Monday, March 31, 2014

31 March 2014

Poor Tom, did they use the same medicine that they used on me, the one that makes you forget everything that happened or was it a different med? Zach had a concert? super cool.  What music did they play? Matthew looks a lot older  than I remember him, its kinda of weird.  Campout was where this weekend, was it nearby or was it a bit farther away.  Thanks for the money.  I´ll make sure to spend it all:). I still have some cookie mix that I saved for my birthday so we´ll probably make that tomorrow to celebrate my birthday.
  So this week, monday/ pday was normal.  Just did the normal things, email, buy food the usual.  Tuesday we left for Marcus Feiries which is quite a distance away to have lunch with a member, but when we were returning, my companion wasn´t feeling too well so we ended up going home and staying there the rest of the day.  He has problems with eating salt, here salt is basically the only seasoning that they used so sometimes he leaves lunch not feeling too well.  That was my tuesday. Wednesday we left and were able to spend the day talking to investigators and the normal people.  Thursday was pretty normal as well.  We´ve started contacting all the recent converts in the branch here to ask for references for people to teach.  President Klein has challenged us to do so.  Our list is extensive so it´ll take a while to talk to everyone. Friday we almost had exchanges with the zone leaders.  They´d marked for 2pm for us to be there and do the exchange.  Well, got there about 2:20 b/c they´d called to say that they would be running late and started to wait.  2:40 called them and they said it would be arriving (phrase doesn´t translate to english, but it would take awhile to get there).  3:15 they called and said it would be 30 more minutes.  4:32pm, called and they said to return back to area b/c it would be a little while.  Found out later they didn´t get home until 6pm.  Reason why:  They were doing a service project and at the end, the member they were with starting lecturing them on marrying in the temple and eternal marriage.  Kinda of difficult to do that when you are a missionary.   Exchange will be tomorrow now.  Saturday we went to a pre-marriage party that they have here in Brasil. The members had invited us b/c there were lots of non members there and we now have two families to teach!  That night was also the night where the ward/branch had a kinda of party with our investigators! Was pretty cool.  Had an awesome message and then afterward we had trivia, in Portuguese.  Was a little hard for me, but I held my own.  Sunday church as usual, but it was raining so it took a little bit longer for everyone to get there.  And that was my week. Today was my 8 month mark on my mission! Super pumped.  Time is passing really fast here!
  Thanks for the money and the letters!  Thanks for the pictures as well!  Next week will be transfers and general conference and I´m super pumped .  Will hopefully get to watch in english, but we´ll see!  Have an awesome week! Miss all of you!
Elder Battraw

Monday, March 24, 2014

24 March 2014

Thanks for the packages! Got one this week with chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies as well.  Made peanut butter cookies today! Super good.  They don´t have peanut butter here in Brasil, at least the north doesn´t.  Found out this week that São Paulo and some cities in the South have Walmart so I think they have it down there.  Giving away the Mac?  If you could get all the music off of t first I wanted to get some of it, but never had the chance.  Its located in the PirateX icon up in the top right corner if I´m remembering correctly.  If you don´t its okay.  Congrats for Sam on making life. Just eagle for now, has Tom finished up his Eagle?
  This week started with the normal p day.  Just normal, nothing really special happened.  Tuesday had District Meeting here in Tancredo Neves, but some of the elders who were coming got lost on the way here and we had to relay instructions to them to be able to make it here.  Made life just a little bit more interesting. They´d descended at the wrong bus stop and had to get back on the bus. But everything turned out okay in the end.  Was a good meeting.  Wednesday we had a huge long list of people who were less actives that we had to go visit.  Only managed to pass 7 houses out of the 20, but it was still pretty good. That night we had 4 other elders who were arriving at our house to stay the night for the zone training/conference the next da.  They got there about 11:00pm that night and our one room with a/c wasn´t working and had only one fan.  Nobody slept really well that night.  The Zone Training was really good Thursday.  Was a lot of information about how we need to teach our investigators.  Had lunch and then interviews with President Klein.  My companion found from president that his fiancee who was waiting for him, turned out to have married 4 months ago. Friday was normal, just keep on keeping on.  Saturday we had a baptism of the cousin of the Relief Society President and that was really cool.  Gots lot of pictures taken that I´ll try and send.  She´d been investigating the church for 4 years on and off b/c she´d had lots of people always saying to her that the Book of Mormon wasn´t true and were putting a lot of pressure on her, but she made the decision this week to be baptized and it was really special. Sunday we had two sacrament meetings.  One in the morning and another that night for a group who live right next to our area.  We were there to help with the transition to this chapel.  Doesn´t have a lot of people yet, but its going well!
  Plans for general conference will be heading to the stake center to watch the sessions there.  Not a lot of people here have internet and if we try and watch conference in one of the computer cafes I think we´ll crash the server (internet isn´t very good here).   I´ve acutally been putting the conference talks on a speaker that I have, (little speaker that has a usb port that they sell everywhere here) to be a ble to listen to them. Its really nice!  Thanks for those cds as well!  Got to go now! Have a great week! Miss all of you!
Elder Battraw

Monday, March 17, 2014

17 March 2014

You ran into Brother Rodda!  Hes pretty awesome!  He was the one who gave me the scripture in DC 9:8-9 about how answer of the spirit come.  He helped me a lot getting my papers ready.  Oh, it was Pi Day this week.  I didn´t really realize that. Forgot. 5th place at the pinewood derby!  I do think thats the best that our family has done yet. Working at the hospital sounds like it is really busy. Switching around all the patients and getting everything ready to go!  Here things are starting to cool down a little bit. We are in the middle of the rainy season here and its definitely been raining.  Almost everyday will rain at least one time. A little crazy.
  So this week, monday, p day, did the normal routine, rested, played cards the norm.  Tuesday my new companion, Elder Macário got here.  Elder Housley (old companion) and Elder Green stayed with us for the day working and helping get everything in order.  Elder Greens new companion, Elder Nordgran, showed up later that night so he left. I actually already knew Elder Nordgran because he was my District Leader back in the Provo MTC!  First time I´d seen him in 6 months!  Wednesday I managed to get two packages that had shown up (took 3-4 months to arrive).  One of them had a whole bunch of birthday stuff in it, so Elder Housley and his new companion, Elder Mount, grabbed the box and took it to a members house to bake cake and had a surprise birthday party for me, even though it was 3 weeks early.   That was pretty cool.  They left Thursday for their area. Thursday was pretty nice.  A missionary of the branch here returned from his mission in Brasil so we got to be there when he returned! Kinda of weird to see a missionary returning from his mission while I´m still on my mission.   Friday was working, going from door to door. Saturday was basically the same thing. I teach an English class right now for people here, to anybody that shows up and this week we had an investigator show up with his daughter, so we gave them a quick tour of the church that they really liked and then taught some quick English. Sunday, was crazy.  We have a family of investigators who live pretty far away who needed a ride to church, so when I tried calling them to get a ride, our cell phone credit ran out! Got some more credit Sunday morning so I managed to get them a ride, we helped another family get to church as well. We had lots of other people show up as well.  All in all, 15 people were visiting the church, almost all for the first time.  Was a bit of a race, when the first hour was over, it was more or less running down the hall, asking how people were, directing them to the correct room, and then running to the next group of people to help them out.  One of the ladies was 95yrs old and had to be helped wherever she went.  It was really great but a little tiring.  One of our investigators didn´t show up until 20 minutes before church ended, and needed to be confirmed, so we got him inside, asked the Branch President if we could confirm at the end of sacrament meeting and got him confirmed. Was a little crazy to say the least. 
  This week President Klein is flying out to Porto Velho to have a meeting with all the missionaries so we are all super excited for that!I got 2 packages this week.  One had hot chocolate, 2 cds (MOTAB and Piano Guys, A Family Christmas) and the other birthday materials and a CD of BYU Mens Chorus. I think everything got there. Thanks for sending those packages! It was really awesome to have a mini birthday party, even if it was a bit early!  Thanks so much! Hope you all have a great week !  Miss you all!
Elder Battraw

Monday, March 10, 2014

10 March 2014

 That sounds reallly cool to be able to go to the Lego Convention.  I remember that they had that Lego Exhibit at the Childrens Mueseum last year and that was pretty cool as well.  Did they hold it in the Convention Center in downtown?  New laptop?  Sounds pretty nice.
  My week has been pretty uneventful.  Monday, p day as normal, nothing really exciting. Tuesday we got to go do service helping people who have been displace by the flooding of the river here.  It was a catholic church and we got to sort out clothes, help make some kits, and lug around some packages of food.  It was pretty nice to be able to help out a little bit.  Wednesday, nothing really happened.  Thursday,Friday and Saturday as well.  Sunday was a little bit more interesting.  For lunch, one of the members asked us if we wanted some ice cream for dessert and we said sure. He asked us if we wanted a little or a lot, so we said a lot.   He came back with two cups absolutely overflowing with ice cream.  It was hard to finish all of it, but we managed. This week we´ve been trying to find new people to teach.  Been knocking on a lot of doors trying to find people who are interested in our message.   Walked a lot this week .Saturday we had a cool experience.  We´d decided to visit a less active family who lived a good distance away, but we decided to make the trip.  When we got there,  we started talking with the mom and dad,  and the dad after a little bit of talking to, told us that he´d been praying for a while that somebody would pass by his house and talk to them and that we were an answer to his prayers.  It was pretty neat to be able to see how the spirit works.   When we were leaving as well and walking back to our house, a man in the street started talking to us in English, asking us where we were from and what are our names.  Found out that he had lived in Boston for 3 years before moving back to Porto Velho and he wanted to find out a little bit more about the church.  Pretty awesome.  We´ve managed to talk to him a little bit since and we´re excited to go on back!  
  I´ll be switching companions this week.  9 Americans will be arriving here and my companion will be training one, so I´m staying here in Porto Velho, but getting a new companion.  A little nervous but excited a the same time.  Found out that 2 members of my MTC district will be coming as well. Super pumped.  One will be in Porto Velho as well!
  I´ll be getting the package hopefully this next Tuesday, not tomorrow.  The packages are taking a little while to get here, but they are trickling in.  Things that I need right now would be socks, arch supports or shoe inserts (Size 11).  The insoles of my shoes are wearing out pretty quickly.  If you want to send games, they need to be games like Uno, small things.  Thats about it, oh and maple syrup.  If you can find the maple extract that you can mix with water to make syrup that works.  That what every missionary in this mission asks for (Americans and Brasilians).  Thanks! Hope you all have a great week! Miss all of you!
Elder Battraw

Two photos
One is after we did service at a catholic church to help out people who were without homes because of the flooding
The other is one that my companion and I saw nearby the chapel, and we just said, Seriously?

Monday, March 3, 2014

3 March 2014

Thats pretty cool to hear about! Gilbert Temple being dedicated! I got some emails from Talley about the dedication and they said it was really cold and windy.  I was a little surprised, its Arizona!  Congrats for Stirling and Jake, thats awesome!  Enders Game,  need to put that on my list of movies to watch when I get back home. I don´t know if I already told you, but when I get back I´m having a 2 week long movie festival with all of my friends to watch all the films that I missed.   Got a call from the secretary of the mission that said that a package has arrived in Manaus, but hopefully I´ll be able to pick it up when somebody delivers them to Porto Velho. Should be only a month.
  My week has been a little bit more interesting. Monday, p day as normal.  Stayed at home and cleaned and cleaned some more. Houses here are hard to maintain clean b/c they are all open to the outside and we track in a lot dirt when we get home. Tuesday was an exchange.  We had elders who arrived here who didn´t know how to get to their new area so my companions and one of the APs went with them to show them around their new area. I stayed in my area with a member and got to be senior companion for a day.  Went really well, taught some pretty good lessons and found a whole bunch of new people to teach.  Wednesday, studied, and then after our normal study, the APs did exchanges in our area, so I stayed with one AP in one half of our area while the other went with Elder Housely to a neighborhood called Marcus Fieres with is clear across our area.   To give a little picture of how big our area here is, to travel across our area on foot from corner across to the opposite corner would probably take 4-5 hours. We use the bus a lot here.  We managed to baptize a lady that night.  She is 95 years old, and it took 2 of us to baptize her.  Elder Housley and I helped her down the stairs into the font and then helped get her under the water and then out.  Went pretty smoothly.  Thursday and Friday we stayed at home b/c Elder Housley was sick, and couldn´t leave the house. So I studied and studied, watched The District, Finding faith in Christ, and other church films that we have. Time passed fairly quickly so it was okay. Saturday, left and had a normal day.  Nothing extraordinary happened.   Sunday, church, after church had lunch, and then we left to do visits.  Did a lot of walking and not a lot of visits.  Right now in Brasil, Carnaval is starting, so if we want to have really good visits we try to get there before 6:30/7:00pm b/c then people start leaving for the parties and getting drunk.  They also play really loud music all the time. One night, our neighbors played music until 3am.  Was a little hard to sleep that night.   But everything here is going great. 
  This week has some potential to be really good, sou animado de mais!  P day has already been pretty good, so hopefully that rest of the week will be as well!  Have a great week! Miss all of you!
Elder Battraw