Monday, October 28, 2013

28 Oct. 2012

Hello from Brasil!  This past week has been pretty crazy with all the traveling and trying to get used to Brasil. Monday I woke up at 4am to leave Boise and I went through Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Detriot, Sao Paulo to Manaus. I got to Manaus about 12:30am the next day. 30 hours of continuos traveling was pretty hard, but I am here now safely in Manaus. When we touched down in Manaus, I and one other Elder from the States met a whole bunch of Brazilian elders from the Sao Paulo MTC. The assistants and President and Sister Klein picked us up and took us to the tempke, then to the mission home and then to the mission office. I got my first taste of Brazilian food there. It is pretty plain but good food. They have a drink here called Bare that tastes kinda of like skittles put into a blender, but tastes really good.  Most of the food that I've had is rice beans, some kind of meat(chicken or beef) and usually some vegetable side dish.  Its really good and we have lunch with the members here every day. We don't really do dinners, its more or a kind of snack and we don't usually eat breakfast either. Its pretty different.  Manaus itself is really different. All the houses are usually one but sometimes two stories tall and they have either concrete or tile floors. Every house is sourneded by a gate that is actually part of the house. You can tell pretty quickly how well off a family is by seeing if they have a gate, and if the sidewalk outside their house is tiled. Its a little weird to walk into a house that looks like it is going to fall down at any moment, and find 6-8 people living it, with the house being the size of our living room and family room at the absolute most.  Its even weirder when they start pulling out smart phones and you notice the tv and dvd collection as well. Not a lot of books here I've noticed. Most people usually only have the bible and book of Mormon. Drivers here are crazy as well. There is a speed limit but everyone ignores it and you see bikes weaving in and out of traffic.  Whenever we have to go out of our area, we have to take the bus and those will have easily 50-60 people on them all crammed in. Its every different.
  My new companion is Elder Sousa Silva from Jose Pessoa Brazil. He speaks a little English, but mostly Portuguese so it gets exciting sometimes trying to understand him. I'm still trying to figure him out, but he seems pretty nice. Our apartment here is nice for the mission. We have a fridge, washing mission, toilet and shower along with a microwave and a sink. Its pretty small, and our room is the only room in the house that  has a/c. It gets the job done.
  This week I was  able to baptize two people. A brother and a sister. Their names are Narielly and Paublo. Its was really cool to baptize them. A baptismal service here are very quick and you can plan and set them up about a day in advance. You have a hymn, prayer, message about baptism, baptism, quick advice, hymn and prayer then you are done. Its very efficient. Its pretty amazing though. The spirit there is pretty amazing. The members here are super nice. Weather is always hot and humid. We haven't had rain at all since I've gotten here. Very different.  Well that's all for now. Internet here is super slow so hopefully this pictures will go through. I miss you all!
Love Ben/Elder Battraw

Monday, October 14, 2013

14 Oct. 2013

Thanks for the package! I got it today.  I can't wait to listen to the cd and thanks for the towel. I'll probably be sending back the old one with the suit jacket and a bunch of other papers that I don't need anymore.  A lot of the papers are memorabilia from my missions like travel papers and such.  I hopefully will get it sent off sometime this week. Today was p day and a lot of fun. Our zone got together and hiked a hike called Table Rock. It wasn't too long and only took us 30-40 minutes to hike up there. The view there was amazing! We could see all over Boise. Pretty awesome. Speaking of Boise, I was able to go and visit Boise State University and go see their foot ball field and campus. Pretty nice place to go to college and they having a huge stadium. We weren't able to walk out onto the field but we were able to get pretty close. I even got to see where their ROTC meets. We got to help out some of the sister missionaries change their car tire b/c they got a serious flat and wrecked the rim of the tire.  We don't know how it happened, but we got their and there was no doubt that the tire was flat at all. Oh, something else exciting, we now have a car. Since Elder Smith is a district leader, and the mission had a bunch of cars that were just sitting there so we are now cruising around in a 2014 Chevy Cruise that is gray. It is so nice and its always fun to drive. We like to use the quick stick in it and its so much fun to drive.
  Super excited to go to Brazil. Found out that I get my travel plans on Sunday along with my papers. I get dropped off at the airport at 5:15ish to catch my 6:30 flight so I may be able to call from there, or I may call from Salt Lake City. I will definetely try to call. Hopefully I will have time to fit it in.  This week will be saying my good byes to all my members and investigators. Its really hard and sad. The day after I leave will be a baptism for one of our investigators and I am super down b/c of it.  I haven't heard anything about the shoes from the mission office so I think I will be able to take them. Since I get reimbursed for my baggage, I might just check them as a second bag, b/c all of my other stuff is really full. But i will try to get them down to Brazil. The only things that I have recieved so far is a letter from Great Grandma Young and a package from Taylor King. Nothing else so far. Should I be expecting anything else? I have gotten the packages from you. The last one was the suit jacket. I will make sure to send the mailing address to you for the mission office in Manaus! I do have my mission packet right now. Do you want me to send it back?
Thanks for the email. It always makes my day to hear from you guys! I miss you all!
Ben/Elder Battraw

Sunday, October 13, 2013

More Big News

 I am admitting to knowing about this for several days now and have put off posting it on purpose. If I don't post it, does that make it less real? I hope so - not so sure I am ready for my son to be so far away! I found out Tuesday, Oct. 8, Ben found out two days later, so we knew first! :-)

Just heard your Visa came through and you leave the 21st! I think  we found out before you did! :-) How excited are you now? How many pairs of shoes do you have? I just talked to a mom whose son is in Brazil and she said that you go through a LOT of shoes.

Yeah I just got the news today and I'm super pumped! I can send a real letter on Monday, but I just wanted to make sure that you knew!
Elder Battraw

Monday, October 7, 2013

Nine people taken to hospital after car runs into funeral crowd at LDS church

Nine people taken to hospital after car runs into funeral crowd at LDS church

Credit: Adam Worthington/KTVB


Posted on October 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM
Updated today at 5:24 PM

BOISE -- Nine people were injured, including a 5-year-old boy, after car hit a group of pedestrians at a Boise LDS church this afternoon.
The accident happened around 2:43 p.m. at a church at McMillan Road and Shamrock Avenue.
Boise Police say it appears a male driver in his 70s was in a Toyota sedan parked next to the sidewalk and he unintentionally accelerated into a crowd of people leaving a funeral at the church.
Eight people were hit.  Nine people, including a female passenger in the Toyota sedan, were transported to three area hospitals.  Six of them were taken by ambulance, three others were taken by private vehicles.
Preliminary Information indicates that two of the injured appear to have serious injuries, including the 5-year-old boy.  Two people were treated at the scene.
The injured people were taken to Saint Alphonsus in Eagle, Saint Alphonsus in Boise and St. Luke's in Meridian.
The male driver of the Toyota was not injured.
A witness tells KTVB that the immediate family had just left the funeral service when the accident happened.  They were standing at the side doors of the church preparing to leave for the cemetery, when the elderly man crashed into them.
The witness says she heard screaming and yelling and saw several people hurt on the ground.  She says some people attending the funeral began helping the injured, while others began giving blessings and praying.
Boise Police continue to investigate.  No citations have been issued.  A spokeswoman for Boise Police says the accident does not appear to be intentional.  She says some of the victims hurt today belong to the same family.

7 Oct. 2013

Hey hows is everything in Indiana! Conference was awesome! We watched all the sessions at the members homes in our wards. I loved all the talks, and there were a lot of talks about womanhood, the priesthood and families this conference. I don't remember who said it, but I liked the quote the mans laws do not change Gods laws.  I thought that was pretty powerful and pretty direct. The speakers did not beat around the bush when they were giving their talks. It was all pretty direct and in a such a way that there was no room for interpretation. Watching the priesthood session at a members house was kind of weird, but it was good. Apparently they don't show conference in this stake in the ward buildings, only at the stake center.  The stake center is about 8-10 miles round trip so we don't try and bike over there a lot.
We had both district and zone meetings this week and they were both at the stake center (sigh). I got an interview with President Winder and that was pretty cool, he is truly called of God. Zone meeting was mainly about working with the members, and we've been talking about that a lot lately. We try to get the members more involved with missionary work and we are beginning to see some of the work and counsel pay off. We are getting more and more referrals to go and talk to people. It keeps us busy all the time. So cool story time. After the zone meeting we went to lunch at Costa Vida and had huge sweet pork burritos which were awesome. As we were pedaling home, a woman flagged us down so we pulled over to her. As we started to talk to her, she completely broke down and told us that her daughter was in the hospital and that her son in law whom she was staying with assaulted here. She openly admitted that she was a less active. She said she couldn't feel the spirit anymore and she just wanted to pray with somebody. We stood there and said a prayer and she left that parking lot with a smile on her face. The blessings of talking to the missionaries.

This week started suit coat season for our mission meaning, we can only wear suit jackets and/or sweaters. I've got two sweaters and two suits so I think I'll be good until it really gets cold. Hopefully I'll get my visa by then.  We were talking to one of our ward mission leaders ,Brother Berg (hes really chill and cool) and he said that I might not get it for awhile because apparently the US government was shut down b/c Congress couldn't pass a budget so I don't know if the State Department is working on visas. Well, hopefully it all gets resolved soon and I will be off to Brasil. Boise is awesome, but I can't wait to get to Manaus.

This next part may not be a good thing to read out loud at dinner so just giving a heads up.  So as were pulling up to the Stake Center where we email we see this funeral processional leaving the chapel and so we  go around the other side of the building to get to family history center where we email from. It wasn't open so we were standing around talking to some members when one of them mention that apparently there was an accident on the other side of the building so we start heading around to see what had happened. We get there and there are 6-7 people lying on the grass with people huddling around them and a car parked on the grass as well. Apparently an older man had gotten into the car and gunned it, lost control and went up onto the grass hit some people and managed to come to a stop. There were fire trucks and ambulances all over the place with police officers coming up as well. Some kids were crying so we talked to them and tried to distract them from what was going on.  After that we just went around to people who looked like they needed a comforting word.  It was quite sad and it looked like everybody was going to live, and we had a prayer to bless anybody who injured and then left to get out of the way of the first responders. Hopefully everything will be all right.

How is marching band going? When is district and regional competitions? I didn't know that there was a BOA thing up in Muncie. Thats cool. We still do eat in members home every night. We don't every cook for  ourselves b/c the only meal we really make is breakfast and thats cereal. Nothing major. We actually do have bunkbeds in our room since there are three of us! I'm the only one who is not on the bunk bed so its pretty great. I don't think I need anything right now. If I need anything I'll let you know! Thanks so much! I miss you all!
Love Ben/Elder Battraw