Vitora, Brazil

Vitora, Brazil

Monday, October 28, 2013

5. Only One Week Left

Dear Family,

I love you Mom. And even though your email didn't show up in my inbox for some reason, I still found it. I love you too Dad. I am really enjoying the talk. When I get to the field, I will print it all out and keep it together. I especially liked this weeks because I had read almost every scripture in the section. I think I am going to skip over 2 Nephi in my Book of Mormon reading so I can get to Ammon and the Sons of Mosiah faster. Also, because I don't understand any of it in Portuguese.

So, if you remember last week when I said our investigators were tough. Now, they are close to impossible. After 4 lessons, the spirit was able to touch one of our investigators, but now our other investigator doesn't accept about half of the commandments. We spent over 4 hours yesterday pouring over the scriptures to find ways to explain his difficult questions. I read the story of Enos with an investigator this week. I could not imagine taking an entire day to pray. But, I was happy when the message that we needed to be diligent in our prayers got across.

I have been trying to speak only in Portuguese this week. I was solid until about Wednesday and I just needed to talk. It really is a hard thing to describe. Imagine only being allowed to use Pictionary with people. It's kinda like that. Or you just feel like a completely alone because everyone has given up talking to you. That's not really true though. There is another guy that sits behind me in class that has been trying with me. And of course my companion talks to me. I hope I get a bit better before I am stuck with a Brazilian companion. I really can't decide what I want more. So many people say that tons of the Brazilians are really lazy but I can't imagine that being entirely true. I think my dream right now is a really experienced American that can teach me the accent and everything and I won't feel like a ball and chain around their ankle.

I have gotten to play volleyball almost everyday here. At first my district really liked basketball and we only did that but now we play volleyball every time. I really enjoy it except that the floor is very bad for diving.

I don't really know what to write. I feel like I write the same stuff every week and I gets really boring. IDK

My district is going to a all you can eat place for lunch today. So, I didn't eat breakfast. Its basically a Brazil de Brazil. But only 10 dollars. OH, and there is a tradition among the Americans to see how fast your district can drink a 3.3 liter bottle of Guarana . The record is 1 min and 40 seconds. But you can only use three people and it has to be straight out of the bottle. Kinda gross but I bet it will be really fun. And I probably won't be one of the three because I am so small. HAHA. Actually our entire district is really short. Before my 6'5" companion showed up the next tallest was 5'9." Well he says he is 6'6" but he doesn't look taller that Dallin Skouson to me.

Well, I didn't really have much to report this week. I hope everyone is happy and safe. Enjoy your week as much as I am enjoying mine.


Elder Jacobson (Andrew)

Friday, October 18, 2013

4. Every prayer ought to be a literal conversation with God. Don't just spam his inbox.

Dear Family and Friends,

We had another great week of learning and growing. Just after writing my last letter I got the opportunity to let out my suit pants about an inch and a half. You all would be so proud of me. 
We had more lessons this week and my companion and I are getting better at giving lessons without a script. I think next week they will make us go without anything but our scriptures. We actually did a lesson this week without notes. Our new investigator was supposed to have been taught the 3rd lesson but he told us before we started teaching that he had already learned about the restoration and even though the last time he was taught was in April, he said he remembered everything. So after a good pause, we decided we would have to teach the Plan of Salvation, without planning at all. It was kind-off rough because we did not have the right vocabulary pulsing through our brain but when we finished if felt kind off good.

We also had a really rough time with another one of our investigators. After an awesome lesson with an obvious presence of the Holy Ghost we asked her to be baptized. She responded by telling us that she had just found another church and really liked it a lot. The lesson ended with us just telling her to keep her book of Mormon and continue to read. So, that should have been it right? Time for a new investigator. Nope. We were surprised to find that we needed to teach her again and that we still had a chance with her. With only 30 minutes to prep. we prayed and decided to try to get her to pray with us and feel the spirit again. I don't really know how she felt because she said she had to go right after the prayer. She is one tough investigator.

But, I am still really enjoying my time and learning surprisingly fast. In the temple this morning, I listened only in Portuguese and really enjoyed it. Besides I almost raised my hand when only the girls where supposed to. I also really noticed that I could hear and comprehend much better if I closed my eyes. I just made sure I peeked every once in a while so I didn't miss something.

I was so glad to hear from everyone this week. I even got a letter. What a pleasant surprise! I am so proud of all the missionary work you guys are doing at home. That is truly the missionary spirit.

While praying last night, I felt that I needed to share my testimony with you guys about some of the awesome things I am learning while I teach investigators. I wanted to start with something I learned from conference. I think there is a reason the apostles and the prophet don't talk about deep doctrinal mysteries. The always teach the basics and the teach the basics because that is the only thing that can help you grow a testimony in the gospel. We learned our first week that we needed to be converted not convinced. I truly believe that the Book of Mormon has me thoroughly convinced. I know that there is no way it could have been falsified. Especially while reading through the prophecies of the last days and the forming of the American Nation. But, more importantly, I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God because the Holy Ghost has testified to my heart. We can read the Book of Mormon and go to church every week. And go to the temple and feel the spirit. But, the only way to know that the Book of Mormon is True and that this is the Lord's Gospel is through prayer. We have to know what the promptings of the Spirit feel like. We have to do our best to seek those feelings and follow them. I know that I am out of practice with praying with real intent and with a sincere heart. Every prayer is a literal conversation with God. Don't just spam his inbox. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I know I don't want to preach to you guys but these lessons finally hit me hard here. And I want you to feel too. I shared my experience with an investigator yesterday, that it took me several time of sincere prayer to get a response that I could recognize. Then I decided to accept the same challenge as my investigator and pray for my self. I was touched again. I wrote my experience in my journal and I hope I don't forget it this time. I hope that we all try to hold on to the soft messages of the Spirit.

I also got to go proselyting this week. Bryan is actually going right now. Me an my companion both gave away a book on the bus and then within 15 minutes outside a mall, we gave away our other one (when we where given an hour). I then started helping another Elder. I was so happy to go with him because we met the two awesome business men that were really interested. I could tell that the Lord had a place for everyone of those copies.

Thank you all again for your support. It was awesome to hear from you. Forgive me again for all typos. I always feel super rushed.


Elder Jacobson (Andrew)

Friday, October 11, 2013

3. When I'm I going to turn Brazilian? :)

Dear Family and Friends,

I had another amazing week. Portuguese is still coming along nice and steady. I'm just trying to learn new words and correct my pronunciation all the time. I just don't know where to start talking to you about. 
I did get to see conference. It was awesome. I sat next to the president the entire time so I stayed wide awake. Me and my companion had the only seats that you had lots of leg room. I learned lots. Its kind of funny listening to talks in this new perspective. Some talks are aimed directly at Missionaries, but some have nothing to do with us. It was great to hear the prophet and apostles in English too. That was quite a blessing. It was also probably the most relaxing weekend we are going to have the entire time here. Basically if we weren't in conference,  we had personal time/study. I enjoyed every minute.

On Monday, we had our first day with 2 investigators. The first lesson was amazing and we taught this guy about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The second one was weird. It was our first time with this investigator so we spent about 15 minutes just talking, but as soon as we started the lesson, she said that she had to go. Apparently, the guys before us took too long. Fortunately, we haven't had two lessons everyday this week. Every time we plan on two lessons, the investigator ( our teacher ) was either sick or in training classes. So, we did about one every day again.

As, a companionship goal we stopped writing our scripts for the lesson and just write points that we want to cover. Our last lesson was much slower, but if felt good afterwards to know that we had been like fighting with Portuguese and come out victorious. I am surprised with how much I am learning about just giving a lesson and making it more acceptable to the investigator. We learned a process the other day on how to give a commitment for example. Instead of just asking the investigator to read the book of Mormon or start following a new law, we begin by explaining the law, then testifying about it, promising blessings, and then extending the commitment. It really makes investigators understand why this law is necessary and totally worth it.

My companion and I are still doing great together. He is really a hard worker and is constantly pushing our limits. This Wednesday, I went all day without any English. It was such a challenge and so cool afterwards. Even though I didn't feel like I had tremendously learned a whole lot, I became allot more comfortable speaking in Portuguese. My goal is to go tomorrow and Sunday without English! It is so awesome to watch as our whole district learns so fast. We completed a district goal to only speak Portuguese while in our classroom. We almost made it the whole day but by the time it came to planning time we were so exhausted that we all just broke down together. I mean, we had been in there over 9 hours already.

Did you guys get the information about Missionary Ties? I think it is a great idea. IDK what their prices are but I got a free cookie out of it. Walking the streets was pretty fun last Friday too. I bought hangers and some body wash for the other Elder Jacobson. There was actually someone that spoke English in that store who helped us find things. It was really funny that some things were really cheap and other were the same as the US. Ties are like $4, and soccer jerseys are like $10. But, the hangers and body wash were the same price. It was funny to see how many street vender's were there just for the missionaries. There was even a sign with a drawing of two missionaries written in English pointing to a souvenir shop.

Well, I miss you all plenty. I hope everything is going well with Daniel, Aubrey, and Brealynn.  I hope the ward is doing fine too.

As for me, I am having a blast even though I am constantly tired. I have a roommate that has trouble sleeping and keeps a light on and another one that just loves to sing his heart out every night. Oh, and someone's alarm always goes off 30 min. early every morning. The meals are still amazing, a little repetitive but always good. I have gained about 5 pounds now. But, my pants still fit.

It was great to hear from you guys. I hope to hear from you all again next week. If I can find postage, Ill send a letter.

Elder Jacobson (Andrew)

PS - I also forgot to say that my new hobby is to go the the laundry room  and read my scriptures really loud in portuguese. I think it is really helping my pronunciation. Anyhoo, Love you again

Friday, October 4, 2013

2. Finally! I have a P-day!

It honestly feels like it has been an entire month sense I was home. I have learned so much Portuguese I probably speak it better that my Spanish. You will have the excuse the typos again. I am on a time limit. I guess I can read your emails thoroughly when I get the the field. Another unfortunate thing is that I cannot upload pictures so you will get a lot of those when I get in the field too.

It is incredible how efficient this system has become to prepare missionaries. We taught a 30 min lesson the second day in the CTM and then we have had a lesson every night sense. I was even able to answer our investigators questions during our last two lessons. Just remember, this is all in Portuguese. Our investigators are actually other instructors though and they are sympathetic but most don't speak English. During our last lesson, the investigator was to tired that she was dozing off while I recited the 1st vision. I couldn't believe it. We had an amazing experience the day before though when we committed her to baptism. My first companionship was a threesome, and after expressing some doubts about baptism, our most quiet member started baring his testimony ( it was the first time he said something off script and it was sooo powerful). I took his momentum and told her that we would clear up all her doubts and that the feelings of joy she had while we taught would be with her always after baptism. Then, our senior companion bore his testimony and offered the challenge again. Of course, the accepted. All of this was completely unscripted. The spirit was so strong and I could feel help through the gift of tongues.

Then, Tuesday night rolled around and we learned that our pday was being moved to Friday. What a bummer? To better the surprise, I found out the next morning that new guys from Provo had flown in and that I was getting a new companion. At first I was really scared because I relied so much on my senior companion for discussions. But, we went to the temple today and I totally feel that this is exactly what I need. Elder Mortensen doesn't really have a Spanish background and has to take more time memorizing words but I am so grateful that he is a hard worker and a wonderful companion. And we were blessed with conference, so we don't have to teach until Monday. But we start two lessons a day. My newest goal in lesson giving is to be able to have parts of the lesson completely memorized to I don't have to use notes. This past week we have spent about 2.5 hours preparing for each lesson.

And on Monday we are going to have two new investigators, since our old investigator just became our teacher in the classroom. The missionaries back home were right when they said not to waste study time. We are given about 4 hours of personal study opportunity time each day and it is very easy to get distracted. It is so hard to remind yourself to stop speaking English when you just want to say stuff so badly. It was quite a coincidence that when I set a goal to go a whole day with close to no English I got my new companion. I lasted about 6 hours and just had to speed up our communications. I will have to try that goal again soon.

Brazil is wonderful. The weather is absolutely perfect right now. It rains about every night just a little bit and and temperature is always about 60. I know it will probably get hotter that Texas but for right now, there is no other place i'd rather be. The city seems a little cramped and the driving is a nightmare but everybody is so nice. Oh, and the food is amazing. Almost as good as home cooking. i would have put a winking face right there but the keyboard is not working. sad face. haha. I don't think I am going to out grow any of my pants though, because all of the deserts are fruity. The only relief is Wednesday when we get chocolate, banana pizza. it is muito bom (very good).

I think the hardest this with the language right now is pronunciation. It is quite different from Spanish. The R's are H's and D's and T's sound like G's but only in certain situations and the L's are not really used for sound but just to change the position of your mouth for the next sound.

So, we were told we only needed to study chapter 3 of preach my gospel but the entire book is so amazing and helpful. Tell Daniel that he need to start reading it now. Aubrey can too. I forgot to mention that we added two Brazilians in our room. They are awesome to talk to and they teach us so much. Here's a surprise, they use napkins here instead of rolls of toilet paper. it threw me off guard at first. There has been kind of a cold going around and I have it right now. Just a super runny nose but it is not really slowing me down. It was annoying during my temple session though.

I hope everyone is doing good back home. I am glad to hear the report about Daniel. Tell Brealynn and Aubrey that I love them. I just want to thank everyone for their emails. It is really awesome to feel your support. I love you.

Elder Jacobson (Andrew)

the word for twin is Gemeo with an accent on the first e. I really have used this one. well, im out of time. Love you all again.