Monday, October 28, 2013

Loving Brazil

Elder Andrew Schwartz near the "Football" field 
Dear Everyone!

It sounds like you guys had a pretty exciting week.  That Halloween activity looks like a lot of fun.  I hope a lot of non-members were there ;).  It's good to hear that everything is going well with everyone.  OH, and yes I got the package...I actually got it my last week in Planalto and I forgot to tell you (sorry!) but thank you for all the treats and the pictures! Everything here in São Caetano is awesome...difficult, but awesome.  It's not really that it's difficult, it's just that people here are a lot more closed than they were in Planalto, but we're getting creative and finding new ways to get more investigators. 

Usually we have been spending the majority of our time finding new people to teach. Here, knocking doors isn't really effective because no one is home, so what we do is we walk on a busy walkway in the middle of one of the main streets and we stop everyone that passes by and converse with them.  Usually these people aren't interested in hearing a message, but what a lot of people are interested in here is learning English, so we have these invites that we give to people with the address of the chapel and the time of English class . So our goal here is to get a lot of people inside the chapel as much as we can, not just with English class, but with soccer, and with other activites that will bring more people to the chapel itself.  Another thing we are doing is we are writing notes in Books of Mormon with the address of the chapel, the schedule of church, and our phone number and we're going to leave them at the bus stops around town. We're just starting this little plan out, so hopefully in the future it will bring us more investigators. 

Book of Mormon to be placed at bus stops

Elder Fernandes is doing well, he's a really fantastic missionary and he has a gift with talking to people.  The only thing is that he is not very confident with the doctrine of the lessons yet, but with time and practice, he'll be a stud and a half.  Unfortunately, yesterday and Saturday he got a virus so he was in bed most of the time.  We were, however, able to attend all the church meetings, and today he is feeling a lot better. Yesterday we went to church early, which might have been a mistake only because I got asked to give a talk on the spot.  It worked out really good though, I had about thirty minutes to prepare a little something and I spoke on the role of faith in doing missionary work, and what things we can do to strengthen our faith to do this wonderful work. 

Some highlights of the week would be:  firstly, we were on our way contacting a reference that we got, and when we got to the house we knocked the door and a man came out and told us that the reference lived in the back.  So we knocked the back and found out she wasn't home so we decided to go back to the man, named Alex, who we had spoken to, and then we offered to leave a message with him.  He accepted and we left with him the message of the resoration of the gospel.  It was a really good lesson and the spirit was strong.  We invited him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, to know if it's true.  We also invited him to be baptized when he knows that these things are true, and he accepted that as well, and we have a goal for him on the 10th of November. This upcoming week we're going to follow-up with him and see where he's at with everything, but I'm really looking forward to our next lesson with Alex. 

Another highlight of the week was when we had a really good lesson with a less-active ward member named Paula, and her son Johnny who is not a member.  Paula has been less-active for quite some time, but she knows that the church is true and she has a testimony of everything; she just has a lot of difficulty giving up coffee and she feels embarrassed to go to church because she feels guilty about doing some things contrary to the church teachings.  Paula asked a lot of questions about salvation and what would it be like after this life and what would happen to her if she wasn't keeping the commandments.  She knows she needs to keep the commandments and give up coffee, she just lacks the faith to be able to give it up.  This upcoming week we're gonna help her strengthen her faith and help her see the importance of going to church.  We're hoping that as she starts to return, Johnny will go with her and we will be able to help him have that foundation in the church.  

Those are pretty much the really good highlights of the week, The district is still doing well.  I conducted a training this past week where we worked on helping investigators who have difficulties:  going to church, living the law of chastity, and paying tithing.  It was a really good training, and I feel that we all learned a lot.  For our area, because we have some difficulty getting people to go to church, it was especially good for us.

Anyways, it's good to hear that all of you guys are doing well and that everything is going great in good ol' Martinez.  I just want you all to know that I love you guys and that I know that this church is true.  I know that we have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and that through this gospel and the Atonement, we can be freed from the burdens and guilt that come from sin and be able to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. I hope you all have an amazing week!

With love,
Elder Schwartz 

Yummy frozen acai treat that a member bought for Elders Schwartz and Fernandes

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