeña, Elder Capistrano, and Elder Silva have completed the challenge. Sister de Oliveira is really close. I had already completed the challenge, but I felt left out during the mornings when my companions were working on memorizing scriptures, so I started memorizing my own list of favorite scriptures, like Alma 5:14-21, Alma 7:14-16, and D&C 123:17. It has been a great experience.
I'm doing great. I’m happy. A bit busy, but that’s a good thing as a missionary. I'm about to take a big bite of my last slice of mission pizza. Using this analogy, I'm still hungry.
See yall in 3!
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

100 days‏

Dear Family and Friends,
I have 100 days left until I can give you guys a hug! I know that’s a weird thought, but it's true! Yesterday, I made some plans and goals to help me continue to work like crazy.
This week was weird. On Thursday, a few things happened that left Elder Capistrano without a companion, so he stayed in a trio with us for the rest of the weekend, and will stay with us until he is assigned another companion. This was a little wacky, as we now are responsible for his area and our area. I love Elder Capistrano to death, but I'm anxious for him to be assigned another comp, so we can get back to focusing on our area. As of now, nothing has reached us as to when or how that will happen.
One thing is good about all of this, though. Elder Capistrano had to bring his mattress into our bedroom to sleep at night (missionaries can’t sleep in their own room), which has warmed up the atmosphere in the room quite a bit. Interestingly, 3 men produce much more body heat than 2. These biting cold nights have been much less dramatic as they have been. We are considering pulling the other mattress in when the new elder gets here. Not sure if that paragraph was awkward or not, lol.
This week was full of craziness. Unfortunately, Bruno and his mother did not make it out to Sacrament meeting, thus causing the baptismal date to fall. We are optimistic that we can re-mark for the 2nd.
Presidente and Sister Lousa will replace Presidente and Sister Parrela here in about a week. I am saddened to see the Parrelas leave, as they have certainly been a huge help to my testimony-building and growth as a man and son of God. They are an incredible couple, and I will miss them dearly.
I know I didn’t say much today, but just know that good things are happening. My testimony is as strong as always, and I love you all.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Monday, June 13, 2016


Portuguese word of the day - Geada - (Frost)

Dear Family and Friends,
For the first time since February/March 2015, I am seeing frost in the mornings. As shown in the photo, we are waking up to freezing weather. (no, we don't wake up at 8:17 - That’s when we decided to take the photo.) My companion, Elder Silva, had never seen frost in his life, so he just started taking pictures of everything, lol. Even though it's really cold, at least it’s not raining. That’d be lame for a missionary. I hope I didn’t jinx myself.
Due to the cold, people just don’t seem to want to wake up to go to church. Our branch is shrinking a little bit, and that’s never good news for a missionary.
BUT. Putting the cold aside, Elder Silva and I have been working hard. We placed some super high goals, and have been pushing ourselves to reach them.
Remember Bruno? Well, he's progressing really well, and will be baptized on the 25th after all! We had, at one point last week, 9 baptismal dates marked, but no one seems to want to read the Book of Mormon and pray before saying "Uhm. I don’t want to take the lessons anymore". Actually, it’d be nice if they said that. But they just run and hide. I’m sad for them. They don’t know what they’re missing. :)
So now, it’s just Bruno and his mom who's returning to the church.

I want to share something personal. Prayer works.
Few times in my life I can say that I’ve received an immediate, distinct answer to my prayers. Many times God has let me use my faith to make choices. The majority of the time, God has answered my prayers through other people, or through the scriptures, or slight feelings that build over time, or some other delayed time; but an immediate, clear answer from God has been rare to me.
My testimony of the Book of Mormon came over time. Actually, I don’t remember when I could say: "Well NOW its true." I think it must’ve come somewhere during the time when I first read the book from cover-to-cover when I was 9. SEVERAL times, almost daily, I receive little thoughts and feelings like "Yep. It’s true. How can it NOT be true? How could this just be written by a young guy my age? Nothing compares to it. Pastors try and try to interpret and understand the Bible, studying for years and even decades and still end up with a mediocre doctrine with a bunch of holes. The Book of Mormon explains everything, and matches up perfectly."
Not to mention all the contained prophesies that are being fulfilled these last few years. I could make a very extensive list.
But.. returning to the topic at hand. The other day, I received a clear, immediate answer. I was reading in Moroni 7 and 10, and he exhorts us to pray to develop Christ-like charity. I love the people here in Rio Grande do Sul, I love them so so much; but my love still doesn’t compare to that of Christ. That’ll take a long, long time. So I knelt down to pray.
You know how people say "don't pray for patience, or you'll get situations to develop patience?" "Don’t pray for Humility, or you'll be humbled?" You can bet that I’ve had to ignore the advice and pray for those attributes several times, and uh, yep. It works. Unfortunately, it works just like everyone says it works, XD
But when I went to pray for more love, I didn’t know what to ask for. I said "Father, I don't know how you’re gonna do it. I’m not sure what situations I need to pass through to love the people more than I do. But I know that You can somehow make it happen." And I asked for more charity for the Gaucho people, and my companion, and those that I serve.
I hadn’t even finished the prayer when I was overcome with a powerful sensation of peace, love, and joy. It hit me much stronger than I thought. During the following days, I have had a change of heart and my very perception of the world has changed. It has been awesome.
I know that God is there for us. I know that Jesus Christ paid the price of sin, and part of that payment includes help and comfort when we need it. Thing is - we always need it. And when we ask, He's always there to give it to us.
I love you all.
Com Amor,
Elder Wassom

Its getting COLD!

Monday, June 6, 2016

A good week

Dear Family and Friends,
We are hitting stride. It took a little bit, but now we're moving. We're working really well as a companionship, and we're doing a good job administering for our zone, as well.
There’s a cool "miracle" story that's taking place. I'll have to be super frank. So there’s a less-active member that lives in a small neighborhood/favela about 30 minutes walking distance from the longest point in Bairro Bom Fim. Or, in other words, about two hours away from the church. It is absolutely ridiculously far away from the rest of our area, and would pretty much be a waste of time to go way on out there. So, we never set foot in that little neighborhood.
Well, this less active member, Sabrina, has a daughter that was dying of seizures, and prayed to God, saying that if He saved her daughter, she would reactivate in the church. Well. She survived. She then prayed that God could send His servants to her house. All this was unknown to us until Sunday.
During the space of that week, we were teaching Juciara and her family. When we were teaching her, some friends of hers came in. In our super "Mark Baptism" mode, we challenged them to be baptized on the 25th. They said that they would if they received an answer before then. Then we were all like "Wow! Great! So what’s your name, again?" We noted their names and their address. Uh oh. The address is in Pomares. Great.
So we finally decided to head waaay out to Pomares. When we were planning, we thought "hmm. We might as well visit everyone out there while we're in the 'hood." We planned accordingly.
The next day, we ate lunch with Irmã Angela. We asked when the bus passed, because we wouldn’t waste hours walking there. It was then when we were informed that there was a less active (Sabrina) that lived in Pomares.
We made it out to the favela. The new family was awesome. They need to get married, so the baptismal date automatically fell, BUT. They’re progressing. They said they’d hitch a ride to church from their son, but that didn’t happen, unfortunately. After the lesson, we headed to Sabrinas, without knowing what had been going on in that house-hold. We challenged her to go to church, and she accepted. We challenged her 14 year old son to be baptized on the 25th, and he accepted.
On Sunday, after some struggle to grab someone to give them a ride (no one even wants to DRIVE to Pomares), they went to church with us. When they arrived, Sabrina immediately realized that she recognized Noé, the recent-convert of the Sisters. It was then when she counted to us the story of everything that happened. Now, she is super happy and has a firm resolution to be active in the church.
It's so cool how everything in God's plan works out perfectly. I love being part of it. Shout out to my little sis. She's having her sweet 16. Happy Birthday, sis!
I love u all!
Com Amor, Elder Wassom

So there's a farewell note to Ms Logan, a broken (and fixed) shower (two and a half weeks taking "cup showers"), Our district, "mamute", Fun with Helping hands, Baptism of Noé, Activity, Elder Soares, Multi-zone conference, Three generation pic (My sons and their sons)