Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

This week, we went on a trip to another zone cuz a family that Elder Ludgero taught there was baptized, and President let him go and participate, so I went and participated too. It was fun. My zone was in 2nd place on the mission, by 1 baptism. It was sad but the zone that beat us deserved it. I'm just glad that we did so good with a new zone. I love you guys!!

Elder Baldwin

Monday, August 19, 2013

This week was good, we baptized four and this brought us into first place in the mission. The mission values baptisms of Men who can hold the priesthood more than any other baptisms, so the first place zone is the zone that baptized the most men in first place and then goes to most baptisms. We have 7 in the zone but three men, which is higher than any other zone, so we are in first place. The zone also has about 3 dates marked with more men so we will try and end this next week in first place as well :) It would be a good way for me to end the mission, putting in first place the zone that I opened this transfer. But enough of this Glory of Men stuff.

   This week we had that investigator who was pure gold, the reference from the sisters. Unfortunately, we found out that he lives on the border of the two wards.... and on the wrong side of the street. So we had to, very reluctantly, call the sisters and give it to them. My companion baptized him though and we appeared in the picture and it was such a good baptism, and still counted for the zone, so I’m happy. We then found out that one of the sisters brought 8 people to church, and one of them was a man who lives in our area! So the Lord blesses those who try and do everything according to the divisions and rules. Some were saying just baptize him and resolve this later, but we decided to do everything right. So the Lord blesses. Testimony builder experience.

   We also went to the other district in our zone, Leopoldina, and interviewed the family that I had marked a date with when I was there last week with the district leader there. He had done everything right and the family was baptized yesterday. It was just the couple, cuz they couldn't have any more kids and the kids were all big, but it was still so cool. While I was there I marked a date with a family to complete in his area where the husband is not a member and the wife hasn't been to church in years. I found out that they went to church yesterday!! So we will go and interview him there too this week.

   So yeah, this week has been pretty good and lots of stuff going on. I've been so happy to have been able to participate in all of this. This week will be crazy busy because everyone has interviews that we need to do and we will be running around like chickens with our legs cut off (haha... joke from Sons of Provo.)

Last PDay we went to a hill in my area called Morro de Cristo or Christ Hill. It was really cool I took some pictures. It's the highest point in the city and we went with the sisters. Today we will go and eat lunch and play some sports with them in the chapel. I love you guys and hope you guys have a good last week without me bugging you all :)
Lots of Love,
Elder Baldwin

Monday, August 12, 2013

   Alright, let me see if I can organize my thoughts onto this email lol.   Honesty I think the food I miss the most is probably Root Beer lol. I'm not even sure if I remember all the food enough to miss it. But in terms of a meal when I get back I wouldn't mind dad’s tri tip and some good salads that you make. That or Pizza lol. I would be happy with either one. I'll be flying back alone. The big flight I’ll be with a missionary but he is from Massachusetts so he will go there. Elder Sherril is going home one week before me cuz he stayed in Rio, so I won't be going home with him. The last two flights I’ll be trucking out alone. So that's good just you guys expecting a smelly bearded guy in a suit (I will have been traveling for over 20 hours... just warning you guys lol.)

     Alright so this week we found an elect in our area. Actually, it was the sisters who found him and passed the reference to us. His name is Fernando, and he is about in his late fifties. He is incredible. He has lived a long life of drinking and smoking, but it has already been 5 years since the last time he drank and he is fighting the smoking with us. He went to church this last Sunday and said he absolutely loved it. If all goes well his baptism is marked for the 18th. He came to church on his own two feet, without anyone going to get him. He is extremely firm. I love teaching him because he is humble in terms of accepting. We taught him The Word of Wisdom last night and he just said "wow. I didn't know that about coffee. Alright, I’ll stop drinking it." he was sent from God :)

   Other than that this week was bad in our area for having gone many times to other areas to do interviews. The zone baptized three this week. I have felt that way many times  during my mission, that it is passing like a dream. It's sad... thinking about all the people and missionaries I have met that maybe I will never see again. But happy because I know that what I have done has been the will of the Lord and serving him.
We are still looking for a house in our area so money is tight (cuz of busses) and work is slow but we should be getting it this week. I love you all and hope you have a good week :)
Elder Baldwin

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

   I can't believe Tanner got called to Thailand!!! Wow that is so crazy.

   I'm doing good here, just trying to not get trunky. All of the members in the ward know I'm leaving now. It's hard to hide it. Plus, the Bishop asked me specifically to bear my testimony yesterday, and so I did maybe for the last time in Portuguese on a fast Sunday. Not for the last time though, I found out my companion scheduled me to talk in sacrament meeting my last Sunday here. Great, lol. That's why I love my companion. But yeah. The Bishop here is amazing. His name is Jose Carlos. He treats us like his own sons. Maybe because his son just got his own mission call. He actually leaves the day after do, on the 29th, for a mission in Brazil called Natal. He is crazy excited and is always going on divisions with us and stuff. Tanner and I will be able to go on divisions with the missionaries too ;)

   This week was not a very good week.

I don't know why but the people just aren't accepting the baptismal invite, nor the invite to come to church. But it's our fault. We just need to be a little bit more diligent. We are also still looking for an apartment that we can live in. We found one last night that looks just perfect, 3 bed 2 bath, with a large living room and nice little kitchen. It will be for 2 companionships, and it just looks like the sweetest little place. It's also not too expensive. A little expensive for the area but considering the size not too bad, 800 reais. Yeah, living here is way cheaper. Houses here are like 40-90 thousand reais to buy. That's like 20-45 thousand dollars. Of course, that all depends on the area and different things like that. But hey, retiring to Brazil wouldn't be a bad option, would it? lol.

   We taught 23 lessons, with 15 new investigators, and 17 references contacted, but only 2 people came to church. These people are coming regularly and each have their reasons why they can't be baptized. Ugh. But we are still in the fight. We are teaching a few people who have already been to church and maybe we can help them be baptized.
    What we do for fun on P-Day? hmmmm, well I have already gone and done sight seeing, I did that in Cabo Frio, I have baptized on P-Day before, that was pretty fun. We sometimes do things with the district. I have played Risk on P-day with the district before that was kinda cool. My companion likes card games like Pokemon, so we found a store with Portuguese Pokemon cards. Also, I found a Marvel game in cards that has a bunch of the heroes and villains. It's pretty coo I'll bring it back cuz I’m pretty sure the U.S. still doesn't have it. It's all in Portuguese as well. But yeah. I have had companions who thought having fun on P-Day was sleeping the entire day. Sometimes also the members invite us over to hang out with them. But yeah, it all depends. Oh, the sisters are wanting to play volleyball so one day we will do that as well.
  Have a good week!!!
Elder Baldwin

Monday, July 29, 2013

  This week we did not baptize. Yes I am still the Senior Zone Leader and yes I am still getting along really well with my companion. He is awesome, I don't even have to worry about anything. This week we only taught 12. We have been trying to adjust to the new living circumstances. We moved in with the assistants and secretaries, and so now there are 6 elders living in a house with just one bathroom. Not too effective. So someone always ends up way late to getting ready. We also live in the center of the city, while our area is way out in the boondocks. That makes it difficult to get there and back on time cuz of the busses. We are looking for a house in our area, and we found a really good one, but that the real estate office is being really hard to deal with. They don't want to accept the churches contract, and they only will let us rent the apartment if we have 2 people (I’m not sure how to call them in English) who say they will pay if the residing person doesn't. And they won’t accept the churches word and credit score as proof that they will pay. I heard that today Sister Cascardi will go there and some heads will roll lol. So we will see what happens. So that has been our lives. We have been having meeting with the bishop as well to plan for when this ward receives another dupla of missionaries. So it's been a lot of bureaucratic work instead of work work. But this week we will repent of that. After seeing the zone get 0 in this week we will do divisions and work like crazy in our area to find baptisms. That's a lot of President Cascardi's focus, that we baptize and especially men above the age of 18. So they can be holders of the Melchizedek priesthood and help establish the church here.

All the members here were sad to see the last elders go as well. The last elder that was here, Elder Walker, was here for 9 months, so it was a lot of the same feelings. But the ward has already warmed up to us and loves us now. We are trying now to get some activities going to excite them and help in missionary work.
      Alight, I love you. Have a good week  :)
Lots of Love,
Elder Baldwin

Monday, July 22, 2013


   Alright... so a lot of stuff has happened this week. Lots of crazy things. So transfer was Wednesday, and I found out Tuesday. President opened up a new zone in the city, and I am the Zone Leader who is opening it. I have a new companion, because my last companion is the zone leader senior of the old zone that I left. We have a lot of wards from the same zone, but president overhauled everything. So every single area in my zone is receiving a new dupla (opening the area) except for one area, and this one area the elder did a surgery on his toe and can’t work for almost two weeks. So yeah, fun stuff. Luckily, we baptized this week. I am with a new Elder Named Elder Ludgero, a Brazilian but actually looks really American. He speaks English pretty good so I am helping him perfect it. We moved to a new ward called Manchester. The ward is good, and I already knew lots of the members through my divisions with the District leader that was here. We got here and found a man to be baptized immediately, so we baptized this week :) This got the ward all excited, but especially our Ward Mission Leader. He was a little down in the dumps cuz the last dupla didn't know how to get him excited. All he really needed was a little love. Elder Ludgero is really good with exciting the members, so we are doing really great together. In our zone there are two districts now. One super far away in two other cities completely separate, and one here in the city. The district here in the city is us and 3 duplas of sisters. But what, who is the district leader? You guessed it, us. So we are zone and district leaders at the same time. It's pretty exhausting. But we are thankful for the workload. I am at least. It doesn't give me time to get trunky ;) So I’ll die good here.

  Alright, a bit more about the new president. He seems more fatherly than authoritative, Like President Lima was. I am very grateful for Pres Lima, because I learned so much about the Priesthood and revelation and the huge focus on basic doctrine. I needed that. I had never realized how much I didn't know. Pres. Cascardi is more focused on getting us animated to grow. Pres. Lima was more strengthen. We already had lots of stakes and wards, but they were small. Now, Pres. Cascardi is growth and division. We want more stakes here. It's good, but it’s like a change in the presidency of the church. It’s the same, just a different vision. The lord knows who he needs at what times.

     In terms of spiritual experiences, this week the only one I really had was with a family not in my ward. We went to interview some baptisms in an area called Leopoldina. The missionaries are teaching a great family who just needs to get marred. Big surprise there. But while they are waiting they have already gotten their kids to want to be baptized, and so we were there for them. It was so cool, because each one went in to the interview with doubts and not wanting to be baptized, but came out wanting to. I think it's one of the best moments on the mission. Interview someone or teach someone who doesn't really want to, but comes out after being spiritually strengthened, understanding a bit more about Baptism and what god expects. Helping others repent, I guess just sums it up. It’s a good feeling. But because of all the craziness we didn't teach too much. Thankfully, the ward is crazy and helps a lot, and alone they brought two investigators to church. We will this week go after some people who the last elders left to try and baptize them. Until next week!
Elder Baldwin

Monday, July 15, 2013

  Well, first things first. I think maybe you guys got the itinerary? I did too. So yeah, now you know exactly when ill be coming home and all that good stuff. Go ahead and tell everyone. I started my last transfer today. 6 weeks left. We still don't have the transfers so I may be transferred or may have a new companion. We will find out tomorrow. Lots of areas opening up in the zone. My zone will be huge. It's gonna be interesting. We are going to have 4-5 districts. So lots of time on the telephone. joy. Ah well, it will help me prepare for life. Right?

   This week we didn't baptize. Diego's parents don't want him too. We need to go there and figure out why. His mom is all for it, but his dad (who doesn't even live with him) said he should wait longer even though he has been going to seminary for like ever and church as well. Just the power of the devil is all. But we will also be marrying a family and baptizing them this week, and we had three other people in church as well. So I'm excited. Lots of good stuff happening. The bishop is super excited and all the members are wanting to give references. It's actually hard to find an open time now to just do contacts. Many times we find ourselves with less and less contacts but still with lots of news and references contacted. It's great, cuz the people are a lot more open than just contacts.

   So, my birthday. Yesterday I went to a members house. A couple of members who are all around 25-29 years old. Friends in the ward. We made home-made pizza and cake. My companion made a ton of videos, I’ll save them and bring them with me, but it was a really fun birthday. They even gave me presents!  I got a pen that has Moroni on it, really fancy, and a new tie. I've been here so long that the whole ward was saying happy birthday to me yesterday and asking me if I had plans, cuz if not I could go to their house and chill with them.

   So the mission is a bit different just cuz now the rules are starting to change. We are having a journal now that I will be able to print out and save and keep, so that will be nice. I'll do it as much as I can to show you guys.

   This week I had a really great spiritual experience teaching a girl, who then came to church yesterday. She asked about life after death and we read Alma 40, 11-14 with her, and explained about paradise and prison. She understood really well, and then applied it. She said wait, last time you guys talked about the doctrine of Christ, faith repentance, baptism, holy ghost, and enduring to the end. We said yeah. She said, are you saying that the only things we have to do are these five to make it to paradise? I said exactly. She said, it’s so simple!! I said yeah, so that means the only people who don’t go there don’t go cuz they choose not to go. She said, it’s true. I love the feeling that comes when I can see that they really understood :) It makes the mission worth it. We are working with her to be baptized this month.Until next week :)
Elder Baldwin

Monday, July 8, 2013

   So yes I have met the new mission president. He came to our house to look at it and talk with us. We also had a conference with the whole mission. It was really cool. He is a really good guy, really excited for starting the mission here. He changed the focus from families to men, people who can have the Melchizedek Priesthood. So, still a bit on families. He wants to establish the church here, because there are so few wards and stakes. He's a good president. Yes I will probably be with this comp until the end. We will see next week. I found out though that I will be one of the first groups leaving the new mission! Only 3 other missionaries will leave with me. So that’s exciting. The first last interviews with the president!

   That hasn't happened yet, the i-pad thing. I think it will in America though. Not sure if it ever will here . We would be robbed every couple minutes.

   We had a baptism yesterday! Samuel’s sister. It was really good cuz that makes three weeks in a row now that we are baptizing. Also a family went to church that will be married this week and we will baptize them. Really cool. We are excited and it is making the bishop really excited as well with all the success we are having.

   Only one other area in the zone baptized, so not too good in the zone. The new president wants every area to baptize every week, so really high goals. We have a lot to do for the zone to reach that level.

   This week was stressful cuz of all the stuff that was happening but now it will all be normal work. We still do lots of tracting here in Brazil, partly because there aren't near enough members to just do social media and stuff like that. And door to door still works here. Samuel and his sister were found knocking on doors.

   Alright, sorry it’s so short this week. There are lots of changes and I was reading about all of them. Next week I’ll be more organized and give more time to you guys. I love you!
Elder Baldwin

Monday, July 1, 2013

Alright, where to start. First of all, wow. It's already July. I’m kind of in a dazed state right now and not really sure what to write.

   Everything is basically the same as it was before. Just now, our mission president got here today and he is getting settled in. I still haven’t met him and don’t know when. It will be this week. But I’m not sure when. He is leaving everything the same for right now. The first transfer date is set for the 16th, and that's when he will start moving stuff around. Even then, it won't be too much. He will really start moving stuff around the transfer that I go home, cuz that is when a ton of missionaries will start getting here. I am still Zone leader. The assistant is my last companion Elder Pimentel, and another missionary from the other mission from which we got two more stakes. I’ll probably stay zone leader until the end of the mission, cuz they both will stay more time than me. No worries, assistants don’t even do anything, definitely not baptize. Yesterday we baptized again! That young man, Samuel. We found him a week and a half ago! I still can’t believe that he had that much faith to go forward and be baptized. He really is really good. His sister came and watched the baptism as well, and he even invited her to be baptized as well. We will help her maybe even this week. Their parents we are teaching, but they aren't married (big surprise!).

So me and my comp went crazy in the beginning of the week, teaching a lot of lessons. one day we got 6 lessons with member! That was cool. that was good cuz the last half we spent in other areas trying to find other baptisms. The zone closed with 12 baptisms, 3 short of the goal. It's frustrating, but we have no one else to blame but ourselves. Its Mission Juiz de Fora. It means the outskirts judge. Weird huh? or the Judge who lives in the outskirts. The weather has been really good to us. That’s winter for yeah in Brazil. I love you all and hope you guys have a good week.
Elder Baldwin

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hey Mom and dad! Thanks for writing!
   Alright, where to start.....I guess I'll start with my zone and this week. So we baptized! A young man named Denner. He has been going to Seminary for 2 months now, and he decided himself when he wanted to be baptized. It was really sad cuz neither of his parents went to see the baptism, but he was fine. There is a family in the ward that have really brought him in and made him feel welcome. He was telling us that he may want to serve a mission too. I really hope so. He is the kind of young man that you write 40 years later and find out he was stake president lol. The zone did really well as well, getting 4 baptisms in total this week. This brings us up to 10 baptisms in the zone for this month. Really good for any zone really, but especially this one. Normally a zone, when it does good, will get high numbers one month and the next crash because they have to prepare others for baptism. I have never seen a zone do really well like ours has two months in a row before. We are going for number one again so this week is the long stretch.  Either way we have done really well this month. The Missionaries are very excited for the new mission as well. The sisters will stay dad, but there are some going home this transfer that need to go to Rio before the mission splits. Their plane ticket is already bought and so they can’t change the flight. Mine can still be changed cuz it’s a bit more in the front.

    Dad I think you gave me this scripture already. But I will study it again. I am also in 2 Nephi in the book of Mormon, but I’ll admit. I have been reading a bit of the old testament too. I’m in Samuel, reading about kings Saul and David. I have never read the bible before, and I’ll admit, I am glad I have read the book of Mormon so much before because it has helped me see how the bible can help, when it is understood in the right way.

   Alright, so let me tell you about the conference. It was really good and very spiritual. So they are opening up the internet, email and Facebook and other things, for missionaries to use to contact investigators and confirm appointments. But who knows when that will be for Brazil. I think only in a few months. It will probably come right as I am leaving. Also, because of the many missionaries that are coming they are going to try and tick missionaries in the chapels during the week to give tours and teach lessons in the chapels. Not sure how well this will work here because there are lots of drunks and people who will just want to get free water and see if they can steal something. But who knows, maybe in the good neighborhoods they will put them. It’s a really good idea.

   Alright, I need to go now. I love you guys and hope that you have a good week with Bekka. Give a kiss to the nephews for me! This week will be busy doing all the changes for the new mission, but we will still try and baptize :) Love you so much!!!
Elder Baldwin

A Letter from President Lima

Elder Baldwin

We are being testimonies at this time of marvelous prophecies being fulfilled in front of our eyes. In section 88, verse 73 the Lord said: “Behold, I will hasten my work in its time”. With the announcement of the reduction in  age for our young men and women to serve made by our Prophet, President Monson,  last October, a wave of rectitude and righteousness is spreading around the world and with it the creation of 54 new missions. We, are extremely happy for the division of the Brasil Rio de Janeiro Mission and with the creation of the Juiz de Fora Mission, because we are certain that in this side of the vineyard the Lord´s Kingdom will grow like never before.

And as if that wasn´t enough, in April 2013 General Conference, our beloved Prophet announced the construction of our long  awaited Rio de Janeiro temple. These are marvelous blessings that we can now look  forward to and see the whole impact in the edification of God´s kingdom.

Please accept my deepest and sincere gratitude for being part of bringing all these blessings to us. You are one of those described in Section 138 of Doctrine and Covenants (verses 53-56) as choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fullness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work, including building temples.

It is with this faith that I announce to you that from  July 1,  2013, you will start to serve the Lord as a full part time missionary in the Juiz de Fora Mission, chosen and called to be a pioneer in this new Mission.

The address for the mailing of the Juiz de Fora Mission is: Av. Barão do Rio Branco, 3053, Ed. Blue Tower - 9º Andar-Salas 901 e 902, CEP 36013-311 - Juiz de Fora – MG – Brasil. You may start addressing your mail from July 1, 2013 to the new address.

My prayer and faith is that you will continue to be faithful and diligent in the fulfillment of your purpose as a missionary and for doing so, will receive the greatest blessings reserved by our kind and loving Heavenly Father.
With Love,

President and Sister Lima

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad,
   Yes! I got my package! Finally. They have had it there for awhile they just kept forgetting to get it to me. Thank you so much for everything and I am once again impressed with how good you packed everything mom! I loved it all, especially all the stuff with peanut butter in it. They don’t sell that here in my current area. Really it’s really rare in Brasil.

   Well, we had a baptism this week but it fell through. Basically he just wanted to wait one more week. It’s sad but we can’t force people to receive blessings. But he is firm for this next week, and we are preparing some other people as well for baptism. We will see how it goes. The zone did well, we got 4 baptisms this week, bringing our total to 6 or the month so far. We have two more Sundays to pull it together, and get our goals. The Lady that had the experience with the book of Mormon wants to be baptized but her husband prohibited her from doing so now. He is not a very spiritual man and he thinks that she is just crazy and not really feeling anything. It’s really sad the way the devil works, and he throws in whatever he can to impede the baptism. I have really seen his power here on the mission not just in this case but with others as well and it is frightening.

   Yes! So we got light back in our house and our phone is working again. Blessings! Yes I had to use all the candles that Maria and Bobby sent me, so they were well used and huge blessing for us in a time of need.
   I will start serving in the new mission at the start of July, so I’ll be 20 still when I can have said I served in two missions!!! I’m still pretty young ;) don’t be writing me off so soon yet.

   So the new mission president is President Cascardi. He looks really cool. He is Brazilian but apparently lived in Utah for awhile and speaks fluent English. He is owner of a franchise of one of the best language schools here in Brasil that teaches English. So he seems really cool. See if you can’t look him up and see what it says about him. Anyways, my time is up. I love you guys and hope I got to all of your guy’s questions. I love you and have a good week!
Elder Baldwin

Monday, June 10, 2013

Alright, where to begin?
   So this week they cut our power in our house. Yep. So we are taking cold showers and lighting candles to see at night. Since it gets really cold here at night and the water feels like ice it doesn't really work to take a shower unless I want hypothermia. So I’m heating up water on the stove and putting it in a bucket and scrubbing myself down. By candlelight. Fun stuff. Experiences of the mission. lol. Apparently the dude whose name was in the house canceled his account with the light company without telling us. So we are going to slap him in the face. He is the ex-bishop of this ward. Also, someone didn't pay the phone bill so we don’t have phones for right now. This week was really great :)

   Anyways, enough whining. The training went really well for the District leader. He got really excited to learn how to talk with the sisters and they are getting better now, doing more and complaining less. There is still a lot to be wanted but they will get there. The zone only baptized one again this week, that same district leader. He is on fire. This next week the zone has about 4 baptisms planned out so pray for us that they go through. We still have three weeks to meet our goals. We want to do even better than last month.

    This week, thanks to that and the mission council we did not have too much time to work in our own area. Also, we had to rush to an area really far to interview a baptism that didn't happen and ended up wasting the whole day. We even missed our church meeting. Thankfully the members brought our investigators to church for us. That was a blessing.

 So a family came to church for the second time, and we went and taught them last night. Turns out, they aren’t married. But they are really awesome. We are gonna stick them in the process and just teach em slow, cuz it’ll take about a month. There are a couple other young men and young women going to church that we are going to visit this week and invite them to baptism. Apparently the members have been inviting them over for family nights and teaching the lessons and stuff. Kinda cool but at least it worked.

  They called me the other day about what airport I’ll be flying into. We call it the trunky call. Every missionary gets it a few months before they go home. The other members of my group already have plane tickets and know the days and stuff but not I. Since I’m on the new mission it complicates things, seeing as how the new mission president hasn’t come in yet.

   That’s cool I got a new call. Unfortunately I found out that my certificate for completing a mission will read mission juiz de fora. That’s fine I guess, but it just feels wrong cuz i served 90% of the time in Rio. But ah well.

   I’m not sure if I’ll stay in this area the rest of my mission, cuz the new president will open up lots of new zones and areas, and he may use me being the senior zone leader here to get a lot of info and maybe train new zones. My old comp, Elder Pimentel who is an assistant right now called me and said that the new president will probably be having lots of meetings with me and counseling with me. whoopee. More stress lol. It’s cool but I’m a little nervous.

   Alright I’m sending a new letter my mission president sent me basically saying goodbye. Print it out for me and put it in my book of remembrance? Thanks.

   Alright thanks guys for your letters, and dad I enjoy reading about the lessons you give to the high priests. It gets me thinking in different ways about the doctrine. Love you all!
Elder Baldwin

Welcome to the Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission

                                                                                 Rio de Janeiro, June 5, 2013

Dear Elder Baldwin,

It is with great joy that we welcome you to the Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission! We are honored to have you in this great work of saving souls! There is no doubt that there is no other experience more motivating and that brings more satisfaction and joy than this work.

We are ready to help you fulfill your missionary purpose of “inviting people to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance and baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.”

We challenge you to pursue all opportunities to learn and practice the principles of the Guide to Missionary Service - Preach My Gospel. This will enable you to be a valuable tool in the hands of the Lord.

As the Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission will only be fully operational on July 1, we are at your disposal for any questions that you may have.

The Lord will pour out great blessings in your life as you serve with humility and follow the Spirit. You will feel a happiness that you have never felt to serve our brothers and sisters in Juiz de Fora Mission.

With Love,

Pres. e Sister Lima

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad!
   Alright so I’ll clear it up. The new mission hasn’t started yet but this is the transfer that it will start. It starts July 1st. So, as long as there is no emergency transfer, when the new mission officially starts I will be a part of it. My mission president will not go with me, I will get a completely new one. But that's fine. I have learned so much from my current one, and I will only be one month away from him with a new one. My only regret is that I won’t have my final interview with him. You would like him a lot dad, if you could talk to him. He writes a letter every week to the mission and this week he wrote about the difference between the members loving you and trusting you. He said if they ask you to stay more than one hour at lunch, and you do, they will love you. But if you politely decline, and go and work, they will trust you, and he said that trust is worth even more than gold. Hmmm.... where have I heard that one before?  I love you Dad and thank you so much for helping prepare me for a mission, so long before I served one.

   I wrote Tanner and told him he should at least study the lessons. That's the part I wish I had studied more before the mission. Once that’s down, the rest of his mission will be a breeze.

   The relationship with the sisters is going alright. It’s so hard but we are doing everything we can to only talk positive with them. We hope that with time they will start picking it up. It’s tough because some of them are going home this transfer and so the trunkiness will start to set in. But that happens with any missionary. I will also do a division with their district leader this week and read that letter you sent me a few weeks ago about the sisters, and help him understand how to do it as well. I hope from then on everything will be good. This week just one of our district leaders baptized, but at least the zone did not zero the week. We had a few people in church that the members have been preparing for us and so we will visit them this week and prepare them for baptism.

My new companion, Elder Silva, is awesome! He is a power house and loves to just get things done. This first week he almost tore the house apart cleaning it. Even though Elder Ramos and I had cleaned pretty good, it still was lacking. Now, the house will be as clean as yours mom lol. Lots of sweat blood and tears, but it will be clean. We found 11 new investigators, including a new family that we will be helping. Oh! And a miracle happened this week. Do you remember that Sonia woman, who had the incredible experience with the spirit and the book of Mormon? Well we visited them for the first time after we had cut them this week. It had been about 3 weeks since we had visited them. We got there and just read a part out of 3 Nephi 11 about baptism and the fore of baptism and stuff, and she turned to us and said that she was feeling the spirit really strong. She said that in her life she had always considered herself a servant of God. She said to us, "If I am supposedly a servant of his, then why am I not doing what he is telling me to do? Can I still be baptized Elder?"

 It was a really good moment where the spirit testified to everyone in the room. She said she didn’t care anymore what her husband said, cuz he had not wanted her to previously because of her health problems. She said she wanted to serve the Lord. So we are helping her to be baptized this month! I am so happy because I cannot imagine what the condemnation would be if she just rejected the witness she had her whole life.

   Alright, well I love you guys. This week is the going away party for an elder here in the ward. It’s so weird thinking he is going to go and start his two years, and here I am completing them. I’m gonna give him a tie as a present. Alright I love you and hope you guys have a good week.
Elder Baldwin

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad!!
  Alright, I am very happy this week. We got three baptisms!! All three of Marcos and Denise’s kids were baptized yesterday. It was a tough fight until the end. One of the kids got an infected leg and
almost had surgery, and he was scared to be baptized, but we helped
him through it. Actually, it was his parents who said he needed to be
baptized! I think they understand better than their kids. They
accepted our help to get married and then we will baptize them as
well. Today was transfers, last day with my current comp cuz he is
going home. I’m gonna miss him. My new comp is a really young
missionary. I saw him born when I was in Cabo Frio! He is a machine,
and works really hard and keeps all the rules. Really good missionary.
His name is Elder Silva. I’m excited to work with him. Oh, so my zone
baptized 13 this month!! We are leading the mission now, with the
highest number of baptisms than any other zone this month! So yeah,
I'm pretty excited.

  The Conference was really good. One area brought 33 people to
church! President came and said to me, Elder Baldwin, you gotta get on
top of this to baptize all these people, alright?  I said okey
dokey lol. Thats not gonna be too hard. In total I think the zone
must have brought around 70 people to watch the three sessions that
there were. There were three sessions because the stake is large
geographically, so they did it in 3 locations. President was very

  Well, I am officially on the new mission. Unless something major
gets changed around suddenly. But I don't think it will. Not much else
change in the zone, so we are gonna destroy again this month cuz we
have all the same people. It's good.

  That's so crazy Brother Adams was called as Patriarch! That's so
cool. He will be an incredible Patriarch. I don't remember if I gave
you congrats dad last week on your new calling, but congrats. Looks
like you still haven't terminated all your scouting activities yet. Thought it would all end with Tanner, hunh? lol. But that's good. It will keep you active. Will you go to Wolfeboro? Matt has been
writing me and this year he will work there, so you might see him. If
you do tell him hi for me.

In the MTC they give us training on how to deal with stress. That's been one of my fears as well is lose my memory, cuz the time passes so fast and there is so much to do. I understand what Jacob said in the Book of Mormon now when he said the time passed as if it were a dream(Jacob 7 I think). i testify to that.
Save that book for me to read when i get back, ok Dad? It sounds
really interesting. And yes we are changing how we talk to the
sisters. In fact, they baptized this week so that is good. We are
pretty happy with them.

  Alright well have fun hanging doors there. I am bummed that I
couldn't see Uncle Tim and Aunt Karen and Mie. Tell them hi for me
when they are there. ok, I love you Family and hope that everyone is
doing good. I pray for you all every day. Until Next week!
Elder Baldwin

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hey Dad and Mom,

   Thanks for the tips Dad. They really will help. I will print out your email and use it. You are right we were taking a totally different route with them. I hope this gets better. It's just cuz they have a new calling, right? Sister Leader Trainer, and President Lima said that they were on the same level as level as Zone Leaders. So the thing is, they need to be examples in their areas. That is what President Lima said. Well, they haven't been, and whenever we follow up on their numbers or the District Leader they lash out, they say that he can't follow up on them like that and stuff like that. Lots of pride. This is only one group of sisters though. The other group are angels. But thank you Dad, I am sure that putting into practice what you gave me will help a lot. It's true, we just need to have more patience and love with them.
   That's really interesting what you said about grandpa. My Patriarchal Blessing says that my noble ancestors are my ministering angels. I have always that that Mofa died before I was born to be my ministering angel. I could be wrong but I always thought that that would be cool. In terms of being protected from dying, there are always moments when things could go wrong and such occurrences. For example, crossing the street and crazy people don't stop for you, and things like that. Or walking down a hill in rain that makes it feel like you are walking in a river. And the road full of potholes. I can't think of any specific occurrence where I have felt divine interference, but I am sure that many happen without me being aware of them. One thing that I have noticed the other day is the fact that my knee has not given me any problem whatsoever on the mission. Lots of missionaries complain about knee pain, and they have never had any problem with their knees, and I’m in an area especially now where there are lots of hills and walking that I do every day, and I have not felt at all much pain. Just slightly but it’s almost always just leg pain normal from walking so much. So I feel greatly blessed and I know that they are up there looking out for me too

     So this week was much better than last, we really focused in our area and did lots of stuff better, and the lord blessed us. There is a family that we are working with, Marcos and Denise, that they are starting to get interested, but they aren't married. But, their children are all able to get baptized, and have all been to church multiple times and love it. We marked dates for them for this next Sunday. We are so excited! Oh, and this next Sunday is our stake conference. Cool stuff. Alright, I love you and I hope I answered all of your questions. I love you and thank you for everything again that you guys have done and are doing for me. Congrats dad on the new calling, and the new bathroom. Until next week!
Elder Baldwin

Monday, May 13, 2013

Elder Baldwin did not write this week because the day before he called his parents for Mother's Day.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad,
   I'm gonna respond to you both in this letter to save time. Almost everyone emailed me today. I totally forgot it was cinco de mayo this week. We don't celebrate that here so it was just normal. This week was really good, our district leader here is on fire in his new area and marked four baptismal dates and brought 6 people to church. He will baptize next week. Our other District Leader is training (again) his third missionary and is on fire as well. They just baptized two people yesterday. It's funny, I call him father Jacob cuz he has trained so much, and I call this new missionary Joseph, the favorite, cuz he will probably be the last of the missionaries that he trains. Other than that the Zone is moving forward. I have a good relationship with my companion, I think because we knew each other before and we have a lot of the same interests. Also, we serve each other, making each other’s beds and ironing each other’s shirts and stuff so that helps us like each other. I found out it is the secret to a good relationship.

     My companion lacks 7 baptisms for him to hit his goal on his mission, and ironically enough I lack 7 as well. We already baptized together last week but we will work hard to get this goal in the next few weeks.
   In our area we found a couple people that we are really happy about, they are progressing a lot, but not too many people went to church. That was heart breaking. Everything happened so that they didn't come to church. We will try and do our best to fix that this week. But we have not been getting real luck in our area, because every week there is something that we have to do. Last week was council, this week will be zone conference, etc. But these are just excuses, and we need to do better. We made plans to do much better.
   I don't have a return date yet! I have suspicions of a date, but I don't know yet. I'll let you know when I find out.

   Dad, could you give some advice on when you were leader of sisters? How did you incentive them to work? Cuz the other day we called to simply say that we were there to help them do better and they said they felt burned. Shoot. That was the farthest thing from a burning lol. So what did you do? That would be great.

   I can't wait to talk to you mom. Remember I only have 40 min and I have a few things that I need to do, like bear my testimony and stuff like that. It's my last call! But I want to keep the rules. We will have lots of time to talk when I get home :) And we are sealed, so that's like eternity. Ok I love you all and I hope as always that this week is good too :)
Lots of Love,
Elder Baldwin

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hey Mom,
  My companion is very good and wants to work a lot. It's his last transfer and he still hasn't met his goal for baptisms on his mission, so we are going after that goal. We got closer this week, cuz we got a baptism!!!!!!! Her name is Maria Eduarda. She is the girlfriend to the bishop’s son in a ward that doesn't have missionaries. She is already going to church for 4 months now. I went and interviewed her and I said has anyone asked you about baptism? And she said no, but that she was thinking about it and she really wanted to. The rest was easy. The bishop’s son got really happy and he was the one who baptized her. Her parents went to watch the baptism and they said that they would go to church next Sunday to see how the church was. If they like it, we may be going back here in a few weeks to baptize them too!!

   This week in terms of the work wasn't too great in our area. We did a lot of divisions in the new area that opened up,. Leopoldina. They exploded, and had a baptism as well in their area. First week there!! So we were very happy.
   Wow that's really cool, I never thought about that about the iron rod and the river. Rachel talked to me about Lehi's dream as well, and I told her about something that I studied recently in the dream. Ask her about what I told her.

   The sisters did not start off with the same bang as the other area, but we are trying to help them get their stuff together and get working. We are confident though that they will do really well in May. They are good sisters.

   Not much to report this week. Just lots of divisions and no one in our area progressing. That family is regressing, the woman that received the testimony. It always seems to happen this way. Satan just seems to attack with even more force when they have a testimony so strong.

   Well, I love you Mom and Dad and hope that this next week goes well, and the babies start learning how to sleep at night. Send them my love ;) I love you all!! And can't wait to talk to you Mom in two weeks :)
Elder Baldwin

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad,
   So... transfers!! My companion was transferred and is now an assistant!! He is being trained to be assistant for the new mission. Pretty cool, cuz now two of my companions were assistants. I took over as the senior zone leader now, and my companion is an elder named elder Ramos. He has already been my district leader before, so I know him. He is pretty cool, and a great worker. Only problem is... this is his last transfer!! uh oh.

   Also, two areas in my zone were white washed and now have sisters!!  But a couple of other areas opened up and now the zone is bigger. This is good. Let’s see how I do these next few weeks with these new challenges. Alright. This week we spent the whole week with the assistants, a surprise visit to get the other house ready for the sisters and to open another house in the zone for Elders. So not too much work. We had a baptism firm in a different area that's closed but the bishop started doing a bunch of stuff to keep us from baptizing him. The guy has been going to church for a month and the bishop doesn’t think he is ready!! We interviewed him and he was perfect. He really wanted to be baptized too. Dumb bishops. He did an extra interview after we left and asked a bunch of stuff that confused him and he didn't know how to respond, and the bishop said "see? you aren't ready" freak!? Where did he get the authority to interview non members? His keys are for members, ours are for the non members! He scared they guy and he didn't even go to church. So now if he is not baptized his blood is on the bishop’s hands. As you can tell I wasn't too happy about this. But we have hopes to try and baptized him this next week. Let's see how it goes.

   Our family basically stopped progressing, the woman who had a strong spiritual impression. It's sad seeing someone regress after they have progressed so much. But we will continue working with them and seeing what their problems are.

   The zone baptized.... one. It's better than none though. And it was an area that hasn't baptized in awhile. The new elder there is a beast and is getting over 20 lessons a week. He has been doing really well. Well, not much more to report. I love you guys and hope that all is well with you. I'm super excited for the bathroom and can't wait to see it!! until next week.
Lots of Love,
Elder Baldwin

Monday, April 15, 2013

The three boys baptized in the little pool

Hey Mom and Dad!!
   I'm glad you got my letter I was getting worried it would never get there! Friggin third world mail system here.... lol just kidding. But I'm glad you got it.
   Alright I'll let you know about the family. So Sonia has not denied her experience or the book of Mormon or anything like that. But, her husband thinks she should wait. She suffers from some things like depression and stuff like that, and he wants to see if it is something she really wants. We are working now to change his mind. If anything, she needs the blessings of baptism to help deal with these problems in her life. They were supposed to come to church yesterday so that everyone could be baptized together as a family this next Sunday, but they didn't come. They told us in advance, they had to travel because they have problems with their son who lives in a different city, and he just had a baby. I'm sure you guys understand that feeling. But we are working with the family. They should be getting baptized this week or next. Pray for the husband that he will feel like this is the right thing to do. He is having trouble giving up his Roman Catholic Obligations (like Our Father prayer and stuff like that).
   Haha, that sounds like a really funny show dad. It would be tough. What you were saying reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw here, that goes something like this. "When you came into this world you were naked, bald, ugly, short, and had no teeth. Anything that comes is a blessing!"
It uses a word in portuguese that is hard to translate into english and get the same meaning, but I think you guys understand.
   So this week we did a lot of divisions to help some missionaries in their areas. I went to one of our district leaders and helped him decide if he needed to cut some investigators. We cut almost all. They just stay with the same people who don't change and don't want to, and who just like the company of the Elders. Now though they have some good progressing investigators. Also, an area in our zone married and baptized a family!! It was the family that forever ago we were working on getting them married, but we got problems with the stake president. Remember? Anyways they went through the normal process, got married and baptized last Saturday! It was really cool. Apparently for the past three months they only missed like one Sunday, so they are pretty firm.

   Give Tanner a hug from me when you see him. And tell him to write me when he has free time!! Alright I love you Mom and Dad and can't wait to talk with you on the phone mom!!! 
Elder Baldwin

P.S. there is an elder in our zone going home next week that is making everyone trunky lol, including me a bit ;) I miss you all!!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

   I was so happy when they announced the temple for Rio de Janerio!!!! In Rio, the members shouted for so long that people could not hear anything more that the prophet said. They started hearing again when the choir started singing lol. Our mission president stood up and yelled as if his soccer team made a goal. It was awesome. Me and Elder Pimentel here in Juiz de Fora did not get the same reaction. It's about 3 hours away from Rio still. But everyone is happy because there will be a temple much closer to them now. Absolutely we are coming to watch it get dedicated! Depending on when that is and when I get married, I may want to seal in this temple as well lol. But I’m not decided yet. Probly not cuz my wife wont understand what they are saying. But yeah, I’m so happy right now. I have even seen come to pass a promise from my patriarchal blessing. In the paragraph about my mission it says, "you will even participate in miraculous works." I always hoped that meant the announcing of the temple.

   Alright, Muriaé has a few people but not enough for a branch. There are worthy members there but we are the closest missionaries. And they cannot be baptized until a missionary interviews them, so we had to go anyways. The way the keys of baptism of converts works is that members don't hold them, our mission president does and he only authorizes his missionaries to give baptismal interviews. I hope that clears it up a bit why we had to go. But yeah it was fun and I did write in my journal about this. oh, and another spiritual experience we had...

   So I don't remember if I told you we are teaching a family named Altair, Sonia, and Tiago their son. Sonia is firm in a different evangelical church, while her husband is not too interested in religion. They are referrals from Sonia’s sister, who is a member in the ward and has been for ten years. Last week we were teaching them and inviting to baptism when Sonia said she would not be baptized because she likes her church and doesn’t want to leave. We became sad but we decided to keep working with them maybe to baptize the husband and son. This week we went there and started teaching about authority to baptize and the restoration using 3 Nephi 11. While I was talking all of a sudden Sonia got dizzy and her husband ran to take her to her bedroom. She suffers from some health problems so we thought it was just that. Next thing we knew she asked us to go into her room with everyone. When we went she was crying and said she could read the page. She has horrible eye site and even with glasses can't read too good. While we were teaching she said she grabbed the book of Mormon and opened it to the testimony of Joseph smith. She said all of a sudden she could read and reads his experience. She said she felt the spirit so strong, and then all of a sudden while she was telling us this lying on her bed she passed out. Straight up passed out like King Limhi!!! When she woke up she told us everything again, she had not forgotten, and said she knew that Jesus was in every single page of the book of Mormon, and that it was true. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted for the 14th. We are now working with the rest of her family. We will go tonight and teach the commandments. I am so happy, we are so close to baptizing a full family! The ward will love it.

   Yes I get along really well with my companion. I am experimenting serving him. Making his bed, ironing his shirt, making breakfast, and it is working really well. We have an awesome companionship, and we are having lots of success. I don't have too much more time so I’ll go now, but I love you and thank you both for teaching me to be who I am today. It is through your examples and diligence in keeping the commandments that makes me who I am. I love you both.
Love your son,
Elder Baldwin

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad,
   This week was good... cuz we got baptisms! This week we went on a trip to literally the very last city in the whole mission. I'm pretty sure the route our bus took, took us out of the mission boundaries a few times. Way out there. It's a little town called Muriaé. We got a call from them saying there were a few people out there going to a group that was having meeting out there, and who wanted to be baptized. So we did something I never thought I would do on the mission... I bought a swimming pool!! Haha, just a kiddy sized one that we took there to baptize the people there. There were three young men who were going who we baptized. It was really funny because they had to be baptized sitting down and had to completely lay down in the water for it to cover them. I baptized all three and had to do it on my knees. Man that hurt getting up. There wasn't enough water in the pool and it wasn't covering them all the way so all of them went at least twice. One had to be baptized three times cuz his foot kept popping up. But it was fun. The bus ride was 4 hours to get there and 4 hours back. Horrible. But a good opportunity to catch up on some lost sleep.

   The zone also did really well. Almost every single area in the zone baptized bringing this month’s results up to 10! Just one short of the goal. We were so sad about this. But we are really happy cuz it has been years I think since this zone has baptized so many people. That was always a goal of mine, take a zone that was considered a hole and make it a successful zone. So Elder Pimentel and I are happy. Today we are off to Rio to have the Mission Council and talk about our results. I am interested to see how the rest of the mission went.

   Yesterday we had Easter Dinner at our Relief Society president’s house. She had invited so many people that she was really afraid it wouldn't be enough food, but we said a prayer that the food would multiply just like the bread in the bible ;) just kidding lol. But everyone ate until they were stuffed and there was still food to spare!! So it was a good Easter. We ate chicken and a lot of stuff that I don't know how to explain. There were rice and beans though, and fish. Then, for dessert she made this huge three type chocolate cake thingie. It was really good. She said there was even a piece of her hand in it, then she showed us where the grater got her when she was grating a 1 kilo chocolate bar. It was funny. My companion gave a talk yesterday and included an experience from Orson F. Whitney about a dream he had. Have you read this dad? It's really interesting. It's in a talk that Jefferey R. Holland gave. I think you would like it.

     Alright Well I hope you guys have a good conference we are eagerly awaiting the Rio de Janeiro temple to be announced lol. Yes mom we will go to the stake building to watch. I'm excited it's been too long, and this is my last one on the mish! Sad thought. Alright, I love you guys! Until next week!
Elder Baldwin

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad!
   Well that family we were talking about we cut. They stopped progressing, the dad refused to live the Word of Wisdom, they prohibited their daughter from being baptized, and said they wanted to go to a different church. We left some strong words with them (words of love and truth. Unfortunately these are pretty strong) and cut them. They simply won’t do what we ask them.

   But! We found another excellent family!! They are legally married and the mom already came to church this last Sunday. We marked a date for next week for the family but not everyone went to church and they will be traveling, so we have to move it forward. But it is a golden family, the sister of a member in the ward and her husband and son. We have faith they will be baptized.

We went to an area that doesn't have missionaries (our responsibility  and suddenly a guy stopped us on the street, said he and his wife were baptized but inactive, but he wanted to come back. We went and visited them and found out the mom wants to come back, and they have 3 kids not yet baptized!!! We have a family night with them tonight.

   Well Dad it's good to know you got to see the babies. You are no longer a fake grandparent! lol.
   The singing went great it was a great ward conference. Lots of people brought friends and stuff, it was excellent. No I’m not the choir director or anything like that but the bishop had wanted to sing a solo and asked for help, but i don't think he will anymore. He got too shy lol. He thinks he sings bad.

   This week the companionship had a problem again. I think it's just cuz they have very different personalities, and none of them are trying to love the other one. Unfortunately one left the other alone on the street last night, and now it looks like tomorrow he will be transferred. It's sad but expected. You simply can't leave your companion. Ever.

   Transfers are not until the 22nd of April, so I still got a lot of time in this ward. I don't think I will be transferred cuz my comp is already here like 5 months now. So he will go first probably. Unfortunately while Cali is in a drought of water we are in a drought of baptisms. Everyone thinks they can mark "for next week." The thing is this happens every single week, remarking. It's sad but we are doing all we can to be an example for the zone and help lift and inspire.

   Haha that's true Dad, I had forgotten about your trust and love doctrine. It's cool because it's true. I will try and integrate that into our teaching and teach to be trusted. Sometimes it's tough to be on time though when we don't have any money for buses and no car lol. We have to run. But it's all good.

   Well Dad, the bathroom sounds like it is getting to be real nice looking. I'm excited to see it when I get back. If I were there I could help you with all the stuff that young guys should do ;P haha just kidding. But I would help you seriously on that part.   Alright Well I love you both. Oh, I wanted to talk about my package. Please send a package earlier than my birthday. Who knows when I will get it? Preferably with candy from Easter :) That would be great. I love you and hope you have another great week!
Elder Baldwin

Monday, March 18, 2013

 Hey Mom and Dad!
   Yes I heard that we can now write friends and stuff. That will be a huge help in communication. I have already written David and Paul and they responded to me lol. Thanks for letting me know.

   Wow I didn’t even realize it was St. Patrick’s day. They don’t have that here. I haven't gotten a ticket home yet. That's good cuz I don't want to get too trunky lol. I don't know when I’ll get mine but I’m thinking not until way later. I know they buy them way in advance but I don't think my mission president gives them to us so we can concentrate better. I thank him for that.

   Alright this week started off looking good and in the end turned into a nightmare. We had a girl all set up for baptism, the daughter of this family we are trying to marry, but she invited her grandparents to the baptism and they (are from an evangelical church) went crazy saying she can't be baptized she is only 10 and their church says they can't baptize until 15 and blah blah  blah and the parents started doubting and in the end completely hid from us. We will visit them this week to see if there is any hope but we don't want to waste time with them. They are not progressing very well either, and not living the word of wisdom.

   This week we also visited a city close by here in the region. They have a ward that we are responsible for. The only problem is there are people there that want to be baptized but the bishopric is telling them they can't be. It's annoying when members interfere with something that they don't have keys in.... but yeah. Those are my troubles.

   This week we had some Elders in the Zone almost fight each other. They got into an argument and ended with threats and stuff. I was able to talk to the senior comp and calmed him down. It turned ugly. His comp called president and president called us and told us if they fight they will probably be sent home and a bunch of stuff. But we talked with them and their district leader and all is good now.

   We aren't the top baptizing zone yet dad, but we are getting there. This week we suffered a set back but we are hoping and praying for better results next week.

   Good luck with the singing dad! We have ward conference this week in Nova Era and I am singing with the choir. I am also helping the Bishop train and sing for a special music piece he wants to do on Easter. Cool stuff. My developing the singing ability has helped me out a lot on the mission so far. Never thought I would do this when I was ten years old and tone deaf huh? lol. I love you guys and hope you have another good week. I will try and give the baptismal challenge on the street this week. I'll let you know how it is :)
With Love,
Elder Baldwin

A picture from Elder Baldwin right before Christmas 2012. That is equal to 113 degrees Fahrenheit! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad!
   I'll try and get to all of your question lol. This week you had a lot. Alright, so just to let you know this week was transfers and there were no changes made in my area. In fact, there were hardly any changes made in the zone. Just one missionary was transferred. This is good because we finally got into a rhythm with results! This week every single area baptized except for one. That means we baptized as well! We have to be the example for the Zone lol. Her name is Aparecida de Lourdes. She waited over a year to be baptized. The service was really beautiful, with her cousin’s husband baptizing her. After the baptism she started crying and said "why did I wait so long to be baptized?" She felt the Spirit really strong testify to her that what she did was right. I am very happy that I was able to help her overcome what has kept her from being baptized for this past year and help her realize this desire so strong that she had.

   We also had a family in church! A couple weeks ago just the husband went to church and this Sunday the rest of the family went. They absolutely loved the church, each one saying they wanted to start frequenting this church. The daughter, who is ten years old, asked us how old you have to be to be baptized. When we told her she became very happy and said she wanted to be baptized next week!  So we are working with the family and planning her baptism for next week. The parents want to as well, but we need to marry them first. We found a small city here close that marries people in less than 30 days, much better than the 90 days here in Juiz de Fora. We are going to try and get their process started this week to baptize them this transfer still. Their names are André and Regina, and their daughters name is Maisa. So yes, lots of good stuff this week. We also found another family that is legally married already and this week we will start working with them to progress. They are an older couple but that are really receptive and nice. They are non-practicing Catholics, like almost everyone else in this country. I'll keep you updated on them. Their names are Jose and Angela.

   Yes there are spiritual ups and downs here on the mission, and I have experienced a lot. Right now we are on a spiritual high for sure. This zone, before I came, was one of the worst in the mission. Last month, in February, it was the third most baptizing zone. Our goal this month is to beat even that. We are going to be real busy these next couple of weeks. It will be tough, but really worth it. This last week the zone baptized four people, with six more projected for next week. We are hoping that at least four make it through. It would incredible if it works out like that. Like I said, lots of work to do. But yes, spiritual upswings. I don't know if I shared this with you already, but this last woman who baptized, Lourdes, has been going to church for a year without being baptized. The first time we went and taught her, we knew there was something keeping her from being baptized, but we didn't know what. In the lesson, I listened attentively to what she said, and suddenly the Spirit told me a question to ask her. I thought to myself, no this question is obvious and has nothing to do with anything right now. It was about a commandment and if she was living it. The Spirit said again, ask the question. I decided not to test the Spirit and asked the question. Turns out, it was exactly what was keeping her from being baptized. She told us her doubts about the commandment and we were able to explain it to her. After we committed her to live the commandment, she agreed to be baptized. I was so grateful at that moment for having listened to the Spirit. My companion said the same question went through his head as well, but he had ignored it, cuz it was something that we thought was obvious she was living.

   Lately, as I said before, the president has been focusing a lot in the doctrine of Christ. He had a training meeting for all the presidents of missions, and this is actually what the prophets are telling the mission presidents to focus on teaching now in all the lessons, so we are already ahead of the game. I have been studying a lot about how to teach this in the lessons, and I have noticed a huge difference in the comprehension of the investigators as they hear the new style of message. I would love to teach it to you dad, or show you how I teach. It's really clear and follows Preach My Gospel to the "t". I really feel blessed to have had President Lima as my mission president, because he really understands Preach My Gospel and how to teach it. In terms of which area I like the best, I really like this area cuz it's got so many families and so much potential. I feel like we will have lots of success here.

  The other day I was walking on the street and the city I’m in is a really big university city like Provo, so there are lots of 19-25 year old girls. It makes being a missionary suck lol. But I was walking on the street and totally did a dad trip (you know, trip on nothing on the street lol) in front of a huge group of girls! I turned bright red lol.

 haha, no mom I did not burn a tie. Technically, I should burn some pants now, but I didn't. Honestly I passed my 18 month mark working and not even thinking about it. Alright my time is up but I love you guys and I will talk to you later! Sorry I'm ending so suddenly.
Elder Baldwin

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad!
   This week was a really good week for us. We reactivated two families in the ward and had a ward frequency of 108. That's the highest it's been since my companion got here 4 months ago. So we are really happy for that. We did not baptize again this week but we had a woman come to church who is firm to be baptized next week. She was actually going to a different ward for more than a year but did not get baptized cuz she wasn't married. We visited her cuz she moved to our area, and we were able to clear up some serious doubts and points of doctrine that she didn't know. We challenged her to live the commandments and be baptized on the 10th and she accepted! She was so excited that yesterday in church she was telling everyone already that she would be baptized this next Sunday. It was really cool.

   Tomorrow, we have the mission council for zone leaders so we are going to Rio to unite everyone and get trained by President. He has been teaching new ways to teach the Restoration, focusing a lot on the doctrine of Christ. It's really cool, I want to show you how we teach it when I come home. It's so clear. Its necessary here because everyone in Brazil believes that whatever church you go to will save you. We teach them about the gospel or doctrine of Christ and show how the prophets have always taught this gospel, and how this doctrine was changed by the false prophets. Its super clear and I have seen a huge difference in the way our investigators react when we teach it. Then it's just a simple matter to teach that Joseph Smith restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's interesting, because I always taught that he restored the True church of Christ, but if you look at the title of the lesson it says the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So I have begun studying a lot about Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End. It has been a really neat experience studying this and I have learned so much about these topics and also about how the Lord works with us, and what we have to do to be saved, and see exactly what it was that Joseph Restored. If you look at the doctrine of these other churches, they have distorted all the topics of these 5 simple doctrines. Anyways, my Bishop asked me to give a talk this next Sunday. I am the last to give a talk, so at least 15 minutes. I'm nervous. It's a topic about Testimony of Jesus Christ or something like that. I'm sure I'll do good, but it is still nerve racking.

   So we got an update from our mission president that for the time being we will not be using this new marriage thing to marry them quickly. I think the presidency of Brazil will research it more and see what the church decides about it. So for now the whole mission can't do it.

   Yeah Dad so the division last week, I stayed three days at their house while a new missionary stayed with my companion. I was able to work with each Elder in that District and help them better their teaching and stuff. But I think I will do it again because we mainly just focused on marrying that family and didn't have time to teach other people. Thankfully no one in the zone is breaking rules in a blatant or bad way. Just the normal late to studies or something that everyone does. I found some Elders would play card games at night, but I asked them to do it only on P-Day. When I correct I just try to be really loving and not like Iron-Fisted. So far it's worked. They all seem to like me and respect me. The only real problem we have is with a couple of elders that prefer to remark baptismal dates rather than try and help the investigator see the need to be baptized. Ugh. It's like they don't like to baptize. But we will talk with them and help them understand the doctrine of Christ, that in doing this they are showing that they do not love the investigator because they are taking away blessings that would otherwise have been theirs, and taking away their chance for salvation by not being baptized. But yeah so we will try and motivate them to teach better and desire baptisms. But in general the zone is really excited and a few missionaries have lots of faith. Oh! And there is even a missionary here from the Irvine Stake. Isn't that Bekka's stake? He is really cool, we quickly became friends.

   Anyways, that's cool about the new fruit tree. I hope it gives fruit by the time I get home. Oh, and you found my house. That apartment building with the pizzeria beneath? I live on the third floor of that building. That dvd shop? Yeah, it sucks passing by everyday seeing all the new movies. What's worse is that they play the movies inside the store, and the other day they were playing the new batman movie lol. That was hard to walk away from. I've also had to walk away from the Avengers movie playing in a store. So much suffering!!! So anyways our church is on the street directly in front of that apartment building.

   My companion is actually newer than me on the mission. It's weird cuz he is newer and has fewer baptisms, but he is a really great Elder and has lots of Focus. We have a great relationship. And he never treats me like a junior. He just passed one year on the mission last week. We still haven't done anything because we were on a division and I wasn't with him, but we will. Alright I love you guys and hope you have another good week.
Elder Baldwin

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad!
   It's so good to hear that Bekka is doing good, and the boys are doing good as well. Bekka sent me the email with their pictures and names. I thought their names were cool. Are they gonna call them both by their middle names? I guess they liked that about Tanner. lol. Anyways, this week was much better than the last. Not in terms of lessons or news or anything like that, but we baptized!! I think I told you last week of a family that came to church, a family to complete where the wife was not member. She was baptized yesterday!! It was so cool. Her name is Thamires, and her Husband is Fagner. They are probably around 20-22 years old. It's cool because they are all super excited about the temple and going there to be sealed. They are really well integrated with people in the church as well. After years I think of trying to get her to be baptized, me and Elder Pimentel finally baptized her. Also, the zone had two other baptisms, with one other area completing another family. It was a successful week. But this week I spent almost all my time in other areas helping interview and firm up their baptisms.
    Specifically there was an area that had a family that wanted to be baptized, but weren't married. These last few weeks me and Elder Pimentel did some research about how to marry a family faster than normal Brazil time. We found out how to do it. We showed this kind of marriage to President Lima and he was all for it. He said we were good to go and the family would be able to get married and baptized this week. We were so happy. If it worked for this family it would open the gates for lots of other families in the zone to get married and baptized, including one in our area. The only problem is the Stake President here likes to think that he has to give permission for things like this to happen. It's annoying because he has absolutely no keys in this respect, its president Lima who holds the keys for baptism. But he did not agree with this kind of marriage and prohibited all bishops in the stake from performing this marriage. This sucks because the Bishop is the one who needs to do the marriage. So now he sent an email to the seventy president of Brazil asking if President Lima is allowed to do this. That pissed me off, going over President Lima's head like that. Our Mission President called him and explained everything to him and that he had approved it, and he still prohibited the bishops from doing this and sent an email to the area president!! Talk about not supporting your leaders. Anyways, I'm fine now. Sorry about the rant. So I'm happy cuz we got 6 baptisms in the zone this month, but we could have had 9. Next month though, we will get lots more.
   We have a meeting this week, just our zone with President Lima. I think it's about the new mission. Did you guys hear? The zone I'm in is being turned into a new mission. The Rio mission is dividing cuz it's doing so good. So no longer will be zone Juiz De Fora, but it is being turned into Mission Juiz de Fora! We are happy. I still don't know if I will stay here in this mission or if I will stay in the Rio mission. I won't know for a few months. But it's so close to the end that it doesn't even matter to me too much. Not sure what more to tell you guys. Everything is going good here. The weather isn't too bad. I'm just praying lots for you guys back home, and especially for Bekka and the boys. I love you guys.  I'm praying for you.
Elder Baldwin

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hey Dad,
   That’s good to hear that Bekka has been doing better. I’ve been worried about her all week. But I was able to focus and work this week as well.
   We didn't baptize this week, a fact that I didn't like. No one in the zone has baptized for two weeks now. But we worked hard and every single area had people in church. Now this week I planned to do divisions in every area of the zone to firm up these baptisms. It's gonna be a hectic week coming up. In our area we had a family where not everyone was members come to church. A young man who married outside of the church. But she is really interested and appears like she wants to be baptized. Tonight we will have a Family Night with them and we will make American Pancakes lol. And we will invite her to baptism for the 24th. We are pretty sure she will accept :) But pray for us anyways. Our other family, andré and regina, didn't come to church because their son had an episode. We are pretty sure it's mental now and not spiritual, because we gave him a blessing, and while he got better a bit he still had this episode. So they might intern him in a hospital to run some tests and see if it is this. That's about it. I'm really short on time, sorry I spent it all writing everyone else. But I love you and thank you for all your prayers :) And I pray for you guys every day.
Elder Baldwin

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad,
    Yeah it was cold here the first few days, but then it heated up. It's not nearly as bad as Madureira, so I’m not complaining. But yeah, at night it cools way down, so that is nice. I'm doing fine mom, if you are referring to my health. I don't think I've ever been so healthy in my life. I haven’t ever really gotten sick here. Not even stuffy nose. At least nothing that was so big that I remember.

    Elder Mimary told me about that missionaries getting in fights, not being obedient, stuff like that. Cool stuff. I hope I don't have to deal with anything like that. My zone here seems pretty relaxed. The only problem is that there are like 6 closed areas in our zone, and so all references for these areas we are responsible for. So we travel a lot. But the Elders seem really good, rule keeping missionaries. And excited. Almost all of them are recently promoted to DL or Senior, so they are all excited and ready to work. That makes me happy.

   Yes I have given lots of blessings on the mission. The members don't even really ask the Elder's Quorum anymore, they just ask the missionaries lol. But it's cool. We gave a blessing actually the other day to a little boy who had hurt his foot playing soccer on gravel. He didn't want to go to the doctors, so for many days he just hopped around on one foot. The mom (a family of investigators) asked for a prayer for him, so we explained about blessings and gave him a blessing. We found out later that the doctor looked at his foot and said it was really serious, that he could lose his foot. He ordered him basically not to use it for a week, and to use gauze and this medicine. After the blessing he was fine after two days. He was already on the street playing soccer again. The mom said we had done a prayer really strong. This family says they know the Book of Mormon is true, and believe that the church is true. Then only thing that faults is marriage. But we are finding out a way that is cheaper and faster to marry people, even after just one day. I hope it works.

   This week was not too good for the zone. No one baptized. We are beating ourselves up for it. But we have a couple of baptisms lined up for this week now. We even had a family come to church yesterday (legally married|!) who have a date for the 24th. We are hoping all goes well there.

   Alright my time is being eaten quickly, so I’ll wrap this up. I can't remember if I responded to all of your questions. Sorry if not. Oh, we found like 8 new investigators this week. I'm really happy cuz my companion knows how to teach well, and loves doing contacts, so we are always finding new people. I love being a zone leader cuz all your companions are good missionaries lol. Alright I love you guys and hope you have a good week. I hope you liked Guarana!!!
Elder Baldwin

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad,
  Alright, so I have to say sorry for not responding until now. Like I told you guys last week, transfers were just a few days ago and the unexpected happened. I was transferred! I was really surprised cuz I was transferred in the middle of training. Anyways, because of the weirdness of transfers we had our P-Day changed to today, Wednesday. This will not be normal it's just for today.

   Anyways, I’ll try and wrap up what happened in Madureira. Fatima decided she did not want to hear more, and asked us to stop visiting her. She said she felt like she was betraying her church by learning about ours, and her life started becoming worse (as in money and time and stuff) and she feels like God is punishing her cuz she is receiving our visits. It was really sad to see someone give in to the tests that God puts us through to see if we really want this answer or not. But we put her in the Area Book and who knows, maybe one day she changes her mind. This week did not have many spiritual experiences. Carnaval comes up next week so literally everyone is going out of town to get away from all the craziness. But my new area is way better so I don't think we will have any problems out here.

   So my new area is a ward called Nova Era in the Juiz de Fora stake. If you look it up on a map dad, you might be a little confused. That's right, I’m no longer serving in Rio de Janerio. I'm in a different state called Minas Gerais. The Rio mission grabs just this city in this state and nothing else, so I’m on the edge of the map again. Any further, and I’m in a different Mission. Its way different here than my last area. It's way colder here for one, and rains almost every day. I actually like that part. It's more like a calm city in Nor Cal, with lots of trees and grass and mountains and hills. It's not completely infested with buildings and houses like Madureira was. So that's nice.

    My senior companion is an Elder named Elder Pimentel. He is a really great Elder, and is the Zone Leader Senior here in Juiz de Fora. He actually has not too much time on the mission, and so that shows his willingness to work and desire to work as well. He is really great. It's funny cuz he kinda looks like Zack Magleby a bit. He is Brazilian and from Rio Grande do Sul, the same state as the elder I trained so he has a sweet accent.

   But yes mom, that family who was with the family I baptized returned to full activity. It was actually just the husband who was inactive. The wife is now the Relief Society President, and he is the Ward Mission Leader. It's cool cuz I got to see another family I reactivated receive callings in the ward as well. It made me happy knowing I made a difference there. So with the ward in Madureira we were trying to have these meetings but the Bishop was running from us and his counselors were of no use. He just got a new counselor though, who is now running the show and is way hyped for the work, and we were working with all the organizations just before I left. But the ward is in a much better state than I left it so it made me happy.

  I love you all and hope you guys have a good week.
      Elder Baldwin

P.S. just in case you were curious, yes I am a Zone Leader as well now. Love You!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hey mom and dad,

The food here is actually not what you would expect. For one, they don't use corn as much as the Mexicans. That actually made me happy. They don't really know what a tortilla is, and fewer know a Taco lol. They don't use peppers or spicy things in their food. At least, here not too many people do. In Baia, a state in Brasil, they use really spicy peppers in their food, but here they don't. But it's all good. I've learned to like peppers and spicy food though. I've actually learned to like a lot of food that I did not like before. Like lasagna. Everyone here makes lots of lasagna. And chicken. Lots of chicken. But I already liked chicken.

   Alright, but I have tried something crazy. These past few weeks I ate cow tail and cow feet. It was actually really good and really tender meat. I got a piece of the bone and sucked the marrow out. Marrow is actually kinda like fat. And it tastes good lol. Tails actually have bones. I thought that was interesting. And they have lots of fat too. Not the bad kind of fat though, but the fat that is really tasty.
   Alright, right to the point. This week was difficult as well. We are starting to really try but the constant rain doesn't help and the fact that everyone is getting ready for carnaval as well. But putting aside the excuses it's just a tough point in the mission. The most I can do is all I can and prayer lol. Fatima didn't go to church this last Sunday because her family surprise visited her. That's another bad thing is family from out of town is always visiting our investigators cuz it's summer break here and no one is in school and even a lot of people take time off of work. It sucks but we are working through it. We have a new family to teach but they marked with us for tonight. It will be the first lesson. But it's a family of 5 people. Mom, dad, and three kids all of baptizing age. They are firm in the Methodist church though, so we will need lots of prayer.
    I won't ask you guys to put names on the prayer roll in the temple. But if you guys feel like you should I don't see a problem with that.

    The district as a whole is in a rut. No one brought any investigator to church these past two Sundays. It's been hard. Being district leader basically means I have less time. I'm on the phone for longer and the problems are bigger. But it's nice cuz I feel like I’m helping people. Though, because of the lack of time many times the journal gets pushed to last. Unfortunate but true. But I am trying to do it as much as I can.

    This week there were a few changes in the leadership of our ward and this made me happy. We are starting to work with the ward leaders to put everything back in order and get home teaching working again and everything. It's nice to see there is progress.

    A spiritual experience this week was with the family we baptized last month. They are still firm and everything in the gospel, but this last week we helped them really understand tithing and the importance of paying it. This next week they will begin paying a full tithe and the husband will be able to receive the priesthood. They have a little trouble understanding everything we teach because they are older and didn't have as much schooling experience, but they finally fully understood tithing and so it was a huge spiritual experience.
   My time is short unfortunately. I love you and thank you for the updates with everything that is going on. Alright I love you both and wish you a good week :)
Elder Baldwin

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad!
   Sounds like your guys' week was pretty good. That's really cool the 49ers are going to the Super Bowl. I'll rub it in a couple of American elders faces here lol. The Brazilians all argue about soccer and the Americans argue about football. But it's all good. That's good that San Francisco is doing good again. Maybe it can regain some of its former glory haha. Football and Baseball. Just need the Warriors to pick it up now.

   Anyway, this week was pretty good for me. It's raining almost every day here. I'm not complaining cuz January is usually the hottest month. I just hope it continues through February as well cuz February is pretty hot too. In other news, everyone is getting ready for carnaval again! So there are lots of festas and parties going on. Where I am serving now in Madureira is the Samba capital of Rio, and Rio is considered one of the Samba capitals of the world. So.... yeah. Samba is pretty big in my area. I think during carnaval we will be returning home early to not get caught in the drunken and often times naked parties and dances that happen on the street... in front of our house lol.

   So yeah I think September and October would be excellent months to go and visit Rio. School would still be in session, so we wouldn't have to worry about kids on the streets, and work as well. It will be entering the summer time so it won't be too hot but it will but nice and toasty. Also it's not a tourist time so I think we would be able to move around pretty easily without too much traffic and harassment. Oh, this week I talked with my president, and after talking with him I decided that I will stay until the end of my mission, and not return to go to school. This will make it easier to come back and visit after I get home, and spend some time with Tanner before he leaves. Just to let you know though.... once he has his call he is not allowed to leave the country. So i don't know how you guys are wanting to do that if he wants to come with us to Rio/Brazil. But I’ll let you guys worry about that. aight? ;)

    Fatima was not baptized this week. She worked late almost every day and we did not have time to prepare her. Thankfully she still accepted our visits and we will continue working with her, but I’m not sure when she will be baptized. Our family looks like they heard some things about the church that they didn't like, cuz they basically said they didn't want anything anymore. But we are continually looking for more families. This week we got a new Relief Society President, the wife of our ward mission leader. She doesn't work and has much more time and dedication than the last president, so we are going to work with her to find all the women in the ward whose husbands aren't members, and try and complete the family. This helps in reactivating the sisters and getting more priesthood in the ward. We are starting to get excited again for the work.

    Alright I don't have much time But I love you guys and thank you for everything and all the updates :)
Alright, love you lots!
Elder Baldwin