Monday, October 30, 2017

Catching Up on Blog Posting

[Editor’s Note: We’ve been a little lax in updating the blog.  It doesn’t help that Elder Holdaway writes very little.  He’s been better, so here are some comments of his from the last month or two]

September 18-25th

I wanted to send an email last week, but it didn’t work out.  Last week we went to eat dinner at the Costas which was really really good.  That same week I ran into a young man I baptized in my first area, he said he wasn’t going to church but wants to serve a mission.  I told him he needs to start going to church again, I hope it works out, I’ll keep in contact with the missionaries in that area.  Last Thursday we had a zone conference and Elder Carboni of the 70 came to speak to us, he was companions with President Colleoni on their mission. He said he and President baptized 25 people in a month in Manaus. freaking crazy. The conference was really good, and I learned a lot.  I went to my first area to say hi to some of the people I taught when we went to go eat at Brother Costa´s house, it was weird to be in my first area again.  It’s sad to see a bunch of friends that are ending their missions this transfer, we heard their testimonies at the conference. A lady in my ward, Fatima Medeiros, recently came home from a visit to Utah.  I gave her 20 bucks and asked her to bring steak strips beef jerky from Costco, she complied and now I am enjoying some delicious beef jerky.  I am currently teaching the grandmother of a recent convert of my old companion and her adopted son who is 9.  They received the message really well and she is really nice, we brought them to church on Sunday and plan on baptizing them this Friday, and a member brought his brother and maybe we can mark his baptism for Saturday after conference.  I’m really excited for General Conference and it couldn’t come at a better time.  Wish you all well and stay cold for me, because now it’s about to get hotter. 

October 2-9th

Monday 2/10  - Nothing important happened that I remember.

Tuesday 3/10 - I woke up and went to the zone leaders room to see if they had the transfers, which they did.  I was not to thrilled with it, and waited for the ZL to tell me it was a joke, which he didn't. After a while I came to accept it and began to prepare for the transfer, mentally.  My new area is Pombal, Paraiba, a different state then that of Natal.  It’s a 9-hour trip with a 3-hour layover in another city.  I also got a really difficult companion, which didn’t help my situation, but the APs called me and said I need to take care of him and help him along, he’s a good guy, works hard, but has some difficulties.  

Wednesday 04/10 - We went to the bus station and caught our bus at 10 to the end of the world.  I got the quick rundown of the area from the last elders, who both left, which means i will be opening the area.  They did nothing. Left only 2 people, a couple, in our teaching group.  We got to Sousa at 6 at night and met up with the zone leaders.  I talked to them and they said that basically we would be opening a city, no elder has been really working there for at least a handful of transfers.  we got to the apartment at 10 at night and crashed.  

Thursday 5/10 - We started the work and left to make contacts and find people to teach.  We had lunch and continued to work.  then we visited a member that night.  Based on what the members say, there’s a lot of problems and disunion in the branch.  

Friday 06/10 - We worked, went to lunch, and then visited the couple that were on the teaching list, they need to be married to be baptized but the man has a problem with his birth certificate, so we are working that out.  While there we talked to a lady who walked in who is a daughter and we found out that she’s been to church and received the lessons. The other missionaries literally left nothing about her.  I invited her to be baptized and she accepted. To be safe I marked it for the next Sunday.

Saturday 07/10 -  We returned to the house of the daughter of the couple, Raquel, to try and baptize her this Sunday.  We talked to her and she accepted.  We made sure she knew everything and didn’t have any problems and then filled out her baptism form.  Then that night I realized the city cut the water off and we wouldn’t be able to fill the font.  I talked to the counselor of the branch and suggested baptizing her in the river, but he said it’s a mess there on Sundays because it’s the only attraction here in this small town.  No one thought that the water reserve in the church was big enough for the font.  We tried with the military and the firemen to get someone with water, but they don’t work on Sunday and nothing worked.  But I felt like it would all work out. We went home and after three days of hard work to close the weeks numbers were dead, and went to bed at 9:45.  

Sunday 08/10 - We woke up and went out to pick up investigators but didn’t have any luck. Then we went to church and met the Branch president who lives in another city.  He was like just try and fill the font, so we turned on the water and let it fill until church ended.  Thanks to the blessings we received this week we were able to baptize here in the little water that we had.  I told my DL and soon after received calls from my ZL and the APs congratulating us.  It’s not every day someone arrives in a dead area, knowing nothing, and having a baptism.  The ZL said that the whole mission would know about this and that the President was really happy.  It was a good week. 

That’s about it.  Just counting down to my birthday and hump day. 

October 21-30th


Nothing much happened, but we worked on preparing a young woman and her younger sister for their baptisms on Friday.

Friday - 

Today we left the house at 10 to get to a neighboring city where the ZLs live for zone meeting and interviews with the president.  We ate lunch at a restaurant which was really good, then met up at the chapel to have zone meeting. The president showed up and conducted interviews.  He is very happy with the work my comp and I are doing here in this area that was once dead.  After the interviews we went home and went straight to the chapel in Pombal and had the baptisms of the two girls we prepared.  then we took them out to eat pastels.  

Saturday - 

I woke up a little late because of the exhausting day before and I didn’t sleep well.  We ate lunch, planned for the day, and after appointment after appointment fell through we went to the central park and i suggested we get a milkshake.  while we were waiting for it to open, a guy went up to me and asked me if I was from the Mormon church, to which I replied yes, then he asked how he can learn more about the church, so we took him to the chapel and taught him the restoration, he was very intelligent and knew a lot of doctrine, and said he believed that the Book of Mormon was true.  Then we invited him to go to church the next day which would be in Sousa, another city for District Conference.  He said he would.  A real miracle.  

Sunday - 

We went to the chapel and waited for the young man, named Lucas, to arrive. when he wasn’t showing up we called him and said he would be down in 10 minutes.  We waited and waited and waited but he didn’t show.  The vans had to leave to get to the stake center in time for the conference to start and the couldn’t wait for him.  I knew that God wouldn’t guide Lucas to us and everything to happen just for us to leave him.  I asked the driver to go the other direction to see if he was on the way, and at the last minute we saw him with his bike coming towards the chapel.  We hurriedly grabbed him and left for Sousa.  The conference went well and was really spiritual.  We held the confirmations of our baptisms in a separated room after the meeting.  Then we took the vans back to Pombal.  I talked the whole time with Lucas to see how he liked the meeting, then I shared with him the Articles of Faith because he was curious about some doctrines.  When i shared the part about Adam’s transgression and I explained why Adam had to fall, he stopped me and said, oh I don’t know the chapter or verse but I saw a scripture that says something like Adam had to fall for men to exist.  I couldn’t believe that he was quoting the Book of Mormon.  He said that he was studying the Book of Mormon the day before.  A true golden investigator.  

Monday 30/10 - 


I’m gonna go to a pizzeria tonight in Sousa to celebrate with the other elders as well as celebrate 1 year on the mish.  

[Editor's Note #2: Pictures from the last couple of months can be found on the Photos page.]

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Week 5, Transfer 5 -- Bautismo! Milagres! Casementoooo!

NOTE: This is from the week ending July 2nd.

Nothing much happened earlier this week except I got stung by a wasp which felt like a blow torch on my hand, and it’s been raining for two weeks straight.  

Friday, we went to another ward party for São João where you basically eat a bunch of corn. I had popcorn, a kind of corn pudding called canjica, corn on the cob, and cake.  

Saturday, we had the baptism of the investigator we have been working with named Nedson, who is 21.  The service went well in the end, but I freaked out on the inside when after we went in the water he asked if he could use the bathroom beforehand, we went and I thought he wanted to back out at the last second, but everything went well.  

I got a phone call from the elders in Nova Repúplica asking if I would be going to the wedding of one of the families that I taught, whose son I baptized.  Then they asked if I could baptize him after the wedding which really came as a surprise and I said of course.  I can't really explain just how happy I felt that I would have the opportunity to baptize the father of the family I helped bring into the gospel and who I taught about eternal marriage and families which I know affected them.  

We got picked up at 5 to go eat dinner at the Costa's house before the wedding.  We had chicken, sausage, beef stroganoff and chicken stroganoff (different kind of stroganoff), and lasagna.  It was all really good.  The wedding went really well and the baptism even better.  I'll never forget that day.  

Sunday, we finally saw the sun so that’s cool I guess.  There is a lady in the ward here who is going to Utah next weekend which is weird to think that she will be there and I will be here.  

I learned an interesting fact the other day -   There is a slang word we use here in the north-east of brasil: Oxente "oshench".  Apparently, because of the US naval base here in Natal, people started saying "oh shi*" because of the Americans, but after time it turned to oxente, which sounds the same. You say it in the same context. Just your little history lesson today. 

 Até mais!

- Élder Holdaway

P.S. OXENTE! i have 8 months already!!!

First baptism of the day -- Nedson

The food -- oh, the glorious food!

The Costas, the best family here. Bro. Costa was in the Brasilian Special Forces

The baptism of Tiago, I baptized his son in my 2nd transfer. My clothes are still wet from the baptism earlier.

​Next step, temple marriage!​

Monday, April 17, 2017

Transfer 3, Week 5

Tuesday 11/4 -

Today, we met with the Zone Leader, Elder Melo, and his companion, Elder Rocha, at the bus station at 9:30 am.  We chatted for a bit until Elder Melo and my companion left for Caicó.  I will be spending the week with Elder Rocha, who is from Cape Verde, Africa.  We worked a lot today, made a bunch of contacts, and taught several lessons in-house.  It was really great to work again.

Wednesday 12/4 –

Today, we worked hard again, but caught a bunch of rain. I'm really enjoying working with him, he knows the doctrine really well and the bible really really well.  He has only been a member for about 3 years and will go home in October.  He said he didn't read the bible or anything before the mish, I'm really impressed at his knowledge, study skills, and work discipline.

Thursday 13/4 -

Nothing much happened today.  I started the Old Testament this week and am now in Leviticus which is really, really boring. So far I've read some pretty strange things that have happened.  At night, we went to a less active member's house, Duiji, who served in Colorado and speaks English, he also cooks.  He made us Asian chicken stir fry which was delicious. 

Friday 14/4 -

Today, while eating breakfast, I cut my thumb pretty bad cutting a mango.  I probably need stitches but a band aid will do.  The mango was good.  A member brought over a pizza for lunch that they sell.  We didn't work that much today because it is Good Friday.  I read a bunch of Liahonas [local church magazine] and read an article about institute that mentions Brent L. Top, and an article about opening a mission in Sweden, I think, where President Russell M. Nelson and President Monson worked with Elder Hans Ringger to open the mission there.  Proud to have Ringger in my blood, and my personality.  We managed to teach a lady, and argue with her very Catholic friend when she showed up half way through.  My companion said that not one person in the Bible was baptized on the head or as a baby.  She said that our bible was wrong.  He said that it was wrong because the Catholics changed it.  At least that’s what I took from the situation.  It was very entertaining.  Then we got milkshakes with the sisters, then saw some members (who are apparently rich, the husband owns a bank) and they bought us (good) pizza. 

Domingo 15/4 -

Today we had an investigator show up and a member brought his friend.  After church, we went to the sisters house (outside) and ate cinnamon rolls that the American sister made.  Then we went to Duiji's house again to eat orange cake, tapioca crepes, and avocado smoothies (with milk and sugar) which was all very good. 

This week was really good and we were able to make 72 contacts, teach 25 lessons (in-house, not in the street) and do much more.  Elder Rocha taught me better working habits like working in the morning and leaving the house earlier, and all in all I had a great time with him.  Today I am in Caicó to eat churrasco with the zone, and tomorrow is zone conference in Mossoró.  A few days with Elder Cassiano, and then transfer day.  I'm feeling pretty good and hoping for a baptism next Sunday, but we'll see. 

P.S. My thumb healed fine...and no pics :( 

And if you want to know how to do a Law of Moses animal sacrifice properly, shoot me an email.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Week 1 Transfer 3 -- Currais Novos!

Buckle up for this one.  

Monday 13/3 - 

Today, I didn´t really do much except that night I met up with some other elders to get burgers.  Everyone was talking about transfers and one elder told me that he knew the transfers and that I would stay and Elder Prado would be transferred.  Another elder, an American, told me that he felt that I would be transferred to Caicó and when he said that I felt it too. Despite what the other elder said and the other rumors I heard saying that I would stay, I somewhat knew that I was going to be transferred to Caicó specifically.  

Tuesday 14/3 - 

Today, the news about the transfer came later than usual, about 11:00.  The ZL said "Elder Holdaway will be transferred to Currais Novos, Zona Caicó, and his new companion will be the DL, Elder Cassiano."  Except for the news about my new companion, I wasn´t surprised at all.  Elder Cassiano is from Ribeiro Preto and was in my zone in my first transfer; Elder Nhantole was my DL and Cassiano was the other DL.  The zone Caicó is about 4-5 hours inland from the state capital, Natal, and is actually spread across a few cities.  Where my old area was a borough of the city, Natal. Currais Novos is its own city and is actually two hours away from Caicó and the ZLs.  My new area has 4 missionaries; Elder Cassiano, Me, Sister Newman (an American), and Sister Noble (a Brazilian).  I´ll talk more about my area later.  I spent the rest of the day packing, and I visited some people including Nathanael; the boy I baptized Sunday and his family, and Ismael, my Ward Mission Leader, who is awesome - he served in Ribeiro Preto and was called as Branch President in his FIRST AREA!!! I can't imagine doing that.  He served in various leadership roles on his mission and when he was an AP, Elder Oaks visited the mission and spent the day with Ismael doing divisions.  He taught me a lot in these 13 weeks and he cried a little when I said goodbye.  Then we went to the Costa's for dinner.  Brother Costa and I talked a lot about our time in the military and I showed him a little pin I have of the Special Forces unit patch with airborne wings. He was a Brazilian commando which is kinda like the Navy Seals.  He did a lot of underwater demolition and he also parachuted; static and freefall.  He said that the military here has the upmost respect for the US SF unit patch and anyone wearing it.  He said he did a lot of work/training with them.  Dinner was great and it was hard saying goodbye to them, the best and kindest family I’ve met yet here.  

Wednesday 15/3 - 

Today at 7:30 I said my last goodbyes to my "birthplace" and we headed for the rodoviário which is a big bus/taxi station where all the missionaries met up to travel and exchange companions.  I enjoyed talking to the other missionaries before my bus left at 10:30. It was a small A/C-less bus as opposed to the nicer buses that others got.  We stopped at a pretty nice restaurant for lunch and continued our long journey.  The countryside here is beautiful and green with small mountains jutting out across the land.  It looks like a greener version of Arizona.  We got to Caicó and met up with our comps and ZL's.  We went to the ZL's house and chilled.  We went to go out and eat dinner, and walking around I saw THOUSANDS of stink beetles and the whole city smelled like beetle.  My shoes still smell like all the beetles I massacred with my feet.  The ZL's said it's not normal for them to be here and they arrived whe

n we came.  We at dinner (I had tapica recheado, which literally means stuffed tapioca. It's meat, eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, etc., stuffed in a crepe or tortilla made of tapioca – Its pretty dang good) and crashed.  I didn't sleep that well because it was hot and those stupid beetles kept jumping and crawling on me.  The next day we had zone meeting and afterwards we played Mafia which was fun.  Then we ate lunch at a member’s house from the ZL's ward which was an hour away in the hot, hot sun.  The members are bakers and they make little cakes, or scones and biscuits for a living and they sell to markets.  It was interesting to see how they work.  Then we went home to grab my things and went to the rodoviário to go to our area.  Another boring trip.  After being here for a few days (it's Sunday right now) I'll explain more about the area.  Currais Novos, translated, means New Corral.  With that you can guess that there’s plenty of ranches here.  But, actually, this city, or town, is an old mining town.  The city is in the middle of nowhere with one road in and one road out.  The nearest city is at least an hour away.  I love it here, and one reason why is because the landscape and climate here is like northern California or northern Arizona.  There are shrubs, cacti, and rocky hills everywhere. The nights are a cool 70 degrees. The culture here is like that of the American Northwest as well. There is a local motorcycle club here and, at the moment, a motofest in the town square.  I love it here and if given the choice, would never leave.  That night we ate dinner with the sisters at an outside churrascaria.

Friday 17/3 - 

We slept in to get needed rest after 2 long days of travelling (and 2 weeks of sleeplessness for me) and went to get lunch at a restaurant that a member works at and he paid for our meal.  Then Elder Cassiano showed me the area and we met a couple members. I went to the local supermarket to get groceries.  

Saturday 18/3 - 

After lunch, we went to the chapel to visit with the branch president, who wasn't there. We went to go to his house but met him on the way and talked.  He wants us to speak on Sunday.  Then we went to take açaí and then checked out the Motofest which was awesome.  Hundreds of bikers from different clubs were walking around with their cuts on, like the Brazilian version of Sturgis.  Luckily, I didn't see any "one-percenters."  I bought a pin of the state flag, Rio Grande Do Norte, and a pin of an eagle with the words "motociclista" written beneath it.  Then we ate dinner at a snack shack that the branch president owns and chatted with him.  

Sunday 19/3 - 

Today, we picked up some members and went to church.  My comp and I had to give talks, and I prepared what I thought was a pretty dang good talk on how we can grow our testimony of the BoM, that would fill the 10 minutes allotted.  I was first and wasn't too nervous to talk in front of 25 people.  A little more than halfway in and right before the good part, the 1st counselor nudged my leg and gave me the thumbs up like that was enough.  So, I quickly wrapped it up and closed.  I don't think I talked all that long or even went past the 10 minutes.  He apologized after I sat down and said something but I didn’t understand him, I still don’t know what happened, but I hope it means they won’t ask me again.  

That’s all folks, until next week.  More pictures in the blog. 
You have arrived . . .

Monday, March 13, 2017

Transfer 2 -- Weeks 4 thru 6

Tuesday 21/2 -

Today, my companion and I divided with the District Leader, Elder Alfaro, and his companion, Elder Martins.  I went with Elder Martins in his area, he and I are good friends already so I was excited to spend the day with him.  For lunch, he made ham and egg breakfast tacos which were good.  Then we went out and did some street contacting.  They have a small sand dune in their area, so he took me there and we hiked to the top and watched the sun set, but I forgot my camera.  We talked a lot and he really opened up about his life before the mission and what not.  Then we went to take açaí for dinner.  Side note - their house is like the best missionary house I have seen in the mission and I am super jealous of them.

Wednesday 22/2 -

We woke up and Elder Martins made fried bananas.  You fry bananas in oil, put on a plate, and top with sugar, powdered milk, powdered chocolate, and sweetened condensed milk.  Super easy and super good. Then we returned to our areas. 

Thursday 23/2 -

This morning, President and Sister Colleoni came over to our house to look at the place and tell us that we were going to move houses to live with two other elders in another zone.  I am not too thrilled about this change, but the good thing is that the house is right next to our chapel.

Friday 24/2 -

We have to be careful in the streets at night and shouldn't stay out late because of the Carnaval parties.  Everyone is drunk.  We taught a boy named Gean that we met on the street the other day, and he invited his two older brothers, Mateus and Leandro to listen in on our first lesson, the Restoration.  It went well and they all seemed interested.  We committed them to church on Sunday, but who knows being that Carnaval is this weekend.

Sunday 26/2 -

They didn't come, in fact no one came except for a handful of people.  I went to stay the night at the DL's house to spend the next day with them.  The power was out in their area but we had a fun time playing Uno and other games. 

Monday 27/2 -

Today, I stayed at the district leader's house last night and we are going to go on a tour of Natal and the beach and what not with a member. 

We went to an activity at the church for Carnaval and we ate feijoada, rice, and barbeque.  Then we went with a member to the beach which was really cool.  We went to a place where the sand dunes met the water.  I saw camels there and the view was just amazing, I think the beaches here are my favorite that I have been to.  I was surprised that not a lot of people were there though.  We went down near the shore and walked 3-4 miles down the coast.  My favorite P-day yet.  On the way there we passed a Carnaval parade while we were on the bus.  It was like a mix between Mardi Gras and a San Francisco gay parade. I didn't realize it was so gross and dirty.  Maybe there's a better part to it.  There was a guy I met at the church activity that had a GoArmy key chain that made me look twice.  It was weird seeing that here.  I talked to him and he said he went on his mission to Idaho and he planned on joining the Army there in the states, but it didn’t work out for some reason.  Thought that was pretty interesting.

Tuesday 28/2 - PARA BENS MAMÃE !!!!!!!

Nothing special really happened today except that I'm getting sick and Gean and Mateus weren't there for their appointment.  Vai dar certo.

Wednesday 1/3 -

Today, we passed by Gean and Mateus again (Leandro doesn't live there) and we taught them the Plan of Salvation.  Mateus shows more interest than Gean, but he is 3 years older than Gean at 15.

Thursday 2/3 -

Today, we went to visit a 13-year-old named Alan who just got back from the church youth camp.  He liked it and wants to be baptized, in fact he has wanted to be baptized for quite some time.  He has already been to church several times, but hasn't been taught.  He leaves for a city near Mossoró next Tuesday, so we are working to get him baptized on Saturday.  Today we taught him the Restoration, Plan of Salvation, and Gospel all at once and scheduled to teach the commandments tomorrow. 

Friday 3/3 -

Today, we taught the commandments and filled out the membership/baptism document and got it signed by his mother.  Now just an interview with the DL and the baptism tomorrow night.

Saturday 4/3 - PARA BENS KAELIN!!!!!!!!

Today, we received a call from the bishop and he told us that we can baptize Alan if we want, but he will not confirm him because Alan is leaving, and the bishop doesn't want another inactive member on the records.  We plead his case and he said he would call us back.  The other problem is that there is no church where Alan is going.  Next, we got a call from the Mission President saying that for the sake of good relations between the ward and stake, he would not be authorizing this baptism.  I wasn’t feeling well, so I returned to bed after personal study and got up in time to go out and work for the day that afternoon.  We taught Mateus today (Gean lost interest) and committed him to baptism and church. 

Sunday 5/3 -

Well, Mateus actually showed up and we had good meetings.  In Sunday School, the teacher taught about gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and shared a video of Elder Holland talking about it.  I thought it was the perfect lesson for our investigator and he seemed really interested.  We went to eat lunch and the member told me about an American who passed in this area who was a really good singer and had a band back in the states.  I asked her more about it and she said that there’s like 12 members of the band and they wear blue.  I was a bit confused and asked if there was a video of it on YouTube, and she pulled up a BYU Vocal Point video singing Silent Night.  He is the first one singing.  I thought that was pretty cool.  We went home and I tried to catch up on sleep that I lost the previous night due to not feeling well, but it didn't come.  Then we went to a meeting that ended up being cancelled and so we did some street contacts for the rest of the night.  On one contact I presented the message of the Restoration and asked the lady if she would like to hear more about it this next coming week.  She pulled up an empty chair next to her and told me to share it now, and so we did right there on the street (a lot of people just sit in front of their houses outside) and afterwards we set up an appointment to teach them the next one.

Monday 6/3 -

Today, we went to Alecrim so I could get a suit from another Elder who is leaving soon.  I felt so sick that we just we went to the LAN house and stayed home the rest of the day.

Tuesday-Saturday -

I was pretty sick and couldn´t sleep that well this week and it was hard to find the energy to do anything. As a result, work was slow, especially with most of our appointments falling through.  The only really good thing that happened was teaching this one family.  The mom, Kayla, was baptized 23 years ago but is inactive.  Last Sunday she had the sudden desire to return to church.  She brought her 13-year-old son, Nathannael, and his cousin who is a member.  We talked to her and set a day to teach Nathannael to baptize him.  The day we went, we talked to the step-dad, Tiago, and had a good conversation with him.  Throughout teaching the family, we found out that Tiago has a really strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and Restoration.  By Saturday, we committed Nathannael for baptism for Sunday, Tiago for baptism after he gets married (people here aren´t usually married), and Kayla and Tiago will work on going to the temple.  Saturday night when we were teaching about eternal marriage and families, Kayla became very emotional.  She gave the closing prayer, and it was one of the most powerful and sincere prayers that I have felt.  It was truly special. Friday night we went to the marriage of our WML at the chapel.  It was boring but the food was good.

Sunday 12/3 -

The night before we had a conversation with the bishop over the phone and he almost blocked the baptism again.  I decided we should open a fast for our work here and leave it in the Lord´s hands.  I felt like everything was going to be ok, but my companion was up all night thinking about what he will say to the bishop the next day.  Today, I brought my baptism clothes even though it was still up in the air.  I sat down in the 1st block and the bishop came in and sat down next to me and said we will have the baptism like normal.  My comp was very surprised. The baptism went very well (it only took one time this time), the whole family was there and once again the mom was very emotional.   

Tomorrow is transfer day, I think I will be transferred but we will see.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

Weeks 2 and 3, Transfer 2

Monday 6/2 -

Today, we spent most of the day at the internet café downloading church movies from YouTube like the best two years and the work and the glory. 

Tuesday - Friday

Nothing really interesting.

Saturday 11/2 -

Today we held the interview for a 10 yr old girl named Flavia.  Her parents are members but are less active.  I have been working hard with them to reactivate them and hopefully the baptism of their daughter will help.  They came to church last week and the week before.  We had lunch with the Costas which was super good as always.  The baptism service started at 5:30 and went well. She was baptized by her uncle. I told the father that the best thing he can do now is be a good example to his daughter and continue going to church. 

Sunday 12/2 -

Today, João Victor almost didn´t go to church because he was partying all night last night.  He was confirmed today with Flavia.  I am happy to see the many blessings from the Lord.

Monday 13/2 -

Today I tried to resolve a problem I had with a package that was sent to me and didn't get that far.  We had to go to Alecrim which is a burrow of Natal across the river in Zona Sul.  While there I decided to buy an official futebol A.B.C. team shirt. ABC is the team from Natal.  We spent the rest of the day at home. 

Tuesday 14/2 -

Today we had to wake up at 3:30 for zone conference.  We took a bus to a chapel in Zona Sul.  The conference was really good and we had some good food and I got to meet a bunch of friends.  We got home at 6 and went straight to bed and didn´t wake up until the next morning. 

Wednesday 15/2 -

Today we went to Carrefour (kinda like Walmart) and got our allowance from the church and I bought some food.  I also bought food to make tacos Mexican style to make for my companion and I.

Friday 17/2 -

Today I got my garments that I ordered in the mail a couple weeks ago.  The nylon mesh and the silk type are awful here. I bout a 50/50 cotton/poly mix garments that they don’t have in the states. Super comfortable.  For dinner, I made the tacos.  I cooked up some ground beef and seasoned it with I'm not sure what because the spice names are different here.  I mixed in some pinto beans and hot sauce. it smelled really good but tasted way to salty.  The beans I bought had a ton of salt that i didn't know about.  I decided to level it out with some sugar and it turned out really, really good.  My mom used to make taco meat with ground beef and baked beans, what I made tasted just like that.  I made a simple salsa with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice. topped the tacos with cheese and lettuce.  They were really good, and it was my companions first time trying it.

I invited some elders over to my place today for lunch to make tacos again, one of them is Mexican, so I hope he approves.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Week 1 Transfer 2: BATISMO

Tuesday 31/1 -

Today, we got the news that Elder Nhantole was to be transferred to Parnamirim and become zone leader.  I loved being his companion, and he taught me a lot of things that aren´t in the manuals.  We spent the rest of the day getting ready for the transfer and then had açaí with the zone. 

Wednesday 1/2 -

Today we took a taxi to this big bus/taxi station where all the missionaries meet up.  we got there early but I had to wait until 1 p.m. for my new companion because he was coming from Mossoró which is about 7 hours inland.  My new companion is Elder Prado, who is from south of Brasil, near Curitiba.  He is 22 yrs old and likes anime, Japanese stuff, and has 2 pet fish that he brought with him.  Interesting guy.  He also likes analyzing peoples handwriting and asks every person we meet to write their name so he can analyze them.  I took him back to the apartment and he got settled in.  I showed him around the area and we taught the commandments to João Victor, who we are preparing for baptism next Sunday.  Then we got açaí with some other elders.

Friday 3/2 -

Today, we taught a boy named Alan and his two friends the Restoration. João Victor wasn´t there, but I hope he will be there tomorrow so we can interview him.  We had dinner at the Costa´s and I brought my guitar to play for them at their request.  We had a good time.

Saturday 4/2 -

Today we found João at his house at 10:30 and he had his completed baptism form completed and signed to my delight.  We scheduled a time later that day to hold his interview.  The interview went well and he is excited to be baptized. 

Sunday 5/2 -

We went to pick up investigators including João Victor, but he wasn´t home.  His family said he already left for church and I hoped they were right.  We arrived at church and I was glad to see him in Elders quorum.  After church, we held the baptism service and I had the opportunity to baptize my first investigator.  One thing I forgot to mention, he was a bit taller than me.  I ended up having to baptize him 3 times because some part of his body was out.  I felt kind of bad because he looked nervous.  But everything went well and he was really excited. 

In our second lesson with João, he mentioned that he saw the movie "Other Side of Heaven" and he wanted to serve a mission.  He turns 18 in August and I am eager to see if he will.  

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Week 7

Monday 23/1 -

Today we went to the mission office so I could get my passport to authenticate some documents to receive my refund for the baggage fees I had to pay.  Well the place I went to authenticate them didn´t accept my passport as identification.  They need a document from the Federal Police that says I am registered that I am still waiting for.  We went to McDonald’s for lunch and went home. 

Wednesday 25/1 -

Today we had a transmission from SLC with Elder Oaks, Elder Anderson, and other authorities from the missionary department.  In the conference, they revealed the new worldwide missionary schedule, and they got rid of all the key indicators except for Investigators Baptized and Confirmed, Investigators with a Baptismal Date, Investigators Attending Church, and New Investigators.  After the conference, we had the other District Leader in our zone interview Luiz for his baptism this Saturday.  Then we taught Rafael the Law of Chastity and told him his options concerning marriage and baptism. 

Friday 27/1 -

Today we started teaching a 17-year-old boy named João Vito who is really interested in our message.  He watched The Other Side of Heaven and wants to serve a mission.  We received news today that our baptism with Luiz got postponed for next week because he is dealing with some problems with the police.  He was going to run away with these two girls but he decided not to go at the last minute.  One of the girls went to Fortaleza and the other went to João Pessoa.  The parents of the girls went to Luiz´s house to find out what happened and they called to police to get them involved. So, we are just waiting for this to blow over. 

Saturday 28/1 -

Today we had João Vito, his friend, and two girls under 11 with their two brothers around their same age come to church.  The mom of the kids would have come but she was sick.  Yesterday I decided to fast for investigators to come to church and I can see the blessings from the Lord. 

Again, no pictures.  We should have a couple baptisms this weekend if everything works out.  And its transfer week this week so I may get a new companion but we will see.  

Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 6

Tuesday 17/1 -
We started teaching this one guy, Rafael, who´s the boyfriend of the daughter of a member, and the daughter is less active.  They are really nice and he is really interested in the church.  Then we taught a boy named Luiz who is the brother of a member.  We taught the 3rd lesson, the Gospel, with our Ward Mission Leader, who really likes to talk.  I taught faith, my companion taught repentance, the WML was just supposed to teach baptism, and then I was going to teach the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and then finish with “endure to the end.”  The WML taught baptism, the Holy Ghost, priesthood, temples, tithing, and so on and so forth.  He asked Luiz´s brother to share his experience with baptism, and after he shared that I quickly cut in with my experience with baptism and then I invited Luiz to be baptized, which he accepted.  I ended the lesson before the WML could start on another discussion and we scheduled his baptism for next Saturday. 

Wednesday 18/1 -
Today we were supposed to go to the Costa´s to eat, but we had to get out of the street because it was too dangerous.  We went to the Costa´s early so we were in before the 7 o’clock curfew, after dinner the dad drove us home.  It is dangerous because something happened in the prisons here and the gangs inside are fighting and it’s pretty bad and a lot of people are dying because the police aren´t doing anything about it.  The gang members on the outside are mad and are protesting.  They shot and killed a bus driver and set the bus on fire.  Some of the prisoners escaped and we saw a couple in the street.

Thursday 19/1 -
Today I taught English in the morning which went well.  We taught Rafael again and that went really well.  That night we had to return home at 7 again and so English class that night was cancelled. 

Saturday 21/1 -
Today we taught Rafael again and he asked us questions about what he read in the Book of Mormon that I invited him to read in the last lesson (Alma 12) which means he really is interested.  He accepted to be baptized but he lives with his girlfriend so he needs to either move out or get married. 

Monday 23/1 -
Today we had to go to the mission office across the river and we saw that the government deployed the military.  I saw at least 15 personnel carriers carrying soldiers pass us in our area.  Across the river, I saw 10 or so armored personnel carriers and soldiers patrolling the streets everywhere because of what’s happening in the prisons.  I don´t know exactly what’s going on so look it up on the internet. 

Anyway that´s all for now, no pics this time. 

Until next time!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Week 5

Monday 9/1

Today we went to the other Elders’ house in our district to help them move houses for a couple hours.  Then we emailed, then we picked up an investigator, a young boy, to play futeball at the church.  Then after we ate at the Costas, always good. 

Tuesday 10/1

Today we had splits with the other Elders in our district, which went well.  Then one of the other Elders and I ordered pizza. 

Wednesday 11/1 

Today we had zone meeting where they revealed the new missionary schedule.  Instead of the "white handbook" schedule, we have personal/exercise/shower and breakfast time from 6:30-8:30.  8:30 is daily planning for 30 minutes, then its personal study until 10, then we work.  After lunch we have training for 30min, companionship study for 30min, and language study for 30min.  We really start work at 3 o clock. Personal study got taken away on P-day which now starts at 8 am and not 10 am.  I like the new schedule.  We had interviews with the president that night, which went well and was pretty basic. 

Thursday 12/1

Today, I taught English class in the morning and the same one at night for an hour and a half.  Only three people turned up to both classes and they were all teenage girls.  I wonder why.

Friday 13/1

Today we had an appointment with a man named Antonio, but he wasn’t there, instead we were welcomed by his wife, who was baptized when she was young.  She told us her uncle just died and they were very close.  Then she asked about the spirit world and if we could explain it better (our last lesson was the Plan of Salvation).  I explained it in greater detail.  She then asked if it was possible for the spirits who have died to communicate with us through the veil, and I said it was possible.  She told us a dream she had where she saw her uncle in a room with a bunch of other family members she knew who were dead and they were all dressed in white.  The family members took her uncle and then they left. She then woke up and heard the news about her uncle’s death.  Then she told us about a dream she had where she saw a stairway come out of heaven and she went up and saw a man who was dressed in all white and long hair, but she couldn’t see his face because it was super bright.  She thinks this man was Christ.  Behind the man she could see 12 kingdoms, and we explained that those 12 kingdoms were probably the 12 tribes of Israel and that the work we are doing today is to gather the 12 tribes in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ.  We talked about some other stuff and it was a good conversation and she said she will go to church next week. 

That´s pretty much it for this week, no investigators showed up to church yesterday, so no baptisms this week which is frustrating.  I asked the president and he said I could buy a guitar, so I bought one today, and a hammock.  

Until next week, Vai dar certo

Elder Holdaway 

​Elder Vargas and I with too much pizza, but hey teusdays are 2 for 1

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Week 4, I Guess

Monday 2/1

Nothing special happened today until we went to play paintball with 6 other elders and two sisters.  It was pretty fun and pretty cheap as well, only 50 reais which is like twenty something dollars.

Wednesday 4/1

For dinner, today we had some other elders come over to our house and we made homemade french fries and topped them with cheese, herbs, onions, sausage, and bacon.  Super good. 

Thursday 5/1

Today we invited a member to teach with us, and on the way back from the lesson, we saw 6 sagui monkeys run across the power lines from roof to roof! I was probably more excited than I should have been.  That night I was supposed to teach English but it was cancelled.  I am going to start teaching English every Thursday in the morning and at night.

Friday 6/1

Today we didn´t have a lunch appointment so we called the Costas and they happily accepted us.  We ended up spending two hours there just talking, but we ate really really good.  They told us we could stop by any time any day and grab food or a snack or water or whatever.  I think we will take them up on their offer.  

Out of our six or so promising investigators, only one showed up for church, and we later found out that she doesn't live in our area so we can’t baptize her.  So, no baptizing for the next week.  

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Week 3

This week was pretty good! We were able to teach some powerful first lessons and I think we will have several baptisms in the upcoming weeks.  People just have to go to church.  Wednesday I had to go to the mission office across the river to do some visa stuff.  I went with the two secretaries to the federal police building and spent a couple hours there doing paperwork.  Then the sisters in that zone came over to the office and brought some food that they made.  Rice, chicken stew, mashed potatoes, and passion fruit mousse. All very delicious. 

We also exchanged our cell phone for a "better" one.  Well it ended up not working so we went back the next day to fix it.  We got a new phone and then we went to McDonalds for lunch.  I never thought I would be that excited to go to McDonalds, but I was.  I got a club burger, a big mac, fries, and of course guarana.  It was my companion’s first McDonalds and he said it was really good.  The rest of the week was pretty normal. 

Saturday afternoon we cleaned the kitchen of our apartment and I bought some provisions for the next week and for cooking.  It feels good to be able to cook in a clean kitchen.  then we had some other elders meet up with us that night and we ordered pizza.  we hung out for the rest of that night and one of the elders taught the security guard most the night.  I am looking forward to a new year of faithful service to my Lord.

My foot looking much better