Monday, October 21, 2013

Letter #65

Dearest Family, 

I don't know how much time I've got left, I know that's not the way you like to see a letter begin but I will type like the wind. This week the watch word was travel and travel we did. I think four of the seven days. As I write, I am in Ourinhos with Elders Haws and Halpin. We were there last week and came back twice this week to help them interview and firm up their investigators.

Needless to say it's been different. We got a call from the assistants asking us to make a goal for our zone this week in terms of baptism because the President wanted to see who could keep to it. Our zone is struggling mightily right now and it's been challenging to try and help other elders. Plus, we've seen that those who have put our advice into practice are having much more success!

We worked I think only two days in our area, going to another district Tuesday to interview and baptize and worked Wednesday and on Thursday went to Ourinhos. There I had some great lessons with Elder Halpin who is an all-time champ and is treating us like kings with the small exception of our beds, one dirty mattress and a dwarf's bottomless couch, respectively. One of the people I invited with him to go to church on Thursday went! His names is Jefferson and hopefully will be baptized this week. He likes english rap, so we did a little rap session right there in the street and he opened his heart to the gospel. You just never know when Lupe Fiasco will come in handy!

We went to Assis Friday to help the sisters, but it was a disappointing day. Worked Saturday, going after menos ativos in some rough areas, also some references, we made something like 50 contacts in the day but didn't find much. We also taught the family of Maicon our recent convert and I have great hopes of them going to church soon. Maicon was confirmed Sunday as well. Sunday we left early to go to Assis and interview anyone they had at church. I marked a baptismal date and so did Elder Carrell so we hope it was a big help. Then we headed over to Ourinhos for our baptism but at the last minute it looks like the dad wasn't really supporting the member mom and candidate daughter, and we decided to put off the baptism until his support could be secured. We need to keep the families together and it was important to the daughter that her father fully support her. Slept there Sunday and we're here today. I expect it will be a great day with good food and fun. Carrell and I are planning on retiring this week and working in our own area but I'm sure we'll have to travel again : )

We've gotten to know the buses here intimately including the two hour country ride from Ourinhos to Assis. It's a wonderful ride through Brasilian countryside when it's not packed with lots of local farm workers. We love the people, but it gets pretty hot inside that sardine can. We paid our last bus fare with all change, when we found out they didn't accept credit cards, having exactly enough.

It is quite the juggling act being a zone leader especially in a zone this big. But it's a blast and I love the elders I serve. I love to serve. I love to teach the gospel to willing hearts, broken hearts, and contrite spirits. We got news today that our mission baptized the third most in Brasil last month with 186. Of that my district baptized a zone's percentage, 25'ish. It feels really nice to be a part of the big picture, or to have made a small difference. Now we just have to get this zone to do the same.

I do love you and hope that my pictures tell some of the stories better than I do here. Keep the good work going there. Have you made a family teaching pool yet like Elder Ballard said? If so I'd be interested to know who is in it ; )

LOVE, Love, love, You!



MarieC said...

Fabulous letter and MARVELOUS pictures! I love the one of him in front of the white wall with his glasses in his hand and that steely look in his eye. Who can turn this missionary down when he extends a commitment of baptism?? What growth and maturity he's experienced in the last almost 15 months! Can you believe it's been so long? He and Eldon will be home before we know it.

I love that you also get to read Elder Carrell's explanation of their weekly adventures. You're very fortunate!

shirlgirl said...

I agree with Marie C. He Tanner writes some wonderful letters, and his pictures are great--love the one with the water in the background--so peaceful.