Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Over 60 doors visited!

Hello everybody! another week come and gone! This week went by pretty quick for me. The time just seems to keep going quicker and quicker!

But, as far the work is going it wasn't as fast this week. At this point we're running out of ideas of how to find new people to teach, so we decided that we're just going to visit as many inactive members as we can and try to teach non-members in their families. In the past week, we've visited over 60 addresses. It's sad to see when people don't have a desire to come back to church. We're trying our best to help them, but the problem is the same for all of them, they don't read the Book of Mormon, pray, pay tithing, etc. all the little stuff. The longer I'm out here the more I learn how important the little things are. Something that President Scholz always talks about are the "simple and basic things", because without them no doubt you'll start to lose or weaken your testimony. On the upside, we were able to find a few new people to teach because of this. Now the problem is finding them at home again when they say they'll be!

Elder Torres is still dealing with problems with his finger and also has problems in his shoulders, so he started to do physical therapy this week. Not the most fun thing in the world, but I just use the time to read. He was also super sick this week with a really bad cold or something, so on tuesday after Zone meeting, we went home and didnt go back out. Its lame we had to do that because we need to find new people to teach, but if he's sick you can't really do anything about it. That day he slept 13 hours out of 24! So like last transfer, I got a day where I studied a lot! It wasnt 10 hours like last time, but it was still a lot of time.

Now for the sad part of the week. Our investigator Dienifer that we've been working with had to be cut. We visited her 2 times this week and explained the answers she's received. On friday, we asked her "Do you believe that you received an answer during General Conference as well as other days?" she said yes. But then she said "But I decided I'm not going to go to church anymore, and I still wont be baptized." It's one of the saddest things out here on the mission for sure when someone knows what they need to do and have an answer from God but choose not to follow. We were feeling really bad about her choice, but as missionaries we did all we could and what we're suppose to, which is help her receive and answer from God. There's nothing more we can do because we can't choose for her, only she can do that. So that was a pretty rough part of the week, but we just have to keep going.

But that's all from me this week. Wasn't too exciting, just a bunch of finding different addresses. Something that I studied a lot this week was Alma 31 and 32. Those chapters are awesome! We learn about how important prayer is, and at the way that Alma explains faith is super cool. He literally says exactly what we need to do to receive a testimony and grow our faith. I'm super grateful for the scriptures and everything we learn from them. I've come to learn in the last months that every single problem we have in our lives can be answered using the Book of Mormon. Because we have it, it really shows how much God loves us.
I love all you guys, thanks for all your prayers and support, i'm super grateful for each one of you! until next week!
-Elder Odom

Drinking contest and questionable medical care

Hey everyone, another P day arrived!  This week was pretty different. I'll start with last monday.

We were playing bball and what ended up happening is Elder Torres dislocated his finger super bad and then after putting it back into place himself, it was still hurting super bad. He decided to wait a day or two to go to the doctor though in case it stopped hurting. On Wednesday, we went because it was still killing him. Let me say that the medical care here is... just not quite as good. We went to the hospital and waited and 2 hours after they said they'd "be with us soon". After that we asked what was taking so long and how much longer we'd have to wait and they said another 4 hours. So we left, pretty lame waste of time! We called the mission office and they got us an appointment at a private hospital which was better. But they just sent us to a specialist. We visited the specialist, who then told us that he had pinched a nerve in his finger super bad and now the nerve is out of place in his finger. Then, they sent us back to the private hospital again to talk to a doctor there. He wrapped his finger to help keep it steady, and then marked yet ANOTHER appointment for us to go back to get an x ray to see if he'll need surgery or not! We actually haven't gotten back to do that yet, because we were sick of wasting time. But in total, we wasted hours and hours across 3 days doing all that stuff, we lost a lot of good work time! But lets just hope that Elder Torres doesn't need surgery!
On tuesday we had Zone Conference. These past 2 conferences President Scholz has given an assigned reading in the BoM and told everyone to come prepared to give a short talk on a topic that he also assigns. This time it was repentance. He chooses 4 missionaries during the conference, we don't know who until they're called. You know when you just somehow know that you're going to be picked: I had that feeling as we were getting ready to leave, and it turns out I was right! He picked me, but the problem was that he modified the part of the BoM that we could use and the scripture I prepared was outside of that. So in 7ish mins I found another scripture and planned what I'd say as much as I can. When it was my turn to talk, I didn't really know what I was going to say exactly. But, that day I strengthened my testimony of the Spirit giving us what we need to say "in the very hour". It turned out good and I never was at a loss for words! I'm super grateful that as we do everything we can to be obedient and rely on the Spirit, we will always know exactly what to do in every situation. This is one part of General Conference that I really liked. Elder Rasband and Stevenson talked a lot about the importance of the Spirit, and this is something that everyone can use more. Elder Rasband said that as we pay attention and follow promptings of the Spirit, we'll receive more and more. What a cool promise!
So yeah, I was able to watch conference in English thankfully. I think at this point I'd be able to understand it in Portuguese, but it will always be better in my native language hearing the real voices of the prophets. Just like last General Conference, I remembered conference at home and wished that I had payed more attention, conference is awesome! Its also a bit weird that it's already been 6 months since last conference. It was my first weekend in the field! By the time next conference rolls around, I'll have a year and 2 months!
Something super funny happened on Wednesday. After lunch, my comp and I and the other companionship that lives in our house with us (we all eat lunch together at the same members house everyday) went to the all you can drink sugar cane stand, this time with a challenge to see who could drink the most. The first one of us tapped out at 6 and a half cups, right around 2 liters. Then the next one at 7 and a half. Elder Torres and I kept going. I ended up losing, but I gave a good fight. I drank 3 liters of it and I wasn't feeling too hot! This stuff is thick, its not like water or anything! The funny part is what happened to Elder Santana, the elder in the other companionship. After his 6th cup, he was bent over looking at the ground rubbing his head. We asked him what's the matter and he said he was concentrating. He was concentrating not to be sick! We, being good influences, urged him to finish just one more cup. He gave in and drank half. After 10 seconds he said. "I need to go to the bathroom in the store. I'm going to be sick!" So him and his comp hurried across the street and when he got to the bathroom he threw up! When we went over there to see how he was doing, his comp told us how he threw up and I was laughing so hard I was crying! Good times on the mission. It's super funny what keeps us entertained.
Friday we traveled to Ribeirao Preto to renew Elder Torres's documents. While we were there, we ran into Elder Mehmetof, my last zone leader. It was great to see him! He's headed home in 3 weeks, and I didn't know if Id get to see him again. We became pretty good friends this past transfer. Luckily, he has plans to study at BYU so I'll probably see him there.
The last thing I want to talk about is our investigator Dienifer. It was a rough week for her. Its just super hard for her to excersize faith. She feels like she needs to know for a fact with proof that what we are saying is true. She asked us over and over to show her that the Book of Mormon is true and that we need it using the Bible and we kept saying no. But after tons of asking, we asked her if she'd believe if we did. She said yes, and so we did. At the end of the lesson, she said "Well, you guys did it". But what happened: She still didn't believe, just like we told her! I relearned a valuable lesson- you cant receive a testimony of things based on logic and proofs. The Spirit is the only one who can give you a testimony. The other problem she has is her mom. We talked to her mom a bunch of times, and every time we ask she says that her daughter can choose to be baptized but she won't support her in her decision. Because of these things, it makes it tough for her to be baptized. The only thing we could think to do is bring her to General Conference and let the Spirit and prophets convert her. She went to the last session on sunday, and when she heard Joaquin E. Costa talk directly to investigators, we could tell that she was thinking super hard. Then even more when Elder Stevenson talked about what the Spirit does and why He is so important. She didn't say much after, but she did say that she had "a lot of questions answered". You can always depend on the general authorities and their words and testimonies to convert! We'll talk to her more this week to see what she thinks now.
So, there's my week. Talk to you guys next week!
-Elder Odom