Thursday, July 31, 2014

Accelerando a Obra

The work is going great here. The week was a little weird because I got to do a bunch of baptismal interviews in other areas but that was a great problem to have haha

The 'At Will' Restaurant
This week we ate lunch at a restaurant in another area so we could have time to make it to do interviews for the Sisters. In portuguese they say "at will" instead of "all you can eat." We went and after 6 plates I was feeling pretty full. As I got up to pay my companion said "You're done already!?" and I said "Yes, I'm stuffed" and he said "You won't get another plate." "You're right, I won't, I'm stuffed."  That's when he said, "Don't be a girl" - I ate 7 times...

This week we baptised Elvis and his brother Ruiz (no I haven't heard him sing yet). They are Bolivian and the rest of their family doesn't speak much portuguese but is super supportive of them joining the church. Elvis has already read the entire Book of Mormon and is participating in and loving Seminary. 
Elvis told my companion "I'm going to stump you right now with a scripture" and read Moroni 7 about Charity and showing love to others and then asked "So if you have a plate of food in front of you and you see a man walking past in the street that is clearly homeless and hungry and needing a bath, what should you do?" Elder Lene replied, "I would give him the food and let him take a bath and help him out." Elvis replied, "Wrong! You should have invited him to church" haha Elvis will be a great missionary someday.

Our president told us this week that we're not here to sit in church meetings by ourselves, we're here to help people come to church, if we don't have investigators at church, we should go get some! We had one person in church but she went to Relief Society and so we were alone for the first hour. After waiting to see if people would show up late we left and started calling everyone to come. We finally woke up an investigator that wanted to come but forgot the alarm and she came and had an awesome experience. It was something small and normal that we did but to me it showed how those little victories we have every day make all the difference. 

Something I learned this week to help notice the needs of the people around us is to observe, listen, discern and then act on the things we notic about other people. As I've been more observant I've been able to have more effective lessons and feel like I'm helping people more individually as I seek to serve and bless them. I love the work here!! Being a missionary is hard but it's also freaking AWESOME!!

Fiquem firmes,
Elder DP

Hurrah for Israel!!!!

Well we're finally getting to know the area better. It's been a neat experience to open an area. It's a great excuse to ask help from the members and offer to help them as well. This week we found a ton of new people to teach, in fact each of the companionships in our district did really well at finding this week, everyone had at least 24 new investigators which was sweet!!

On Tuesday I got to do an exchange in an area that is basically what I imagined the mission would be like when I got my call to Brazil. We left district meeting and we caught a bus for about an hour with a ton of forrest and landscape to get to another city where the missionaries cover one ward and it has a ton of other neighborhoods that they have to catch a bus to work in the different parts of their area. It was cool to be in an area with way less congestion and traffic, nice and calm, people were super-receptive. We found a ton of new people to teach that day that all had a good amount of interest. 

Growing Ward
Serving here is cool because in the last year there have been a lot of people baptized in this ward. There is one recent convert that showed up at the church on his own without ever having contact with the missionaries and was later baptized. He went to lessons with us twice this week and is super strong in the church. There's another that is recently returning to the church and is preparing to serve a mission that we got to meet and visit. It's cool to see the influence that the great missionaries that passed through this area have left. 

Well I love it here. We had interviews with President this week and he directed me to Matthew 25:30-46 about how Christ will seperate the sheep from the goats. The interesting thing that I found afterwards is that the sheep didn't see that they had done great service and the goats didn't see how many oppertunities they had missed to serve. I want to be a great sheep alongside the good shepherd.

Love you all!! 

Elder DP


Well I'm sure glad the World Cup is over and we can get back to business. It was funny this week because everybody here think's I'm German which was great yesterday when they won the World Cup but a little less awesome on Tuesday when Brazil lost to them 7-1. We got to lunch one day this week and my companion intruduced me as being from Germany. The Irmã that fed us nearly kicked me out of the house before I clarified that I'm just a plain old 'Merican. 

Finding Home
So I know I mentioned that I was transfered this week but I don't think I mentioned that I am opening an area with my companion. In other words the two elders that were here went to the mission office, handed me the keys, cell phone and a sheet of paper with some instructions and headed off to catch a bus to their new areas. There was a brother from the ward that picked up our bags but we had to stay for a meeting with our President so we had to catch a bus home. The only trick was finding home. Long story short we waited until the game ended since the bus didn't pass during the Brazil Game, then our Zone Leaders caught a bus with us and left us to catch another bus to our area. We waited there for about an hour and it was getting late before we stopped a different bus and asked if ours would pass by and they told us that people were burning buses downtown and so our bus wouldn't pass that night. We finally got into contact with our Bishop and fortunately he was able to give us a ride. Turns out the bus we stopped would have brought us to the same spot... ahh
View from apartment window

New Companion 
So my new companion is Elder Lene. He's from New Zealand and his first name has 26 letters in it. He's hilarious and is always happy and talking to people in the streets. When we had our first meeting with our new ward mission leader he asked us, "Have you guys watched 'The Other Side of Heaven?' Because I can't look at you guys without wanting to call Elder Della-Piana 'Kolipoke'" hahaha

Elder Lene & Elder DP
It's really cool serving in this ward because I either served with or nearby nearly all of the missionaries that have served here in the last 8 months so I already know the missionaries that baptized the recent converts here and have already heard about some of the members. I am really looking forward to it here. We found a ton of new people to teach this week since we know nobody and just talk to everyone in the streets but it's been a great experience. 

Our president taught us to follow Christ's example when he multiplied the fish as we start this transfer:
1) What do we have? (6 loafs of bread, 2 fish)
2) Give thanks (Matthew 6:41)
3) Have miracles - (Fed thousands)

What a great formula for any situation. I'm thankful for all the blessings the Lord has given me and my family. 

Love you All,

Elder DP

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tchau São Bento

Well this morning I found out that tomorrow I will be leaving São Bento to go to Villa Madeiro in the City of São Paulo. After 6 months in an area it will be hard to say goodbye to a lot of people here.

New President
Timothy L. and Linsey A. Farnes

So we got to meet our new Mission President and his family this week. They are amazing people. As my companion and I were entering the church gate he pulled up in his car parked and ran right out to embrace us and tell us how excited he was. His wife and family speak very little portuguese and he is trying to remember but even in broken portuguese his love for us and for the Lord was very evident. He talked a lot about winning the daily victories. LiVE - Little Victories Everyday (forget the i because we need to be unselfish). We all came away super excited (and he's an athlete so it looks like he's going to liberate basketball!!)

Member Missionaries
We had an awesome miracle that has been happening this week. There is a young man in our ward that when I got here was not active in the church. He had a rough background and he went to church only every once in a while. Suddenly these last few weeks he started coming to church regularly and participating in the ward. This week he told us that he wants to serve a mission!!! The sweet part is that he is bringing his friend along to everything and we've been teaching his friend as well!

This week we had a baptism that the day before the investigator told us that she showed up at her neighbor's house (where we were telling her member friend that she would pray at the baptism) and told us that she wasn't going to be baptised the next day because she felt like she was being pressured into it. We talked to her a bit, read scriptures and such trying to help her but she insisted on the baptism being another date. We left and went to dinner at a member's home and while we were there we got a call from her "Hey have you told everyone to cancel my baptism yet" "No why?" "Because I talked to my member friend a bit more and I'm going to be baptised tomorrow" *FISTPUMP*
There were even fireworks going on during her baptism to celebrate (it was just because of Brazil winning in the world cup but we'll credit the baptism)

I am going to miss this area, there are so many other families and miracles that I will share when I get home, the mission is amazing. It is such a blessing to be able to help people every day learn about the Gospel and how their family can be together forever.

Love you All,
~Elder Della-Piana

Timothy Lowell Farnes, 44, and Linsey Anne Farnes, five children, Bridlewood Ward, Bountiful Utah Orchard Stake, succeeding President Marcus H. Martins and Sister Mirian B. Martins. Brother Farnes is a former counselor in a stake presidency, high councilor, bishop, counselor in a ward Young Men presidency, and missionary in the Brazil Porto Alegre Mission. Founder/CEO, Aspire Holdings. Born in Baltimore, Md., to Gary William and Mary Ellen Farnes.
Sister Farnes is a former ward Young Women president, counselor in a ward Relief Society presidency, counselor in a ward Primary presidency, Relief Society instructor, and Primary teacher. Born in Provo, Utah, to David Roos and Judith Lynn Skinner.