Monday, August 25, 2014

Festa do Peão

Well when a city has a party, it is not fun for missionaries. We have been restricted to working only during the day while the Festa do Peão is going on because everyone is either drunk, sleeping off being drunk, or sleeping so that they can go out at night and get drunk. I guess there are a bunch of people who just went travelling because they didn't want to be here right now, though. 
But this has been a good experience for my companion and I as far as growing is concerned.  I have certainly learned that being a missionary isn't really about success but about effort.  In a world where results are what seems to measure our success (because effort is impossible to be measured objectively by humans), God measures by effort.  It is also important to remember that if we are really applying a good effort, we will have success usually; but sometimes as a missionary it is not so. To take away someone's choice to choose is a miracle that not even God can do. The words of the hymn come to mind, "do what is right, let the consequence follow." The consequences will come so lets just work.
I love you all and hope you all have a good week!

Elder Russell

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Deep Breath Before the Storm

With the Festival of the Peão beginning this week we seem to be in the deep breath before the storm here in Barretos. The streets are pretty barren and people are pretty hesitant to let us in. Things get pretty crazy during the “festa.” There are a lot of robberies in the city so people are pretty careful but it was still a good week.
We ran into a bunch of old Brazilian coins that a guy gave us. My companion is a coin collector (like a hard-core coin collector, he has a catalogue of his collection at home), so he was very happy. We also are teaching a 15 year-old who never really had any kind of religion in his life until now.  It is really cool to see him change little by little.  He is a bit lazy so it is difficult to get him to listen to us, but little by little it is getting easier. The last time we went there, he actually wanted to read the Book of Mormon with us. It is really cool to see people change. It is nice to make a difference for someone.
I hope you all have a good week.  I love you all and wish you happiness.

Elder Russell

Monday, August 11, 2014

A City of Bulls

Everything in Barretos has a bit of cow imagery.  My companion and I were joking that if they built a temple in Barretos, it would fit right in because of the cows under the baptismal font. The big rodeo is coming up which means there are less and less people in the city.  A lot of people leave the city for vacation and the people who are coming to the party haven't arrived yet. Next week it will get crazy.  It sounds like people just come here and get drunk for ten days. I am not looking forward to that bunches and bunches, but that is life.
Getting transferred is really cool because you get to meet a lot of new people and see a new perspective on stuff.  The ward here is pretty awesome if it is small. They don't have a chapel yet but we are working on it. They have a lot of growing to do still, but we are going to get there. We have found some cool people here and I am excited to teach them.  Overall,  things are looking good for my time in Barretos. 

I hope you all have a good week and I love you all.

Elder Russell

Monday, August 4, 2014


Hello everyone! So first things first, I was transferred! I am in Barretos now. This is the city where they have the Rodeo World Championships. It is about the same size as Votuporanga but it only has one set of missionaries. So it is all ours. It also feels quite a bit like Wyoming because of the cowboy-type influence. At the end of this month there is going to be a big festival here and there will be visitors from all over the world. But... we have to stay inside because people are pretty crazy about festivals and sometimes people get really drunk and forget their clothes. 

My new companion's name is Elder De Queiroz. He is from Bahia which is kind of like the Texas of Brazil. I am very excited to start off in my new area but I don't know a lot about it just yet.  I guess I will just end here and wish you all a good week! I love you!

Elder Russell