Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August 28th - A Real Letter

Hi Family and Friends,

Firstly, last week´s letter was weaksauce. I know. I heartily apologize for that. But cutting the letter short really was worth it (for me). I´ll tell you more about the story in a bit. First off, I really do need to see a picture of Jacob´s hair. You keep telling me all about how awesome it is, without sending any proof. Gotta back up them words. Also, Mom, you´re not a librarian this year? When did that change? I´ve been telling all my comps that my mom is a librarian. I don´t really know how to explain a Learning Legos teacher, so I guess I´ll keep saying that you´re a librarian. 

This last week we moved houses. We still work in Barão Geraldo, but now we live in the neighboring area, Amarais. We catch the bus every day to go to and from our house. This usually works pretty well, especially because we can now use the bus to go to every single place in our huge area. It´s a good. Also, our house in Barão Geraldo was really small, and this house is giant and way nicer quality. We also live with 2 other missionaries, Elder J. Santos, and Elder Zañartu. I´m grateful for the move.

I said last week that I would visit the house of a rich guy, and I really did, 2 TIMES this week. The name of the man is Lincoln Martins, and he´s our Stake President here. He´s a multi-millionaire, and he has a house that´s giant and looks like the temple, but he´s actually a very humble and wise man. We had a Brazilian BBQ there last P-Day, and he grilled the meat himself. He has a small soccer field and a tennis court in his back yard, so we had a good time playing some sports. Then, because our lunch this Sunday was with one of the members of the Stake Presidency, we were invited once again to a special lunch in the Martins home. It was pretty incredible to watch a multi-millionaire ask each of twenty people what they wanted to drink, and then watch as he served every member of the party. It shows once again that in the Lord´s church, we are not ever called to be served, but to serve others. I got to enjoy some high society this week, but also and even higher example. 

Hopefully in these next weeks to come, we´ll have some more baptisms here, but at the moment, the baptismal font has gone quiet. We´ll keep working, and everything will work out all right. Here in a few weeks, I´ll have been out here more than a year! Who would have thought? This is my 50th letter home. Crazy. I will succeed!

Elder Murray

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22nd - In a hurry

Family and Friends,

First of all, I have to ask your forgiveness. The message this week will be really short because I have to go visit the giant mansion of one of the richest men in Brazil. 

We moved houses, and we´re in a way better one right now. And now I have to leave! Next week I´ll write a big long one!

Sorry, gotta go!

Elder Murray

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15th - Marriage, It's what brings us together today

Family and Friends,

At least here in Brazil nobody calls me Elder Murphy. It´s all Moohay here.

This week was rather fantastic to be honest. As I have said, marriage is often our greatest enemy here in Brazil. To be baptized, you can´t be living with someone without being married, and everyone does that here. There´s a lot of bureaucracy and nobody wants to pay the fine to get married, so people just get together. Luckily though, this week, we beat this foe. Let me tell you a little bit about the story of Felipe and Viviane.

We met Felipe one day searching for less-active members. We were knocking on all the doors we had in the ward directory, and it was pretty disheartening. Normally the person isn´t there, or moved, or doesn´t want anything to do with the church. But Felipe was different. He told us that he was looking to return, and that he would be in church on Sunday. I thought little of it, because a lot of people tell us that they will go to church but then never show up. Then, that next Sunday, Felipe was there. We, of course, started visiting him, and he told us that he wanted us to teach his "wife", Viviane. She was a little timid at first, but then she started to participate, and she went to church too. We went to the government office, marked their marriage date, and the rest is history.

The marriage of Felipe and Viviane! Hooray!
Baptizing Viviane!

This Saturday, Felipe and Viviane were married and Viviane was baptized. I have really learned that miracles are real, and that families can be forever. As we went to the temple with them this week on Wednesday, we all felt the Spirit really strongly. One of the ordinance workers came up to us, and bore his testimony. He then told the story of the conversion of his wife, and there were many similarities with Viviane´s own conversion. I know that the Church is true, and that we have to Gospel of Jesus Christ here again on the Earth. Nothing happens for coincidence. It all has a reason. I'm thankful to be a missionary, and I really am happy here. I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Murray

A little Usain Bolt in honor of the Olympics in Brazil!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Aug 8th - New Comp, New Transfers, New Stories

This week I received my new companion, straight out of the CTM. His name is Elder Mauricio and he comes from Bahia which is a really hot state where they like peppers, weird food, and parties. I've included a picture of Tuesday when I picked him up in the mission office. He already served a short term mission in Bahia, which is a thing they do here in Brazil. You act as a missionary in your home state for 5 weeks, and then you go to the mission like normal. This means that he´s already really good at missionary work for a new guy, so I won´t have a ton of work to do here. We are going to have some good times together.

It really is weird how different Brazil is from the US. You would think that they are both pretty developed countries, so it shouldn't be too big of a difference between the two, and in the big picture there aren't that many things that change. But when you get into the details, everything changes. Sure, there are trees here, but the types of the trees are completely different. Sure, there are cars here, but you find very few of the same models here that you find in the US. Sure, they have malls here, but the way that everything is done is different. Even the smallest banal things have huge differences. Not to mention the language, food, and all the other changes. Even though I've been here almost 11 months, I don´t really feel like I've adapted yet. 

This week I've been really grateful for repentance, and the fact that we can change our lives. Even though we all make mistakes, the Lord forgives us. Every single day we fail on small things, but because of the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ, we don´t have to go around carrying these failures on our back. We don´t have to go around with the same stained spirit, full of sadness and remorse for the things that we did wrong in the past. Because of our oldest Brother, we can have an assurance that one day, we can forget all of this. One day, we can break free of the mistakes of the past. One day, we can gain new life. And one day, we can live with our Father in Heaven again.

Elder Murray

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1st - Missed My Shot and Noob Training

Family and Friends,

Thanks for all of the letters and updates. It´s always a pleasure to know what´s going on with you guys back home, although it bugs me that you only started to do cool things in the family reunion when I left. You've still got corn dogs and taquitos though, so that´s all good. Partying it up in Zion.

I´ve already made this joke once, but here in Barão Geraldo it´s also Zion. This week we ate a ton of churrasco (brazilian barbecue), because everyone decided that it´s BBQ season here, so fire up the churrasquieras. It was really good though, and I´ve been eating a ton. That´s all right, because I´m still really skinny for the time being. We didn´t baptize anyone this week, but we have a few families that are getting really close, so here in a few you´ll be getting more pictures of people in white. 

To explain the title, you guys all remember how I said that I would be killing off Elder Costa this transfer? President Hill was wrong, as it turns out, and Elder Costa still has another transfer, so I missed the killshot. Some other guy will be killstealing too, because Elder Costa will be leaving, and I will be getting a new missionary! I´m super hyped up! I´m not sure that I will be able to do everything that I have to to teach him, but I will follow the Lord´s guidance and I hope to learn as much from him as he learns from me. He´ll be a Brazilian too, because there are no new Americans coming in this transfer. I´m really excited! I´m glad that the Lord has put his trust in me.

Unfortunately, I will have to cut this email shorter than normal, because our zone was the most baptizing zone in the mission this month, and the President is paying for us to go Go Karting this afternoon. Thanks for all of your love and support, and have a great week! I will succeed!

Elder Murray