Wednesday, March 29, 2017

march 27th

March 27th

Something that was pretty funny this week is the food that we ate. I don't know why, but we ate a lot of acai and drank a ton of juice. There was one day where we found a stand that sold unlimited sugar cane juice for only 4 reals, which is a little more than $1. I drank more than a liter of it and after i was feeling a bit sick but it was still super good.
But as far as missionary work goes, it was a bit tougher this week to be honest. We spent a lot of time looking for new people to teach, but weren't able to find a lot of people. Yesterday we sat down and figured out how we can improve and find more people, so we're going to put our new plan into action next week.
Our main investigator, Dienifer, is still working on getting a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Its kinda tough with her right now, because she knows a lot and I know shes already received an answer, but something is holding her back and we don't know what it is. We've been thinking and praying a lot to know what we should do, but until now everything we've tried hasn't worked. There have been at least 3 or 4 lessons where I know she felt the Spirit but she still says she isn't ready. But, I still have high hopes for her that she'll be baptized, we just need to be patient with her and baptize her when she's ready and when the Lord is ready. 
One night we went out with Dienifer and her family to eat pizza and a restaurant and the guy that owned it lived in the states for 3 years. It was really funny listening to him talked about his time there. He was going off about how much he loves every part of the states. We were talking in English and Portuguese, and I noticed pretty quick that he picked up a pretty colorful vocab while he was there if you know what I mean. After we got done talking he gave me a huge hug, and every time I pass the restaurant and he sees me he gets excited, its funny! hes a good guy though.
Something that we have been sharing with lots of members during lunch is the First Vision. The church released a new video about it that's super cool! Everyone should watch it for sure. We're also inviting the members to pray and re-recieve an answer that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true, and I want to invite you guys to do the same. You already have received and answer, but this is something we can do again and again and will only strengthen our testimonies, because Heavenly Father will give us answers as many times as we ask, not just the first time! Then, pray and ask Heavenly Father if it's true and if Christ restored His gospel though Joseph Smith.

But that's it for me. Talk to you guys next week and have a good one!
Elder Odom

March 20th - Bball and "cooler" weather

First week in the new transfer! It was good, I'm already having fun with elder torres. First I'll tell you guys a little about him.
So like I said he's from Mexico City and he was one of my first friends on the mission. His dad is actually American, from New York. Elder Torres really likes basketball and plays well, his high school team won the tournament out of all the teams in Mexico twice while he was playing! We're playing bball almost every morning with the Zone Leaders so it's been fun to play with him. He also has been to the states a ton, he said he's been visiting 2 or 3 times per year for most of his life, so he knows Utah well. He said that when he was at home he spoke english really well but he forgot a lot of it out here. He understands most of what I say when I'm talking with another American. He doesn't really speak english with me, because he has a funny problem that when he speaks Spanish or English too much he forgets Portuguese and it becomes really hard for him to speak out of nowhere. Its already happened to him while he was remembering how his dad only speaks English when he's mad, and as he was thinking about it he lost the ability to speak Portuguese, it was funny! But, we're having fun together and it should be a good transfer with him.
We are still starting to build up a solid teaching group, but we do have one investigator who is looking pretty good. Her name is Dienifer (pronounced similar to Jennifer) who's 17 years old. When I got here, she had already been taught a lot, but the problem that he has is confidence;faith. It seems to me that she doesn't 100% believe that she will get an answer, and when she does it'll be something big. I know she's already received and answer and we explained it to her, but in her head she still thinks she doesn't have enough faith or something to get an answer so she looks past the answers she's already gotten. I'm sure she'll be baptized though, we just need to keep working with her and be patient.
Something super fun that we did this week was we found waffles! It was about as close as you can get to a waffle in the states, but because Brazil doesnt have syrup its not quite as good.
Something funny that happened on Saturday was on the bus. This area is pretty big, and so we needed to take to bus to the other side of the area. But what ended up happening is we both fell asleep! It was only for 10 mins, but it cost us 30 mins of walking, and it was pouring super hard that day. Sometimes you just have to laugh at there kind of things that happen on the mish.
But I also felt "cold" for the first time on the mission this week! It wasnt super cold, but probably around 52 or something. It was when it was raining and had lots of wind. Maybe I mentioned last week, but Franca is higher up than all the other cities in the mission and so it has a lot more wind and is a bit colder. Not so say that it's cold or anything, but it is soooo much better than my other areas, especially Aracatuba! Im super gratful for the weather here.
Thats my week though, still getting the hang of the new area eveything, but Im looking forward to the transfer, its gonna be a good one. Until next week! I I love you all!
-Elder Odom

March 13th - Another Transfer!

March 13th

Hey everyone!
So, I got transferred! After just one single transfer! When I heard, I couldnt believe it. crazier yet, my companion is going to be... Elder Torres! He's one of my best friends on the mission, he's been in the same district as me since I got here to the field; in aracatuba together, here in my new area, and now we're comps. Pretty cool, i'm excited. my new area is his area that he's in right now. There used to be only one companionship there but now president is adding another one because the area is so big, so i'll be a part of the new one. I think I've already sent a few pics with elder torres and me, hes the elder from mexico city. My new area is the Pinhareis ward in a city called Franca.
This week was interesting as far as work goes. I only worked in my own area in Sao Joaqim monday night and a part of tuesday then i went to the zone leaders area. We had Zone Meeting last wednesday, so we traveled to Franca on tuesday night for that. While we were there, we decided that we'd do splits this week because there were a few people in my area that needed to be intervied for baptism. Elder Guzman from washinton DC went with my comp and I stayed with Elder Mehmetof, my other ZL. It was a ton of fun, each morning we woke up and played bball for an hour or so. It was super fun to play. Elder Mehmetof is currently entering his last transfer on the mission and I learned a lot from working with him. Hes a super funny guy and really helped me out.
The highlight from this week was our baptism!! We baptized the younger brother in the family we're teaching whose name is Eduardo. He's awesome and id setting such a good example for the rest of his family. It's sad that I wont be there to see the progress of the rest of the family, but since i didnt even change which district Im in Ill still be able to talk to Elder Almeida every week to see how they're doing. The hard part of this transfer was saying bye to them, when we went to their house and told them im leaving on saturday night, they were super super sad. I really hope that they can stick with it and get over the problems that they have and all be baptized one day! Theres also a family in the ward that loves the missionaries to death. The names of the parents are Ione (mom) and Selatiel (dad) and saying bye to them was sad too. Because Im still in the same stake, maybe Ill get to see them again though! Im super grateful for everything they did to help us.Alrighty, theres my week. sorry i didnt write a ton, I didnt have much time this week. But have a good one friends and fam!
-Elder Odom

Monday, March 6, 2017

This week flew by

Another week down and it was a pretty quick one for me! So here's a few of the bigger things that happened this week.

So for the past almost 3 weeks I've been sick,but nothing too big. Just an annoying cold where my throat hurts a bit and I always have a runny nose. Good news is it wasn't bad at all this week, it seems like I'm getting over it finally. But, my companion got sick this week and apparently it was worse for him. Tuesday night he was starting to feel pretty sick and was feeling weak, had a headache, was coughing, and had a runny nose. I gave him some of the medicine that you sent me with and went to bed. The next morning on Wednesday he was feeling a lot worse. Eventually he decided he was too sick to work, so we called the sister in the ward that was making our lunch and she was nice enough to bring some food over for us! But basically all of Wednesday Elder Almeida just slept. While he was sleeping, I studied. I read the scriptures, Jesus the Christ, Preach my Gospel, etc for hours and hours. Whats funny is I've always told myself that if my comp gets sick I'll just study the entire day and so that's what I did! It was actually pretty sweet! I enjoyed the opportunity to study that long. I think in total I studied 10 hours. Thursday he was feeling sick too, but we worked starting at 3 in the afternoon.

With my investigators its going better! We got the family I'm teaching to church yesterday, and for the first time ever they came to church without us having to go to their house to pick them up! They showed up almost an hour late, but hey they're making progress. We've almost taught them all the lessons now, and so the only thing that they need to do now is the parents need to get married and they need to get rid of some addictions. But they're a really good family. We also found another family to start teaching which is a miracle. 

On top of that, we had 7 investigators at church between the ward and the group! In Ituverava, we found 3 more people that had contact with the missionaries and have been to church before but have never actually had a lesson with them. It's crazy how Heavenly Father just gave us these people to teach this week. When we as missionaries are promised that Heavenly Father will put people in our path, it's real! I'm super grateful for these people and really excited to see how they progress.

It sounds like there's been a lot of snow in Utah!  A member (14 years old) was asking me if we had lots of snow in Utah.  When I explained it, she asked me to try to send some snow to her when I get home.  It's crazy how people here picture snow as the coolest thing ever.  I've taken on some of that mindset since I've been here!  It's been almost a year since I've touched snow!

So what I studied a lot this week was about the Spirit. The Spirit is something that we can take for granted. Here on the mission I've come to understand a little bit more about how awesome the Gift of the Holy Ghost really is. If we are doing everything that we should and we are diligently seeking to have the Spirit with us, we can literally know the answer to every problem we have. I just didn't quite understand this before the mission. With the Spirit we can know everything that we need to do. To get the Spirit, we need to pray with faith. This week I've been trying my best to let my prayers be an actual conversation with God, because its really easy to be repetitive. You guys should read the section "Pray with Faith" in preach my gospel, it has a lot of super good points on how to improve our prayers. It would be a good family home evening lesson!

But yeah I think that's about it. Transfers are next week though!  For me this transfer was way fast.  I should be staying here and getting a new companion.  Alright, talk to you guys next week!

Elder Odom

A Busy Week

February 27th

Hi Everyone!  This week was pretty full!

This week in Ituverava we went and followed up with our investigators there. There's and older man named Geraldo that we baptized on Sunday, that was awesome! We've been working with him since I got here so it was super cool to see him finally take the step of being baptized! So about Caio, the 13 year old boy that wants to be baptized. We went and talked to his grandma, who actually has more of the say if he gets baptized or not. Elder Almeida, Lehi, and I talked to her for about 45 mins. But, in the end she still wouldn't allow it which was pretty rough. 

On Thursday we had interviews with President Scholz. This time interviews were a bit different, we did interviews with our companions. It was good, we talked a lot about our area and what to do with the members. We also talked about the possibility of putting another companionship in Ituverava permanently and keeping one companionship here in Sao Joaquim. But, president said no way because Elder Costa, the area president of Brazil, said that he doesn't want any more areas being opened because the wards are too weak. Then President brought up the fact that here in Sao Joaquim we have an attendance of 30 or 40 people per week, but over 400 people have been baptized. I didn't know it was that bad until he told me. It's much different than the 71% attendance we have in Sandy!

From Thursday to Saturday morning we did splits with the zone leaders. I stayed there in Franca while Elder Almeida went back to Sao Joaquim. The zone leader i was with is Elder Mehmetof. He trained one of my best friends out here on the mission, Elder Jones. Elder Mehmetof is super funny and a super good missionary. I had a good time with him and learned a lot! He only has 8 weeks until he goes home, so I tried to learn all I could from him. Also, he made it seem like it's really probable that I'll be senior this next transfer, maybe even train like I said earlier, so we'll see how that goes!

Sunday was good because of the baptism, but bad because everything else seemed to fall apart. The family that we're teaching promised, again, that they'd go to church and we wouldn't need to go and get them in their house to make then go. So a little after 8 we called and the Eduardo, the younger brother, told us that the whole family was asleep. We were pretty disappointed, so we went over there again. We got there and the family was now getting ready. We stayed there until everyone was ready, all they were waiting for was the mom Lucilene to iron a shirt for one of the boys. We had to leave to get ready for the baptism so we just told them see you in a few mins. We went on with the baptism which went great, but after we realized the family hadn't showed up yet. We called and found out they weren't going to come because the mom and dad had "headaches" and it was "raining" so they couldn't come. They were all ready to go! All they had to do was walk out the door! But everyone gets to choose for themselves.

Marcos, our investigator in Ituverava who's also 13 had his baptismal interview with our zone leader while we were doing splits. He passed! But when they got there we was a little on the edge, he didn't know if he wanted to be baptized or not. But during the interview Elder Guzman, the ZL from Washington DC, said that marcos received an answer in the middle of the interview and out of nowhere got super excited and wanted to be baptized, which was awesome! But on sunday he was a bit on the edge again. I think he still wanted to, but his mom didn't even let him go to church so he didn't have a choice. That was another bummer. We could've had 3 baptisms on sunday but because of parents of other religions we only had 1. Times like that are hard. So close!! But, there's still hope for our investigators, we just need to be patient and keep working, and if it's what Heavenly Father wants, it'll work out.
This week I was really paying attention to my accent, even more than I normally am. Elder Guzman has a year and a half on the mission and speaks better than every other American in the mission. People think he's Brazilian when he talks. It really made me want to get to that point! It's so cool how people can't tell. I want to have an accent like that so bad, but I'm just not there yet. I think accent is one of those things that I'm just going to have to keep trying and let the Lord help me out. 

Well, there's my week! The talks that I'm going to tell you guys to read this week are Elects of the Lord, the doctrine of calling and election by Dean Roy Doxey and Beware of Pride by Ezra Taft Benson. Both are so cool!! For sure check them out. I love you all! Until next week!

Elder Odom