Monday, September 29, 2014

Bring an Umbrella

Here we are- the Elders serving in our ward.  We make a nice stair-step, haha.

Well I think down here in Brasil we are in spring. Around lunch time it's always sunny and hot but then the wind starts blowing and it rains and is cold in the afternoon. But we have a rule of thumb that if we bring our umbrellas, it won't rain while we are out walking. And of course the day that we didn't bring our umbrellas it started to down pour. So my opinion is just always bring my umbrella. 

On Thursday our ward had a Family Home Evening event and the scheme is that we go around and invite all of the less actives and such on the list who have their birthday in the month. So we invited a ton of people from the list (almost none of which came, joy of being a missionary) and there was a cake and a big balloon arch and pictures and music and it was pretty fun.
Ward Family Home Evening Event
the Bishop's family 

A note from my studies: I am reading the Book of Mormon all the way through in Portuguese for the first time! I calculated that if I read 2 chapters a day I should finish by the end of the year. Reading in another language is interesting but seeing as I've read the Book of Mormon before, I know the stories well enough to keep it all together even if I don't know what a word means (which thankfully isn't too often). Although I do have to confess the Isaiah chapters in 2 Néfi were a bit torturous and less productive. But I have faith in the "Book of Mormon Promise" and that after reading it all, my Portuguese will be on a new level! 

As for Elder Gois and I as usual at the beginning of a transfer we have great plans and goals to have many new investigators so that means we talk with a lot of people. Here is a list of some of the stuff that we get all the time in our contacts: "I already have a religion" (most common) "I'm catholic..." (like that means we´re not going to talk to you) "Ive already learned about you all" (and still call the Book of Mormon "your Bible") "I respect your work" (but no way I'm gonna listen to you) "There's just one God" (in the sense that whatever religion you follow it leads to the same place) "Just do what is good" (because any obligation is way too much). Or the various excuses that people give because they don't want to flat out say no like: "I have work tonight..." (when its 3pm) "I'm about to leave" (and we pass by the house 30mins later and they´re still there) and so much more.  But my favorites are when we talked with pastors of other churches. I've had one try to convince us that we are allapostolos and another who testifies that we (E. Gois and I) were prophets and that in his church there was a child prophet and that his wife has the tendency to prophesy (its hard not to laugh sometimes the way that people say things) and another who would say nothing more than we all as a collective are God... yup, so we just say "tchau boa tarde" (bye, good afternoon) and keep on walking.

Gotta love the gaúchos, have a great week everybody love you all!

Elder Pierce
Crackers I like to eat (customized to the name of my Mission)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Show de Talentos e Dia do Gaúcho

Cruz Alta Sunset- the clouds make the city look on fire, awesome!

Bom Dia! everybody back home!  Some awesome stuff happened back home this week. Parabens Calvin on your baptism and super cool baptism blankee! And hugs for all the family that passed through I hope you all are well and that you´ll have safe travels.

Today (Monday the 22nd) marks 8 months that I've been on the mission yea! and I hear time flys by from here, we´ll see. Transfers came in this week and I get to stay here with Elder Gois for at least a little bit more which we are super excited about! Last Saturday was Dia dos Gauchos here in Rio Grande do Sul (Day of the Cowboys) to celebrate the culture here which is pretty cool. Kindof a bummer here in Cruz Alta isn't very "bagual" (like red-neck) so we hardly didn't see all the gaúchos riding horses in the street and such but there was a churrasco in almost every house! 
Roupa Gaucha, yea!
And on Saturday our ward had a talent show. Expecting to fill in some gaps us elders planned to do a couple of acts and it turned out really well (if not a bit embarrassing,  haha). Turns out that Elder Gois is really good at juggling and juggled with oranges and eggs and I helped throw him some stuff which was fun. And Elder Rios plays the guitar super well so I sang some hymns and he accompanied on the guitar which was cool doing a semi singles ward version of Called to Serve. Also we had a little something "up our sleeve" and we made a midget named "Joãozinho" (little Johnny) with me singing and Elder Rios playing the guitar and it was hilarious because I just tried to sing whatever he started to play on the guitar (the embarrassing part) so I sang a bit of AC/DC and Red Hot Chili Peppers and then Hallelujah from Shrek which worked out the best.

Anyway I hope everyone is well and Id love to hear from ya!

Elder Pierce
                                                                  Talent Show Fun
Talent show prep
Elder Gois with his juggling talent
Elder Rios and I singing and playing some hymns
                                                  Joãozinho (Little Johnny) djo-ao-zee-nyo

Our talent show group

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Talking in Church and Singing at Funerals

THE ARMOR OF GOD (see Ephesians 6:11-18):
At the Sister's house where we ate lunch, she had this awesome sword- so of course we took pictures.
 I thought the boys would like that!

I hope you all have had a good week back home! On Sunday I gave my first talk here in the ward. I spoke of the importance of faith, hope, and charity in missionary work. That if we exercise faith we will see miracles. I used the example of when Elder Gois and I went out in the rain and even though trying to proselytize in the rain has failed so many times before we showed our faith and were able to teach a great lesson. And in Preach My Gospel it says that hope is a certainty that the Lord will fulfill the promises that he has made to us and I spoke of the promises He has made us about missionary work in D&C 11:21 and 18:16. and I used Pres. Monson´s talk about love from General Conference to show how when we share the gospel we demonstrate our love for the Lord and for others. It went pretty well I thought.

Also, Elder Gois and I are the official unofficial pianist and conductor for our ward now. Elder Gois has been trained on how to find the hymns in the piano and press play while I conduct and so that's kind of fun. Also On Sunday our Bishop´s mother passed away so this morning (Monday) I and the other elders attended the funeral service. I sang "O Meu Pai" (Oh My Father) as a special musical number and conducted the music. And it was a bit torturous at the grave site because here in Brasil all of the tombs are above ground and the plot they had was surrounded by other tombs and so they had to take out a wall of their tomb and shimmy the coffin into place walking all over the other tombs and stuff, a bit difficult to keep the respect that way, haha. 

This past Friday made 1 month that I've been here in Cruz Alta pretty crazy and this Friday now we will find out if anyone is getting transferred. I don't expect Elder Gois or I will be leaving here any time soon.

Have a great week! and a special 8th Birthday shout out to Calvin! Yea!! I love you so much! and have an awesome baptism on Saturday! Also hugs for all the family who will be visiting and who are back home. 
And don't worry Cal, we ate cake for your birthday here too, haha!
(another sister in the ward made us cake, but we ate most of it before I took the pic)

Ate mais! (until more)
Elder Pierce
Yes!  We got another Xis Calota
and had fun taking pics of the others taking pics, haha.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ruas? Mais como rios!

9/8/14                 (Streets? More like rivers!) (just pronounce the r´s like h´s) 

Happy September everyone! I'm glad to hear that the first week of school went well, keep it up! I´ll have a month here in Cruz Alta this week pretty crazy, and this transfer is coming quickly to an end. 

This week will be fondly remembered for the huge rain storms that we had. On Friday we ran to our lunch as the rain started to fall and the rain wouldn't stop! So after waiting for a while and nothing letting up we had to head out so we went to the church to use the restroom and such and hope that the rain would be merciful. On the bright side though I did have some fun taking pictures in the rain. The cobble stone streets flood and in parts its more like walking in a river than a road,haha. Anyway so at the church I was content to wait it out a little bit more because who wants a soaking wet missionary in their house right? With the encouragement of Elder Gois we exercised our faith and went out to work, still pouring down. But the Lord saw fit to bless our diligence and we even had an awesome lesson led by the spirit and all not even 10 minutes after being out which makes walking in the rain all afternoon a bit easier.
My joy walking in the rain...
Flooded street

This was a bit too much and there wasn't anywhere to go from there so we just had to walk through the puddle (pic of the pic on the cellphone)

Oh yea and a little good news Elder Rios fixed our shocking shower and we now can touch the walls yea! There was a bad outlet on the other side of the wall that the box had corroded or something but he  unwired it and wrapped the wires in electrical tape and boom mystery solved. 

 Also shout out to Mom and Nana to have a very happy birthday this week! Love and big hugs and kisses! Also here are some pics of a Xis Calota (shees) (Hub Cap sized cheeseburger) that we got one night for dinner and it was super good! with beef, bacon, chicken, heart, peas, corn, something like cream cheese... lets just say its different than back in the states but its really good. 

                                                          Enjoying our Xis Calota!!

love you all! and have a great week!

Elder Pierce
                                            Cruz Alta Pampas (rolling hills)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Feels Like Yesterday

Zone Conference in Santo Angelo

Well, another week went by here and I feel like I arrived in Cruz Alta yesterday but that I've known these people for more than a month. Also my companion Elder Gois had his 19th birthday on Friday, we joke that he now has left the deacons and can go to the teachers, haha. But things are great between us and we work hard and well together (tender mercies). We even made a musse dessert (like pudding or mousse I think?) and brought it to a member's family as a family home evening treat this past Monday which is fun because we get to eat and at the same time gain the confidence of the members (that means references!). 
Making Family Home Evening treat
We made a "1" and a "9" for his birthday.

Also this past week we had a Zone Conference in the city Santo Angelo where 3 zones get together and we have training sessions with Pres. Parrela and the assistants and such. It was a nice way to give a break in the week (and make the week fly by) and I get to see some friendly faces which was awesome and it feels nice not to be the new missionary really anymore and have people to talk with when everyone gets together.                                       
                                                                   Friendly Faces
Elder Favero (1st companion)
Elder Dos Santos
Elder Gray
And this past Sunday I got to sing again in church which went well and its becoming a custom that when we eat lunch with the members that they will ask me to give the message because I sing their favorite hymns and give a quick testimony on whatever gospel topic is in the hymn which I enjoy doing. 

Sorry this week was a bit short but I love you all and hope school is going well and a shout out to Noah at BYU yea! Big hugs for everyone and have a great week!
Elder Pierce
The missionaries fill up an entire restaurant there in Santo Angelo
And here's a weird statue we found titled Gaucho, haha.