Monthly Archives: September 2015

Pictures – We have PICTURES!

The past week has definitely flown by! Last Monday, we didn’t have P-Day. We got an hour to email and then a normal day. Tuesday was P-Day da Missâo where everyone in the whole mission got together. We went to the botanical gardens in São Paulo, which is about 1.5 hours (by bus) from my area. At first, I was skeptical…going to a big garden sounded really boring. But, it actually turned out to be really awesome. Because of all the trees and plants, the air was fresh and clean unlike the trash/feces/alcohol/smog-scented air I normally breathe. It was also cool to meet some of the other missionaries and talk with some of the others from the MTC. We were there all day. We played games and it was really fun!

Elders Tew and Raulino at the Botanical Garden

Elders Tew and Raulino at the Botanical Garden

The rest of the week nothing terribly exciting happened. We have a couple of investigators that are progressing well. One should be getting baptized this week! We’re currently teaching 20 plus people, probably closer to 30. The people here are fairly receptive to us. A lot of them say, “I already have my religion” or “I already know Jesus”. But, a lot of them also agree to talk to us.

From Left to Right: Elder Tew, Sister Broadbent, President Broadbent, Elder Raulino

From Left to Right: Elder Tew, Sister Broadbent, President Broadbent, Elder Raulino

One day this week, we walked in excess of 30 km (I’m not sure what that is in miles). Days like that make me very grateful for the shoes I bought. I believe it was Wednesday. First thing that morning, we had a district meeting about 45 minutes away. When it was over we walked 45 minutes back and then an additional 45 minutes each way to lunch. We ate with a member who lives well outside our area. I’m starting to get used to the normal routine of walking a lot, but that was excessive.

Elder Tew and his blue shoes a the Botanical Garden

Elder Tew and his blue shoes a the Botanical Garden

We had one pretty crummy experience this week. A girl we had been talking to for several weeks half way called it quits on us. When we were asking some of the baptismal interview questions, she completely denied that we have a prophet which is completely opposite of what she said in the lesson: “Really? That’s so awesome! Have you ever seen him?” So, that stunk. But hopefully, we’ll be able to guide her back. Ironically right after that happened, the bottom decided to drop out of the sky and an absolute torrential downpour began. That really helped the mood.

Pretty snazzy gates and one cute Elder!

Pretty snazzy gates and one handsome Elder!

Other than that, we had one…interesting…experience this week. Late one evening, we were walking down a viela (a narrow bath between houses) on our way to see an investigator. There were some people having a churasco (barbecue) in this tiny viela. Naturally, they were playing music and drinking. As we squeezed past, one of the women grabbed our hands and tried to dance with us. We managed to skate by and get to the investigator’s house untarnished. On the return trip, she did the same thing and even attempted to kiss my companion. The path is so small, there was no way to escape them. They tried to get us to stay with them, but we managed to get around them and walk away. I can only imagine what she had on her mind. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that!

Isn't he doing a GREAT job of including himself in his pictures? This picture is reminiscent of Florida.

Isn’t he doing a GREAT job of including himself in his pictures? This picture is reminiscent of Florida.

My mission is going awesome and I’m enjoying experiencing a different culture. There are good and bad parts to it, but it’s still pretty awesome. I hope everyone at home is doing well!! I miss home a lot, but I know I’m where I need to be right now.

Love you all!

Elder Tew

A FEW OTHER EXCERPTS FROM HIS EMAIL TODAY…

I’m doing well! I have nothing to complain about. Today I went to McDonalds – about a 25-minute walk away. I called President this morning to ask if we could go. It’s slightly outside of our area in a mall. He said yes before he could ask why we wanted to go to the mall. He also asked me how I was doing. It was the first time I had the chance to talk to just him. We had a conversation for a few minutes. He seems like a really nice guy. He’s very lax, kind of like Dad. I wanted a cheeseburger and I bought Raulino a sub at Subway. It was a nice treat! Both those places are expensive here, too. Imagine our prices in their dollars ($1/R$4,01). He was really pleased.

This picture was taken today at McDonald's and is quintessential Chapman!!

This picture was taken today at McDonald’s and is quintessential Chapman!! It looks like he had more than just one cheeseburger!

I’m doing well with the language. I can say most of what I want to say and I’m learning more every day.

Sleep is well. I crash at night and wake up in the morning. It’s very satisfying.

I’m eating PLENTY. I ate a ton this week and I only lost like a pound. Normally we have a big lunch, and snack a little throughout the day. But I did a LOT of snacking this week.

I’m happy and getting along with Raulino. He’s really awesome! I try to look for ways to make him happy. He’s very energetic and happy all the time. For the first few weeks he was on his mission, his family wouldn’t respond to his letters. But they are now, so I think he’s doing better with it. It’s a real testimony builder for me.

Spiritually, I’m learning a lot too. I try to make progress in something every day. I’m starting to realize the importance of the scriptures and what an awesome opportunity it is that we have living apostles and prophets.

It’s been two months since I left today. For me, it doesn’t seem that long. But at the same time, it does. I’ve done a lot in two months. The end of this transfer will be 1/8 of the mission down. The whole thing is roughly 16 transfers. It will fly by!

 

Week 2 Flew By

This past week went by really fast! Walking and talking all day makes the time fly by. I’ve been in the field for 2 weeks already, and it only feels like a couple of days! The coolest thing to happen was my first baptism! The Elders had been teaching an investigator, Katia, before I got here. Elder Raulino and I finished teaching her and baptized her Sunday. It was really cool to watch her progress in such a short period of time. She also has a daughter that we’re teaching and she should be baptized in a week or two.

My first baptism - Katia

My first baptism – Katia

A few facts and observations:

  • On Saturday mornings, we offer a free English class for anyone who wants to learn. Most of the people who come aren’t members of the Church. The American Elders and Sisters teach the class. Presently, Elder Henwood (from the other ward in our building) and I are the teachers. I taught the advanced class this week, which basically consists of people that can talk really well but don’t know all the words and grammar rules yet. We sit and talk for 1.5 hours and I correct their mistakes and answer questions. It’s really cool!
  • The drivers here are TERRIBLE. Cars, trucks, busses, motorcycles – you name it, they stink at driving it. They drive fast, weave around, and stop really quickly. I think I may start offering driving lessons too.
  • I don’t think a building code exists here. Some houses are built well, don’t have exposed wiring or plumbing, and are actually nice. Others look like a 5-year-old put them together. Having been around houses being built my whole life, I’ve picked up a thing or two…maybe I’ll show them how to build as well!
  • Certain locations here (Favellas [houses of the super poor]) have big concrete trenches that run down the street into which all their water goes, including toilet water. It’s really disgusting. We call them “Rio de cocô” which means “river of poop”.
  • I think I forgot to mention the name of my area! I serve in the São Jorge Ward of the Alvarenga Stake in Brazil.
  • If I’m doing my km/mi conversion right, we walk about 10 miles every day, up and down hills.
  • The polícia here are very cocky. Elder Raulino says they abuse their power a lot. I personally haven’t had contact with them, but I’ve seen them with other people. They’re bullies.
  • My companion, Elder Raulino, is from Santa Catalina, Brasil. He joined the Church at age 17 and is the only member in his family. He’s now 19 and serving a mission. I really admire that he was able to make the decision to serve against his family’s wishes. He has an awesome testimony. It makes me think that sometimes we take the Gospel for granted, by we I mean the people who grew up in the Church. It really is an awesome place to be and a life-changing decision to join it.
  • We’re approaching the end of winter here and it is HOT. Last week was super chilly, but this week was miserably hot. It got up to 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) yesterday, which is really hot, even for summer. Hopefully, that means I’m melting off some pounds.
  • We eat lunch with members every day. So far, everything I’ve had has been delicious. Rice and beans is always present and whatever accompanies it is always good. They make a lot of juice naturally, meaning at home with fruit they bought. It’s absolutely delicious…always. I found a place this week that sells these big donut things for R$2 for 3 of them. I’m attempting to stay away.
This is a typical street where I live.

This is a typical street where I live.

Well, that’s it for this week! We’re teaching a few (3) people that will hopefully be baptized next week. I’ll give more information on them next week. Until then, En Amo Vocês!

Elder Tew

Answers to Questions from Mom: 091415

How is your Portuguese coming? How do you feel about the language now that you’re out in wide open spaces? Are you still spending extra time in the morning studying the language?

I’ve had several people tell me over that past couple of days that I almost speak without accent…which is awesome. I’m uploading a video that has me speaking in it (this did not come through). I think I do well in conversation. I have to ask Raulino what he’s saying sometimes, but doing well overall. We spend an hour every morning on language study.

How are you eating if the kitchen is nasty? Are you cooking there or eating out?

We eat lunch with members every day. So far, it’s all been delicious. When we eat at home, I clean what I need to use, and the surface I use, and pray that I don’t get sick, which I haven’t. Today, I made hamburgers and I’m alive. I bought some meat, sautéed some garlic and onions, combined it with some barbecue sauce, and cooked it. It turned out all right. The paoderias (bread stores) are a blessing from heaven.

What is your favorite thing about where you are now (aside from the bread stores)? 

My favorite thing is probably the people. Some are sketchy, but the majority are really nice!

How was church? What is the building like?

The church is set up a lot differently than any I’ve seen before. Rather than the divider at the back of the room, there’s a big, thick curtain to separate the chapel from the gym. I’ll try and get a few pictures of the place to show next week. The chapel does have air conditioning! The service itself was good. I could pick up most of what they were saying. I don’t remember what it was, though.

What was your initial impression of your mission president?

He seems really cool and very energetic.

Where is your companion from? What about the other two Elders in your apartment? Is Raulino new to the area as well?

Raulino is from Santa Catalina, Brazil which is in the southern part of Brazil. Of the other set of missionaries, one is from Brazil (Elder Santos) and the other is from Provo (Elder Henwood). They both seem pretty cool. It’s nice to be able to speak some English at night. Raulino has been on a mission for 3 months and has been here the whole time.

So, I gather the cleaning skills I taught you over the years will come in handy, right?

I can only do a fraction of what I would do at home, but it will suffice.

I’m loving Brazil!

Elder Tew and his new companion Elder Raulino

Elder Tew and his new companion Elder Raulino.

September 2, 2015

P-Day! We went to the temple in São Paulo again which was awesome. It’s a little older and has some really beautiful features. I can’t take pictures inside, obviously, but the church website has some.

This week I actually has plenty of time to email. I only didn’t get to 2, so that’s a huge upgrade. Our last day outside the MTC gates before we go to the actual mission field was awesome. I indulged, oops (not), and enjoyed a cookie ice cream sundae and a milkshake – one at the beginning and one at the end so I didn’t feel as guilty. I bought some chocolate to give to my instructors as a thank you gift.

I really love all the people in my district. They’re all really awesome and we work well together. My companion is awesome and does a good job of putting up with me. I’m loving Brasil!

Elder Tew's district outside the São Paulo Temple.

Elder Tew’s district outside the São Paulo Temple.

His tag outside the Campinas Temple.

His tag outside the Campinas Temple.

September 7, 2015

The rest of the week flew by. As we’ve been preparing to leave, we’ve been working hard and sleeping hard. The last six weeks seems so long and so short at the same time. Highlights:

  • Saturday was our last day with our instructors. By the end of the day, they were both crying because we’re leaving. It sounds ridiculous, I know. But, we’ve spend a LOT of time together over the past 6 weeks and have become real attached to them. We’ve grown so much, in more ways than one.
  • Sunday we had a mission conference. I got to play a duet with Elder Fitzgerald who’s from North Carolina. It was a rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” that we “spiced-up” a bit. I really enjoyed it!
  • Monday was orientation for the field. Basically, we moved between the Auditorium and the adjacent classrooms throughout the day. We had a bunch of activities that reviewed what we learned here and expounded on them somewhat. It was also Brazilian Independence Day so our lunch (the biggest meal) was awesome. They had a bunch of cool stuff to eat. My favorites were the fried bananas and the ice cream. That night, we said our goodbyes. Again, hard. But I know the Lord has a plan! And we’re all going to do great on our missions.
Elder Tew's room while in the CTM.

Elder Tew’s room while in the CTM.

A classroom in the CTM featuring Elder Burnside.

A classroom in the CTM featuring Elder Burnside.

Elder Tew's desk in the CTM classroom.

Elder Tew’s desk in the CTM classroom.

One last picture of his CTM district.

One last picture of his CTM district.

First Week in the Field

So, it’s been kind of crazy! We left the MTC early in the morning on the 8th, and drove for an hour or two to the Mission President’s home. It’s a full-floor apartment in the middle of the mission. It’s really nice, and I was rather impressed. The group of new missionaries with me had the chance to sit and talk to him and basically explain a little about who we are. After a brief meeting with him, we left for a nearby church building to meet our companions.

We walked into the meeting a few minutes late, met by a chorus of applause and loud welcomes. It was actually really awesome! After a few testimonies from the missionaries headed home, we were ushered into a traning meeting for the newbies. They gave us a bunch of logistical information and then we went to meet our new companions.

My companion is Elder Bruno Raulino da Conha (but his tag says Raulino) from Santa Catalina Brazil. He’s really awesome!! Our personalities are very similar, so it’s been easy to get along with him. He’s very happy all the time, which helps also.

After the meetings were all over, we took the bus back to our house. It had just started to rain (torrential downpour style), so it wasn’t fun at all. Trudging uphill with bags in tow…I was struggling!

My first area covers the São Jorge Ward. The first thing I thought when I walked into my apartment was “woah”.  It’s pretty bad! The missionaries that have lived here before were pigs. We’re in process of getting a new paint job and we spent about an hour and a half this morning cleaning. Basically, the bottom floor has a kitchen (needs WORK in the cleaning department) and a room for the other set of Elders that live with us. The top floor has our room, a room for the two of us to study, and a bathroom. I was told that we have the worst house in the mission…but I’m working on cleaning it up. :)

My apartment doesn’t have AC but it’s cold out right now, so it feels perfect. We also have fans galore for when it gets hot. The past couple of days it’s been cold enough that I’ve actually been wearing a jacket.

The first couple of days were tough. We walk a TON and my feet hurt. I’ve gotten two blisters, but they’ve mostly gone away now. I had a rough time adjusting, mostly because of the physical demand. About day 3, it got easier. I started focusing more on the people I’m serving and less on the physical demand.
We have about 12 progressing investigators (meaning they’re looking to join the church) and should have (hopefully) 4 baptisms this Sunday.

I got a package from the activity day girls in my ward this week which was awesome. It was very thoughtful and unexpected. I’ve been gorging on the candy within for a few days. It had all kinds of treats including Snickers and Hershey Kisses. I love it! (Thank you!!)

Brazil in General

  • The streets are kind of gross. They don’t do such a good job with picking up trash. In the poorer areas, there are a bunch of people standing on the side of the street smoking pot (ew) which took some getting used to.
  • The people are very God-conscious, so nobody really messes with us.
  • The people are really nice, and will actually stop what they’re doing and talk to us. I was surprised!
  • There are bread stores everywhere and the bread and baked treats are absolutely amazing. My favorite is pão de queijo which is cheese bread.

I’m running short on time, so I have to cut my message short. I hope everyone is doing well and I miss you all!!

Love you tons,
Elder Tew

The front side of the new scripture cover he bought.

The front side of the new scripture cover he bought.

The back side of the new scripture cover he bought.

The back side of the new scripture cover he bought.

More Answers to Questions from Mom

Is your bed comfortable? Are you sleeping well?

It’s not bad! It’s fairly obvious that it was built for a smaller person. I use every available inch of length! As far as comfort, it’s actually kind of nice. The first couple of days were rough because I had no established sleep schedule. But now, I sleep mostly all night. I regularly will spontaneously wake up at 5:30 and have a hard time getting back to sleep. I always feel rested.

What about exercising in the middle of the day? Don’t you need a shower?
We have time after we’re outside to bathe and put regular clothes back on.

What are the showers like?
They’re all stalls. Water pressure leaves something to be desired. I like one in particular that has acceptable pressure and the temperature can be controlled easily. Others will either turn you into an ice cube or give baptism by fire a brand new meaning (awaiting lightning strike).

6 Days Left in the MTC!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

P-Day was BOMB, as per usual. We got up early (sigh) and went to the temple in São Paulo. It was built in the 1970s and was the first temple in Brazil. It has a bunch of really cool stained glass inside…quite different from anything I saw in the states.

After the temple, we drove back to the Fazenda (Missionary Farm) and scarfed down some lunch before going up to email. If you can’t tell, this is a common theme on P-Day. I LOVE reading my emails from home – totally awesome.

We had about 3 hours after that to go explore around the MTC. I found this bakery…oh my. I bought this powdered doughnut filled with chocolate cream…so cheap (R$1.50 = $0.50 U.S.) and so good. The MTC is very mentally taxing, so I find solace in the snacks I buy on P-Day. Optimally, they should last all week…but my can of Pringles maybe made it 3 days.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The most interesting thing about today was that one of the Brazil Area General Authorities came to speak to us. His last name requires some real skill…Mazagarde. He spoke about several things, but what stood out the most was “Começar com o fim em mente” which means “begin with the end in mind”. Basically, whenever we do anything, we should think about what we will want to think when we reflect on the experience later. We should try and do the very best we can so we can feel accomplished and do what we set out to do.

I’m really excited to be done with the MTC and to get out into the field. it’s great here, but I’m getting antsy!

Friday, August 28, 2015

It’s amazing how fast we change here. Today, it’s been a month since I’ve been home. I feel like it has been years since I’ve been there because of how much I’ve changed. Everything I think about has to do with God or Church. I’ve already realized a lot about myself that I want to improve and some of what I want from life. I can only imagine how I’ll feel after two years!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A few interesting things about Brazil:

In Portugese, days of the week are different. Only Saturday and Sunday have names – Sábado e Domingo. The rest of the days are numbered: Tuesday – Terça (third) Feira, Monday – Sedgunda Feira and so on. It was odd to get used to at first, but it’s easier now.

The weather right now is AMAZING. It’s like Florida in the fall. At night it gets kind of cold, but during the day it’s generally very pleasant. I LOVE it.

A lot of Brazilian missionaries have “namoradas” or “girlfriends” that they’re semi-engaged to. They wear rings on their right hands, signifying that they’re basically betrothed to someone. Even a few of the instructors wear the same rings and are awaiting the return of someone from a mission. It’s a different cultural thing here.

My district came up with a couple of verbs that we think should be added to their vocabulary.

Googlear: to Google
Conjugations:                                                                                                                           Eu Googlo (I Google)
Você Googla (You Google)
Eu Googlava (I Googled)
Etc.
The next requires some explaining – Our instructora, Irmâ Fuoco, LOVES dulces (candy), specifically chocolate. (We get along very well). So, the second verb we came put with was…

Chocolatar: to chocolate
Conjugations:                                                                                                                         Eu chocolato (I chocolate)
Voçe chocolata (You chocolate)

Used in a sentence:                                                                                                             Eu achocolatava muito ontem…opa!
“I chocolated a lot yesterday…oops!”
Voçe deve chocolatar
“You should chocolate.”
So far it’s my favorite verb. Given the importance chocolate has in my life as a daily vegetable (cacao = tree = plant = salad), I think it warrants its own verb.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

So I learned something pretty cool at church. The gospel class is taught by the MTC President (Swenson)…in English! He talked about what dispensations and apostasies are and how they relate to our missionary work. Basically, a dispensation is a period of time when there was the fulness of the Gospel, a prophet, and the Priesthood on the earth at the same time. Different dispensations were led by prophets such as Adam and Moses, and one was even led by Christ. At some point, they all failed. The people sought to do more wrong than good, and they often decided to persecute and kill the prophets. The intervals between the dispensations are called apostasies. The most recent one, called the Great Apostasy, was shortly after the end of Christ’s dispensation and the start of the current one. I didn’t really realize until today, but our knowledge of this apostasy is what sets the LDS church apart form others. People don’t realize that the Priesthood was lost. As a result, all of the good people on the earth had nobody with divine power to guide them, so they took their separate beliefs and started their own churches. They had good intentions, but not the Priesthood (the power to act in God’s name), so they couldn’t effectively lead. So, they all drew away from each other and tons of different churches started and ended. From Christ’s death until the 1800s, all the events (reformation, printing-press, enlightenment, etc.) led up to Joseph Smith praying to God and asking which church was the right one to join. He saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and they told him that no church had the fullness of the Gospel. Over the next few years, he translated and published the Book of Mormon and set up the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was the first prophet of the current dispensation, the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, which is said to be the best on yet. We are now accomplishing what none of the previous prophets could have. We preach the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to all corners of the earth. Restored (key word) meaning brought back from nothing to its fullness. We’ve been blessed with SO many things that make this possible, all thanks to our Heavenly Father. I, Chapman Tew, have the honor of being a part of that. THAT is why I am in Brazil. I know my purpose here is inspired. It is so hard to be away from home. I think of giving up all the time. But, I know I have a purpose here and I can’t wait to see what is in store for me.

Also, I played the piano today for the MTC Choir, “Help Me Teach with Inspiration”. The song is sloooow, but it went well. Next week, I’m playing a duet with Elder Fitzgerald from my district, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (Dad’s favorite)!

Monday – Tuesday, August 31, 2015 – September 1, 2015

Monday was normal, nothing terribly exciting. Tuesday we had a devotional and hear the MTC’s doctor speak. He told some really amazing stories about kids he had operated on and about God’s plan for us. He operated on several children who would never be the same afterwards and selected 3 different ones to talk to us about. (He said in 30 years he had operated on over 30,000 people.) The message I pulled from it was: God has a plan for all of us. The trials we are given in our lives are specifically designed to better us and we should use them as a platform to jump from rather than a cliff to walk off.

After the devotional, Elder and Sister Hale, who are two of the senior missionaries that run the MTC, brought my district brownies! They said they were grateful for all the good things we had done to help out and that “Nos amamos voces!” or “We love you.” (They speak English, but that’s just kind of a saying around the MTC.) They even gave us their personal emails so they could keep track of us while we’re gone. It made us all feel really good.

Well, I guess that’s all until next week! I only have 6 more days until I leave the MTC. I’m WAY excited, but also nervous. I won’t get to email until Monday, September 14 (I think) which kind of stinks. But, that means I’ll be extra excited to hear from home!

Until then,
Elder Tew