Monday, November 24, 2014

Bom Dia from Brasil!!

Elder Pierce's desk-  about the work of Salvation
Bom dia! from down here in Brasil. It's not even summer yet but it's been getting hotter down here, the holidays will be super weird switching climates like that. In all of the Christmas advertisements there are people in t-shirts and shorts and stuff, wrong. And Thanksgiving this week! Its called Dia de Ação de Graça (Day of Free Acts)(dee-a dee assao dee grassa) in Portuguese and it isn't really a thing here so it´ll be a bit sem graça (without grace, or not the same)(sen grassa) this Thursday, but eat a bit more turkey for me! 

I really enjoy working with Elder Araújo he is a great missionary and I feel like we are just working together. No one is just along for the ride and we don't have to force one another to do what we should and that means the spirit is right along with us, yea! But it's funny because I have an English mode and a Portuguese mode. When we start speaking in English it takes about 20 minutes to stop starting phrases inadvertently in Portuguese rather than English and then when we make a contact or something in the street (and have to switch into Portuguese mode again) it makes for some funny language moments. But maybe this practice of switching language modes will make it less difficult come Christmas skype time (t-minus 1 month!). 

This week we had some great teaching experiences and even met a family that we are starting to teach who are awesome! We had actually already received the reference to go visit this family a month or so ago but the husband made it very clear that us visiting his family was against his religion- which was no religion. But they have gone through some difficulties these past weeks and have moved into another house and the mother told her friend (member of our ward) that she and the two kids were going to look into the church whether the husband wanted to or not and when she brought it up with him he said... yea, alright let's look into it. So that was super awesome and we had a great lesson with them about the restoration. I really was able to see the literal difference in the man that I had met before and the man who we taught. The power of Christ to change the hearts of men is true and can apply to everyone. And the mom went to church on Sunday!!! which is a miracle because the parents of the husband came to visit Saturday night from another city.  That's why he didn't come but it would have been so much easier for them just not to come, but they came!  And she had a great experience and they will come to a ward family home evening this week and the kids will already participate in the primary program next week, woohoo!  

I know the Lord answers our prayers and that this really is His work that I have the privilege to take a part of.

Love you all so much and have a great week and Thanksgiving back home!

Elder Pierce
This is our neighborhood behind me.
That's our apartment building in the middle/top. We are the 2nd floor on the right.
We switched rooms in our apartment because it turns out that missionaries a couple transfers back switched, so its a bit weird after 3 months of sleeping in the other room.

Monday, November 17, 2014

New Companion and New Responsibilities

My new companion and I after Stake Conference this weekend.

First week of the new transfer! To start things off here's the story about getting my new companion. They told us that he would get here 10:30 pm on Tuesday night, a bit weird but whatever. So Tuesday morning Elder Gois and Elder Rocha Martins were packing up all their stuff and we were cleaning the house a bit. Around 11:00 am we get a call from a Sister in our ward saying that she found an Elder waiting there at the Rodo Viaria (bus station?) an Elder Araújo so we were a sort of caught off guard and ran down to the bus station to pick up my companion. Another thing, in our mission we have an Elder Santos Araújo, Elder Araújo Souza, Elder Araújo Lima, and just Elder Araújo (the last name is pretty common here in Brasil). So who we thought was coming was Elder Santos Araújo who Elder Gois knows and is "my age", but who they told us was coming was Elder Araújo Souza (they mixed up the names on the transfers list) and who it actually came was just Elder Araújo. So he isn't the Elder that I explained to y'all last week.

Elder Araújo is from Brasilia, funny enough the same ward that Elder Fávero my first companion is from. He will have 5 months on the mission this week and this Saturday makes 10 months for me, kind of crazy. So the day went on and we had to pick up other Elders at the bus stop so they wouldn't be alone and dropped others off and Elder Gois said some last good byes to people until it was finally time for him to be off for Santa Maria. It was a bit sad to send of Elder Gois who became my good friend for the past 13 weeks together but I can already tell that Elder Araújo and I get along great and we will work awesome together

So this week has been a bit different for me with a new companion and that feeling when we start to plan... and now what?... haha but with time I'm sure it´ll get easier. We are going to have to do a lot of work finding new investigators and following the spirit especially because this transfer is only 5 weeks and that means just 4 more to go, wow. Elder Araújo has great energy and isn't afraid to talk with everybody that we see so I know we will have success. And a cool bit, he actually worked as an English teacher so for language study we have just been conversing in English and reading the Book of Mormon out loud in English. He is practically fluent (but he wont tell you that haha). 

Anyway so many stories to tell and never enough time! Love you all hand I hope you enjoy the pictures this week!

Elder Pierce

There's a big cuia (koo-e-ya) statue here in the city that Elder Gois and I took pictures with
(cuia traditional cup thing that gauchos drink Chimarrao from)

Pics from a Noite Familiar (Family Home Evening) we had as a farewell 
for Elders Gois and Rocha Martins:

We sang I am a Child of God together.
 Here are pics of a game we played at the Noite Familiar (family home evening) where one tie is rat and one is a cat and when you get the rat tie you have to make 2 knots and pass it on but when the cat tie comes to you you only do 1 knot and then whoever gets caught by the cat while they are still tying the rat is out, super fun!

Action shot!
Rocha Martins and I seeing who was actually out ( he tried to pass me the rat before he finished , haha). 
The new crowd in the house (two Americans now). :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Lord Giveth and The Lord Taketh Away

Farewell to Elder Gois (for now)
As expected the time for Elder Gois here in Cruz Alta as my companion has come to an end. This week he will be transferred to Santa Maria and I will have a new companion Elder Araujo from São Paulo capital. A bit funny because Elder Araujo is from the same group as Elder Gois and so we have the same amount of time on the mission and we will probably leave the mission at the same time too. It's not too, too common to have a companion your "same age" but now I'll have two, interesting. So Tuesday all the moving and traveling will happen and the rest of the week will be helping Elder Araujo get to know the new area. 

I have felt so blessed to have served with Elder Gois for these past 3 months and it'll be a bit sad to see him go (especially now that we have a new rule in the mission that we can't email any other missionary in our mission... no personal comment) But I'm sure that the work will go on and that we will get to see each other again at a zone conference or something and at least when we are returning home. 

This past Saturday we (Elders Rocha Martins, Rios, Gois and I) had the awesome opportunity to be on the Cruz Alta radio! There's a radio station that people from the community can sign up and just talk on the radio for an hour and the missionaries have been putting on a program for a good time now and so this time it was our turn. We prepared an awesome message with the theme "O que esta faltando em sua vida?" ("What's missing in your life?") and we used the lesson "The Gospel" that we as missionaries learn in PMG Ch3 ( click here to read more ) with the 5 points Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End to answer the question. It worked out really well and we divided all the topics and played it out as a conversation between us. My part to explain was about baptism and I talked about the baptism of Christ and sang the primary song "Baptism" and half way scared the radio attendant guy who was on the controls because it was kind of loud and he wasn't expecting that, haha. 
Radio Station sign
Putting on the radio show
Me singing "Baptism"

Anyway I am looking forward to working with Elder Araujo and finding many for new investigators! (As the subject states the missionary work here has been much of the Lord giving and a bit sadly taking away through free agency.)

Anyway love you all and have a great week! 

Elder Pierce
All of us with our Bishop and his family ( Elder R* tall Elder* was transferred too).

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Weather Plays Jokes With Me...

I finally found a sign that says "Welcome to Cruz Alta" ( I don't know what Erico Verissimo or whatever it says there is)

Hello family and all! I loved seeing all the fun Halloween pictures. Here in Brasil they don't really do Halloween but most people know about it from American movies and such but think that it's not actually a real thing we do, haha. But some of the kids in the city dressed up for festas (parties) at school. I took a picture with one of my little buddies, a son of one of the families we teach, who was a super hero.
Me and my Super Hero friend on Halloween 

Anyway so spring here in Rio Grande do Sul has been pulling my tail all week. Usually before we head out for the day without intentions to go back to the house (which is at least a good 20-30 minutes walking from our area) it is cloudy and windy outside which means we have some options. It could either clear up and be sunny and hot the rest of the day or it could mean more chilly rain. So we just have to guess and deal with what we've got the rest of the day. So of course I chose wrong a couple of days. On Halloween I had a certainty that it would rain so I put on a long sleeve shirt and brought my umbrella (not putting on sunscreen expecting to stay under the umbrella) And just as we were leaving lunch the sun came out and it got hot and I knew that meant suffering for the rest of the day... (you can see the difference in the picture with me at the sign which was after lunch and then with my super hero buddy at the end of the day). Then the next day when I wasn't going to let the weather get the best of me I did the sunscreen and used short sleeve and everything just to have it rain all day. Go figure. 

This week is the last week of the transfer and we´ll find out whats gonna go down on Friday. We have the feeling that my time with Elder Gois is winding down, but nothing is for certain! 

Also a note from my studies of The Book of Mormon, in Alma 15(:6-12) the healing of Zeezrom (at least that's how you spell it in Portuguese) made a real impact on me and I learned a bit more about two important principles. 1) How our faith and 2) the will or purpose of the Lord are both needed to work miracles. But one without the other "não dá"! (doesn't work) So everyday look for the guidance of the spirit to see the will of the Lord and put all of our faith into every effort and we will see miracles.

Love you all and have a great first week of November! (crazy!)

Elder Pierce
We had another Ward Family Home Evening with a cake and such for everyone that had a birthday last month.
(I kind of hit my head on the table as I did a "super cool" slide into place, haha)