April 11, 2016 (week 26)

Well this week, I’m pretty sure he was drunk but I’m not certain. ย We were talking with this guy in the street and he said I look like David Beckham and talk like Neymar hahahhah I couldn’t stop laughing. I guess I’m white so that means I look like David Beckham.

So there was supposed to be a temple built here but because of political stuff it’s taken forever to get permission and stuff but they are going to start building next month!!! (I think 5 years after it was announced) The sad thing is it won’t be done until about 5 months after my mission so I won’t be able to see it.

If you use a watch here EVERYONE will ask you what time it is. Recently I’ve just put mine in my pocket but my companion uses one normally and he always complains about how people ask him what time it is. Well this week someone yelled out a second floor window as we were walking in the street to ask what time it is. We turned back and all we could see was the face of this women sticking out of this tiny window. He said “I literally cant believe this” I don’t know if this is one of those things were you had to be there but I’m literally laughing about it right now hahah.

Well this week I want to tell you guys about Cรฉsar, I think I may have already told you guys about him before. But he prayed about what we’re teaching, he knows its true, but he still wont follow his answer. Sometimes this is frusterating. One of Gods greatest gifts for us is our agency, but its super frusterating to see people use this agency in a way that won’t bring them happiness. But at the end of the day we can’t force anyone to do anything (although sometimes I want to) and everyone has to choose for themselves what they want in this life, and the next.

Hope you guys are all well!

Elder Lawrence

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April 4, 2016 (week 25)

This week was great!

So this weekend was general conference. For those of you who don’t know, we believe that The Church of Jesus Christ was restored. The same church that Jesus established. His church has a prophet and apostles, the same as Jesus called when He lived here. And so twice every year we have the chance to hear them talk (we call this general conference). Unfortunately it was all translated to Portuguese, I could understand most of it, but its just not the the same thing when its not the actual voice of the speaker. But I learned a ton and my spirit was defininitely lifted. If any of you would like to watch, lds.org will have videos of all of it! If not today, within the next few days.

One day we we walking back to the house and it started to rain. But when I say rain I mean RAIN. Rain as in literally a tsunami of water flowing from the clouds, I don’t even understand where all the water was coming from. we decided to wait it out but after 20 minutes gave up and walked home. It was pretty much the equivilent of swimming home. I’ll attatch a picture that I think really captures my joy from the event.

So we were (trying) to teach a man this week who is pretty knowledgable on the bible, but he doesn’t think he needs religion. So we invited him to general conference to see and listen to a prophet of God, because we knew if he went his mind would be changed. Well as soon as we invited him he went off about how he doesnt need “mortal men to teach him”, only the Spirit and the Bible. Well I asked him who wrote the bible. He responded prophets. So I asked him “Werent they moral men?” I think inside he knew he was wrong, but didnt have the humility to admit it, or maybe even to consider it. Anyways he went off again, so we just left the invite with him and went on our way

A member this week, asked (rhetorically) why we don’t have our churches filled with people like some of the other churches here. Then he answered his question and said because we have committments. I find that a lot of people want a church that they can go to on Sundays and essentially leave Jesus at the door for the rest of the week. But Jesus asks for all our heart might mind and strength. If we really want salvation we have to live as He lived. I think it was Elder Holland that said “Salvation never was easy.” The atonement of Jesus Christ wasn’t easy, His life wasnt easy, and so why should our eternal salvation be easy? The fact is that its not easy, its hard. But the wonderful thing is that we find joy when we chose to do hard things! How many of you have aced a test that what insanely easy that you didnt have to study for? Or won a basketball game against a team that just wasnt very good? Or accomplished anything that was easy? I’m willing to bet that you didn’t find much joy in that accomplishment. But how different is the feeling when you study hours on end for a test, and then find out that you aced it. Or won a basketball game against a team that had much more talent. Or anything that was insanely hard that you accomplished. How different was the feeling of joy after any of these events! It’s the same thing with our lives here, but multiplied by the eternities! When we chose to follow our Lord, even when it’s hard, we will be blessed with peace and serenity in this life, but more importatly with eternal joy in the life to come. I hope I live worthy of this goal.

We this is getting long so Ill be quick on this part, but I wanted to tell you guys about Francilino and Josianni this week. I think I’ve already talked a little about them but they are awesome! We’ve been teaching them for a little over two weeks (I think) and Francilino already has read over 400 pages in the Book of Mormon! We are just waiting for them to get married before their baptism, and they should have a marriage date this week!! It is absolutely awesome to see the change and happiness in their lives. We are so lucky to be able to teach, and learn, from them!!

Well sorry that this got long, but I hope you guys are all well!

Elder Lawrence ๐Ÿ™‚

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March 28, 2016 (week 24)

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Another week! Times seems to be flying by. So transfers are this week! My companion and I will stay in the same area together, which we kind of already knew. After 6 more weeks (next transfer) more than likely I will be transferred to another area, which should be excited and a good change! But we’ll see what happens, I love this area so either way I will be happy.
My companion cracks me up sometimes. So since I am his trainer on the mission he is my “son” and I’m his “father” I think I already explained this.. but anyways I made brownies last week (the semi-famous Sheri recipe) and after he says, “I don’t know whether to call you mom, or dad!” hahaha they don’t have brownies here, or at least not common like in the states, so it was new for him.

Well, I heard I new pronunciation of my name this week, “Elder Lanfrazee” I’m not quite sure what the thought process was, but at least until now, it wasnt gotten old watching people try to say my last name.

So we always eat lunch with members of the church here, but we don’t always have a lunch appointment because there isn’t a ton of members and they are busy, and so when we don’t it’s hard because we don’t really have money for a meal outside of breakfast and dinner. Anyways, this week we had a few days without lunch and so we prayed that we would be able to have lunch the next day and the next day an investigator offered to have us over for lunch!! Which has never happened until now on my mission. And the lunch was soooo good. I know that God cares about us! Even in the small little things that don’t matter that much in the big picture.

If you haven’t tried coconut bread I would HIGHLY recommend it. They sell it here the week before easter (not sure if we do the same thing in the states or not) and I wanted to try it all week but I didnt want to spend money on it. Well on the last day that it was being sold a member bought us a loaf!!! I made french toast with it and let me just say, wow. Definitely a highlight of the week.

So we have planners that we always use (to keep track of where people live and when our appointments are) and so we use them for 6 weeks. Well after 6 weeks they are pretty destroyed, so missionaries make little covers for them. I’ll attatch a picture of mine after 6 weeks, brand new one, and the one with a cover that I’ll use for these next six weeks. I’m excited not to have to look at the one Im using now, it’s literally so ugly that it’s painful to look at.

We have an investigator that I love! Actually the same one that gave us lunch. His name is Caesar and he’s 33. His life has really turned around the past few years as he has put God first. He was shot 7 times.. he didnt say why but at this time in his life he wasn’t exactly making the greatest decisions. He came to a point one day where he decided to commit suicide. So he took his gun, shot a tree a couple of times to make sure it was working, put it in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. But nothing happened. So he took it out and shot the tree again and it worked like normal. Wow. There isn’t any other explanation other that he was saved by God. He is an inspiration and honestly one of the nicest guys I know. I really hope he will continue to progress! He already prayed and received an answer that what we are teaching is true. He’s the man!

Love you guys!
Elder Lawrence ๐Ÿ™‚

March 21, 2016 (week 23)

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Hey guys!

So this week was a little frusterating, but there was definitely some highlights. So I made my companion cookies for his birthday and even though they weren’t that great he seemed to love them, and we both ate more than enough to get sick haha.

So this week my companion just about died when he saw my Corinthians jersey (soccer team of Sรฃo Paulo that literally everyone adores) he made he take a picture with him so he could show his friends that he found an American Corinthian hahah, I’ll attatch it!

Also are fridge has been dead for 2 weeks now…. which is definitely less than ideal. Its kind of our fault, kind of not, but I’m hoping that we will get it fixed soon! I never appreciated cold water so much.

So the language continues to be a struggle, but I’ve definitely seen a lot of improvement in the past month, which gives me a ton of hope! My companion gets frusterated with me sometimes when I forget or don’t know words. One time I forgot the word for coin and he got frusterated and said “how do you not know this word yet” and I probably shouldn’t have, but I know he’s been trying to learn English for a long time and he hasn’t gotten very far yet, but I said that you can try to learn English in 4 (although I’m realizing now its already been 5 ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ) months and let me now if you know every word. He was pretty quiet after that, sometimes people forget that learning a new language isn’t the easiest thing in the world! For the most part people are super patient with it though.

So we are teaching Caesar, and he knows this church is true, but says that he can’t come to church cause every Sunday morning he goes with his grandpa (who is like 95) to this restaurant thats an hour away, and then after they visit friends of the granpa who are sick. And so anyways, during a prayer my companion says something like, “Help us to be able to go to church” and then mid prayer Caesar says “Make this miracle happen!” We couldn’t help but chuckle, but we are hoping we can get him to church soon!

The other picture I attatched is with Mateus, who is a member who was baptized 10 months ago and is going to serve a mission soon!! He is awesome and he comes teaching with us a lot.

Well nothing more this week, hope you guys are all well!

Elder Lawrence ๐Ÿ™‚

March 14, 2016 (week 22)

So I just typed the date and realized that yesterday makes 5 months that I’ve been here…. wow it definitely feels like 5 weeks and not 5 months!

So I don’t think I have a ton to say this week. My companion reallywants to learn English and so he’s been asking me a ton of questions and so this week he asks how to say elas in english (I think it’s the same in spanish and so most of you probably know, its the plural way of saying she) so I responded “shes” Then I said shes a few more times… and realized that you cant make she plural in english.. yikes.

So we’re teaching a woman names Renata and her 10 year old daughter Victoria. So Renata lost her job and was going to lose her house and was super super worried about it (obviously) but was super interested in what we were teaching her. My companion promised her that if she went to church the next sunday that she would find a job, and THE NEXT DAY she found a job! BUT as part of her training she has to work Sundays for 3 months…. so we were super excited for her but at the same time sad because she said she can’t come to church for three months. Anyways, her daughter is honestly amazing. We were teaching about prayer and she said she prays, so I asked her if shes ever asked God for anything in a prayer, and she responds “No, because God has already given me everything, I only thank him” Like what!? you’re ten! But we taught her that it’s okay to ask for things, and that God wants to bless us! She is awesome.

So I want to tell you guys about another family, but I’ll just say a little and next week I’ll write more about them. So we gave them a Book of Mormon, and three days later, they had read more than 100 pages!! How cool is that!? I’m so excited to see their progress.

I hope everything is good with you guys! I miss you all! Until next week,

Elder Lawrence ๐Ÿ™‚

March 7, 2016 (week 21)

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Well I can’t really think of anything too special for this week. We had divisions with our zone leaders so I was with an American for a day, which to be honest, was pretty weird. Although we spoke a lot of English to each other, I think we both miss English a bit haha. So I had a day planned out super good for us, I had 9 or so appointments with investigators but all but one fell through, so that was definitely less than ideal. The next day, when I was back with my normal companion, two times I was accidnetly speaking English to him. hahaha I don’t even know how that happens but he wasn’t understanding anything I was saying and so I thought this is weird, then after a bit he says “I don’t speak english you know” And then it happened later again that day. But all is back to normal now! Luckily I didn’t start speaking English to an investigator on accident.

So the person I want to tell you guys about this week is Allan jr. It’s actually pretty sad. So we taught him one lesson and he was super excited and said that he wanted to be baptized and that he would come to church with us. So all good until now, but we stop by S’unday before church and his dad says he wont get him for us. So after church we stop by again and his dad goes off about how he respects our religion but has his own and doesn’t want us to come by anymore. Then he calls his son and asks him to tell us what he told him (his dad) last night. That he doesn’t want to go to church. Allan is 14 and is scared of his dad, and actually the mom is scared too because she said that she would bring Allan to church but then when the dad was yelling at Allan saying “Don’t tell people you’ll do something without asking us” and the mom was the one who said she would bring Allan to church but then she didn’t say anything.. so there’s not really anything we can do, but it’s sad.

So the one picture is my with our district leader, during a division, and the other of the ocean! I’ve pretty much given up hope of taking a good picture here hahah

Hope everything is well stateside
Elder Lawrence ๐Ÿ™‚