January 11, 2016 (week 13)

Christmas Card of all the missionaries in the Brazil, Fortaleza mission

Christmas Card of all the missionaries in the Brazil, Fortaleza mission

I literally spent a solid 5 minutes trying to think of a subject line and I came up with nothing, so Jan 11 is as creative as I could get.

So people here sometimes think we are police.. I didnt understand it at all, but then my companion explained that people watch a lot of CSI here and since we´re wearing dress clothes they sometimes think we’re cops, it’s kind of funny.

I honestly wish I had a video of this. For those of you who play fifa, you will understand. So we’re walking in the street (more of an alley, about 12 or so feet across) these kids (8 year olds) are playing soccer, and this one does a perfect rainbow over another kid and scores. I swear it was exactly like fifa 15 I couldnt believe it but he didnt even celebrate or anything, everyone was acting normal! Needless to say, I was impressed.

So they drink coke here, ALOT of coke. Like every day. I like coke as much as the next guy, and it is better here than in the states, but it cant be healthy to drink that much coke! So I’ve been trying to drink less, but every lunch (we eat lunch with famlies that are members of the church here) they give us coke, and you cant say no. And when you finish the just start pouring another glass. What I’ve found out is that they will only pour another glass if there is still food on your plate and if your glass is less than half full. So what Ive been doing is making sure my glass is at least half full while I’m eating and then I drink the rest after I finish eating. Its been working well so far! I worried I’ll be addicted to coke by the time I come back though.

Great news today! There’s a tiny shop that sells bananas and some vegetables right next to our house, but theyre only open until like 11am. So today I found out I can get 8 small bananas for 25 cents (I dont know exactly what the conversion from dollars to reais is, so thats probably a little off) or 4 big bananas for the same price. Big bananas are about the same size as bananas that you buy stateside. Also mangos are suuuuuper cheap. For about $1.50 I can get 7 mangos, and they are usually pretty big. So about half my diet is mangos and now bananas haha

Im going to attatch a picture from our Christmas conference. Its of all the missionaries in Fortaleza! I hardly see any of them, but on Christmas we had a conference with everyone and it was awesome! I dont remember if Ive already sent it, so sorry if I did.

So for a spiritual thought this week I thought I’d share something that happened last night. So I still am really struggling with the language, learning, but struggling and so last night I was praying before bed and after I got the thought to read from this journal I have. I find that I often forget spirtitual experiences I have and so I while back I decided to write down whenever I have spiritual expeneriences in this notebook. Since one of the biggest roles of the Holy Ghost is to testify of truth, a majority of the experiences are when I feel the Holy Ghost testify after learning something. Anyways, I opened it and the first thing I read was “Give us today our daily bread” I dont know where that comes from, but it definitely applies to my with Portuguese and learning how to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a foreign language. What I wrote underneath the quote was “Dont ask or sometimes even try to fix long term issues. Those issues are fixed by dat to day actions. Sometimes all we have to do is make it one more day” Like many of the challenges we all have, we need to take them one day at a time. A long term goal is important, but we need to focus on what we can do in the day we are living!

A little later I read something I had wrote about the sacrifices people make to serve missions, and serve God in general. “No sacrifice is too great when someone’s exaltation is the reward” Again, I dont remember was from, or if it even was an actual quote. But it really hit me, because seriving a mission, for me, is deffinitely not easy, but sometimes I need to step back for a second and look at the reward. When I think about the message we are sharing and actually start to realize what it can do for the people who accept it, it gives me a lot more motivation and learning Portuguese and spending two years teaching the gospel seems like a small price to pay.

Sorry that this email is a little long, I hope you guys have a great week and are enjoying the cold!! I actually miss the cold haha

Elder Lawrence 🙂


January 4, 2016 (week 12)

Baptism of Jeová

Baptism of Jeová

I hope everyone had a great holiday season! But now you guys have to go back to work, or school, I remember that was the worst, so good luck!

One of our investigators said this week, to my companion while I was there, “I think he understands me, but I dont understand a word he says” yikes. I feel like the majority of people can understand me but I guess not everyone. I find it more difficult to listen to people because they talk so so so fast, their grammar is often wrong and so it makes it difficult to peice it together, and they use a lot of words that I dont know. But, when I’m talking, I can usually find a way to say what I want to say using words that, although dont describe perfectly what I want to say, more or less get my point across. It’s still frusterating but I can tell that it is, slowly, coming and that gives me a lot of hope!

Well it seems like every week I find myself laughing over something that really isnt funny. This week we were walking down the street (in a hurry) and someone said, in english, “Hey lads, how ya doing?” I shouldve said something in English to him but I wasnt thinking and just said hi. I honestly dont know why I found this so funny.. I think it’s cause I couldnt figure out if he actually knew a lot of english or not, because lads, in portuguese, is a word that people use a lot but in english it’s kind of weird. Im just going to end this story here because I cant think of any good reason why I was laughing so much because of this.

Yesterday I saw 4 people of one bike…. impressive to say the least. It was just a normal bike to haha I wish I had a picture.

So, Jeová, (in english, Jehovah.. not sure on spelling in english but one of Jesus’ names) asked what my full name was, so I told him and he goes “what! You’re name is Selfie-lahhrence?!” Ive just given up on the name and so I said yes haha. He’s awesome! I dont remember if I have wrote about him before so sorry if I repeat anything. He’s only 8, but he’s like a little adult. We always see him in the street buying things or playing around with this top that he has. I actually feel really bad for him, he has a really really hard family situation but he is so nice and so happy all the time! He is always excited and seems to be unaffected by all the negative things in his life. He has been coming to church for at least since I’ve been here, I dont know how long before that, and he was baptized this week!! (I will send a picture) Im so so happy for him, he loves going to church it has been a great influence for him!

Well that’s all for this week!
Elder Lawrence 🙂

December 28, 2015 (week 11)

Elder Lawrence and Lurdes, his 1st baptism

Elder Lawrence and Lurdes, his 1st baptism

The lizard he found in his apartment.. that he thought would eat the bugs.  Yuck!

The lizard he found in his apartment.. that he thought would eat the bugs. Yuck!

Merry (late) Christmas, and a happy new year! I hope you guys all had an awesome Christmas and have fun plans for the new year! Just a reminder, if you respond to one of these emails, remember to reply to me only so the message doesn’t go to other people as well! Also, I realize that there’s no way to unsubscribe from these, so if you are too busy and would like me to take you off the list, let me know! I know everyone is super busy and I wont be offended at all!

Christmas! Christmas was exciting, but definitely a lot different while serving a mission. On Christmas (and mother’s day) we get to skype our families! It was awesome to see and talk to them. I miss them! So we were supposed skype at a members house, but when we got there they werent home or were still asleep. We had no idea what to do. So as we were walking away (in silence) after about 2 minutes my companion says “oh frick” hahah I couldnt stop laughing because he knows almost no english and on our first day together he asked me what “oh frick” meant because he said the american missionaries always say this. It lightened the mood and everything ended up working out better than we could have asked! Although it was actually kind of hard to speak english.. I guess you guys would know better than me, but when I write I feel like it’s still normal, but when I talk it’s hard to say the english words so fast. It’s not like I know so much portuguese that Im forgetting english, because I still dont know a ton of portuguese, but its just that Im so used to speaking in portuguese that Im not used to speaking english and so sometimes portuguese words come out or I cant find the english word, its werid haha

Another funny english thing from my companion. So yesterday neither of us had much food. I had some eggs and some bread and he had none left. So he was saying how hungry he was and then he starts playing music (we are allowed to listen to church music), and I dont know why but he has a lot of music in english. He starts singing along to the song and the first line is “oh my soul hungers” I couldnt help but laugh and when he asked why I asked him if he knew what those words meant and then when he said no I translated them for him. He both had a good laugh out of it.

So early in the week I found a little lizard in our house and I thought Id leave it cause it was cool and I thought it would eat some of the bugs. Well a few days later I found out it wasnt going to be eating any bugs, I’ll send a picture.

On a more important note, Lurdes was baptized this week! I was super excited for her and I will send a picture of her. She has been coming to church for a long time and it is awesome to see her taking steps to follow Christ more closely! She is awesome.

Well that’s all for this week, I hope all is well at home! Stay safe over the new year 🙂
Elder Lawrence 🙂

December 21, 2015 (week 10)

Elder Lawrence and Elder Santos.  Blake (Seth's brother) baptized Elder Santos, and now Elder Santos is serving in the same mission as Seth).

Elder Lawrence and Elder Santos. Blake (Seth’s brother) baptized Elder Santos, and now Elder Santos is serving in the same mission as Seth).

Merry Christmas everyone!! I hope you guys are enjoying the Christmas season, it is the best time of year!! Enjoy the snow for me haha.

So not a ton to say this week. I am super excited for Christmas because I get to skype my family!! (Chirstmas and Mother’s day)

Hmmm so I guess there were two things this week that were kind of funny. So we were teaching a man and I had to duck under this cement/brick wall inside his house and after we were teaching I forgot about it. So I smacked my head on it pretty good. When we were walking away from the house I turned to my companion and was going to say “well that hit me like a brick wall” but then I realized I dont know how to say brick, or wall, and that probably isn’t a saying here anyways. So I just started laughing to myself. hahah I think he thinks I’m crazy because I do that sometimes when I think of things that I can’t say. Little things are funny while serving a mission.. I love it! The smallest things make you happy and laugh 🙂

The other one, idk if this will make sense to you guys, but we have this thing called an area book and it basically helps out new missionaries when the come to the area after we leave. So you just write what you’ve taught them and things about them basically. While one day we were going through the book trying to find people that we thought we should go visit and one the missionary had wrote all these awesome things about this investigator and and had gone to church and really was accepting everything. So theres a section at the bottom that you fill out why you stopped teaching them. Usually there’s a long(ish) explanation and for the man, all it said was “Foi prisão” we couldnt laughing because of it.

Hmm so language update I guess. Theres kind of three different things that can happen when Im trying to understand Portuguese. The first is the person speaks really clearly and relatively slow. If that happens then I can hear all the words and I understand most of the words, but still have a hard time piecing together what they are saying. The second thing is they don’t talk very cleary and talk very fast. It sounds like “asdkfljasdlkjfahsljf(insert a word I know)adflkjasdhjlksa(insert and word I know)asdkfj” and the third is in the middle of the two! I am learning, but it comes slow for me!

This week I want to share a scripture from Ether 12. Sorry if I have shared it before, I love it! “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if the humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” Learning Portuguese is definitely humbling for me! I just want to be fluent already. But I know that if it was that easy, I wouldnt grow from it and I wouldnt appreciate it when it eventually comes. We all go through hard things in our lives, but it is important to have have and be humble. When we do this God will make our weak things become strong! But it doesn’t come all at once, there is a process of learning we have to go through.

I almost forgot! This week I met Elder Santos. My brother baptized him during his mission and now he is serving here, in fortaleza!! How cool is that!?! He is the man.

Well sorry for the grammar and spelling… but it’s only going to get worse, I realize it is bad as I’m typing, so sorry!

Elder Lawrence