Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Investigators came to church and loving the rain

First of all, the weather was a better for sure because it's been raining a ton this week. It rained 5 days this week I think. I love the rain out here. Whenever it starts to rain, I immediately get super happy, its always such a relief. Walking out in the rain is super fun! Funny story about that, we were walking down one of the main roads to our last lesson of the day on Wednesday and it was pouring super hard. Then from the other side of the road we heard someone yelling "Elderes!" We looked and saw one of the members in the ward pulled over and waving for us to come over. She told us to get in, but we were soaking wet. We said "Are you sure?" and she just said "Get in!" So we hopped in. She was worried that being out in the "cold" rain would make us sick. Looks like that myth exists here in Brazil too! So she decided that we needed to go home and change and then she'd give us a ride to our next appointment. She drove us to our house and despite us saying over and over that she didn't need to, she was adamant about waiting. We really appreciated the help, but we knew that we'd just get wet again after our lesson and we didn't want to use another pair of clothes! Plus, for real we really love walking out in the rain because it's not hot. So we let her take us to our next lesson, and then on the way home we got soaked. 

With Ingrid we had a weird experience. She had to change hours, so now she has to start working at 1 in the afternoon, so the only time that we can teach her is in the mornings. So we marked 10 with her, but when we showed up her "uncle" said that she already left. It seemed really weird to us because she said for sure she'd be home at 10. So 2 days later we went to her work (she works at an acai place, just think of ice cream) to find out what happened. We walked in and when she saw us she started going off about how it wasn't her fault and we didn't even say a word. Turns out, her dumb uncle told us she already left but she was at home cleaning. I was pretty ticked at her uncle. Also, she said that because of him, she doesn't have a job anymore. I still don't know what happened but she said she'd explain next time we teach her. Her life is super rough, it just really makes me so graetful for everything that I am blessed with.

Last week I talked about how we needed to teach that families are eternal  and talk about animals being resurrected using the Bible, and so on Saturday that's the lesson we taught along with the Plan of Salvation. It went good! We did the best that we could because the Bible is missing some stuff, but regardless I think it was decent. It was fun to see if we could do it too, like a challenge. The lesson was with Laura and Sara, and I think that they have some potential, so we'll see what happens with them.

This week at church, we had 2 investigators, I was pumped! Eunice came, and finally after over 2 months of teaching Bernadate came to church. Also, I get the opportunity to bless the sacrament in Portuguese for the first time so that was cool. It looks like Eunice is going to get baptized this week on Saturday too, so I'm really happy about that!

That's everything I can think of that you guys would want to hear. Have another good week!
Love you all

Elder Odom

It's Hot Here!!

Hey Everyone!

Phew, I'm tired! This week was pretty brutal! Mainly because of all the walking we did and how hot it was. I'm totally drained now. There were a few moments where my comp and I actually thought we were going to die! But everything is good, we are alive and well just a bit tired. So we're going to recharge today for P Day and get energy for the rest of the week. So a few things that happened.

Our investigator Eunice is doing pretty good. She came to church yesterday! Second time I've had an investigator come to church so far on the mission, so I was pretty excited. Although, she took off after just the first hour of sacrament meeting. I think because the last 2 Sundays were only 1 hour because of the holidays, she now thinks that every meeting is only an hour. So we'll have to explain that church is 3 hours every week. But she still wants to be baptized, and we are just deciding if we should baptize her in a week or on the 21st. We're praying everything works out!

Last week, we found a guy named Tiago on the street and we started to talk to him about our message. He is a barber, so he invited us into his barber shop and we taught him the Restoration. This week when we taught him again, we reviewed the Restoration and really emphasized the importance of the Book of Mormon this time. He understood everything pretty well, and actually showed some interest in learning more which is surprising, the first lesson he didn't seem super interested. Goes to show that you really cant count anybody out.

Ingrid is doing good, but we were only able to teach her once this week. We had another day planned, but that day we had lunch on the other side of the area. Lunch started late, and when we got done we wouldnt have been able to make it, because it was at least an hour and a half walk away. 
But, this lunch was kinda funny. On Saturday, it was a bit over 100 degrees and there wasn't very much wind and we didn't have clouds. We walked an hour and 10 mins to get to lunch, and when we got to the members house I was dead tired. We sat down on their couch and waited for them to finish making lunch. Once we started eating, my Elder Mascena and I realized that the food was 1000 degrees too. The wife said "Lets get the fan for you guys" but the husband said "No its okay we don't need it." Not sure why, because my companion said that I looked like the outside of a cold water bottle on a hot day and my shirt looked like I jumped into a pool. So we ate as we were burning hot, then after lunch walked back out into the heat. It wasn't very funny while I living the moment, but thinking about it now is pretty funny!

There's another family that we found this week. There's a mom and her daughter, Laura and Sara. Plus the moms boyfriend, but he didn't listen to our message. Laura went to the baptist church for years, and her boyfriend is jehovahs witness, so we'll see how that goes! They're super nice, and already talked with missionaries, but its been like 7 years or something. We decided to teach them the Gospel of Christ and not the Restoration to start, because we thought they'd accept the Restoration better once after hearing just about Jesus Christ. The lesson went pretty good, but right at the end Elder Mascena brought up eternal families, and Laura said "That's actually a question I have! I asked a bunch of pastors from different churches but nobody seems to know" we told her we'd be happy to explain it to her. Then Sara asked about the resurrection of animals. And now they want an answer to that as well, but the thing is they want to us to give them an answer using only the Bible. So we have 1 week to find out about eternal families and animals in the Bible! Should be fun!

Have a good one everybody, love you all!

-Elder Odom

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hey everyone and happy new years! This week was pretty good.

One thing that we did lots this week is walk. We walked a ton! Our problem is we would have a person that we had to visit at a specific time, and then the same thing for another person on the other side of the area. We also worked a lot with the less actives list, and tried to find a bunch of them but pretty much all of them don't want to come back. But, we are going to keep at it with them! Reactivating someone is just as important as baptizing. 

Something kinda funny is how much soda I pounded this week. Sooo much! Its super bad for me but I always drink it. When we are walking around in the hot sun and we pass a store that is selling a liter bottle of coke, we buy it. We do that once or twice a week normally, but I did it 3 times this week, plus we had coke for almost every single lunch with a member this week too. When I left, I was telling myself that I'd use the mission to stop drinking coke, but I drink almost as much out here as at home! I decided I need to cut back, so I'm going to try to only drink it when a member offers it to us.

We actually have a decent teaching pool now, so that's super cool! But again, even though lots of them have potential, we just can't get them to come to church. These last 2 weeks have been hard for all the missionaries though because of Christmas and New Years being on Sunday. I think the investigator with the most potential is Eunice. She accepted a baptismal date for the 15th, but she needs to come to church! We have basically taught her everything. Our other investigator that is super cool is Ingrid. When we first met her, she told us that she didn't have a cell phone or access to the internet. Super weird these days, even here in Brazil everyone has a phone! Also, she is adopted. We were talking about why she doesn't and what her problems might be, and I said "Maybe shes like Harry Potter and her adopted parents hate her and spoil their real kid." Turns out, I wasn't too far off. In reality, she's actually like Cinderella. She was born to a mom that was super messed up and was adopted when she was 16 I think. Shes 18 now. But she has to clean the house, cook all the food, take care of the 10 year old boy who lives there, and then work at her job from 3:30 to midnight. She says there's a lot of fighting in her house and nobody ever thanks her, they just get mad when she doesn't do what shes told. Geez!! I felt so bad when she was telling us all this stuff. We only have a small window from 2:15 to 3 to teach her before she leaves to work so its a miracle that we found her in the first place! She's pretty smart and we know that the gospel would help so much in her life. I'm really hoping that we will be able to get her to church this next week!

New Years was fun, because our ward mission leader invited us over to his house and we had a barbecue, but sleeping wasn't super fun. Here in Brazil, New Years is much more important than Christmas, and people love their fireworks. Starting at about noon the 31st, people were launching off fireworks until the early morning of the 1st. At midnight, I was sleeping and then was woken up by thousands of fireworks being shot off. It was a constant noise for 5 mins straight! Also, our Zone Leaders that we live with came into our room and started jumping on our bed yelling "Feliz Ano Novo!!" Gotta love other missionaries!

Something that I've been studying this week is about personal revelation. This is something that for sure I take for granted. Lots of times when I have a problem, I pray about it and then immediately worry about it again and try to figure it out on my own. I think this is something that lots of people do! Its super important to rely on the Lord and be patient, knowing that everything will work out in the end if we have Him in mind. I was reading in Alma 26 and read a scripture that talks about this, and what we need to do to receive personal revelation. In verse 22, Ammon says that we need to repent, exercise faith, do good works, and pray continually, and if we do these simple things we have a promise that God will reveal whatever answer to us that we need. This is something that I love about the gospel, its not complex, its super simple! If we can do the simple things, then we will be blessed. Like President Scholz always says, its the small and simple things that make the biggest difference. 

So that's it! Hope you all have a good one! Until next week!
-Elder Odom


Christmas week

A few good parts of this week:

On Wednesday i did splits with one of the zone leaders and it was fun. we made tons of contacts, and that morning i found the addresses for a few inactive members that we were able to visit. We got to one of their houses, and turns out they don't live there anymore. But, we talked to the person who does live there and they are actually really interested! its a girl that's about our age i think named Ingrid. She payed really close attention when we taught her the Restoration on the doorstep, and she really liked the message. when we went back on Friday, she told us about an experience she had after she prayed about the book of Mormon. she was sleeping and at 5:30 in the morning she heard someone calling her name from downstairs. she thought it was her mom, so she went to check but nobody was there. Then it happened again, and the same thing, nobody was there! But through the experience she said she didn't feel scared at all. She said that there is no way it was just in her head though. Not sure if it was an answer to her prayer or not, but it was interesting to hear about for sure.

We have another lady named Eunice that were teaching. She is around 70 years old and said that she was baptized into our church when she was 9, shes positive. but we arent sure the church was here when she was baptized, and the location of the church that she explained isnt where any of our buildings are, so we will have to look into her records. But she is taking the gospel really well and said that if she doesnt have a record, she'll be baptized again!

Highlight of the week was talking to the fam! Seeing everyone made me so happy.  Immediately after the call i just got back to work.  I have to keep focused on here, because even though i miss you guys, the work goes on! But it was so fun to see everyone.

Alright, Love you all!  Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Love, Spence