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