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!

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!

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!
Elder Battraw