Friday, June 16, 2006

Eduardo & Renata

When I was in Conjunto Ceara, my 5th area, I was introduce to a friend of a member of the church. His name is Eduardo. He said he was interested in learning more about the gospel and so my missionary companion and I taught him. He was eventually baptized into the church. His siter, Renata, was also interested. We proceeded to teach her as well and she was also baptized. They had a good time listening to me teach because I had a habit of saying, "certo" meaning "certain" or "alright" after almost every sentance. I also did it while I was speaking in church. They became very good friends of mine. Eduardo would visit me sometimes in my other areas where I was serving. It was good to see him after having been transfered. He also saw me off at the airport when I flew home after my two years of service. I shame myself to have not kept in touch as well as I should. I recieve recent news from him that he is doing well and has been called to serve a mission in Londrina, SP, Brazil. His sister has gone in and out of activity, but is now back and firm in the church. These two souls have brought me great joy in my life.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

With Great Pride and Prejudice

So many of the Brazilians I met were very kind and receptive to our messege of the gospel even though they didn't believe it. I have made some everlasting friendships with them even though we don't stay in touch to often. I felt sorry for them that they had to live in a third world country when I came from a first world, so to speak. But I was surprised to see their great pride for their country. Many would disagree with the Americans to which national anthem was better, Brazil's or the United States'. The Brazilian clearly thought theirs was better. It is more of a march-type of anthem. I thought that was silly because the United States anthem has a lot of emotion behind it. Naturally I'm biased to my own nationality, but as I step back and observe their love for their country, no matter what world it is, it is thier passion for it that makes the anthem beautiful and not necessarily the music itself.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Zona Ceara

One of my favorite areas and zones was Zona Ceara in Conjunto Ceara, my 5th area. I must say that we were a great group of guys but I feel that we had an excellent leader. His name was Elder Toone. He was one of those missionaries that was very obedient but he could still have a good time. He had a great sense of humor and he really pulled our zone together. On one occasion we had some t-shirts made for our zone. We got in a friendly competition with another zone playing soccer. Our t-shirt had a picture of a missionary kicking a soccer ball, our names on the top of the back, our number, and our nickname at the bottom. Mine was "lixo branco" which means white trash. I don't think that slang made sense to the brazilians. We had a good ol' time. Another time we had hats made for us. In our zone conferences we would have a friendly game of a scripture search. As soon as our assistant to the president said, "Busca de escrituras" we threw on our hats and were ready to rumble. We had been practicing all month. Everyone started looking at us in amusement, even our president and his wife. Of course our whole zone made it to the finals, Elder Stubbs and I in 3rd place. What a great zone it was!

Monday, June 12, 2006

I Wouldn't Want His Job!

Speaking of dangerous times and places, I am reminded of an incident that happened to one of the members of the church while I was in my 5th area, Conjunto Ceara. Irmao Santos was a big strong guy that worked with one of those armoured car transports. One day he was doing his normal pick-ups at a Pague Menos (Pay Less) drug store. Suddenly a group of men aproached and he sees one of them stick a gun in the back of his partner. He quickly reaches for his gun at his side and feels a gun put to the back of his head. Slowly he drops down while the bandits steal thousands of dollars in Brazilian money. They took one of his coworkers hostage as they took off, shooting off their guns in the mall. After they got some distance in the back of a truck, they threw their hostage over on the side of the highway as they maintain their speed. I believe he was okay, but that's quite the situation that I would not want to be put in. When his wife saw it on the news and saw his truck, or the truck pickup he works for, she freaked out. I'm sure most people would. I guess he has one more exciting story to tell his children.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Dangerous Times, But Good Memories

Some places in Brazil are not the safest place to be. There are numerous accounts of missionaries being robbed but gun or knife point. Some missionaries around the would have died due to some of these causes, and none of us were exempt from others agency. There was a time in my fourth area, Palmeiras, that we had our nerves racked. There is a season of rain down there and some times it comes down hard, even takes out the power. We were walking home one night when the power went out (it not being the first time), but in the area we were in, it spooked us a bit to be in the dark at night. The other two missionaries that lived with us had been robbed a couple times before. All of us got robbed once from our house while we were out. Someone had broken into our side door, went into our rooms, sifted through our luggage and left the place a bit of a mess. Not much was stolen; whatever money they could find or other things that were of worth that they could sell. I found it a tad hilarious because I'd never been robbed on the mission. One of the other Elders was nervous all night. I think we all were when we were sleeping. Just the slightest noise would make us jump. Dangerous times but good memories.