Monthly Archives: January 2016

E ai galera!

I’m a little short on time today, so I’ll just give some brief updates from the week.

Elder Lima and I went to the Federal Police department with President Broadbent to do some paperwork that had something to do with his visa in Brazil. The ride there took us through the whole city, from the southern zone to the northern, passing through a whole bunch of different scenes. The most exciting part about the whole thing was stopping by this really nice area of the city on the way back to eat lunch which took us past a whole bunch of beautiful office towers and apartment buildings. We stopped by this place and ate and then went by a little Portuguese bakery.  I don’t even remember the name of the thing I ate, but it was absolutely delicious. It was basically a palm sized pie crust (largely butter, super flaky, and fattening) filled with some kind of carmelized nuts. There are no words.

Elder Tew

Elder Tew

I had a really cool experience inside the temple this week. We had to go to the Brazil Area office to pick up some stuff which is literally in the parking lot of the temple. President gave us permission to go do some temple work. We didn’t have time to do a whole session, so we went into the baptistry to help out. When we got there, two young men and a woman showed up wanting to do baptisms. The woman is a recent convert to the church and it was obviously her first time in the temple. When the Temple President was talking to them, he explained about the plan of salvation. When he explained “the work you’re doing today will let your ancestors out of spirit prison and allow them into paradise”, the woman perked up a bit. She said, “I brought my Mom’s name with me today. Does that mean when I’m baptized for her she’ll be let out of this spirit prison and move to paradise?” When the President responded “Yes, it does”, the woman burst into tears. I think she knew that before, but it just kind of hit home in that moment. I was able to baptize her for her mother and several other of her family members. It was SUCH an awesome experience. I baptized the two young men, too. By the time I got done with like 40 baptisms I was tired. To the side of the baptismal font, sits a mosaic of Alma baptizing people in the river. When I looked at it, I had that feeling – again – that I was in the same place he would’ve been, baptizing people that lived a long time ago so they could enter into the Kingdom of God. I thought that was pretty awesome. All in all, it was a really neat experience! When I reflect on all the things that happened in the day, I feel like it was meant to be. I felt the spirit very strongly when we were there with her.

Elders Viana and Tew outside the Sao Paulo Temple.

Elders Viana and Tew outside the Sao Paulo Temple.

Elder Viana (my actual companion) and I were working in our area one day this week and came across two teenage guys in the street. We started talking to them just like we normally do. They gave us their address and told us they’d like to talk to us some more. We were walking and doing more contacts and simultaneously looking for their street. We stopped to ask a lady if she new where it was, and she said that she knew the two guys. She also told us that their aunts and uncles lived in the house right in front of where we were standing. So, we knocked on their door hoping to talk to them too. One of the guys’ cousins answered the door and invited us in. When we got into their living room, there were just 2 or 3 people there. As we sat down and started talking, more and more people started appearing from other parts of the house until there were 9 people there listening to our message. It was such a cool experience. It was a direct blessing from Heavenly Father, practically placing new people to teach in our laps. We have been working hard for some time now to find more people to teach and He showed us the way. 

Other than that, I’m still trying to get a handle on all the new stuff I have to do as a secretary. I’m enjoying what I’m doing and the new way that I’m helping with the Lord’s work. I have a testimony that what we’re doing is right, and that the Gospel that I’m bringing into the lives of these people will help them have Eternal Happiness. I love seeing the changes that are wrought in the lives of the people when they realize what the true and everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ can do for them.

I love you all!
Elder Chapman Tew

 

The Waterfall of the Monkey

Wow!  I know I’ve been relatively absent for the last couple of weeks, so I have a fair bit to update you about.

First, I’ve officially been transferred into the mission office. My new companion is Elder Viana. He’s from Minas Gerais here in Brazil which is about an hour from Belo Horizonte in a city called Sete Lagoas. He’s a really great Elder and we’re getting along well ! I’ve been able to get to know him pretty well and things are going awesome. We were both called as new secretaries.

Basically, we serve in the mission office during the day 5-6 days a week. At night and on Saturdays, we work in our area. We four (the two of us along with Elders Lima and Armindo) take care of all the administrative matters of the mission – from making doctor appointments and distributing materials to renewing visas and paying monthly rent. We’re responsible for about 170 missionaries and all of their wants/needs/problems. PLUS, I’m still a normal missionary and have to work in my area and talk to people about Jesus. That part hasn’t changed.

My new ward is Parque Jabaquara. I’m liking it so far! The members seem really cool. The area is much different from São Jorge. There’s a big mix between rich and poor here. There’s a large part of the area full of tall apartment buildings ($$$ in Brazil) and another couple parts that have little favelas. The mission office and our apartment building, which is to the side of the mission office (also in a tall office building), is at one end of our area and the church is something like 3/4 of the way to the other side. We have a few people that we’re teaching regularly and we just recently encountered a whole family of 4 that want to hear our message. So, I guess we’re doing something right!

This past week or two has been largely spent adjusting to everything here. I have a bunch of responsibilities and the whole way of doing things here is different from being a normal missionary. Thus far, I haven’t really had one “normal” day. There’s ALWAYS something!

Last Friday (our P-day), we went to a nearby shopping center to buy a new suit for one of the other secretaries. While we were talking about going there, one of the others mentioned that they have an Outback there. So, what would a person in my situation do? Pass up a once-in-never opportunity to eat at Outback in Brazil or go and eat to my heart’s desire??? I went with the latter option. It was awesome! I’m still having dreams about the Bloomin’ Onion.

This Wednesday, we had a broadcast from the church in Salt Lake that was for all the missionaries around the globe. We were able to hear the words of some of the Apostles and other General Authorities of the Church. They all talked a lot about the Holy Ghost. Our prime purpose as missionaries is to teach people. As teachers of the Doctrine of Christ, we HAVE to have the Spirit with us. If not, we aren’t teaching. In reality, the Holy Ghost is the one who testifies of the truthfulness of our words. We study, plan, and prepare to teach people every day. But, this is really just to be ready to receive promptings from the Spirit about the things we should say. So, we have to make sure we’re worthy and receptive of the Spirit so we can really teach people and help them change their lives. I’m trying to apply this in what I’m doing and invite the Spirit more into my every day life.

A view of the missionary broadcast

A view of the missionary broadcast

Today, I had the opportunity to go to a waterfall at the very edge of our mission, way out in the boonies, with the other secretaries. It’s far outside of the actual city of São Paulo on the border of a city called Rio Grande da Serra that’s considered greater São Paulo. For me, it would be like the Baker, Florida of the Florida Tallahassee Mission. It took us two metros, a train, and a bus to make the journey. On the way there, we also stopped by a really old Catholic church.It was built in 1611 and restored in the 1900s. It was super tiny, but cool to see. It’s not that often you see something 405 years old!

Outside the Catholic Church

Outside the Catholic Church

It took us 1 1/2 – 2 hours to get there and another 1 1/2 hours to walk up the trail to the waterfall. The waterfall is called “Cachoeira do Macaco” which literally means “Waterfall of the Monkey.” The trail was made very naturally through the forest, climbing and falling every 2 seconds. This may sound a little interesting, but we went 75% of the way barefoot. Because of all the deep mud that was on the trail, shoes weren’t cutting it. It was a very unique experience.. When we got to the waterfall, we ate sandwiches that we brought with us and sat around enjoying being very far away from the big city, free from all the noises and disgusting smells that it brings. As we were sitting there talking, a thought came to me, “I wonder what it would’ve been like to be a Nephite missionary. They would’ve been walking through literally the exact same things that we just did, perhaps even in the same area, day and night trying to reach people to teach. They would’ve been crossing little rivers and climbing down waterfalls just like we did.” I thought that was interesting. Soon thereafter, one of the Brazilians, kidding around, started to sing a church hymn in English. That led to all four of us singing all the hymns we knew (for a solid 30+ minutes) in English. It was nothing serious, but I kind of had a cool moment there. I was a missionary a solid 6,000 miles away from home in the shadow of a huge waterfall in the middle of the Brazilian forest having a chill-out moment with my friends, singing hymns and talking about Nephite missionaries. That was something I NEVER would’ve even thought about doing a couple of years ago. It turned out to be a really cool spiritual experience for me. My mission is really turning about to be an awesome experience in a thousand different ways!


Chapman at the Waterfall of the Monkey

Chapman at the Waterfall of the Monkey

Over the last few months, I’ve really gained a stronger testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that if we follow the perfect plan that He made for us we can find a lasting, eternal happiness that wouldn’t be possible without Him. He was born so that we could be born again. Through Him, we can find ALL the answers to ALL the problems that we have personally and in the world.

Elders Armindo, Tew, Lima, and Viana at the Waterfall of the Monkey

Elders Armindo, Tew, Lima, and Viana at the Waterfall of the Monkey

Well, that’s about all that I have today! I’m tired and need rest!

Elder Chapman Tew

Pictures, Glorious Pictures

While we may not have much by way of email updates about his missionary work of late, he has uploaded pictures for our viewing pleasure!!

Chapman with a family before he left his last area.

Chapman with a family before he left his last area.

Chapman holding a dog. Is anyone else shocked?

Chapman holding a dog. Is anyone else shocked?

Chapman's new view!

Chapman’s new view!

Chapman eating dinner in his new apartment. I don't know the names of all the missionaries pictured.

Chapman eating dinner in his new apartment. I don’t know the names of all the missionaries pictured.

This was taken Sunday.

This was taken Sunday.

Chapman found an Outback near his new apartment. He and the other Elders he lives with enjoyed a fine meal!

Chapman found an Outback near his new apartment. He and the other Elders he lives with enjoyed a fine meal!

Mom requested a tag photo...

Mom requested a tag photo…

My boy sent me TEW versions! :)

My boy sent me TEW versions! :)

A Quick Update

So here’s what’s been going on…

I’ve been officially transferred to the Office. My new companion is Elder Viana, from Minas Gerais here in Brazil. He seems like a REALLY awesome guy. He’s super animated and jokes around a lot. Our personalities get along well. I have a feeling that we’ll do really good together.

We’ve been running 24/7 doing stuff for the whole transfer thing. We had a meeting today with all the newbies and their trainers. Afterwards, like 10 of them came to the office all wanting stuff. So, that put us behind on what we needed to do in the first place. Hence, I’m a little late with emailing.

I’m in charge of all the graphical stuff about the mission, in addition to numbers and such. I’ve got a lot on my plate! President wasn’t kidding when he said the job had a lot to it. But, I’m enjoying the challenge.

Overlooking the City

Overlooking the City

I had a cool spiritual experience today. This transfer, we only had one American come in. The rest were Brazilian or Hispanic. After we got through the first part of the meeting, I went over to talk to him a little bit. I could tell that he was kind of overwhelmed and I could remember that feeling very well having already been in those shoes. When I started talking to him, it was obvious that he was a little emotional. I think he just felt kind of helpless. Being thrust into a completely different environment is no easy task – I know, been there. I felt prompted to ask him if he wanted a blessing. He responded yes, so I turned around and grabbed an American Elder (who would be training a new guy) and asked him to accompany me. We went into a room beside the kitchen in the back of the church. I gave the Elder a blessing in English (for the first time in 6 months). As I was talking, the words just kept flowing from my mouth. I had a strong feeling that what I was saying was coming directly from Heavenly Father. After the blessing, I talked to him a little bit more, gave him a bit of advice, and went on about my business. Through lunch and the rest of the meeting, he was all good. He started talking and laughing with all the people around. It was a profound difference from what it had been before. When I started noticing that, I had a kind of spiritual confirmation that what I had done was in response to a prompting from Heavenly Father. I had been in-tune enough with the Spirit and willing and worthy to carry out its commands. I felt good that I had been able to make a difference in someone’s life, even though it seemed so simple, as a result of my obedience to the Spirit’s promptings. It gave me even more desire to be in tune with the Spirit and to be prepared when I’m needed.

That’s all for now!

Love you,

Chapman

A Call From the Mission President

Just to clarify, Chapman sent us an unexpected email on Sunday to share some news with us. I responded with a few questions which he answered today.

So, this week has been a little interesting. On Tuesday, we were visiting a less active member’s house and I received a call from the Mission President. He rarely calls, so I knew it had to be something. He called me to be an office elder. He told me that at the transfer on January 12th, I’ll be transfered into the office. I’ll be taking the place of Elder Diaz as Secretario Historiador. I’m basically responsible for all the records in the mission and the weekly mission newspaper. I’m not 100% sure exactly what other things I’ll be doing yet…I got here two hours ago. I do know my P-Days will now be on Friday.

Today and next Sunday, I’ll be coming into the mission office at night to receive a little bit of training and stay through the P-Day. We’ll do an exchange and Elder Soares will stay with Elder Teixeira (another office elder) in our area.

I guess being here means the President has a lot of confidence in me. There will be a lot of things to do and plenty of stress at times. But, he told me that he’s sure I’m capable of it.

Mom is already LOVING Elder Tew's new assignment. Sweet Sister Metcalfe, from the mission office, emailed her this picture (and another) today!

Mom is already LOVING Elder Tew’s new assignment. Sweet Sister Metcalf, from the mission office, emailed her this picture (and another) today!

I’ll still have an area and I’ll work in it at night and one day a week the whole day. It’s different, but it’s what I’ve been called to do. The President said this (more or less), “This isn’t a job that just anyone can do. Your goals and life as a missionary will be different. You’ll still be serving the Lord and His children, just in a more indirect way. You’ll be helping the 170 plus missionaries all at once, rather than directly helping people 24-7.”

My brain is a little nuts right now, I’m trying to process all the information that I’m taking in at the moment! I hope you’re having a great Sunday!

Another picture from Sister Metcalf - I think she may be my new best friend!

Another picture from Sister Metcalf – I think she may be my new best friend!

Love you!
Chapman

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS FROM MOM…

Are you excited about this change?
Yes! From the little time that I’ve been here already, I’m liking it. It’s going to be different. But, I think it’ll be cool.

How many elders are in the office total? What do they do?
There are four of us (wow) in the office. There’s a Financial Secretary, an Executive Secretary, a Materials Secretary, and a Historian Secretary. They’re all ALWAYS busy doing something or other. We also have 2 APs. They’re here now, too. They seem like pretty cool guys.

What do you think of your new digs?
We’re in an apartment building to the side of the mission office. It’s nice! It’s clean, the floor doesn’t scare me, there’s a nice breeze that runs through the open windows (10th floor). It also has a DRYER!!! I think I’ll like it here.

The view from the soon to be new apartment.

The view from the soon to be new apartment.

How long will you be in the office? Do you know who your companion will be?
I think the normal time here is 6-8 months, at least that’s what I gather. Diaz has been here for a long time (like 9-10 months). So, he’ll be going back out into the normal mission field. I’m not sure who will be my new companion yet. I have access now to the church’s IMOS system which has all the information about the whole mission – like where people live, their history, current area, previous areas/positions, and so on. President hasn’t rearranged everything yet.

What is the office space like? 
The office space is nice. It has this lovely air conditioning. I actually turned it off for a bit because I was cold. I think I’m accustomed to not having it now. There are some cabinets here that will have my attention soon. :)

Will you have time to exercise now that you’re not walking as much?We have time in the morning to exercise everyday. But, being here is way different than in the normal field. The hours are weird sometimes depending on what needs to be done. For instance, right now, I’m here waiting on the President to get done with an interview so we can do more stuff after. It’s 8:38 PM. Normally this should be proselyting time, but we’re getting a bunch of stuff ready for a leadership meeting tomorrow. I’ll also be talking with President about when I’ll be coming back. Whenever that is, I think it’ll be for good.

What are you going to do about saying goodbye to the people you baptized and the people in your ward?
I’ll be saying goodbye to them during the week. When Raulino left, he just had one day (so I’m lucky this way).

How was your New Year’s?
It was great! I spent 4 hours grilling delicious meats (I’m sure you’ll agree with my adjective to describe the meat) called Churrasco. In the green bowl is bolinho de chuva or “rain bread”. It’s like a ball of funnel cake. I made them (super easy) and they’re delicious!

Grilling for New Year's in their "oven",

Grilling for New Year’s in their “oven”.

Bolinho de Chuva

Bolinho de Chuva