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!
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!

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!

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!
Elder Battraw