Monday, July 28, 2014

Open Your Mouth and It Is Filled

Hello Everyone! 
We did all the normal stuff this week. The only problem is that it has taken a turn for the cold and nobody wants to open their door for it seems cold paralyzes Brazilians, but we are working with that.
In other news, my companion’s hands are fine now. We went to the hospital last Monday. After waiting two hours they called him in and did a blood test that we had to wait two more hours for. It was actually two and a half because they forgot to call us for a half an hour. Then they gave him two shots (one in the rump) and a prescription for cold medicine. As much as he understood, they didn't say what was wrong with him, but he is better now so I won't worry about it. Hospitals in Brazil are a bit different.
This week I learned what they mean in Doctrine & Covenants when it tells you to just open your mouth and it will be filled. We have been teaching a family for a couple of weeks now.  It is a mother and son (advanced in age) who live together. They have been trying to quit smoking but the progress has been slow. They like all the stuff we are saying but they weren't sure if they wanted to get baptized yet. The last couple of times that we have visited them, I have just been reading scriptures from the Book of Mormon that come into my head when they ask things. I haven’t really known where I was going with it.  Then yesterday I asked them when they would feel ready to be baptized because they said they didn't feel so. They said when they quit smoking they will be ready.  I really have no idea how that happened but it is very true.  I really had no idea where I was going with any of the stuff I was saying but it just worked out.
Then we were teaching a woman and we had decided to teach her the plan of Salvation. For no reason at all, I spent about 10 minutes talking about the fall of Adam which is really a small point in the overall lesson and then she started to ask a bunch of questions about the stuff I had said (because it was different from everything she had ever learned). Then I realized that what I had said answered one of the questions she has had since we began to teach her.
Then we were teaching a less active member and I didn't know what I was going to say to her at all in the lesson, and so I just read a scripture and shared a story that was just the first thing that came into my head.  After that she said that she knows that for her to be happier in her life, she has to start keeping the commandments.  It was what we had been trying to teach her for weeks but all of the sudden she accepted it.  I never thought that would happen from the story that I shared.
Please understand that I do not share these stories to brag or to show how great of a missionary I am.  In every one of these stories I had no idea why I was saying the things that I said.  I just opened my mouth and it was filled.  It really works.  I couldn’t ever believe that I could do this whole missionary thing without God's help because I have to ask people to change their lives completely everyday.  I don't do miracles, I just get to watch them happen.  That is really awesome.
I hope you all have a good week.  I love you all!

Elder Russell 

Monday, July 21, 2014

They Are Out There!

So this week was kind of cool. We met a Mom and her kid (who is 50) this week and we began to teach them. They went to church this week and Jose Luis, the son, told us that he really wanted to quit smoking and had been trying for years. We are going to help him. There really are people out there who want help but just don't know where to find it.
Another person we met was a woman named Fabiana. She has been looking at many religions and is basically just disillusioned with the whole idea of religion now. We told her about prophets and she said that if she knew there really was a prophet on the earth today, she would feel a lot more secure because she could know what God wants for her and her family. There really are people who just want a little bit more in their life and they just don't know where to find it. They are tired of all the solutions the world has offered that don't really work out too well. That is why I am a missionary, to try and help the people who are looking for the gospel.
In other news, my companion has some kind of malady of the skin on his hands and feet and I hope it isn't contagious.  I don't think it is. I will deal with it because he is a good cook.
This week we had a meeting with the Branch leadership and they are trying to give us a lot more support now. I hope it happens like they want.
We are teaching classes in English and Spanish (because there's a Chilean here). Basically no one is coming but we are going to give it a little bit more time. I find that teaching English is really complicated.
Those are some thoughts for you, but I really don't have a lot to say this week. I had a good week. I hope all of you did as well!  I love you all!

Elder Russell

Monday, July 14, 2014

Why Do Brazilians Think That We Look Like Germans?

So Brazil lost the world cup, which really wasn't a big surprise to anyone that was honest. From the scores, they really hadn't been playing very well from what I hear. But I really don't think anyone expected that they would loose 7 to 1. That was a little extreme. The only problem now is that everyone thinks that we are Germans because anyone who is blue-eyed and blond-haired (my companion) looks German to Brazilians. I don't really know why but that’s okay.
In other news our world has returned to normalcy. Nobody is crazy in the streets and there aren't going to be more fireworks (well at least there shouldn't be). And we are just going to continue talking to people. This week was really quite amazing. We have started saying a prayer and asking where we should go to find more people to teach. When we do this and then go to the place we felt strongly about and start knocking on doors, without fail, within three doors someone has let us in, if not two. God really knows where we need to be; but like in all things, he gives us what we ask for (if its good for us). If we don't ask, we often don't get it. So we just asked and it has been going pretty well so far.
I don't have much more to say this week except that grating a pound of cheese with a knife is a bit annoying.  I included a picture of the American pizza we made and I will have you know that I grated all of cheese for two of these pizzas with a knife.

 I hope you all have a good time this week doing whatever it is you are going to do. I know I will. I love you all!

Here is a picture of my zone.  It is a lot bigger now than when I arrived.

Elder Russell 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Seven Months . . . But Who's Counting

I finally received the package from my family. It was quite satisfying and I am enjoying the shampoo the most I think, even though I have to be careful because the ants that live in our bathroom seem to like that kind of shampoo. We have a colony of ants that live in our bathroom I think; but that is okay because they eat the cockroaches. 
So this week was a bit crazy because we spent a lot of time not working annoyingly. We had interviews with the mission president so we had to travel to another city for that and then Brazil had to play in the World Cup again so we had to stay inside that day for the most part. But despite these troubles we are trying to do our best. 
As a missionary it is interesting to spend a lot of time in the same city as I have done here. People seem to be very open with missionaries. People have told me things after an hour of knowing them that they say they would never tell to even their family. Sometimes this is good, other times I didn't want to know, but I guess that is just part of the work. The other part about serving in one area for a long time is that you begin to know the city very well.  I think I know my half of Votuporanga better than some people who live here. Then it is even crazier to think how much more there is to discover in Votuporanga, principally the people. I still have an awful lot of people to talk to in this city. Maybe I will have to stay here until I talk to them all or something. There is obviously something that I am forgetting to do here because its been a while.
In other news, there will be another Brazil game this week, but it could very well be their last because they are playing Germany. However, if it isn't, they will go to the finals. That would be crazy. I guess I will just try and do my thing even with all this crazy stuff happening.
That is about all that is going on this week. I hope you are all having a great week and that the next one is even better.  I love you all.

Elder Russell