Monday, May 26, 2014

Elder Andrew's Past Two Weeks in Brazil......

Birthday/Easter Package finally arrived!!!!!!
Here is last week's email, followed by this week's.......

Dear Family!

Man I feel like I was just writing you guys yesterday.  This week flew by so fast.  That stinks to hear that the Honda broke down on Nate and Phil in Elko, Nevada. (What's there to do in Elko anyway?) I guess I'm not so jealous that Nate got the Honda anymore. But I'm glad that they made it safely to Provo, and are moving on with things. It's good to hear that you guys are getting back into the normal routine of work, callings, and exercises, etc.  I'm glad to hear that you are helping fellowship your friend.  I read this book called "The Power of the Everyday Missionary" and it's a fantastic book that helps members become better at sharing the gospel in everyday settings.  It talks about the idea where sometimes we go to people and say what the gospel can do for them; but the book suggests that instead of just explaining the blessings of living the gospel, we should help them experience it for themselves with opportunities to serve others.  People will feel the Spirit more powerfully when they have opportunities to serve others.  So whenever you are doing something for your callings, invite a friend or less active member to help out. That way they feel what it's like actually living the gospel. 

We had a good week this week. We got to the registry with Antonio and Ivanilde and got everything sorted out with only a limited number of set-backs. But Heavenly Father knew it was important so he helped us overcome the little issues. When we got to the registry they asked for Elder Barreto's and my ID's because we were the witnesses. Unfortunately there is a date on my visa paper that I carry around that says it's only valid for 180 days so they thought my visa expired and didn't let me be a witness.  But we were so lucky because that same day there was a mini-transfer at the chapel nearby for the american missionaries who got a refresh course at the MTC here in Brazil, after waiting for the visa for a long time (Elder Bond my comp from the MTC was in that group; he finally made it). So we went there, grabbed another elder with a current ID to be the witness, so everything ended all right. We set a date for the wedding on the 19th of June, which I probably won't see because transfers is the 10th.  But I'm happy that everything is working out and I'm so happy for the progress of that family.  This week we also worked on finding new people and working on our teaching pool. We're trying to see who's progressing and who we need to leave for a little while.  Also, this week we got in contact with Paulo again.  He said that he couldn't go to church last week because he had unexpected visitors the past two Sundays when he had planned to attend.  But this week he came to church, and we have a lunch planned with him this week. Paulo is the kind of person that I was talking about earlier. He want's to help and he want's to serve and if he gets that opportunity, he will feel more of the Spirit and seek it more by coming out to church.  I talked with Bishop about immediately giving him some sort of responsibility, so we'll see what happens. 

Other than that the week was pretty normal. Work, work, work.  This next week we get to see Elder Anderson, so I'm super excited for that.  I'll let you guys know how that goes. Oh, and just a heads up. I'm starting to have a little knee trouble.  Nothing serious at the moment, but I'm taking precautions. I think I was getting the problems because both of my shoes were basically destroyed (see pic), so today we went to 25 de Março and I bought two new pairs of shoes.  I'm also doing knee excercises that President and Sister Tanner gave us to keep them from getting worse.  I'll keep you guys updated if it starts to get worse. 

Anyways I'm glad that everything is going well for you guys. I'm so happy to be here in Brazil helping my brothers and sisters come closer to Christ. Until next week!

Elder Schwartz

Badly worn out shoes -- 2 year warranty???
Rua 25 de Março - Big Shopping!

Dear Family!

Well, it sounds like you guys had a good week this past week!  It's good to hear that you guys have fun plans for Memorial Day.  So, the package that you guys sent to me finally came!  Thank you so much! I loved all of it, and everyone in our house loves it too!  I'll make sure to share the love with everyone.  Ahah! 

So remember when I said we were going to get to see Elder Anderson?  Well......about that..... so apparently all of the bus drivers and police of São Paulo thought it would be a good idea to go on strike on Wednesday, so the devotional with Elder Anderson got cancelled, because it became too dangerous to leave our houses, so we had to stay inside most of the day.  Everyone in the mission was so upset.  Apparently, this whole World Cup thing is wasting a lot of Brazil's money, so a lot of people are deciding to go on strike and protest.  It's all over with now.  The strike and protesting stopped that night and we got out to work normally, and we got in a few appointments.  Here in my area it's not particularly dangerous, so there really weren't any problems with the strike and everything, so just to let you guys know -- I'm safe and you don't have to worry about me.  But I think this won't be the last strike because the World Cup is coming soon, and many people aren't really too happy.  We'll see... I'll be sure to keep you all updated. 

Other than that major let down, the rest of the week was good. We had a meeting with the stake president which was awesome as always. We got to correlate with him and he gave us a mission.  He gave me the assignment to give a talk at stake conference about how missionaries and members can work together in reactivation, and then for us to focus on these next two weeks to reactivate someone together with the members.  So for these next few weeks that is going to  be our focus.  We have already started by talking with various members and making plans with them to work with people like Regiane or Paulo or other less-active members.  Our bishop did something really inspired yesterday, which was awesome.  There was a lot of empty space in the pews yesterday at sacrament meeting, and a lot of people that should have been there, weren't.  So bishop got up to the pulpit after the last speaker, and invited all the members to think about these people that didn't come and to immediately go and visit them and tell them that they were missed.  This theme carried on into the Elder's Quorum, as we talked about the people that didn't come and made plans together to go visit these people.  It was  sad that so many people didn't go to church yesterday, but there was a great spirit that was felt, when the ward came together in unity to find those lost sheep and bring them back to the fold.

I'm running out of time today (I'm always so rushed), but thank you so much for all the letters and love!  I'm super excited for this upcoming week and all the good Elder Barreto and I are going to get to do!  Thanks for all of our prayers and support!  I know that this is God's work and I know that His priesthood keys are here on the earth and that these keys are real!  I love being a missionary and I love this opportunity I have to help as many people as I can here in Brazil!

Love you all!
Until next week!
Elder Schwartz

With two brother's from the ward who are leaving on their missions now....

Text message that Elder Anderson's meeting had to be cancelled

Elder Schwartz's invitation to speak at his stake conference meeting

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