Monday, May 25, 2015

Tom's Record of the Area

This is the record of the area that I wrote while super bored. It covers the Brea first area.

Brea 1 

1. In the beginning, the mission president created the area

2. And the area was without form, and void, and the darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the sister missionaries moved upon the face of the area. And it was the first day.

3. And the mission president said: Let there be elders. And there were elders. And the mission president saw that the elders were good, and he divided the elders from the sisters. 

4. And the mission president said: Let there be a firmament between the missionaries, that it may divide the elders from the sisters. And the mission president created the firmament, and divided the elders which were north of the firmament from the sisters who were south. 

5. And the mission president called the area north Brea 1, and he called the area south Brea 3. And it was the second day. 

6. And on the third day the mission president ended the work which he had made, and he rested on the third day from all the work he had made.

7. And the mission president blessed the day which he had rested on, and called it P-day. And the day was blessed for rest and preparation for the week ahead.

8. And the mission president planted an apartment eastward on Tamarack, in the Brea 1 area; and an apartment in the Brea 3 area. But lo, the sister missionaries retained possession of the apartment on Tamarack. 

9. Thus, the elders had to bike from Brea 3 to Brea 1 each day to perform their labor that the mission president had appointed them in that area. And they were not pleased.

10. And the names of the elders were thus: Elder Shawcroft and Elder Spencer, having been both called from far-off lands to begin work there at the dictate of the mission president. And lo, they were whitewashing. 

11. And Elder Shawcroft and Elder Spencer did perform well the work which had been appointed them, and did walk in righteousness before the mission president. And Elder Mackey did flee his wicked companion and dwell there for a short time before returning to the land from whence he came. 

12. But lo, after a time, Elder Shawcroft was called off to a distant land to prepare for the mantle of the zone leader, which would fall upon him in time. And in that time, the sisters were removed from their car, and were given bikes, and they did cede the apartment on Tamarack to the elders. 

13. And Elder Spencer did receive a new companion, Elder Garven. And the mission president saw that this was good. 

14. And it came to pass that as Elder Garven was striving to complete the task which he had been appointed, that he was wounded in the leg. And it did seem to the elders that their labors were over, as Elder Garven could not bike. And there was much sorrowings in the land. 

15. But lo, in his wisdom, the mission president did give them a noble steed, even a Toyota Corolla, that they might continue their labors in bringing to pass much righteousness. And the elders did rejoice much, and praise the mission president in his goodness and tender mercies. And thus did the work continue.

16. And it came to pass that Elder Spencer was carried away by the Spirit to serve in a far-off land, and he did go. And Elder Simpson did come into the land of Brea 1, to serve as companion to Elder Garven. 

17. And lo, as they were serving, they filled the area book with junk investigators. And this would cause much consternation among the later missionaries. And the mission president did see their great wickedness, and did banish Elder Garven to Brazil.

18. And the mission president did call another elder, Elder Wilding, to fill the vacancy left in his place. And they did labor much. And before the mission president could remove the noble steed which he had granted unto Elder Garven by reason of his much weakness, Elder Wilding also did receive a wound to his knee, even to the removing his ability to bike. And thus was the noble steed retained in the area, even to the present day.

19. But lo, Elder Simpson was sent to a distant land to serve elsewhere, and Elder Cipcic was called to serve in the land. And there was discontent and murmuring in the land under his rule. 

20. And to Elder Wilding was given the judgement seat of Leader of the District, to rule and reign under the benevolent hand of the zone leaders, Elder Childs and Elder Halle. But lo, the work in this area was still much hampered.

21. And Elder Cipcic was sent off to the land of Anaheim, to serve with Elder Spotten. And Elder Wilding was found great with child, and brought forth a new elder, Elder Battraw. 

22. And under their combined rule, the area book was finally cleansed of all the junk investigators that had been added in unrighteousness. And much work was accomplished, even the bringing of many souls unto Christ. 

23. But lo, the ruler, Elder Wilding, was called to be king over the Fullerton YSA, and the judgement seat passed to the Placentia 1 elders. And Elder Mackey was sent to fill the void.

24. And there was much rejoicing in the land over the work that was done, and the incredible blessings of many opening doors in response to the importunate knocking of Elder Mackey. And many who had been in the area book for forever because they never answered their doors were found and sifted, that they might choose righteousness.

25. And I, Elder Battraw, do close this chapter of the record, having written it to record the history of this area. And this record do I make of mine own hand; in other words, I, Elder Battraw, do write this record.

25 May 2015

Thanks for writing! I don´t have anymore information about my travel plans, so that I will leave Manaus to Miami at 12:01am Tuesday June 30th and that I get home on American Airlines coming from Miami to Indy at 12:08 pm.  I get home the 30th at midday, that is confirmed.  That sounds like fun, painting the deck, what color are you all painting it, or are you staining it? Congrats on finishing up with the class! There is a new sprinkler park in Holland Park now? Thats cool.  When did they do that? That is a cool challenge that the Bishop put out, how to keep the Sabbath Day holy.  That´ll be a cool one to do.  Thats is an interesting one to teach investigators because for a lot of people it is very different than how they are used to living on the sabbath day.
  This week was normal.  Monday got Elder Fernandes from Manaus and got back here. We got invited to Family Home Evening that night and got to teach one of our investigators.  Tuesday was District Meeting so I got to give a training.  Went pretty well. Got to teach Joelle and Fabio again, they are doing pretty well, just having some problems getting to church.  The rest of the week was pretty normal missionary work.  Nothing too different.  Saturday we helped set up a primary activity in the chapel, ended up not being able to stay b/c we had an appointment and the activity was starting late. It was fun to see everything get set up though.  Sunday was church and we had an unexpected investigator show up.  I don´t know if you all remember me talking about andre, but he is an investigator we taught awhile ago when I was with Elder Sanderson and Saturday he stopped us in the road pretty quickly and Sunday he showed up to church.  That was really cool, and now he wants to come back with his wife next week.  We´re super excited for him.  Right now we are working with a lot of married couples who are needing to get married.  One is Rhain and Ellen, Rhain is already a member and the rest of his family as well, but he is living with Ellen who is not a member.  We are working to get everything together so that they can have a wedding in the chapel so that Ellen can be baptized.  They are both really cool and fun to be around. This week we got a reference from a family who is living in Manaus and they gave us a reference for their niece, Jessica, who lives in our area in Manacapuru,  We got to visit her and her sister.  They are both are pretty quiet and don´t talk much.  On our first visit we taught the Restoration to them and challenged them to read and pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true or not.  The next time we came back, Jessica´s sister Geovanna had already recieved her answer and committed to get baptized.  It was a really cool lesson. We are super excited for both of them! Right now we are organizing an activity to help the member more excited about missionary work called the Member Missionary Training Center (MMTC).  We will start the activity this coming week and it will be really cool!
 Thanks for the email. I miss you all!
Elder Battraw

25 May 2015

I think that this week involved the least tracting and visiting yet on my mission. There were several days without! On Tuesday, Elder Mackey had a doctor's appointment at a hospital, which ended up taking two or three hours. The actual time spent with the doctor was under five minutes, but factoring all the waiting and driving time, three hours. Then, we had to go all the way over to the other side of the mission to order a prescription, then all the way over elsewhere to get his contact lenses. Funny thing- we arrived just as they were closing. Literally exactly at closing time. They had already locked the door, but let us in anyway just for the pickup. Then, we did more service for the Wilson's- moving their fridge so they could paint behind it. While we were waiting, we trained their dog to jump in their pool. You know, basic community service. Then, we had dinner at the Cabo grill. There, I saw the biggest burrito I'd ever seen in my life. That thing was the size of a Duraflame log, easily. The five biggest burritos I've ever seen in my life have all been here, and I keep seeing bigger ones. It's crazy! That night, we went and visited a ward missionary, and got to listen to some of his Vietnam war stories. Apparently, at one point the plane he was in was shot down over enemy territory, and he and the pilot had to hike 50 miles back to their lines, carrying the copilot (he was the navigator). 

Wednesday, we ended up doing a lot of cleaning. A LOT of cleaning. Ever since Elder Mackey came in, the apartment fell into a death spiral when it came to cleanliness. Then, we drove all the way to the other side of the mission and back to pick up the prescription Elder Mackey had ordered the day before. The whole day got spent doing those two things! After that, we had a Book of Mormon study class that we are starting to teach with the Brea 3 sisters. There was a pretty good turnout, surprisingly: 8 people by the end. 

Everything we did on Thursday took hours. First came district meeting, from 9 till 12. Then came lunch, but we went to B-dubs, which took two hours (the first hour was spent just waiting for the food; B-dubs is horrible when it comes to that). Finally, we did online iPad training until dinner, and then more iPad training after. All in all, a very uneventful day. 

Friday was a very long day. We woke up super early to do an early morning seminary lesson, on hastening the work. Apparently, the teacher thought we'd be a good teacher for that sort of lesson. Then, we did some last minute cleaning on the apartment, and had an inspection. Elder Mackey was exhausted at that point, and took a nap until dinner after that. During that nap, I was super bored, and wrote a history of the area, purely to alleviate the boredom. To round off the day, we had a lesson with our investigator, Emily. She is super ready for baptism, but her family is dragging their heels and trying everything to slow her down, short of tying her up or forbidding her to leave the house. I mean, EVERYTHING!!! We are hoping to meet with them so we can talk, but so far no luck on that. 

On Saturday, we did exactly two things. We did weekly planning, then went over for service at a part member family's house. Have you ever seen a chain-link fence that has red plastic strips woven through it so you can't see through it? It's quite a look, but each strip takes about a minute to weave, and you have to use nearly a thousand of them. Even with four of us going, we were only 2/3 of the way done by the end of the day. It was a lot of work!

A lot happened in a very little time on Sunday. At church, at the class we teach, we had two people show up for the first ten minutes. One of them was a longtime  investigator (sort of) who had agreed to listen to the lessons before, then vanished for a while, then started coming back to church. The lessons stopped after that, and that was a year ago. He has come to church every week that he can since, and is super solid. So much so that when we asked if he wanted to be baptized today, he said yes, right off the bat. He hasn't been individually taught like an investigator in a year, so this was super exciting! We taught him the restoration lesson in class, and set a date for him- June 20, the same day as another investigator we have, Emily. A while later, we ended up going back to the church because a recent convert that my companion baptized a long while back said she had some questions that she wanted answered then. Unfortunately, she wasn't there, but we still hung out for a few minutes at the YSA's "Linger Longer" activity. As far as I could tell, the whole thing there was that the church would provide a quick meal, and all the YSA would hang out and talk. Apparently, it's the ward's headcount reduction method. At Persian that night with Sister Christensen, I noticed something interesting, too. If you go to the gospel library's home screen, where it gives you the option to select scriptures, general conference talks, etc. and you go to Settings, then Content, if you select Persian and go to the April 2015 conference, Saturday morning session, Linda K. Burton's talk "We'll ascend together" and listen to the audio of that, you can hear Sister Christensen translating it! She did a few talks, but that is the only one I know of for certain.

Monday, May 18, 2015

18 May 2015

Things have been going by incredibly quickly. This whole week lasted less than a few seconds, or so it seems. Which is weird, because not too much has been happening. On Tuesday, we spent the whole day finding. We met with a bunch of members to try and get referrals and to get a plan for the ward mission effort, and visited half the less actives in the ward. One of the ward missionaries that we met with had a whole bunch of stories to tell about crashing his motorcycle and kicking in car doors while going 70 on the freeway, too. He's quite a character.

Wednesday, we had zone conference. That went from 9 am to 3 pm. We learned a lot, but a 6 hour meeting is never fun. President Taggart talked about a lot of stuff, from charity to mold to faith, and everything in between. Right after the conference, we went out to a lesson with the zone leaders with a guy that we are passing off to them. He has an interesting backstory, to say the least. He's been meeting with the missionaries since he was 14. That wouldn't be a problem, except that he is 19. He's made no progress in the last few years because we can't meet with him because we don't have his number, and he is never home. That proved to be true today too, and so we just sent the records to the zone leaders and let them have free reign with him. Then came dinner, then a lesson with our most progressing investigator, Emily. She has a date set for baptism, but she was very hesitant about it, and not very informative about why. Her parents are against her being baptized, but we hope to meet with them soon and figure out why, and how we can help. We ended up giving Emily a blessing that she would be able to receive an answer from God about her baptismal date, and assigned her to write down some questions she had about anything. 

Thursday was a very, very long day. Last night, after the lesson, Elder Mackey and one of the guys we brought to the lesson, Josiah, were joking around and tried to flip Jaina's car (she came to the lesson too). Elder Mackey said that he felt a pinch in his back while trying to flip the car, and ignored it. Apparently, that was a mistake, as he could barely get out of bed today. We ended up sitting around the apartment doing nothing until 3, when we had a lesson with Trent, another eternal investigator. He's been meeting with us for a year, and hasn't made any progress in a while because we can't meet with him. He is in college, and has a crazy schedule. We brought the zone leaders to the lesson because they are in the YSA ward, and Trent is old enough to go there. He more or less said no to that, but we still had a good lesson. He has some holdups about getting baptized, such as the church's stance on some issues. We tried to address them, and set him on date to determine whether or not he wanted to be on date to get baptized. Trent had refused to commit to a baptismal date until he was certain he wanted to get baptized, so this was the best we could do. Other than that, I spent the whole day practicing my solitaire skills.

On Friday, we had weekly planning. We didn't get very much of that done before Elder Mackey had a doctor's appointment (not for his back). That took two hours. Afterwards, we did more planning until dinner. We had another lesson with Emily. This was a really good one, because she went above and beyond with the questions we asked her to write. She wrote down 10 questions that really showed where she had problems, and how we could help. That was unprecedented when it comes to investigators. We answered a few of them as well as we could before running out of time, and are going to seriously prepare for the next few. Emily said she had received an answer to baptism- she was pushing it back 3 weeks.

We spent Saturday doing loads of service. We started out early at a part-member family's house, planting trees and moving a cabinet. The Orlands are a lot of fun- they are an older couple who love having us over, but mostly for the conversation. They cook really well, though. Sister Orland was less active, but since we started doing service for them, has actually reactivated, and comes to church! We borrowed a saw from the Hill family to reduce some boards at the Orlands down, but we had another project scheduled before we could use it. At the Wilson's, we helped them do a lot of painting. She is repainting her kitchen white, gray, and light green. All of the cabinets are being painted gray, which is what we did there today. We went right back to the Orlands after finishing there, and sawed some lumber. Sister Orland had some boxed bikes for her grandchildren, and needed us to assemble them. We did that fairly quickly, but they were still unridable because their spokes and brakes were way off. We had an amazing lunch there with their grandchildren, and told loads of jokes. Then, we visited all the ward missionaries, then finalized our weekly planning. We went to dinner, then dropped by the Christensen's to see if they still needed our help with something they'd called about an hour ago, while we were in the middle of something. They didn't, but we were invited to study scriptures with them, which we did. 

Sunday was not the most thrilling day of the week. We had ward council in the morning, then church. We tried visiting a few people, but no one was home. Then, we had a general ward missionary meeting. We discussed what was going on at the fifth Sunday activity in church that we are doing on the 31st, and who was speaking on what. We have two less actives in the ward missionary group, and one of them showed up for the meeting! Right after that was dinner, which was a little more exciting than usual. One of the family's kids had just been baptized, and they had gone all-out. They had a bounce house, a cotton candy maker, and 8 rowdy kids bouncing around. It was loads of fun. After dinner, we ended up teaching all of them how to play Mafia. Then, we had a lesson with Andy, our recent convert. That went well, and then we went to Persian, where the Christensen's had some relatives over. Crazy week!

18 May, 2015

What would be my preference? It would probably be to live upstairs.  I just wouldn´t want to share bed with him, thats it.  Sounds like you all had a pretty busy week! How was the PA Fest? What was the theme this year?  Swimming lessons, where? would I get to use the car?  That would be something to do during the summer.  I got the final word on my itinerary.  So I will leave Manaus to Miami at 12:01 am and I get to Indianapolis at 12:08pm (midday) on June 30.  They will officially send my itinerary next week, according to the secretaries.  It will be fun.  Its a lot better then trying to go to Brasil.  It´ll be cool.  
  This week was a bit crazy. Monday was normal, just the normal p day routine! Tuesday was the last district meeting of the transfer with Elder Jesus and Pablo.  That was fun to have with both of them.  Wednesday Elder Jesus and Pablo both left for Manaus in the afternoon so I stayed with Elder D. Silva in Manacapuru for the rest of that day.  It was cool to be able to work with him for a day.  Thursday we got to work a little bit and then we as well left for Manaus to be able to get there for the mission tour by Elder Schmeil of the Seventy.  The trip was pretty good, normal.  We stayed with the assistants that night.  The next morning we got up and headed over to the chapel for the mission tour.  It was really cool to listen to Elder Schmeil talk.  He talked a lot about exact obedience as missionaries.  The tour only lasted until mid day, so afterwards we had lunch at the chapel and then we headed to the temple to do a session there.  That night we got to go to a restaurant called Mr. Pizzo that is all you can eat and it was really good.  Saturday morning we headed back to Manacapuru to be able to help out with a baptism that was scheduled for that night.  That day was mostly running around filling up the font and getting everything set up.  Sunday morning was Stake Conference in Manaus so the 2 wards in Manacapuru had rented 4 buses to be able to get there so we tagged along.  The buses left  the chapel at 7:30 in the morning and got to Manaus about 9:30.  The Conference was really good. One of the speakers was Elder Mazzagardi of the Seventy and his talk was really good.  He said one of the best ways to strengthen the church and its members is to teach them how to hold the Sabbath day holy.  That was really cool.  Another quote was The Restoration, the plan of salvation, chapels , meetings everything in the church would be useless without temples.  That was one of my favorite quotes from the conference for sure.  After that we went and visited a few people in Manaus with Elder Pablo.  Today was the transfer and I got my new companion, Elder Fernandes from João Pessoa. Hes seems really cool so I´m excited for this next transfer! We got back to Manacapuru today.  
 I hope that you all have a great week! I miss you all!
Elder Battraw

Statistics: 5 days of traveling
8 buses (4 in Manaus 4 to and from Manacapuru) 
400+ km
30 hours of sleep:)
Money spent : More than I wanted to

Monday, May 11, 2015

11 May 2015

It was a lot of fun to talk to you guys as well! Its weird to think that in 7 weeks I´ll be coming home! He got his tooth pulled but they left a bone fragment there? Thats not too good. I hopefully dono´t have to do anything like that! When do the plants start giving strawberrys and raspberrys? It in the summer or fall, will they even have fruits this year?  Thats cool though! Here they don´t have either one of those two fruits.  I think that you might be able to find strawberrys in Manaus, but they would be extremely expensive.  Pipes have a tendency to clog up here as well :) I have to a story to tell you all when I get home about unclogging a pipe in Itacoatiara.
  This week was pretty good here though  Monday was the normal pday.  Nothing super extravagent. tuesday was working in the are for a little bit, but 5:00pm we returned home grabbed our bags and headed off to catch the bus to Manaus.  Really cool moment of that trip was crossing the Rio Negro bridge into Manaus and looking off over to the side and seeing the Angel Moroni on top of the temple as we crossed over.  We got to stay the night with the Elders of Tapajos, and then the next day we headed to our Interview with Pres. Castro.  He left us with a brief message on the importance of obedience and then started the interviews. While he was interviewing, Sister Castro talked with us about the importance of inviting people and how we can do that even better in our daily work as missionaries. It was pretty cool. My interview with Pres. Castro was quick but it was good.  After the interview, we ate a quick lunch with the elder of Compensa 2 and then caught the bus back to Manacapuru.  The rest of the week was pretty normal.  Friday night we got our reward dinner for answering 3 riddles that the Elders quorum president gave us and we managed to answer. I´ll give one of them to you right now.  After going and getting honey from a few beehives, you and your friend are walking down a path and come to a fork in the path, you need to go one way and he the other, so you decide to divide up the honey.  You have  5 liters of honey in total, but only pitchers  5 liters, 3.5 liters and 1.5 liters.  How do you divide up the honey? If you can get figure it out, send me back the answer :) (No using the internet). Saturday night the ward had an activity for the mothers in the ward that was pretty cool. A bunch of people sang and it was nice.  Sunday we got to call home and that was awsome! Most of this week will be spent in Manaus since Elder Jesus is going home now after completing his mission while he does his interviews and everything. It´ll be cool though! 
  I hope that you all have a great week this week!  I miss you all! Have a great week! 
Elder Battraw


11 May 2015

This week has been so fast, largely because I spent the whole of it with Mother's Day hanging over my head. What's weirder is that we managed to visit several people who, despite knocking on their doors weekly for months, we had yet to meet. I swear, Elder Mackey is insanely lucky. 

Tuesday, we visited a whole bunch of members and nonmembers, trying to get more referrals and see if they needed help. Then, we visited a bunch of less-actives, and had some good discussions. In one of them, the guy showed us his motor scooters and his vicious attack cat. Dinner was at a recent move-ins, and we had a good discussion there. At the end, we helped them move in more furniture. 

Wednesday was reserved for insanely lucky door answering. Three months ago, we were tracting, and found a guy, Orlando. He was very welcoming, and introduced us to his family right off the bat. He told us we could come back any morning, and since then we've been knocking on his door and waiting for an answer. Well, today we got one. He was just as inviting, but had some...interesting beliefs. For example, he thought that Jesus was an alien. Oh, and the reason he hadn't answered his door in three months was because he'd been in jail. We didn't ask further, but are probably going back anyway. Later, we were going through the "members being taught" part of our area book, and found one member who actually answered his door. He is a really fun guy! Apparently, his house used to be the party house for missionaries. He showed us his cross-eyed crazy cat in a cone. It was a very cross-eyed Siamese who was allergic to himself, and had an Elizabethan collar on. As we were leaving there, I got snagged on his missionary-eating bush, too. Then, unbelievably, we met J-laz again. That isn't his real name, but it's what we call him. He's been in our area book for five years, and has been taught on and off for all of that. He is in college and has a lot of hobbies, and so is home just about never. Since I came in, we've knocked on his door whenever we had nothing better to do, and never have gotten an answer. Since Elder Mackey came in, we found him twice. This time, he even wasn't in a rush, and so we talked for nearly an hour. It was pretty chill- he was cleaning his motorcycle while we talked. He's considering getting more active in religion! Dinner that night was with a nonmember and less-active couple, who had been in our area book for just about ever too. They described some service that they wanted us to do, and we told them we'd do it Saturday. Finally, we had correlation meeting with our ward mission leader, and got to try the new toy he brought. It was like a ripstick that goes sideways, and is motor-powered. You could get going fast on it!

Thursday, we had more insane luck. In the morning, we had zone training, then went to B-dubs. After that, we went to a less-active's house, and helped them take down their Christmas lights and trim their yard. I spent half an hour facedown on a roof, hanging over the edge to take down the lights a foot below the edge of it, before using power clippers to shred bushes back into shape. After that, we had to go straight to dinner. The lucky part came in that night- we met a bunch of less active families we had never seen before.

Friday was weekly planning again. We did it very, very thoroughly, and that took quite a while. We had a lesson scheduled for Saturday night, and strangely enough, all the people we tried to borrow their house to teach at had plans. You'd think they had normal social lives or something. Either way, between those and Elder Mackey getting a little sick, we didn't do much else that day besides visiting a few members. We still hadn't figured out where we were going to teach at, too. 

Saturday morning, we went over bright and early to the couple we had dinner with on Wednesday for service. We moved a (small) apple tree, dug a bunch of holes, and did a lot of gardening, moving mulch, building brick pathways, and composting. We also power washed their patio, moved an enormous table with a glass surface, moved their enormous grill, and split a bunch of (thankfully old and unused) buried sprinkler pipe. We ended up having breakfast there, and got fed again before we left. As we were leaving, they asked if we had dinner. We didn't, and they insisted on us coming back to their house for that too. After the service but before dinner, we visited a senior living complex, and got some opposing viewpoints on life. The first person we visited, Lisa, was super depressed, but is still easily the most generous person I've ever met. She gave away her house to a homeless family when Lisa's family moved out! She still helps out her neighbors a bunch, but has some problems. For example, she has a huge bag of pills that she keeps on her porch, where she throws all the medications the doctors prescribe to her in. The next person we visited was Glenn. He has serious health problems, and goes to the hospital regularly. He just had some intensive testing done for some issues he has, but still is happy, and insisted on feeding us cheesecake and fruit. We talked for a while, and learned that he'd recently been out playing golf with his friends. By the way, he is 90. And still plays 18 hole, normal golf. Sometime during those visits, we finally got someone to go with us to the lesson that night, but not a place to go. Then, we had dinner with the couple we had just done service for. We shared loads of jokes, and didn't stop laughing the whole time. That night, we held the lesson at the church, with two members there with us. We taught Emily some more commandments, and committed her to live them. While talking later, we learned that her family is still against her being baptized. We asked if there was any way to talk to her parents, and she said she'd try to arrange it.

Sunday was Mother's Day. You can probably guess what all the talks were on. We taught Gospel Principle as usual, then went to the Macanich's to Skype home. Sister Macanich is the mission nurse, and has a super, super nice house. I take that back- she has three super, super nice houses that are all close together and share a driveway, that her family lives in. Apparently, Brother Macanich built up a company, then sold it right before the market tanked. Irregardless, we Skyped there, and talked for a long while. After, we went to dinner, and had a lesson right after that with Andy, our recent convert. We taught some laws and ordinances, then went straight to Persian. We hung out there until curfew, and tried a new dessert. It was avacado, milk, sugar, and probably something else I didn't hear. It was amazing, kind of like the shake mix at McDonald's. The family's nonmember son was there, and so we tried to talk to him a bit, but to no avail.

Monday, May 4, 2015

4 May 2015

Tuesday, we finally had a long-time mystery (two days) unfolded to our understanding. The investigator who we somehow offended actually had a somewhat understandable reason, albeit one that was substantially misplaced. We were teaching his kids, a twin boy and girl about 16, and he went off to the next room to smoke. The girl was answering almost all the questions because the guy wasn't talking much. That was probably because he'd just returned to his church under the urging of his girlfriend, and wasn't too convinced he wanted to switch again already. Anyway, the investigator heard it all, and afterward started thinking and overthinking what he had heard, because he hadn't seen it. He thought that we were "displaying undue interest" in his 16 year old daughter. Not true, but it's a sticky situation that we have to clear up before he'll think about us teaching again. Later, we tried to visit a few more longtime investigators, but to no avail. That night, we had a really interesting dinner conversation- the husband was a nondenominational Christian convert, and the wife a former Roman Catholic. They talked a lot about their conversion experiences.

Wednesday, we tried to visit people in a Californian trailer park. This may have been a mistake. Completely literally, every guy who opened the door, and there were three of them, was old, shirtless, and had at least a major head start on a potbelly. Then, we had a lesson with a part less-active family, specifically the active daughter. Her parents weren't home, so we ended up teaching her on her front lawn. She had been going to church on and off, mostly on for just the last few months. The original intent was to give a practice lesson, but as it turned out, she had only a basic grasp on what we believed. That lesson ended up taking 3 1/2 hours, but we answered all her questions. Then, we tried to go to dinner. The operative word in that last sentence was tried. As it turned out, we were an hour early on accident. So, we just tracted around. This was a very interesting experience. All the many, many people who answered their doors were incredibly active Christians who all went to one of two or three churches, all of which taught venomously anti-Mormon classes. The net result of an hour of tracting was largely just having 10 people call us a cult, some of which offered to explain why, later. We asked when we could meet up with the two that did, and one of them made an appointment with us a year from now. Well, that's in the area book, so the future missionaries will have the incredible pleasure of meeting her. On the other hand, it was a refreshing change to have other people tell us what we believe for once. Who would have guessed- we actually don't believe that Christ is our Savior and we don't hold the Bible as canon. Wow, I've been teaching false doctrine this whole time! That night, we met with our ward mission leader, and he gave us a few books to give to the ward missionaries to help them prepare for a huge combined lesson we'll be teaching in a few weeks. 

Thursday, we had district meeting in the morning. After that and lunch, we tried to visit half the less actives in a ward, with a shocking (shockingly low) level of success. We met with all three ward missionaries we tried to visit, and gave them the books our ward mission leader told us to hand out. We had a very early dinner, then tried visiting more less actives. We got several appointments for later, but that was about it.

Friday was weekly planning. That took a long while, especially because we did it in two sessions. We now have a solid plan for next week, though. We then visited a bunch more people, again with little success, then helped a family move. They were doing it as a last minute thing, and really needed the help. They were both in their 60s. The wife had an artificial knee, and the husband had COPD, so carrying boxes and furniture up the 28 steps and around a corner to their new apartment was not very doable. At first when we put all the stuff in, we just threw it every which way, but ended up completely reorganizing it later. It all worked out in the end, though. 

Saturday was nothing but service. In the morning, we spent up until 1 helping the same family as last night move the rest of their stuff over to their new apartment. Funny story- the wife had a safe that she needed opened, but had lost the key. I got it open (more or less legally) without damaging it fairly quickly. Then, as we packed up all her stuff into the U-haul, someone packed her purse in with it. That wouldn't have been a problem, except that her keys to the new apartment were in there. When we got there, I tried picking that lock too, but it was too stiff. That's a little funny, that the apartment door was much harder to pick than a safe. Eventually, they found the key and the moving commenced. After we finished there, we immediately had to head over to a storage unit and help another member of the ward do some last-minute moving there. That was the impression we were under, anyway. When we got there, she pointed us to the locker that had all her stuff in it. As we walked closer, the pile of stuff didn't seem too bad. It was a lot of stuff, but not a massive amount. Then we got to the opening of the locker, and I saw the actual contents. It was the size of a one-car garage, and was 3/4 full of junk. There is no better way to describe it, because among the various things in there that I noted: 3 huge trash bags full of empty water bottles; 1 box full of empty baby food jars; 10 loose sheets full of childhood art; and 10,000 miscellaneous pieces of things that will likely never be used again. The sight of all that made me cringe, until she explained that we weren't moving all that, we were just adding another bunch of stuff to it. In the same storage complex, but on the other side a quarter mile off, there was another (much smaller) locker full of stuff, mostly furniture. Us, and two other missionaries, had to haul it all off to the other locker and fit it all in, using nothing but two Corollas and our ingenuity. We did it, but it was close: a matter of inches, and it took hours. 

Sunday was pretty typical. We had church in the morning, which was pretty average besides us not having to teach Gospel Principles because the class had vanished. Then, we had a lesson with a less active family, and talked for a while before planning when we could come over to do a bunch of service for them, like taking down their Christmas lights. Later we had dinner. It was an interesting situation, as between the couple and their three guests, the average age in the room was 60 or 70, us included. We heard a bunch of good stories, and had leftovers from a wedding reception the day before. It was really good! Right after, we had a lesson with a recent convert, then Persian.

4 May 2015

I did get the other emails thanks so much for filing my FAFSA!  My ecelestial endorsement cleared so its all good now, I just have to wait for registration now! Hopefully the government gives us lots of money:)  I saw on the emails that there was marching band auditions but the dates have already passed for the auditions and I´m in a three world country without a clarinet, problems needless to say.  I´ll just have to try again next year when the auditions come around.  The spaghetti dinner sounds like a lot of fun, wow, its been awhile since I´ve eaten spaghetti.   In regards to calling home I will probably call home about 4 pm local time here.  When do you all have church? Is it in the morning or the afternoon? I can try to call later but I will have to see.  Send me an email when you I can call home.
  This week was interesting.  Monday we spend part of the day here in Manacapuru in the church just relaxing with the other elders, and then we ran home and packed our bags and we caught the bus to Manaus.  I did get an official call about when I will be coming home. I will be coming home, Manaus to Miami and then I don´t know the rest but I will get to Indianapolis somehow. In 2 weeks I will receive my itinerary to get home.  Its quite strange to say the least! Monday was spent in Manaus.  We had our normal tradition of getting pizza as a district which was cool.  Tuesday was a Zone Training in the chapel of Compensa.  It was really cool and enforced the importance of marking baptismal dates.  We always raised our Standard of Missão Manaus! It was quite cool.  Then it was grabbing a bus back to Manacapuru.  Never is quite fun getting the bus back. Wednesday was normal.  Thursday normal.  Friday we got to participate in a Family Home Evening that was really cool.  Had lots of nonmembers there. We shared a message about the Saviors love and how we need to have a similiar type of that love.  It was cool.  Played a game called Little Spot if you translate the name that was a lot of fun. That night was also a marriage in the chapel.  I played the prelude music to marriage and then Elder D. Silva played during the actual marriage.  Elder D. Silva knows how to play the piano really well! Saturday was the baptism of Kennedy.  It was super special.  He was the only member of his family who was not baptized and during his baptism when they called his name to enter into the font, his mom broke down crying.  There  was a super special spirit at that baptism.  Elismara and Kenndy were both confirmed Sunday.  Its been a good week this week! 
  Hope that everything is going great back home! I miss you all! Until Sunday! 
Elder Battraw