Monday, August 31, 2015

Not Only in our Dreams!

                          Elder Navas and I on the bus to Santiago for Zone meeting last P-day

So here's the big news of the week! On Wednesday morning in a casual call to Elder Sargent (MTC companion and current secretary of the mission) ordering more pamphlets of the restoration for our zone Elder Sargent stopped me mid-sentence and said "Elder Pierce! you'll never believe what Presidente Parrela told me right now!" me: "what?!" him: "Presidente moved the transfer date in December from the 22nd to the 15th" At this point I was thinking oh great, for sure we will leave the mission in the middle of the transfer in January or something crazy like that because I can't go home any earlier than the 23rd. But then Elder Sargent continued, "So Presidente Parrela asked the mission department about us and they gave the OK to send us home on the 15th too!" I was speechless... I'm coming home on the 15th of December! 

To be honest I had some mixed feelings... it means that not "only in our dreams" but in real life too I'll be home for Christmas! and without the crazy rush that I was imagining on Christmas-eve. But that also means that I will serve my mission for 1 year 10 months and 23 days, only from 2014 to 2015, which feels a good bit less than 2 years at the moment, but this wasn't my decision and they didn't even ask our opinion , so I just have to accept the will of the Lord in my life and for my mission. But then comes back to excitement I'll be home for Christmas! And its was officially official when I got the "email da morte" (email of death) today telling you when you the date when you will go home. It's super weird to think that the end is really coming soon but then again we don't have much time to think here in my area haha.
Half of our zone

Last week's traveling went well and this week will be just about as busy. I took lots of pics of us on the bus traveling to Santiago for "Part I" of our Zone Meeting
                                  my old friend and companion Elder Alvarenga is in our zone
                                                       On the way back to Santo Ângelo 
thats how pretty much all the trip goes...

and of this creepy mannequin named Juan that the missionaries of Santiago have in their house where we slept Monday night. It was quite funny when I went to the bathroom and saw that black figure with a knife in its belt in the shower, everyone died laughing when I yelled, haha good laughs.

                                                   how we found "Juan" when we woke up
And of course we can't go on an exchange without buying something good to eat and taking pictures :) 

This week we have "Part II" of our Zone Meeting here in Santo Ângelo and the other elders from Santa Rosa will come down to join with us. Then obviously to take advantage of the timing I will stay here in Santo Ângelo with the District Leader in Santa Rosa to do an exchange an Elder Navas will be off to the other area. Crazier yet will be the next day on Wednesday when Elder Navas will have to go from Santa Rosa all the way to Santiago to do a baptismal interview and probably wont be able to get back here to Santo Ângelo until Thursday morning because of the darn... timing of the buses to get back. And all of this while I'll have to prepare the baptism of one of our investigators, meet with the Mission leader, finish teaching the last lessons, plan with the bishop certinho, plan the baptismal interview etc. Pretty crazy that with all of this traveling and stuff we still have to get our own work done too!

Anyway I love you all and have a great week!

Elder Pierce 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Super Busy!

                                                         Elder Navas my new companion!

Hey Family! Sorry that this email is a bit short. This being the first week of the transfer we had to do a bunch of relatórios (reports?) and update everything for the zone. And seeing as our zone is the largest in the mission that took a bit haha.

The new comp Elder Navas!
 I'm having a great time with my new companion Elder Navas! A bit about him, he is from São Paulo, São Paulo and is 26 years old. He already graduated from college with a degree in fiances and President Parrela had him as the missions financial secretary for about a year haha. Elder Navas has 1 year and 10 months-ish on the mission and so he is heading home pretty soon, he is trying to not let his mind go crazy with all the stuff that involves going back home, his work, fiance, family etc. It's my job to help him not die haha (its called dying when you loose focus at the end of the mission) 1 year and 10 months sounds like a lot until I remember that this past week I also completed 1 year and 7 months... wow. Elder Navas and I conversate super naturally and it's fun to hear his stories haha so we laugh a lot and it's great to teach with him too, só poder e autoridade! (only power and authority!)

Mission Council
I can already tell that this transfer will be really busy. After getting back from the mission council late
Tuesday night we planned out all of the trips that we will have to make for the zone meetings and exchanges, not even to mention the baptismal interviews that will come later. This week we have Zone meeting with one half of the zone. We are going to take a bus to Santiago 3:00pm today (about now) and we arrive there 8:55pm (the bus stops a lot in other cities) and we'll sleep there tonight. The elders from São Luiz Gonzaga will come to Santiago the next morning and we'll have the Zone meeting. Then after I will travel back to Santo Ângelo with the jr companion of the LD in Santiago and Elder Navas will do the exchange there in Santiago and the next day he with do another exchange in São Luiz Gonzaga. Then finally Thursday morning the jr form Santiago will return to his area and Elder Navas comes back home. Yea that's all a bit confusing and was a huge head ache to figure out and that's only this week! haha so I hope that made sense and that's how I'm doing! We planned the Zone Meeting this morning and the theme is "Study the Doctrines Deeply not Deep Doctrines" haha 

Love you all!!! and have a great week back at school and all, until next week!

Elder Pierce  
A random weird flower that I think should be in the movie Avatar (the blue people)
                                                           Goodbye Elder Santos Araujo
                                                                       us eating a xis

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Wacked Out Week

A pizza for the goodbyes of Elder Santos Araujo 
and the other Sister who is leaving too (the one on the far left)

This week was very wacked out with lots of odd and different stuff that happened. After an exchange that I had with Elder Belleville on Tuesday I woke up Wednesday in the early morning with stomach pains. Uh oh that's right, so I spent the entire morning with bad stomach virus stuff throwing up diarrhea etc. (And this had to happen the week after Dad asked me if I had been sick from the food and stuff yet and I said no haha thanks for jinxing it Dad) In the afternoon I decided to take some anti-diarrhea medicine that I've had with me since the beginning of the mission, which did what it said it would do but shortly after I was overcome with exhaustion and body pains etc. and I knocked out until around 8:30 when I finally woke back up I had a fever of 100.7 F and read on the side effects of the medicine "drowsiness, tiredness, dizziness" and to ask a doctor before use if I had fever. So I was like (excuse my french) "oh crap" (haha it's funny after) Elder Santos Araujo was a good sick helper he even make me chicken noodle soup when I woke up at night. So besides the fact that I think the second half of the day I was suffering more the effects of the dern medicine I just took some Advil to help the fever and in general, went to sleep and woke up much better the next day. On the bright side this was the first time in my entire mission that I've had to stay home because I was sick which is pretty lucky. And I hope that I will wait another year and a half or more to throw up again too. 

It was a good thing that I got better because I had to travel to Santa Rosa that night (Thursday) for a baptismal interview which went well. And when I got back from the interview around 10:00pm I came into our room and I saw the transfers sheet on the desk! (As zone leaders we are emailed a spreadsheet with all the missionaries and where they are and where they will be transferred to etc. so that we can call everyone to tell them where they were transferred to.) So I grabbed the transfer sheet and here's the news: I'm staying here in Santo Ângelo but I'm gonna have a new companion who is another old friend named Elder Navas. He was my zone leader back in Livramento while I was district leader so that's a bit funny that now we are working together. He is nicknamed the bishop of the mission because he is 26 years old haha but he's a great guy and I already know that we get along well. 

Anyway so the next day, Friday, Elder Santos Araujo had to travel early in the morning to São Luiz Gonzaga to do some baptismal interviews there. But we didn't have any time to plan our day or even mark with anyone to stay with me until Elder Santos Araujo would come back. So I scrambled calling some people and thankfully we have a guy who is preparing to leave for his mission in a bit and he's already left his work and everything so that he can go and so he was available all day to stay with me. And it was a good thing too because some wacky stuff happened with the timing of the interview in the other city with Elder Santos Araujo and he wasn't able to get back here in Santo Ângelo until 8:00pm. Also that was my first time "alone" in the area having to lead everything which is good practice seeing as I'll have to show the entire area to my new companion. But yea between being sick and traveling and baptismal interviews and all my week was kind of wacked up and I don't think this next week will be much calmer traveling to Santa Maria for the mission council tomorrow morning and having a new companion and all that great stuff that we do as missionaries :)

Anyway Love you all and have a great end of the summer!

Elder Pierce

Monday, August 10, 2015


                                                                       Baptism Day
Answer to the puzzle :)
It was so good to see all of the family and special guest Spencer at the skype session yesterday! Just a few of the high-lights from the conversation to keep everyone filled in. The answer to last weeks puzzle is that probably I'm going to be home for Christmas! (using the lyrics to the Christmas song (I'll be home for Christmas) President Parrela will probably send us home on the 23rd of December which means that Ill arrive on the 24th on Christmas Eve! Elder Sargent (MTC companion, we are the only two Americans who have this visa problem and will be leaving at the same time) as I said is the executive secretary of our mission so he is in charge of buying all of the passages for people going home etc so he is keeping me in the know with the situation and so this is the most likely thing that will happen he said. 
We bought pizzas one night when it was Elder Belleville´s (behind me) 
sister's first night in the MTC here in Brasil.

Also I'm doing great here in Santo Ângelo. We had a baptism this past week of a young women named Ana Paula whose been waiting a long time to be baptized. Her parents came too which was an awesome support for her and the baptismal service went smoothly. The sisters from our ward and I sang a special musical number at the closing that went great. This week on Friday we get the news if anyone will be transferred. It's super weird to think that I only have 3 transfers left on the mission and if they pass by like this one has then já era! (its already over) 
                                                           traditional after baptism xis
                                               Us, the missionaries in Santo Ângelo ward

And here are the lyrics and a rough translation of our mission hymn that I sang:

Do coração do Sul (From the heart of the South)
Ao Rio Uruguai (to the Uruguay River)
Com saudades lembramos os pampas sem fim (We fondly remember the rolling hills without end)
Sob o céu deste Sul do Brasil. (under the sky of South Brasil)

{ Refrão }

Não há, não há noite mais azul, azul (Theres no night more blue)
Do que as noites do Rio Grande do Sul. (than the nights of Rio Grande do Sul)
Não há, não há noite mais azul, azul (Theres no night more blue)
Do que as noites do Rio Grande do Sul. (than the nights of Rio Grande do Sul)

Se ouve ao longe o vozear do multirão (You can hear in the distance the voices of the crowd)
A gauchada toda canta uma canção. (a bunch of gaúchos all sing a song)
Desce a garoa como um véu no coração, (the mist falls like a veil in your heart)
Todos se apressam acender o seu fogão. (Everyone hurrys to stoke the fire oven)

Eis que a grande obra já começou. (Behold a great work has already begun)
Fé, esperença, caridade e amor (Faith, hope, charity and love)
Fazem-nos prontos para a ceifa de Deus, (prepare us for the harvest of God)
E salvação trazer aos escholidos seus. (and salvation bring to his chosen)

{ Refrão }

Não há, não há noite mais azul, azul (Theres no night more blue)
Do que as noites do Rio Grande do Sul. (than the nights of Rio Grande do Sul)
Não há, não há noite mais azul, azul (Theres no night more blue)
Do que as noites do Rio Grande do Sul. (than the nights of Rio Grande do Sul)

Nós soldados do Senhor (We soldiers of the Lord)
Batalhamos sem cessar (battle without stopping)
Reunindo o rebanho do Salvador (reuniting the heard of the Savior)
E a luz ao gaúcho levar. (and to bring the light to the gaúcho)

Santa Maria,
amada Missão, (beloved mission)
Nos ensina a alcançar exaltação. (you teach us to reach exaltation)

But yea that's about it haha I'm excited that the next time I see everyone it'll be in person! So have a great week everyone, hugs and love from down here in Brasil.

Elder Pierce

Brasilian Father's Day (Skype Pics):
                         me the fourth time trying to install skype on the other laptop- Frustration!
                                                          Some of the skype gang

                                               trying to remember words in English, haha

Monday, August 3, 2015

Time Flies When You're Working Hard

                                                      Our district here in Santo Ângelo 

This transfer has been going by really quickly... but that is normal I guess. All of the older missionaries say that after 1 year and 6 months time just flies by. I am now another testimony to that. Elder Santos Araujo and I are working a lot down here and expect good results daqui a pouco (in just a bit). In our district meeting last week our district leader Elder Belleville, um grande amigo (a great friend), gave the treinamento about D&C 4:2  "Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day." He invited each of us to chose one of the four (heart, might, mind, or strength) this week and study how we could be better in that specific area. I really enjoyed my studies about strength. I feel that strength in this scripture closely relates to diligence so I focused my studies on the scriptures listed in PMG Ch 6 about the attributes of Christ on diligence. They are really great scriptures and there are many blessings to obtain through our diligent service to the Lord, and I hope y'all will like them too. Preach My Gospel- Chapter 6: How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes? 

Wednesday I was off to Santiago for another exchange. There wasn't a bus straight from Santo Ângelo to Santiago so I had to catch a bus first to São Luiz Gonzaga and wait there until then next bus came around to my destination. But it was alright to wait at the bus station for an hour or so because it gave time to do personal study. It was fun to talk with Elder Capistrano because he and Elder Alencar had met before the mission and so we talked a lot about that. And when I got the the apartment there it was funny because they said that they had the most bagual (wild, untamed, manly) bathroom in the mission. When I walked in it was all pink, hahaha (I forgot to take a picture). 

As always it's a bit exhausting to travel and such but I think this week I get to stay put here in Santo Ângelo. On Sunday we were invited into the combined youth class to help them answer questions that people ask about marriage etc. It was a great way for them to learn about the doctrine behind the little things that people always say like "I'm only going to have kids after I have my doctorate and house and everything" (just one example). But even we learned a little something in the class with the youth because the teacher was talking about her own experience about finding a husband. She said that when she saw the eyes of her future husband light up as he talked about his mission and how she could tell that he loved his experience and served the Lord well she knew that he was the one! Note taken. haha

Well family I am super excited to be able to skype with y'all this weekend! I'm sure grateful for Brazilian Fathers Day haha. But before I go I might have some more great news to share when we talk! Here's a scrambled up tip, let's see if you can figure it out:

(all caps to not give away first words, each sentence is scrambled separately)

Love you all and until very soon!

Elder Pierce

Brazilian Father's Day!

                                                                On the bus...  again    

SURPRISE!!! The 9th of August is Father's Day here in Brasil and we are now authorized to Skype our families on this day too! Honestly I didn't believe it when I first read the email  but its legit! I don't know if this is a thing just in our mission or others too but whatevs. So prepare the Skype session on the 9th family! I'm quite excited to be able to see y'all again so soon :)

Me with Elder Cardoso the district leader in Santa Rosa  
Other than that the week went by well. On Tuesday I went back to Santa Rosa to do an exchange with the district leader there, accompany their district meeting, and do 2 more baptismal interviews for them. We had some great experiences and a day with baptismal interviews is always fun. Also it was cool to see the idea that I took to the mission council, to accompany the district meetings better giving everyone a half sheet with guided practices to do and additional studies on said topic, being applied in their district meeting that I went to. It was a bit exhausting to catch the bus 6 am two days in a row there and back but it's gotta be done. 
Santa Rosa is where a kid's TV program star named Xuxa (shusha) was born hence the
"rainia dos baixinhios" (queen of the shorties).

This week I travel to San Tiago do do another exchange on Wednesday. I will be with the junior companion who arrived in the mission at the same time with my son Elder Alencar so that will be fun and Elder Santos Araujo will be with the District Leader back in Santo Ângelo. This week Elder Santos Araujo and I had many great experiences. We are working with a great investigator who actually lives in a small neighboring city called Entre-Ijuís. She is a college student whose member aunt from Portugal came to visit and brought her to church about 2 months ago. She received an answer to her prayer that the church was true and she knows that she is totally prepared to be baptized. But the frustrating part is that even knowing all that she still is a bit scared to be baptized. It's more of a fear that she will mess up after the baptism and that she still depends on her dad to drive her to Santo Ângelo to come to church. But I know that all will go well, just prayer and patience, haha.

Love you family and see ya soon!

Elder Pierce