Monday, October 26, 2015

A Stormy Vacation

                                                    On my way to Santa Maria 10/26/2015

The time always flies by when there are exchanges and during this past week there were two! After district meeting on Tuesday I went with Elder Campos in my area so that Elder Longo could go with Elder Araújo (our District Leader) which was all good seeing as we live in the same house, no traveling involved. 
                                                               our district meeting
                                              I don't know why we did the YMCA pose...
                                       (and neither does Sister C there in the front, haha)
But on Wednesday I we had the exchange with the assistants of the transfer so that means a lot of bus time... ughh, so I headed out 11:20 and arrived in the city around 3:20. A good old friend Elder Rocha
Exchange with Elder Rocha Martins
(we lived in the same house back in Cruz Alta a year ago)
Martins was waiting for me there and we went straight to work, but the day turned out to be more of a stormy vacation than an exchange, haha. There have been a lot of crazy storms passing through the area of southern Brasil that have caused a lot of damage to many houses. We had a service project planned to help an investigator of theirs move out of their house which was literally falling over. So we switched clothes back at their house and headed out but just when we got there the rain started to fall. Before we were even able to fill one truck load the crazy thunder and wind came rolling. Because of all these crazy storms with hail and lightning etc. Pres. Parrela has made it very clear that our safety is in first place so... we were stuck there in the falling down house with the family haha. 

After a good time waiting to see if the rain would die down we decided to sprint in the rain to a near by members house, the rain was so hard running down my face I thought my contacts would fall out. Thankfully we were awaited there by towels and something similar to a "pig-in-a-blanket" that the irmã was baking, yumm. But alas the storm wouldn't calm down so after another wait we had to go walking home in the calmer-ish rain, all in our service project clothes haha. By the time we got back to the mission house and changed clothes it was 8:00 and we only had time to go to an appointment they had marked with a family of recent converts for dinner! (which was very welcome seeing that I didn't have time to eat anything for lunch haha) 

But yeah, that was our little vacation and Thursday I was back on a bus 12:10 to Santo Ângelo where I arrived very tired of bus rides at 4:00. Also this week I completed 1 year and 9 months on the mission! pretty crazy especially because that means I have less than 2 months down to go... wow 
                                 gotta celebrate 1 year and 9 months with only 2 months left!

I hope y'all have a great week! Love ya family :)

Elder Pierce
                                     coming in through the mountains (out the bus window)
                                                              cool view of the city
more city shots

Monday, October 19, 2015

Keep on Rolling!

                                                                         Zone Meeting
Well things never seem to stop here. We had the other half of our zone meeting with Santo Ângelo and Santa Rosa on Tuesday. Since the Missionaries from Santa Rosa had to come in early in the morning they didn't have anything to eat for breakfast so Elder Longo and I made them pancakes that we brought to eat at the chapel before the meeting started. Maybe they didn't turn out so good but it's the thought that counts right? haha After the meeting I was able to stay in my own area this time to do an exchange with a new American elder. I realized how far my Portuguese has really come my time here in the mission...                                         

Anyway Elder Longo and I are working hard we've got some great investigators in sight to be baptized and some new investigators are popping out right before our eyes it seems. So when it comes time to chill out at home we all like to laugh and joke a lot. Elder Longo has this big horn called a "berrante" (bay-hans-chee) which he uses to beat box on occasion hahaha.
                                                Elder Long getting funky with his horn

                                             he was doing beat box horn style hahaha

On Friday I traveled to São Luiz Gonzaga to do a baptismal interview for the elders there. Due to the timing of the buses I was only able to travel back to Santo Ângelo on Saturday morning. but it was cool
Elder Smith (on the left int he photo)
said that he met Noah out at BYU, small world 
because they bought be a hot dog and I found out that the American there, Elder Smith met Noah out at BYU, small world haha. This week I will have to go to Santa Maria for an exchange with the assistants which will be cool but a bit tiring (4 hours on a bus there and then 4 back) and expensive! But well see how it goes :)

Love you all family!, sorry the email was short I hope this week finds you all well!

Elder Pierce
                                                the weather is getting better...ish haha
Hotdogs with the Elders in São Luiz Gonzaga

Monday, October 12, 2015

6 Days and Counting...

                    Us at the Zone Meeting with Santiago and São Luiz Gonzaga (half of the zone)                  

Hello family! I have to give a shout out for the super exciting news: PARABÉNS Elder Noah Pierce in your call to the AUSTRALIA BRISBANE MISSION!!! I gave a big WOO! here in the lan-house when I opened the email haha and I'm still amazed, Australia... that's just too awesome :) 

Anyway so this morning was the first time that we saw the sun in about a week, and it didnt even stay too long.
                                                  (this is the view out of our room's window)

 Today is the 6th day and counting that it's rained which makes everything harder but you've just gotta deal with    it :/ Elder Longo and I's trip last week went well. We arrived in São Luiz Gonzaga on Monday around 7:00 pm, time enough to do some contacts at random in the city and even teach a lesson which was funny because neither Elder Longo or I had been around the city before. But then when we got up early to head off for Santiago on Tuesday morning the stinking bus went super slow and we had to run to get to the Zone meeting in time 10:00am.

Besides running in late the meeting went really well, Elder Longo talked about the importance of new investigators and I talked about baptismal invitations. It was cool to explain about how Christ could be with us in our lessons as we used the scriptures, His own words, to invite people to be baptized. Anyway, afterwards we both stayed in Santiago to do exchanges with the 2 companionships of elders that are in the city. I went with Elder Wassom (the American doing thumbs up on the left'ish side to the front in the zone picture) who is the district leader in Santiago. The exchange went well, I told Elder Wassom "Elder, the first 20 contacts are yours, if you don't do them I will!" (because one of the areas evaluated during exchanges is talking with everyone) Obviously I helped too but it was cool because we went talking with everybody that we saw and at the end of the day we really did get 20 adresses of people to visit that we did contacts with in the street :D so that was a good experience. 

Elder Longo and I reunited the next morning and returned back to Santo Ângelo early Wednesday (the pics of us in the street and the bus etc.) which meant that we had a lot of work to catch up on in our own area... which the rain didnt help with. But yea thats about it haha, This week we have the other half of the zone meeting here in Santo Ângelo with Santa Rosa and with more exchanges and rain to come.

Love you family! and I hope everyone has a good week :) 

Elder Pierce 
                           Elder Longo and I walking in the street on our way back from Santiago
                                view of the street from the front window of the bus in Santiago
 it went dark again and in this pic it's raining but you can't see it, haha

Conference Overload, too good!

We always do a big group shout "BAH-TCHÊ-ZAR" 
(Pres. Parrela in the corner there)

Well this first week of the transfer has been super busy. My new companion Elder Longo arrived 7:30pm on Tuesday and we were already back on a bus 5:00am Wednesday heading to Santa Maria for the Zone Conference. Elder Longo is from Americana, São Paulo, besides being close to the end
meu companheiro now Elder Longo
he is very much "alive" haha here in the field. We work together great and I'm sure that this month we will have good results. It's cool to have an experienced companion because from the beginning the lessons we teach are super good and things flow really well. 

Anyway back to the Zone Conference it was funny because there were new American missionaries who had arrived in the field that day and so I served as the translator for one of the elders. It was fun to translate but it also takes up all of the brain power so I didn't really retain much, haha. But one of the things that Presidente Parrela talked about was the "prophetic emphasis" that the leaders of the church are putting on keeping the Sabbath day Holy. And that was strongly reaffirmed in the General Conference. 

I was super excited to see the 3 new apostles called, Elders Ronald A Rasband, Gary E Stevenson, and Dale G Renlund. And I loved what they did with the hymn the Spirit of God, way cool, I think that was the first time they did solos at conference. Four things that called my attention during the conference: 1) again the emphasis that they put on keeping the sabbath day holy, wow I think that at least half of the speakers touched on that, I even as a missionary am trying to think of how to be better now, seeing that we practically keep every day as the sabbath. 2) To do our part and trust that the Lord is with us in our work and service. 3) Elder Stevenson and Elder Renlund when they bore their testimonies spoke about how the Lord uses the simple and weak to preach the gospel and how our callings really don't have to do with us and how the Lord qualifies who he calls, cool. 4) And I felt that many speakers also talked about how we can seek answers through the spirit. So much conference, I loved it :) haha 

Now I've got to get running back to home because Elder Longo and I will be traveling to do half of our Zone Meeting tomorrow. We leave Santo Ângelo 5:00pm and will spend the night in São Luiz Gonzaga then tomorrow (Tuesday) we go with the elders in São Luiz to Santiago where we will have the meeting and do exchanges with the district leader there. We will finally come back to Santo Ângleo Wednesday morning, what a rush but it'll be good :)

Love you all and have a great week

Elder Pierce 

  Pizza before Zone Conference Tuesday with the elders from Santa Rosa
                                       Pics with former companions at the zone meeting:
                                                                       Lailson Silva
                                                                      Santos Araujo