Monday, May 26, 2014

I'm a Normal Missionary Now!

Alright so first off this past week I finished the 12 week in field missionary training program so I'm a normal missionary now! woohoo... So really I just get one less hour of study and I can't use the excuse that I'm a new missionary, haha. It was fun though because the last thing we had to do was watch the District 2 which is like reality TV for missionaries. So we made some pic poca (pop corn) and bundled up by our heater to watch it on our little portable DVD player that we have.
Oh yea and its getting cold here! It gets about 4 or 5 degrees Celsius at night and in the 10's during the day and it kind of tricks me out because hearing 4 or 5 degrees and I think below freezing but that's like 40 'ish degrees Fahrenheit (however you spell that) which I've gone through way worse but back home but I didn't have to walk for 30 minutes to get to the chapel and have the limited wardrobe we do now. But hey to make it better it still gets colder!... yay. And its weird too because I'm having memories of cold weather stuff and I know you guys are getting summer started so that's odd.
Alright so we have this eternal investigator named Ubirajara (Beer-uh-jar-uh I don't know why there's a U there it's not really pronounced at all) And he has been talking with the missionaries for about 4 years. I'm not sure if I wrote yall about him before but he is a super religious, super opinionated guy who loves his bible and to talk a lot so its kind of difficult to teach him most the time but we try. So I met him in the first weeks that I was here and he just had so many deep set doubts and problems to the point that I thought we were loosing our time. He likes the church and knows that baptism is important but for him it was so important and serious that he didn't want to feel pressed into making any decision at all and if we even talked about setting a date or goal with him he would totally shut us down. So we've gone through a cycle of him doing well to him not wanting to talk to us from him showing up at church the next day and its just kind of confusing. But really in the past week or so he has made some astounding progress. On Monday we got to his house and first off he gave me a tie as a present so that was super cool and then after he said "alright when's your next baptismal service?" and we were like "uhhhh, it could be this Saturday or the next, what do you think?" He was like "Lets make it this Saturday I'm ready to do this" so in my mind I'm like YEA WOOHOO!! but just trying to keep it cool  because I knew that there had to be more to the story.  As the world turns after his interview he still has some things to work out like a  more solid testimony of Joseph Smith but its just exciting to know he really wants to make some changes now. 
Anyway I love you all have fun starting summer! Thanks for all of your prayers and love sent my way!
Elder Pierce

ps. sorry for no pics I will repent and send some next week!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I'm the English Teacher

Just a little "horsing around" :)
 So this Thursday I will have 4 months on the mission, that's pretty cool. Anyway, this was our first week with Elder Dos Santos our new District Leader and he is super chill so things are a little more relaxed around here, but in a good way. Since I'm the only American in the house now we started doing language study all together and I teach them English. I enjoy it because they have some manual that has lessons for learning English that we go over and we read the Book of Mormon in English together.  I help with all the pronunciation and explaining what words mean and yea, one day we took one hour to read first Nephi chapter one. Its nice to be the one to know how to say something sometimes haha.

Also every Saturday we have classes of Libras (Brasilian sign language) and English at our chapel for the ward or stake to attend which is awesome (when people show up haha) And we always go but this past week the Libras teacher couldn't come so I taught for a little bit just reviewing things we had learned in the past weeks which was fun and then after I always teach the English class. So what we did this week was go over and learn the alphabet in English, it's interesting though because almost everyone here has taken or is taking English classes in school but from what I'm hearing none of the teachers actually speak English with correct pronunciation or anything. Anyway so after everyone said they knew it I had them spell their names in English and that was a good laugh.  After we had a conversation in English!... well sort of. What I had them do was everyone asked someone else a question and I would translate for them so they would ask the question to the other person in English and then I would help the other person respond in the same way so little by little learning little phrases in English that they could actually use (being careful to only teach nice words in English haha).
Anyway I'm doing good! The work here... well we just keep pushing forward with faith and just keep doing the little things to help us on the right path. This transfer is until the first of July so I've got a good chunk of time to work here in our ward still! 
Love you all! and good luck to all those finishing up school with tests and stuff. BIG hugs and maybe this week there will be a little bit more to write about haha.
Elder Pierce

Last day with Elder McCutheon and first with Elder Dos Santos
p.s. A funny thing about here is that they pronounce my name like Percy as in Percy Jackson which they know around here so that's interesting

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Blessed Mother's Day

Awesome Mother's Day Skype with the family!
 First off it was so good to get to see you guys through skype!!! Really it just made me so happy and I can tell that the other missionaries feel the same way because everyone is just happier and more smiley and it's just great, so thanks for being all awesome! 

Set up from home in NC

Set up on my end in Santa Maria,Brazil

Alright so last Monday for my birthday I got a cuia (cooeeuh) (a chimarrão cup) and straw thing and I may not like chimarrão but the cup is cool. And we went on a scavenger hunt to find a decent Brasil soccer jersey that wasn't the R$ 240 official shirt which was crazy but I got that too yay

So this Wednesday we had a Zone Conference and 3 zones came together and we all had trainings from President Parrela and the Assistants and it was great. First thing President said to me when he walked into the meeting was that I was going to sing, haha.  But I expected that and came prepared with some music and it turned out really well. But I feel like I learned a lot from the meeting and little things like how to improve my personal study which really help the day go better. And this past Friday we got our transfers information, ooo. I'm staying in the same place but it was really funny because there were a lot of jokes about fake transfers but the other American that I live with is getting transferred and another Brasilian is coming on Tuesday so there goes my English talking buddy but it will all be good and it'll help my Portuguese that much more. 

Speaking of which, it was really funny when I skyped with you guys. I didn't expect speaking English to be that hard at all, hahaha but I guess that really does show the progress so thats cool and I cant wait to see how much worse it will be in 6 months. 
Birthday letters and THANKS  Murchison Family for your letters!

So yea, there's always more I want to tell y'all but the times always working against me! Again I love you all and I hope the end of school isn't too crazy!
Elder Pierce 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Birthday!!! and Becoming a Gaúcho

First off I got my package last week thank yall so much! I’m trying to make the goodies last, haha. I got Easter for my birthday week- good stuff. Funny stories this week: so one night Elder Usieda woke up and apparently I was counting in Portuguese which I was kind of proud that my subconscious is trying to speak Portuguese. Also one day our land lord dude was cleaning the water tank on our roof or something like that and he did it wrong, so water started to flow down the side of the house and we could see it going down the window and then water started coming out of the light sockets and that was crazy but he got it all fixed up now (at least we hope haha).
 This past Thursday was the day of becoming a Gaúcho! We ate lunch at a member’s house and I had my first real churrasco! (shoo-HA-sco) which is the Brasilian meat on a spit that you would get at a Brasilian steak house, and like everyone here has a thing to cook the churrasco in and it’s a big gaúcho thing and I finally got to eat at one! It was super good and then later that day I had my first chimarrão (shim-uh-how)(nasal on the how). So for chimarrão you have this special cup and a special straw and you put in this herb that they use and you pour in hot water with the herb and then there is a filter at the bottom of the straw that you suck the hot water through and literally everyone here drinks it all the time and its a gaúcho trade mark so I had to try it and... it was awful! hahaha goodness I just didn’t like it at all ughhh it was just bitter hot water with a bad smell to me but the love it (like last week there was a national chimarrão day or something) so now at least I can say that I’ve tried it and I’m that much closer to being a Gaúcho, haha, sort of.

And then Domingo was my BIRTHDAY!!! yayayayay 20 years woohoo! And it’s kind of funny because everyone here thinks I’m at least 22 or 26 or something.  Anyway lots of people sang happy birthday to me, Elder McCutcheon and the other elders when I got up, our entire district called and sang parabéns (Brasilian happy birthday) and Elder Fávero my first companion called and sang with the missionaries at his house and so that was good. And on that beautiful Sunday morning... it was raining, joy, and here when it rains like no one comes to church so we had about 30 people instead of the normal 70ish rough, but it was all good. So the other missionaries decided to play a joke on me too, they told me that our lunch had fallen through and it was already Sunday so we couldn’t buy anything and practically nobody was at church including Irma Iara who would have helped us out and made us lunch for sure. But they said we still had some beans and rice at the house so we were going to have that and they were like telling everyone at church that lunch fell through so I started to really believe it. Then as we were walking home in the rain and I was thinking of how to rig a makeshift birthday cake out of some cookies I had, we passed by Irma Iara’s house and she had everything prepared for lunch (which was really great after fasting which here in Brasil since lunch is the big meal we fast from the end of lunch on Saturday till lunch on Sunday) and lunch at Irma Iara´s house is always the best.  We even had a cake with candles that said 20 and they sang parabéns for me and it was just a big blessing and a great birthday "surprise" haha. So today here in the centro of Santa Maria I’ll get like a Brasil soccer jersey or something gaúcho-y for a present woohoo!

Birthday lunch at Irma Iara's house

Anyway, work with Elder Usieda is coming, I definitely feel that I am progressing as a missionary and we are working better together but still things can be kind of stressful when we both feel that we are trying our hardest and all of our plans fall through and all of our investigators and just complicated and we don’t "see" results but all we can do it keep moving forward with faith!
So here I am in Brasil a little bit older and a little bit wiser (I hope haha) love you all so much and I just heard from some other missionaries that Ive got a bunch of letters at the post office! Love you all so much and I can’t wait to talk with the family this Sunday YEA!!!

Love Elder Pierce

Lots of pics:

Package from HOME!

first time almost eating churrasco at
our investgator Olmiro´s house

Churrasco- YUM

eating with the members
trying chimarrão

didn't like it but couldn't say so, haha!