Monday, September 30, 2013

Not Every Week Can Be Perfect...

Oí família!

Tubo bem here in Alcântara. I never would have thought that Spokane would head in that sort of direction like you said in your email to me. Especially closeby in the valley, I always thought we lived in a city that was pretty well based on a strong moral foundation with a respectful and conservative mindset on moral standards, so it´s very sad to hear about the events taking place there. I´m proud to hear that members of the church are taking a stand for what is good and right for all men! Now if only they could do the same down here too... But that´s more of a problem in cities near the coast, I hear. Alcântara doesn´t have too big of a problem with scandalous advertisements or overly immodest dress here.
Anyway, you said you would like a breakdown of a typical day for Elder Grow and I? Here we go...
6:30 - Wake up, pray, do excercises (Pretty much just stretch a little and some push-ups... we can´t go running here :(  )
7:00 - prepare Breakfast and iron clothes
8:00 - Personal Study
9:00 - Companionship Study (During training, this lasts 2 hours long, but after my 2nd transfer, it will only be 1 hour)
11: 00 - Language study
12:00 - Leave the apartment and head to our lunch appointment with a member in the ward. Generally, we´ll get there by 12:30 (1 at the latest) and br there for maybe an hour to an hour and a half, share a short message, and begin prosalyting (how do you spell that?)
2ish-9:00 - From now until about 9, We do all of our teaching, contacting, visiting, and everything we do as missionaries. This includes lots of street contacts, contacting less active members, recent converts, and our currently progressing investigators. One problem we have pretty often is that people we contact give us addresses that don´t exist, or they aren´t home when they say they will be, so we try to have back-up plans and other people closeby to visit too. We don´t have dinner with members, but sometimes Elder Grow and I will take a short break around 6ish to get some açai, lanche (like a snack), or a short break if we have nothing planned. We try to have an appointment every night at around 7:30 with a progressing family that is investigating.
9:00-9:30 - Return home and plan for the next day... This is when we figure out where we´ll spend most of our day, which investigators we want to visit, and if there´s any referencs from members or other missionaries that we want to visit.
9:30-10:30 Shower, head to bed
I hope that explains my day pretty well. Obviously it´s different for P days... Proselyting starts at 6, and Sundays are a bit different too. I´m so excited for General Conference! Elder Grow says sometimes, a chapel will have a room where you can watch it in English. I´m hoping that´s the case since I really want to be sure and understand everything being said. At times, I feel kindof dissapointed that my Portuguese still isn´t 100%. I have so much more to learn and feel comfortable with, both speaking and understanding, but I´ve only been in the field for 6 weeks already, and I´ve been soooo blessed to have learned as much as I already have. Transfers are this week, which doesn´t change much for Elder Grow and I. We´ll both stay in Alcântara as he finishes up my training, but there´s supposed to be 22 new missionaries arriving this week! I don´t know how many are visa waiters in the States and how many are from São Paulo, but either way, it´s exciting to have so many new people.
Atanagildo was confirmed a member of the church yesterday!! He was able to bring his wife (who is not a member) to church and we taught her a bit. Atanagildo asked that I confirm him, which was a HUGE shock for me. I hadn´t witnessed a confirmation in Brazil yet, so I didn´t have any experience or anything. It still went very well, and the Spirit helped me so much to feel comfortable and bless the lives of Atanagildo and his family with the gift of The Holy Ghost.
Unfortunately, like the title of this email says, everything doesn´t end up perfecly like hope it would. We were anticipating that the children of Lú and Valdiné (Mateus, Luau, and Miguel) would be baptized yesterday like they said they wanted to. However, Lú seemed to not accept us teaching the Word of Wisdom. She smokes and drinks, and although she knows that they are bad for her health, she doesn´t want to give them up. She decided that she didn´t want her kids to be baptized because of it, which was really sad for us to hear. Her husband seems to love the church, and was really quiet when we were speaking with here about this. They also didn´t attend church yesterday, so hopefully they don´t continue to stop keeping commitments and fall away even more. Lots of prayer for Elder Grow and I.
We noticed that most of our progressing investigators are unmarried couples who live together. For whatever reason, marriage is old-fashioned here in Brazil, and it´s tough to find people who are legally wedded. WHY??? I have no clue, but whenever we teach people that being lawfully married will bless and strengthe their family and will set a great example for their kids, they think we´re crazy and don´t understand why.
As far as other news goes, My shoes are already pretty destroyed. One transfer in, and one of my pairs has holes in the sole, the leather is torn a bit, and it lots chewed up. I might have to buy a new, sturdier pair if they all end up that way. Money here is always pretty tight since we only get about 100 dollars a month which pays for all of our bus rides, food for breakfast or dinnerish, and anyother cleaning/hygiene stuff I need. For Christmas, I might just ask for money instead of receiving any sort of package. I usually have to use personal money before we get every paycheck from the church.
The church is so true I can taste it! I love being here and I know the Lord has a purpose for me as a missionary, and a purpose for all of his children on this Earth. I wish everyone the best as they make wonderful memories at home while I´m making memories here!!
Elder Braun

Elder Grow and I with a member´s pet tartartuga. Enjoy.

P.S. Have you updated my mailing address for my friends on facebook? I´ve only gotten a letter from Natalie and am curious if other people know where I live.

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