Monday, June 30, 2014

"só loucura" (JUST CRAZY)

What a week.

Well first of all our new misson president, President Farnes, showed up this week. The elders that have already met him say he is awesome! We're going to get to meet him on Wednesday this coming week so that should be sweet. He already started changing some of the rules after just a few days to let us play volleyball again and listen to a variety of church music during the week and such.

This week there were two World Cup games for Brazil and so it was just craziness here. Saturday the game was against Chile and that is where my companion is from so he was cheering pretty hard for them to win. For those who don't know, Chile lost and everybody that knows my companion is from Chile is giving him a hard time about it, he's even tried to introduce himself as being from Spain to make up for the accent but avoid the heckling haha.

This week was also really cool to see the members helping us meet and teach their friends. There was a ward activity Saturday Night and President let us go. Nearly everyone brought friends to the activity and we marked a bunch of appointments to teach them this week in the homes of those members.

Scripture of the week:
"Be thou humble and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answers to thy prayers" I know that the Lord answers prayers and wants to hear from us. As a missionary we pray a ton every day for all the people we know and love here and back home.

Love you all,
~Elder DP

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Last Conference with President & Sister Martins

Oi gente,
Great week although we didn't get out on the streets working much.
On Tuesday Brazil played Mexico in a high scoring thriller (Final 0-0). The people were bummed but not as mad as they would be if they'd lost. We also had a multi-zone conference to say goodbye to President Martins and his wife as President Farnes will be arriving on Saturday and will from then on be our new mission president. It was great to hear from him once again and receive instructions to boost our faith and excitement to do the work of the Lord. 
Last Zone Conference with President & Sister Martins

Because of that we only worked from Thursday to Sunday basically and even that was interrupted by baptismal interviews to do in other areas. 

Cool experience this week was that we met a family that was a reference we got just from asking someone in the street if they knew someone we could visit. It was way out of the way of where we usually work but we made time to go there since it was a reference. We got there and they let us in and explained that they had always wanted to go to our church but they lost contact with the Sisters when they lived in another area and never got the Address. We got the chance to give them the address of the Church and invite them to make a visit. 

This week I got to give a talk about member missionary work and invited the Members to invite their friends to Family Home Evenings and that we would go there to give the message so they could learn more about our beliefs. We didn't even get out of the chapel after Sacrament Meeting and a young woman in the ward had already come up to us and marked to have her friends over on Thursday to have an FHE there. Then at lunch the sister there said that the week after we'll have an FHE in here home with her neighbors as well!! What a blessing to see members working to help their friends come unto Christ.

I'm loving the mission, Brazil is crazy but great.

Love you all,

Elder Della-Piana

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What a week!

The funny thing about having one hour to relate a week of experiences and reply to other emails is that there are so many things that have to be left out, I guess that's why the mission ends some day.

So wednesday the World Cup shut the club down. We were at home since we no one would attend us if we tried to go talk to people but when Brazil scored it felt like we were in the stadium. The entire city literally exploded in cheers and cars took off just to rev their engines and honk their horns and have a "bagunsa" (circus) in the streets. It was quite the experience. 

We found two awesome families this week that have true interest! One of them the wife had stopped us in the street about three weeks ago. She asked what we do since she'd always seen us in the neighborhood but she was waiting a bus and had to get on before we could get her information to visit her and her family. Then this week we asked someone in the street for a reference to visit and she indicated her sister which just so happened to be this lady I had talked to. When we finally got her at home with the family they were in the middle of the barbacue but they stopped everyone and pulled them into one room to have a prayer and a message. The lady explained to us that she had had a dream of our church when she had been praying to overcome depression and then that was when she talked to us!! She asked a ton of great questions and it looks like they'll be at church on sunday!

Fun experience of the week - SO this week I did an exchange with Elder Youd. The thing about when I'm with Elder Youd is that that is when all the excitement happens. So we were walking out of a lesson and the pregnant lady asked "Wow that's a coincidence, you're both named 'Elder'" so we explained that it's a title and she asked our names. After explaining that they could only call us Elder, not our first name, we told them our names. When she heard Adam she said "Wow that's a cool name" and then grabbed her stomach "ADAM!!! THAT'S THE NAME!!!" and looked at her friend and they got really excited. So yeah, I got a kid named after me. No big deal, there will now be a kid in São Bento with a name that not even he can pronounce correctly..

I love it here and I love you guys. Spiritual thought of the week is Moroni 7:45-48 - I've been pondering a lot lately how the worold would be different if people truly had charity one for another.

Love you all,

~Elder Della-Piana

Monday, June 9, 2014

World Cup Here We Go

Well the world cup is about to start this week and Brazil is an exciting place to be. We'll literally just be shut into our house during and after the game this week. 

Well the highlight of the week was a stake conference broadcast that we got to hear from Richard G. Scott and M. Russell Ballard. Elder Scott speaks Spanish and gave his talk in Portuñol (Spanish/Portuguese combo) and it was AMAZING. He talked about how God answers prayers and how we need to respond. The interesting thing I got was that sometimes we don't get an answer if he trusts us to work it out on our own because we're being obedient. Our investigator that was there loved it.

I also got to do my first Baptismal Interview this week. It went smoothly. The only trick was that we caught the hour-long bus home at 9, the time when we were already supposed to be home planning and finishing out our day that was a bit exhausting.

Other News:
- The Broken Key - well our key to the back door broke locked from the inside. Good news - we were inside, Bad news - there's no way to get to our washing machine or our laundry that's drying without leaving that door or climbing on the neighbor's roof to get in and out. Long story short - after several unsuccessful attempts to pick the lock (oh it's a dead bolt that locks with one of those ancient looking keys) I finally took a screwdriver and an exercise weight and went to work, busting out a piece of the lock to make a different key fit - oh what we go through to get to laundry.

- My Chilean companion always says "Aw Fetch" when something doesn't go well and it's hilarious because he doesn't speak English, his last companion corrupted him.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wild Week of Transfers

Well I have never had such a wild transfer week. 

Elder DP & Elder Johnson
As some that are serving or have served missions know the week of transfers is always a week of high anxiety and anticipation. This time I wasn't worried because I'd already assumed I would leave São Bento since I've been here for so long and so I was just waiting for where I would be sent - I was wrong. The call for transfers came in Monday and I was told I would stay in São Bento and that my new companion would be ELDER JOHNSON - one of my favorite elders in the whole mission and someone that I look up to a ton. Even better because we were already serving in are

Change of plans - not companions
as close by. Then tuesday morning the mission office called me and let me know I would still be in São Bento but instead of Elder Johnson I would have a different companion... Ahhhh, it would have been good.

Anyways, now I'm with Elder Alvarez from Chile. He has even less time speaking portuguese than I do which is interesting because he can't trade into English to clarify and I've had to try to remember Spanish to understand. It's great though he's excited.

So, funny story of th
e week. There was a drunk guy (at 10 am in the morning) that came up to a group of me and 5 other American missionaries at a bus stop and asked if Mormons are a cult or a religion. After explaining that it's a religion he said "I like you guys, even though I just threw down a few 'pingas' (alcoholic drinks) you guys still talk to me." Another missionary - a big, blue-eyed, blonde-haired german-american, started inviting him to go to church on sunday and in the middle of explaining the guy blurted out "Why do they always send the good-looking ones here for us brazilians, you have beautiful eyes." We got a kick out of that one.
Elder DP & Elder Alvarez

Well the work of salvation is great here. We're working a lot to bring back those that have drifted away from the Gospel. It's cool to help people that have already been baptized renew their faith in Christ and become active in following him once more.

Love you guys,

Elder Della-Piana

Brazilian Autumn

Well we are reaching the point here with the weather when it's not too hot during the day and it gets just cold enough at night to be comfortable. Ahhh lovin it.

So today (Monday) is usually P-day but rather than that we are going to email our family and then go teach and work as normal. You might ask why and the reason is that on WEDNESDAY we get to hear from ELDER RUSSELL M. NELSON!!!!! He's going to be here in São Paulo and they're pulling together three different missions to all come hear from him. Since it's going to take away from our time to work they decided to make that day p-day, if he weren't an Apostle I'd be more sore about it. 

Outside of that it was a pretty normal week. I worked outside of my area for most of it working with other missionaries in other areas but it was still good. We had a cool experience in another area where we were going through an old list of members of the church and visiting the ones that aren't going to church and we came to this tiny side allyway and couldn't find the house in this alley and we were asking everyone and almost gave up. Finally we talked to a guy that said he didn't know the person we were looking for but then said 'Wait, you mean Benedito that lives in that house around the corner?' and directed us to the person we were looking for that lived in a house we would have never found. He received us warmly and expressed a strong desire to come back to the church and bring his family with him that aren't members yet. After having been rejected for an entire afternoon it was cool to be reminded that there are people out there that DO want to hear from us and DO want to improve their lives. 

"Our missionaries are going forth to different Nations. The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

What a marvelous work and a wonder,

Elder DP

4 Months in Brazil

You know that feeling when you're not paying attention and all of a sudden you realize you haven't had an American meal in four months... Well, I know there's at least a few that can relate.

Wow does time fly by, it feels like yesterday I descended the plane from Colorado into the hot São Paulo air lost with NO ability to read ANY signs or ask for direction and by some fortune stumbled upon the Brazilian with a sign for the american missionaries. Now four months later all the Brazilian customs are seemingly normal. Having packs of wild dogs roaming the streets, banana trees in the middle of a park, rice and beans every day, telefone wires hanging at chest-height with a dozen kites caught in each one, clapping instead of knocking on doors, all these things are starting to seem normal. The only thing I still havn't lost - and probably never will loose - is the accent.

Well this week is transfers, we should be getting a call this afternoon on who is out and who stays. Having already been in Parque São Bento for 4 months it's quite probable I'll be headed out. I've loved this area. I think just about everyone in the neighborhoods recognizes the tall American that walks these streets on the daily. 

It was a slow week, not may people let us in, we got shut in the house because of a busdriver/police "greve" (I forgot the word in english it's when they stop working to make a point). It also rained the ENTIRE weekend so not many people were in the streets to talk to. I took solace in the words of the late Elder Joseph B. Worthlin of the quorom of the twelve apostles "The next time you're tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead" - boy was I tempted to groan but I thought of this quote and found myself still smiling even as we were trudging through the rain, being rejected and lied to to be avoided. (funny lie of the week - we talked to a guy twice and he tried to say that the other time it was his twin brother but his story contradicted and it became clear it was him, oh Brazil). That's the nice thing about life though, happiness is a choice, I don't need my situation to dictate my happiness.

Well Life's Good, keep on keeping on! I apologize to anyone that I haven't been able to reply to personally, time's a crunch when our hour of email comes around for the week. I do love letters and have more time to reply to those ;) 

Até Mais,

~Elder Della-Piana

PS I think the word for 'greve' is boycott? nope... it's strike, there was a busdriver strike... wow that took a long time to remember