Monday, September 26, 2016

September 19th - I'm a painter now!

Family and Friends,

It sounds like homecoming was a well-rounded and cool experience for the whole fam. I always enjoyed homecoming when I was still at home, especially because my class was the best ever. I´m glad that you guys all seem to be having quite a bit of success in your related activities. That´s important. You worry about your family a little bit in the mission field, but when you hear they are doing well, you feel better. 

This week we have been heavily involved in a service project that our ward has been hosting to build the house of an elderly widow here. There have been members working there almost every single day so that we can get it done in time for her to move in to the house at the end of this week. We've been working on this for quite a long time, and this week we moved on to the painting section of the work. I painted the walls for quite a long time. It was helpful that I´m such a tall guy, so I could reach all of the hard to reach bits. We´ll be heading back this week to give it the final coat of paint. It´s looking pretty good.

At the widow's house.

We had a pretty good moment this week when one of our investigators came up to us and asked "What do I need to do to be baptized?" That´s a pretty rare happening, and we got really happy when it happened. We are teaching a lot of people, but a good number of them don´t actually show any incentive or desire, so we end up cutting them. It´s really pretty awesome when someone shows the motivation to really live the gospel. Hopefully you´ll hear more about him in the coming weeks as we prepare him to be baptized.

I´m really excited this week for one more General Conference of the Church. It feels like General Conference has taken a new meaning in my life as I´ve been here on the mission. I feel the Spirit more, and I understand a lot more of the things that are said. I reccomend that all of you write up some questions that you hope to find answers to, and I assure you that you will get answers. Have a great week!

One more chance to give all I have!

Elder Murray

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September 20th - The Party Don't Stop

Family and Friends,

As you should have recognized yesterday when I didn't send anybody emails, I didn't have P-Day yesterday. Instead, I have it today, because today, I went to the Campinas Temple. It´s always good to be able to replenish your spiritual energies a bit. 

This month I've basically been in and out of the hospital every 3 or 4 days. My companion has some gastric issues that we still haven´t been able to solve, I got that sweet sweet sinus infection, and this week my companion had to go get a bunch of x-rays because he was having heart problems. It´s alright in the end though, because, as it turns out, it´s probably just really bad acid reflux, not early onset heart disease. We´ll be going back this week again for him to do a bunch more tests, and I´m thinking that I might have to go back on my own account because the area around my eyes is super swollen and red. It´s all part of the mission though. At least I haven't gotten dengue yet (knock on wood). It seemed like I always hit all of the illnesses as they passed through town, so that hasn't changed here. I've always been good at working sick though, (my best PR in track on discus I hit with a fever), so it doesn't bother me too much.

We´ve been working on a perpetual service project here in the ward during the last year or so, and it´s finally nearing completion. We have an elderly widow in our ward that lived in a house where the walls were literally swaying from side to side, so the ward started to rebuild the house. Although they contracted actual construction workers, there was still plenty of work for the members, and especially the missionaries, to do when there is a service project there every 2 weeks. This week we plan to paint the house, and I´ll try to snap some pics and send them back to you guys.

This week we had ward conference, and the Stake President spoke to us about forgiveness, and "baptizing our relationship". When we are baptized in the Church, the Lord forgets all of our past sins and transgressions, and promises to never bring them up again at judgement day. Sometimes we need to do the same things with our relationships. We must agree to put aside all of the offenses of the past and not bring them up again. This is true forgiveness. We must forgive as the Lord forgives.

Have a great week! One more chance to give all I have!

Elder Murray

Monday, September 12, 2016

September 12th - Downhill Ride

Familia e Amiginhos,

I've hit the midpoint! This is the first letter of the last year of my mission. It´s a weird thought, that in less than a year I will already be back home at BYU. There are days and months that pass quickly, and others where time seems to stop. Everybody says that the second year is quicker though, so I´ll find out here in a bit.  As for you all back home, I´m really glad that Mom finally ended her many-year-long quest for a tent trailer. Even Dad wants to go camping now! They say that the mission brings blessings to the family back home, but I never imagined that this would be one of them.

It looks as though I will be spending one more transfer here in Barão Geraldo with Elder Mauricio, my greenie. We´ve been having some pretty good success here, so it´ll be good to keep up the work. I still feel as though I have work to do in this ward too, so it´s gonna be a good time. 

Mom gave me some questions, so let me hit you up with some answers. The new "apartment" isn´t even an apartment really, it´s a full on house. It´s one of the nicest houses that there is on the mission, and it has two stories, a bunch of glass furniture, a ton of space, and white tiling that gets dirty really quick. It´s by far the best place I´ve stayed here in Brazil though. In Barão Geraldo, everything is luxury. 

Speaking of which, I have three favorite places to eat here. The first is at home. I´ve actually learned to cook a few things, and it´s good to save money and time, and I actually like eating my own cooking. I know Mom´ll be suprised. When we don´t eat at home, there´s a place in the center of Barão that has a rodizio (when the waiters pass by with various foods and you choose what you want) of barbecue-style shishkebabs together with a buffet and a huge dessert table. It´s also suprisingly cheap, especially when compared to the other restaurants in Barão Geraldo. And there are a bunch of other cool restaurants here too. College towns are good that way. And the last place is a pizza place that sells a pizza with one meter in diameter. Enough said. 

This morning we had a good laughing experience. We all told our stupidest jokes on the bus to the LAN house, and everyone enjoyed that classic Cub Scout skit about the Dad and his son that bring a one man tent camping and get beaten up by a motorcycle gang. It was a good one.

As for a good experience, this week we were able to participate in the baptism of a young man named Jonathan. For his age, he´s very smart, and he´s spiritually inclined. He understood all the principles we taught him very quickly, and he knew what decision he wanted to make with his life. It was a great opportunity to teach him and get to know him. 

I've been thinking this week about my motto. As I've hit the one year mark, I´d like to change it up. I´ll be testing some until I find one I really like. This week, it´s a quote from a certain DotA character (let´s see if any of my brothers can guess who). As such, have a great week all of you! 

I´ve got one more chance to give all I have!

Elder Murray

Monday, September 5, 2016

September 5th - 1

Hello Family and Friends,

The entire district laughed at the image of Jacob being thrown out of the Target because of toilet paper forts. That was a good one. Also, you still haven´t told me what part of Brazil the Brazilian elder is from. Also, your trailer story is sad, but for some reason, you weren´t to buy that trailer. Nothing happens for coincidence. 

This week was honestly pretty weaksauce. My companion and I both got super sick, so we spent a big part of the time stuck in our house, dying slowly. As for the specific maladies, my companion got a throat infection and an acute gastritis attack, which was revealed when, on his birthday, he threw up two times on the road as we walked. So, I took him home, then that night, I started to feel feverish. That night we both suffered quite a bit. Eventually, we went, the both of us, to the hospital, and it was revealed that I have gotten a nasty sinus infection. I´m taking antibiotics now though, and everything´s getting better now. You guys don´t have to worry about me. I don´t even feel that sick now. I´m just coughing a ton.

This week I read the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon. Ether is an interesting book, because it chronicles the entire story of a group of people, the Jaredites. We get to watch as they grow as a people, as they become strong, then as they become prideful, ignore the prophets, and eventually become so wicked that all but one of them die. From this story, we learn exactly how Satan works. The death of the Jaredite nation wasn´t a fast process. It went slowly, bit by bit. When the people were at their strongest, materially speaking, that was when things went wrong. Then the Lord sent prophets to warn them, but they didn´t listen to the prophets, and in the end, they were all destroyed. We have to be always careful to avoid this same cycle. When we get content, when we think that we are doing well, when we think that we can put aside the things of the Lord because all is going well, this is when we have to be wary. Ay to him that says all is well in Zion. 

In other news, this week I complete one year on the mission. It´s crazy that I´ve been out here so long. I´ve got one year more to serve the Lord with all of my time and all of my energy. And I will spend it well. One more year to succeed!

Elder Murray