Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hey Mom and Dad,
Well, good news. That family was baptized yesterday!!!! It was an amazing baptismal service. Honestly I have never planned a baptism so early and with such certainty as that one. Everyone in the ward knew about it and went to watch. It wasn't easy, but we were able to keep them firm until the end. They are both very happy and have plans to be sealed in the temple in a year. It made me so happy.

We also had a few other miracles. The family in the picture with them are friends of theirs. The husband was inactive but was reactivated when he saw they were going to be baptized. Also, the other picture is a family that felt the spirit very strong one day and desired to come back to church. It was an amazing day yesterday.

This week we also did lots of contacts, 165. That is the most that I have done on the mission in one week so far, my last record being 162. Me and Elder L. Alves are very happy, because in one week we got almost all our goals for the month completed!

Those two boys are still wanting to be baptized, but it is tough to find them at home. This week though we will be able to devote more time to teach and help prepare them for baptism this week. Pray that they will be able to find time with us. :)

So yeah, this week was good. We taught 18 lessons, but only found 3 new investigators. This isn't good, but undertandable because we were focused on this family so much. They are so excited to be confirmed next week. They really are a special family, especially for me being the first complete family I baptized on my mission :)

Wow... Amy is already getting back? I don't believe it. That's insane. She only left a bit before I did! I get my packages this friday, when we have zone conferences. I will recieve them with happiness. But it's right before transfer, and I'm afraid I'll be transferred. I've already been here 6 months, and I feel like I'll be transferred now. That will suck if I'm transferred with two gigantic boxes as well as my suitcases. Oh well, such is life on the mission.

Tell Aunt Lisa happy birthday for me, and I'll be sure to write Natalie. Thanks for the reminder.

That would be cool seeing some of the young men I have baptized go on missions. One of them, Marlon who I baptized a few months ago, just turned twelve and will recieve the priesthood now. That made me happy lol.

Alright Mom and Dad thanks for the letters. I love you both so much and am doing fine here in the hot hot summer heat lol. I love you.

 
Elder Baldwin

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hey Mom and Dad,
Sounds like you guys had an alright week. Wow, the new James Bond movie is already out? I hope Tanner is making that list for me.... lol. We are starting to hear christmas songs in the stores and sing christmas songs in the hymnbook every day. It's weird cuz it's so hot..... But still a litle bit of homesickness.

This week took away the homesickness though, cuz we worked our butts off. The President of the relief society for the stake is also the owner of a school in the area. She had an activity in the chapel with her school, and me and Elder L. Alves went around asking people if they would like us to deliver the Joy to the World DVD to people's houses. We had about 18 people sign for the DVD. We already started contacting these people and it is giving us lots of results. This week we had 18 lessons, 15 new investigators, 16 references contacted, 5 people at church, and 4 baptismal dates marked. We marked a baptismal date with a family who came yesterday and felt the spirit so strong they began weeping. It's an older couple who we have been teaching and they finally came yesterday. They both agreed to be baptized on the ninth! We are very excited. Also, some members brought some of their friends to church. Two boys named Matheus and Lucas. Both young men. They really liked church and asked us how they could be baptized. They came to us and asked! We marked with them on the 16th because they were new and we still hadn't taught them anything yet. But It's really starting to pick up here in Madureira, after a litle bit of a calm. If you want you can pray for the family who will be baptized this week, Vera and Luiz. Unfortunatley Bruna was not baptized. Her mom heard some stuff about the church and got all evasive. We will try and pass there this week to see if we can save that baptism. But yeah, lots of good stuff happening this week :)

That's so awesome that Rachel will go to Taiwan!! Wow, I think that will be really good for her as well. That's so cool!

I still havent gotten the christmas packages yet. I think tomorrow my ZL's will go to the mission council and get it for me. But if not, there is a zone conference on the 14th that President will bring it to. So no worries.

Thanks for giving permission for Elder Mimary stay if everything works out. In response to your question a few weeks ago about picking me up, there presents a few problems. 1, who all would come and pick me up? Also, if Tanner comes, will he have his call yet? I will come home in August, so he could have his call already. If he has his call, he is not gonna be allowed to leave the country, especially if he has to get a visa for out of the country. That's my thoughts on that. I still would like to come home by plane and meet you guys there (it will be weird if you guys come. You will want to do lots of stuff like go to the beach and I will still be an Elder and can't do lots of stuff) so I don't know. I would rather come back being a normal person again lol, and do these things with you guys. What do you think? And also, reading my patriarchal blessing, it stresses al ot in way of education and getting a good education. I've been thinking of coming back early august or sometime to be able to go to BYU in september. But I haven't decided yet.

One more thing. Can you guys do a search for me if you can find this kind of milk? It's a powdered milk substitute for children who have allergies. It's called NEOCATE and by the group DANONE fabricated my SHS INTERNATIONAL LTD. The company is ADVANCED MEDICAL NUTRITION. There is a sister in the ward who has a daughter who is allergic to almost everything, and has to drink this stuff. It's really expensive here in Brazil and she wanted to see if you guys had access to it and how much it was, to see if it was worth it to ask from the States. If you guys could just see if it exists there, if there is a store that sells it or something, and how much it is? Thanks.

Alright, I love you Mom and I love you Dad.  Hope you have a great week :)

Elder Baldwin

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hey Mom and Dad,
   Alright so today the internet sucks a bit, so this letter may seem
a bit strange. Let me start off with a few things of importance....
   So do you guys remember Elder Mimary? He was my third companion, my
first in Cabo Frio. I don't know if I told you but he is my zone
leader here and I am his District Leader. Fun stuff lol. Anyways, so
the other day we did a division and started talking a bit about after
the mission (fubecagen, I know.) and turns out he actually is planning
on coming to BYU after he serves his mission and goes back home. He is
needing a place to stay though, before BYU starts. I was already
thinking of coming home a bit early to catch the September semester of
BYU and not just poop around the house for 3 months before January. I
offered up the idea of him staying with us, just for a couple of weeks
beforre BYU starts on September, and he liked the idea. He and I both
know, however, we need your permission first before we plan anything.
What do you guys think about that? He would pay his own plane ticket
and stuff like that, he just needs a place to stay before BYU starts,
and then we would probably drive up to BYU together. We even talked
about rooming together maybe at BYU, but that's besides the point.
Would you guys be cool with that, if he stayed a couple of weeks
before going to BYU? This would depend on a few things obviously, like
his visa and stuff, but if everything plays out right would it be cool
with you guys?
   Alright, now on to my week. An Elder in my district baptized this
last week, a girl who has been coming to church for a while now. She is
actually related to the Bishop there. After the mom went to church
(1st time for her) and watched her daughters baptism, she was saying
she had the desire to be abptized as well. I thought it was cool, that
my district members are having success lol.
   For us, it was a bit slower. The family, Marcio and Joana, both
asked us to stop coming to visit them now. They said they are firm in
their own Methodist church and that's where they will stay. It's sad
but not much we can do more for them. They already know it's not God's
church and it doesn't have the priesthood, and already know the Book
of Mormon is true. Just a lack of courage to do what is right.
   Haha, no dad, I haven't broken your record yet. I'm pretty weak in
lessons, I think the most I've gotten in a week is 19 or 20. This week
only 14. Maybe I need to do PRP more lol ;)
   Wow Thanksgiving sounds like it was a blast. I actually didn't even
remember on Thursday that it was thanksgiving. I was worried about
other things. But I remembered Friday when someone said it was Black
Friday lol. It was the first time here in Brazil that a couple of
stores did a Black Friday type of thing. All the Brazilians were
talking about it.
   Yep, in just a month I'll call you guys again. I actually don't
know where I'll be. This year the transfer date fell right on
christmas, so president moved it back on week, so the transfer is on
December 18th. That means it's possible I will go to a completely new
area for christmas, and I don't know where.... lol. There are some
places on the mission where people don't have skype, so maybe I'll
have to call.... I don't want to.
   Alright dad, last week you asked me to say what I thought about
Moroni 10:17. In response, read D&C 46: 28, 30-32. That's my answer
lol. Also, I found some cool scriptures reading the book of mormon. I
really liked Alma 5: 43-44, 49. Especially 49. Also, Alma 6:6. You
guys might actually do this since I'm on the mission, but when was the
last time you fasted for the welfare of the souls of men who are not
members of the church?
   On the mission I have already talked I think 3 times and bore my
testimony a bunch of times. I think when I get back a talk in english
15 min will be alot easier lol. Compared to portuguese?
   Anyways, the Elder look really young in your guys's ward. Are they cool?
Alright I'll let you guys go. Let me know about Elder Mimary. I love
you guys! Until next week!
Elder Baldwin

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hey Mom and Dad,

So my new companion is called Elder L. Alves. He is from São Paulo, the same stake as a former companion of mine. He is a convert of only about 2 years and has been on the mission for only about 8 months. He is a really cool guy, chill personality and we get along well. He is actually a really good missionary and teaches well. I think we do good together.

This week I did more intervierws for baptism for my zone leaders. They were finally able to baptize a man yesterday named Michel. It was cool watching him get baptized, knowing I did the interview. They will try and help his wife get baptized as well. She is strong in a different church so let's see how that goes. The other companionship in my district was having companion issues this week, so I did a division with them and was able to smooth things over. I taught them a couple techniques in how to speak with each other and how to humble themselves to sometimes do or hear what the other has to say. It was a good division. Later they told me it really helped and they haven't had problems since. I hope they stay like that.

In our area we haven't been having too much success in terms of baptism. No one came to church and it's hard getting second visits with some of he people we teach. People here are used to visits from Evangelical churches, who come, do their shindig, and leave not coming back at times for many months. When we want to come back in the same week people retreat and don't want anything more. But my companion and I are doing some practices in how to help these people understand our purpose better, for why we are there and stuf like that. We will put that into practice this week, and I hope to see a difference.

Wow Dad sounds like your talk went over well lol. What did you say about me? Alright I'll read those scriptures and get back to you on verse 17. It has been a few weeks since I have read my patriarchal blessing. I'll go and read I again this week as well.

Thanks for the recipe mom, it will be a blessing. I'm trying to get together all of your recipes and use them here on the mission. Maybe I'll make a book lol. I will also get recipes of brazilian desserts and stuff and bring them back to make home. Today the Zone Leaders are coming over to talk with us and we are making french bread pizza and mousse of passion fruit. It's really good stuff lol.

Alright I'll try not to be trunky this thursday but no guarantees lol. I'm excited to get your packages and see what they have. Did you remember everything? Thanks for sending them :)

Yesterday we taught a woman named Tatiana for the first time. She accepted baptism for December the 2nd already. She has trouble at times understanding what we say but she has huge desires to learn more about God and Prophets and His word. She was already saying at the beginning of the leson before we invited her that she wanted to come and visit the church. We were able to find her through the pass along card activity. She had asked for a DVD.

Yes the members are starting to notice a difference, that we are really trying to work and bring people to the ward. We just need to start asking them to have more family nights that we can bring investigators to, because our lessons with members are short. Have you guys asked the missionaries if they would like to do a family night with you guys yet?

Alright, well I love you guys lots. The weather has been cooler but it is starting to get hotter already. Ah well. I'm used to it now. But I can't wait till I'm back to the snow lol. Say hi to everybody for me! :)

Elder Baldwin

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hey,
Well today was the official day of transfers. Oddly enough, my companion was transferred and I stayed. Elder Roberts is off to a place called Petropolis, where he began his mission lol. He isn't too happy. It's up in the mountains so it's cold and rains all the time and is very hilly. Personally I'm jealous. He gets to pass the hot summer in the cold weather. I'm still in Madureira. The hot frying pan of Rio. It's seriously one of the hottest places in all of Rio, or at least right next to one of the hottest places called Bangu. And I'll be here for most of December... great lol.

Anyways, I'll answer your questions. I was with Elder Cerda not even one transfer. 4 weeks is all. But he was a tough companion to get along with. Elder Roberts has been an awesome companion, I'll be really sad to see him go tomorrow. This transfer was alright. We got two baptisms. We wanted more but that's how it worked out. Our family, Marcio and Joana have made some good progress this week but they still are too scared to get baptized. It's frustrating cuz they are running from us. Our baptism last week was a girl named Lorena. We met her parents but they are from a different Evangelical church. I need to tell you about some of the beliefs the other churches have here. But they just wanted her to be baptized in a church, they didn't care too much where. And she said she wanted to here, so even better for her you know? We will see if the parents are interested at all, but maybe not because they "already have their own religion" (it's what everybody says here). The address I gave you to look at was actually a different girl who has been coming to church named Bruna, who may want to get baptized. We will try and visit her this week. Haha, the baskets on the poles mom? That is their garbage things here. You stick all the garbage in those baskets and the garbage truck comes down and picks it up. Brazil has alot of political problems and is still considered a "sub developed country" (3rd world) but it's enough to live lol. Yes the houses are closed in because of all the people that rob and plunder here. If you look closely, the tops of all the walls have bits of broken glass and sharp pieces of metal so no one can jump over the walls as well. It's pretty serious here.

Alright, thanks so much for the packages, they are welcomed. I can't believe I did it again.... I always think of something that I need during the week and forget to write it down and I blank when I'm in front of the computer. ah well. Mom do you have a recipe for a devil's food cake? There is a sister in the ward that tried it when I made the package one that bekka sent me and fell in love. She wants a recipe to make lol. Also, you never told me what some of the things were that Obama was saying about Romney and the church! I wanted to know.

Alright, we didn't have a district meeting. The first week of every month is a zone meeting and the zone leaders give a training session. But thanks for the idea, asking about the how does a mission pass fast or slow. I say it to almost every one of my companions and they all agree with me, that that is true lol. And there are some elders in my district who are needing to hear this...

Alright so my new companion is someone named Elder L. Alves, a Brazilian. He seems pretty cool, he is from São Paulo which is the headquarters of the church here in Brazil, so it is possible that he was born into the church. I'll find out but he seems like a cool guy. My zone leader knows him and says he is pretty chill. I guess I'll find out.

Alright, I'll be honest. I think this christmas is gonna be worse than the last one. Just knowing that it is the last one on the mission and the next one will be with you guys, I get a little trunky. But don't worry about me I'll get through it by doing more contacts. lol. And there are lots of members here who are really awesome and love us so they will be sure to hang out with us and invite us to dinner. There was a holiday at the beginning of the month (a brazilian one) and we ate lunch with our bishop, and he invited all his brothers and their families and I just started thinking about our family dinners with all my uncles and aunts and cousins.... anyways I got trunky lol. But it was an awesome lunch, they were all talking about the americans they trained and the stuff they did lol.

I actually have caught up with the scriptures you gave me. The scriptures you gave me I actually have done a study on them before and marked a lot more than just the ones you gave me in the Book of Mormon, examples of God saying he will give us what we ask for. But you gave me some that I hadn't found and I enjoyed studying them. I am gonna start trying to read the bible in portuguese now. It will help a lot with the weird names in this language and vocab and knowing how to quote scriptures and people will understand me lol, cuz right now I'm just translating from english. But I'm in mosiah 23 in the book of mormon. Good stuff.

Alright well I love you guys and hope you have a good week. Oh, and I won't lie it's been difficult lately writing in my journal cuz i talk on the phone for at least 30 min every night, and it's tough enough to just get to bed on time. My zone leaders love to talk, and the other dupla in my zone loves to talk as well. it's tough. But I do try and write. alright I really love you guys! Is thanksgiving this week or next?

Elder Baldwin

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hey Mom and Dad,
So lots of stuff happened this week. It's kinda hard to know where to start. I guess I'll start with, I got a new companion. We had emergency transfers on Tuesday morning this last week, so this whole week I have had a new companion. Another American, his name is Elder Roberts. He is from (you guessed it!) Washington lol. I thought it was hilarious that all my american companions have been from there. Apparently an Elder got sick on the mission and President got transfer happy switching a few people. He even switched out an assistant for a new assistant. Pretty crazy. Anyway... more news... We got a baptism this week! Bishop came up to us on Wednesday and said hey, there is a girl here who has been to church a lot, and she wants to be baptized this Sunday, but she hasn't been taught by the Elders yet. We said, ok. So we taught and baptized her. Her name is Lorena. We also met her parents and this week we are planning on going there and teaching them as well. They were fine with her being baptized.

So, then above that we also had a more successful week. We taught 18 lessons, and got 13 new investigators. There are a few investigators who we are planning on baptizing this wek as well. We have planned a really spiritual lesson with Marcio and Joana, and we will invite them to baptism. We will see what happens. Pray that they will feel to accept. Also, another girl was at church who has been a few times who also wants to get baptized. Her name is Bruna. We will be working with her this week as well. The Young Women in this ward are amazing! They bring all their friends to church! lol.

Lots of Brazilians want to talk to us about this hurricane and the Election. They see two Americans and want to know our opinion on everything. Its weird cuz I have no idea what they are talking about. Like this week they were like "did you guys see the hurricane in New York?" And I was like "What hurricane?" lol. They don't believe we don't watch TV as missionaries.

This family already are really great friends with a couple of families in our ward (that we have been bringing over there) and they have been to a few activities as well. I'm not sure if this ward does service projects. But we are going to ask inspired questions and try to discern what is keeping them back right now. That's our plan.

Dad, I have been reading in Mosiah lately. I read Abinadi today and payed special attention to his words, how it is that he teaches the wicked priests and uses the scriptures. I also thought it interesting how he says after reading the ten commandments that there will come a day when the law of moses will no longer be lived. There are some denominations here in Brazil who still believe and live many of the laws of moses. It's weird. But yeah. Oh and I still haven't read those scriptures you gave me last week, but I should have some time today, so I'll get on that. And I attend the Gospel Principles class with my investigators. My District Meeting I thought went pretty well. Elder Roberts said it did anyways. I went in without a training session planned and asked what they thought their problems were, and we all discussed and talked about stuff like that. Like asking questions, faith, and stuff like that. Alright Dad look at Rua Piúna 351. This is the house of the family we want to baptize this week. Ok I love you guys and hope you have a great week :) let me know who wins!! (Election)

Elder Baldwin

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hey,
I'm doing alright. Haha, Dad is right the Winter weather is over. It's only been mid 80's? It feels like much hotter. Anyways, this week was a bit better. We were able to visit many of those references from the activity of pass along cards. We still have about 40 left to visit though lol, so this week is still going to be busy. We didn't have anyone come to church this week, sadly, but we are making plans on how we can change that. Elder Cerda and I are really trying to change some of the results we have been having these past few weeks.
 
Wow, you guys went to Apple Hill? That's cool. I miss real apple juice lol. The only thing I have found here is apple juice powder. Juice mix, ya know. Anyway, I also miss Apple Jelly lol. Jelly is rare here in Brazil. Almost no one wants it so it is expensive. Not a very demanded item.
 
What happened with the visas, I got my call literally in the time when visas stopped going through. Lots of stuff since than has happened, including Obama liberating more visas for them to come to the United States, so Brazil liberated more visas for Americans. Now it is much easier for the church, who have a man on the inside who helps them. (This guys name is, literally, Moroni. He is a member who works there lol.) So now all the new misionaries coming into Brazil get their visas really fast and without delay. No one has passed through The MTC in Provo for awhile.
 
This week we found a couple of new families with whom we will be trying to work. No one as firm or as interested yet as were Marcio and Joana. Actually we passed by them the other day and they said they were still interested in recieving the lessons, they just got scared cuz the baptism was so close and their pastor was talking bad about our church and stuff. We will try and see if there is still any chance with them. But we are starting to get other investigators as well to come to church and recieve the lessons. These references really helped. How long has it been since you guys have given a pass along card?
 
Haha, Brazil is weird with Halloween and Thanksgiving. They technically don't celebrate either. Neither is a real holiday here, but everyone knows that it is in the states so sometimes they dress up or something like that. For example, the church had a dance this last saturday that was a dress up fantasy dance, like our halloween. But that's about it. No special plans for today. We are gonna measure our fingers to buy a CTR ring, and Elder Cerda will sleep lol. He likes to do that on P-Day. But other than this no. Thanks for the pictures by the way, it looks really pretty with snow and all that. I miss snow. It's so hot here.... Only one more summer!!! lol. Transfers are in two weeks, so we will see what happens. Friday I had my first interviews as a District Leader! One of the groups in the district married and baptized a family. It was so cool, my first interview for baptism and it's a family. They were baptized and married on saturday and confirmed on sunday. The whole district became happy. So far they were the only other ones who have had success in my district. The Zone Leaders are working on a couple of people, but no one yet.
 
I took notes on your suggestions on what I should do in District Meeting. I'll put some of them into practice this week and see what happens. Thank you Dad.
So anyways that is what's happening. It's hot, I'm sweating like crazy, and am envying Tanner who is probably in the snow right now lol. But everything is going good here so far. What has been going on there? Do you guys have plans for Halloween? Alright I hope you guys have a good week. Let me know if the Giants won! Tchau!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hey,

Only sadness this week. We invited Marcio and Joana to baptism, and they accepted! We were so excited. It has been 4 years since a family was baptized last in this ward. We told the entire ward, including the Bishop and the Ward council. We were visiting them this week all fine, we even marked their interview and then Friday out of the blue they said they did not want to get baptized anymore. We found out that thursday night they went to their church (Methodist) and asked the pastor about our church. Wow... I think they never really wanted to get baptized and they were looking for a reason to not be baptized. We have already taught them so much in this respect, what the other churches would say, the importance of asking and following god and not man. They have even each recieved answers for themselves, and recognized their own answers! I told them, look. This decision you made shows God that you are throwing away His council, spitting in His face, and following after the council of men. Joana said she had never thought about that, but her decision was still no. It's sad when you watch someone walk away so condemned.

Denise has been a little lighter, but has been dodging us. This week she has not been answering our calls, or has been making up excuses and saying she is busy. We hope it's not excuses, that she really doesn't have the time. But if we can't meet with her this week as well, we are probably going to have to cut her. I hope not, because she truly is an elect.

The pass along card activity went well! We had about 20 members show up and leave with us to distribute the cards. We had asked everyone before hand to bring a notebook to tell people if they want the DVD sooner they should leave their address and they would give it to the missionaries. We got 66 references! Wow, we were blown away with how much work the members did. They were so happy and excited for missionary work too after the activity. The only problem... we only have 5 DVD's! we are already sending an order for more from the secretaries office. But yeah, the next few weeks are going to be full. The Bishop liked the activity so much he has made plans to do it every month!

I don't know, it's possible that I will miss beans and rice when I come home. But it is so easy to make that I can just make it when I come home. Question, do you own a pressure cooker? It cooks beans way faster than soaking them for a day lol. That is how everyone cooks here in Brazil, with pressure cookers.

But yeah, this week was a little slower because we were so focused on getting this family baptized that we didn't focus too much on anything else. But we have plans to do better this next week.

P-Day is only from 10-6 in the day. So we get up like normal, 6:30, and study and do everything normal until 10 when we can use the computers and do our p-day things. At 6 we have to leave and work as normal until 9, return, plan, and everything is normal again. My companion now, Elder Cerda, loves to sleep on his p-day. He will sleep 3-4 hours. I don't like to sleep so often I will use it to study more or write letters or clean the house. It's not very exciting. We can only visit stuff that is in our area of work, and as our area is so small and my companion cherishes his time to sleep so much, we don't do anything more than computers, store, house. It's kinda annoying but whatever. Yes I wash my clothes on P-day but I use whatever day that I need to as well.

I don't know what would be my favorite brasilian food. They have food so similar to ours and I have already forgotten what america has and doesn't have lol. But there are some cheeses here that do not exist there and stuff like that. Also fruit. They have 5 different kinds of bananas here. But honestly.... I'm not sure what is brazilian and american anymore.

District meetings I think are a teensy bit different now Dad. We have a set program that we have to follow, that includes practices and talking about our investigators and numbers and stuff like that. My part is really only about 15 minutes, I give a training session on something in the scriptures and Preach My Gospel. There would be no way to give a cheeseburger or milkshake because we immediately leave for our areas to work.

Tell grandma thank you for the money lol. I'm already thinking about ways I can use it for good and fun. I know there were a few things I wanted to buy. Oh, and mom? Can you send me more deoderant? And maybe another bottle of eye stuff? I still have one extra and the one I am using, but just in case. I am running dangerously low on deoderant lol. Anyways thankyou.

I just finished reading Jesus the Christ and started Doctrine and Covenants for the first time. I am still reading the Book of Mormon, I'm in 2 Nephi 33.

Alright I will go attend other necessities now. I love you and wish you guys a good week in Lake Tahoe! :)

Elder Baldwin

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hey,
This week was actually a really good week. Through our missionary efforts, we grew the wards frequency by 12 people this week! That means that 12 people came to church who were either recent converts, less actives, or investigators. The family that we are teaching finally came to church! And they loved it! We have a family night planned for tonight and we will invite them to be baptized this next sunday. Their names are Marcio and Joana. It will be amazing I'm sure :). As well, a woman named denise came to church for the second time. We are helping her overcome a smoking habit but we will invite her to be baptized this next sindau as well. So it's possible that we will have 4 baptisms this sunday! Also, we reactivated a family that has been out of the church for 3 years already. They came to church for the first time. We will continue working with them to help them return to full activity. As well the woman who was baptized last week came to be confirmed and brought her family (all who were baptized already be other missionaries) So it was a good week.

The weather has been cold this week, and rainy, which is perfect because I hate being all sweaty. Yeah the Zone Leaders are helping but I think I'm geting the hang of it. Elder Cerda and I have our differences but he is a hard worker and so we just try to lose ourselves in the work. No major problems yet lol.

Hmmm, I think everything I ate this week was normal. Normal brasilian food. I finally got my present from the mission for my birthday so I ate a bunch of chocolate. But other than that normal beans and rice, every day.

This week the ward has this huge activity. Everyone is going out two by two to pass out pass along cards to the entire neighborhood close to the chapel. It will be awesome. Hopefully this will get a lot more investigators for us to teach this next month or so. Has the ward there done anything similar recently for missionary work?

Yes mom, we have the same training program. It was a program that they started a teensy bit before I came into the field and the first presidency liked it alot, so they are keeping it. They will also reduce time that a missionary will stay in the MTC by a third, cuz they want them to get out and into this program already. I was trained using this program.

Alright mom, I asked a sister in the ward to sew my pants for me, but if you could send another pair that would be awesome. The brand is croft and barrow and the size is 38x30. you can pick a pretty one if you want. That would be awesome :)

Anyways, I don't think I'm needing anything. It's been awhile since I've taken anything out of my account so I don't know how much is in there so I dont know if you need to put any more in there. I will be sending a package to you guys soon so I'll need some money to send it I think but only that. Alright I love you guys and hope you have a good week :) this next week should be good for us. Keep us in your prayers!

Elder Baldwin

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hey,
Alright so this week I did not write you guys first I wrote Tanner and it ate up a bunch of time. Sorry! But I don't have time to write much. This week was really cool. In the first district meeting I taught everyone how to do PRP and talked about the importance of the holy ghost and recieving revelation. I think it went over well. Everybody liked it. It's a bit different being DL because you have to always be thinking about a million things, and I can't talk to my district because the cell phone of one of the duplas is broken and can't call. I need to talk to him every night but he is not doing anything to try and call me. It's frustrating.

Anyways, Ii think my favortie talk was maybe Elder Uchtdorf in priesthood session. IDk because I was going in and out and was watching in portuguese half the time so i need to read the talks again. But I remember he talked alot about the priesthood and what it is and what it means to be a bearer of the priesthood. It was good.

This week we were also able to baptize a woman. Her name is Ana Paula, and she was atught months ago by the missionaries but couldn't be baptized because she wasn't married. She called saying she had seperated from him and wanted to get baptized! It truly was a miracle and helped animate me and eLDER cERDA AND GET US EXCITED FOR THIS TRANSFER. aLRIGHT i LITERALLY DON'T HAVE TIME LEFT bUT eLDER cERDA IS FROM sÃO pAULO and I don't have time to correct that error. Dumb computer with a gigantic caps lock button.... anyways he is a hard worker and teaches really well. Practically the opposite of my last comp lol. Cuitado ele. But yeah things are going pretty good.

Have you considered sending tanner off earlier now that he can on a mission? Just a thought. Alright love you!

Elder Baldwin

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hey,
Today was transfer day. Elder Sousa was transferred to a place called Santa Cruz, (pretty funny, hunh?) But this Santa Cruz aparently is not as pretty as in California lol. It's pretty ugly from what he says. But I'm sure he will be fine. One of my old companions, Elder Mimary, (not sure if you guys remember him) is now my Zone Leader! I thought that was pretty cool. And he lives literally in my area, so I'll be able to chill with him a bit. He has been baptizing like crazy so he was sent here to try and help out our zone. My District Leader, Elder Ramos, was made a Zone Leader, and in his place I was called to be District Leader. I'm pretty nervous, and not sure what I will do. But here I go.

My new companion is an Elder Cerda. I think he is a Brazilian. He was trained by my current Zone Leader, Elder Richardson, and only has good things to say about him. I'll let you guys know how he is next week.

I'll answer Mom's queston first, Christmas wishes. I keep remembering things I want during the week but then forget when I sit down to write lol. But I think I will need some new pants. Two pairs have wholes in the crotch. Really cool to have when you're teaching someone, not. I'm gonna take them to a seamstress to get re-sewn maybe, so just one pair of pants I think is good. I also think I want my Danish book of Mormon, if you can find that in my room. And my cologne if you can find that too. I'll think of more stuff this week.

So this week was really dissapointing. We taught lessons and we had some huge success with our family we are trying to baptize, Joana and Márçio. We taught them and convinced them to come to church this sunday. We had it all planned out to have the Bishop take them by car to the church... when they called and cancelled. It was very sad. Thanks for the scripture dad, because I am a little depressed right now lol. But I'll keep going.

I'll look into my favorite scripture for you. But one of my favorite chapters of all time is 2 Nephi 33. Nephi's last words. I really like it, the entire chapter is marked up with notes and colors. Nephi is probably one of my favorite prophets, with Alma as a close second. and Mórmon as third. I don't know I just really really like the Book of Mormon prophets. they are all really cool. I'm just basing this on some of the doctrine they write.

I don't think i took any money out in september.... I'm really trying to save that money and use only money on the mission. My area is a small area so it's easier to save up money. yes I think I still want to be a lawyer, and eventually a Judge. but I have also considered the possibility of being a translator. I really want to learn alot of languages. but learning lots of languages will halp as a lawyer too so I dont know lol.

Alright I'll let you guys go now. I love you and pray for you. Have a good week! And stop getting trunky dad lol, it's making me trunky ;) lol jk.

Elder Baldwin

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hi!
This week was really good. Elder Sousa and I were able to always be teaching this week. We got in 20 lessons, whether with investigators or less-active families. The church is really focused on reactivation right now as well, because it doesn't matter if you baptize and then they go inactive. But yeah. We also were able to get quite a few references from people, contacting almost all of them. We even asked for a reference from a guy on the street, and his reference led to 5 new investigators! Even though he didn't want a visit from us, he still led us to people prepared to hear our message. It was a really good experience. Unfortunately, we committed 9 people to come to church but only 1 person came. A friend of a young women in the ward. But she really liked it so we will talk with her more this week.
This mission used to be the most baptizing out of all the missions in Brazil, one month even being the most in the world. This is when the missionaries were doing literally whatever they could to get baptisms. I knew missionaries who had over 300 baptisms in these 2 short years. With President Lima, the mission has now turned to getting families, because even though the mission baptized para caramba, they had a real growth of about 5 people per ward. This is almost nothing. They were last in retention in all of Brazil. With President Lima we are 8th in retention now, reactivating like crazy all kinds of families. In this month alone, the mission has reactivated 38 families who had been baptized and then left the church. Almost every month we have numbers like that. The frequency is going to skyrocket here in Rio if we keep going with this. This month we were able to get 80 baptisms in the mission thus far. This is pretty normal, and for now is hovering around there. It's funny, because some missions in the United States have a goal of 80 baptisms per year!

We are not supposed to write negative things about our area but the ward I'm serving in is really weak, and the members who are active are struggling. It's rare to find a family who has family night every week. Scripture study as a family is almost unheard of, and is rare to have family prayer as well. Lots of establishing to do here. I try to help by asking the members to do these things, but it's difficult with such little authority I have with them. This is why so many leave the church, because these simple things aren't being done. Anyways, the people love the church and the book of mormon and especially the missionaries. Everyone has a really close relationship with the missionaries because almost everyone is a convert to the church, so that's cool. Yeah, the first half of the week was 106 degrees, and no mom it was still winter lol. It wasn't even spring. The last half of the week is when the cold weather hit. That was a relief. So now winter is over and spring is starting. Technically, summer doesn't start until december. If it's already getting hot here, I am not envious for january.... lol. The flash flooding comes more in the spring and summer so we will be getting a lot more of that here soon. The other day a huge rain storm hit and there were huge puddles in the street in just minutes. They have flooding problems because the sewage system in Rio is horrendous. They have sewers, but only about the size of my fist. Not like our gigantic ones where you can almost walk through.

Alright, question. I guess now it's valid cuz I'm already a year and almost a month on the mission. I think my return date is about september 3rd of next year. But if I return this day then I will not be able to go to BYU until january, staying home for like 4 months. I don't necessarily want to do that. Sorry, I love you guys, but there isn't gonna be work there for me for just 4 months. I have the option of coming home early like Elder Lambson. The transfer behind that one I think is July 23rd or 25th or something like that. I would have some time at home and go to college as well. However I also think it's an option to come home mid transfer, sometimes in August. What do you guys think? Alright I love you guys and I'll let you guys worry about this while I work. Até mais cara!

Elder Baldwin

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hey,
This week has been miserably hot. We have been hitting 104 daily here. Not cool. All the cockroaches are coming out on the streets now lol, and sometimes we get a surprise squish while we are walking. Also the mosquitos are getting fierce again. Ah well.... it was good cooler weather while it lasted. Sweet pictures from the beach, It would feel nice to go for a swim right now lol. Shirt and tie is not a good outfit for summer here. Everyone gives us weird looks on the street, but it's a great conversation starter lol.

I think one thing we need to do for investigators is to help them understand about authority and one true church is just teach simply, and boldly testify. On saturday night we taught a new family, Simone and Elias, and Simone loves to talk. She talked for a good while before we could get back to the lesson, and it was Elder Sousa's 'turn' to teach about christ and the church and the apostasy. He didn't want to drag it out, so he just said everything so boldy, immediately declaring that our church was the only true one on the face of the earth, and saying everything very simply and direct. I had never seen him teach so boldly before. It was really awesome. Simone was so intrigued that she asked us when she could come to church. We told her "tomorrow" lol. She came yesterday too, that's the awesome thing. And she quickly became friends with a couple of other women in the ward and absolutely loved church. She even pulled out a notebook in the middle of Gospel principles and began taking notes on the teacher's lesson. It was awesome. Her husband didn't come because he works on sunday, but it won't be hard to get him to not work because he is the boss of his own mechanic shop. It's just a matter of convincing him to pray about the Sabbath day to recieve a testimony of it. but they are an awesome family. One probleminha...(tiny problem) they aren't married. It always gets the best of them. But, she said they had already entered into the process before we got there. This is because she has always loved God and wanted to live right before him. So it's just a matter of waiting I hope. So that was our miracle of the week. We were pretty happy. In the middle of sacrament meeting she leans over to me and whispers "do you guys believe in continuing revelation?" I said yes. She said "wow that's so cool!!" lol.

I think we are doing alright with finding. We at least are getting a few new people to consistently teach every week, and lots of families too. We are teaching about 4 families right now. It's just our teaching that needs to get better I think. We need to teach more focused on their needs, rather than just vomit information to them. Preach My Gospel is full of this so no worries there, we just need to study and apply it. The language is coming along very well. I am fluent.
Depending on who you ask I even trick people into thinking i'm from brazil, or at least argentina. But my appearance and my name always give me away. Everyone asks me if I'm german. Depending on the day I switch between saying i'm american or danish ;) lol. Dual citizenship, it's great lol. Anyways, I hope you guys have a good week. We are gonna be here, baking in the sun. Say hi to everyone for me! :) I love you.
Elder Baldwin
 
 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hey,
Alright where to begin. Hunp day I celebrated by cutting a tie, and we bought a pizza and sang happy birthday,lol. I also made a devils food cake. It was cool. I bought a 1 candle ad put it in the pizza. But we didn't realize it was a trick candle! it wouldn't blow out lol. Finally when it blew out, 1 minute later it lit again! it was funny lol. I finally stuck it under the sink and ran it. That killed it.

We were able to teach Joana again but since the 2nd time no. We are supposed to visit her tonight. I hope she has been reading the Book of Mormon. We will try tonight as well talk with her husband, see what happens. They are a really cool family so I'm praying lots for them.

   In my first year dad, I was able to read the Book of Mormon 4 times. I admit though, Ii read parts of d&c, jesus the christ, and the bible as well lol. But I always tried to stop myself and read the book of mormon. Now I started Jesus the Christ and will try and read it through to kill my curiosity.

Yeah you are right it's true satan always does that. And he shows people what they will "lose" if they are baptized. Countless investigators have not been baptized because they would have to give up soccer on sundays, beer, and women. It's annoying when people choose these things over salvation. I just wanna shake them and say "why don't you realize!!" but that's how it is I guess. I'm sure God says that about me sometimes as well lol.

Not much to report this week. Tomorrow we have a zone meeting again. President brought them back finally. Now we will have them every month. We taught lots of lessons (not lots but more than the past few weeks, 12) but not many new investigators and no one really interested. We try and find a family every day but it's annoying when they give a fake address or a time when they know they won't be home. But we continue pressing forward with faith that God is preparing someone. We just have to find them. Alright I love you dad and mom, and hope you have a good week. Até mais caras, Tchau!

Elder Baldwin

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hey,
I haven't passed my one year mark yet so I haven't done anything yet. I don't know what I'll do. I have heard about the cutting a tie in half thing. I have also heard of burning a white shirt. I don't know what I'll do or if I'll do anything special. I just have no idea. It's still surreal to me that I'm gonna hit the peak here soon. From here on out it's all downhill and will go by way faster. It's just weird.

Anyways, we had a really nice week finding lots of people and committing all of them to baptism.... but no one came to church. Then a woman came to church miraculously out of nowhere with her son! We were so excited we went and got her address and... she lives in another elder's area. We just couldn't catch a break this week. Not to mention this week I was bit by a freakin dog. I was just walking along the street minding my own business when this dog charges out of the house and bites me in the leg! Man I was pissed. I tried to kick it but it just barked and ran away. Piece of crap dog... It didn't bite me hard, like it didn't break the skin or leave a mark. But still.

Yesterday we taught a woman named Joana. From the moment we started talking with her she started talking about baptism and how she knows it's a commandment and she needs to be baptized in a church. We got excited. We told her that we were missionaries from the restored church of God, and we were sent there to help her be baptized. That's when she got excited. We taught her the restoration and she understood everything. We told her that today there is a prophet who lives and she said "wait a minute... like a prophet prophet? Like Moses or Adam or one of those guys? Like only one in the world at a time prophet?" We said yes and taught her about the restorationa and the Book of Mormon, and committed her to baptism on the 16th. She is also married (legally!!), and has 4 children. We hope we will be able to teach everyone the next time we go there.

Yeah we generally use the bible until we teach what the Book of Mormon is. We use the bible mainly just to prove that there exists one true church, cuz everyone thinks that all of them are true. It's an annoying belief. But after that I use the Book of Mormon alot to help them.

Anyways I hope you guys have a good week again. Alright I love you guys and wish mom a happy birthday for me!! I thought about her on Saturday. Aright love you!

Elder Baldwin

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hello,
This week was probably one of the worst on my mission, lol. We walked a lot and did not get anything done. We lost both of our pronciple investigators, young men who were investigating the church but decided to stop. Adriano and his wife are very hard to get ahold of and we haven't found a chance to pass there yet, cuz they are never home. No one that we talked to or did contacts with wanted to hear about our message. It was a trying week. But enough of the complaining lol.

We found a family that seems very interesting. They were a reference from an investigator that we taught. They both are from a different church and were used to living life with lots of money. Recently, the husband has gotten ill and cannot work, and the mom needs to take care of him and so she cannot work, so they moved here to our area to a much smaller house and cut alot of the things they used to have. A nice humbled family :). They know a lot about the bible and have a huge love for God and Jesus Christ. We taught them the restoration and they understood very well everything about dispensations and the need for Joseph Smith to be called a prophet again. While we were teaching the mom even said wow, it makes sense. They promised to read the book of mormon. We haven't been able to teach them again, and we are a little afraid because they were visited by the pastors from their church, so we will see how that went on wednesday. But when we saw them briefly a different day they said they were reading the BofM and thought it interesting, and we would talk more on wednesday. I really hope the spirit was able to work with them.

They were our principle focus this week. A little sad because we taught so little this week, I feel like we did nothing. haha, Elder Sousa is fine I think. He likes the area he just doesn't like the fact that it's so small. But I don't think it's having a negative impact on his work here. We just need to regroup and rethink how we will work with more effectivness and more Spirit. We have already made plans to change this week around.

Do you want an actual map map dad? Or like a digital one? Yeah I can send home a map. It shouldn't be too hard. Alright some addresses. We work mainly on these streets

Rua Maria José
Travessa Maria josé
Rua Carlos Xavier
Travessa Carlos Xavier
Rua Teles
Rua Ana Teles
Rua Pinto Teles
Rua Dona Clara
Estrada Intendente Magalhães
Rua Domingos Lopes
Rua Capitão Menezes

And there are a few others lol. These are all in the bairros (neighborhoods) of Campinho, Madureira, Oswaldo Cruz, and Praça Seca.

I'm glad you guys got to try some Brazilian food. It was probably really really well made, better than normally here (probably). But still, cool. Did you guys eat at the bbq where they cut of pieces of meat on those long skewers? That's actually pretty common here. It's sweet.

Alright well, have fun you two all alone now. Let me know how it is without any kids in the house lol. I bet it'll be weird. You guys'll have more time to study the scriptures! lol. Also there is a big focus in the church about Family History right now. Maybe you guys could go to the Family History Center on a date night or something and do it together? I don't know. Idea. Alright I love you :) Have a good week.

Elder Baldwin

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hey!
Today was transfers so I spent half my time looking at all the changes made in the Quadra of the mission. Interesting. I'm still here in Madureira with Elder Sousa, so nothing too new or crazy to report. I don't think Elder Sousa is very happy. He has almost never stayed more than 2 transfers in an area, and this will be his third here so he is kind of tired of the area. It's different, because the area limits are tiny. We can walk across the area in about a half hour. Way diferent than Cabo Frio lol. So we have to focus more in smaller neighborhoods and areas. I like it but he is tired already. Anyway, this transfer passed by so fast. This week was a really tough week. We were focusing the whole week on trying to baptize these two young men who had come to church last sunday, but it was very difficult to find them at home. As a result we didn't get to focus on finding new investigators or people to teach very much. Because we didn't find news, no one came to church yesterday, and because the two young men were so hard to find at home they didn't want to get baptized yesterday. It was a difficult week and let's just say I'm glad it's p-day lol.

Last night though we had a really good lesson with this guy we are teaching. We have never been able to have a sit down lesson with him, just in the front of his house, but he is married (legally thankfully) and has interest in the church. His name is Adriano. He told us he read about the plan of salvation, and started reading the book of mormon. He wanted to know how we have the book of mormon so we gave him a basic version of the restoration. He got real interested after that. He said we had to mark a time that we could sit down with him and explain more, because he really wanted to know. That made me feel so good inside. It's so hard to find people who are genuinely interested, and actually understand the messages. We want to invite them to come to church this sunday and to be baptized once they feel that confirming feeling from the Holy Ghost. It's a complete family so we are really excited!

Haha, no mom we still aren't getting winter here. At least not the winter you are thinking of. Winter here means a bit chilly when the sun goes down, and everyone pulls out jackets and complains about how cold it is. I still sweat even when the sun goes down. This place is miserably hot and humid.

I'm getting more used to being the Senior now I think, we just have to really start finding people who want to get baptized. That's our only weak point is finding new right now, and people who will listen to us. Everyone here thinks that every church leads to God and it doesn't matter where you are cuz everyone has the Bible. It's really annoying.

Anyways Dad, as well next week tell em about some of your investigators that were really difficult to teach, what their doubts and problems were, and how the Spirit helped you help them. I'm hoping it will help me reading about some of your experiences as well. Alright I love you dad and mom, and I hope you guys have a nice week sending off your last child to college :)

Elder Baldwin

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hey!
This week we were able to talk with a couple families, but not as many as I would have hoped. Some of them fell on us :(. But we taught some good ones, including one family who is married! He read the little pamphlet on the plan of salvation and now says he can't wait to read the book of mormon. It was really cool, and we marked to go back Tuesday night to talk about the Plan and the Restoration. We are going to invite them to church and possibly baptism as well, so your prayers are appreciated :). For Adriano and Luanda.

Alright, what else. We had lunch with a family whose husband was inactive. We invited them to church and promised them blesings and he came on Saturday! It was incredible, we are going to visit them again this week and firm him up, and help them set goals to be sealed in the temple, something that they have not been able to do.

This week we found an elect. I saw this guy on the street and made a contact with him. From the first moment I started talking he just had this really big smile on his face. We went to his house and taught him about the Plan of Salvation. He said it made sense, and he had drawn many of those conclusions himself. He is 17. He got really excited and the spirit was really strong, so we invited him to be baptized on the 19th and he accepted! So this week we are going to teach him the rest and help him prepare to be baptized. It was amazing too because he came to church alone without us having to go get him yesterday, and he brought his girlfriend too. It was really cool, because it's not too often you see people willing to walk all the way to church on a sunday morning. His name is Iago and he still gets this huge smile on his face whenever we see him.

That's about it for this week. Not much else. I had to pay 120 bucks to pull bekka's package out of correios, but I already said that last week. So i went and got that today. It was awesome, had alot of things I needed but I can thank her in my letter to her.

Alright Dad, it looks like you are running low on stuff to write me about ;) so I have a couple things I would like you to write me about. I don't know too much about how your mission was. I just know it was in Germany and way back when the dinasaurs existed and you still taught memorized lessons ;) lol just kidding. But write me about your companions and who they were, if you trained what it was like, what it was like being senior for the first time, your first baptisms, how you found people, what the biggest problems were there in germany for them to overcome, stuff like that. I would like to know :).

Alright I love you both and hope you guys have another awesome week. If it makes you feel any better mom, this week has been almost as hot as your guys's, and it's supposed to be winter here!! :)

Elder Baldwin

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hey!
This last week we baptized his little brother as well, and the first one was confirmed. Yeah they are interested in the Gospel, but it's more something cool for them right now. I think though that with time they will grow to like it more. At least they have their sister to help them out. Haha yeah in Cabo Frio there was a kopenhagen street as well, but in portuguese it is spelled Copenhague. Pretty funky. And Danish is Dinamarquês. yeah, everyone asks me to say something in Danish so I usually just say something little and dumb like I like bread or something. I've forgotten most of my danish by now so... lol. It's tough.

I'm feeling pretty baked here. It's been in the 30's this week. There is just no break from this awful heat here. And in the 20's native rio people start getting cold. So weird.

Today we had interviews with President Lima. That's why I am writing so late. In interviews President Lima told me how he wants me to work the area, and specifically focus on families. He said that working with the members is the key. If you want the ward to grow and have baptisms, you need to have members in your lessons. Question... when was the last time you guys participated in a lesson with the missionaries? Something to think about... lol. It was hard because we had interviews, and immediately after we ran to our house to clean it because they did house checks, and then we had to come here to do email. So literally my entire P-Day went down the toilet. I didn't even get a chance to go pick up Rebekka's package that I am supposed to. She wrote something wrong or something and now i have to pay 120 bucks to pull it out. That's about 60 american dollars. Do not claim expensive stuff! Any package over 60 bucks and I'll have to pay through the nose to pull it out.

District Meetings are fine, the Zone Leaders are in our district as well so that's exciting. We get council and burned from two sets of leaders at once lol. jk we dn't get burned too often. I'm not that bad of a missionary. But they are usually about an hour and a half and consist of learning and applying something from Preach My Gospel and doing practices like baptismal invite practices or something. Ours is tomorrow.

Tell Tyler and Linda thanks so much for the package!! I got it today and it's awesome. And let them know that I have already been to the ward where their friend Paula lives down here. It's a cool ward.

I have mentioned PRP to my companion but haven't tried teaching him yet. Oh, and do you remember Elder Mimary? he was my third companion who I taught PRP to. He is now a very powerful Zone Leader Senior in a place called Campo Grande. They had the second most baptisms in the mission there with my zone being #1 ;) but he told me he still does PRP frequently the other day when I saw him. That made me feel good.

Alright I'm short on time. I think this computer counts seconds faster than normal.... but I love you guys and hope the best for you :)

Elder Baldwin

P.S.S. we have lots of families to teach this week. Pray for us to find success!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Thanks for the prayers this week... they worked! We baptized a little kid named Marlon. He is the little brother of a recent convert. It was tough because we had to teach him and explain to his parents about the baptism and all that. But he has been to church 5 times, and came to me a few weeks ago saying he wants to be baptized. This week we realized that for him. It was also very special because it was my companions first baptism! I'll see if I can send a picture. I'm also attaching a couple other fun pictures. One is the nutella can I left in the microwave too long. Remember that? lol. Also a street sign I found for an apartment complex on the street... I think you'll like it mom lol.
Next week we are planning on baptizing Marlon's little brother, Maycon. He was supposed to be baptized yesterday with Marlon but he visited his sister a city away and wasn't there Sunday. It was a dissapointment but he still wants to be baptized. It will be great for him. We also have found a few more investigators that we are working with. We are going to try and help them prepare for a baptism on the 12th. We are finally having sucess :) so again, thankyou for your prayers.

   Mom, send my birthday wishes for Draegen and Andrew. Grandma told me they are coming up here soon.

Thank you again for everything :) And say congrats to Jameson and Zack for me, and Elder Stucki when you see him :) I love you guys and hope you have a great week!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hey Guys,

   Thanks for the prayers. I'm needing them. This area is a difficult one. The members are running low on gas and have low hopes for high frequency and high baptisms. It makes sense. For years the ward has been hovering at about 50-60 in the frequency. This means everyone in the ward has at least 2 calling. There is a lot of responsibility on me and my companion here. I talked to president personally today and he told me he has faith that I can work miracles in this area, and bring the frequency up. I'm praying and fasting a lot more recently, lol. But the area and members are great and love the missionaries. Our fridge is literally filled with food that they always give us cuz they are afraid we are going hungry. They are a huge blessing for us.

   Our chapel’s address is Rua Curimatã 112, Madureira, RJ, RJ. It's an old one, I think the second in all of Rio, so it is very american style (because it was built before brazil got their own style) and I believe the members built it with their own hands. Pretty cool.

   Discussions (or lessons) are very low. Only 8 this week. I'm trying to pull this area out of a hole it's been in recently. Very low frequency, and very low baptisms. Really the best thing that works is getting references from members. It seems to really be the only sure fire way in missionary work to get baptisms. However the contacts are still high, 140, and we should be baptizing two little brothers of a recent convert. While our focus is not baptizing children, when they ask to be baptized and come to church regularly we can't really say no. We are gonna see if their parents want anything in the gospel as well.

   Spiritual experiences are in short supply but the other day we were running home (almost literally) and a woman stopped us in the street and told us about a dream she had. She dreamt about one of our temples and saw two Mormon missionaries, and God told her in the dream that we are doing His work. We got her number and are going to teach her in August, because she is gone for the holidays we are having here right now.

   Time is flying by so fast now. Being senior comp is definitely harder. Way more work and way more worrying going on. I may come home grayer than dad, lol. But I love it and I love being able to help my companion and the investigators. It's more responsibility, but as a wise comp here in the field told me more responsibility equals more happiness in the life of a missionary. Everything is going great here and I'm glad to hear that you guys are all doing swell. Thank you for the prayers.

Love you guys Lots,
Elder Baldwin

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hi!

I will have to write this letter a bit different because this computer is really bad. New internet Café, new computers to get used to, lol. Thanks for the birthday wishes, it was an alright birthday. We had 3 lessons on my birthday, nothing too special but for this ward that is actually quite a bit. This ward is used to a slower pace of missionary work, in other words they have had some of the lazy ones. The ward frequency is only about 60 people on average, although on Sunday we had 68. We need to animate the members as well as find and bring people to church. It's going to be tough in this ward but I have faith we can help the members here and the ward grow. We made a goal to leave the ward this transfer with an average frequency of 70, through reactivation and baptisms. I want more though, to be honest. My companion is Elder Afonso de Sousa, or just Elder Sousa. He is a pretty cool guy, we actually got here in the field the same day. It's different being the senior because you get to make all the decisions, but at the same time the fault is all yours as well. This week we focused a lot on finding new investigators, so we did a lot of contacts. We did more than the required 140, blowing it out of the water with 162! My companion said he had never even gotten 140 on his mission yet, lol. But it looks like the best work here is done with references. When the members really trust the missionaries enough to give them their friends, it really does work out. I counted the other day and I have only ever baptized one contact! The rest have been references! So I encourage you to find someone to give to the missionaries this week as a reference. Preferably a family, J.

Please pass this message along to everyone:

Hey everyone! I just wanted to say thank you for all the birthday wishes from you guys. It was a nice cold rainy day here in Brazil on my birthday, but that's fine I like it that way :). Again thank you for all your well wishes :) -Elder Daniel Baldwin

I still haven't done too much to celebrate myself, but I’m thinking of making those brownies you sent me :) It'll be delicious, lol. I think we actually have 7 favelas in our area, at least that is what Elder Sousa says. It could be 5. But no that is all our area. Well thank you for everything guys I love you all and hope you have a good week. It's finally cold and cloudy here lol. With love,

Elder Baldwin

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Alright a few important things to say...

I GOT YOUR PACKAGE!!! It came this week. Thank you so much for everything inside! I especially like the ensign you guys sent me. I have a few talks for you guys to read. Please read the talk entitled "was it worth it" by Elder Evans of the 70. It is all about what we are focusing on right now here in the mission, and if you look in the whole church. It is amazing. I also really liked President Monsons talk on the plan of salvation. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite subjects (The Plan of Salvation). There is so much to study, it never ends! Also thanks for the mentos thing. I thought it was hilarious. I'm definitely gonna try it here! And mom, don't worry about what I like or not. Honestly, you always get exactly the stuff I am wanting at the moment. So thank you :) It made me extremely happy.

Alright, next. I was transferred :(... Bye bye most beautiful house on the mission. Back to the real world.... I am now in an area called Madureira in the Madureira stake. The area is literally in one of the hottest areas in all of the state of Rio, and even in Brazil. It's not the hottest, of which I’m thankful. The hottest is Bangu. I'm really glad it's winter though, lol. My companion is a Brazilian this time. Elder Alfonso de Souza. That's good cuz I've been getting a thick accent in Portuguese talking English with Elder Peterson. I'm a little nervous because I’m senior now... but the area looks like it hasn't had good missionaries in it for awhile. The last baptisms they had were in April, so my work is cut out for me. Please, don't let up on your prayers! They are appreciated :).

Alright, so this last week we had lots of success. Another sad reason that I’m leaving the area. We found a lady who has been inactive for almost 15 years, and when we visited her she literally cried she was so happy. She came to church this Sunday and brought her husband who is very against religion. He said he loved it and would read the Book of Mormon to know if it was true. Also, we set marriage dates for Vangela and Jackson, the family that I have been working forever with. They are getting married and baptized on the 21st of this month. More baptisms that I’m missing out on. But it's ok, I'll keep my head up and go where I need to go.

Question… Is John 15: 13-15 the one where he says that they are all his friends, and there is no greater sacrifice than laying down your life for your friends? If so that is an awesome scripture. I really love it. I really like Alma 17: 9-11 as well, I’ll enjoy reading it. Patience is one of those never ending lessons, especially on the mission.

I had a really good study today on humility. Read about humility in Preach My Gospel, it says a lot of really great things in there. It is one of the keys of success, because if you are truly humble than you are already following all the commandments of God.

Alright I’m glad you all had a good week, and I am praying for you all. I love you!

Elder Baldwin

Monday, July 2, 2012

We are trying to contact the new contacts we found. But we don't get to teach many of them, just because references are much more important (being from members) and we have been contacting quite a few. This week we contacted 11, and have more to contact for next week. The family I have been teaching, Vangela and Jackson, finally found a cheap and fast way to get married, so they have finally begun the process. If all goes well they will be married and baptized on the 21st of July. This is next transfer so I’m hoping I’m still here for that. Transfers are next week, so I’ll know by then.

So this week we decided to show that it wasn't just a fluke last week that we made so many contacts, so we decided to really focus on contacts. We didn't perfectly make 20 contacts per day, but yesterday we made 43 in a single day, so we ended with 140 contacts. 70 per person. It was a really good day, especially since we were able to get in a lesson and baptismal invite as well.

We just merged another house into ours so we have all of the other houses stuff. There weren't any missionaries there though so it's all ours. So all new desks, stove, and couches. The only problem is the organization. So we are gonna finish that up today. Otherwise I think it's just relax. Next Monday is transfer P-Day, so I’ll know then what's happening. But I think I’ll stay with Elder Peterson. The new chapel opens up this month (The 21st) so I’m not sure the president would transfer us now that we are so close. But we will see.

Haha, funny thing about dreams. The other day I dreamt that I was going home!! I was in the airport and dad couldn't wait to see me so he came running into the passengers only area when I was getting off, lol. It was really funny. It made me way trunky though cuz I woke up and realized how much time I still have. But it's ok, it only lasted a moment.

Our weather has been pretty terrible for a winter. It feels like summer here! The members say it is unusually hot for this time of year. Normally it's like rain and clouds all day about now. They say it should get that way here in july and august. I guess we will see. But it feels like it's around 80's or so in the day. The only nice thing is the nights. It gets pretty cold for nighttime, so that’s good. But there is not a cloud in the sky. Perfect beach weather, and here has some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Brazil. People prefer the beaches here to CopaCabana, because the sand is white and the scenery is much more beautiful. I know Nic would love it here lol. Búzios (in my area still) even has good golfing! Too bad I don't have any clubs.

We just received a couple families from the ward to reactivate and complete, so we are gonna go visit them this next week. No baptisms again this week, but we had a single woman come to church with her three small children, and she has agreed for baptism on the 8th (next Sunday) so we will be praying for her. Her name is Rita. It looks like we have to help her with a couple things in the word of wisdom first though. So your guys's prayers are appreciated. :)

I didn't tell you last week but I finished the Book of Mormon again on the mission, and started again. Today I read from 2Nephi 16 to 28. I really liked 25 and 26, lots of stuff in there about priest craft and things that other churches (especially here) do. Then 27 was about the Book of Mormon coming forth and Joseph Smith. I just really love 2 Nephi, every time I read it I learn something new. It’s one of the more doctrinated chapters of the BofM. The Seer Nephi had some great prophecies. I'd say the only books that compare are 3rd Nephi, and parts of Mormon and Moroni.

I'm attaching a photo of our family baptism we had a few weeks ago to show you guys. Also the baptism on knees, lol. That was cool. Well, I love you guys. Have a good week :)

Elder Baldwin



Monday, June 25, 2012

Thanks for the letter :) Sounds like you guys have started having fun with your newly commenced summers. We did not have a baptism the last week :(…first time in 4 weeks. But we are preparing a couple people. We went to 4 family nights last week and have 5 more scheduled for next week! Turns out, you can do a family night whenever you want in the week, so we try and mark one for every night, lol. It's great because it's a lesson with a member, they bring their friends so they already have people in the church helping them out, and there is food. Good food, lol. So we like doing family nights. Just today we have two marked and we are gonna have to end P-Day early to get to both of them. So we are doing pretty good here :).

Be sure to thank Linda and Tyler, Branden, Andrew, and Melissa very much for me. That money will not go to waste, let them know :) And I am very grateful for it.

Alright so this week we spent most of the time doing a challenge by our mission president. He challenged all the missionaries to do 140 contacts this week in a dupla, or 70 personal ones. I got 75! A contact is a person you stop on the street and talk about the gospel and try and get an address from. Some days are harder to get the full 10 you are supposed to do because of P-Day or meetings, but this week I went the extra mile and succeeded. My Comp Elder Peterson even said one night he woke up and I was talking in my sleep, doing contacts and asking inspired questions in Portuguese! I thought that was pretty funny, lol. Send my love to everyone.

Elder Baldwin

Monday, June 18, 2012


My camera is being weird and not letting me send a picture.... but this last week we had a baptism!!!! We baptized a woman and her daughter, completing a family who has been together for 15 years. Now everyone is baptized and we are gonna set goals with them to prepare them for the temple. It was an amazing experience and it was so awesome, the best feeling ever to help baptize a family. This is the first time I have worked with a family in either baptizing completely, completing like we did, or reactivating a family. This is what the mission is focusing on right now, these three things, so it's really good when you are able to do one. Thank you for your prayers it was with your help that this was possible.

The temple dedication was televised at the stake center so we had to go all the way out there. The girl that was baptized two weeks ago was still in our ward, lol. That shows how big our ward boundaries are. That girl was confirmed yesterday in church.

Well I'm glad you had a good time with the kids at grad night and everything went good. I'm sad I wasn't able to be there with you guys but I was there in Spirit, and was able to baptize this family. I hope you can excuse me for that :). Well I still need to write Tanner. Sorry this letter was a little weak. I love you and hope everything is going good. Everything is still good with me and my companion, we are just trying to get more success and more baptisms still. Alright, love you lots.

Elder Baldwin

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hey! So on our P-Day we had a baptism. We baptized a girl named Tatiane way out in Araruama, so we didn't get a P-Day last week. But we got a baptism. We baptized her in a member’s pool, but the water to his house cut out when it was only halfway full!!! So we did the baptism on our knees, lol. It was a really cool experience. We had to do it twice cuz her knee kept popping up out of the water. I'll try and send pictures.

Yesterday we didn't have church, but I stayed in the Chapel way out in Macaé the whole day. We got to see the dedication of the Menaus Brazil Temple!!! I stayed for all three sessions. Elder Uchtdorf was there, Elder Cook, and a few 70's. It was really cool cuz I’ve never seen a temple dedication before.

We found a family this last week where the husband is a member but the wife and daughter are not. They have gone to church with him for a really long time, like 15 years, but no one ever challenged them really to be baptized. We challenged them to be ready for baptism by this Sunday, the 17th. They accepted, so we are going to be working with them a lot this week. Pray for them? :)

Well, I’m not sure what else to say you guys didn't send questions to answer, lol. I hope all is well back home and Tanner is getting ready for graduation right? Alright, I send my love and hope you guys have a great week. The computer isn't letting me attach the photo so I’ll try next week :) Love you!!

Elder Baldwin