Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Man this week was hard, but kinda just funny, and not discouraging. So, Carnival is quite an experience. Imagine a mix between a ghost town but and I don't know what else. Literally 98 percent of the population is at the beach right now. We knock an entire street and only talk with 2 or 3 people that don't like the beach or they didn't feel like going. Our ward of 50 actives was less that 20 by the end of sacrament as everyone was leaving for the holidays. And the missionaries just stayed on the streets trying to create potentials. We had a great idea to just visit members during the afternoon and got 6 references. But it is just so funny how empty unimaginably empty it became here. We almost didn't find an open Internet Cafe to use. But, in the midst of all the difficulties, I had some great spiritual experiences.
First, we were challenge/encouraged to pray and ask specifically what we could do to help our area progress. We prayed and a thought to do a fast on Wednesday came to mind. So, even though my companion cant fast I fasted alone and we prayed again to receive guidance. That night we had a lesson marked for 7 o'clock. We got there and our investigator had left to run errands and we thought she had forgotten about us. We left to just knock some doors in the area and 30 minutes later her daughter came running after us to call us back. The mom, our target investigator, and her 8 children were called and all of them listened intently to the Plan of Salvation and learned about how they could be reunited with their father who passed away. It was such a good lesson and even though carnival is making it difficult to teach them and bring them to church I know that we received guidance and spiritual strength during the lesson.
Second, I was questioning my own testimony this week about is the Lord can really put a yes or no answer in your mind and heart. D&C 8: 2-3. I have definitely felt the spirit during prayers and have felt spiritual guidance help me with Portuguese but i had not as of yet prayed about a yes or no question. After, a lesson with an investigator that seems really promising but keeps creating excuses to avoid the lessons and visits in the church, I was praying a lot to know if we should cut this investigator and if we were just losing time. I felt like I went through the same experience of Enos battling with the spirit. My desires were telling me that we should try to help him but I am pretty sure the spirit was telling me a different answer. At first I refused to accept this answer. But, as a few days have passed, I know that the response was correct. I hope that as I gain more experience with this type of response I will be able to recognize it during the prayer. But, I know for sure that through all of our prayers our Father is Heaven is listening and wants to help us.
It is hard to sit here with these two missionaries that are typing their last emails to their families. They have been making me kinda trunky. But at least they are working until the last day. I am hoping for a very energetic missionary to get me back into the running mode instead of the dragging your heals. We are definitely working but I feel like we are lacking something. Like a little fire to keep us on our toes.
Well, that's about all,
Until next week I love you all soo much.
Elder Jacobson (Andrew)
Posted by JT&Crew at 6:58 PM
The weeks are starting to feel a bit longer I think. Maybe it is just because this week was kinda hard. With Carnival approaching, even our most interested investigators are going to the beach just out of habit. It is especially tough to find people to teach during the week end just because of the beach. I cant imagine what this weekend is going to be like. I have heard that in some parts of the mission last year president told them to stay in their house for 4 days. Others said that they work all the same. Either way it is going to be an interesting week. We are definitely going to stear clear of the dangerous parts of town.
We are doing everything to try to find, teach, and help people progress in the gospel this transfer. We talk with literally everyone. I can totally see how some missionaries patience wears thin. Every once in a while you just get urges to show scriptures and prove your point but this method is pointless and even contrary to the missionary purpose.
We had an awkward moment this week when we set a goal for a baptism and then found out two days later that they were not married. I don't know how we made this mistake. But we are still going to help them despite the popular idea to leave them and teach `real potentials´. I have been learning from my companion that even though lots of people here will accept to hear your message, they don't really want to change and you have to evaluate the person while you are talking to them. A missionary that wants to be able to rest in house and just share messages can, but they will not be helping the people they need to. It is really difficult to not justify sitting in a house just to avoid the sun with the excuse that you are helping them.
So, the focus this transfer in our City of Campos is to use the spirit during the lessons, on the street, and basically everywhere. The day really depends on how you start it. If you start off studying correctly after getting prepared on time and you are feeling the spirit. You will be able to use it during the day. But you really have to prepare to receive this gift. We have been trying to use the members more because they are powerful sources of the spirit. Even though it takes more work to coordinate the efforts with the members, it is easily worth the time. People really feel the love that the members have for the Gospel.
I have been learning plenty during this transfer and I hope that in the next I will be able to stay in a house with more leaders on the mission to learn from them. Even though they have less personal time. They really dedicate these two years to the lord. There is a difference between dedicating and giving. I have to really do something in these two years.
So, I don't have that many interesting stories or anything. Just work work work. My companion admits to not being trunky but only talkes about going home. It is kinda hard for the guy with more that 18 months left. Just two more weeks and it will be back to normal. No more trunkyness.
Well, Good week for you all. I love you and hope the best.
Elder Jacobson (Andrew)
Posted by JT&Crew at 6:46 PM
. We have a mission goal of 35 addresses that we get to make return visits. This is generally an easy goal especially because almost anyone will accept a visit as long as it is a futuristic date and not the same day. But this week my companion and I did 103 addresses. I already ran out of space in my planer and my companion is close to the last page. Also, none of the missions in Brazil recieved new planers for this transfer. Everyone is cramming and writing new information on top of old planers and using anything they can. It is kinda funny. It just so happened that my companion and I both had an extra planer and we are some of the few with unused planers.
Well, our dream investigators are turning soft(an expression here) meaning that they aren´t progressing and keeping comitments. It is really sad because I know they are missing out on tons of blessing but everyone has agency. The Lord wasnt kidding when he said that the gate to salvation is small and the way is narrow. The world is very good at lolling us away to the things that dont matter. I just hope that they let the spirit touch their hearts before too long.
We have also met a few inactives this week by accident. They all have the same reason for falling away. They never gained a spiritual testimony about this gospel. There is no other way to convert someone. If they are not spiritually converted they will not stay in the church and survive the trials of this life. I have gotten pretty good at convincing my mind that these things are true but I need to be careful because this convincing will not last through this life and the next.
But, here is some good news. We have been working with a reference from a member this week. They are a young family and visited the church yesterday for the first time. It has been hard for them because of the time the normal spend at the Beach but finally they both said that a visit to the church was necessary. I cant wait to teach them about eternal families this week and to see their excitement in just one of the blessings of the gospel. I have been studying this lesson all week because it is really a weakness as of right now.
I cut my own hair this week. I was scared to cut a lot but it is good enough to last a week or two and I will do it again. I must forgive my mom for the stress I caused during my years of hair cuts. I really appreciated all of the time that you sacrificed on my head.
I also have a picture of a cat from a pet store that escapes everyday after the store closes and wanderes arround. It is kinda funny.
But that is all I have for this week. I am happy to be here serving our Lord. It is truly a gratifing work. Even though it is very hot and I have never sweat more in my life.
I love you all, Until next week
Posted by JT&Crew at 6:42 PM
This week was a lot better mostly because we worked so much and there was no time to think about any problems. We are working a lot better together, with only one small bicker. We are really working on serving each other and just talking more as friends. I am helping him with his District Leader responsibilities and he is teaching me more Portuguese. It is kinda funny sometimes because he is from the interior of São Paulo and has a very strong accent, something that just doesn't go away. I have my strong american accent but some investigators understand me better. Not like I understand them better but I thought it was kinda funny.
We had lots of interesting lessons this week. We are working to hard to find the people that don't go the the beach on the weekend and will progress. But, we ended up this week teaching so many just new types of people. We sat down yesterday in the shade with a lady that literally called us over to hear a message. Her little daughter sat down right in my face and as soon as she found out that I was american she would not stop asking questions. It was like an interrogation. She wanted to know everything about america and it was hard to teach. Our lesson went from teaching one person to teaching 7, including a nude little boy, Kinda awkward. But, they all promised to go to the church and maybe we might get progress out of them.
We had a great experience with a reference this week too. We were at a members house and we taught the restoration with our eyes closed. During the first vision we asked them to focus on the miracle of the restoration and the people in their lives that should here this message. A name popped right into the moms mind but she only knew the neighborhood that she lived in. So, we spent a little time finding her. We literally clapped at her house the day that her husband left her after years of a struggling relationship. With my very inadequate experience with these situations I tried to be very sympathetic and we told her that the only thing we have to give is the blessings of this message. We taught the Plan of Salvation and you could feel the peace of the message fill the room. She stopped crying and was already looking more relaxed. I know that the spirit put that name into that members mind at exactly the right moment. It was a great story to report to the member family.
So, I think I have been a little to thrifty over the last couple weeks as I have saved up almost half of our allowance every time. Not like its bad to have extra money but I don't need to restrict myself. I have saved up 200 reais now and don't really have a way to spend it besides food. Which would not be a great thing for my weight. I think Ill start using a little to spoil my dying companion. (he is not literally dying it is just an expression for a missionary that is finishing). Even though he is super rich. He doesn't spend money that much either. But, I am just so glad that he is not a trunky and lazy missionary. He is not going to stop until maybe the last 4 or 5 hours. Then he will be on a plane headed for home. I think I might be more trunky than he is.
This week I think I need some advice about the Eternal Investigator. So, I have had 3 eternals so far and everything seems to have gone wrong with the first two because we had to cut them and stop wasting time. It is really tough especially when you have developed a friendship. With the first two I have found that just completely stopping the visits makes them completely forget that they should still read, pray and go to church. But at the same time we cant waste time visiting every day. We have cut down to 1-2 times per week and commitment for baptism every time with my third eternal. It is just kinda awkward when you don't want to get frustrated with them but you don't want to push them away either. What is the advice I need from the experienced missionaries out there?
Happy Birthday Dad, Coming UP. Remember that age is just a number and that basketball will make you feel young again. I think you always looked so cool when you played. oh, valentines here isn't until may or June. So we wont have problems of that sort until CARNIVAL. Which is supposedly really bad here in Campos because it is in Rio De Janeiro the state. It is also the last week of the transfer which is not a good combination for those that are finishing the mission. But, we will all survive.
Overall, good week
Posted by JT&Crew at 6:27 PM
So, here comes a photo of my Companion. His name is Elder F. Full- Brazilian from São Paulo. He only has 5 more weeks on the mission but I don't think the thought of home has crossed his mind. He has asked president to stay longer but president wont let him. I don't want to say that he is a bad guy but this transfer is going to be harder for me. Not even that there is a huge language barrier between us, it is just so hard to understand his personality and just make him happy. So, I wrote that I am not a greenie anymore. I still feel greenie but he literally wont let me. I am leading all of the lessons now which is really weird and doing almost all the contacts. He is just not a talker like Elder M. and just gives me a look that I know I need to talk. I am surprised because I would expect really old missionaries to want to do everything in the way they have found to be the most effective. But, he lets me talk all that I want and when I leave him time he only says just a little. I can say for sure that my Portuguese is improving much faster though.
I was really having a rough time getting used to him this week. I think that he has had lots of really rude companions that just kinda bullied him. He is really a small guy and doesn't have an overpowering personality. We finally resolved a big problem the other day. When he corrects me his voice changes and I feel like he is really mad, he was correcting me from using ´i´ instead of ´we´. I was really feeling kinda down because I felt like i could not make him happy and I didn't want to teach with these feelings going around. But, he told me that his voice just does that and that he was not mad. so, I resolved to stop saying i and he is going to be more patient with me. I just hope we don't have any more rough arguments on the street.
We kinda had to start from scratch this week with investigators. Not very many passed over from the last transfer. We spent hours on the streets knocking doors and I am probably a new shade of brown. I have started learning the importance of marking appointments with all of you potentials instead of just waiting for the telephone. Good thing it only took a week to correct this. We have lots of marked appointments for next week. I also was forgetting to confirm lunch and we missed a couple this week. But we still ate. But man, I am really feeling like Senior Companion. Maybe he will start to take over as the weeks pass but i dont really know. The Zone Leaders in my house like to tell me that president is preparing me to be senior for real next transfer but I don't exactly want all of the responsibilities for real. If things go really wrong I can still look to my companion for protection. Plus, no way do I want to do a baptismal interview quite yet.
I have really adapted my contacts to include evaluating the persons potential this week. We ask about church, about family, religious history and even drop the baptismal commitment every once in a while. Thats how you find if someone is really interested. Tons of people will accept a visit but not as many will really progress. The baptism question is a pretty good way to tell the difference.
Well, I have lots of pictures. I hope you enjoy them all.
Elder Jacobson (Andrew)
Posted by JT&Crew at 6:09 PM
So, my training is officially over and my trainer is leaving. I was so sad. I have learned so much from him. He is almost the exact type of missionary that I want to be. I would just tweak a few things but I feel so blessed. I have been told by over 10 missionaries and the president himself that my trainer is the best missionary on the field. Kinda a tough compliment for the pride to handle. I felt very privileged. But, I get to stay in the same area with literally 3 baptisms just waiting to happen. So, we have an expression hear that stands for a missionaries pride. it is `Men's Glory´ and it Portuguese it is `Gloria dos Homens´ or `GH´ so to say it is is ´gee aga´. I like to tell him compliments and then say ´watch your gee aga level´. I also learned that Elder Richards who i lived with my first transfer has a goal to be humble enough to see and angle. What an aspiration? Kinda cool to think about. The only problem is that you can never admit to humility because that makes you unhumble. Mind Blown. I hope that is something I can make progress on.
This week we literally saw the change of a heart and a changed disposition to never again return to sin. Mosiah 5:2-3. so, Keytiene is Elder Mitchells recent convert. She is super elect and an amazing member of the church with a calling and doing tons of splits with the missionaries. She got to know the church when she was young but then her father passed away and the family became discouraged and she was never baptized. During the time that I was in the MTC, Elder Mitchell baptized her and we have been working on her mom ever since. But, she had no desire to stop drinking or smoking. As the transfer starts winding down, Elder Mitchell wanted to visit Keytiene. It just so happened that her mom was there and had miraculously stopped both of these addictions. Being the bold missionary that we need to be, Elder Mitchell challenged her to never again return to these habits and be baptized in the church. Of course she accepted and she quickly rejected several offers to smoke or drink that week as she prepared for her baptism. The she shared a tear filled testimony of the truth of this gospel, the power of baptism and the blessings she knows that her eternal family is going to receive. Btw, the father that passed away was an active member, I just cant imagine the immense joy that he must be feeling as he sees the gospel changing his family on this earth. What a wonderful story to be a part of.
That was basically the focus of this week. We have been working a lot with another young family but the spouse travels and wont get back until this Saturday. I am praying that he gets to go to church with his wife and adorable two kids. He has told his wife that he is very interested in hearing our message. They are definitely our focus for the next transfer. I also want to focus is a good sized section of neighborhood that I have not passed through. The people are a bit richer so we will see how it goes. I think I will pray with my new companion when he gets here about another area of focus. It is just much to hard not to have a focus in this area. It is so Big.
My Birthday was great it landed on a great day too. We started off with District meeting and the sisters made me a cake. Super good chocolate chip brownie cake. then we when to lunch at Keytienes house and had pizza and more cake. Then we went to Suellen´s house, the young couple, and did her baptismal interview. Btw, that made a week of visiting her every day. It just feels like so long to even go two days away from a really good investigator. The we went to a ward integration with non-members activity and got sung to by the ward. I couldn't help but feel kinda special. I think I just might have gained some weight during the time. haha
But, I am nervously going to stay in my area as another missionary brings me my companion. I should meet him Tuesday night. I don't even know what to wish for. I just know it will be for the best.
I love you all and thank you for the Birthday wishes and support.
Posted by JT&Crew at 5:59 PM
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
BEST WEEK OF THE MISSION. Everything felt so perfect. We had a record for lessons taught. 32. Of course, it was hot but we enjoy it sometimes. Geraldo was baptized and his family went to the Baptism. He even asked me to baptize him and I never expected that. So, this time I actually have the baptismal attire. so, a setting was changed on my camera and the picture are using less memory. Just tell me if the quality is worse and I will work to change it back. But the photos are downloading faster.
So, I have still been sweating non- stop during lunch time until like 4:00. It is kinda gross but it almost seems normal. The member at the lan house actually got AC so it is very nice in here. But, we have do be demoted to the secretary office phone without air conditioning. its not like we needed it but it was kinda nice. We were even blessed with rain one time this week.
The Baptism was awesome and went off without a problem. I gave a little thought because the member that we asked couldn't make it and I use Mosiah 18:8-10. It gives a really good summary of the responsibilities of a member and the importance of Baptism. The baptism went smoothly even though he had a bit of fear from the cold water. Geraldo Luis Constantino de Oliveira. Probably not the longest name ever but it is pretty darn long. When I finished changing, the members were doing a small testimony meeting and Geraldo gave his testimony too. I really hope that his family follows his example. They need to be together.
It is looking like Elder Mitchell is going to become a Zone Leader, so I just hope that I stay here and get to finish off our load of work from this transfer. I think I am going to say that every transfer but this one seems especially important. We are teaching this 28 year old mom and after about a week her husband told her that he really wants to hear the lessons too. The only problem is that he works with petroleum and spends 14 days away from home and 14 at home. He should get back by not this sunday but the next and we are going to try to baptize them together. So, I hope that at least I stay here. She is already ready to be baptized but is just waiting. She also has a cousin that is pretty interested too. And she is going to church with her.
As great as this week was I don't really have that much to say.
Also, I have chosen my Team. Vasco. mostly for the colors and jersey design but they are a team from Rio de Janeiro. Maybe you can look them up. I am going to start saving up for a nice jersey.
Well, that's all for this week
Elder Jacobson (Andrew)
Posted by JT&Crew at 7:30 PM
Dear Beloved Family,
I am always happy to write after a week of just hard work. I got 3 more sunburns this week. Only one of them was a lack of sunscreen. Normally, lunch with the members ends at about 2 and we get right into a lesson but this week tons of the lessons were falling through and we were stuck on the streets clapping at doors. I don't mind the tedious door to door process at all. But, the time under the hot sun can get mind numbing. I just remind myself to keep a smile and keep walking because a chosen person must be after just one more house. Also, if we ever need a break we just ask for a cup of water and I have not been rejected yet. Then we just teach in a round about way that is not necessarily a typical lesson but sometimes they become very interested in our message.
On Sunday we had a Ward Council meeting. Elder Mitchells first. I was just so proud of our small 60 member ward that wants so badly to grow and share this message with their friends. We should have a lot more lessons with members this week. I am really excited for some of the lessons. It should be a really exciting week as we prepare for a baptism.
so I did tell you about the x gang member. He loved church. He was so happy that church didn't seem like a business to gain tithing or to confuse him with doctrine. It was a place to learn and worship. I have been using the churches automatic piano and the members are so happy. I am going to teach a ward member to do it so that when I leave there will not be a problem. But, our investigator got to church at 7:15 and church starts at 8:30. He said that the Lord get their first and then him. He is so spiritual. I hope that his family follows his wonderful example.
I was super excited today to open my email with 16 messages. wow. I spent 30 minutes just reading. If that was a new years resolution, then I really noticed. Don't think that I have to get 16 every week though. Hearing from Bryan was especially a treat. We have basically no place here to shop for ties. To bad they will all be trashed by the end of the mission though.
Thinking about the sun burns this week, you don't have to worry. They always go away by the morning and are not painful at all. Maybe the sun is different down here. But, I have been noticing a horrid tan line that has already formed. By the end of this summer my skin is probably going to be solid brown. For sure I will come home the tannest in the family. Just to make Bryan jealous. Just kidding. It will take quite some time at the pool to get rid of it.
So, I left a picture but that kinda sums up my week, still no rain and plenty of work and lessons.
Until Next week,
Elder Jacobson (Andrew)
Posted by JT&Crew at 7:18 PM
Dear Family and Friends,
I am happy to report that this week I have hardly seen a cloud in the sky and that the wonderful weather has averaged a comfortable 105. We think it might have hit 110 but we were probably safe in a house during that dilemma. This week I saw a temperature meter that read 97 degrees and that was like at 4:30. Just imagine what it was at 1:00. I have been spared the opportunity of getting burned because of the sunscreen but I have never sweated so much in my life. We calculated drinking over 14 cups of water within an afternoon and not feeling the desire to use the bathroom until that night. In other words, we very likely sweated out a good portion of those cups. The sky is finally showing chances of rain today but it has been looking less likely as I type. I have already gotten a tan line again that would make pageant tans normal. and I would like to say that I was not super white before I got here.
Well, if anyone sees our numbers we had a record breaking week. We got a new zone leader the last transfers and he is really challenging us to teach more, find more investigators and leave more baptismal commitments. We found over 15 new investigators this week and have left a baptismal invitation with all of them. Every one excepted which isn't that rare though. Anyone will accept baptism if they are promised an answer from Our Heavenly Father. But, no one seems to understand the conditions that we pray with faith, real intent, and sincerely that we will follow the response we get. But, we are still doing our best and just chugging along.
Unfortunately, we had a big letdown at church. 12 people confirmed on Saturday that they would visit the church. 12 people. And guess how many we had. 0. I couldn't believe it. I had never had such high hopes for a church meeting. I only hear that this is going to happen every single week and not to get worried. It just always makes me a little sad.
We are teaching this awesome ex- mafia-gang member that had passed years through the trafficking, drug trade, and just other side of the world business (from our perspective). He has totally change his life around after surviving 5 bullets to the chest and 1 in the neck. He is really worried about his family and wants something better for them. He has been studying the Bible and theology for years to try to help his family and he loves all of our messages. Then we he prayed, he said he literally heard a voice telling him that this message is true. He is trying to be a great father. He doesn't have much support from his wife but we are working with that. It is just a really tough situation and we don't quite know all the details yet. We were sad to find out that he accidentally slept in and was planning on bring his entire family to church. But, dont worry, it was like 15 years in the past that he was associated in that business.
Just so everyone can get jealous about the stuff I got to do here I am sending a picture of my new years feast. Just look at all the amazing meat in the middle and let your mouth drool just a little. Then, I will think about orange bow-noughts and cheesy potatoes.
I was glad to hear from everyone this week. I did enjoy new year but didst really notice besides that we had to go to our house early to avoid the streets. And they had a music party next-door that was really loud. I hear in the states it is illegal to do that kinda stuff but here it is all fine and our poor Brazilian had to listen to all the nasty lyrics all night. I'm glad I will get to avoid that vocabulary while I am here.
But, I love you all and hope you are pumped for the Entire Year without your beloved Elders Jacobsons.
Elder Jacobson (Andrew)
Maybe that last sentence wasn't very nice. Sorry mom. I know I sound sarcastic but that is how I cope i guess
Posted by JT&Crew at 6:59 PM
I think the title deserves some explanation. We have been finding lots of really good people to teach but everyone is occupied with traveling to the beach. It is just such a cultural thing here to visit the beach at any holiday. What seems like just a week to our investigators seems like forever to us. I bet the all other missionaries understand that. But, dont really know how i want to characterize this week. It alrealdy seems like a month since i skyped the family. But, what a good experience. I found out after I finished, that my companion had been struggling a lot with connections and was very frustrated. Luckily, I finished and he used the Laptop to finish his call with good connection. Just another 5 months and i will be calling again. OH, Boy. But, there is a lot of work before that day.
I took a good amount of Christmas pictures to send the family. The one in this email is to crop into the family photo. If that ever works out I would love to see the finished result. I also built my nativity set and the Christmas tree. It felt awfully special. I have not even really started eating the food yet because our fridge is finally not overflowing with chicken, rice, soda, and cupcakes. (a very healthy combination, right). I have managed to lose 2 pounds and stop feeling overly full after lunch by cutting down on portions. It is impressive how many beans and grains of rice we are able to cram down under pressure. We have also been walking faster. Yesterday we walked what we calculate as 5 miles in 45min. typically the walk takes an hour and 10 min but we were flying and even ran a small section despite how awkward we felt. All to get home 5 min late.
So, we have a new member of the house that i told you about. He is Brazilian, but speaks fluent English, and is almost done with the mission. He is such a good missionary but is very firm about some of his methods. I went on divisions and learned plenty. He has really inspired me to improve. But, some of his costumes such as telling someone boldly on the street that they are sinning because they are not married may be kind of hard to copy. It was really funny during our transfer. He also boldly told a 30 year old lady not to throw trash on the ground. Its not like he is wrong in any way just really bold. Which is undoubtedly a good attribute sometimes. I really learned to just be friends with people that you talk to but be bold about the message that we are bringing. I hear that most Brazilians don't respond to soft pleads to change. you just have to say it (sometimes what appears to be a awkward and rude way) right to their face. It apparently doesn't offend.
So, I have to confess that the photos are not actually from Christmas. I took them this morning. But that doesn't change much right? I hope you enjoy all the same. I really enjoyed the apple ornaments. I did decide though that I cant keep everything with me so I left the box labeled as a Christmas box that needs to stay in our house and be used every year for Christmas. I am going to keep the ornaments though. and maybe the little tree if i make room. But your presents will bless the missionaries that live there for years to come.
I don't really have much more to write. So, I will start sending all these photos. I hope you enjoy.
Elder Jacobson (Andrew)
Posted by JT&Crew at 6:53 PM
Dear Family, Ill just make things quick by saying that this was the hardest week yet. Even Elder Mitchell described it as the hardest week of his mission. It was probably harder for him though because he has been sick since Friday. But, where should I begin. I will try to let some light shine on this week if I can but for no means take this letter to mean that I am discouraged. That would never happen. We started the week with transfers and we had to say goodbye to Elder Richards. I have a picture of him that I am sending. That wasn't such a bad thing though because our whole zone stayed the same which is really rare. I have my first Brazilian roommate now and it is really good to get to practice more Portuguese. The mission Christmas party was also that day and Elder Payton Hansen arrived in Brazil. Did you know that he has to go through training again? But, it was really good to see and talk to him. So, we eventually got back home and started working almost everyday in a neighborhood called Penha, which is about 1 and a half hour walk from our house. We had a date marked for this Saturday that we were sure wasn't going to fall through. So, we made progress with her everyday and she was so excited to be baptized but then on Friday she told us she had one thing she needed to clear up but that it shouldn't interfere with the baptism. So, we were worried but still hopeful. I hopes literally fell off a cliff. So, Saturday morning, when the baptism is completely ready we learn that she is pregnant, which we took as a problem but not something that needed to postpone the baptism but we went to her house at about 4o clock to see if we could encouraging her for her baptism. Then we learned the real problem. She was literally terrified of living alone with another child. She told us that the neighborhood would judge her really harshly and a midst the pleading on our part to just trust the Lord, she expressed her desire to talk to a women who would understand her. Ultimately, we all had our hearts crushed because we all knew what she was giving up. But, my testimony still stands that the gospel is for everyone regardless of circumstance and that this is the one true path to happiness. I pray that one day she remembers her desires to follow the example of Christ. I wrote the bad first so that everyone would not be left with sad thoughts about my mission. I didnt mention that it rained everyday this week and that made it all the harder. Regardless, I will make the rest of my letter happy. Despite the rain on Sunday, which really hurts church attendance here, our other investigators made the trip to church. They are a young family with a 4 year old, super adorable daughter, and they work sooo much. We have been teaching them for almost three months now but it is really hard to mark a date with both of them. The husband really likes the church but feels that, like his experience in the baptist church, he should spend years preparing for baptism. On the bright side, his wife has accepted to be baptized this Saturday and is reading and praying basically everyday. Even though we dont want to, we may have to baptize them separately to keep her progressing. our hope is that she pulls him along. I was just really happy when they came to church. She works at a bread shop and we are going to pass by there today to talk more about baptism and get her excited. Yesterday was especially hard but it was really good for contacting people. We couldn't find any of our other investigators in there houses and had 5 hours left over with absolutely nothing. Amidst the downpour we just kept knocking and knocking. Address after Address, Door after Door, talking with everyone just to teach a lesson. We even bought some açai and taught at the same time with the saleswomen. She accepted the commitment to be baptized and we are just praying that she is married. I don't know why we didn't ask. We also found others that accepted a visit for later in the week. We have set a really high new investigators goal and are going to work really hard to get it. Along with our baptism. Also, Maria de Nazare, my first baptism got a ride to church this week and was confirmed. That was a whole other story but I promised only good things. She was just so happy to finally be an official member of the Church. This sums up my week. I am so excited to skype call on Christmas. Until Wednesday, LOVE,
Elder Jacobson (Andrew)
Elder Jacobson (Andrew)
Posted by JT&Crew at 6:19 PM
Dear Family and Friends, So, we finished the first Transfer. My house got a good laugh at my 14 remaining transfers. It already seems to be going kinda fast. Especially when you count in transfers and not months. But, I am living with someone with 4 transfers left, another with 5, and another with 7. so 14 is pretty darn big. almost as much as they all have left combined. But, my health is great, I actually enjoy the exercise from walking, we are teaching tons of people, and all we need are baptisms and from an outward perspective everything would be going perfect. But most importantly I am getting better at listening to the spirit. During the lessons I really focus on listening instead of stressing about when my companion is going to pass the baton or the ball. I have really noticed that when I really focus, I receive genuine things to say and testify that could only come by the spirit. We were teaching a very dedicated christian this week and she raised a question about why we need the Book of Mormon, why it is special, and that it shouldn't diminish the influence of the Bible. My companion shared a scripture from the Old Testament about the 2 sticks and we testified that the Book of Mormon sets us apart from all other Christians. My mind told me to share the scripture about the other sheep that Christ was going to visit. But, I suddenly felt a desire to praise her questioning of these foreign things. We both noticed a softening of her face and potentially heart to the message that we were sharing. As much as I stress about the words that I don't know and the grammar that i will mess up. I know the spirit is the teacher and not the missionary. So, we have also been really working on getting people to exercise that last bit of faith and be baptized. We are holding on to like 4 really good investigators right know that know these things are true but don't feel prepared. As long as we don't cut them i am happy but time is a scary thought and anything can happen. If any return missionary want to share the best techniques/ scriptures to invite the spirit, I would love some more tools to use the rest of my mission. CONGRATULATIONS DANIEL. I'm so happy for you. what an opportunity. Really take that spiritual preparation seriously. I know I regret not doing all of it with all my heart. You can really prepare yourself to grow spiritually by putting in the effort physically. I'm just so glad that you are going to get that chance. Maybe you guys will build and tear down the stage faster than us. Better start pumping that iron you have in your lonely room. I get another 2 years with a companion always at my side. Concerning our skype call. I have been told that I need you guys to make me a skype account and get it all kinda set up before hand and the just send me the username and password by next week. I hear the calls last several hours but I don't really know the exact rule. I will be availability to call from 2- 2:30 until 5:30-6. We have lunch with a member and then are going to skype at a different members house. I really don't know how long lunch is going to drag on but it is Christmas. But our only priority on that day is to call home. So, yup, just make an account and mark that time on the calender. Oh, I am assuming Bryan will be skyping at the same time so that might make it a bit harder. but, i would love to talk to him too. So, it rained again this week and I sent an awesome picture. Our investigators house is to our left and we tromped through the flooded river for 4 blocks. all worth it though Love,
Elder Jacobson (Andrew)
Elder Jacobson (Andrew)