Monthly Archives: September 2016

September 16°, 2016

Hi all!

Well, two weeks have come and gone and I haven’t written a letter home. I apologize! Things have been super busy recently with the transfer and all. This past transfer was my tenth on the mission! It’s hard to believe. In the beginning two years really seemed like a ton of time but it really isn’t. Time is one thing we can never get back, so it must be used wisely!

On Wednesday, September 7th all the missionaries in the mission participated in various service projects throughout the stakes and zones. My stake cleaned up a big park and repainted all the curbing and benches throughout the whole thing. We wore yellow “Mãos Que Ajudam” (Helping Hands) vests that drew lots of attention from passersby. The park itself was in pretty rough shape, but it looked great by the time we finished! I didn’t realize it until after, but that was one of the only service projects that I’ve taken part of since I’ve arrived on my mission. They just don’t have quite as many here! Regardless, it was an awesome experience. I was excited to be able to put my painting skills to the test!

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Cleaning up the park!

This past Monday and Tuesday were transfers. I’ll be continuing on here in the Mission Office! At the end of every transfer the church provides a training for the missionaries that will be going home. It talks about self-sufficiency, applying for jobs/school, etc. We do ours combined with the São Paulo Interlagos Mission. This time we hosted it. When their missionaries arrived I called their mission’s secretaries to let them know they were there. Much to my surprise I recognized an unexpected voice on the other side of the line when I called–Elder Burnside, who was my MTC companion! It was cool to get to talk to him for a few seconds.

Wednesday I had to make a trip to the Federal Police building. I had a group of 5 missionaries that I tried to take last week but their system was down so I had to go again! We often request the assistance of a member of the church who has a business that specifically deals with visas. He accompanies us and magically makes the whole process go along faster. Since they had just implemented a new system it took forever to get through the ordeal. We got there at 8 A.M. and left at 2 P.M. We were the first people to get done with everything that day, too!

I’ve started to realize how much the members of my ward here really love us. Not all, but most! Feeding the missionaries here is like a contest. They always want to do something special to make us happy. We have one lady in our ward that makes about 4 or 5 different desserts when we have lunch with her. Thankfully it’s generally not just us eating there! There’s a set of members that have, on two separate occasions, brought me things back from the United States when they went to visit. There are lots of other families that are always happy to see us and are always looking to help us out with things. In the last 7 months that I’ve been here in this ward, I’ve been able to meet lots of awesome people and form relationships that I hope will last a lifetime!

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One sweet lady in his ward has started sending me a photo each Sunday. She is my new best friend!!! I absolutely LOVE that she sends me a weekly picture.

We’ve been working the past few weeks with this kid named Kawan. We’ve got him set up to get baptized this weekend and we’re hoping that everything turns out alright. We’ve been having some difficulties with the people in our teaching pool recently. Most of them are flaking out and we’re almost left with nobody firm to teach. Tomorrow will be our day to work full-time in our area, so we’re planning on finding as many new people to teach as possible. Prayers would be much appreciated!

Lately, I’ve increasingly been thinking about my progress on my mission. As I look back, I can see lots of different ways in which I know now that I could’ve improved what I was doing at that time. I’ve corrected a lot of my faults, am currently working on some more, and have a lot more to work on in the future. However, I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. I know that He looks towards my improvement more so than He seeks for my errors. I know that without Jesus Christ I have no hope of becoming better. It is through Him that we can achieve perfection.

I love you all and thank you for your never ending support,

Elder Chapman Tew

September 4°, 2016

Bom dia!

Another summer day has come and gone away, and I’m still in Brazil! We’re headed towards the end of the winter season here so things are starting to heat up a bit more than they have been as of late. September 22nd will be the official start of Spring!

Last Saturday we had a Ward activity that was country themed. They rented a mechanical bull and had lots of delicious food from the more rural parts of Brazil. I think that was the first ward activity since I’ve been here, so I thought it was cool!

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The bulk of my letter today will be a story about a man named Moacir. He’s a man in my ward that’s 40-something years old. He served a mission in northern Brazil some 20 years ago. When he returned he began searching for someone with whom he could start his family. One day he was walking into the supermarket and passed a young lady that was walking out of the store after having made her purchases. He thought the girl was really cute, so he decided to talk to her. Lo and behold they fell in love and decided they wanted to marry each other. There was just one little problem–Ivonete (the girl) had previously been married and her husband, from whom she had been separated some time, did not wish to file divorce. He had moved to another state and was out of reach for the time being. Moacir and Ivonete, knowing that this process would take a really long time, decided that they should go ahead and start living together and create their family.

For the last 18 years, the two have lived and worked together, all this time spending thousands and thousands of Brazilian Reais trying to speed the divorce process along. After some time Moacir stopped going to church. He hadn’t lost his testimony of the truthfulness of its teachings, but he had lost a lot of hope for himself. He knew that living with his wife without being married to her was against the Lord’s teachings. He knew that the powers of procreation should be used exclusively within the bonds of matrimony. However, he had made a decision against those teachings, a decision that brought him two beautiful children.

For the last several years following his inactivity Moacir has become an active member of the ward. He goes to church every week and takes his kids with him. His son Guilherme is an awesome kid, and one of the most active teachers in the ward. The divorce finally came through a couple months ago.  They got married Saturday morning at the Cartório (government building) and then had a ceremony at the church that night. We attended both to support them.

Now that he’s married, he’ll be able to receive all the blessings he once had again. We’re going to start working with his wife on Wednesday to teach here and hopefully baptize her a member of the church here shortly.

The focal point here is that in the eyes of Christ there does not exist a “point of no return”, and that through our perseverance and faith in Jesus Christ we can do anything. Moacir is a shining example for me of a person that has stayed strong when things got tough. Just imagine how hard it would be to deal with the guilt of having gone against one of the most fundamental commandments of all time, which is simultaneously one of the worst ones to break, for 18 YEARS. Imagine the feeling of being trapped in without any easy option offering escape. I wonder if I would have sufficient faith to keep going, or if I would just break off and take the path that the world shows me is much easier and completely reject Christ’s teachings. Finally, after all this time, he has found his way back on to the straight and narrow path. He has set things in motion so he can be able to be worthy to inherit the Kingdom of God one day. His biggest goal at this point in his life is to have an eternal family, which is something that he couldn’t have had before.

I challenge all of you to promise yourself in this very moment that you will never stray from the path. If you don’t know where the path lies, then I’d invite you to find the nearest set of LDS missionaries. I promise that they’d love to answer any and all questions you may have, and help you find that path which you seek.

I apologize that this week is so short! It’s really late and we just finished the weekly mission newsletter and I’m beat. I love you all, and I thank you for all the love and support you send my way. I can feel it in the moments that I need it most.

-Élder Chapman Tew