Monday, October 27, 2014

9 Months!


This week like so many others has just flown by. Thankfully (or not so thankfully) the weather has been nice and dry with the lovely burning sun all week long, all hail sunscreen! I do have to admit it's a bit worrisome because it's been hot but only around 30 C (86-ish F) and about mid-December it starts to stay around 40 C (110-ish F), hoping to adjust as soon as possible, all hail reapplication of the sunscreen! 

So this past week made 9 months on the mission! Kind of crazy to think about how much has happened and how much I've changed but I can remember leaving home like it was yesterday. Elder Gois and I are finally getting a solid teaching pool together which is such a blessing. But as with everything, nothing is perfect or easy. Even the family that promised us that they would give it their all to be there at church on Sunday wasn't able to make it, oh the joys of serving the Lord. 

This past week we had one night full of teaching appointments and the only thing that we could do was schedule for 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 the lessons because that was the only time that we would have been able to teach these people during the entire week. But it was totally worth the "correria" (ko-heh-reea)(run around?). Elder Gois explained in one lesson why it was important that we have a prophet and apostles and the priesthood on the earth while I made funny faces at the two young children and peeking from behind the pamphlet to entertain and distract them. Then in the other lesson the father of the family that I explained to you the other week told us about an answer that he had to a prayer feeling a great peace and purpose continuing to have us meet with the family, awesome. And in the last lesson another family started to open up to us about their real questions and doubts about God and their situation as a family. It was a great night and a huge example of how we all need to be prepared at any moment to be an instrument in the Lords hands. 

Anyway I hope you all have a great week and I pray for all of you! 
Remember that the Lord is always there to strengthen us and make our burdens light if we always have a prayer in our heart (Mosiah 24:12-16).
Oh and Happy Halloween! which Brasil doesn't really do but I might just have to get a stash of goodies for myself, haha.


Elder Pierce

Monday, October 20, 2014

Experiences and Difficulties

Our recent Zone Conference ( I'm in the green tie to the left of the group)


Hello to everybody back home I hope yáll are doing well (exception with the Christian ankle situation). This week has been another rainy one but here in Cruz Alta we missed the worst of the storm that's been passing through the region with hail the size of eggs, what luck. And this weekend was the time change here so we took a "spring forward" which means we now wake up at what feels like 5:30, so much fun. The time there will "fall back" right? Does that affect the time difference? I'm not sure, let me know :) 

Here's a bit of a high-light from a lesson that we had with one of the families that we are teaching. The family is super nice and receive us well. The father was baptized as a youth but soon fell inactive and his wife has a "if your talking about God its all good with me" attitude and then two daughters that live at home one older youth aged and the other primary aged. Anyway unlike many of the people that we teach they really pay attention when we are talking and understand the implications of what we say. So as we were teaching the first lesson about the restoration of the gospel it was almost hard not to get carried away explaining things and keeping the focus but we get to the point where we talk about how the power and authority of God (priesthood) is again here on the earth leading to the topic of baptism. So we made the baptismal challenge and after thinking about it for a second the older daughter said yes right away. We had to explain a bit more to the Mom (the whole "but I've already been baptized" deal) but after that she was like "were gonna baptize everyone in the family!" (us thinking YEA! haha) and the father even showed great interest in preparing to baptize the youngest daughter himself (8th b-day next year I think). So that was an awesome experience that I we had to teach this family. 

And now for some of the difficulties that we have in our area. First off some of the members try to feed us too much haha. I didn't think I would have this kind of problem but there's a cultural difference where they want so badly to please you and make sure that we like the food that (at lease I feel) they pressure us into eating a lot. Elder Gois even felt sick one afternoon because of how much he ate (funny but not funny haha). Anyway now a real difficulty that we are having is getting our investigators to come to church! This really stinks but there's not much more that we can do. Even both of the families that we were teaching where traveling on Sunday. But hey just have patience right? (remembering what I said about patience last week) and more prayers never hurt :)

So yea I'm doing good down here and I hope yáll have a great week!


Elder Pierce
                              Playing Pool at a member's home on a P-day while it was raining.
                                           Ooops- we dropped the ball into their pool, haha.
                         We had lunch with Wilford Woodruf, haha. This brother really looks like him.
Storm clouds rolling in one morning.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Power of Prayer and Fasting

The beauty of Brasil- Rio Grande do Sul

I hope everyone is doing great this week! The weather here is having a hard time deciding if it wants to get super hot and humid or chilly and thunder storming which makes for great fun trying to guess what will happen by the end of the day. I figure if it's hot at lunch and there is wind it will rain but only on the days that I don't want it to. I'm just not looking forward to 40 degree C weather which is coming (100-112 degrees F) especially for the holiday season that will be weird. Oh and also the weather always decides to get hot and sunny whenever we have a service project and I forget to put on sunscreen that morning... yup. 

We had a couple service projects this week cutting grass at members houses. I like to make "friends" with the dogs at peoples houses and this time I made a new friend named Billy. And I got to go crazy with a weed whacker through a mini-jungle, the plants and weeds that grow here are different that back home which makes it interesting and you never know what has spines and such.
Going crazy with the weed whacker, yea!

I make friends!

Anyway this past week we had another Zone Conference and all the missionaries here in Cruz Alta get in a van and we travel to Santo Angelo. I love getting to see everybody and especially now because Elder Sargent (comp from the CTM the first week) is now here in the city, reunited again! haha And the trainings that we receive during the conference are always good. This time I came away with a feeling of how precious the Lords time is here on the mission and I made some goals to ensure that we could use all the time that we have to its full potential. 
In the van on the way to Zone Conference

And now to the point of the title of my post. Here on the mission I am learning much more than I thought possible or that existed about the power of prayer and fasting. As a missionary we have a lot of time to think and that means going through the thought process of if we've done enough, we are trying but nothing is working or are we going in the right direction? All things work out in the Lord's time and in the Lord's ways but that also means that we have the responsibility to seek the Lord's will. The Lord's time doesn't mean that we wait till something happens but that we pray that he will show us the right path and then go! That is what Elder Gois and I have seen in our work. The first week of this transfer we were making a ton of contacts and marking appointments with people to fulfill our purpose of talking with everyone and now we are seeing how the Lord has guided our work and blessed us for our efforts. We have been fasting specifically to find a family to help them on the path and this week we found 2! Which is pretty exciting and for sure I'll keep you all updated with that progress. Your prayers and love are always appreciated!

Love you all and until next week!

Elder Pierce
A recent baptism with the other companionship.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

General Conference in Portuguese!

Elder Gois and I walking in the street during the interval of General Conference handing out invitations.
"Come Listen to a Prophet's Voice"

Hello everybody back home! I hope yáll´ve (is that correct English?) had a wonderful conference filled weekend! To be honest I don't remember much about the rest of the week... It rained a lot and we had "fun" jumping over the mini-rivers that form in the flooded cobble stone streets down here. 

So straight to conference! This General Conference was really great and a bit different for me this time. As a new rule in our mission all missionaries have to watch conference in Portuguese. So I had the opportunity to exercise my Portuguese skills which was fun (aside from the American Sister who recently arrived here in Brasil and couldn't understand anything which was pretty sad). And I understood about 95% of all that was said, yea! It just takes more concentration than in English and there's the whole deal of the translators talking over the speaker and not actually getting to hear the voices of the Prophet and Apostles and such. Speaking of which I loved the fact that the speakers could speak in their native language, so you all got the taste of what listening to a translation is like too. When Elder Godoy (the Brasilian) spoke everybody here was really excited and it was nice to just listen to him speak instead of a translation.
Ice cream on Saturday.  We couldn't watch the priesthood session but we had to keep the tradition alive, YUM!
Here are little bits that I got from each of the sessions (in order). 1st The personal responsibility we have to be on the Lords side. 2nd Goals for the future to be the best teacher and example of the gospel in my home and serve others (shout out to the parents! woo hoo love ya!) 4th A greater understanding of what it means to sustain our Prophet and leaders in the church. and 5th How a firm base in the basics of the gospel can bring peace in our lives and blessings we have been promised. (If your wondering about #3 we were not permitted to watch the Priesthood Session and have to find time during the week to watch or download on a pin drive or something... not too sure about the purpose of that decision...) Anyway I had a great conference experience and cant wait for the next one! (only 2 more on the mission) 

Have a great week! love you all!

Elder Pierce
Elder Sargent is in Cruz Alta too!  It's great to catch up with friends.
Here's a pic of us back in the CTM (nearly 9 months ago)