Monthly Archives: March 2016

Happy Easter!

I cannot believe how the time here passes by! It seems like I say that every time I write home, but it’s really true. It feels like yesterday I was sitting here doing the same thing. Anyway! I guess now would be a good time to start talking about my week.

Last Friday morning my Mission President’s family came into town. They live in Boise, Idaho, which is really close to where he lives. We got invited to his house to have dinner with them that night. It went really well! I enjoyed the time we were able to spend with them.

With them being here, I had a really cool experience this past Thursday. We had a meeting that we call “Nova Força” or “New Force” that we hold for the new missionaries at the end of their first six weeks here. President’s family was there so that they could see and be a part of a mission function. I had the opportunity to sit behind them and translate throughout the whole meeting. In the beginning, I was really worried about how I was going to do. It’s difficult to think in one language and speak in another at the same time. But, it turned out being a lot easier than I thought it would! I was doing it for a solid 2 or 3 hours. My only complaint is that my back hurt a little bit after being crunched over so they could hear my voice. As the meeting was drawing to a close, they let all the missionaries get up and bear their testimonies as well as President’s family. I got to stand beside them as they talked in short phrases, and then translated those phrases so that the missionaries would be able to understand. It was a really neat experience. The grandson, James (Tiago in Portuguese), said, “I grew up in the church. I always just went to church and stuff because that’s what my parents wanted me to do. Being here and seeing you guys do real missionary work has made me have the desire to that as well.” It was so cool to hear him say that! I guess that sometimes we can have an affect on other people even when we don’t even have a clue about it.

The office Elders with the Mission President, his wife, and family.

The office Elders with the Mission President, his wife, and family.

This Friday (P-Day), we went to Independence Park here in São Paulo. It has a huge monument with the crypt of the guy who declared Brazil’s Independence in 1822. He later became the first Emperor of Brazil. In the early 1900s they built this huge museum called Museu Paulista that looks like a big European palace. Unfortunately it’s closed for reform so we couldn’t go inside. But we were able to look around outside the museum in the gardens as well as inside the monument. So all is well! We had lunch at this little food truck on the other side of the street. I had two hot dogs, loaded up with mashed potatoes, ketchup, and batata palha (which is like little tiny super thin fried potato pieces), which is MUCH better than it sounds. All-in-all it was a nice relaxing day! Every now and then it’s nice to have one of those.

The office Elders at the Independence Museum.

The office Elders at the Independence Museum.

People we’re teaching: This last week or two we’ve found some really awesome people that are accepting our visits. We’re teaching a young guy named Moises (Moses) who is going to be baptized next Saturday. He’s a REALLY awesome person. He lives alone with his mom. It’s very evident that they have a lot of difficulties in their lives, so I’m grateful that we’re able to help them out. He’s 14, so right around the age when most of the teenagers here get off track and start doing things they shouldn’t. Being in the situation he’s in, I imagine it would be easy for him to get led away. So, being able to have a positive influence in his life as well as introduce him to an environment that will make his life SO much better is very satisfying.

Like I’ve said many times before, I love seeing the difference that the Gospel can make in people’s lives. The very first person I baptized on my mission, Katia, was once convicted and sent to prison for body-trafficking drugs. Now, she’s had a complete change of life and is much happier than she ever had been before. Just about every person I’ve ever taught has, at one point or another, said, “since I started talking to you guys all I’ve seen in my life is blessings.” I think that’s amazing. Like, the instant that someone accepts the true Gospel of Christ in their lives they’re blessed. God gives so much and requires so little. The things on this earth end, but His eternal influence and love DON’T! I think at times we don’t realize how much of special thing that is.

I love what I’m here doing. It’s really hard. There are a lot of things I have to do without and a lot of things that I have to “fast” from for the time being. But, it’s worth it. I can see myself changing. I’m learning more about myself and other people. I’m learning how to look past differences and faults and focus on the things that are really important. I’m learning how to be grateful for the blessings that I have in my life. I’m learning that complaining really isn’t an option because there are a lot of people that have it a thousand times worse than I do. I have a loooot more things that I need to learn, so I’m trying to use my time on my mission wisely to do so.

I love you all, and I’m so thankful for all the help and support that I receive from home. I love all the letters, notes, and pictures that I get, all proof that I have people that love and support me backing me up on this wild adventure that I’m on.
“Deus vos guarde com o seu poder, sempre esteja ao vosso lado.”

– Elder Chapman Tew

Gente…cadê meu tempo??

So, I’m starting to realize exactly what it means when people say that “missions pass fast”. I’m approaching 8 months and it feels like I literally got here yesterday. It’s amazing how fast the time has passed for me. Occasionally, I get a glimpse (through pictures) of what the world is like at home. People getting married, having babies, moving, starting college, traveling, and so on. So much has changed that I don’t know that I’ll be ready when the time comes for me to dive back into it!

This week went along much more smoothly than the previous weeks have. We didn’t really have anything happen that was out of the ordinary, thank goodness! There was one thing I forgot to talk about last week, though. We were going to a lesson with some other missionaries to help them out with someone they’re teaching. As we were walking, they mentioned that they had accidentally been given bleach water to drink. The lady was cleaning and someone mistakenly put her jug of cleaning water in the refrigerator thinking it was a normal thing of water. When the Elders went there to see her, she then gave them a cup of bleach water. They were so thirsty they gulped it down without noticing its chemical content until after as it began to burn their throats. They were just going along their merry way, thinking that they’d be just fine. When they told us about this, we decided that it would be best to drop by the hospital to ensure that they’d turn out fine. About three hours later they both walked out just fine with a bottle of meds to take to help combat the acid in their stomachs.

Recently my companion and I have been doing our best to finish our work in the Mission Office to be able to get out into our proselyting area more. So far, we’ve been seeing some pretty awesome results! We’ve got a family we’re teaching in which two are members of the church but the Dad isn’t. He hasn’t been with them to church in awhile so the missionaries before us had forgotten to let us know about him, so we discovered him on our own and have been going there since. He’s got an interesting story. He’s a civil engineer and makes pretty good money. But, he uses a lot of it to help other people. He built this camp place that he rents out to groups that want to camp there. It’s largely used by church groups and stuff for youth camps and such. He’s a really awesome person and is willing to help anyone who needs it.

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Elder Viana, Elder Tew, Elder Lima, and Elder Armindo take delivery of packages delivered by Socorro and her sweet husband. Another Missionary Mom (Mayra Brown) from Miami coordinates the package deliveries. We love sending items to Chapman this way! They arrive speedily and there’s no worry about loosing anything while in transit!!

Being here has made me realize how ungrateful I can be/have been for the blessings I have in my life. I’ve been blessed with 10 times more opportunities than 95% of the people I come in contact here with. I’ve had opportunities to study and learn in an environment that’s conducive, opportunities to expose myself to different things so that I would be able to make informed decisions about what I want to do with my life. I’ve been able to travel and see different parts of the country (and now the world, too). I’ve never lived anywhere that’s even remotely less than desirable or had to eat small portions of bland food. To say that I’ve ever had a life that was even remotely rough would be a lie. But not just in the material sense. I’ve also been blessed with two parents that love me unconditionally. I’ve never had to doubt that even a little bit. I have all my extended family that loves and supports me as well. I just don’t think I’m sufficiently grateful for all of it. Meaning, I haven’t taken those blessings to their full potential. Like President told me once, I needed to come to Brazil to be able to realize how blessed I’ve been, in all senses, and then be able to use those blessings to their full potential when I return.

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Chapman visited an “American” store and indulged in a few treats! The case of Dr. Pepper was a gift for Elder Metcalf. The Metcalfs spoiled Chapman by arranging for their daughter to send some See’s chocolates to Brazil via Sister Broadbent.

I’ve also learned some about the importance of helping others realize their own potential. If we’ve been blessed with a lot, then it means that we’ve been given a strength to be able to help others in return. Some people just can’t seem to wrap their minds around the enormous potential they innately have. As sentient beings, we’re born with the capacity to adapt to the world around us as it changes so that we can continue living on with the highest quality of life possible. Our bodies and minds want to find homeostasis. All we have to do is realize what it is that’s keeping us from what we want, or keeping us from reaching our full potential, kick it out of the way, and keep moving forward. I’ve heard my mission president say a thousand times, “there does not exist progress in the zone of comfort, and much less comfort in the zone of progress.” Meaning, if we want to change and get better we have to want it, because it won’t be easy.

In the Bible there’s a reference to the “refiners fire”. How is it exactly that gold and silver make it from some hole deep within the earth into wedding rings and earrings? First, the metal ore is extracted from the earth. Then it has to be refined and purified to be able to be used. It’s placed in a special container which is then heated until it’s white hot and the metal liquefies. When the metal turns liquid, all the impurities which are less dense than the pure metal they came from all float to the top. The refiner removes these impurities and continues refining until the metal is pure enough that he can see his own reflection on its surface. This is the exact same thing that God does with us. To him, we are much more priceless than gold or silver. We literally have no price. Being so valuable, Heavenly Father wants us to be pure. So, sometimes he has to put a little fire on us. He has to put us way out of out comfort zone until we become pure, until he can see his own reflection in us. That’s his goal. One thing we have to remember is that we’re able to make it through these trials that are placed before us. Nephi said, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” The Lord prepared our way. He made us out of higher quality (more dense) material than what’s-his-no-face (A.K.A. Lucifer) made his impurities. We’re completely capable of realizing our full potential, which is to return to live with God, if we’ll allow him to do his work and obey his commandments.

I know that what I’m doing here is right. To be completely honest, when I got here I wasn’t nearly as sure I should be here as I am now. I know that there are a lot of our brothers and sisters in this world that are way lost and off the beaten track and need help to find their way back. That sounds so cliche but its very true. We’ve all been blessed more than we can possibly imagine. Rich, poor, happy, and un-happy we all come from the same place and are going back there when this life ends. In the mean time our job is to prepare for that return. The things of this world are designed to stay in this world. We’re trying to live celestial laws and teachings while living in a telestial world. Like Brad Wilcox said, “The Lord didn’t say it would be easy, he said it would be worth it.”

I love you all, and am immensely grateful for your love and support.

Até Mais,

Elder Chapman Tew

Boa Noite

Well, at least it’s night time here. Once again, the past couple of weeks have passed by faster than I’ve been able to realize.

Last week was pretty nuts. Early on in the week, President found out about a group of missionaries that were doing things they shouldn’t have been doing. Of the group, he sent home four. He spent almost the whole week interviewing and talking to other missionaries. So, we spent the whole week babysitting them!

Also, for the first time, I was able to go to the Federal Police station to take a few missionaries to renew their visas. The night before we took them we had four extra elders sleeping in our house, as well as like 8 sisters sleeping in the married couple’s house next door. Let’s just say that after I spent the next day herding them to and from the police station, which just so happens to be on the polar opposite side of the city, I was really tired and glad to be over with it all!

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This Tuesday, I made a trip to Santo Amaro (which is where the São Paulo Interlagos Mission’s Office is) to be the test-boy for a new registration process we have to do with all the foreign missionaries. It’s basically the Brazilian equivalent of a Social Security number. We took a bus to get there which was a long hour and a half. Upon walking into the government building, we were informed that they were in “greve”, which means strike, and that they wouldn’t be working normally until two days later. Brazilians seem to go on strike a lot. Every time they don’t like something that’s happening, want more money, etc, their resulting action is going on strike. It doesn’t really appear to be working if they keep having to do it! Anyway, we made good use of the trip and took the opportunity to stop by Interlagos’ Mission office. I had an excuse to stop by because I had a letter to drop off for a missionary (TJ). I got to see Elder Fitzgerald that I was in the MTC with, so that was awesome! Sometimes being an office Elder has its perks!

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The rest of the week we had zone conferences. We went with the President and Assistants to visit three different groups of all 10 zones in various places throughout the mission. It was interesting to hear the President’s message three times. It was about the same topic, but he changed a little bit of what he was saying each time depending on the audience he was speaking to. I also got to see some parts of the mission that I had never seen before, so that was awesome!

Today (Saturday), I woke up feeling funny. We ate really late last night right before we went to bed, so all the food I ate was sitting in my stomach. This morning it decided to make its second debut. This happened just as we were leaving the office to go help some sisters with a lady they were teaching. Today was supposed to be our P-Day, but it didn’t become P-Day until about 5:30 this evening! There were some interesting things that happened to make it that way. As we were walking into the church building where the sister’s were, we took over their English class so they could go get the chick we were going to help them teach. After the English class, we wound up having a full-on hour-long lesson with a guy that was there learning. Then, on the way out, we encountered this crazy guy who was from a different state and was trying to find his way back home. He had been robbed, and had no money or documentation on him. So, we helped him to the police station and went on our way. All-in-all, we had 4 unplanned lessons today, all outside of our area with other missionaries. We got back here at 5:30 and I passed out. My body is still a little weak from my episode this morning, so I’m enjoying sipping on my passion-fruit flavored Gatorade at the moment.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week! I’m here doing the whole missionary thing and loving it. It’s no easy job, but I know that the things that we teach bless peoples’ lives and are totally worth the sacrifice.

Eu amo todos vocês!
Elder Chapman Tew

Oi Gente!

So the past two weeks have kind of flown by in a blur. My first transfer in the Mission Office went by super fast! It seemed like every single moment was filled with something different. Not to say that the normal missionary life wasn’t too, it just seems like even more so being here. In three days, I’ll hit 7 months on my mission and it seems like two minutes ago I was hitting my 6 or 1 month mark. I’ve been blessed with a lot of experiences that have shaped me as a person and changed my perspective on a number of things. I’m loving what I’m here doing!

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Elder Elder (yes, that’s right) and Elder Tew

Last week was the week we had to prepare everything for transfers. I actually got to use my English skills some. We have a bunch of informational pamphlets that we give to the new missionaries as they come in. I had to adjust a bunch of stuff that was included in them, and then translate them all into English so that the American Elders would be able to understand. My grammar has kind of slipped away from me a bit. I’m out of practice! I actually had to think a little bit as I was translating. There are some things that make complete sense in Portuguese, but when directly translated into English make NO sense at all! That was kind of an interesting experience.

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Elder Tew and the Metcalfs who work in the mission office.

I also found out at the end of last week that I’m going to be trained to be the mission’s Executive Secretary. I’ll be taking care of all the visas for the foreign missionaries, all their health and medical needs, as well as lots of planning for all the training and activities that we have within the mission. I’m excited to be able to do it, but I can already tell it’s going to be a lot more work than I already have!

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Elder Viana and Elder Tew

Elder Viana and I have been trying to increase our teaching pool a bit. Because we work so little time in the field, we don’t have as many opportunities to teach. We’ve decided that we can’t allow that to be an excuse, so we’re trying to encounter as many people as we can to teach. We’re trying to gather up a bunch of references from the members of people we can teach. That, I’ve discovered, is one of the more effective ways to find people here. Sure we can talk to a whole bunch of people in the street, and maybe they’ll be receptive and want to hear our message, but when we teach friends of members they’re much more likely to be receptive to our message, especially when we take the members with us to their houses. That’s something I wish I would’ve done more before my mission!

Elder Tew and President Broadbent

Elder Tew and President Broadbent

One thing I’m definitely liking about working here is the opportunity I have to hear the President’s counsels more often. It seems like every time we sit down to talk with him about something we wind up learning something new. It’s an opportunity that not all have, so I’m trying to soak it up!

Outside the Sao Paulo Temple

Outside the Sao Paulo Temple

Today we ditched the office and used our P-Day to its full potential. We decided to go to the São Paulo Zoo that’s close to here. I was a little skeptical when the idea came up, but I turned out really liking it! This was one of those times when we don’t have to wear the normal monkey suit (pun?), so I got to take my legs out for a bit. Because it was a weekday, the park was super empty. There were very few people there which made it all the better for us! We got to walk around and not be bothered. We paid a little extra to go on a “safari” throughout the back part of the zoo. They put us in a big van, opened up all the windows, and drove us through the animal habitats they have set up back there. It turned out to be really awesome! We got to feed a bunch of the animals, including camels, and whole bunch of other’s whose names I can’t remember in English! It was nice to be able to take a day to relax a little bit and recharge our batteries. I’m all pumped up and ready for another full week of work!

Where's Chapmonkey?

Where’s Chapmonkey?

Chapman at the zoo

Elder Tew at the zoo

Well, that’s all I have for this week! Like I said, I know that what I’m doing here is right, and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to be able to serve the Lord for these two years. I know that His Gospel can change our lives if we let it. I was looking at some quotes from the Prophets this week, and came across one from President Thomas S. Monson, “We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” What I took from this is that the “wind” will blow according to its own will, it’s something that we can’t change. We can choose to leave our sails fixed and go nowhere, or adjust them and be carried by God’s will to a destination full of blessings. I know that if we allow the Lord to guide our lives that He will take us with Him into Eternal Happiness.

Até proxima semana!
Elder Chapman Tew

A District Meeting

A District Meeting

Some things never change...

Some things never change…