Friday, March 21, 2014

December 16, 2013: Zone Conference and Recipes

My zone.
Zone Conference
This week was a little crazy!  We had transfers on Tuesday and we still had to go because we were in a trio.  We were there pretty much the whole day!  On Wednesday, we had a mission conference. President and Sister Cabral know what they are doing.  They are so powerful with the spirit it was crazy. Yeah, I still didn't understand everything, but I understood the feeling of the spirit and so it was really good!  President talked about the gospel.  He asked us what is this gospel about and a lot of people answered things like happiness, joy, love and humility, but what he said this gospel is about, is change.  This gospel is about change.  We ask people to change to come to our church. We ask ourselves to change our ways to be able to meet God.  It was super profound to me.  The conference in total was from 9 to 7- pretty long day to say the least, but still was really good!

I'm trying to make juices more and eat more fruits this week. I found this juice recipe book and here are some recipes.  The last one is for mom, some of the Brasilians really like it, but I'm not going to try that until I have to haha. All of this stuff just put in a blender and go for it.

Apple and kiwi
1 1/2 cups water
2 apples peeled
2 kiwis

Creamy strawberry
one box of condensed milk
15 strawberries
ice cubes

1 avocado pitted and peeled
2 cups of cold milk

In Brazil, they have these flee markets called feiras where they fill up a mile long street full of fruits and vegetables and pretty much everything.  I bought 2 big boxes of strawberries for 1 real or 50 cents.  16 bananas for 4 reais or 2 dollars.  It was freaking awesome!  They have this juice here called Caldo de Cana which is sugar cane. They sell that on the streets and it's so good!
Proverbs 15:33  Fear of the lord is wisdom.  Humility comes before honour
I really liked how if we want to receive pretty much anything, we need to become humble and be meek before we will be put on high.  Kind of like the "I have failed a thousand times, but that is why I have succeeded."
2 nephi 9:45  Rock of our salvation - nothing more needs to be said.  We need the atonement in our lives or we are nothing.  We need to have Jesus as our focus or we will get on a path that is much more difficult to get back on.

We still are struggling to find to people to teach so we're trying to make better friends with the members so they will give us referrals. We've tried making cookies a couple times, but there is something in Brasil that the cookies don't turn out right at all and I just get mad haha.  The mission is a learning experience!  I honestly didn't realize how hard it would be. Like yeah, its nice getting big lunches everyday, but when you don't have people to teach and have already done a billion contacts on the street you start thinking a lot.  Most of the time I think about you guys so it's been rough, but we hopefully will start having some success.  I keep your letters in my scriptures.  The first ones are my favorites.

Check out this quote Jake sent me:

Fortune Favors the Brave

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.
I have looked into your eyes with my eyes. I have put my heart near your heart.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. 
The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice.
To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.
The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, 
to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your 
fear of failure

Don't be afraid to stand for what you believe in, even if that means standing alone

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.

December 9, 2013:

Alright so basically soccer is the biggest thing here in Brasil.  If you go to talk to someone, the first thing they ask is what team you root for and your conversation after that is dependent on what team you choose.

 First off,  I'm gaining serious bad weight.  I've come to the conclusion that I have to stop drinking soda for awhile because I'm pretty sure that's what it's from!

Don't worry too much but I sold one of my suitcases.  The small one for 80 reais or 40 bucks. One of the elders needed a suitcase and honestly, having 3 suitcases is the absolute most painful thing in the butt when you need to move them.  I'm looking around the town right now for a duffel bag that I can use as a carry on. I'm going to be staying here in Ponta da Praia for another transfer so I'm not super worried!

My pants have all gotten a little tighter lately and a lot of the hems at the bottom broke so I've done some serious renovation on them haha.  Do  you remember how the blue suit was super big on the waist when I left?? It's now tight and I have to not suck in but skinny up. haha Oh, the struggles of eating rice and beans every meal haha.  My white shirts are dwindling as well. It seems like I'm the only one that something happens to and I get a permanent stain on my shirt. It's so hot here, I sweat and my bag is leather.  Not a good combo. The leather bled onto several of my shirts, but i didn't notice until after I put them out to dry, so I have brown marks on 2 or 3 of my shirts.  I have to ask some older elders where i can buy some new ones.  Shoes are holding up good.

The work here is still slow for investigators, but me and my companion are trying to change the culture about this area that there is no way God made a bad area or a bad place to baptize. You just need to find out how to work in those areas so that you can succeed!  We have several inactives that we have been talking to a lot. Two of them came back to church this week and participated in the lessons.  One of them was crying during sacrament because I think he realized what he was missing and just felt happy to be there!  We are meeting with him sometime this week.  We found a friend of a member; she is 18 years old and went to the same school as a member who is about to leave for his mission soon.  She has a lot of questions and wanted to know more about the mission in general, but she basically is our only true investigator. Our stake put on a play this week of Anastasia with all the young men and women! It was super funny in Portuguese. I was laughing half the time.  I had lunch at the stake president's house yesterday. In Brazil, you have lunches with families, not dinner.

First pancakes on the mission!

Spiritual things
2 Nephi 4 is my new favorite chapter.  Nephi is so humble it humbles you that you need to be more like him. In  verse 20 (I think) it talks about how God is his support.  It's cool to see that he knew that and that God is always there to support and love us. 
Mom, you might be a little surprised but I've been practicing the hymns and I got asked to play piano in sacrament next week.  I'm not sure if its gonna happen, but yeah you told me so.  The activities here are super late. They had a Christmas party for the primary and we had to leave early to get back to the house to go to sleep.  I think it ended at 10:15.
43 degrees Celsius last week, I nearly passed out. One day this week we walked probably 15-20 miles in 40 degrees Celsius heat. I don't know the conversion, but it's over 100.

The language is getting better I can pray without stuttering now and can pray for a normal time of a prayer. Understanding is getting better too, but honestly I'm just kind of going with the flow.  At first, I was super worried about it but now its usual to not understand so I just try to pick up the main ideas and respond to that.  hah

December 2, 2013: Finding People to Teach

Ponta da Praia
My area is probably the richest area in Santos.  Which is really nice because its not terribly dangerous but the problem is that they aren't quite as humble or open as other areas. That's the reason we are having difficulties teaching; even the bishop admitted this to us.  Everything also here is super expensive, Mom wouldn't like it.  A Playstation 3 in the US is like 300 - 400 dollars brand new.  Here in Brasil, it would be 4000 reais or 2000 dollars.  It's nuts, and that's how it is with just about everything.

 The beach is beautiful.  The coast line is sweet because you can see all of the buildings and then the beach at the same time.

 We had a lunch with this member family and they have this boy that is 4 or 5. I think he is kind of a trouble maker kind of boy, but for some reason he was in love with me hahah.  At first, he was super shy but after awhile he started warming up to me and by the lesson he was giving me hugs and sitting on my lap during it.  It made me miss home a lot because right now we aren't coming in contact with many people and if we do it's just adults.  For him to give me a hug, ah I can't even tell you how much relief and joy that brought me.

Hahah Mom, I'd love to tell you more about who we're teaching, but that's the problem. We don't have anyone to teach. We do have 2 different people that we are teaching but they are turning into eternal investigators or "moles". They can only say sorry for not keeping commitments.  One man is probably 60 years old and is very religious.  His wife is also very religious.  We found him on the street and he let us come to his house to talk about religion.  He would be a perfect investigator except that his wife is the boss.  She is always sitting in our lessons and talking, but when we invite them to do something, she says she doesn't want to know or it's not for her, it's for him (her husband).  So she talks a lot during the lessons and then doesn't want our church; it's so frustrating.  We invited the husband to church on Sunday and he said he would be able to go, but the wife who wasn't in the room at the time came back in and said he's going to church with her. . . so we're praying for them.
 The other family is a reference we received from a member.  They are coworkers and that's nice when he comes with us.   The problem we are having with them is they can only meet on Monday nights and meeting only one time a week is hard to teach and prepare someone for baptism.  The other problem that you'll have in Brasil is that people will have kids and live together, but not be married.  This couple is in their 50s and have kids and are grandparents but they aren't married.  So talking about the law of chastity will be interesting.  We've only taught them once, but I'm praying that they will accept more visits.

Since we don't have a ton of people to teach, one of the duties of the missionary is to strengthen the ward and so we are finding the less active members  in our area and are trying to get them to come back to church!  We had two inactive members come back to church yesterday which was really cool. We will be meeting with them tomorrow too! 

I finshed the BOM for the 2nd time.  This time I'm looking for things of obedience and faithfulness while I'm reading. I dont have my scriptures with me but I think its 2 Nephi 1:26 maybe where Lehi is talking to Laman and Lemuel about Nephi and how they are murmuring, and they are mistaking his correction.  Just like in 1 Nephi 16:20 something how it talks about the guilty taketh the truth to be hard.  I'm trying to be more humble with everything I do and being patient because I think everyone needs some patience.
 It's good that you guys are talking about missionary work.  I think something that you guys could do as a family is think of someone that you could have over for dinner or family night because I have realized down here that the members are what makes everything work.  If they don't help us or give us references, it's a difficult time trying to find and teach.  I already know some people that I want to talk to back home about the gospel. Maybe tonight for family home evening, have everyone put down 5 names that come in their mind.  Then think about who you want to talk to or invite.  We're trying to do this with our ward, too.  I know it sounds weird but I have had this strong feeling that I need to talk to a certain person back home about the gospel.  I have had several dreams now where I have been talking with him about the gospel and then I see him in baptismal clothing coming up out of the water.  It makes me cry thinking that I might have missed the opportunity to talk to him, but I think Heavenly Father has a plan for me and him.  
Chocolate pizza. Brazilian pizza doesn't have tomato sauce.
For Thanksgiving, I tried getting some Americans together to have a feast on Thursday night when we got back but it didn't happen.  So I just ordered a chocolate banana pizza and ate it myself for Thanksgiving. hahah partay!  I did finally get to talk about football with someone, twas amazing, but it just made me miss football and sports in general.  I realized this past week that the only reason why I didn't have a big belly before was because of sports because I've got a little gut now. haha  I need to start doing some more abs in the mornings.
You know how I wanted to do something with exercise science? Well, after hearing the talk by Elder Holland and talking to people here I think I want to work with kids like Jarek.  They make me so happy.  I was with an older sister this week who's like the mom of our area. Her daughter was there and she works with these kids. She brought it up and immediately I just was talking and smiling. Then the sister said, "Well talking about this sure did make you happy" and it kind of hit me, that I think that's what I want to do.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

November 25, 2013: Quick Greetings from a Happy Missionary

For your birthday since its a little difficult to send presents I have created a scavenger hunt in the scriptures. Hopefully I can explain how to do it over the computer!  
Alright im going to give you whether its in the Book of Mormon or Bible.  then a page number chapter and verse and which word in the verse.

Livro   Page   Chap   Verse   Word  
Bom     14        8          10       18
Bible    1187     1           18        3
bible    1488     1            6         22 
Bom    350-1   56         47        36
           273       26         12        23
            524       7          47         6
D&C      194     100       8          5

Hopefully it actually works out!

I hope you have a great week with your and Spencer's birthdays and for Thanksgiving!!  Please watch football for me hahah.

I'm getting happier and happier every day which is nice.          

 Sorry I'm not writing a lot but know that I love you and Dad and the family more than anything!  You are the reason why I'm getting through the days when it gets hard.


I don't have much time but the language is going a lot better than I realized!  I went on an exchange with Elder Saturnino and I was understanding a ton and was able to respond! The gift of tongues is real - tha'ts all |I can say!!  Teaching is difficult only because we don't have people to teach! Its getting easier not because the work is easier but because I am getting better mentally, physically and especially spiritually!  I love you, Dad and know that I have the greatest hero and example in the world to look up to every day!! 

I love you,
Elder Chase Thurgood
         Thur good (quinta boa)

November 18, 2013: Two Months and Happy 19th Birthday!

This week was really good for me. I learned a lot of what I need to be doing!  Birthday was rough, but I did receive the cards with the talk from Elder Christofferson! Thank you! I'll let you know when I receive the other stuff. On my birthday, I got sick with the runs and food poisoning so I was in a bad mood because I was stuck home not doing anything.  Later that night, we received a call from our ward mission leader that his family made a cake for me and they wanted to celebrate with me.  So we went over there and celebrated. It was really nice because I kind of felt like I was back home.

I've seen the importance of getting up on time and studying the language and scriptures every time before leaving. It's just like in sports, the time you put in before the real thing will determine your success.   Baptisms might happen this week. I pray that it all works out.  This week was really good because I went on an exchange with an AP that's American and seriously acts the exact same as me.  Blonde, blue eyed, athlete.  He had some great advice for me; he said that the only reason why we have trials is so we can learn and grow from them.

Some cool stories that I had this week:  we went to a less active members home and she hadn't been to church in a couple months.  We didn't know about her - just that she was a member.  We found out that she was super sick and almost died because of it. When she saw the missionaries had come to visit her, she began to cry.  It was a heart touching experience.  The best part was that she asked for a blessing and because I was on a exchange with an AP, he wanted the American who didn't speak Portuguese to give it.  I don't remember a word I said besides, "Em Nome de Jesus Cristo Amen."  After we left, the AP looked at me and hugged me.  It was really cool because I had been struggling to feel like I was helping the work, but he gave me the opportunity to serve and said that the spirit was so strong, he was grateful he chose to go on an exchange with me.

Still no baptisms but I'm working on accepting people rejecting the message, because I can only control what I do. 

The only thing that is different is that I think I will have red headed kids because my facial hair is red when I forget to shave.  I pray for you guys every single night that you guys will be blessed and kept safe.   Love you with all meu coração!!

Your missionary,
Elder Chase THurgood