Tuesday, April 12, 2016

All's Good in Zion

Week of April 4-April 10th, 2016
(4) SEGUNDA (Monday):  Man, it’s insane how fast the week passes.  Today was another great P-day, talking with the family and sending a lot of letters.  I sent a knife, and the woman got a little scared when I pulled the knife out of the bag to send.  She, and the woman on the side said, “You can’t send knives!”  I said, “I sent 3 in Santa Maria to my home and they got there with no problems.”  They said, “And you put in the declaration that the box had 3 knives?”  I said “yes.”  And they said, “ok, let’s send it but on the declaration put ‘1 talher’, which means like one silverware.  Ha-ha.  That’s quite the silverware.
            Then we taught a woman who ‘knows all of the messages from the bible’ but didn’t know what a prophet was.
            Yesterday and today I worked with a bunch of members to do lessons with us.  We’re going to have a good week.  We’re finding a lot of new investigators, which is always a joy.  Also I organized my desk today, so yea, all’s good in Zion.  Today was day 272 of my mission.
(5) TERCA (Tuesday):  Today was a very good day for us.  We did a division and I was with Elder Alvarenga. We had one commitment marked with a man named Ronald.  He’s 30, lives with his girlfriend, and is also a returned missionary.  He returned and left the church.  He was a reference from a member.  We are going to the house, and I saw him in the front of the house drinking Chimarrao.  We were about 3 houses away, and he saw us, grabbed his Chimarrao and RAN into the house.  Ha-ha.  All of the windows were wide open, and the garage and the door.  We knocked, he’s hiding.  We knock again, nothing. So, I say loud enough for him to hear in the house, “I don’t think anyone’s home.”  Ha-ha, then we left.  I’ll never understand, after 2 years on a mission, how can you go inactive?  And even so, how can you run from the missionaries.  I’ll never understand, but I won’t judge.  Just keep praying for them.
            Also, today I realized little more how people see us.  A woman today said, “I haven’t taken years of bible class nor read the whole bible like you both have.”  Ha-ha, I didn’t tell her that it really wasn’t like that.
            OH!  Remember that drunk that asked me the capital of Nebraska?  He came back.  From across the park he YELLED, “ELDERS”, and of course we turned and he came running.  He hugged us and called us angels and covered us with the smell of beer.  He again asked me the capital of Nebraska, which I said Omaha, and then he asked me the capitol of  Arizona, and I said Phoenix.  (We will let Jake know the Capitol of Nebraska is Lincoln. Haha) He said, “Alright, you are American.”  Then started talking about his powers, and how the world’s well being is connected to his body.  How he likes to drink because he likes to see the world spinning under his feet.  He was basically telling us about how he is God.  Then he just turned and left.
            District meeting today, and at the end we do 30 minutes of practices.  I gave training on the importance of the Book of Mormon, and how He answers our questions.  For the practice, I had everyone, one at a time, open the book to a random page, a random verse, then they had to use that verse to answer a question like ‘Does God exist?’ ‘Does He love me?’ or the hardest, “why do I have to pay tithing?”  We were dying we were laughing so hard trying to use these random scriptures to answer questions.  Today was great.  Today was day 273 of my mission.
(6) QUARTA (Wednesday): Funniest quote form today:  “You’re really American?” “Yes” “Then tell me, why do you guys have so many terrorist there?”  “Are there a lot there?”  “Yes!”  “Strange!  I lived 18 years of my life there, never met a single one.”  Ha-ha, oh man, the questions some people ask me!
            I don’t know why, but EVERYTHING was making me happy today.  First off, we went with a young man from the ward, our plan fell and he wanted to knock doors with us.  His name is Alex, he’s 16.  His older brother is the ward mission leader.  He’s super awesome and way strong in the church.  He came with us in full church clothes, with the triple and bible his brother used in the mission and had given to him.  He was way excited, and he took the part on prophets, then on Joseph Smith in the two lessons we found in the time he was with us.  We found one woman and this lesson went GREAT!  Her name is Marcela.
            As the day went on, I was just feeling more and more excited and happy.  I had to step in the street at one point because I couldn’t breath, I was laughing so hard trying to tell Elder Martins a story that really wasn’t that funny.  He shook his head and told me I was ill.  That made me laugh harder.  Today went very, very well.  Today was day 274 of my mission.
(7) QUINTA (Thursday):  So, let’s talk about how today was great.  First off, in my studies, I finished Jesus the Christ, which made me happy because now I can start over, this time in Portuguese.  That book is incredible.  I learned a whole bunch studying Him.

            Then we had a lesson with Jefferson and Angelica.  We taught the gospel of Christ, and it was a great lesson.  She isn’t baptized in any church, and I think it was in this lesson that he started to realize what his church is lacking.  We invited them to go to church with us, and they excitedly accepted! Woot Woot!  He is very excited.  Man, I am praying so much for them!  I’m super excited for them because they have 3 kids, a son with 8 months, another with 3 years, and a daughter with 7. 
            I just realized that tomorrow is 9 months.  That’s crazy.  Then it started to rain.  HUGE clouds with a lot of lightning came out of no where.  And so we’re walking and a drunk calls us for help.  We go to him, and he is very drunk.  And lost.  And he couldn’t remember where he lives.  He was very out of it.  Finally he said he lives close to the police station.  So we each grab an arm and help him walk.  We get there, and he remembers the next part. We go, and someone recognized him and told us where he lives.  By now it’s 8:30, raining, and we smell like beer.  So, we just went home.  Really it was a miracle that we found his house.
            But yea, I’m doing well.  Weeks going great. Finished Jesus the Christ.  Got my little picture frame on my desk with the picture from Christmas with my 2 families in Jerseys.  Couldn’t be happier.  Today was day 275 of my mission.
(8) SEXTA (Friday):  I met a woman from Israel.  She was pretty cool, and the first person I think I’ve met that doesn’t believe in Christ.  Her husband is a Catholic, with a lot of questions.  He asked, “Why don’t you have saints?”  I said, “Because we believe in the Bible, which says not to have saints.”  “Why don’t you believe in the Pope?”  “Because we believe in the Bible which says god works through Prophets.”  With Catholics like that I like to use the Bible to show why we do what we do, because they’re more stubborn about the Bible and only the Bible.  So, I use the Bible to explain our doctrine, slowly tying in the Book of Mormon to answer to show it’s value and how it answers all the questions we could have.
            I also met a Lutheran.  Man, he was cold.  We did the contact, saying we had a special message to help people strengthen their families.  He responded, “No, I’m Lutheran.  I already know the word of God, much better than you both.”  We said, “Alright, but it was only a short message we had.  He said, “Do you guys study the Bible?”  “Yes” “And the Book of Mormon?”  “Yes” “And you compare them both side by side?”  “Yes, everyday”  “Then it’s plain to you both that they deny one another?  The Bible teaches that salvation comes through Christ, the Book of Mormon says good works and missionary work.”  “No, that’s not true, sir.  The two testify of one another and the two testify together of Jesus Christ.”  Him: “Are you sure you read the Book of Mormon carefully?  I invite you both to read the two books again with a more careful eye.  I thank you for your time, but really I don’t need your message.  I already know them all.”   We just sat there listening to the guy trash talk our religion and the Book of Mormon.  I didn’t write all that he said.  He said he read the Book of Mormon.  I felt like he was trying to bait us into a Bible bash.  I felt very frustrated, not really because of what he was saying, but because he’s so blind to the truth and too proud to accept it.  2 Nephi 29 came to mind.  As we left he said again, “But really compare the two book’s together, and you’ll see.  Happy Studies!”  Man, it’s crazy.
            But I know the Book of Mormon is true.  More so then the Bible.  I have no doubt in this.  I know our church is the only true church.  If I didn’t why would I waste my time talking to people like him?  I didn’t leave for a mission because I thought it would be fun.  I’m here to proclaim the truth I know to be true.
            Also, today is 9 months in the mission.  The Elders said I needed to do my belly thing for a picture because now I have a baby.  Today was day 276 of my mission.

(9) SABADO (Saturday):  Today went very well.  The only thing I didn’t like about today was at the house of a less active we are helping return she told me I need to come back to visit after, and I asked if she’d already found my instagram or Facebook.  She said, “I think so” and went to instagram.  Then started looking at my pictures and the pictures of my friends and telling me about their lives, and asking questions about mine.  I didn’t like seeing pictures of my friends, nor answering questions of the member.  It’s fine, when it comes in emails or letters, but on insta it felt too real.  I don’t know, but we quickly left.  I’m really trying hard to focus on where I am.  I only write letters to people on p-days or when I’m on the bus for hours along.  I try not to talk to members or investigators about home or my life.
            Our family that was doing great will have a visit over tomorrow so they can’t go to church.  Deley will go with us.  This will be his second time.  Vinicius will also go, which is AWESOME!
            I’m feeling like I’ll be transferred this transfer, which is fine but I don’t really want to leave this ward.
            Ha-ha, today someone said, “You both walk in the sun all day and when it’s not sun it’s rain.  You get rejected, left family, and studies, and your country.  You’re arguing religion in a different language.  You have 18 years only, and he has only 19.  And worst of all, you don’t gain any salary, but PAY to do this.  Why?”  I realize it really doesn’t make sense to people what we do.  But I was able to look in his eyes and say, “Because I know the gospel I’m bringing to people is true.”  He shook his head, almost laughing.  I’m sure we seem like crazies to him, but that’s ok.  Today was day 277 of my mission.
(10)DOMINGO (Sunday): Today was good.  Vinicius went to church!  He got home from Porto Alegre at 6:00 am, and went with us to church at 8:55!  Jefferson and Angelica called us last night saying they would have a visit, so they couldn’t come to church. The, today we got a text from them: “Hey Missionaries, it’s Angelica.  I’m sending this message to tell you that you don’t need to come visit us anymore.  It’s not worth it.  We won’t go to your church nor be baptized.  Don’t insist.  I know it’s ignorance on our part.  Don’t be mad at us and please don’t visit.  Thanks.”
            I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, or what I need to change.  I keep loosing the families.  Stephani and Juliano, Angelica e Jefferson, Sabra e Jose.  It’s super annoying, the agency of others.

            Today was the best lunch I’ve had yet in the mission.  It was Churroscinhos. 

Super good, and while they are cooking, he pulled out a pellet gun, which is very rare form someone to have any kind of gun.  He let us each take a shot.  Ha-ha.  It was the first time Elder Passoa Da Silva had ever held a gun, looked like it was the first time for Elder Santos, and Elder Martins was a little better, but not much.  This week went very well, over all.  Today was day 278 of my mission.
Love you all, Elder Mckee
Jake said he found the zoom on his camera.

 Out on splits with Elder Alvarenga

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