Monday, June 22, 2015

São João is here!

This holiday is a month long in Campina Grande.. luckily, it's only about a week long, here! Anyways--

Hi everyone!

Things are going well here for Elder Buechele and I -- we have transfers in one week, and he is probably going to be transferred.. sadly :/ But, maybe we'll get lucky, and he'll be able to stay for a fifth transfer! Him and I are both fine with the idea of staying here until November -- that would be great! We love it here! But, it is very unlikely.. hah

We went to the only McDonalds that I know of around here on Wednesday, and bought Angus Bacon burgers, with fries and Guarana (a soda they have here). The burger seemed very salty for some resaon.. It was pretty good, though. It was R$25,00, which is about.. $8 USD.. maybe a little bit more expensive than normal.

On Thursday, I went on an exchange with Elder Costa, my district leader's companion, in my old area, Geisel, and we visited an old investigator of mine -- Daniel -- around 8pm. He was very surprised to see me, and him and his mom were very happy :D She made dinner for us, too! They took some pictures with us, and we talked a bit, and then went home. It was so nice to see them again, after almost a year! I am extremely grateful for all of the friends that I've made here while serving my mission. I love Brazilians! :D (the nice ones, anyways -- haha!) I also got caught in the rain, and so I have a cold now. :S

On Friday night, we went to a party to celebrate São João at the church, and everyone was wearing plaid (sp?) shirts, and jeans, and straw hats, and they had all sorts of food made from corn.. hah -- My companion made chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies, to be different from the corn theme, and about 20 people have asked him for the recipe since then. People don't bake here.. it's weird! They only make cakes, for the most part, as far as baking goes. By the way, if there are any random "a"s in this email, it's because the 'a' key keeps sticking.

Yesterday (Sunday), we brought a 77 year-old woman to church, and she said that she felt different there than in any other church she'd ever visited, and she expressed a great desire to be baptized, so we marked her baptism for next Sunday, the 28th! :) We're working with a 16 year-old boy as well, and a 17 year-old girl (who has a 1 or 2 year-old son), and we also marked a date for one of the ward members to marry the woman that he is living with (August 1st), so that she can be baptized (on August 2nd). We're working with some other people as well, but these 4 people are the ones who are progressing the most. We talked to the boy's dad last week, after he had gone to church, and he said that he'd been telling him "Dad! I really liked going to church there today!". We're having a bit of trouble with visiting some of our investigators, who are home only at night, when we usually have lots of things marked (between 6pm and 9pm), but.. hopefully we can plan well enough to be able to visit them this week!

I hope that you all have a great week! :)


Elder Canto

P.S. Happy Father's Day, to you fathers! And of course, Feliz São João!


People attacking my companion for his cookies

Ward cleaning on Saturday

Monday, June 1, 2015

A New Month

Well, June is officially here! Last month was pretty great -- first, we had the baptism of a 24 year-old girl, who'd been investigating since September, and then on the 30th, we had the baptisms of two 9 year-old boys, whose parents are members, and went out for pizza afterwards at a restaurant called "Arte da China" with one of the boy's families.

Yesterday, a new Ward Mission Leader was called, and he must be retired or something, because we had a meeting with him right after church, and I was like "So when are you free?" and he was like "When am I free? Let me see.. all day, every day!" haha! That's a nice change! Our previous Ward Mission Leader was busy all day, every day! We didn't have a single meeting with him in the past 3 months! Now that we have someone who can actually go out with us and visit people, things are really going to be different! I'm excited for this month now.

What's interesting, is that a new Ward Mission Leader was called in the ward that Alissa is serving in yesterday, too, and, that after the baptism on the 30th here, there was also a wedding at 7pm at the church, just like there was after the baptism of her investigator 2 weeks ago! Parallels.. weird..

Anyways! Um.. what else.. We taught a lady who is Atheist about 2 weeks ago, and that was an interesting experience! Just about everyone here has a belief in God and Jesus Christ.. so it's pretty uncommon to find someone who doesn't believe in them! That was only my 2nd encounter on my mission with an Atheist, and it was very different teaching her. We taught about The Book of Mormon not with the usual aim to show that the church is true, but with the aim to show that Jesus Christ really was the Son of God, and not just a regular person, and that God exists.

She'd said that she used to believe in God, but then she felt like He stopped answering her prayers, and so I feel like she is just kinda mad at Him -- but she said she doesn't believe in Him. I asked her if she knew the answer to the question "Why do bad things happen to good people?" and she said "Right? Good question. What do you think?" and then I shared this scripture with her (from The Book of Mormon), which Alissa had showed to me at one point in 2013, which I have really come to appreciate during my mission:

Mosiah 3:7
"And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people."

This scripture talks about Jesus Christ and what He went through here on the earth for us. Jesus Christ is definitely one of the best people who ever lived here on the earth, and He went through all of these terrible things! He suffered physically, and especially, spiritually, when he performed the Atoning Sacrifice, and then was crucified.

God doesn't let us suffer because he doesn't love us, or anything like that -- He lets us suffer, and have hardships, and struggles, because we need to have both negative and positive experiences in this life to truly learn the things that we need to. If life were just pure happiness, we wouldn't really learn much, now would we?

After I shared that scripture, a few minutes later, she said that because of that scripture, she became interested in reading The Book of Mormon, and that she's going to read it. I hope that reading The Book of Mormon can help her get her faith in God and Jesus Christ back!

Well, I've got to go now. I hope you all have a great week!

Feel free to email me with any questions or comments, or just to say hi! :)

Elder Canto

Photo from the baptism on May 30th

I love this family!

Photo from the baptism in early May -- not sure how the left side is blurry and not the right side.. maybe we were moving when they took this picture