Monthly Archives: April 2016

Paranapiacaba!

Well, this past week has been pretty interesting. I spent more time out of the office than in. Monday we had our normal meetings, but then afterwards I had to leave and run a few errands. Tuesday, I spent most of the day out helping a group of 9 foreigners (7 Americans, 1 Finn and 1 Colombian) get their CPF thing taken care of in the city center. Wednesday I was in the office working. Thursday I left again and spent all morning at the Federal Police helping three missionaries renew their visas. Every minute I spend in a Brazilian government building makes me frustrated. The lack of efficiency is so evident that it drives me nuts! I thought that America was rough, but it’s 10x worse here. For instance, to make an authenticated copy of a document I have to take a number and wait. Then, after I wait for 30 minutes and get helped for two minutes, I have to wait another 20 minutes for my number to be called so I can pay. Can you say waste of time?? The Federal Police is way worse and loaded with refugees and immigrants.

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Yesterday (P-Day) we went to a little tiny village called Paranapiacaba on the edge of our mission. It has 1500 inhabitants. It was constructed by the Portuguese and English as they were building a railroad from the coast of São Paulo to the interior to haul back and forth goods to be shipped off by boat for other parts of the world–principally England. It’s nestled in between a group of mountains with a great big winding valley leading off to the coast. On one side of the valley is the older portion of the town which was constructed by the Portuguese. The houses are all made of cement and painted in bright colors. The streets are narrow and paved with cobblestones. The other side of the valley has all the houses and buildings constructed by the English. They’re made mostly of wood with great big wide wrap-around porches on the larger houses. In the middle of that side of the valley stands a large hill with one house on top which was the house of the Head Engineer of the whole project. It was interesting to see the history that was there and how that small town helped Brazil grow so much.

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They also have this weird little famous fruit there called cambuci. It looks kind of like a lime, but is muffin shaped. It has a weird taste that’s difficult to describe. Kind of like a weird child of cashew (the fruit), passion fruit, and lemon. But I thought it was pretty good!

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So, on the normal missionary side…We’ve got a pretty good teaching pool at the moment. We’re working a lot with references from members and such and we’re doing great. We started to teach a family that we met through a lunch appointment last week. The mom’s name is Jacqueline, and the dad’s name is Jefferson. She’s a member of the church but he isn’t. We started our lesson with them the other day having previously decided to talk about our potential as children of God. As we started teaching, that led into how our families can be eternal, and how that’s something that we want for them too. That turned into one of the moments when I felt the spirit super strong. I’ve started to realize on my mission how powerful words are. As a missionary, I have the opportunity to speak a lot being guided by the Spirit in my words. When I’m really speaking with the Spirit I can tell that my words have this kind of power to them. I don’t know exactly how to describe it.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. This whole mission thing I’m doing here isn’t easy, but I know that I’m learning a lot that will help me in my life to come. I’m gaining a testimony that if we allow Heavenly Father to enter into our lives he’ll guide us to become what He needs us to become.

Até!
Elder Chapman Tew

Moses

Good Morning from Brazil!

Well, just like them all, this week really flew by. Last Friday, we had the chance to go to Elder Lima’s uncle’s house. His ward, of which he is Bishop, has a division with my ward but is in another mission! But, President gave us permission to go eat with them so it’s all good. It was interesting to be able to do that. He said he only got to see that particular uncle a couple of times per year so it almost felt normal. I thought it was funny to hear them call him “Igor” instead of Elder Lima. I don’t play part of the whole act that missionaries “forget” their names, but it was still funny to hear someone else call him by his first name instead of his title “Elder”.

After we ate lunch with them, we went into this mall right next to where they live called Shopping Morumbi. It’s one of the nicest and fanciest malls in São Paulo. I got the chance to stop by the ONLY Apple Store in this city of 20,000,000+ people and drool a little bit. The American Dollar is equal to 3.6 Brazilian Reals, which would mean a $1,200 MacBook Pro should cost roughly R$4,300. But no, an Apple computer in Brazil can cost anywhere from R$15,000 to R$20,000. I almost had a heart attack. For them, it would literally be cheaper to spend 15 days at Disney World, buy a computer there, and come back. Nuts! To soothe my heartache on the way out of the store, I stopped by a Ben & Jerry’s that they have there and consoled myself in chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Oops!

Outside the Apple Store

Outside the Apple Store

Saturday, we baptized Moses! It was awesome!!! His mom, who has to work a lot to support the two of them, was able to come! She’s a really nice and very humble lady. I hope that we get the chance to teach her soon as well. Moses will be confirmed in church tomorrow since last week was General Conference.

Elder Viana, Moses, and Elder Tew before the baptism

Elder Viana, Moses, and Elder Tew before the baptism

Speaking of which, I loved it! Before my mission, like many other things, I didn’t realize how awesome an opportunity it is that we can hear the words of the living apostles and the prophet that God ordained to guide us on the earth today. Conference was full of awesome inspiring words that I know we can all benefit from. If you didn’t have the opportunity to watch any of the sessions, you can watch them at lds.org or on Youtube. Taking a couple of minutes each day to listen to one of the talks would surely help you out!

This week was transfers. Elder Lima left the office and Elder Araújo came in. Thus far, he seems like a pretty good guy! I think he’ll work really well here. We’ve recently had to stop having transfer meetings where everyone gets together to be transferred, so the missionaries who are transferred travel from their old area to their new area alone and meet their new companions when they arrive. This transfer we had one get lost. He took the bus instead of the metro and wound up way far away from where he was supposed to be. It was 9:30 and nobody had seen or heard from him yet. Luckily he found his way to a phone and called us around 10:00, and he got safely to his new area.

Chapman didn't talk about this place, but it looks like a restaurant that decorates with American novelty items.

Chapman didn’t talk about this place, but it looks like a restaurant that decorates with American novelty items.

The rest of the week was filled with the normal fun stuff. I went to the Federal Police station again, did a whole bunch of paperwork, filing, and organizing. Not a whole lot to report there!

I hope all is well at home, and I thank you all, again, for all the love and support that you give me!

Love,
Elder Chapman Tew

Easter in Brazil

Hi all!

I can’t handle this whole time thing. It feels like yesterday that I was sitting in front of this same screen writing an email home about what I did last week. The days pass by in the blink of an eye, and the weeks pass by before I can take the time to sit down and think for 5 minutes. I read a quote the other day, although I can’t remember who from, that said, “You have your whole life that you’ve prepared to serve this whole your mission, and you’ll have your whole life after to talk about the stories. But, you only have two years to actually LIVE it.” I’m realizing more and more every day how much this experience is making a change in my life. I’m still the same person, but I have some better habits and perspectives on things that I would never have if I hadn’t decided to serve a mission. It’s a really awesome experience that I’d highly recommend.

This last Sunday was my first Easter away from home. It was a different experience, but it gave me the opportunity to realize how grateful I am for my family, and the opportunities that I’ve had to make memories with them. This Easter, we were invited to have an Easter breakfast with a member family in the ward. They’re SUCH awesome people. They’re always helping us out with whatever we need. We got there early Sunday morning before church, and I walked in and found out that my MTC instructor was there! She’s dating the oldest son of the family. So that was cool to be able to talk to her in a more natural form. The breakfast was fabulous. There were like three different kinds of bread, one with a jelly/sugar/something glazing on top, another with apples in it, and another that was just normal. But, all of them were delicious! At the end of the meal, they passed out some Easter candy, and we all started nibbling on it. One in particular we all started to eat at the same time. It was a chocolate square with a pistachio creme filling. It was really good! Only a few minutes later was someone reading the label and realized that the creme had some kind of alcohol in it…Whoops! The first time alcohol has ever entered my body had to be on my mission, and by accident. Needless to say the rest of that particular chocolate was thrown out.

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Elder Tew with his Easter treat!

What’s even better, is that the exact same thing happened when President brought us a chocolate egg that Sunday night. It had a chocolate shell, and inside were all these little truffles. All of which were filled with liquor. I guess that’s some kind of Brazilian specialty. Nobody even noticed that until they were all gone…awkward. President: “Well, I guess that’s why they were so good.” I laughed so hard!

So, this week. We’ve been teaching this kid named Moses that I think I mentioned last week. He decided last weekend that for sure he wants to be baptized. So this Sunday is the day! He’s such an awesome kid. He and his friend are kind of going through this whole change process together, so it’s great that he has someone close to him to support him. I’m really excited for him. He’s such a good and humble person. If he sticks with it, the Gospel will open up a lot of doors for him in the life he has in front of him. I’m glad I’m able to be a part of it!!

I have no idea who these people are, but Chapman is in the photo. I can't see his face enough.

I have no idea who these people are, but Chapman is in the photo. I can’t see his face enough.

We’ve been getting ready this week for transfers. There’s a whole coordination process involved that has kind of given me a headache. We have 10 missionaries that are going home this next week, so I’ve been getting all their airplane tickets and airport transport lined up which is a lot easier said than done. I’ve had to change flights for 3 different Elders, complete with a handsome change fee. Oh well! It had to be done. I have one Elder that I’m sending home to Cape Verde, Africa. Poor guy will be in airports for three days before he gets home. I’m hoping that my next time around with this whole ordeal will be a little bit easier!!

Elder Tew in the city center. I believe this is the same building where he made contacts while in the CTM.

Elder Tew in the city center. I believe this is the same building where he made contacts while in the CTM.

I got to take some missionaries in on Monday to get their Brazilian CPF (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas – or Register of Physical Persons) number, which is essentially their equivalent to a Social Security number. I got mine last week, so the other guys have been messing around with me and telling me that I’m an “official” Brazilian now. The place we go is in the city center. I didn’t realize that last time, so I forgot to take my camera. I remembered this time, so I got some pretty cool pictures! It shows a little bit of the older Portuguese style of architecture from the first buildings that were built here in São Paulo. I enjoyed being able to see it again! They have these great big sidewalks that run in between the buildings called “calçadão” or “calçadões” in the plural form. They’re made from these tiny little flagstone pieces. That’s an original Brazilian thing, or so I’m told.

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I also got to enjoy another trip to the Federal Police department this week to renew some visas. However, this time I went with President in his air-conditioned car instead of the “air-conditioned” standing-room-only subway and train system. The trip was significantly more pleasant! Plus the added lunch stop on the way home was a nice little bonus.

I had, for the second time, these little pastries that are available at the mall we stopped to eat at. They’re made with a crust that’s largely butter with a dash of flour added in to help it keep consistency. This time I experimented with a couple of different kinds. My favorite is this one that was filled with chopped glazed pecans. I think that might be a little touch of my mom coming out in me! I’m enjoying my time in the mission office and the wonderful taste-testing opportunities that it provides be with, but I know that I’ll be ready for the guaranteed weight loss when I’m back walking 20 miles a day in the normal mission field.

A pizza party with the office staff

A pizza party with the office staff

So, this weekend we have General Conference coming up. It literally feels like yesterday that we had one of these. But, I guess it’s been six months! For those of you who have no clue what that is, it’s a chance that we have to hear living a living Prophet and Apostles speak. It only happens twice a year in this multi-national broadcast form. These men are called and inspired of God to direct His children in their lives today. His principles have always stayed relatively the same, but the manner in which we have to apply them into our lives today is significantly different than it would’ve been in the time of Abraham, for example. For this reason God restored His power and authority on the earth again today to help us out with that. Everything He does is to make us more eternally happy, even if we can’t always see what He has in store. I’d invite each one of you to take a couple of hours of your time this weekend and just listen to a little bit of what these men have to say. I can testify for you as a Representative of Jesus Christ that it will DEFINITELY help you out in some way, shape, or form. Through their words, you’ll feel God’s power and the love that He has for us. This is an opportunity that not all people have because they simply don’t know about it! Don’t waste your opportunity.

I love you all, and hope that you have a wonderful week!

Deuces,

Elder Chapman Tew