Monday, January 27, 2014

27 January 2014

That sounds like an interesting week! Toms starting at McDonalds now! Thats exciting! Hows work going for him right now? Do you remember Darcy? She was a manager at McDonalds before she left. You still have snow? I don´t thing that it will ever leave as well. Its like rain here. It rains almost every day. Yesterday we had a 10 minute thunderstorm that was super strong, but was completely calm after it was done.
  Monday was an exciting day! Pday.  After I emailed you guys, we got to go down to Gonçalves which is the supermarket here. Its about a 20-30 minute walk, but its the only American style supermarket here that has American things there. We even found Hersheys milk chocolate there and we found Heinz Ketchup and BBQ sauce! That was super cool, but REALLY expensive, about 15 reais, so about 7-8 dollars, since it had been imported direct from the US, it was even in English!  And you´ll never guess what opened up across the street. Subway.  They have subway here in Porto Velho.  So you can guess what I had for lunch. A 15cm/ 6in sub which costed 12 reais so about 5-6 dollars, but was totally worth it.  Tuesday was pretty normal, had district meeting, which was awesome, but one of the elders in our district had hemeroids so wasn´t too fun for him. Wednesday,  was normal , going around and visiting people.  Thursday was really special. Thursday night we were walking down the street to one of our investigators/pesquisadors whom we were planning to tell her that we couldn´t meet with her anymore because she was keeping her commitments and wasn´t progressing. Well, we got there and starting to talking her and she completely broke down b/c her daughter had been having troubles and had been arguing with her.  She was completely distraught, so we tried to comfort her and talk to her, talked about how the Holy Ghost can help us through whatever troubles we have in our lives, and ended up leaving with a baptismal date set for he. It was a really powerful lesson. Friday was interesting. The elder who had hemeroids got another call from the Area doctor and said he had to get a certain medicine, that if it didn´t help with his problems, he would have to return home for surgery. The only thing was that they didn´t have that medicine in his area, so we looked around in our area, and ended up going downtown to look for the medicine. Problem though, Friday was the anniversary of Porto Velho so all the major businesses were shut down, including the major pharmacies that had it.  So we ended up returning to our area, buying a substitute that the area doctor cleared as okay, and delievered it to the very grateful elder. Haven´t heard anything else since, so hopefully hes doing well. Saturday was the baptism of Pedro, and 8 year old whose parents aren´t members, but hes always at church every week.  His mom traveled 6 hours to see his baptism b/c he lives with his grandparents. That was pretty awesome.  Sunday was pretty normal.  Nothing extremely exciting happened with us. 
  So good news!  I´m getting a package this week! I get to pick it up tomorrow at our Zone Conference! Super excited!  The mission secretaries called this week to get my passport information so maybe another package arrived in Manaus and got stopped for fees b/c of its value. A bit of advice I heard, any packages should be less than 30 dollars in value. If that means you have to open a few things like CDs to drop its value from 12 dollars unopened to 2-3 dollars, or just underestimate the value, b/c otherwise I have to pay fees when they arrive here ranging from 80-120 reais. But I will get a package this week, so I´m super excited! Thanks so much! This week will be pretty interesting with all the zone conferences and exchanges. Hope everything is going great at home! Have a great week!
Love Elder Battraw

P.S Sorry I´m not sending pictures, this computer isn´t reading my memory card so I´ll try another computer and hopefully it´ll work!

Monday, January 20, 2014

20 January 2014

Hey how are things going on back at the house? School finally started back up again, or is it still the snow apocolypse? Things have been pretty normal here.  Monday was p day so we emailed, bought groceries, and came back home and slept b/c we were both pretty tired after having to be at the airport till 10 at night when they picked me up. Tuesday was the first day we got to go to work here and Porto Velho is pretty awesome! We had a District Meeting in downtown Porto Velho b/c here all the buses go downtown before they go anywhere else so its a lot easier to do District Meeting at the downtown chapel.  But when we got there, the sister missionaries who are in charge of that chapel and have the keys, their keys broke inside of the lock so we were stuck outside. There was a building in the back that gave us some shade so we all ran back there and had district meeting in the shade. Most of the rest of the day was pretty normal.  Mostly just meeting the investigators and starting to get a feel for the area. Wednesday was pretty normal.  Did I mention that it rains everyday here.  And I mean everyday.  We were coming back from lunch and it was raining only a little and so we decided that we could get back to the house before it really started to pour out rain.  We got about half way and then the heavens opened and began to just pour out rain. We ended up huddling outside a shop for a few minutes and then decided we were going to get wet so ended up getting soaked, but made it home.  Thursday was normal. Friday we had two of our investigators who had baptismal interviews get interviewed for baptism, but let me back up a little bit first.
  So these two investigators are both amazing. They are a mother and her son and she still lives with her parents and is 27 years old. All of her family except her and her sister in law and all super 7th day adventists.  Her parents wouldn´t even talk to us really and would always leave the room whenever we got there. They told her that she couldn´t baptise and she was afraid that if she got baptized she would be kicked out of the house and put out onto the streets.  She called us that morning to tell us she didn´t want to be baptized, so we talked to her over the phone and asked if we still could come by with the zone leaders. She said yes so about 3pm we went by and asked her if we could do the interview in the chapel.  She said yes, and went back inside to get ready while we headed to the chapel to prep.  We´d decided that if she passed the interview with the ZLs we would see if she would be baptized right then b/c we didn´t know what would happen between friday and saturday knowing her parents. Her parents knew that she had a baptismal date set for the next day as well. When she showed up, had her interview and she passed and then she asked us (we hadn´t said anything yet) if she could be baptized right now b/c she didn´t want her parents to know about it.  Got everything ready for a quick baptism, and got her and her son both baptized. She was able to be confirmed this Sunday.  Seeing her example, and her courage to follow the gospel even if it meant that she might be kicked out of her house, was amazing to me.  She truly has a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  Friday night we visited another investigator who was ready to baptized and had already been interviewed, but had always put off being baptized.  We showed up at his house and he almost immeaditely started talking about church the Sunday before and how he wanted to as he put it, be baptized with the spirit like the girl he´d seen.  He watched somebody be confirmed and we told if that he need to be baptized with water first.  He asked when he could be baptized and we said we had a baptismal service at 10 the next day. So 10 the next day he was baptized. That night he had some problems with his heart and was in the hospital so he couldn´t make it the next day. Hopefully he´ll be feeling better so he can make it to church the next week.
  Saturday and Sunday were both really busy, Saturday, taught an english class, then had a baptism, and then had a service project, where we helped a family patch their roof. Sunday was church and then had our lunch which was clear on the other side of town, and found some more amazing people to teach. This week has been pretty amazing. This week we have people ready to be baptized and so we´re super excited.  I need to throw in a thanks and shout out to everyone who wrote me a letter at the Ward Christmas breakfast. I got those letters this week and it means the world to me to everyone who took the time to write even a small little note. Thank you so much! Hope everything is going great at home!  Have a great week! I miss you all! 
Love Elder Battraw

Monday, January 13, 2014

13 January, 2014

That sounds like an exciting week!  We don´t get snow here, but we did get a lot of  rain this past week   Pretty exciting running through the streets trying to find some source of shelter from the running some we don´t get completely soaked from the rain. Wow a complete week without school! Thats a lot of time they´re going to have to make up at the end of the year!Thats awesome that tom is getting is patriarchail blessing!  
  My week has been pretty exciting so far!  Monday was the normal p day.  My zone gathered together and had a game day with pizza. Super fun. Tuesday  was district meeting and then i spent the day with another missionary in his area! Pretty cool to see how he taught and how he interacted with all the people. Always nice to see how other missionaries do things. Wednesday was mostly just trading back and getting back to work in my area.  Thursday was normal, nothing extremely out of the norm. We did do a temporary exchange with another companionship for just the afternoon and ended up raining and soaking us both. Friday was normal.  Saturday, we did interviews for the Zone Leaders and got to watch one of their baptisms.  Then had lunch with them and made pizzas with one of their members. I also got a letter from the ward from the ward Christmas Party I think and had a whole bunch of letters. That was super cool! Thanks so much to everybody who took the time to write a letter. It helped a lot. Sunday was crazy. Sunday was the day before transfers and usually the assistants to the mission call about 2:00pm to let us know how the transfers are going to go. We were in the middle of trying to get our investigators to church and it was about 8:30am and we got a phone call saying that I was leaving later that night  for Porto Velho and I need to be at the mission office picking up my passport at 5.  To say that threw a wrench n our plans is an understatement.  We got to church, got 4 people confirmed, and then did a baptism during church b/c both us and our investigator needed to leave and got home, and immeaditely started washing clothes and throwing stuff into my suitcase.  The member we were supposed to have lunch with that day was super cool and delivered lunch to us. Got a ride from some of the members in the ward and got to the mission office, then the airport and was leaving for Porto Velho by 8pm. Got there about 9:30ish, got my new companion Elder Housely, and went home and slept.   Super excitied  to be in this area though. Will be pretty awesome.
  Well, thats my exciting news for this week.  Hope you all have a great week as well! I miss you all!
Love Elder Battraw

Monday, January 6, 2014

6 January, 2014

Thats a lot of snow for sure.  Here this past week has just been sun,sun, sun, and it did rain a little bit, but then went back to having more and more sun. Thats a crazy amount of snow though!  How is everything going right now? Is it all cleaned up or is it still everywhere?
  This week has been pretty normal, except for New Years.  New Years eve was Tuesday, so spent the earlier part of the day trying to visit with all of our investigators before everything went crazy. Mostly just spent some of our time visiting with members. Same story as Christmas. Get to a house, say hello, eat some of their food (thats one thing in Brazil thats really difficult, everybody tries to feed you and its really hard to say now, I think I´m actually starting to put on weight now), and then take off running trying to get to the next house. We weren´t able to stay out till 10:30pm though this time, so went back to the house and played Monopoly.  You could definetely tell when it was Midnight though. About 2-3 minutes beforehand this roar of fireworks started, just this never ending stream of fireworks into the air. Escalated until Midnight and held steady for about 5 minutes, then started to taper off.  Crazy. The next day the entire city was dead. Nobody was in the  streets, I think that the principal that we go to, out of the 30-40 shops there, 1 was open.  For the first time ever, we could see from one end of the principal to the other. That day wasn´t really productive because everything was shut down b/c everybody was resting.  Thursday and Friday, Elder Lima, one of my Zone Leaders was here, so I got to work with him for a day and that was really cool. Saturday, was normal, trying to get baptismal interviews done for everybody that needed one. Sunday was Fast Sunday, didn´t get a chance to bear my testimony, but I played piano for sacrament meeting again this week which was pretty cool. I think I´m doing it every week now. Sunday night was kinda of cool and really kind of a miracle. The mission goal is that you have at least one baptism a week. We hadn´t one b/c all of our investigators either weren´t ready or busy.  We were walking around Sunday night trying to see if any of them still wanted to be baptized, but none of them did.  We ran into one of our recent converts with his girlfriend about 6:50ish and started talking. Our convert mentioned that he actually wanted to have his girlfriend baptized as well.  We immediately turned to her and started to question her. Turns out she had already taken the discussions from other missionaries before and had a desire to be baptized, so we said, Why not right now? Headed off to the chapel with her, she got interviewed, and held a quick baptismal service after that and she was baptized.  Was definitely a miracle.  
  This next week is the last week in the transfer and pretty nervous for the upcoming transfers.  I don´t know if I want to stay in my area or get transferred, but we´ll find out. Sorry this isn´t longer but don´t have much time this week. Have a great week everybody!

P.S I plan on buying my camera tomorrow. Already picked it out and everything, just need to pick up and pay.probably about the equivalent of 200 dollars b/c everything here is a lot more expensive, but I promise to send more pictures!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

30 Dec. 2013

Tom is driving now! Thats got to be exciting!  Its weird to think about everything going on back home with all the college kids, especially to think that I would be a college kid if I wasn´t here on a mission. But I don´t have to wait too much longer, just after my mission. Pretty cool that a lady from the Tabernacle Choir came and talked.  I´m kinda of envious. It was awesome talking with you guys as well. A little weird to see the house after been gone for so long, but it was a lot of fun to talk with you guys.
  This week has been interesting. Monday, p day of course.  Mostly just hung out around the house, cleaning, buying food for the week. Tuesday, was Christmas Eve, and Christmas Eve here is the big day for celebrations b/c people will party all night and then rest the 25th so they can work the 26th, so the 24th we were running around trying to talk with everyone that wanted us to pass on by. The morning was Zone Training. That was pretty awesome. We had a Amigo Secreto (Secret Friend literally) and I ended up getting a journal and address book.   Later that day we did a service project in the afternoon helping to hand out some toys to little kids pretty awesome but a little crazy at the same time. They had a big moving truck with the back completely loaded with toys, all cheap plastic toys, but still cool none the less.  We blew up balloons for a little bit to decorate the truck, and the rest of the convoy. They had a truck up in front with Santa and his helper, with a whole bunch of cars trailing the moving truck playing Christmas music.  My companion were in the back of the moving truck as the convoy went through the neighborhood to help hand/defend the toys, because we would have kids come running up and ask if they could have the toys right then and we said, ´no you have to wait with everyone else in the front of the neighborhood´.  Finally the convoy stopped in the front of the neighborhood after going the whole neighborhood to alert everyone what was going to happen.  It was crazy.  We were parked behind santas truck helping keeping a steady flow of toys to the truck so he could hand them out. But people would gather behind the truck and try intercept toys, or try to come up to us and trade. It was nuts. After that, visited 7 houses in about 3hrs. Started about 7pm and by 9pm  were running to make it to the others. When we got home that night, we were laden down with food and were exhausted, but feeling pretty good. Fruit cakes are really popular here, every house had a fruit cake. We ended up with 3 by the end of the night and more the next day. The 25th was pretty laid back, just going around visiting with investigators and members. Called you guys at about 4:00pm here.  Made cookies with the family we were skyping with, and they turned out pretty good. 26th went to the temple, and my companion and I discovered the where the distribution center is.  I ended up getting two MOTAB CDs, Praise to the Man and Called to Serve. You can guess what we´ve been listening to all week. 27th was back to work, and we ended up having a baptism that night. That was pretty awesome.  Saturday and Sunday were both very normal, nothing extremely unusual. 
  My companion and I are both extremely excited for Tuesday and Wednesday, b/c of New Years.  Tuesday (tomorrow) is my 5 month mark on my mission! and Wednesday we can officially say that we are going to be going home next year!  Only 2 more weeks in this transfer.  This transfer has gone by really fast.  Have a great week this week and Feliz Ano Novo! 

Love Elder Battraw
I forget to mention these.  There are two mormon messages, Our Temple in the Amazon, and Mountains to Climb which feature the city of Manaus. Mountains to Climb doesn´t say that the city is Manaus, but it looks exactly like Manaus, so I think it is.  Have a great week. Feliz Ano Novo!
Ben/ Elder Battraw