Vitora, Brazil

Vitora, Brazil

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Dear Family,

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)

15. Streets clapping

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)

14. Hardly seen a cloud in the sky

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

Love you lots.

13. End These Holidays so Everyone can Leave the BEACH.

Dear Family, 

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)

12. I will try to let some light shine.

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)

11.Finished the first Transfer

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)