Monday, December 29, 2014

29 December 2014

It was really cool to be able to talk with all you.  It was super cool! I was able to get a hold of Grandma so it all turned out okay! Christmas was pretty good here! Sounds like a fun pitch in at your
work though! How did Toms talk go?  Was it really short?  Everybody at home with nothing to do.. I remember that!  Mission shopping, that will be fun!  Does Tom need anything super weird for his mission to India?  I remembered that I need to have a coat that had you had to be able to take the liner out.  Its been useful at times, but usually its too hot to use.
   This week was pretty cool though!  Monday was the normal p day. Tuesday District Meeting.  Wednesday was the really fun day b/c it was Christmas eve.  All that night we spent walking in the streets going and visiting the houses of members.  We got so much food its not even funny.  The problem here is that you are already full and you to visit another member and they say, Elder, heres some food, eat up.  And you are already full but have to keep on eating.  It gets interesting at times . Here in Brasil they like to drink lots and lots of soda  So we drank a ton of soda that night.  every single house that we visited we drank soda.  It seems to be the traditional drink here for holidays or just events in general.   Everybody that thinks that the US we drink a lot of soda, needs to come down here to the Amazon.  But it was cool. Christmas morning we all got up and opened up the presents! Thanks for the tie and clip.  The book is pretty funny as well! After we were able to go and do a few visits with people.  It was a pretty calm day for us! The rest of the week was pretty normal for us.  We got to go on a few exchanges this week with some of the members here that went really well.  We´ve been able to start teaching a new family that was a reference of the ward and they have some potential.  Its super cool to be able to be teaching them .  They are very accepting of the gospel!  We have another investigator who is progressing really well. He is name is Richard.  Its a little hard to come into contact with him, but we´ve been able to teach him so far and this week he came to church.  We came into contact with him at a Church soccer event and he is always playing soccer at church so hes pretty awesome.  Hes reading the Book of Mormon and we are super pumped for him!
  That was our week so far,  This week should be pretty interesting with News Year.  Still don´t know what we are going to do for News Year, but we´ll see.  Have a great New Years and I miss all of you!
Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, December 22, 2014

22 December 2014

I actually haven´t opened up the presents yet, I just opened up the package and then set the presents up on top of a shelf to wait till Christmas day, so far so good.  My companion also has some presents so we are going to have a real Christmas here.  We both will get cold cereal and everything and we will also have those stockings that you sent as well so it will be awesome.  The package from the ward has not yet arrived so it probably won´t until next week when the Zone Leaders go to Manaus and then it´ll be up in the air.  Hopefully it´ll get here soon.  Yep, Bishop Jensen had emailed all of us asking for a quote and that was what I sent him.  Just of curiousity, did he read it in english or português, because I sent it in both.  Sounds like it will still be an interesting week.
  The week here in Manacapuru.  The week here was pretty good.  Nothing super awesome happened.  Tuesday was District Meeting which was awesome as usual.  We did a lot of visiting this week, meeting with the members and everything.  We almost got to go to an English school and teach a lesson this week but that didn´t work out.  Friday was one of the days that we have walked the most here in Manacapuru. We got to walk all the way down near the hospital and back, just to find out the place we were looking for actually was located really close to where we started out. Fun stuff. Friday night we also go to participate in the ward Miritis Christmas party.  Us 4 elders we all got together and sang a Christmas hymn.  I was on the piano while they all sang.  I´ve noticed that my piano playing has gotten better since that I´ve been on the mission, which has been awesome.  Saturday morning I woke up not feeling too great, but we headed off to a service  project, but on the way my companion got bit by a dog in the road, so we had to go off to the hospital to make sure that it was infected. Got to the hospital and got all checked out, everything fine.  Headed back to the service project, but when we got there, I wasn´t feeling great at all, the world was spinning around and not feeling too good in the stomach, so spent 10 minutes there and headed home where I spent the rest of the day in bed.  Sunday I woke up feeling a lot better, so it was probably just a stomach virus.  Sunday I got to have my first recording session as a professional piano artist:)  There is a man in our ward who is the choir who wanted the individual voices parts for the hymns so he recorded me playing the individual parts.  We got to teach a new family Sunday that was super cool.  We only got to teach for 10 minutes, but it was awesome to get to know them.   We have a few investigators who are progressing well and we are super excited for them!  
  Hope that you all have a great week! I can´t wait for Wednesday night!  If I can´t call wednesday I´ll try calling Thursday.  Miss all of you and Have a great week!

Love
Elder Battraw

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ben's Christmas Letter to the Ward

Elder Battraw:

What I love about serving the Lord during this special season of the year, is that I am taking the same message that Jesus Christ preached to people so long ago.  It is this same message that changes the lives of the people in the world, in all places.  I have already seen on my mission what the gospel does for the lives of people.  It changes them and touches them in ways you can´t even imagine. You can see the changes in their faces, the new spirit in their home, the smile that they have when you enter into their home and the greater love that they have for their families and the Lord Jesus Christ.  The happiness that the gospel brings to the world, that unites families and changes somebody for the better, is why I love serving the Lord durning this Christmas Season.

Monday, December 15, 2014

15 December, 2014

Thanks for the pictures.  I have gotten the Christmas package that you sent to me and the one that Grandma sent to me as well! Thanks for the socks! I´ll try to see if I can skype at about 6:00pm, we still have to find a computer to be able to use to be able to skype, but I´m sure that we´ll find one. What is your skype name again just to make sure that I call right person.  Sounds like a cool christmas party.  Brother Mcdonald is married again, thats awesome!  Thats cool the Zach wants to do marching band! Got for it Zach! The Band is going to Philly? since when!  Sounds like there is going to be a lot of new people for me to meet when I get back from the mission!  That will be cool to do.
  So, the week.The area/city where I´m at is called Manacapuru( Ma-na-kaw-per-u)  where it just me and my companion and the zone leaders who are here in the city.  Its a smaller city but its super cool here.  The ward here is awesome and I am loving serving here.  All of the members have references for the missionaries, talk about a ward who is on fire for missionary work.  Everybody is always saying, elders, I have a reference for you guys, its pretty awesome. My new companion is Elder Sanderson, who is also American who is from DC.  Hes got a little bit less time than I do on the mission and is super cool.  He is also going to do ROTC at BYU, but he will be Air Force.  Its been an awesome week with him so far.  I guess the only down side would be the house.   It has some problems leaking (a lot)  when it rains and the showers don´t work so we use buckets, and the power likes to go out at times.  It makes life interesting to say the least.  But is super cool here.  We got here last Sunday at night and Monday we got to move into our new house.  Spent a good 3 hours getting it up to code  and then relaxed and did the normal p day things.  Spent an hour and a half that night trying to find the house of the bishop and managed to find it on the way back.  But it all wored out!  The rest of the week was pretty busy.  Tuesday until Thursday was working in our area and trying to find all the old investigators, get to know the members and everything.  It went really well, we are finding people to teach and it was awesome.  Friday we got to travel to Manaus by bus, which only takes 2 hours for the annual Mission christmas conference.  It was a lot of fun to be able to see all the other missionaries and celebrate Christmas with them.  We had a talent show as well when we there and our district did an arrangement of Angels we Have Heard on High.  It went really well.  The rest of the show was really good as well, lots of theatre and skits which were really funny.  Pretty cool.  Fun experience trying to catch the bus to get back home.  We got to Bus Station at 10:55 for the bus that was scheduled to leave at 11pm and tried to see if the bus we still there.  The ticket salesmen said that it wasn´t, but we managed to go back and found out the bus we in fact still there so we caught the bus and managed to get home. Saturday night was the baptism of Milena.  She is the daughter of a recent convert who still hadn´t been baptised.  We helped get the baptism organized and it was super cool!  Pretty awsome night.  Sunday was meeting with the Ward Mission Leader and the Ward Council.  This next week will be pretty fun!
  Hope that everything is going great at home.  I wish I could have some of the chocolates!  Merry Christmas for everybody and I miss you all!

Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, December 1, 2014

1 December 2014

That sounds like a fun Thanksgiving!  Thats no fun that the oven stopped working though,so wednesday there will be a new oven in the house! Thats cool!  How is getting all the mission papers in for Tom going?  Everything getting in on time? Is it hard to get in to india or is it pretty easy?  I don´t know.  Brasil seems to be pretty easy if you are not a missionary.   Wow you are already getting more and more snow!  Thats seems like its going to be a lot of snow coming your way.  Thats cool the 2 new parakeets.  So Sam will take care of them while Tom is off on his mission. That will be prettyfun for tom and Sam. 
  This week was pretty difficult here. Monday was pretty normal, Tuesday was a zone training which was pretty cool.  The Zone Leaders talked a lot about what Elder Adiukatis taught the mission and reemphasized a lot of it as well.  Itwas pretty good.  The rest of Tuesday was spent in exchanges with the Zone Leaders in their area helping them get everything ready for their trip to Maués.   They left tuesday night at 11:20 and spent 13 hours on the ship to get to the city.  This week was the week when everything fell through.  It was a little bt frustrating at times, but it went okay.  We´ve managed to find some new people to begin teaching. The man who moved into our house monday did a barbeque for us that was super good, and Wednesday we got to teach him and his wife for the first time. They seemed to heave some interest in our message and had lots of questions.  That was pretty cool.  We´ve also managed to start teaching a family of 7th day adventists that have some interest in our message as well.  Thursday was our Brasilisan Thanksgiving. My companion and I got the pancake mixes and made pancakes for Thanksgiving.  We don´t have maple syrup here so we put butter and whats called milk sweet on top  of them and it was super good.  Brasilians don´t celebrate Thanksgiving so thats what we did!  We also have started teaching a family that we found looking for another family´s house.  They listened to us talk about the Restoration and they seemed to be interested, but weren´t able to go to church Sunday, but they said that next week they will go. We are excited for them.  Sunday at night we got a phone call at 6:50 asking us if we could go to the hospital and give a priesthood blessing for a member who had been hospitalized earlier that day.  We were able to walk across town (here you can walk across the entire city in an hour and a half max) and give her a blessing.  She´d been feeling pain in her chest and had to be hospitalized, but when we got there she was starting to feel a little bit better.  Everything will turn out alright with her.  It was an interesting week.
  Hope that you all have a great week!  I got two of the packages!  Thanks!  I miss all of you! Have an awesome week!
Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, November 24, 2014

24 November 2014

Wow so now there are two Battraw boys working at Mcdonalds. Thats got to be interesting.  Lots of Mcdonalds at home then?  Thats super cool! What kind of birds will tom be gettting? Who is going to take care of them during his mission? The new Hunger Games move was good?I heard that they are doing a part1 and part 2.  Still haven´t figured out anything for this Christmas, next week will be interviews with President Castro so I´ll be sure to ask him then! 
  This week was interesting here.Monday we got to spend the day in Manaus.  I got to go back to one of my old areas and have lunch there with one of the members there and then we got to go downtown and did a little sightseeing. We took pictures in front of the theatre there in Manaus which is more than a 100 years old so its super cool.  It was a fun day to go to Manaus. Tuesday was the conference with Elder Adukaitis of the Seventy and it was really good.  We got to be included in the morning session which was really good.  Elder Adukaitis who happens  to be the cousin of President Klein, gave a training on how to approach and teach families, and how to plan better as missionaries.  It was super good and useful. A lot of it talked about the attitudes of missionaries. About how we need to do more than talk, but do and show. Tuesday afternoon we got back on the bus to go to Itacoatiara. It took 4 hours,but we all managed to get back in one piece.  Wednesday,I wasn´t feeling too well, but managed to still work. This week we managed to find one family that is 7th day Adventist who is super cool.  We´ll be able to start teaching them consistently this week. Jucileno is doing well.  His wife is reading the Book of Mormon and is really thinking about being baptized.  They are a super cool family, every time we go there they offer us food!  The new owner of the house where we were living now went to church this week!  His name is Sergio and he served in the Brazilian Navy for 30 years and lives with his wife.  We stopped by his house Friday night and started talking to him and he told us that he wanted to go to church this Sunday and he went! He even took along with him a friend.  Today we had lunch at his home and he barbecued and everything. Super good food!  We are going to start teaching him and his wife tomorrow!  We are super excited for them! 
   Hope that you all have a good week! I miss all of you! This mission has been one of the best choices I have made in my life!  Have a great week everyone!
Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, November 17, 2014

17 November 2014

Thats super cool that Nathan has gotten his braces off and everything!  Tom is now an Elder that is super cool.  He still has a little time then until he has to report to his mission off in India? He is going to which MTC?  Is there a MTC in India?  I don´t know if there is....That sounds like a campout that defeats the purpose of a campout but sounds like it was a lot of fun!  Was it indoors or did they sleep outside?  That sounds like fun to be a nurse for girls camp.  Sounds like something you will like, as long as you don´t have  to treate anyone.  When will be girls camp?  Fun stuff.

So this week in Itacoatiara was pretty cool. Monday, the pday which always goes by super fast.  Tuesday I got to go on exchanges with Elder Silveira who is from the Bahia here in Brasil.  Super cool exchange.  We got to teach a few lessons and on top of that, I got to hold a toucan on my hand. Yes the bird, kinda of like toucan sam, but this toucan doesn't sing or particularly like strangers.  He let me hold him, but wasn´t too happy when I tried to pet him, but he was super cool.  To top off that night, I got to see a monkey as well.  One of the less active families in the area has a monkey,so of course, the elders got to see the monkey, but  he wasn´t wanting to let us hold him so that didn´t end up working out but okay!   Super cool, that next day we got to do a service project cutting grass brasilian style, with a hoe, which means you don´t leave any grass. It was hard work just to get a little area cleaned out but we managed to  get it done.  Everything worked out!  Thursday I got to do a baptismal interview that went super well, but on the way back we started talking to a guy on the side of the road that turned out to be from Denmark and knew about 3 or 4 languages which happened to include english.  Gave me an opportunity to practice my english skills.  That was fun!  You always meet people like that in the weirdest of places!  Sunday we got to sing in church.  We sang Nearer my God to thee in English and Portuguese which was super cool. We had invited some of our investigators to come and watch.  We got to have 4 people there who watched and liked the church so this week we will work with them!  Sunday we also got on a bus at 4:00pm to come to Manaus, with the rest of our Zone.  Took about 4 hours of traveling but we got here!  Today pday is here in Manaus so that is super cool!  We are staying in a house with 8 other elders without an iron so it gets interesting!  Tomorrow will be a conference with Elder Adikuatis of the Seventy. Will be super awesome!

Hope that everything is going good at home!  I miss all of you!  Have a great week everyone!

Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, November 10, 2014

10 November 2014

That is really cool! India?  When does he leave for the MTC?  is he going to Provo or another MTC?  That sounds really cool! Super excited for him!
  This week here was pretty good.  We managed to find a lot of families, but it was a lot of knocking on doors.   Elder Brock and I would pick a street, pray, and then go down the streets knocking on the doors that we felt that we should knock.  Lots of work, but we did find some people to teach and we did hear a few funny excuses on why people couldn´t talk to us.  We did find one family that was really cool and were pretty rich and started to teach them.  It was a pretty cool lessson, but in the end, the man started talking about how he thought that Joesph Smith and Ellen White were both prophets and we when were leaving he handed us both our own personal copy of translated from Portuguese, The Only Hope, which is just a book that justifies the 7th day Adventist church.  But we invited him to read the Book of Mormon and so I hope he reads it!  We found a lot of potentials this week so hopefully this week will be super busy.   Sunday was interesting b/c we all woke up and it was absolutely pouring outside, so we all suited up and left, out of the 4 missionaries, only I had a jacket to wear (Thanks Opa!) , but needless to say, we all arrived to church dripping from head to toe.  Made life a little bit interesting for that day!  This week will be really cool though.  We´ll get to teach everybody that we found and Sunday we all get to go to Manaus! It´ll be pretty awesome!
  Hope that everything is going okay at home! Have a great week! Miss you all!
Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, November 3, 2014

3 November, 2014

That sounds like an interesting week for sure!  Wow that sounds like a really cold Halloween for sure! 30 degrees and raining and then it snowed to top it off!  That picture actually has an interesting story behind that picture.   My companion were in church yesterday and we were walking down the hall when we saw the parents of a missionary who was going home but had wanted to see one of his areas, so they were there for sacrament meeting.  The funniest part of that was the moment that they saw us they walked up and said Hi I´m Brother Witt, and I remember just kinda of staring at them for a second trying to remember my english and how to respond.  Its super weird to speak in english, b/c even when my companion and I speak english one with another, its not real english, its a mixture and we switch in and out of the language quite frequently.  But they wanted to take a picture of us and send it to you so they did!   Super cool, they had also brought some american candy to give to the missionaries here in brasil, which included sweet tarts and reeses with a small can of root beer!  Super good!  Thats no fun that the marching band didn´t get to move on this year! Well, maybe next year they´ll be able to get through to State!  Sis. Barret, I do remember her, thats cool that she is home now!  Congrats to her!
 This week here in Itacoatiara was good.  Monday was transfers and so we got a new elder in our house, Elder Sidrão from São Paulo, hes pretty cool and is super funny and enerjetic so its been fun to have him.  The rest of the week was a pretty normal week.  Tuesday, District Meeting, and Wednesday we helped the sisters here move houses.  The house they were living in will be used for the new elders who arrived friday here, and so they needed some help getting everything moved so we and another set of missionaries went over there and helped get all the stuff moved out.  It didn´t take too long and it was one trip to get everything moved over to their new house, the only hard part was the 3 floors of extremely steep steps. Everything went well though.  This week we were able to find a few more people to teach and so we are going to be teaching this next week. We are super excited for them.  We are still teaching Jucileno and his family right now, and they went to church again this week.  They are a really awesome famliy but they have some doubts right now and we are helping them out right now with some of these doubts.  This week we also had Sergio and Amanda, had the oppoturnity to go to the temple and we were super pumped for them!  Amanda was confrimed this last week and b/c they had a caravan she was able to go the temple with her husband. Its was super awesome to see them to be able to go!  This next week looks like it will be pretty normal and pretty calm though. It´ll be an awesome week though!
  hope that you all have a great week this week!  Thanks for sending the money! I´ll make sure to get good shoes!  Have fun Zach at Camp Tecumseh!  Have a great week and miss all of you!
Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, October 27, 2014

27 Oct. 2014

Happy Birthday Zach, congrats on officially being a teenager now!  Thats super cool!  The pumpkin patch is closed now?  Thats super weird.  You´ve still got a little bit of time left so you should go get one.  They acutally do have pumpkins here in the middle of the Amazon, but they are green and not orange, so its a little bit different.  But they are still cool.  Just super expensive. Thanks for the socks!  Shoes here or as they are called here in Brasil, sapatos sociais, usually run at 150.00 reais so in dollars they would be about ...70-80 dollar, just depending on the exchange rate at the time.  Next week can you send me a total of what I still have on my card, I´ve been trying to not use it too much, but I don´t know how much I still have on it.  Thanks!
  This week in Itacoatiara, so monday was pretty normal.  Nothing extremely special happened.  Tuesday we got to District Meeting and the heavens opened and it began to rain like there was no tomorrow. We were fine, but the other elders in our district didn´t happen to make it out unscathed.   Fun stuff. Wednesday was  normal.  Saturday was cool b/c that night we got to have a Stake activity with the young single adults and they invited all of their friends to come over and we had 8 missionaries give a combined lesson on the Restoration.  Super cool! The next day as well we got to leave and do a visit and managed to find a new family to teach that are super cool.  Its a mom and she has 5 daughters and she runs a bakery and she is a woman of great faith.  Super strong and we are so excited that we will be able to teach her.  Sunday night we got to help out with a baptism with the other elders which was cool.  This week we got to talk with Jucileno and his wife for the first time, that is teaching them together and we left an invite to read the Book of Mormon with her.  We came back Saturday to visit them and she  had already read all of the Introduction, and up to 1 Nephi 12 and was still reading.  She is super cool.  Jucileno is also going really well and it is super cool to teach them.  This week we got to get Amanda confirmed and was super awesome.  I´m really starting to appreciate those piano lessons that I got, b/c now i play the organ for sacrament meeting every week in our branch here.  Sunday night I served as an emergency pianist for the district choir as well for a few minutes.  Really thankful that I know how to play piano now!  Today was transfers, but Elder Brock and I will stay here in Itacoatiara for this next transfers and we are super excited!  Its going to be an awesome week!  
  Hope that you all have a great week this week! Thanks for the packages and socks!   Have an awesome week! Good Luck Marching Tiger Band!  Miss all of you!

Love 
Elder Battraw

Monday, October 20, 2014

20 Oct. 2014

 That sounds like an interesting week! Congrats Sam on making it to Semi State!  Yep, every year the Semi State Competition is at Ben Davis, but the band has never passed semi state so good luck to them this year!  Toms papers have been submitted!  My guess is the Berlin Germany mission.  That would be a super cool mission.  I think that he won´t leave until after new years, b/c one of my friends put in her papers with her availibility date for january 1st and is now going to leave in March for Finland.  But I don´t really know, we´ll see. About Christmas day, i can see if I can call a little bit later or maybe do it the day before.  It really depends on where I am in the mission and what is going on. I´ll see what i can do.  That package is in the mission office so I won´t get it until next week.  Things that I want would SOCKS.   Thick american black socks. They just have to last 9 more months but the socks here aren´t that great to walk in, they tend to get holes. If you can put in a pair of shoes, that would be great, but if not I´ll try to find something.  Brasilian shoes are not thick heeled and wear out quickly.  Thanks! 
So this week in Itacoatiara was pretty good.  Monday we got to move houses.   We woke up early, did excercises and then finished up all the nessecary packing.  We had a truck to help us out and after three trip we managed to move all the stuff to our new house.  Its really nice and we all like it!  This week we got to have the baptism of Amanda this Saturday which was super cool.  It was super awesome to be able to see her finally get baptized and so we are super excited for her! We are still working with Jucileno as wel.  Thursday we got to go over to his house and participate in his sons birthday party.  We actually didn´t know about the party, but Jucileno marked it for that time for us to give an English class for his son but when we got there, it turned out to be a birthday party.  Still was super cool, we got to eat lots of birthday cake sing happy birthday.  Before the actual birthday, we got to share a spiritual message with his family  and for part of it we sang families can be together forever in english for his family and it was so cool to see how strong the spirit entered into the room afterwards, the mom(who we haven´t had much contact with) felt the spirit so strongly.  Pretty awesome night.  Sunday we got to do something fun!  We had an apple pie recipe that we wanted to try with a family of investigators that we managed to make with them.  We didn´t end up having enough dough to cover the top, but it still turned out really good!    Transfers are coming up at the end of this week and I don´t know if I will be transferred or not.  We´ll see. 
  Thanks for the letter!  Have an awesome week!  I miss all of you! Thanks for the packages! Have an awesome week!

Love
Elder Battraw

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mission Prep - by Tom

I just had my paperwork submitted for my mission!!! It took months of on-and-off work, hours of effort, and far too much time spent looking at a computer screen. I ended up getting a likely unnecessary shot, meeting with the bishop and stake president about my progress a dozen times, innumerable emails about who is where on what, and a whole lot of filling out forms. I had to completely fill out the online missionary application, and get chunks of bone ripped out of my face (wisdom teeth extraction). All in all, it's taken probably hundreds of man-hours. But it's finally done!

The first step was filling out the online application. That took roughly a week, and four or five phone calls. I had to know ridiculous amounts of information about my insurance, where my parents were born, and everything else possible about my life. This, however, was only the tip of the iceberg.

Next was the physical. That was relatively painless, just two or three checkup shots and a blood draw, plus the bit where the doctor prods at you.

Then the worst bit- the wisdom teeth extraction. I already blogged about that.

Then, scheduling an interview with the bishop. That took a while, but finally happened. I got to learn about all the holes in my paperwork that needed to be filled in. Funny thing happened- I learned that nothing was filled in for my Hep A shot. As the bishop said, this was likely because I got the hep a and b together. I came home and told Mom. 14 hours later, I found myself in the doctor's office with a needle in my arm.

Finally came the interminable wait for the stake president interview. Scheduling it took about four weeks, twelve phone calls, fourteen emails, and thousands of pointed remarks from Mom about getting something done about my mission. The interview revealed yet more holes in the paperwork, including the fact that my hep a shot still was missing. Filling those in took yet longer, and the paper-crunching more so.

Oh, and through all that, I was working 30 hours a week at McDonald's, the one job I will try my hardest to avoid like the plague in the future.

Then, another interminable wait while everyone tried to figure out exactly where the hep a paperwork was, what, if anything, was wrong with my paperwork, making last-minute updates to my months-old application, and everything else under the sun. But that finally came together, and my papers are in!

Monday, October 13, 2014

13 Oct. 2014

That definitely sounds like an intersting night for sure.  Lots of concerts and interesting events.  Did Nathan forget his shoes, or did he purposely leave them?  Go Fishers Tigers!  I hope that means that the football team is doing good right now!  Happy Birthday David!   The Primary Program was this week? You are a primary teacher now?  Cool,  sounds like it was fun.  I still remember Zach and Nathan burping in the microphone.  Classic. 
  This week in the fantastic world of Itacoatiara was super busy.  Monday was p day, but at midnight Elder Sanford and I went down to the port to go and pickup the  elder who were arriving from Maus.  The port was about 40 minutes by foot from our house so it was a nice week through the entire city to get to the port.  got the elders and got back home by taxi!  Got home at about 1:20am and then went promptly to sleep. 6:30, got up and got ready and left 7:30 for Zone Training.  The Training went really well, it was super cool and talked a lot about how to find the families who are prepared to hear the message about the restored gospel!  Super cool .  The rest of the day was normal, but I was half asleep.  Didn´t get to sleep until 11:00.   Wednesday was Zone Conference.  6:30 wake up and 7:30 out the door.  Our Zone had prepared an arrangement of A childs prayer and so we praciticed that a bit before Pres. and Sis. Castro got there from Manaus.  I played piano with one of the other elders and everyone else sang.  Verses were sung in Spanish, English and Portuguese. When they got there, we started out the Conference normally and then annouced that we had a special presentation for them.  We performed the whole song (for the first time!)  for them and by the end we had Sis. Castro was in tears.  There was a super strong spirit there during that song.  Music truly has the power to open and touch any heart. The restof the zone Conference was super good.  Lots of counsel about how to study the scriptures that was super good and it really has made a difference in our work here.  So this week we had a lesson with Jucileno that was super good.  We had already asked him if he would be baptized a few lessons before and this lesson we talked a little bit about that .  He had a bunch of questions so we answered them, but during that lesson the spirit was so strong that he told us that he almost felt like he was crying.  he told us that he knew he needed to be baptized but he wants to do it with his family so we are going to talk with his family!  Yes!   This week was about scripture study as well!   We had a couple that had argued and werer having problems and we asked them about their scripture study and they admitted that they hadn´t been reading the scriptures and we challenged them to ready their scriptures together.  They both agreeded to do it and two days later when we showed up again, there was a percibile spirit in their home that was so much better, all from just reading the scriptures.  Super good week this week!
  hope that you all have a great week this week!  Miss all of you!  I´ll try to send pictures soon! thanks for the package!
Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, September 29, 2014

29 Sept. 2014

I remember going to the apple orchard! That was so much fun being able to go out there! Has anything changed out there? You guys got a lot of apples!  How much apple sauce did it all make? Enough to be able to ship some out to Brasil?!  Apple cider sounds so good right now.  Right now its pretty darn hot so that sounds really good!  Even though the band didn´t place sounds like they are doing pretty good though.  Just keep on going and I know that the band will do super good.  Zach will have a good time now in Deacons Quorum with david!
  So my week this week was pretty normal.  Nothing extremely out of the ordinary happened.   Monday was the normal p day.  Tuesday was district meeting which went really well.  Super cool as usual.  The rest of the week was a lot of just knocking on doors and trying to find more people to teach.  We have a couple that we are teaching and helping to get right now. Their names are Sergio and Amanda and they are pretty awesome.  Sergio was baptized about 10 years ago but hasn´t really been active at all.  He would show up at random church activities and participate, but except from this not really.  Hes living with his girlfriend right now  and we are helping to get them married.  They should be married this Ocober 11th and we are super excited for them.  Amanda wants to get baptized as well os we are helping prepare her for her baptismal date.  We are teaching this other man, his name is Jucileno.  He is a college physics teacher and is obviously super intelligent.   He is super fun to teach and this week he went to church for the first time! Its just awesome!  This week hopefully we´ll be able to start to teach his family as well!  Thursday night my companion and I got to have a cool little experience.  So right now on my cool foods list I´ve already put: Alligator, Cows Stomach, Piraucu (7ft long fish) and thursday I finally got to put on the awesome foods list:Bulls tongue.  It actually is not that bad, it just tastes like beef that is really chewy.  We ate it with rice and farinha.  I give it a 3.5 out of 5.  The fun stuff that you eat out here in the middle of the amazon.  The lady who gave it to us is the mom of a member and we are trying to teach here right now as well.  shes pretty cool.  My companion and I are super excited for this coming week to be able to watch General Conference! Its going to be awesome!  
  Hope that everythings is going great back home. Have fun making apple sauce!  Have a fun week and go marching band!  Miss all of you! 

Love Elder Battraw

Monday, September 15, 2014

15 Sept 2014

So that sounds like you all had a pretty calm week!  Yes, Fishers won! Sounds like that was  a crazy  evening though!  What movies did you watch? Any good films have come out? Keep on going marching Tiger Band.  Hope that everything goes well this week with the upcoming competition.  Keep on going tom with the mission funds! Are all of the interviews done and everything now? Is it just waiting for the call to come in?   Hope everything goes well there.
   So to answer your questions, the mission is going great! It is weird to think that I only have 9.5 months left out here in the mission field.  That part is really strange.  Time flies out here when you really get into the work.  So, my area. It is called Itaporanga (E-tap-or-an-ga), located in the city of Itacoatiara (E-ta-quat-chee-are-a) which is 4 hours away by bus from Manaus.  It is in the middle of the jungle located on the Amazon River.  Super cool here.  It is a little/a lot isolated.  Its super cool being here though.  And no, I´m not blind yet, we actually don´t take malaria meds here.
  This week was interesting.   Monday we got to have a district p-day.  All of our district got together to have a district party.  We all threw something in to make lunch and then just hung out a bit.  I was the drink master and used my companions Kool aid packets and made Kool-aid.  Super good.  Tuesday, I got sick.  I had an extremely sore throat with running nose and the works.  My voice dropped about 5 octaves, and lets just say, I could say I´ll be back better than Arnold Schwarznegger.  Fun times, I took some medicine and laid down and by the night, I was feeling better so we left to do some quick visits.  Wednesday was my companions turn to get sick.  He got some serious stomach pain and he ended up going to the hospital.  The doctors passed some medication and he felt better.  We figured out later that it had been caused by chocolate milk.  He´d bought a huge package of 27 chocolate drink packs.  Too much of a good thing.  Friday was interesting.  Friday night we were visiting the house of a member about 8:40pm ish we got a phone call from the other elders telling us that they had corned a rat in our house and they needed our help to kill it.  So we ran home, took off our ties, grabbed big sticks and ran into help.  After an exhaustive 30 minutes of intense waiting, dismantling of the oven to get to the rat, and about 6 minutes of combat, we vanquished triumphant, and we can say that there is officially one less rat in Brasil.  Sunday we got the phone call that my companion Elder Rodriguez, was being transfered to Manaus, Area Canaranas, which had been my first area, to be companions with Elder Acchura, who was also my companion.  Fun stuff.  I´ll be staying here in Itaporanga with Elder Brock, who is from North Carolina.  He gets here later tonight and I´m super excited.  
 So that was my week this week.  Pretty interesting.  Hope you all have a great week this week.  Have an awesome week, I miss you all!  

Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, September 8, 2014

8 Sept. 2014

Advent calenders, thats pretty cool.  f they send them off soon, it´ll probably get here in about 3 months, about Christmas time,  just make sure to label the boxes with Christmas on them and then I won´t open them till about Christmas time,  I won´t make any promises about waiting until Christmas day..;)   Thanks so much though!  Sounds like sam is having a great time with marching band and now being a priest! Way to go Sam!  Hope that the band does well this year! Make it to State!  If they go to the concert, I need pictures.
  So this week in Itacoatiara was interesting.  Monday was the normal p day.  Just hanging back and trying to relax with the little time that we had.  Tuesday was District Meeting and my companion actually managed to make apple pie.  The sisters had managed to locate brown sugar and Tuesday morning, my companion actually to pull off the miracle that is apple pie.  It wasn´t as good as normal american apple pie, but it was still pie.  Super good.  Wednesday was pretty normal.  Thursday began what is called Fecanni here.  Basically it is just a party that goes on for 4 days straight and beats just about any college party that I´ve ever heard about.  lots of drinking and singing and music.  Needless to say, we stayed far away from it, but it was difficult at times b/c after about 5pm, everybody would just start going to fecanni and not be in home so it got a little interesting at times trying to find people to teach.  Friday we had a really cool experience with a lesson.  We went to teach the mom of a recent convert, who is already a member of the church but its been 10 years that shes been to church, so its kinda of been awhile.  So we got there and talked for her for about two hours just trying  to teach her and answer here a lot of questions.  She is super smart, and had lots of questions like, how is the god of the old testament the same as the new testament if they are so different, how can god repent if hes perfect, continuing this way.  So for about an hour we tried to answer her questions, but we were getting nowhere, she just didn´t want to accept it.  Right when we were about to get up and walk out of her house, I don´t remember how or why but we started to teach the Plan of Salvation and the spirit entered into the room and made all the difference.  She started to actually listen and things, as she put it, started to make sense to her.  Everything we said started to really make sense to her and by the end of the lesson, she said that everything that she had doubted had started to make sense to her.  We taught her again Saturday about the family and the Book of Mormon and the same thing happened.  It is amazing to see the power of the Spirit working in these peoples lives.  When we try to convince a person without the influence of the spirit, we get nowhere, but when the spirit enters into our lessons, then it can testify and we can witness true conversion happen.  You can never truly teach and testify without the the spirit present.  Super cool experience.  
  That was my week this week! Hope you have a great week this week .  Good luck at the invitational this week Same.  Hope that you all have a great week! Miss all of you!

Love
Elder Battraw

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

1 Sept. 2014

Last week was a little bit crazy with the internet b/c literally
everywhere here in Itacoatiara did not have internet and if it did, it
was coming in spurts and not consistently.  Really kind of frustrating
at times but we managed to get emails out!  Happy Birthday to
everyone!  The birthdays are all coming to a close right now right?
Super cool.  When is tom going to get an appointment with Pres.
Kinard?  This is kinda of taking a while.  Maybe he´ll go to
California along with all the other people in the ward.   Taht sounds
like a cool fun opening night thing to do.  I wish I could see the
band perform.  Its kind of weird to think that the band is performing
and I can´t see the show.  Huh, I´ll have to wait until next year.
Keep on going though Sam!  Sounds like you have some interesting
stories about working at the hosptial!   you are back in school? Thats
cool!
  so this week in the mission field was pretty normal.  Tuesday was
district meeting which went well.  I´m starting to get used to giving
trainings and being district leader now.  The sisters here in
Itacoatiara managed to get hold of a recipe for apple pie and so now
its being a hunt to track down all of the ingredients to be able to
make.  We were finally able to track them all down, but the hardest
definitely was the brown sugar, which is not a normal thing to have
out here in brasil.  This week was managed to find a cool new family
to teach.  The son has been going to church for some time but has
never been baptized, so we rea trying to teach him right now and his
family.  They are all super cool.  Its a mom with her 4 kids and her
17 year daughter has a daughter as well, but they are all  super cool.
They didn´t go to church this week because everybody got sick, but
hopefully this next week they´ll al be able to go!  We also had Sunday
a baptism of an 8 year old who has also been going to church for more
than three months all alone.  We acutally thought that he was a member
already but  2 weeks ago we asked how was his baptism and he said to
us, but I´ve never been baptized!  So yesterday was his baptism.   His
mom is actually a member but its been years since she has been to
church so we are trying to get her reactivated!  Its been super cool
to talk with her. She is actually trying to major in English so she
has been practicing her english with us a little bit.  Getting the
baptism ready was interesting to say the least.  We got to the chapel
about 2:45ish to get everything ready for his baptism and found out
that the font had not actually drained out all of the water and that
there was about 2 inches of water on the bottom of the font that was
really dirting, which started a hasty effort to get everything cleaned
out.  I rolled up my pants, got some buckets and we got to work.
After about an hour of bailing out the font and cleaning, we were
ready to fill!   it filled a little bit then we had to leave to get
everything else ready and go some other appointments and had to turn
it off.  We didn´t get a chance to turn it back on again till the
acutal baptism so it was running back to the chapel and sweeping
really quickly and filling the font as fast as possible so it made
life a little bit interesting but everything turned out okay!   This
week is going to be interesting here b/c the biggest music festival in
the northern region of brasil will be held here Thursady until Sunday
so it will definitly be interesting trying to teach, but we will find
a way!
  Hope that everyone will have a great week!  Miss all of you!
Love
Elder Battraw

The many pictures of Itacoatiara.  A baptism, cleaning out the
baptismal font,losing all the power in the house.  Fun stuff.  hope
you all have a great week!
Elder battraw






Tuesday, August 26, 2014

26 Aug. 2014

Hi everyone!

Sorry this is getting to everyone late and that I don´t have time to do personal emails to everyone, but the internet here in Itacoatiara died as off yesterday so I don´t have much time to write!  
So this week was pretty normal here in Itacoatiara.  Monday, Elder Rodriguez and I built bunkbeds to put up into our rooms.  We took our two beds which were the same and drilled holes in the bottom and top of them to put in pegs of wood and then stacked them up.  It took a little bit longer than we thought b/c first, the drill bit that we borrowed turned out to be a concrete drill bit, not really built for wood at all, so we ran back over to the members house and traded out the drill bit.  Finally as we were finishing up drilling the holes, on the second to last hole, the drill it broke in half. It was a little discouraging to say the least, but using the two broken halves we managed to make the last hole and finish up the other, so it all turned out okay.  Tuesday was district meeting so I got to give a District Training about how to invite.    Wednesday was normal, didn´t have any huge that happened that day.  Thursday was divisions.  I got to spend the day with Elder Vergara who is one of the Zone Leaders here in Itacoatiara out in his area in Novo Horizonte.  It went well, nothing huge happened but it was cool to leave my area and see a little bit more of Itacoatiara. That night the assistents got to our house at 2am after making a 4 hour bus ride out to Itacoatiara from Manaus.  On the way their bus had broken down, and they managed to bring their bad luck with them when they got to our house.   The moment they got here  the power went out which has actually been happening quite frequently here.  Energy is not something that you can depend on here. It has a habit of leaving for about half an hour to an hour.  This time it was for about an hour and a half.  Saturday was the all awaited Interviews with the President and Zone Training.  It was one of the best trainings that I´ve been to on the mission and I really liked.  Talked a lot about the Atonement and the importance of our investigators understanding the importance of  the Atonement in their lives.  I´ve been able to do a little bit of study about the Atonement and it still blows me away of the importance of the Atonement in our lives.  It is incredibly important in the lives of everyone of us.   Super good training.  My interview with Pres. Castro went really well and he is a really good Mission President.  The Training went until 4:30ish so the rest of the day was running around to get everything ready for Sunday.  Sunday was pretty normal except for the Pres. and Sister Castro visited our Sacrament Meeting and each one gave awesome talks.  It  was an awesome week!  
  Hope that everything is going great for everyone back home.  Hope that everyone has a great week and hopefully next week everything will go right!

Elder Battraw

Monday, August 18, 2014

18 Aug. 2014

That sounds like things are going pretty cool back in IN!!! That sounds like fun that Matt has finally started up going to school!  Hopefully everything goes all right with Toms papers! Maybe I´ll be home before he leaves on his mission at this rate!   Thats cool !  Why is he applying to BYU-I?, I thought that he was already accepted there?   Did he apply to BYU Provo as well or just to Idaho?  Steak and Shake sounds like a lot of fun.  I miss steak and shake a lot.  Anything fast food american I´ve been missing a little bit.   I got the package this last week with the cookie mixes.  Those were super good.   The root beer cookies were a hit here in the the house.  We made them at night and by noon the next day they were already gone.  All the american missionaries were missing the taste of root beer!
  So this week in Itacoatiara was a little bit dull. Not too much happened.  P day we actually ran into 2 americans who were passing through Itacoatiara selling little trinkets.  It was really weird to talk in English again, like it was kinda of hard.  The americans were just traveling around Brasil so it was cool just to be able to talk to someone who speaks English and knows a little bit of whats going on back in America.   Wednesday morning, my companion started feeling sick and had a fever so we ended up spending a few days in the house while he was recovering.  We would leave the house a little bit, but it always had to be short little things b/c he wasn´t able to stay out of the house too much!   Mostly I cleaned up the house here, there had been a mountain of dirty dishes that I tackled and managed to get them all cleaned up and ready to use again.  So the house is really clean right now!   Friday was the first day that we managed to leave for a substantial amount of time so were able to make a few visits but we had to take a bit slow.  I did so baptismal interviews for some of the other missionaries here in Itacoatiara.  Saturday was normal, just going around doing visits.   Sunday as well was pretty normal.  When we got back . we got to see my companion firebend with light sticks.  Apparently he learned how to twirl fire before his mission using Youtube and apparently he was pretty good at it!  That was my week!
 Hope that you all have a good week this week ! Have fun with school starting up again!  Miss all of you!

Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, August 11, 2014

11 Aug. 2014

That sounds like you all had a pretty busy week out there.  Thanks for all the pictures of the band and the construction.  Its really weird to see the school changing so much since the time that I´ve graduated.  Its super weird to say the least.  I always thought that the school we just stay the same:) Exciting for Tom, lets hope that he passes all the interviews now so that he can send in his call!  Why did Liam faint? Did he lock his knees or something.  Payne will be driving Sam to school...........  okay.  I haven´t been getting any letters from Jake so thanks for sending them to me!  Its cool to be able to hear from him.  Hope you get all your hours in!
  So this week has been pretty interesting here.   So to finish out from Monday, after i sent that letter from Manaus, a little bit later me and two other missionaries boarded a bus to be able to get to Itacoatiara which we found out from the long trip that is about 4 hours on the bus to get there.  Itacoatiara sits on the Amazon river and literally is a city in the middle of the rainforest.  If you look out the window, usually can see the rainforest not too far away.  Its pretty cool.  I´ll send pictures.  We left manaus about 3:00pm and got to Itacoatiara about 7:30ish.  We were all pretty tired when we got there.  The other missionaries picked us up shorty afterward and took us to the house.  The house where we are living in has 4 elders living there including me. My new companion is Elder Rodriguez from Ohio, who actually lives about half an hour away from one of the zone leaders here. Hes pretty cool.  This week was my first week as District Leader which meant that Tuesday morning after traveling all of Monday I gave a training on how to work with recent converts.  It went pretty well.  Itacoatiara is pretty nice, but its pretty darn hot at times.  From about 11:00am to 3:30pm you don´t really want to be outside b/c its gets HOT (and there is lots of mosquitoes) .   This week was really just going around getting to know the new area which is pretty nice.  The Branch President here is pretty cool and the other members are pretty nice.  Highlights from the week are that we, and when I say we I mean my companion made pizza with some investigators which was awesome.  Sunday was Fathers Day here in Brazil so the Branch here wanted to do something original so at the end of the three hour block they called all the fathers together and gave all a mug with a pen and then to top it off, a pizza with soda.  I thought it was a brilliant idea! Sunday night we also got to have a baptism of a girl whose ´uncle´ (he is only 5 years older than her) was baptized the last week.  It was super cool!   Hopefully this week will be pretty awesome as well! 
  I hope that you all have a great week this week! Have fun with school starting up again!   Have an awesome week! I miss all of you!

Love 
Elder Battraw

Monday, August 4, 2014

4 August 2014

This week was pretty nice here in Tancredo Neves.  Nothing really major happened except this Thursday was my 1 year mark out here in the mission field which was pretty cool.  Saturday we managed to have a baptism of a girl with 9 years of age.  Her family is less active except for her sister and brother who will always go to church.  We dropped by their house to see how they were and found out that Brenda hadn´t been baptised and this week we managed to arrange her batpism.  It was pretty cool, and afterward her mom told us that that she wanted to be baptized as well, but that will have to wait a little bit b/c they need to get married, were living together without being married.  Its super cool to be a ble to see the progress of this family. 

So the big news is finally out! I´ve been transfered!  I´m going to Itacoatiara which is located in the state of Amazonas, about 5 hours of bus riding to get there.  Yesterday I got the big phone call about 3:00pm.  Yesterday was a pretty good day, I got to say goodbye to a bunch of people back in Tancredo Neves and took some pictures with some of the members there.   It was a pretty cool day and it was a little weird to be packing up my bags after 7 months of living in that house in that area.  This morning I left the house about 6:00am, well, we tried to leave the house at 6:00am.  The Elder Quorums President had volunteered to take us to the airport and had managed to find our house just fine, the only problem was that when he went to start the car, the car wouldn´t start at all.  My flight was leaving at 7:20 so we kinda of had to get going.  He ran to a nearby gas station, got some gas and still the car wouldn´t.  He made an emergency phone call to his wife which got another car and drove up to pick us up, while she stayed with the broken down car.  The following 15 minutes of my life were some of the scariest.  First while we loading up the car (It was already 6:30) the  Elders Quorum President glances at his watch and with a determined look on his face said to me, Elder you will make this flight, I will drive like its Formula 1 to get you to the airport.  When we got going, I don´t think that the speedometer dipped below 60 km/hr.  To get around cars he would serve into the opposing lane, gun to get around people (try to remember that this is rush hour in a city), Red lights, no problem.  He would serve around the line of cars to get to the front and if nobody was in the intersection, gun it to get across.  He made the usual 25-35 minute trip into a trip of 13 minutes. We managed to ge to the airport in time and ran to get checked in and through security.  Thankfully I didn´t have any problems there and managed to catch my flight with the other missionaries to Manaus.  Right now I am waiting to catch the bus  to be able to go to my new area.  I´m pretty excited.  I am going to be the District Leader there which will be a new experience for sure.
  How is everything going on at home?  Anything new and exciting happen this week?   Hope that everything is going okay! Have an awesome week! When does school start?

Love
 Elder Battraw

Monday, July 14, 2014

14 July 2014

Thanks for the pictures! Super cool that Jake is leaving for a mission as well right now! Hope that he has a great time on the mission!  Saturday is the big day huh?  Have a great day!  I´ll be cheering you on from here in Brasil.  I´ll get to the dealings of the World Cup a little big later into the letter.  Thats no fun about the bike tires, we had the happen a lot in Boise.  Lots of stickers there as well, so it wasn´t unusual for every week to have at least one flat tire.  You get pretty fast at changing a flat tire.  I did know one of Roses companions here in brasil.  His companion is a member of the branch here in Porto Velho, Tancredo Neves.  He came home briefly b/c of medical problems and i got the chance to meet. They even had a picture of him and ross up on the wall of the chapel.  It was super cool b/c one day i was talking with him after sacrament meeting and he mentioned that one of his companions was from IN as well and after a few questions we figured out it was Ross.  Super cool.  Shout out to Ross, Elder Cruz (jackson) is back in the mission field in São Paulo!
   So this week was an interesting week here.  i´ll get the final report of the world cup out.  So this Tuesday was the Brasil vs Germany game.  This game entered the record books to say the least.  Within the first 29 minutes of the game, Germany had made 5 goals, 4 within 6 minutes.  It was fast enough that people here were still thinking that they were replaying the last goal when Germany had already made the next.  To say that day was a day of sadness and mourning and understatment.  In the house where I was watching we had people crying and others sitting in stunned silence as they watched Brasil team get destroyed.   The game ended with Brasil making a goal in the last 2 minutes of the game to bring the final score to 7-1.  It was a very sad day here in Brasil.  The game was basically repeated as Brasil competed for 3rd place against Holand and the game ended with the score being 3-0 to Holland. This was not a very good time to be Brasilian.  Sunday, the World Cup was brought to an end with Germany vs Argentina, which ended with the German victory of 1-0 making this the 4th time that germany has won the World Cup.  
  So I´ll tell my viewpoint. Monday night we had 4 other elders from other areas staying with us to be able to participate in the get to know your president conference with President Castro.  Super cool to have 4 more elders in the house. Tuesday we all got to know President Castro.  Hes about 55 and hes super cool. He speaks both Portugese and Spanish.  Super cool.  I think that it ´ll be super fun to have him as mission president!  Tuesday we also got to watch the brasil vs germany game.  All of the elders (2 bolivians and 4 americans) were rooting for germany and it was interesting to watch the reactions as the game progressed.  The first goal everyone went crazy, 2nd goal was still really animated, 3rd, what, another goal?, 4th theres no way this is happening, 5th i can´t belive this is happening, 6th again!?! 7th where is brasil!?!.   By the end of the game everyone is the house was rooting for brasil to make at least one goal which they did do in the last 2 minutes.  It was really sad to watch Brasil lose this way b/c they were a very strong team.  Wednesday after all the elders had returned back to their own areas were able to get back to work.  We´ve been talking a lot with less actives here helping them return back to church.  Its been really cool, we´ve been meeting a lot of new people.  Its always interesting to talk with these people.  Never has one ever told me that they do not believe that the church is not true, many of them still have very strong testimonies that the church is true, but haven´t a chance to come back yet.  Its been really awesome.  We met a new young man named Fabío who is super cool as well.  He is pretty awesome and has a strong desire to learn about the gospel which is super cool.  Hes getting ready to be baptized this coming Sunday and we are super excited for him!  We have a couple other investigators who are really excited to learn about the gospel and watching their testimonies grow every day makes everyday here in Brasil worth it! 
  Hope that you all are having a great week this week! Have a fun time with everybody there in house! have an awesome time at the wedding! Miss all of you!

Love 
Elder Battraw



Monday, July 7, 2014

7 July 2014

Tom won a 32 inch TV! Wow thats super cool! Is it his own personal tv or what?  Super cool and super lucky.  Thats sounds like there is going to be a lot of people out there in IN!   Thats great that the house is all finished up now except for the bathrooms!   hopefully everything will be moved over there quickly.  Sounds like a good week anyway! 
  So this week here in Brasil.  Tuesday was pretty normal.  District Meeting as usual all the way out in the downtown of the city.   Good Meeting.  When we were coming back on the bus, we almost got pulled over by an ambulance b/c right in front of us an accident had happened  with someone on a motorcycle and a car.  Yikes.  Accidents are always happening here with motos (theres some portugûes for you!)  b/c everyone here has a moto.  Pretty sad to see.   Wednesday was pretty normal along with Thursday.  Friday was pretty cool b/c that night the branch here had what is called an Arreal.  Basically its a Brazilian country dance night.  Everybody was dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls (which is suprisingly popular here) and there was music. Pretty fun night, but we only got to stay until 9:30, which is no fun at all.  I have a few pictures that I will have to see as well.  Friday was also BRASIL VS COLÔMBIA.  Its was a pretty intense game, but Brasil won out in the end.  The only problem was that their star player Neymar, got a vertabrae broken during the game and is imoblized for the next 6 weeks and the captain of the team is now banned from playing in the next game against Germany b/c he got two yellows card in this World Cup.  This Tuesday against Germany will be interesting to say the least.  The World Cup is pretty crazy here.  Missionaries are not allowed to wear any kind of sports jerseys out in the streets b/c it can get pretty crazy.  To say that Brasilians are supportative of their team is an understatement. Brasilians are crazy about football/futebol/fussball.    As investigators goes, its been okay this week.  This week has been a lot of knocking on doors trying to find people to teach and hasn´t lead to a lot of sucess.  This week we had ward counsel and we reiceved a list of less active families to work with for this week!  This will be an awesome week!  Tomorrow our new mission President is coming out here to Rondônia so we´ll be able to meet him! I ´m super excited!
  Hope that you all have a great week!  Have an awesome time with the wedding and moving everything from house to house!    I miss all of you! Have a great week!
Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, June 30, 2014

30 June 204

The house is looking pretty nice! When are you all officially going to move on in?   I can´t wait to see the house when its all done!  Phil is back now as well with Adrienne coming back this week!  Wow, it does feel like everyone is coming back!  Super cool.  I´ll still be waiting one more year, today was 11 month mark here in the mission field so that was super exciting.  Band looks like a lot of fun.  How did the parades go?   Those new clothes are pretty nice!
  This week was pretty normal here in Brasil.  Nothing extremely exciting happened this week.  Tuesday was District meeting with two districts which was cool.  Wednesday was pretty normal, just walking and talking.  Right now we are trying to find more people to teach along with reactivate a lot of the less actives here .  The branch here just needs a few more priesthood holders along with 30 more people to be able to turn into a ward so right now we are trying to do a lot of reactivation!   Its been going pretty well so far and hopefully we´ll continue to have success.   Thursday and the rest of the week were pretty normal. Not much happened out of the ordinary.  Saturday was Brasil playing against Chile which turned out to be really really intense.  To give you a good idea of how the World Cup games work,  There are two 45 minutes halfs, with a 20 minute break in between.  If you reach the end of the 90 total are the scored is still tied, there is 30 more minutes added on to the game to give the teams a little bit more time to rest and make a goal.  If by the time those 30 minutes are up and the score is still tied, they start doing penalty kicks to make goals which simply is one player and opposing teams goalie.  The player has one opportunity to kick the ball and make a goal and the goalie has to try and save it.  Each team has 5 penalty kicks and the team with the most goals at the end wins.  Brasil and Chile didn´t manage to break the tie of 1-1 until the very last penalty kick which Brasil managed to score and win.  We were with a bunch of other members and their families and when Brasil made the final goal, they all started jumping up and down screaming they were so happy.   Pretty darn funny to see.    This week here as well Saturday night I think it dropped down to 68 degrees and everyone the next day was all bundled up with long sleeves they were so cold.  Its kinda of weird of you get accustomed to the heat so much that when it drops it can feel a lot colder than it really is!   
  That was my week in short.  Hope that you all can have a great week this week! Miss all of you! 
Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, June 23, 2014

23 June 2014

That sounds like a pretty cool week! I remember that first trek four years ago with all the mud and everything.  I think I still have pictures of that trek in one of my boxes. That was a hard trek as well, but we learned a lot from that trek experience.New house, super cool!" I need pictures and an address and new phone number if its changing.  I have to  get it all in to the mission office here to be to get everything settled if they need to contact you! Repainting the whole house!  We are finishing up repainting the house here in Brasil trying to get it all ready to go.  Its been taking awhile but its getting close to being finished!
  So this week, Tuesday was Zone training which was pretty cool!  Learned a little pit about President Castro who will be getting here this Friday to do the official trade of mission presidents.  We´ve heard a little bit about him from the other members and missionaries but it will be nice to be able to finally get to meet him.  Tuesday was also Brasil vs Mexico which ended up in a tie!  It was a really good game with the final score ended up being 0-0  b/c neither team managed to get past the other and make a goal.  There were so close ones though and the goalie for Mexico is really really good. Wednesday was pretty normal, we were able to do some visits with a member from a different ward here in Porto Velho and she showed us and introduced us to all her family here in our area.  Its super awesome to be able to work with here and see her desire to be see her entire family in the church.  Thursday here was an activity for the branch and we were invited so we got to talk with some of the people and got into some pretty competitive competitions of ping pong.  You would be surprised how good Brasilians are at ping pong.  Super cool activity, lots of food!  Friday we had an activity with the ward to help with our investigators that ended up being canceled.   We were a little bit put down about that.  Saturday was nuts.  We had an English class that we´d been giving to people, but nobody had been showing up to the classes so we canceled, but Saturday we got a phone call saying that there was somebody waiting for us there at the chapel, waiting to be taught English so we hurriedly got ready and ran out the door to the chapel, and we were able to teach this older lady some English basics.  Turns out shes a preschool teacher here and she also knows how to play the organ.  First person here that I´ve meet that knows how to play the organ. Later that day we made a trip out to the South Zone of the city and did some interviews for some other missionaries. To get there you have to get 2 buses, and then 2 buses to get back, about 1 hour each way. Tiring, but good. Pretty cool day in all.  Germany tied with Ghana 2-2.  Sunday was pretty calm.  Talked to some investigators and we also found out that the United States almost beat Portugal (one of the best teams in the world) and managed to tie with them 2-2.  Super exciting!  
  Thanks for writing! Hope you all have a great week! Miss all of you!

Love Elder Battraw

Monday, June 9, 2014

9 June 2014

Thats super cool to have had graduation this week!  Wish I could´ve been there. Its a little weird to think that Tom graduated.  When I come back Sam will be a senior, thats a little weird for me to think about.  Everything will be a little bit different when I come back.  Spencer looks like hes a lot older now.  I honestly didn´t recongize him when I saw him in the photo the first time that I looked at it.  Brooke Sauder was the one that I used to hang out with.  She was a really cool friend.  Keep on going with those mission papers.  Hes not going to leave until November at this point.  The MTCs are gettting really full and backed up!
   So this week was super busy .  Tuesday was the normal district meeting but when we got to the chapel we found out that the lock was broken and our key wouldn´t work so we ended up having DM outside, which was cool.  Wednesday was just running around trying to talk to all of our investigators.  Thursday we got to go out to an interior and spend the night there with the elders.  Their area is super cool.  Pretty big, but it was pretty awesome to be able to spend the day with them.   Friday was back here in Tancredo Neves doing the normal stuff.  Saturday was did a division with the elders from the South Zone area do be able to do baptismal interviews in the two areas and we ended leaving the cell phone with the other companionship when we started the exchange, so we spent the exchange asking to use peoples phones to be able to communicate with the other companionship.  Fun stuff.  Our bapisms for this week all fell through, bummer. Hopefuly this next week will be better . Overall this week has been pretty good, just running around a lot!
Sorry I didn´t write more this week has been a bit of a lot of running around and its still going on! Hope you all have a great week! Miss all of you!
Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, June 2, 2014

2 June 2014

Schools out finally for them !! Graudation is this saturday? Super cool, I want photos!!! I got two packages this week .  One was with muffin mixes and the other was a box full of cookie and other.   I honestly have to say this was one of my favorite packages, the jelly beans and  chex mix are already gone. Thanks so much.   I remember the blood and TB testing, that was super fun.  He needs to get lots of vaccines for his mission as well,  all the fun ones like yellow fever:)
   This week was pretty normal, I wish i could say the something super exciting happened, but this week was just normal.  Monday, the pday, Tuesday was Zone Conference, the last one with President Klein:( Was super cool the conference.  Sister Klein was crying the whole time.   The whole mission is going to miss them.  They leave at the end of this month when President Castro will get here.  The World Cup is getting really close now and Brasil is turning into the colors green and yellow, colors of the brasilian team.  We found out this week that President Klein is letting us be able to watch Brasil play in the World Cup.  Here everybody will be watching when Brasil will play, the city has declared those day holidays and anybody who is attending school that day will watch those games in school.  Its pretty serious here the World Cup all the missionaries are very excited.   The rest  of the week went pretty normally. Lots of teaching. and walking. I have officially declared one pair of my shoes dead and that they cannot be used more.  I did manage to get a new pair of boots to wear.  All of the nice shoes that they sell here are not very durable so lots of the missionaries use boots b/c they are the only thing that hold up for more than 2 months.  I´ll send pictures next week.  We´ve found a  couple of new families to teach now and they´re super excited aobut here about the gospel.  They just need to get married though and they´re working toward it.  We´re super excited for them!!!!  
   Sorry I didn´t write too much this week.  Hopefully this next week I´ll have more to write about.   Hope that you all are doing great. Have fun at the graduation!!!   I miss and love all of you !

Love
Elder Battraw

Monday, May 26, 2014

26 May 2014

Its already the last week of school! Super cool! When will be graduation? Will it be in a week or two?  Back when I was in Boise, we were on bikes for a month so during that time we got into several bike problems so I was able to pick up a few things on how to do maintenance on a bike.  We had several members of the ward who were avid bike riders as well who helped us out whenever we had a problem with one of the bikes or all three of them at times.  Wow, already out swimming, I agree right now its a little cold, here as well, I´ll explain later.  Super cool that Grandma Young and Spencer are coming on out for graduation.  When is the wedding going to be?
  This week was running back and forth again.  Monday was the normal p day, hanging out relaxing.  Tuesday was Zone Conference which was cool.  Got  to see the whole Zone.  We all had to introduce ourselves to everyone in the front singing everything that we said.  We had someone do their introduction to funky (Brazilian version of rap and pop mixed together), had someone do it to les miserables, primary music, and I did it to singing in the rain. Pretty fun to do one of the sisters was videotaping the whole thing as well:) Wednesday till Friday was running around visiting people.  We´ve  been using the bus a lot these past few weeks to make visits out on the far end of our area.   Its been pretty fun. Saturday the weather did something very weird, it hit 68 degrees, and with wind chill (yes there was wind chill!!!!) it was maybe 64.  It was exactly like Indiana.  I could not believe it.   Cloudy and overcast both Saturday and Sunday and I think the city almost called a state of emergency:).  Lets just say people here are not prepared for temperture below 70 degrees.   Almost everybody we talked to talked about how they didn´t like the cold, and usually they turned to me after saying that and say,  but this is normal for you right?  Definetely interesting.  Saturday we had the baptism of an 18 year old whose family almost entirely are members of the church.  He finally made the choice to be baptized as well and it was super cool to  see.
  Well that was my week in a quick summary.  Hope that you all are doing okay! I miss you all! Have an awesome week!
Love
Elder Battraw