Monday, July 23, 2012

More good coming up

We came straight from Morning Ping-Pong in the Chapel, to lunch, to Internet so we didn´t bring our camera´s this time.
There´s one youth named Christian who wasn´t able to be baptized before but on the 9th of August we will baptize him. His mom never let him but now he´s turning 18. He´s got a good head on his shoulders and know´s the Church is true. His mom won´t do anything drastic but she won´t support him in his decision I´m afraid. We´ve been teaching him in the chapel. We´ve also been teaching other youth who are coming to seminary and soccer at the Church. We teach with the chalk board. It´s great because everybody understands a little better. We should be able to baptize four this next month. We´ll see how it goes.
Beatriz´s son Williom is sort of a wallflower and didn´t want to come to the Church or activities just yet. One of the branch girls came to invite him to a super Saturday and he loved it. He´s going to go to the church now. We´ll start teaching him too. 
Last week on P-day we had lunch at the couple missionary´s house. Elder Philipeli (The husband) told us that, in his last area,  he had baptized Xuxa´s sister and that she would come to visit for lunch. Xuxa (pronounced Shusha) is like a pop singer for kids that used to have her own popular children´s program. She´s so famous that even today people/tourists visit her house that she lived in as a child (the house is located in a city that belongs to the Santa Maria Mission). My companion was so excited and we ended up telling our branch president about it because it was random/funny. Our branch President wound up crashing the lunch just to see if it was true. Then our district and the branch president found out that she (who came to lunch) was just a nice lady and wasn´t Xuxa´s sister. Elder Philipelli fooled us.
Today we had the best lunch and we went with one of the Branch presidents, President André. My stomach is happy.
I love this Church. I know that it´s true. I´m reading the book of Mormon for the zillionth time. I always find more truth and light in it. Sunday we taught a woman who´s recently returning to the Church. Her family was strong in the Church and now she´s the only one who goes. She was the last one to go in active but it got hard when no one went with her. I shared the part of the message that King Benjamin spoke about the  Life of Christ and what he would go through. I feel like everyone was strengthened and that her family will return to the Church.  
  Love, Elder Hanson

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Good things

This week we baptized Beatriz! She smiled so big and really felt the
spirit when she came out of the water. She stayed in the water for a
bit just feeling the spirit. It was terrific. We´re going to try to
baptize Beatriz´s son and get him involved and integrated with the
youth. He´s a bit of a wallflower but it´s only a matter of time I
think. We played ping pong with a bunch of young men at the Church
today. We´re going to be baptizing some youth! A lot of boys are
accepting the messages. I´m starting to like the people and the
branches here. I´ll have to send pictures next week because I´m short
on time and we have to go.
Love, Elder H.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Baptism Coming Up

So Beatriz is really excited about her baptism. It´s exciting because she really seems to understand the importance of the commandments and she has started really liking our visits and her time in Church on Sundays more and more. The spirit is really working in her. We as missionaries conduct a "practice interview" sometimes before the baptismal interview to make sure that the person understands the concepts. We asked what having a modern day Prophet meant for her and she said that she was glad she knows now that this is the Church of Jesus Christ (we had her read 3 Nephi 27 about the name of the Church) and that Christ really loves her.  I´m glad that she understands that prophets and revelation are proof of the Lord´s love for us.
We’re going to start reactivating a family and the mother was never baptized. The Dad said that when he first met the missionaries hedidn´t think they would come. He told them that he had no time for anything and if they wanted to stop by it would have to be seven in the morning (he didn´t really want them to come). Then he told us how two elders showed up bright eyed and bushy-tailed at 7 in the morning.
The married couple missionaries are doing great.  They baptized last week and have a baptism marked for next week on Saturday just before Beatriz´s baptism. The sister missionary of this couple has become President of the Relief Society in one of the branches because she´llbe around for months (the couple isn´t transferred often) and she can take good care of the calling.
My companion and I are taking care of two branches since this transfer started and so our area already was big but now it´s huge. We´re trying to visit in-actives and we are visiting with members of the Branch Presidency and the District Presidency. We might baptize some young men if everything goes right. They started coming to Church because of soccer but now they are going to Sacrament meeting sometimes. We´re going to visit them with a member boy this week.
I know that this Church is true and that I´m being extremely blessed for my missionary service. The Lord really does make "The weak things of the world come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones" (Doctrine and Covenants 1:19) When I got here I had so much trouble speaking the language and I was prideful and had to change a lot just to get along.  Now I´m still learning and getting better but there´s alot of rewarding changes that have taken place out here.
Love, Elder Hanson

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Working Hard

Well, today we went to Artigas again. The district wanted to see what things were like there. It didn´t really catch anyone’s fancy but we took some pictures of things. We also took pictures of the Chapel there. I´ll see if I get a chance to send the pictures this week (it takes forever to load things here).
So my companion is a Brazilian named Elder Willion. Nothing out of the ordinary.  He´s a real kick and a nice, nice guy.   He´s also pretty short.  He also does an outstanding impression of the Mission President which even the married couple missionaries found funny.  Our District leader is an American who´s got about a year and seven months in the field and he´s training a Brazilian. The new Elder is a funny guy. Tomorrow we have zone conference and I´m real excited. On the fourteenth of July we have Beatriz´s baptism. Beatriz is really progressing! She reads everything we give her as an assignment. Sometimes she even reads it twice then in the lessons she explains everything to us. She accepted the word of wisdom and seemed to really understand it. The one thing is that everything seems to make sense to her from a logical stand point because we explain things and she´s keeping her commitments. I just don´t know if she´s REALLY prayed to have an answer but she´s progressing more and more. 
Everything is going well.  We had six teen-aged boys in sacrament meeting. We´ll try and teach their families. Then it appears that the married couple have a baptism (person they´ve been teaching) next week.  So my language skills are getting pretty stellar. More and more people here in Quarai compliment me on my accent or confuse me with a Brazilian. It´s really a blessing from Heavenly Father. The gift of tongues is real.
So I´ve had the chance to go and do a lot of visits with the missionary couple and with some of the leaders here in the district. The second councilor to the district president has a car and once aweek we go out and are able to teach a lot of lessons (these are mostly to in-actives) it´s inspiring because even though the number of in-active members here is startling and most of the active members don´t do home teaching, he goes out with a smile and always visits the most people possible.  I also found out that one of the well loved members from here in Quarai is serving as mission President in Rio.There´s a guy who owns a really awesome restaurant that really likes the missionaries. We keep trying to teach him. We´ll see what happens! So there was a newspaper article that said how Quarai´s entire population is 3.7% Mormon.  That´s a lot of members.  Now there´s one strong branch of ninety and the two weaker ones (which both have forty) that my companion and I are serving in. There´s alot of in-actives but the truth is, that a lot of the members just went to other places. There was a guy who got baptized here then moved away and then he released a song that´s pretty dang famous here (They even play it in the background of soap operas). It´s a one hit wonder though. The majority of the of the mayors (the current and the former) are in-active members.  I´ll try and send home a map that has all the LDS named streets. Zion street is where we have one of the chapels.  It´s hard because so many good people accept the visits of the missionaries but run in to a wall when they try and come back to the Church because they are embarrassed or some silly little thing like that.  We´re learning to just be patient and follow the spirit. We´re managing to reactivate some people and things are going well.
Love, Elder Hanson