Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 29, 2014 - He is the Gift

Hello, family and friends!!!  

How was your week!?  I am so jealous of you guys!  Everyone is telling me about the great mountains of food that they ate!!  it sounds so good right now - a good piece of turkey with gravy. Oh, man, that sounds so good right now!  I'm with a Brazilian trying to tell him what he is missing, but he still doesn't understand what kind of food he is missing out on! I also hope that everyone was kept safe in their Black Friday adventures yesterday!!  I had no idea that it was "celebrated" haha here in Brazil, but I think it was because last year at this time I didn't understand a thing anyone was saying or didn't know what was going on in front of me!! ahah 

I had a good week that was pretty eventful and had some ups and downs that I got to learn from!

Sunday!- We  had a really good Sunday!!  Before church we had talked with Guilherme to meet with us at like 8:30 so we could teach him the restoration and help him answer questions that he had.  The lesson went really really well!!!!!!  He understood everything that we taught him and always has questions that lead into the next part of the lesson that makes the lesson have a really good flow to it!!  From last week, I had said that his baptism date was today, but he is in college and this was his week of exams so we decided that it would be better for him to be baptized next Sunday after the meeting!  He is excited to be baptized. He told us that he has been waiting to be baptized since he was a little kid, but his parents never would let him. When he turned 18 and he could choose for himself he didn't feel right and that he needed to wait just a little bit longer. Then he was invited to church and now he's preparing to be baptized in the true Church of Jesus Christ!!  

I also had another performance; this time in Cidade Ocian in Praia Grande!  It was good; there was about 170 people there, but it was so hot. Let me repeat- it was so hot!!!!  All the Elders in suits were just dripping in sweat; it was so nasty hahah.

Monday- was a normal relaxing day in the office. hahah I'm trying to get ahead for the next arrival of missionaries and so I'm putting together all of the folders for them already.

Tuesday- We had the Leadership Council Meeting!  It was really good!  We talked a lot about how we can help the missionaries and how we can make sure  we are doing our best to serve the Lord.  The coolest thing that we talked about was "He is the Gift"!  If you guys haven't heard about it yet, it is so stinking cool!!  It's an initiative that the church is doing right now to help people remember what Christmas is really all about, the birth of our Lord and Savior!  They also have a video that goes along with it that is super good!!  The church is doing a ton of propaganda for it too.  In New York City, they have one of those billboards in Times Square with the "He is the Gift" picture on it. On December 7, the video will be on the front page of Youtube.  They said that it's likely that more than 220 million
people will see this video in over 30 languages!  It just shows you that the Lord is accelerating His work so much right now!  So my invitation to all of you today is to go to and watch the video and share it with friends and family!  

Wednesday-  We had a zone meeting explaining what we had learned with the leaders and we also planned an activity for the stake that we are in so that we can try and excite the members more about the work and what they do is what makes the difference!

Thursday-  It's starting to get hot here in Santos!!!  It's so humid and I hate it!!!!  But if you think about it, it's a blessing because that makes me feel grateful that I live in colorful Colorado where its nice and dry haha, but really Colorado weather is a blessing!!

Friday- Prepared for the Helping Hands activity that we had today!  We also were preparing for the performance tonight in Parque das Baneiras.  It was a more relaxing day really.

Saturday---Today- We got up early to finish setting up at the church house and the activity was good.  I have to go already because of the performance tonight, but I love you all and hope to hear from you next week!!


Elder Chase Thurgood

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November 22, 2014 - A Full Week!

Hello, Family and Friends!!!!

How was your week??  I hope yours was as good as mine. A lot of stuff happened this week!!

Sunday- We had our first choir performance in the 2nd ward in São Vicente.  This ward I wouldn't say is in the safest place in our mission. In fact, it's  the most robbed church house in our mission boundaries.  Just in the time that the Santos mission has been open, the air conditioning unit has been robbed twice and the church house has been broken into 3 times!!  So you can imagine it would be a terrible place to get lost in.  Well, I got lost trying to get there.....hahah Yeah it's just my luck, right??!  We called the Zone Leaders that are in the area to give us directions, but either we got on the wrong bus or they got confused on what bus we were on because we ended up in a FAVELÃO!  I came with two other missionaries, and we were all in our suits for the performance; it was so tense!!!  We walked down this street and literally every car parked on the side had some sort of bullet hole in the doors or the back window was destroyed and the hole wasn't from a little pistol. It was for sure a shotgun.  Yeah, I started breaking a sweat at this point.    Then we turned a corner and what did we see?  4 people with crack, smoking it.  Oh, dear, that's awesome. Now all we need is to get robbed and you could call it a day.  I was with a missionary that had just gotten onto the mission and I'm telling you, sometimes newbies don't understand situations.  He looks at his companion's hand and basically shouts "You have your nice watch on! They are going to steal it!"  I couldn't believe that he said that. hahah Right now, it's funny, but before I was ticked. haha  After walking for an hour, we found the chapel, but holy smokes was it complicated!  The performance went well. We had about 200 people there, so it was really good.

Monday-We had the closest thing you could call Thanksgiving in Brazil!!  hahah  It wasn't quite like it was at home, but it was still good!!  We had 4 turkeys there, but they aren't turkeys like we have back home. They are about a 1/4 of the size. It was weird how much smaller they were.  The food was good, but I think what made it good was when Sister Arthur made gravy.  That's what made everything better!!  All of the Brazilians that were there liked the food, but they kept
asking where the rice and beans were at. hahaha They are addicted!!  They also said that they ate so much food and that there was so much food there.  We then explained that this would probably be for one family. haha They looked at us and told us we were crazy! haha All the Americans just laughed.  After we ate we wanted to make it more like Thanksgiving, so we got a group of elders and played rugby (I know it's not football, but it's the closest thing). Found out I still have a
little burst of speed, but I also was not playing with anyone athletic hahah

Tuesday- Woke up sore from playing rugby since I haven't played contact sports in such a long time hahah.  Don't remember much else.

WEDNESDAY- We had our zone meeting!  It was really simple. I gave the training on how we need to help the areas and the wards grow or the purpose of the Lord to put us here in
 these specific places was not only a waste of time for Him, but also for us.  We then planned a little bit at how we can do this in the most productive and efficient way.  The missionaries liked it so I think it turned out really well.

Thursday-  We had a lesson with Guilherme (William in English). He's 18 years old and is really smart.  The first thing he says when we walk into his house is did you bring me a Book of Mormon.  Haha That's all smiles for missionary!!!!!  We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and a quick introduction on the Restoration and The Book of Mormon for our next lesson with him on Sunday!  We challenged him to be baptized on the 29th of November and he accepted!  When we were leaving his dad was telling us how we need to take him out on the mission with us because he basically is already Mormon - just needs to get baptized. haha We were just laughing.  We also had lunch at President and Sister Cabral's house!!!!!  Kimberly and Carol know how to cook!! They made kive and a Brazilian fried rice kind of thing, but the best part was dessert. We had a white brownie with a berry syrup.  Then Kimberly made a homemade ice cream where you have frozen cut up bananas and put them into the blender with strawberries and bam! You have this smoothie ice cream. It was so stinking good!!!!  

Friday-  I have been trying to do a lot better in my studies, especially with Preach My Gospel. So I studied 2 hours in PMG yesterday and then I am starting to study the New Testament with the Institute manual and it's been a good experience so far!!   There have been some Americans that have been starting to learn other languages other than Portuguese and I figured that I would have the best chance to start a new language while I am here on the mission, so I ordered a Book of Mormon in Italian!!!!  I have been
 reading it on the website, but I think it will be better with a paper copy.  I understand a lot more than I can pronounce, but I'm just starting so I'm not too worried.  

We also had another performance for the choir yesterday that was fun, but soooo hottttttt!  We were literally dripping with sweat. It was so nasty, hahah but we had 10 investigators there at the performance and we got all of their addresses. So it
was a huge success for our ward and the missionaries.  We also had a meeting with the ward missionaries because we want them to help us out a little more in finding new investigators and so the other elders came up with the idea to give them their "Mission Call". We made a mission call that they were called to serve the Lord in the Orquidario ward speaking Portuguese. haha It was really good.  The bishop really liked the idea as well which was good to gain more trust from him!!!

Saturday--today-- I paid money for the package I got.  I was fairly upset paying for the package that Mom already paid for,  but when I opened it, I didn't feel as bad!!  MOM I didn't take any pictures while opening it, but I'll take a photo. Don't worry. hahahah I'm sorry, please forgive!!

Thank you all for your prayers and the birthday wishes from last week I loved them all!!!


Elder Chase Thurgood

Friday, November 21, 2014

November 15, 2014 - Happy 20th Birthday!

Hello, Family!!!

First of all, thank you for the birthday wishes. It's been a great day already!

This was a great week!!  And do you know why??????  Because it was full of change!!!  

Sunday- we had transfers!!!!!!  I wasn't transferred and neither was my companion and we were pretty happy about that!  The problem about the transfers was that President Cabral didn't finish them until 9:30, which means he still had to send pictures to us of the transfer board. Then we have to call all of the missionaries to let them know that they need to go to their new areas or pick up their new companions before p-day ends the next day.  The other problem was that President tried just about everything to send the photos and nothing worked. It took him 15-20 minutes to send the pictures and he was talking to me the majority of the time. hahah You could tell he was a little frustrated.  It was exactly when dad gets focused on something and he wants to get it done himself, but it keeps going wrong.  I wasn't laughing at the moment, but afterwards, I thought it was funny.  

It was Elder Stokes, Elder Eufrasio and me in the office calling all of the different zones. The problem is that you have to talk about each missionary - where they are going and who there new comp is and there are now 165 missionaries in the mission, so it takes awhile!  We finished finally by 11:30!!!!!  We were so tired and didn't want to walk home so we decided we would sleep on the floor in the office. hahah It wasn't the best night of sleep, but it was fun. We talked about the mission and  after we were so tired, I don't even know if we were understanding what was being said!!

Monday- We still woke up at 6:30, but you could see on all of our faces that we were basically passed out.  We did a lot of preparation for the new missionaries on Tuesday and visited some families!!

Tuesday- The new missionaries arrived and it was really fun!  There were 13 new missionaries so there was a solid amount of people coming in and out of the office and back to the President's office!!  Afterwards, the Assistants and I had a meeting with President and Sister Cabral about the week and what we need to have ready for the big zone conferences.  President also wanted to study with us the Parable of the Talents!  I learned so much!!!! I had never in my life thought about it this way and it blew my mind!!  You guys should go and study it again because you can see some really cool things Matthew 25:14-30!!!!

Wednesday - We found a less active family that has a little boy named Bernard that really likes us!!!  When his dad told him that we had to leave he immediately frowned and went to the front door and stared at us. He was telling us in a stern voice, you can't go away - you need to play with me!!  hahah It was super cute and we were kind of laughing because it's not always the case that someone refuses to accept that we need to go and that just made Bernard (the 3 year old) even more mad!!

Thursday-  nothing happened, I did a lot of studying in Preach My Gospel and in Doctrine and Covenants for our zone meeting.  We also had 2 talks to study and they were so good!!  I'm going to send them as attachments!  One by Elder Bednar, and the other by Elder Nelson!

Friday - We had our conference!!  It was so good!!!!! 

I have never felt such a strong feeling of love and respect for President and Sister Cabral!  I was so happy!!  The conference went from 9 in the morning until about 7 at night. It was super good and I got a hug from Sister Cabral which means it was a special occasion!! hahah

Saturday...Today!!-  We were planning to go on a ski lift and then the rains came a tumbling down. haha So we decided to go to the mini zoo park. 

 It sounds crazy in the rain, but it was actually really fun.  I dropped a 5 dollar bill while I was trying to take out my camera and the bird that was right in front of me tried to grab it with its beak!!!  He ran off with it about 5-10 feet before he dropped it.  Yeah i was nearly robbed by a bird......but the rest of the day has been really good.  Trying to study a lot and feel of the spirit.  I learned a lot yesterday and I need to do a lot better!!

Love You Family!!!

and yes i am the big 2 O. Twenty haha I'm old.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November 8, 2014 - The Week - LOL Style

Hello family and friends!!!

How are you guys!?  

My week went a little something like this!

Sunday- We had 4 investigators that came to church which was super exciting,  but it also was super hot on Sunday and there is no air conditioning in the church which makes it a little rough sometimes with a suit jacket and all!  We had lunch with a member and they were doing a Brazilian barbeque for us, but the thing is, they live in an apartment building and where they cook the steak and meat is in a little barbeque fireplace type thing.  The reason why I am telling you this is that the family couldn't get the fire started because grills don't exist in Brazil!  So I was talking with President Cabral about some of the things that needed to be done in preparation for the week and I wasn't really paying very close attention.  Then the mom who speaks really good English says "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.I don't know, I don't know."  Then she told me to come over and help with the situation.  I tried my best, but they had put so much lighter fluid on the thing that nothing would take!  She also asked if I was a Eagle Scout and I said I was, but that it's been a a while (it was embarrassing). hahah  Then the dad went and got the daughter's blow dryer, plugged it in and throws a match in there and turns on the blow dryer.  After 3 minutes, the pit was full of red hot charcoals.  So take note, family and friends, blow dryers are fire starters as well!!  The best part of the thing was when the mom and daughter were like, "What are you doing with my blow dryer? It's super expensive! What are you doing?"  Then the dad said, "I'm saving lunch." haha 

Monday- We had a choir practice, but it was more of a walk down memory lane because we watched the performance we had on Saturday and it was literally a film session.  I was laughing so hard because I knew exactly where I wasn't paying very close attention or when I was moving around and of course, Sister Cabral pointed every little thing out which was just a great experience. haha Just as it was in football, you have a ton of laughs when people mess up or do something stupid, but then when  it comes to you, you're completely quiet.

Tuesday-We had three appointments marked and unfortunately all of them fell through.  We were pretty disappointed, but we marked for later in the week so it should be a little bit better.  I also picked up my Suit and got new shoes and a belt.  I was pretty excited hahah.  We also got a new missionary today.  The only problem was that President and Sister Cabral were in meetings with general authorities Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  That means he doesn't meet them until at least Friday.  That means the training that is normally given by President and Sister Cabral, the introductions and all of that, was passed down to me.  Yeah I was thinking the same thing....oh great here we go, but it was okay in the end.  I got to go out to lunch with him which paid by the mission so that was nice.  Sister Cabral said on Monday that I have to take him to a nice restaurant because he already doesn't get a good welcoming, so I have to do this.  I took him to a decent restaurant, I thought,  but I already knew what I would tell Sister Cabral haha.  She came by the office to drop something off for me on Wed. and she asked where I went.  I told her we went to McDonalds and that he really enjoyed it.........she almost killed me! hahahhahah I got a really good laugh out of it and so did she, but I was more disappointed that she believed I would take the new missionary to McDonalds!!

Wednesday- normal crazy day.  Went to São Paulo to take a missionary to the airport.  Remembered when i first got into Brazil and how lost I was there.  We got back around 2 in the morning.  Yes, it was a very long day.

Thursday-We got some good teaching done today.  We went and visited some less active members to see how they were doing.  We gave a lesson about being grateful for the things that we have and we used the attributes of Captain Moroni in Alma 48:11 and how he is such a great example of being grateful for the things God gives us.  
Sister Dalton told me that Sister Cabral signed her and me up to sing at the Christmas conference.  Say what?!!  Yeah, I was shocked.  So now I have to learn a song for Christmas. I want it to be "Be Still My Soul" or something, but I have no idea.

Friday-We had a baptismal interview to make sure the sisters' baptism was all ready to go for Saturday (today) .  He passed, then we went to lunch.  The problem was going to lunch.  We were walking down the busiest street in Santos and basically I lost my companion, or he lost me; I don't know.  There was a huge group of teenagers and I tried weaving in and out, but it didn't work and my comp walked around them. The next thing I know, when I got out of there he was gone and I couldn't see him at all.  What made it worse was that I didn't have the phone, and what made it even more worse was that I got lost trying to go to the member's house.  It was bad because I was already in panic mode trying to find him then I got lost by myself.  Finally, I figured out where I was and got to the member's house.  I used the phone at the front desk to call my comp to see where he was at.  He told me he was with the other 2 missionaries trying to find the only blonde, blue-eyed person in Santos! hahah

Saturday-  nothing much today just enjoying the cooler weather.

There have been some new changes on how we are going to be teaching new converts which I think will be a huge plus because it helps integrate the converts with the members so much more and makes sure the things they need to know are being taught to them!

I'm pretty excited for next week. We are going to have transfers and zone conferences all next week. It should be really exciting!!

Love all of you guys and hope to hear from you all soon!!

Elder Chase Thurgood

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November 2, 2014 - We All Must Do Our Part

Hello Family and Friends!!!

My week was pretty normal. We always have some crazy stuff happen during the week that no one is expecting and then we are all stressed out here in the office.  

We received a new American elder also from Colorado.  That moves the number of Elders from Colorado to 8 now!!! Yep, that's right. 3 from Northern Colorado, Windsor, Loveland, and the blessed Fort Collins!!  Represent!! hahah  He went with President Cabral for the day. He got to go to different areas and be President's companion because Sister Cabral wasn't feeling so well.  When he got back, it was about 10 o'clock at night and President was dropping him off at our house.  This was the first problem, our house was picked up, cleaned our house was not.  The last time President came to check if our house was clean, we almost were killed.  When president called us saying that he was in the front,
all of our hearts dropped.  We all got together and  said a prayer that the Lord would be merciful with us and that President would be tired and wouldn't want to check our house at that moment.  Thankfully, he was tired and didn't check.  After President, left Elder Stokes and I dropped on our knees in the front of our house hahah. We were so happy, but that also gave us a big heads up that we needed to clean the house, so we cleaned it the next day and it's all good now for when President wants to come with Sister Cabral!

We also had a presentation of our Mission choir to some of the Stake Presidents and Bishops where we are going to sing at that if I don't say so myself was pretty freaking good!  We had it this morning!  It was really cool because we had everyone in tears, the spirit was so strong there!  

I had a super cool experience this week in the federal police station.  First, to start off the story with some background. Our zone was just finishing up a fast together that we can have more success in our areas and be more enthusiastic about the work.  I was with Elder Maynerich because of his identification that he didnt have and it was really hectic the whole day.  Last week, I called them and they explained to me that I would have more time to do everything and when I decided to just check at the station in person they told me the complete opposite and that Elder maynerich needed to come today or he was going to be illegal in the country.  Well, that wasn't really what I wanted to hear, so I called Elder Maynerich and explained the situation and told him we need to be there after lunch so we can get all of his stuff for him.  When we got there, it was full
of people.  I was thinking, oh, great, here goes a long afternoon!  but there was a man sitting in one of the rows and he had a two chairs open next to him and he slid over and let us sit next to him.  I said Obrigado!  and he said, "you guys mormons?" hahah  Oh, how my heart jumped for joy. Not only did he start the contact for me, but he was speaking in english!!!!!  Over the next hour and a half we talked in English and a little Portuguese about life and the church and how he knew the church a little bit.  It turns out that his wife is a Brazilian from São Vicente and she went to school in the states 20 years ago, but about  a year before she left, she was baptized in São vicente. 

So when they got married, she wanted him to get baptized, too, but at the church they were at in New York, he wasn't received very well by the ward and judged and he decided it wasn't the right time. It sounded like they looked for a church back in the states, but not very diligently.  He has already read the Book of Mormon and researched the Church quite a bit!  He asked if there are a lot of churches here in Santos and I figured that he probably lives by Jabaquara so I told him where it's at.  He replied that's a little far, would you happen to have one closer to Gonzaga? My eyes got really big when he said that and with a big old smile I told him that there is one in Orquidario and that that is where I work trying to teach people about Christ.  Discovering that he lived in Gonzaga, I asked where and he said Ana Costa (the mission offices are located on Ana Costa in Gonzaga).  It just didn't seem like it could get any better, but it did.
He said they just recently moved from the states about 2 months ago and that the things they have experienced in the past year have been really difficult on them, but it only showed him more and more that there is a God and that he is watching over him and his wife!  He said that meeting us here wasn't an accident at all and that this is probably the moment that he needed it and God had sent us to help him in this last step!!  After a day that was super hectic, we found this golden investigator, got his number because he didn't know his address, hah and to put a cherry on top the stake president was also there and he bought us pastels and water and gave us a ride home.  It really was an amazing experience that strengthened my testimony not only of the power of the fast, but also that God is aware of all of us and He needs us to do our part so that He can have his children return to Him.

I know that this is the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ and that it has been restored onto the Earth for us to share it with other people!  I know that God loves me and that He loves each and every one of you.

Eu sei que essa é a igreja de Cristo, que Ela foi restaurada novamente na terra, para que possamos compartilhar-la com outras pessoas!  Eu sei que Deus me ama e que Ele ama cada um de vocês.


Elder Thurgood