Monday, July 24, 2017

July 24 - It Feels Like a Movie!

Família e Amigos, 

This week was really a pretty strange and exciting ride. I'm really starting to feel the end get here. Slowly but surely I'm realizing that my mission is running out. As you get down to the end of a movie, things start to pick up speed, the challenges get harder, and the rewards get sweeter as well. Weirdly enough, this kind of happened with my mission as well. I feel like I'm living through a story from the Liahona/Ensign, or that I'm part of some sort of church movie. Lot's of weird, climatic events are happening. 

This week showcased one of these climax events, as we had a baptism. Actually we had three baptisms. My whole mission I have prayed and taught and searched to be able to teach families, but it has been hard going. Before coming to Parque da Represa, I had never baptized more than one person at a time. But this time, the Lord stepped in. Two weeks ago, we received a referral from a man from another city, telling us that he had a family for us to teach, they were super interested in learning about the Church, and they live in front of the chapel. They came to church, we taught them, and this week they were baptized. Their names are Wellington, Rose, and Gabriella, and the little guy is David, who is only 7. Truly a miracle. Everyone at church thought that they were already members. They understood everything that we taught, and have got their eyes on sealing already. Miracles at the end.

Dad asked about service projects. I've had a lot of opportunities to do small service projects here, with people on the road, moves, and other such things. I've also participated in some bigger projects too. In Barão Geraldo, we, as a ward, built the house of an elderly woman that needed it. It took more than 9 months, and at the end, we sprinted to get it done before her rent ran out. I learned a lot about painting and electrical setups. And Brazilian construction.

Mom asked me several trunky questions. Yes, I would like to go to the temple with you guys. If it's Dave's first time or if he goes in the next 2 weeks, is up to him. 

I plan on wrapping up by bearing my testimony in sacrament meeting and cleaning up any loose ends here. And preaching the Gospel for 2 more weeks. That's part of it. 

I will really miss Tang. Here in Brazil they have a bunch of cool juice mix things. I'll miss them. 

I'll miss Jundiaí, in general. I like it here. I'll have to come back and visit some day.

This week I have my last interview with my President. Should be cool.

One more chance to offer all I have!

Elder Murray

July 17th - 3, Also Dave

Family and Friends,

The number of emails that you will receive from me before the end is ticking down, slowly but surely. I'm starting to feel the sand pass from the top to the bottom, and as the last few grains tick through, I'm giving it my last gas here. 

Dave, I'm super hype for your mission call! I'm sure you are going to find a bunch of elects, and you are really going to love your mission. David A Bednar gave a great talk last conference about serving where the Lord calls us, and I know that, without a shadow of a doubt, the Lord has prepared specific people for you to meet in Fresno. Good luck with the Spanish bro! And start working on your talk.

As for my week, things are pretty good. A small miracle happened today because I found shoes that are actually my size this morning. And they were only R$60. I won't have to walk with a huge hole in my boots for the last 3 weeks! Yay! We are teaching a family here in the area, and they are preparing to be baptized this week, so you will be getting a picture next week if all goes well. Jundiaí is still a beautiful city, and I'm getting real good at doing pushups. 

As for the questions:

Did you like the shoulder bag we bought you on the beginning of your mission?
To be honest, I barely ever used that bag that you guys got me. In fact, I have it still, and it's in basically mint condition, because I almost never used it. Why did I never use it? It's just too big. I don't carry almost anything, just my small bible, a bunch of pamphlets that have the lessons, and one or two copies of the Book of Mormon to give to people. And that's it. Water we ask people for when we knock on their door, food I usually don't eat or I buy something at a grocery store. All said and done, that fits all in a much smaller bag, so I was using just a scripture case for a while until I found a small bag with a shoulder strap that looked durable and bought it from another missionary. So if you want me to bring home the bag you bought for me, I can, and Dave can use it. The bag I use is super thrashed, but I could bring it home too. 

How did the clothes hold up?
The golf pants are good because they are breatheable, lightweight, easy to wash (don't stain ever), and are really high durability. After 2 years of wear and tear the rest of my day-to-day stuff is thrashed and destroyed, but the golf pants still look almost new. That's why I like them so much. 

The shirts are nice. They've got a good feel, and are pretty durable, but they get yellow by the end. I switched out a good part of my shirts though, because I lost so much weight that I was swimming in them. 

I'll have a look at my bags this week to see any unnecessary and necessary stuff for you guys to equip Dave well. 

Thanks for all the support and love.
One last chance to offer all I have!
Elder Murray

Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 10 - One Month

Family and Friends,

I can't believe you guys convinced Dad to go camping. And it only rained for 2 hours. Really awesome luck? Weird blessings of the mission? Who knows? Getting back to nature is great. 

This week saw yet another "last" hit me, with the last missed US holiday passing by with the 4th of July. And also I started my last month as a missionary. The lasts have come. And they just keep coming. This week will be my last zone conference too. I'm trying to give it a last sprint, and a lot of last gas. I just hope I can last until the end! And I hope you all lasted through that pun.

I got some more questions this week, so here we go. 

Do people in Brazil camp?
People in Brazil aren't usually big camping fans. There just aren't any campgrounds, and if people want to spend time in nature, they usually just go to the ranch house or farm of some relative out in the middle of the woods. They don´t even have a real word for camping. 

Do they have pine trees in Brazil?
Yes, they have pine trees here, but they are the weaksauce tropical versions that are a really light color of green. They just serve to remind me of the true pines of my homeland.

Tell us about your new companion.
I already told you about my new companion last week. Didn't I? He's Elder Bezerra. He's from Rio Grande do Norte. He's short. 

Have you used any strange bathrooms while there?
Yes, I have used many strange bathrooms here. In fact, I have used more strange bathrooms here than anywhere else in my life. The worst are the trick bathrooms, that you have to know some special trick to get the toilet to flush, or the bathrooms that are a really really long ways from the house. And our house in Itatiba had a derelict bathroom with a cat living there. And there are the really small bathrooms where you can use the toilet, brush your teeth at the sink, and take a shower, all without moving from the same spot! And there's our bathroom, where the weird floor space design makes it impossible to clean. Many bathrooms.

Tell us about a miracle this week.
This week we had a small miracle happen here in our area. We worked hard all week, and Saturday night we had very little success, and no one to take to church. The Lord saw our hard work though, and blessed us. A man called us from a neighboring city, and told us that he was preparing a family for us to teach. He had already taken them to church in his city, but, as they live less than one block from our chapel, they would be going to our ward. As such, we had a family at church on Sunday, and we will be teaching them this week!

Have a great week!
One more chance to offer all I have!
Elder Murray