Monday, April 27, 2015

More Excited than the Situation Called For, haha!

 Made it to Livramento 
(with my new companion Elder Lailson Silva)

Last night dinner and goodbyes with
Dion, Fran, Frederico, Helena and vo (grandma)

Well I made it here in Livramento! We had a farewell dinner with Dion's family Monday night, always sad to say goodbye but I've got addresses and Facebook contacts and everything. Tuesday was full with 7 hours of bus ride (joy...) 1 hour to Santa Maria from São Pedro then the long 6 hours it took to get to Livramento. (It's 6 hours because the bus stops in other cities and stuff, I think it would only be 4 hours or something straight way in a car.) It's always cool to see friends who have been on the other side of the mission after so long at the bus station in Santa Maria.

My new companion Elder Lailson Silva is really great. He has 3 months on the mission, is 23 years old, from São Paulo city, and will have 2 years as a member of the church this coming month. I was very surprised at how well he works and teaches as a missionary and sometimes I feel like I'm the one being taught by him, haha. We both like to talk a lot which helps too because once again I'm we live alone in our apartment. Our area is suuuper cool because it literally borders Uruguay! Walking to an appointment this week we crossed to the other side of the street and bam! we were in another country! (I was probably more excited than the situation called for, haha) And we made a contact with this one woman the other day and I was having a very hard time understanding her until I realized that she was speaking in Spanish! haha. I will take pictures today as we go to Riveira (the city in Uruguay on the other side of the border) which will be sweet! I feel a bit clueless at times as a district leader because I'm only doing the things that I saw others do from a far because I've never even been companion of a district leader before but it's all good and there's always another elder to answer my questions. Thankfully I've got another week to prepare until I've got to give a training session at District Meeting because this week is Zone Meeting, phew haha. 

That's about it for this week! Love you all!

Elder Pierce
all packed up

last look at the apartment
                                                   friends at the bus station Elder Favero
                          (meu pai, "My father/ first companion" he finishes his mission this transfer)
and Elder Gama

Monday, April 20, 2015

                                         Goodbye São Pedro- me in front of the church building in São Pedro
Transfers usually come out on Friday so I was kind of caught off guard when President Parrela called on Thursday morning. He made a conference call with some other elders and myself to call us as new District Leaders. But he wouldn't tell us where we were transferred to haha, but later in the afternoon we got the other call and I will be headed to Livramento! Fronteira (border) with Uruguay which is super cool because on P-day we can even go into Uruguay a bit because the border is literally one side of the street to another. The only downside is that its a 6 hour bus ride from Santa Maria, that will be tiring.

My companion will be Elder Lailson Silva, who I've never heard of, so probably he started his mission there in Livramento. This will be my first time going to the fronteira half of the mission (Santa Maria, Cruz Alta, and São Pedro are in the other half). Like I said last week its a bit sad to have to say goodbye to everyone here but I'm excited for the new adventure and the new opportunity to serve my fellow missionaries. 

Saturday was Baptism Day!
Micheline, her son Luan, Frederico, and Kauã all got in da'-wata' haha. (Due to some unfortunate timing of events Tais felt it better if she got baptized next month so the elders here will be on top of that.)  Luan and Frederico chose me to perform the baptism which was super special. Just that on Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat and I felt half sick all day which is a bummer so I didn't feel up to singing at the baptism (the first baptismal meeting on my mission I didn't sing). Everything went well on Sunday for the confirmations, another great honor that Frederico, Micheline and Luan asked me to do their confirmations. Leaving São Pedro with a bang haha especially because our branch had 61 poeple in sacrament meeting! 
Everybody at the baptism
I am astounded how the Lord has blessed us here. So yea next week I'll be in a new place with new people and new responsibilities and surely more pictures haha (the computer is too slow to sent the 40+ pictures I took this weekend).
us walking on the railroad continuing our journey

Love you all!                             
Elder Pierce
                                                              More Baptism Day:
                                                       Us with Micheline's family
us with Kauã

                                                                        me with Luan watching his Mom get baptized:)

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Blessings Continue in São Pedro

                                         Zone Conference- Santa Maria, April 7. 2015
To start off the week we had Zone Conference with about half the mission last Tuesday, it's always fun to see friends. When President and Sister Parrela arrive they always have everyone line up to do greetings. When it was my turn this is what President Parrela said to me "Elder Pierce! Are you ready to leave São Pedro? hahaha" and Sister Parrela beside him said "Yes Elder, you've been there a very long time." So this Friday when transfers come out that wont be much of a surprise... but we'll see. It will be a bit sad to have to leave São Pedro when the time comes. Especially because of all the wonderful people who I've had the blessing to help here, of course they will always be a part of my life now but still it's tough. 

But I know that the Lord is pleased with our work here and he is blessing our branch more than I would have imagined. Just one example in the 4 months that I've been here the frequency in sacrament meeting has almost doubled, from never reaching above 27 or 28 to this past week we had 52! (including 8 of our investigators) 

Elder Wassom and I after singing the duet
Anyway back to the Zone Conference, there's another missionary here named Elder Wassom who is a very talented baritone. President Parrela calls us his "tchê-nores" (tchê: ch-eh; a word used by the gauchos here in southern Brasil that refers to a person in any way like " "man" or "dude" but much more widely used) (tenors in Portuguese is tenores) This was the first conference that Elder Wassom and I had the opportunity to sing together so we arranged a duet of the hymn "Avante ao mundo" (Go forth with faith?... or something, I don't remember the name in English) So that was super fun to rip it with someone else who sings :) 
My friends E. Halverson and E. Rocha Martins who are now companions.
Elder Knowles
The rest of our week was filled with the preparations for the baptisms this Saturday. At times I feel like I'm trying to run across a tight rope, but then I talk with Elder Souza Santos and he just says "neh, just chill it's all easy" so we compliment each other well. We'll see what the Lord has in store for us this week! As of now those who will be baptized on the 18th are Micheline and Luan (the mother and son who moved to  from São Gabriel), Frederico (but not his mother Helena, because of the darn coffee...), Kauan (another nephew of our branch president whose mother decided to give him permission to be baptized), and Tais (our mission leader's... lets say "good friend" haha). Thank you all very much for all of your prayers. I feel very touched when I read that you all pray for our investigators and I know that they and we have felt the power of your faith. 

My good little cut- uuggh
And a quick story of stupidity: we were walking on the sidewalk after lunch on Sunday at our high velocity missionary pace. I was looking to the side talking with Elder Souza Santos and when I looked back to the front BAM! I smacked my face into a half way opened gate (a type of gate that opens not side to side but lifts up so the bottom half of the gate was sticking out into the walk way (which I was informed is illegal and should open pushing inward not outward)) So after some loud exclamations on my part and looking around to see what had happened our Mission leader happened to drive up beside us to see what we were doing and he took us home so I could clean up my nasty little cut below my right eye. So that sucked and my face hurts but thankfully it isn't swollen or anything and it could have been a lot worse. But the stupidness didn't stop us! and a bit after the incident we went to the chapel and I was chosen and had the privilege to confer upon Dion the Aaronic priesthood and ordain him to the office of priest, super cool experiences.

I love you all and I hope that y'all have a great week! And a late birthday shout out to Noah!!! 

Elder Pierce

Monday, April 6, 2015

Blessings, Conference & it was Easter?

 On the Friday before Easter its a holiday called Sexta-feira Santa (Holy Friday) when Christ was crucified and tradition is that you cant eat any red meat so everyone eats fish. 
So I took the opportunity to take a picture with our lunch, haha.

Another week has flown by with lots of great stuff happening. 

On Wednesday (April fools day) we got a call from another city in our mission. The missionaries serving there told us about an investigator of theirs who would be moving to São Pedro. I was a bit uncertain being April fools and all but it was the truth, haha. We helped the young mother and her 3 young children, 8, 7 and 1, move into their house and get things settled. And true to the word of the other companionship, the mother and her 8 year old son are totally ready for baptism keeping all of the commandments reading the Book of Mormon and everything. Just a bit unfortunate we had a baptism last week and due to the costs of renting a van to Santa Maria we have to space out the baptisms a bit. The next baptism trip is planned for the 18th :) Frederico and his mother Helena will be ready for the 18th as well. We are working with a couple other investigators who also may be preparing for the 18th, pretty exciting. 

And General Conference! what an awesome experience. Like Mom wrote me FAMILIES ROCK!!! hahaha I totally felt the same impression especially during the first session. I think it's funny that everybody gets a taste of what it feels like for non-English speakers all the time with the talks being translated. It takes a while to get used to and it requires much more mental excursion (at least for me) but when you get in the groove with the spirit the meaning comes across all the same. I had fun whispering excitedly to everyone around that that was my Uncle Charles in the choir too hehe. 

Honestly if it weren't for the speakers in conference mentioning it was Easter I would have forgotten. It's just one of those unfortunate mission side effects holidays: don't feel like holidays (at least in another country). Brasilians do have the Easter bunny custom and they usually buy huge chocolate eggs (like the one I bought last year... wow weird to think that that was a year ago...) And thanks to a Sister in our branch Elder Souza Santos and I even got a little treat from the Easter bunny so I had to take some pictures haha. 

Our little Easter treat

                                                         bunny imitations, haha

I love you all and hope that each of us can apply what we've learned in conference to make our lives better! Until next week!

Elder Pierce 
And on a side note from a random market purchase I got super lucky and got one of the special edition 1 real coins that they are doing for the Olympics! This one is for the long jump. Cool