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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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