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


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

Monday, June 4, 2012

Well, we had a baptism yesterday of one of Suellen's friends. Her name is Jocimara. It was a really nice baptismal service with one of the boys in the ward baptizing her who she was friends with. Lots of people went for a Sunday night baptism, and I could really feel the spirit there. We are now gonna work with her friends and family to keep her firm. Today we are actually going to be working for a bit. We are going to one of the longest cities in our area away from here, because there is a girl there who wants to be baptized. She has already met all the requirements so we are gonna go out there and baptize her in a member’s pool. Bishop said it was cool. So we have another baptism today as well, lol.

We found a new family (married legally already!) from a return missionary in our ward. They are relatives of his. We have taught them twice now and they really love the lessons, and are interested in the Book of Mormon and our claims to priesthood authority. They understand really well the messages we have and actually read when we ask them too. Pray for them to receive an answer this week. Their baptismal date is the 24th because they need to go to church a few times, and this week won't work because it is the dedication of the Brazil Menaus Temple and we will be able to watch it :).

Me and my companion are still cool. This is the first one that I will stay with for 2 transfers since my trainer. Everyone else has just been for one transfer. But we are having comp inventory when we need it and the days are flying by pretty fast, thanks to all these baptisms we are having as well so I think our relationship is pretty good :).

I'm having trouble losing weight cuz of Açai and Rice down here, lol. I'm losing just very slowly. I think I’ve lost about 10-12lbs since day 1.

Well, thank you for your prayers and your advice. I hope you guys have a good week. Lots of Love!

Elder Baldwin

Monday, May 28, 2012

I am in a wonderful ward that helps a lot in the work, it is just difficult because the area is so big. By car, to get from one side to the other side of the area is about 2 1/2 hours. It's big.... lol.

This week went by slow but fast at the same time. Slow because the Assistants came to fix some things in our zone. Our whole zone did not get a baptism for the first three weeks of May, so the Assistants came to see if there was something going on or if we just needed some help. They helped us get our baptisms situated and mark some others. So E. Peterson and I baptized Suellen yesterday! Tatiane didn't make it but Suellen was baptized and confirmed yesterday. She has also led us to her mom and two other friends who we have already marked dates with to baptize next week, so pray for them :) And thank you for your prayers, I really felt them and I'm sure Suellen did as well.

Today is transfer day. I found out I’m staying with Elder Peterson here in Cabo Frio. Honestly I have no idea when I might be made DL, Trainer, or even Senior. Whenever President Lima talks about how he does transfers, he says he always does them 100% with prayer and spiritual revelation on where people need to go. So, I just have to trust that the Lord will know when I’m ready for more responsibility. No, I still study the language but I understand and speak it fluently. I'm just expanding my vocabulary now. I think Gospel wise I'm going to start really studying the Plan of Salvation good. I have noticed it is one of my weakest lessons, so it could use some study and fine tuning especially in my understanding of it. So if you have articles or scriptures or anything about it that would be sweet :). I'm writing in my journal more frequently now. Some days I miss cuz I go on splits and whatnot, but I try and abridge what happened past days in the next day. So it's not perfect but it's coming along.

A spiritual experience I had is when Suellen's mom and friends came to watch her baptism. It gave them the desire to be baptized themselves, and we will be working a lot with them this week to realize that goal.

Also, tell Tanner I met a professional Soccer player here on the mission. His name is Rodolfo Rezende Gorneiro. Tell him to look him up, and ask me how I met him.

Love you all!

Elder Baldwin

P.S. is someone making a list of movies for me to see when i get back? Put MIB 3 on there and the Avengers!! Also any other cool ones :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Here it's actually cooling down. The seasons are flipped here so we are getting ready for winter, but in the summer it's usually about 40 degrees celsius, which is about 100 in farenheit. But the humidity is terrible here. It's brazil, lol. I'm just glad I’m not serving in the Amazon. There it's like 90 in the winter, with even more humidity! They eat a ton of rice here in Brazil, and rice sticks to the bones, lol, so it's hard to lose weight. If I don't eat a lot at lunch with the sisters in the ward they get mad at me, and then don't give references. Just kidding, but they do get sad.

So the language is going really well. People tell me I still speak with a small accent but I understand and speak fluently. I still read slowly but I understand everything I read (except for some bible words.) In terms of P-Days and beautiful places, when I can I take pictures, but President Lima has really tried squashing the whole missionaries going places on P-Days. It's a little annoying but I try to follow so I don't go too many places, just once in a while. But yes I am taking many pictures. I'm not sure what pictures I have already sent you but I’ll send you one. It's of my old district at a beach called Praia Grande, it's really big and the sand is like white.

Tell Uncle Tyler and Aunt Linda that I did receive their letter and I will send off my response here today or tomorrow. I love getting letters from them, I think it's so cool, and I try always responding. Let them know I am very grateful for their help :).

I guess I’m a bit more comfortable. The language barrier is torn down and I'm starting to get into the rhythm of missionary life. In two more transfers I’ll have a year on the mission.

Let Tanner know that PRP is a really useful tool and he should continue doing it to spiritually prepare, and I would just challenge him to read as much church material as he can before the mission. I know it's not a huge desire of his write now, but he has no idea how much it will help on the mission, and how much he will want to read that stuff while he is on the mission. Our books are very limited on the mission, we are not even allowed to read study manuals. Just the mission library, church magazines, and Preach My Gospel.

Anyway, I hope you guys have a good week. We have two people preparing for baptisms this next Sunday, so please pray for Swellen and Tatiane to accept and prepare to be baptized.

I love you and thank you for everything.

Elder Baldwin

Monday, May 7, 2012

Today marks 8 months that I have been out. An update on my personal items: I have had companions that have been on their third pair of shoes by 8 months, and I’m still on my first pair, so these shoes are amazing! I'm doing alright with the sheets thing. The guy on the plane let me steal one of those thin blankets on the airplanes, so when it gets real cold at night I use that and it's all good. But like I still sleep with a fan. So if it gets colder than that, I’ll just turn off the fan and I’ll be fine. It won't get cold enough for me to need more.

We don't get dinners we get lunches from the members. Yesterday we had a carrot soufflé from a member, the usual rice and beans, and chicken with cheese and marinara baked in the oven. It was real good. All the other days are starting to melt together and I can't remember too good our lunches and stuff. Just know that I haven't had to use plastic bags in my pockets yet ;). So the lunches have been real good.

Our mission is really focusing on baptizing families. President Lima really wants a temple announced for Rio while he is here, and families are the best way to do this by creating real growth in the church here. Pray that I will be able to find and baptize families, complete families in which not all family members are baptized, and reactivate families who have fallen away. Also, it's amazing for our investigators and numbers when we have members in the lessons. I know that from firsthand experience ;).

Elder Baldwin