Monthly Archives: December 2015

Happy Almost New Year!

This past week was awesome and absolutely flew by. I feel like that’s how all of my letters start, but it’s so true! Tomorrow will make 5 months that I’ve been on my mission. It’s nuts!

Missionaires enjoying a frozen acai treat

Missionaires enjoying a frozen acai treat

My Brazillian Christmas:

The people here in Brazil spend the whole night on December 24th until the wee hours of the morning on the 25th celebrating Christmas. We got to go to our Ward’s Bishop’s house to celebrate with him and his large family. The night was full of lots of food and laughter. I really enjoyed it!

Christmas at the Bishop's House

Christmas at the Bishop’s House

We were up on the roof at midnight, and you could tell when the clock struck. Immidiately the sky was lit up with fireworks, shooting off from every location possible. This continued for the better part of the night…which didn’t make such great sleeping conditions. Where the Bishop lives, his house is basically on the lip of a bowl, so from his roof we could see all the people shooting off their fireworks. It was pretty awesome!

The next day, Christmas itself, we were allowed to sleep in a “little” later because of the late hour we went to bed. When I woke up, I opened the box that I had recieved from home for Christmas. It was filled with ties themed “Don’t forget to remember all the ‘ties’ you have back home,” each one given by a family member or friend. I LOVED the idea, am very grateful for all the awesome ties I now have to wear, each one reminding me a bit about all the support I have behind me.

Holding a fruit called "cacau"

Holding a fruit called “cacau”

We ate lunch at a member’s house which was absolutely fabulous and then went to Skype/FaceTime with our families. THAT was the part I enjoyed the most! I loved getting to see their faces and hear their voices after such a long time. They think I have an accent now…but that’s all good. I don’t get so much practice on my English anymore! I had to hold in my laughter when I heard their southern accents. It was almost too much!

Holding a fruit called "jaca"

Holding a fruit called “jaca”

Well, I’m about all out of time. I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and will have an awesome New Year. I’d challenge each one of you to not forget the gift we were given more than 2000 years ago and keep the Christmas Spirit with you all the year long.

I love and miss you all!
Elder Chapman Tew

postal-mbsps

Merry Almost-Christmas!

One thing that I can’t get over here is that Christmas is in the middle of the summer. The Santa Claus decorations with him all dressed up in winter clothes is a sight to see when I’m sweating like a horse.

So, I’ve mentioned the lady we’re teaching named Maria who has this ice cream machine. We’ve gotten to know her well enough that I have a line of credit of sorts with her. We stop by, talk with her some, mark a time to stop by her house to teach her, snag an ice cream cone, and leave. Every few days I pay my ice cream bill. Sad, I know. But I’m STILL losing weight. I guess missions really do bring blessings!

((((((Elder Tew))))))

((((((Elder Tew))))))

This week, we started to stop by the açai shop (because I’m an addict) and the two ladies there that sell the açai said they’d like to hear our message. I’m starting to like this pattern!!

This week we went to the Temple in São Paulo again. It was AWESOME. I love being able to go and take some time to just think and not have to worry about anything. There’s also the added bonus of air conditioning to consider. Afterwards, we went to this store that sells American stuff. I found a thing of marshmallow fluff. It was R$10…but I bought it anyway. This whole week I’ve been eating fluffer nutters for breakfast. WOOOHOO!

Outside the temple with his district.

Outside the temple with his district.

When we go to the temple, we pass through 4 missions including ours. I just thought that was interesting. The city is humongous enough to warrant 6 missions (including the two on the outskirts). There are LOTS of people here!

When we first got into the temple, I went to the bathroom real quick. As I was leaving I ran into my instructor from the MTC! It was SO awesome to get to see and talk to him again. He commented on how well my Portuguese was coming along. Halelujah!

Chapman and is MTC teacher

Chapman and is MTC teacher

We had a Ward Fireside this past Friday. I was able to sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and play two other songs for some members that sang. It was all scripted with scripture passages about the birth of the Savior and the Church’s Christmas videos. I was able to feel the Spirit strongly there and loved it.

In route to the mission Christmas party

In route to the mission Christmas party

This Monday (yesterday) was the Mission Christmas Party. All 160+ elders and sisters in my mission congregated in a chapel outside of our mission boundaries in Ipiranga to spend the day together. I got to see Elder Raulino again! He’s loving his new area and doing great. The day was filled with an awesome talent show, followed by a churrasco (barbeque) lunch, and concluded with a series of short videos about Christmas and talks from the Mission President and his counselors. I really enjoyed the Spirit that was felt there with all the missionaries.

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Reunited and it feels so good!

This year, Christmas will be a little different for me! The Brazillians celebrate starting the evening of the 24th through midnight/early morning the 25th. So, we’ll be spending most of the evening in a member’s house eating and enjoying their company! I’m really excited! President also told us that, just this once, we are allowed to sleep in a little past the normal hour of 6:30. When he announced that, his words were met by loud cheers of excitement and joy.

Even thousands of miles away, the boy can still think of his Momma with his Holly socks!

Even thousands of miles away, the boy can still think of his Momma with his Holly socks!

While in church on Sunday, I noticed something about the architecture that I hadn’t thought about before. Directly behind the pulpit, there’s an exterior wall that has windows on each side. In the space in between the windows is a wooden inlay in the shape of an archway. If you sit in the middle of the chapel, it looks like the person speaking is standing in a doorway with two beams of light eminating from the sides. I had a personal realization of sorts when I noticed this for the first time. The person that we listen to every week giving a message is preaching the Lord’s word, directing us and our actions towards preparing for what comes after this short life. Our goal is the figurative doorway into the Celestial Kingdom where we can live with God and our families forever. In order to make it, we have to pass through the door which we find through the things that we learn through the Gospel.

I wish everyone at home and on missions a Merry Christmas and hope that it’s filled with love and happiness!

Elder Chapman Tew

Mom’s Note: For those of you who don’t know, Fluffer Nutters are peanut butter and marshmallow creme sandwiches. Chapman received some peanut butter in his birthday package and found a way to enjoy a childhood fave!

Feliz Almost Natal!

Showing off some birthday duds!

Showing off some birthday duds!

This month has flown past. It’s hard to believe that next week will be Christmas. I’m definitely looking forward to talking with my family!! I have a feeling that the Southern accents are going to sound super strange for me.

Elder Tew

Elder Tew

Highlights from this week:

  • We started to explore the back part of our area this week. We normally work in the front part because it’s just closer. We’ve been trying to find some new people to teach, so we started to make contacts in the back of the area. It’s totally different from the front part! There are a TON of houses and new roads to explore. There’s a bank, three grocery stores, and a ton of stores that I didn’t know existed in our area. It’s also 100% hills. My calves are loving it!
  • My poor white skin is suffering in this Brazillian heat. I have some WICKED tan lines. My shirt sleeves make this line that makes half of my arm look super dark and the other side albino. I have this great one on my neckline too about halfway up where the collar hits. I’m missing my Floridian sun right about now!
  • Our Ice Cream Lady moved where she has her machine. She wasn’t having a great time with the owner of the other place she was at, so she’s looking for a new one. I’m suffering withdrawls a little bit. Hopefully I’ll be able to find another location soon! It’s getting hotter and hotter here…and I NEED ice cream!
  • Some of the people here don’t always drink cold water. They say that you can get hypothermic shock from the cold and that it gives you a sore throat and you can get sick from it. I, personally, like my water cold enough that it starts to crystalize. But, that’s just me!
  • I discovered this new thing called Açai. It’s a fruit that’s frozen and then pureéd until it’s like a soft serve ice cream. They put other fruits on top of it along with other healthy options such as sweetened condensed milk and eat it with a spoon. It’s absolutely fabulous!
Let him eat cake!

Let him eat cake!

My birthday was awesome! I had three different ladies in my ward make me cakes. I spent the rest of the week eating them. Our Ward Mission Leader called us to his house for a meeting that evening. When we got there, he said we needed to wait on the Bishop to start. When the Bishop got there, he brought in his whole family, a few youth from the ward, and more food! They sang happy birthday to me and we ate. It was great!

The Birthday Boy!

The Birthday Boy!

I was reading this week in Alma, where Alma is giving some instructions to his son, Helaman. In Chapter 41, verse 11 he says: “And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.” I thought this was interesting. When we are being disobedient to God’s commandments, we CAN’T be happy. Our disobedience puts us in a state contrary to happiness. So, clearly, we should do everything we can to be obedient, and therein receive happiness!

That’s it for this week!
Much love,
Elder Chapman Tew

What tired missionaries do...fall asleep with food in their lap.

What tired missionaries do…fall asleep with food in their lap.

My First Week Training

Oi!

So, this week was rather interesting. It was my first week training, so I was a little stressed trying to make sure I did everything 100% correctly. I think it’s going well!

Highlights:

Maria (Ice Cream Lady/Mulher de Sorvete) went to church last week and told us that she left feeling recharged, something that she had never felt anywhere else. WOOOHOO! That’s EXACTLY what I wanted to hear. She enjoyed the meetings and so did her son. I think they’ll continue going.

Elder Tew and Maria

Elder Tew and Maria

New companion: His name is Maikel Soares and he’s from Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul. He seems pretty awesome! He is a lot less nervous than I think I was when I got here. He’s been able to adapt and keep up with what we’re doing pretty well. I’m impressed. I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to train him as a new missionary. It makes me want to do better and better every day so that I can set a good example for him.

Last Monday, we had a Zone Meeting in Apurá which is a 45 minute walk away. We went to the mall close to our house to print some pictures and eat some food before the meeting which ended up putting us a little off schedule. I decided it would be a good idea to take a taxi to the meeting instead of walking to ensure we would get there in time. I told the taxi driver where I wanted to go and off we went. When we arrived at our destination, I realized that we were WAY off from where we needed to be. I told the taxi driver the wrong name of the neighborhood, not knowing that it wasn’t the correct name. So, we had to backtrack and re-route to where we needed to be. That mistake costed me R$65. I think I won’t be making it again!

I was asked to sing and play the piano in a Christmas program that our ward is putting on. I’ll be singing “O Come, Emmanuel” and playing “O, Holy Night” (the same arrangement that we sing in my home ward). The song I’m singing will be in English, which I think is why I was asked to sing it! I’m excited for the opportunity!

That’s really about all for this week! We’ve been spending a lot of our time looking for new people to teach and teaching the investigators that we have progressing. It seemed like this week NOBODY wanted to talk to us. So it was a little more difficult than usual. But, I have faith that things will pick up here soon!

This Wednesday is my birthday, and two of the ladies in the ward have offered to make me cake. One will be consumed in the afternoon, and the other in the evening. I guess I’m going to have to make a sacrifice for the team! I’m not sure what it’ll do to my weight-loss effort, so I’m hoping that calories don’t count on birthdays!

That’s all I’ve got! I hope everyone has a great week and enjoys the holiday season!

With Love,
Elder Chapman Tew

A New Companion

Whew! This week was like a whirlwind! It was the last week before transfers, so we were trying to work our hardest to finish out strong!

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Riding in a Car

Highlights:

We had a training from President Broadbent last week. He talked to us about what we have to offer to the people we teach. “We have the answers to ALL the problems that these people have in their lives.” I thought about that a little when he was talking to us and really, it’s true. Through the things that Christ taught, we can literally make it through EVERYTHING that we have in front of us.

Elder Raulino and Elder Tew

Elder Raulino and Elder Tew

We were teaching a lady and her daughter (3 yrs.) came up to her and wanted to breast feed. She whipped it out and her daughter started to drink. We kind of just let it slide by and continued to teach. The kid stopped at one point and said, “I want the other one.” So, she switched sides. I was trying not to laugh. Dude, if your kid can decide which side she wants, the time for breast feeding is past!!

Goofing Around

Goofing Around

We were making contacts in the street in one of the worst streets in our area. I started talking with a woman who was smoking and drinking beer and found out that she was a member of the church. I talked to her about coming back to church and convinced her to throw out her cigarette. I asked her to hand me her beer and I poured it out in the street then chucked the bottle into a nearby trash can. I felt accomplished!

Elder Raulino and Elder Tew

Elder Raulino and Elder Tew

I made chocolate mousse this week. It was an interesting experience. They don’t really have marshmallows here, so I had to substitute with the multi-colored Mickey Mouse variety. I used my handy-dandy stovetop rice cooker, a wooden spoon, and a borrowed mixer and it turned out great! All gone now, though.

Chocolate Mousse for Thanksgiving

Chocolate Mousse for Thanksgiving

Friday night we had the Gold Standard pizza party with the Mission President. I stopped counting at 8 pieces.  There’s no Thanksgiving here, so I justified my overconsumption.

The Gold Standard Pizza Party

The Gold Standard Pizza Party

Transfers were this week. Sunday night, we found out that Elder Raulino would be transfered. We both got pretty sad. I’m gonna miss that guy. We’ve gotten pretty close over the last three months. But, the good news is that I’ll still get to see him sometimes! I didn’t realize until about 20 minutes after we received the transfer information via phone that they said I would be training a new elder. I flipped out a little bit when I found out. I JUST finished my training, and I’m already training someone else!! After I thought about it a bit, I realized that where I am in my personal progression right now, this is what I need.

Elder Soares (the new companion) and Elder Tew

Elder Soares (the new companion) and Elder Tew

Tuesday afternoon, I met my new companion Elder Soares. He’s from Rio Grande do Sul, in the southern part of Brazil. He’s 21, and talkative! I think everything is going to be just fine. I feel a little more assured right now that I did in the beginning. I know Heavenly Father is guiding me in what I need to do.
Well, that’s all for this week! I hope everything at home is going great! I love and miss you all!!

Elder Chapman Tew