Monday, February 27, 2017

February 27th - Transfer Time

Family and Friends,

You all were able to survive one more week, so congratulations! You're doing good! Dave is a singer boy still, Gabe is a baller, and Jacob lifts heavy things. Dad stays vegan and Mom goes a little more crazy each week. Good times! I'm glad that the weather has been good for you guys, because here it has been absolutely nuts, but I'll get into that more fully a little later. 

Mom has been sending me questions every week and it's been helping out a lot. Ill give a quick recap of the week then I'll answer the questions. It sure makes my emails a lot easier to write when I don't have any ideas. 

This week we had an exchange with the Elders in Varzea. I got to work with Elder Tavares, the only other surviving missionary from my first zone. I'm getting old. Tavares and I have served in the same zone a bunch of times, so it was cool to catch up. This week transfers also came through. Elder Larkins will be leaving Jundiaí and I'll be getting a new companion. I'm not sure who it's going to be, so I'll give you details next week. It also means that we have a leadership meeting this week, and we'll be getting a bunch of new missionaries in the zone. 

You say you can cook now. Give us a good description of five things you can make. Dad thinks one of them is cereal. Prove him wrong!
I have said that I can cook, so now I have to give examples I guess. Let´s go:

1. Rice and Calabresa Stir-fry
2. Stroganoff
3. Cake
4. Pão de Queijo (A Brazilian cheese bread)
5. Various types of pasta
6. Chinese Pastels
and this list goes on. I won't say that I cook all of these things well, but I do cook them!

Did you get a chance to teach any investigators this week?
I taught a bunch of people this week. We're teaching a small family that recently moved into the city. We are teaching an older lady that spends a lot of time taking care of her grandkids too, more on her later, and I taught a bunch of other people too. It's normal to teach a lot here. The hard thing to do is to get the people to come to church.

Describe the weather in a typical day and ways you deal with it.
The weather is really varied here. At the start of this week, it was really really hot, just like all of last week and a good majority of the time we pass here. When it's really really hot, I drink a lot of water, I put on sunblock two times per day, and I generally try to keep to the shade if possible. Then, this week we had some storms from the abyss. The sky goes black, the lightning strikes, and the rain comes down so hard that even the space inside your mostly waterproof boots gets wet. Even the money in my wallet got soaked. When this happens, we hide and wait out the worst, then we get back to work. If we got really soaked, sometimes we go home and change clothes. 

Tell us how you saw the hand of the Lord in your life this week.
I saw the hand of the Lord in my life this we when when that older lady we are teaching went to church. I wasn't really expecting her to come, especially when she told us that she wouldn't be able to go, and I was sitting there in church sadly without any investigator present when a member came over. He asked me if that lady by the door was an investigator, and I realized that she had come! I promptly went and sent next to her. She had a good experience. 

Do you dream in Portuguese and do you remember any of your dreams?
I do dream in Portuguese, but I'm not really good at remembering my dreams.

Thanks for the letters and keep up the good work back home!

Have a great week!

One more chance to offer all I have!

Elder Murray

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 20th - The Routine

Family and Friends,

Good to hear that everyone's alive and kicking back home. Dad has become a "patrão" as the Brazilians would say, flying in private jets and such. Jake, I'm with you on the vegan food! Meatavore revolt! To answer Mom's question, no, they don´t celebrate Valentine's Day here in Brazil. Carnaval's about to come up though, so things will get pretty "vida louca" for a little bit here. 

As for my week, we had a mission tour with Elder Fortunato, one of the Area Seventy. We talked a lot about faith, a little bit about planning, and quite a bit about optimism. One of the ideas that was given is that we, President Hinckley style, wake up each day and tell our companion that yesterday was a great day, and today will be a great day. It's a good idea for you guys to practice at home too. If you say something enough, you start to believe it, and you get to realize that today really is a great day, even if some crappy stuff happens. 

Describe your daily schedule.
My daily schedule is as follows. Wake up. Plan. Work out. Take a shower. Eat. Personal study. Knock doors/make contacts/teach lessons (let's just call this proselyting). Lunch at a members house, or at our house, as I have learned to cook. Companion study. Language study. If it's WednesdayFriday, or Sunday I then call the members of our zone to see how their areas are doing. More proselyting. Half hour of break (I usually eat something). More proselyting. Go home. Eat. Sleep. End.

Do you like your bed? Do the apartments always come with towels and dishes and stuff?
I sleep on the top of a bunk bed, and my companion sleeps on the bottom of the other bunk bed. (We have 2 because this area had 4 missionaries in the past). It's not all that great, but the mattress is good and I'm able to sleep, because I'm usually dead tired. I carry my towel around from place to place, and there are usually some towels that other missionaries left around for other hand towels. All the houses have dishes (except Itajubá, lol). 

What are the five smartest things you packed for your mission?
The five smartest things, are 
2.Golf Pants

Do people have very many pets there? What kind are the most popular? Do you ever see American dog breeds?
Everybody has dogs here. Some have cats, some have birds. The dogs like to bark at us when we knock doors. They are really annoying. Some try to bite you. You see just about every type of dog here. 

Give us a funny story from this week.
I asked one American missionary how his mission was going this week, and he said "It's the same thing every day. I knock doors. On the same road." Then, we went to do a baptismal interview in their area, and he showed us the same road where he knocked doors every day. It's a really long road. And they baptized a guy from that road. 

Give us a spiritual thought that you gave this week.
As for spiritual thoughts, I like to just open the scriptures wherever inspiration strikes me, or when something that we talked about during lunch reminds me of a scripture. One scripture that I like is Matthew 9:9. Jesus Christ calls Matthew, and he just goes. He doesn't wait around. He doesn't ask any questions or give any excuses. He just follows. When we receive a call from the Savior, we need to do the same thing.

Have a great week!

Elder MooHai

Monday, February 13, 2017

February 13th - Oh It's a Hot One

Family and Friends,

First off, Congratulations to Dave on winning Mr. Grizz. I always knew you could do it bro. You're awesome. And a Goofy Goober it seems like. 

I´m really loving my area here in Colônia, and we had a pretty solid week this week, although things are starting to get really hot here. Summer has come in full burst, and the temperatures are rising. As such, our fan is on whenever we are at home, and our fan makes a really obnoxious noise that is annoying, so that´s not that fun. We taught quite a bit this week, but we had a tough time taking people to church. Our zone baptized 4 people this week though, so that´s a good thing. We had a service project this week, and we carried 2000 large bricks up a staircase. Yes it was as much fun as it sounds.

I´ll get into your questions now. 

Tell us something that made you and your companion laugh this week.
My companion and I each served with the same guy, Elder Costa, the Portuguese guy. I don't know if you remember him. In Portugal, they eat a lot a bacalhau, which is a type of fish. When we saw bacalhau on sale this week, we had a good laugh as we remembered Elder Costa.

Tell us about a time the Spirit touched you this week. (During scripture study, during prayer, during a lesson, etc)
I really felt the Spirit this week listening to that hymn, If You Could Hie to Kolob. It's a lot of deep doctrine, but it helps you keep a more eternal perspective on things.

Tell us about a new place in your town that you love. 
Our city has a sweet public library that I write emails from. Here, it's got air conditioning, chess tables, computers, and logically a ton of books. It's a really nice building and that's a bit of a rarity for Brazil. 

Tell us about a thing you don't like in your current area
I don't like our bathroom in our house. It's horrible. The toilet has a sewage problem, in that it's constantly dripping on the floor, and there's something horrible under the drain in the shower too, so no matter how much we clean it, the bathroom always reeks. Always. You get used to it though. 

Do you speak English around the house with your new companion, or only Portuguese?
My companion and I really only speak Portuguese. It's actually a lot easier than English at this point. Language has become pretty confusing for me. There's a lot in my head.

What three meals are you looking forward to eating when you get home that I can make?
I'm looking forward to eat bratwurst, juicy lucys, and something else. I haven't thought too much yet. I've got a while to go still. 6 more months! 

Have you got any investigators in your area? 
We have a ton of investigators, in varying degrees of progress. The hard part isn't getting into the homes here in Brazil, it's getting the people to commit to actually do stuff, like go to church. "Oh someday I'll go, but I can't be certain." It's weak sauce. We call them moles (pronounced mole eeys). One investigator that we have is a guy from Haiti called Lowel. He doesn't speak Portuguese and speaks very little English, so it's quite a ride teaching him. He's a cool guy though. And he actually comes to church.

That's about all. Thanks for the questions. Send more! Have a great week!

One more chance to offer all I have!

Elder Murray

Monday, February 6, 2017

February 6th - Prayer and Traveling

Family and Friends,

I rather enjoyed your email this week Mom. It was cool to get an update on how everyone´s doing, because none of those slackers send me emails except Dad. I´m pretty pumped to hear that Dave is going to do Mr. Grizz this year. As he is a pretty talented guy, he should have a really good time, and should get some pretty good fan approval. Being sick is real bad, and seems like everyone is getting injured over there. Jake is Gigante as they say here in Brazil. I was really hoping that Minecraft would die off after 2 years here, but sadly, it seems as the the cuboid plague will continue it´s reign of terror. 

I've heard that we're going to get a new Stake President. I really will miss President Walker, as he was the guy who set me apart as a missionary, but I'm sure that the new President will be one called by God. The Lord chooses his leaders here on the Earth, and our duty is to follow and uphold them. 

I´m really having a tough time deciding what to put in my email to you guys these days. I do basically the same thing every week. I knock doors. I talk to people on the road. Many of these people are crazy people. I knock more doors. I teach some people that don't want any commitment. If I'm lucky, I teach someone that does want to commit. I eat Brazilian food (i.e. rice and beans). I use a lot of sunblock. I walk a lot. Our house has some sort of sewage problem. Normal missionary stuff. It´s pretty much the same routine every time. So send me in some questions! I'll answer them. I don't know what you´d like to know about my life, so send in questions.

One thing that I do know, with all this routine, is that the Church is indisputably true. I have seen it week after week studying the Bible, and the Book of Mormon. I have seen it in the homes of the members and it the homes of the people I teach, and the contrast therein. I have seen it in the way that Church leadership is organized. I have seen it in the small miracles that happen to us each day because we are missionaries. I know that the Church is true, beyond a shadow of a doubt. There is no other organization this divine on all the face of the Earth. 

Have a great week.

One more chance to offer all I have.

Elder Murray