Monday, January 26, 2015

Coming Down the Mountain!

                                           One year of Missionary Service in Brazil has brought great JOY!

                                                 Wow!  What a difference a year makes!!

For a few days now I've officially been coming down the mountain! On Wednesday when we had Family Night with the branch one of the sisters baked me a cake and they all sang "parabéns" (Brasilian happy birthday) for me which was fun. 

Then I spent Thursday on the peak! In the morning we (I) got a bit crazy creative and we made covers for our scriptures to carry them in hand without messing them up with sweat and sunscreen and stuff which turned out super cool but everyone thinks they are presents or something haha. 

Then after a bunch of walking I took some pictures with the mountain which I've been waiting for since I got here over a month ago. And we ate pizza! I tried to put a match for a candle like one year but its kind of hard to see, haha. 


                     The "ONE YEAR" pose- yeah!!!  Made it to the "Peak" of the mission!!

                   PIZZA! (with a match stick "candle") In celebration of my 1 Year mark!!
And this week we have transfers! As everyone guessed Elder Alvarenga will be on his way out. Kind of weird I've only spent one transfer with my past two companions. My new companion will be Elder Souza Santos who was actually in Urlândia where I served and which is in our district so I've already met him and we've had various meetings together already. More info about him next week. 

Yep that's about it for this week haha, love you all até mais! (until more)

Elder Pierce
                                                Last lunch with E. Alvarenga churrasco!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Peak is in Sight!

My district with our Zone Leaders- lunch at Irma Iara's who remembers all of the missionaries who pass in the area including me.
The peak is in sight! Thursday makes 1 year that I've been on the mission yea! Lots of memories and emotions thinking about this past year. But working hard doesn't give a lot of time to enjoy the view from the top, haha. As for one year traditions there are some elders that burn a shirt (tie 6 months, suit 2 years) but I think that's crazy! haha so I'm just gonna take some commemorative pictures and maybe get a pizza... 

So its been a month since I've arrived here in São Pedro but it still feels like last week or something. This Friday we will hear about transfers ooo someone here is getting the feeling that he is gonna leave, haha. I just told him not to get sad when nothing changes because I too thought I would only stay 3 transfers in my first area. 

This week has had some blessings and other opportunities to be grateful (for challenges). There is a video called "The Atonement in Missionary Work" (translation? in Portuguese its "A Expiação na Obra Missionaria"). The video puts together two talks, one from Pres. Eyring and the other from Elder Holland. I remembered one quote in particular this week from Elder Holland: "As missionaries you will have many opportunities to ask: why is this so hard?... [Its] because SALVATION ISN'T A CHEAP EXPERIENCE!" in his awesome Elder Holland.Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Missionary Work and the Atonement"  (Click here to hear a brief message) So when we meet with investigators who have so much potential fall to temptation again, or for the hundredth time didn't come to church, or when the sun is going down and we are just praying to find someone who will listen I remember this phrase and it gives me comfort. Because, as Elder Holland explains, if this wasn't easy for the Savior why would it be easy for us? 
When the bus broke down on our way back from a District meeting

Besides the times for spiritual endurance and tests of patience Elder Alvarenga and I have also received some out of the blue blessings. Like after lunch one day getting 20 references from a member who will go and visit some of the people with us. Or at the end of the road when that last person we are searching for isn't home but the neighbor who we talked with has a brother who is a member and reads the Book of Mormon  for comfort and was very receptive to our message. Sunday was the best one, in the second hour an elderly lady and her husband came to church. We had talked with them only once for a bit while Elder Knowles (DL look at the pics) was with us and he used their bathroom. So we told her about the church and she said she would make a visit (like everybody else also says). But she actually came! and we gave a class about the organization of the Church that Christ established on the earth and testified of the restoration of this organization today with a living prophet and apostles. And she was like "My church doesn't have that... I feel that this is true. So if I wanted to leave my other church and be baptized here could I do that?" haha of course! So we are going to go back and talk with her more about it this week :)

Love you all and know that I'm praying for ya!

Elder Pierce
Our District Leader (Elder Knowles) spent a day with us

Monday, January 12, 2015

Working in the Rain or Shine (or more RAIN)

                      The heaviest rain that I've had on my mission (wringing out my tie)

The weather this month has been very consistent. It's hot and humid for the beginning of the day and has sun until lunch. After lunch comes in the wind and storm clouds. Then it rains on and off until about 6:00 and cools off for the day. But last Friday was different, as we were teaching a lesson after lunch the wind started blowing much stronger than normal and from nowhere came in clouds that were much darker and much larger than before. But we didn't mind it much thinking it would just rain for 5 minutes or so while we were at another house teaching a lesson or something. We finished that one lesson and went to some of our other plans. One plan fell through... then the other... then after the third person we tried to wasn't at home we got a bit nervous because of the crazy wind and clouds and stuff. So we decided to grab our umbrellas and plastic bags to cover our scriptures and stuff back at our apartment before trying anything else. (which of course we didn't have all that stuff because it was sunny when we went out for lunch!) As we started to go up this huge hill before the street of our building, the rain began to fall. Within 2 minutes the rain went from sprinkles to hurricane mode! With nothing more to do Elder Alvarenga and I just started to run up the hill to try an find shelter. The rain was so hard it hurt! and I could hardly open my eyes for fear that my contacts would be flooded out but the snatches that I did see where the huge sheets of rain coming down and trees looking like they were going to fall and it was just craziness! When we finally got to the top of the hill where we took shelter by some stores we were totally soaked from head to toe, scriptures and all. And when we got back to the apartment I realized that "someone" (with only the two of us I can't put the blame on anyone else...) had left the window open in the kitchen and everything was soaking wet... great (thankfully the window in our room was closed:p). So yea that was fun. 

There is a member of the high council moving into our branch from Santa Maria, Irmão Jilmor. (Brother ... I don't know how to spell out the sound just pronounce how it looks) He spends the weekends here looking for a house and such so last Sunday he planned with us to do some visits. So this past Saturday we loaded up our schedule with the best of what we got and went for it. First off it looked like it was going to rain again but Irmão Jilmor promised that it wouldn't rain until we had finished our visits, off to a good start. Each one of the three visits that we made with him were divinely inspired. Irmão did everything from testify to a man that he could be a strong holder of the priesthood to figuring out that the real reason one of our  investigators isn't coming to church is because she doesn't understand repentance fully. And he has a huge family, all in all about 100 cousins, uncles, aunts and others that live here in São Pedro. So while we were walking down the street he would stop and talk with people "oh cousin Jimmy I didn't know you lived here! how great!..." He has plans to bring all of his family to investigate the church :) yes! 

So those were the highlights of the week, Love you all and have a great week! 

 Elder Pierce                                      Some São Pedro Scenery

Our last Zone Meeting

Sunday, January 11, 2015


 Welcome to São Pedro, Brasil 


Another year has come and gone! I can remember arriving in Brasil the beginning of last year like it was yesterday. Crazy how time flies by and I think this year will go by even faster. 

This past week was a bit more difficult due to the new year with everyone traveling or had family visiting or drunk... We were invited over New Year's Eve by our investigators Dion (say it like John) and Fran (pic with Dion and I on the floor and Fran and E. A. on the couch). It's the tradition here in Brasil to eat linchilia (spelling? I just sounded it out (a type of bean legume thing)) which they say gives you luck for the New Year and pork because pigs always move forward but not chicken because chickens back away... or something like that, haha. So we had a traditional Brasilian New Year's meal with them (early because we still had to be home by 10:30) and talked about the new year and our families and showing pictures and everything which was good. Then it's another tradition here to set off fireworks at midnight but since São Pedro  is small there weren't very many, but of the little there was I got a half way good picture.  
New Year's Eve with Dion and Fran

Happy New Year 2015!!!

Any way this week I had various opportunities to ask myself "why am I here?..." and then realize "oh yea that's why" Like walking in the street for 3 hours with all of our plans falling through then out of no where this girl walks up to us and says, " I'm a member from another city you should go visit the people in that house there." Or on another occasion having 4 or 5 people be in their house (we can see them clearly) and not even attend us at the door. Then seeing the tears and light in the eyes of a mother as we explained to her where her son who passed away at birth is and when she will see him again. Experiences like that really make the mission worth it.

Sorry for the short letter but I hope all the pics make up for it! Love you all and have a very happy new year!!!

Elder Pierce
New Companion
Christmas and Santa even came!
Check out the new duds- Traditional Brasilian Gaucho Clothes

Our church building in Sao Pedro
My view of the family Christmas Skype

Sharing a Xis (Shees) Brasilian cheeseburger