Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Came and Christmas Went

             So Christmas is over and now we have the New Year. This week was long and a bit difficult. Unfortunately, Brazil isn't really big on holidays, I don't feel like. People don't really want to be bothered on Christmas, but we did our best. Most people for Christmas just have a BBQ and get drunk like every other Brazilian holiday but we still got a few things done.
             My companion and I also managed to catch a bit of stomach problems. I have lost count of the number of times I have gone to the bathroom today, but that is probably too much information.  
             Good stuff still happened.  We continued working with a couple named Marcelo and Germina.  Marcelo is a member of the church but he hadn't gone in years.  His wife Germina isn't a member.  We found them knocking on doors and they have gone to church the last three weeks and Germina is going to be Baptized January 10th. So that made the week worth it to see them progressing.       
             So the week was good and difficult.
I Love you all!

Elder Russell

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas is Coming

         So Christmas is coming. We had the Christmas conference for the mission.  The only problem was that the mission is so big (lots of missionaries and chapels are smaller in Brazil) that there wasn't anywhere to have all the missionaries meet, so the conference was divided in half. It was a bit sad since there were some people that I wanted to see that I didn't get to see.  However, it was still fun.  The Mission President and his wife gave everyone a fruitcake because that is a very traditional present in Brazil. But in reality not very many people like fruitcake (because Brazilians are people too),  so they were chocolate fruitcakes which have chocolate chips in them instead of candied fruit.  Needless to say it is a lot better.
          Other than that, we continue teaching.  We ended up re-dividing the area of the ward between us missionaries because the old division was not a good use of our resources. This week will be a bit easier because we used to live almost an hour walk from the area where we worked and now we are a bit closer so it will be a lot less walking. 
          I continue to enjoy Franca, the rain has stopped but it is still quite cool.  Even on the hot days there is a nice cool breeze. So basically it is the perfect area to work.
          I almost forgot, as well. that I got my Christmas packages that my family sent me.  I really enjoyed the foods all of which don't exist here and I am really trying to eat it all soon.  Food really is quite different here, and shoes as well.  Although that is completely another story but quite appropriate for Franca.  But I won't talk about it today.
          I love you all and hope you all have a good week!

Elder Russell

Monday, December 15, 2014

Franca is Cold!

        Brazil is a cool place but industry is something that is very lacking at least in the region I am in.  In Barretos they make nothing, just have a party once a year.  And in Franca they make shoes.  But I believe that close to Sao Paulo there is a bit more industry.  Here just about everyone works in factories to make shoes.  If you look in a lot of places you'll see people making the shoes. They are high quality since they are hand made and everything.
         Every day except Sunday that I have been in Franca it has rained.  Which is good since there has been a bit of a drought in the region.  But people still complain about the dryness.  That is just human nature. People will complain about the drought conditions until there is a flood warning. I have been enjoying the rain. It is a lot better than walking in the sun. 
          I have decided that I probably have to repent and take back my not-so-friendly comments about being a district leader to sister missionaries because I found out this week that I had been misinformed, and I am in fact district leader to sisters. I guess God is calling me to repentance.
          But this week was a very good week.  Since the ward we are serving had had only one set of missionaries and we have made that two, we have basically just been knocking doors all week.  However, that was a very blessed activity this week since were able to find two families who were members but had not gone to church for years by just randomly knocking on doors; and one of them went to stake conference which was this week.  We also found another family who we starting teaching and they said they would go to church and actually went without any problem which is really quite rare.  So this was quite a good start to this area.

          We also had a baptism of one of the two investigators that we inherited from the other missionaries (because they used to work in the area that is now divided between us).  We only taught him twice but it was really cool to get to know him and see the change that the gospel had already made in his life.  And he chose my companion to baptize him which was pretty cool since we had known him such a short time.
          But anyway, I love you all!  Have a good week!

Elder Russell

Monday, December 8, 2014

One Year and Then I Leave

         So transfers have come and I have left, Rio Preto that is.  Not that I ever actually served in Rio Preto but I was always having meetings there so I know it quite well.  But after basically one year there, I am now in Franca. This is the first time I am serving in a city that has more than one ward/branch—Franca has five or six. I am not sure.  And for the first time, I am going to be serving in a city that has an actual church building.  This means I might actually have cool pictures in front of the name of the Church.  That will be cool.
          My new companion is Elder Mendes. He is from Curitiba.  I continue to be district leader so I continue to do that bunch of stuff; but at least I am still not district leader to Sister Missionaries so I dodged that bullet (everyone always says that is terrible).  I am quite excited overall to work here.  It seems nice. 
          It was sad to leave Barretos though.  Jarbas bore his testimony in testimony meeting which was pretty cool because he really hates speaking in public.  I will miss him quite a lot and his family and everybody else but that is how it goes.  I was the missionary for the people who I found. I guess its time for the missionary of someone else to start working there. 
          I hope you all have a good week!  I love you all!

Elder Russell

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lots of Stuff Happened


          So since a lot of stuff happened this week I will just summarize.  First, we went to the Parque of the Peao this week and took a bunch of pictures. It was quite empty because nobody goes there when there isn't the rodeo going on.  But it was cool to see everything.  
          Then we worked a bunch the whole week.  We are just about done with Elder F. Silva's training and I think my time in Barretos is also coming to a close.  I don't really have any reason to believe that but transfers are next week, and I feel I will be leaving. Then. . . nobody knows... except the people in the mission office and I am not one of them.
          We also had a baptism in the ward. Carlos Eduardo baptized his son, the kid with the most faith I have seen.  Because they live in another city, he wanted to be baptized in the swimming pool there, and the Bishop let him. That means I got to witness the first baptism performed in the city of Gua­ra.  It’s nice to see history. 
          That was my week.  It was good.  I feel like this letter was a bit short but I think I covered the basics.  I love you all!
Elder Russell

Photos:  So there is the photo of the baptism last week (Hudo) that I didn't send, and for this week the baptism of Brandon.  The other is from the Parque do Peao with Jarbas.