Friday, June 30, 2017

Mission Tour- another busy week

June 24th

Okay, another week. 

It was a pretty busy one with mission tour and the interviews that President had with lots of the missionaries this week. Pretty much all of the preparation for these types of things are up to us, so we did a bunch!

We had the mission tour earlier today, which is also our p day. so sadly we pretty much didn't get one! part of the it guess. But we had an area 70 come and speak to us. He talked a lot about being true disciples of Christ and what it means to truly teach repentance. It really made me realize that I have lots to learn! He said that we can't be "part-time disciples", we have to be doing everything. As missionaries, we have the name of the Savior on our chest at all times, and how we act, talk, think, teach, serve, etc. needs to be how the Savior would do it if he were he doing it personally. I started thinking; am i doing my best and using the time I have here to do everything in my reach? There's always more we can do to improve. he said that even after we go home, we cant stop living the standards we learned as missionaries, because we've already taken upon us the name of Christ and need to always let that show through our actions. It was super good! Another really cool thing is that now I'm getting to know all the missionaries. It was my first zone conference/mission tour as the executive, and it was cool to see that I've already gotten to know most of the missionaries. For sure one of the better parts of the calling!

So with our investigator Fatima.... She's been 5 days without smoking!!! After weeks of teaching her and extorting her to do the small and simple things, she finally is making progress. After one of our lessons, she said she felt so bad for smoking that she went to the store the next day and bought nicotine patches to help her stop and they started working right off the bat. We were so pumped to see that she's doing it! She's going to get baptized on the 7th of next month. she's really a convert and understand that baptism is a sacred covenant and wants to be sure that she's ready to follow the promises she'll make once she's baptized. It will be awesome!

okay well i'm running out of time again, but have a good week! I love you guys!!

-Elder Odom

Pizza party, bball, and more secretary stuff

June 17th

Alrighty, so another week! Man the mission goes by quick. It's going by so much quicker here in the mission office too. I was worried that it wouldn't, but I just didn't imagine all the stuff that I'd have to do! I'm pretty busy, but it's good and I'm having lots of fun.

This week I learned a lot about the police stuff. I think I've already mentioned it but that's once of my responsibilities. I have to make sure that everything is in order with visas and that all the foreigners can legally be here. I went to the police station for myself actually and renewed my visa. I'm good and legalized to be here now for the rest of my mission! It's a pretty long process with a lot of steps, but I still have 4 more weeks to learn how to do it so I should be good once elder summers heads home.

This morning we played basketball. We had me, one of my comps, and one of the financial secretaries along with the assistants and president Scholz. So president played ball for BYU... He is in his late 50's but still plays way good. He literally doesn't miss when he shoots, and he's about 6'4"! Not only does he not miss but he makes hard shots too. It's way cool to see how good he still is.

So something really cool that happened this week. We went out looking for new investigators last Thursday using the list of less actives from the ward. We went to a house and it turns out the member moved a long time ago, but we started to talk with the couple that's living there now. we got to know them and then shared a quick message about the importance of being obedient using the scripture in Mosiah. They loved the message and said a bunch of times about how this was exactly what they needed. We went back on Friday and taught the restoration. Again, they really liked it. They accepted the invitation to go to church on Sunday too! Something that I thought about a lot afterward was what they kept saying about how they felt different around us, that we have a "joy" that they need to feel. They never accept visits from other religions, but they felt like they should with us. Its amazing to see how the people the the Lord prepares can feel the spirit that we carry! It also reminded me of the importance of always being worthy of the Spirit, because it was Him that  caught their attention, nothing that we did. We never know how the Lord will use us to touch the lives of others! it was a great experience this week and I'm excited to see their progress!

We did a way cool activity this week too. the ward we're in is kinda slow and the members aren't too motivated, so we decided we need to do a cool activity to get them excited again. So we thought... what does everyone like that would make them come? Well, everyone likes food! In the states we have chili cook offs, but here they don't eat much chili. so we went with pizza! We got a member to hook it up with some crusts and we got them out to people. it was a great turn out! lots of people came and everyone had fun.

This week we also went to a way fancy restaurant with president and the other secretaries. a new missionary got here that went home a year and a half ago and just came back! pretty cool he'd do that after so long! to welcome him president and sister scholz took him there. for sure there are lots of benefits of being in the mission office!

So thats my week. Have a good one and i love you guys!

-Elder Odom

In a Brazilian commercial!

June 10th

Hey everybody back at home, another week down!

This week was just more learning about my responsibilities. I stayed pretty busy! We had the leadership council this week with is when all the zone leaders in the mission come to Ribeirão Preto for a meeting. I got to see some of the other missionaries that I haven’t seen for a long time, that’s one thing that’s super cool about being executive!

Last P day was super fun too. We went to a park and passed the football and Frisbee that the parents sent. It’s been awhile since I’ve thrown a Frisbee but it looks like I still got it! So funny story while we were there. The park we went to is actually really nice and has a bunch of little ponds and stuff. There's also a cliff about 70 feet high that has a pond at the bottom with a little waterfall going off the edge. We thought it would be pretty sweet to go up there and throw the Frisbee and football off the top, so that’s what we did. The problem is when you’re on the ground it doesn’t look that high or far, but when we got up there we realized that it’s actually way farther than we thought! But, we were already up there so we decided to go for it. We had Elder Summers go first with the football. He gave it a good throw, but it didn't even make it close… and it landed right in the middle of the pond. Then it was my turn, and by that point I was kind of nervous that something would happen and I’d get my Frisbee in the water the first day I use it! But I threw it! It went pretty far, but I forgot to angle it downward and so it started to go back toward the water! Luckily, it hit the ground and stopped about 2 inches from the edge, but it didn’t go in. So that left us with the problem of the football that was still floating in the water. After standing at the edge talking about what we should do, Elder Da Cunha (one of the financial secretaries) hiked up his shorts and waded into the water to get it. I was laughing so hard watching him get it! Everyone at the park was looking at us like we were crazy, but you cant really blame them! After he got out he decided that it actually wasn’t that far to throw. He stayed at the bottom the first time the ball was thrown so he didn’t see how far it actually was. So then he went up there to throw it! He tried, but also got it right in the middle of the water which was pretty funny for me. Elder Breno, the other financial sec., went and got it the next time. After that we called it good and went back to do our shopping and stuff. But it was a pretty good first P Day on Saturday! So, I made it in a Brazilian commercial, pretty sick!  You'll see me at the beginning of the commercial throwing the Frisbee!  Click here to see Spence in the Brazilian commercial! 

One thing that is pretty time consuming that ive been doing this week is talking to other missionaries about health and marking doctors visits and stuff. Its crazy how many of those I have to do, I’d never guess! This week with our field work, we had a few good lessons. We were able to find a guy named Fernando at home that we’ve been looking for since I got here. Hes a really nice guy but has one problem that’s kinda tough. He doesn’t believe in repentance, and doesn’t feel bad for smoking or other things that he does. It was a cool lesson that we had. We talked a lot about the Atonement and explained Christ’s role in getting clean from our sins. By the end of the lesson, he actually stopped to think and started to understand why repentance is important, actually necessary. That’s something that we’ve been focusing a lot on here in the mission, teaching repentance. There’re a lot of lessons and topics that we teach as missionaries but in the end it all boils down to if a person will repent or not! If someone understands the importance of repentance, everything else will fall into place. As ive been working on teaching it more, Im starting to understand it better and better myself. One thing that I didn’t do before the mission was use the Atonement every single day, and I should’ve! I can see the difference that it’s making! Speaking of the Atonement, theres an awesome talk that I’ve been studying the last few days called “The Meaning of the word Atonement” by Cleon Skousen. I’ll put the link in here for you guys to check out too: ARTICLE LINK

Kinda cool to be able to do that kind of stuff now working in the office! But, that’s my week. I’m learning ton here and I'm grateful for the opportunity. Although we don’t always have the expected or things hoped for in life, the Lord always knows what kind of experiences we need. Have a good week everyone and enjoy the first week of summer!!

-Elder Odom

First week as mission secretary - enjoying good food

June 3rd

Alright, first week as a member of the mission staff!

It's been a pretty full week and probably was the fastest week in the mission until now. The hours fly by here!

So about my new comps. I'm in a trio right now and their names are Elder Summers and Elder Villas Boas. E. Summers is from Portland and E. Villas Boas is from the southern part of the state of Bahia. They're both really awesome and super easy to get along with. Its pretty funny, on my first day in the mission field it was Elder Summers, Elder O'Neill (my first comp/trainer), and me. He was there to watch me teach my first lesson and I'll be here to watch him teach his last! He's going home at the end of the transfer and I'll be the one to take his place.

In this past week, I've learned a lot! My schedule is much different too. Everyday we wake up, get ready and get to the mission office at 8:00 to study and plan for the day. Then from 10-6 we just work. After that, we go to our proselyting area to teach our investigators and stuff. Because the mission office is kinda far from our area, we get to eat at a restaurant everyday which is pretty sweet. There's this restaurant across the street which we just call "across the street" that we go to pretty much everyday. Its good, classic brazilian food and isn't too expensive either. But every once in a while we go to a nicer restaurant. This week we went to one that was 40 reais which is pretty expensive, but its cool because as a staff missionary you get a ton of money to eat. We had huge hamburgers and at the end I ordered brownie and ice cream. It was the first brownie that I've had since I've been here and it was so good! 

So about what I do now. There are 4 secretaries and each one has a different job; 2 financial secretaries and 2 executive secretaries. I'm executive secretary A. One of the things I do is deal with off all the health on the mission. So whenever a missionary is sick of hurt (which happens A LOT) they call me and I tell them what to do. That includes calling hospitals around the mission and scheduling appointments for them. This eats up a big chunk up my time during the day! I'm also in charge of all the foreigners and their documents. So I have to work with the federal police here and renew visas and stuff. Its a pretty complicated process... I'm glad I still have 5 more weeks to learn! On top of that, I just deal with all the random problems that happen day to day on the mission. Like Elder Summers said "If we listed all the stuff that you have to do, we'd be here all day. You can basically sum it by by saying that you fix all the problems!" So if there's any random thing that needs to be done, it's my job. I also become the official IT guy of the mission. Whenever there's a problem with any sort of technology, it's up to me to fix it. So dad, I know what you mean now when you said that google became your best friend while you were learning how to do all the stuff with computers! President said that here in 5 or 6 months the mission is going to switch out our current computers for better ones and it's going to be me that is going to have to make all that work. So, we'll see how that goes! I'll have to study up a bit before that happens! I never knew how much goes on behind the scenes of in the mission. The secretaries do a ton! There's a lot that I need to learn and I'm going to stay busy during my time here for sure.

So, there you have it. I have to cut it a bit short because I didn't use the alphasmart this week but I'll write more next week! Its super crazy that Ty is done with high school...... It seems like just a month or two ago I was in the middle of my senior year! 

-Elder Odom

Called to be the mission executive secretary!

May 29th

So first I'm gonna talk about this past week. It was a pretty good one to end the transfer!

This week we had the ward talent show, and when it was first planned the stake presidents wife asked us to participate once she learned that Elder Boldrin and I play guitar. So we participated and it was super sick. We had a sweet version of Hotel California that we played and also ended up playing Radioactive because it's a fun song that everybody has heard before. The ward loved it! It was pretty fun to get to play in front of people again, reminded me of the good times back at Rock U! I filmed the songs so I'll send them to you guys, but ill have to do it next week.

The other companionship in our ward baptized a couple and it was really cool. On saturday they had the baptism, and then at night they had their wedding ceremony. It was a pretty big thing so we were there pretty much all day helping them out. We got up early to clean the church before the baptism, then after the baptism we went to the stake presidents house for lunch which was super good, then we went straight back to the church to get ready for the wedding. It was a ton of work! But, it turned out great and they had a lot of fun which is whats important.

With Thammy, it was a good week too. She's awesome! Because of all the stuff that her mom's gone through, shes a little unstable at times. Thammy is only 8 years old (9 in june) but she's the one that takes care of her mom with lots of stuff and talks to her when she needs it. I really cant believe how she turned out so good when she has had such a hard life so far! Its super clear that Heavenly Father put her with her mom because if it wasn't for her, i'm not sure where her mom would be. She's also going to be baptized next month on her birthday which i'm super excited about.

So, for the big news... the transfer. Right now, I'm emailing from the mission office! I was called to be the missions executive secretary! I got the phone call on saturday night. We were helping clean up from the wedding when one of the assistants called me. He told me that i was being transferred to an area called Vila Virginia and that I'd be the new executive on the mission. it was a big surprise! even though i was already thinking that it was probable that i get called, by the end of this last transfer id convinced myself that i wasn't going to be the new executive. So when i got the call I was feeling both excited, sad, nervous, happy, all at the same time. I realized that what you said dad is right, the Lord will give me all the opportunities that I personally need so i don't need to worry about what i think i want, i just need to always trust the Lord will give me whats best for me. So here i am, pretty funny that dwain and i both are in the office now in our missions! It should be a great opportunity to grow. I'm already learning a lot and its only the first day! I'll have lots of responsibilities but it'll be good. 

So that's all i have time for today, I'll talk to you guys next saturday, because that's when my P Day is now! Have a good week!

-Elder Odom