Monday, December 3, 2012

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

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