Monday, December 26, 2011

Wk 73 - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

--Fabio´s baptism

-me and elder Cunha

Christmas Eve

-milk duds and popcorn. THanks!

-singing at the ward party

-me with a couple of members and Fabio drinking
Area: Parnaíba
Companion: Elder Cunha

Hey Fam! man its been a while... so lets catch up. Anything cool
happen last night? just messin. But thanks for the call, it was a lot
of fun to see everyone and talk to ya. It is weird to see home.... I
am used to a different life style here and its just funny to talk to
you guys who are in a whole different swing of things! But it was
awesome. i love you so much and wish i could be there, but i wouldnt
have been so thankful if i hadnt left on a mission. So thanks mom and
dad for being good examples to me and helping me my whole life prepare
for a mission. It is the best thing i´ve done in my life.

Ill tell you real quick about the week...It was a pretty normal week
here... not a whole lot changes here like at home... the stores and
the market were even open on sunday morning as usual.. so there isnt
much that really changes here! But this tuesday we had district
meeting as we usually do. Elder Cunha gave a training on listening to
the whisperings of the holy ghost... it was a good training and really
plays a big role in what we do. We had a good lunch at Luziano´s
little restaurant thing then we walked to the other end of town to
Fábio´s house. We marked his baptism for saturday, so we passed by
every day to see that he was progressing and ready to get baptized.
This day he told us a little about his past and how he was a druggie,
a drunk, been in some knife fights, and how he never wants it again.
and he is 18 years old. He is a humorous dude and i love visiting him
cuz its really funny. At night we went to a church activity, the
branch christmas party, and had fabio and some of his friends there,
we sang Noite Feliz for everyone, then had a good feast... it was a
good activity. We also had viviane and her sister Ana Carine there. We
walked them home and they gave us a basket of chocolate for
christmas... i started eating it when i got home and there were these
little chocolates in the shape of a bottle... the flavor said mint on
it so i threw it in my mouth and as soon as i chewed..... it was an
outburst of some cough medicine liquid that came flowing into my
mouth.... i chocked it down then read the front at the ingredients and
it had some sort of licor in it! woops.... but seriously it was the
nastiest thing ever... but the rest of the chocolate was awesome and
it wasnt their fault either.. they bought the basket already made and
so it came in the package.... funny story though.

Wednesday we met with Fabio again and this time we met his dad. His
dad is pretty cool but is more of a talker than a listener haha but
his parents are very supportive of him joining the church so its good.
Fábio then took us to his friend wesley´s house to teach him. Those
two are really funny together cuz they have a little gangster attitude
to them and its just hillarious. We ran into an old investigator named
Lester in the road and he is kinda lost... he said that the true
church of christ is in us and that our church isnt true cuz God hasnt
shown him a sign yet... it was an interesting conversation. We met a
new investigator named Laís who talked to the missionaries a little in
the other area... she is kind of an air head but a good investigator
because she reads a lot and listens well... She has a good possibility
to get baptized, but she used to be a jehovas witness so she is having
difficulty believing in some things.. but its alrigtht. Viviane
introduced a neighbor to us named Cleo with two little girls. We
taught all of them and it was good. She said that she had a friend
that passed away about 4 months ago so it set us up well for the plan
of salvation and she said she felt better after the lesson.

Thursday we taught Fábio the law of chastity, and we taught Wesley´s
whole family. Wesley is Fábio´s friend but is like 13. He lives with
his brother and his parents and we taught them all together. We talked
about family prayer and it was cool. We also taught Viviane and Ana
Carine about asking in faith to know the church is true. i think they
pretty much know by now.. .but are scared to follow the church or are
kind of lazy i dont know.. kind of like that song that you mentioned
on sunday.... Do you have room? I think that is basically what we do
on a mission... we spend the day asking people if they have time for
Christ... Majority will say they have faith in him... but few will
actually make time for him. Kinda cool.

Friday was decent. We had fábio´s interview for baptism which he
passed. He had a bunch of porn movies that he gave to his mom to throw
away... His mom said that she has waited a long time to do that...His
example is blessing his family as well. We taught Laís about the
restoration of the gospel... My comp bought a Suit to go home with.. i
guess someone stole his suit in São Luís! haha had to buy a new one to
look good going home. At night we did a quick division and i went with
elder olson to his area... we tried to visit someone who was out of
town, so we stopped at a sushi bar. (dad i thought that was funny that
you asked about it! I havent seen sushi in over a year and finally i
saw it here cuz elder olson wanted some. but we can go for sure when i
get home! i didnt like it all that much the first time, but i think i
would really like it now! My taste buds are completely different) And
i grabbed some dessert.. it was Açaí na tigela. Just a blend of Açai
with some granola on top.. pretty good!

Saturday was Christmas eve and we had a crazy day! we had lunch way
out at Jame´s house. He is a good guy getting ready to leave on a
mission and his family is awesome. But after that we had to go way to
the other end of the city and talk to Laís, then to Fábio´s to walk
with him to the baptism.. The problem was that we didnt know if anyone
was gonna go to the baptism! but luckily there were a few people that
showed up.. it was a miracle. We had the baptism after the headache of
getting it all together and at night we went with presdent rocha to
have a christmas supper. He took us home then me and elder cunha had
to visit viviane who invited us for dinner as well. ( i just about
died of eating so much) Then to antonio and osailde. It took me
forever to get everything working with the computer and dad, do you
remember how the DsL or something was down? I finally realized a cord
had fallen out of place and just wasnt plugged in... so yeah that was
dumb. Anyway we got set up and ready for christmas.

Sunday we had Church at 9 to 10ish... We walked down and brought Fábio
and wesley with us... At church Fabio was confirmed. After church we
went to viviane´s real quick, then out to lunch at irmã gorete´s
house. It was good, just really far, out by james house. It was a
super hot day so we headed home, took a shower, then went to antonio
and osailde´s house to set up skype and my comp talked first then i
talked to you! It was a good time and i love that family that let us
in during christmas. They are good people and gave us lasagna after as
well haha.

It was a good week and i love the feelings of Christmas. I cant wait
for next year cause its gonna be a good one! the best present i was
ever given was my family. I am so thankful for everything you do for
me and the sacrifice you pay so that i can be on a mission. We are
very blessed to know the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and it is
really incredible to see the change it makes in people´s lives.

Love ya. Talk to ya next year!

Elder Smoot

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wk 72 - Merry Christmas

--A Christmas tree in Piauí

--me and elder Cunha

--p day with Arthur (elder cunha´s freind from Tianguá)

--livin it up

--Everyone. Elder Olson, Arthur, Me, Elder Cunha, And Elder Pires

--im dreaming of a coke christmas

--my comp... thats the spirit

--fish... just fry them and eat em whole!
Area: Parnaíba
Companion: Elder Cunha

What a week. Each day of the mission seems like it will never end and
that the weeks never pass... but little by little it is all passing
by. Thanks for the emails and what not. i love the pics and the videos
you send... and cant wait to talk to ya on christmas! Its been a good

This week was pretty normal.... just a little more christmas oriented
i guess you could say. There isnt a whole lot of christmas spirit
here, so we are trying to have a little more as we go throughout the
day. Las monday was pretty cool. If you remember joao paulo that we
baptized a month or two ago? his mom made us dinner to take home and
gave me a brasil jersey for Christmas. Their family has opened up a
lot to us and its cool because they live right in front of the church
and have had years of missionaries passing by their house.. but they
finally joined the church and the mom invites us over for lunch and
gives us food all the time... it was a pretty cool miracle i have had
in this area.

Tuesday we had the routine district meeting. This time we focused a
little more on the book of mormon. I talked about how we need to pray
to know the truth and that really noone can know the truth if they
dont pray. My comp talked about how it is the keystone of our religion
and how important that is. If they know this book is true, the rest
falls into place. and he explained how that helped him in his
conversion when he was 14 and learning about the church.. it was cool.
We talked to brendon and barbara and ended up teaching their tutor
rafael. It was a good lesson about the gospel of jesus christ and what
we need to do to return to God one day and be happy. It was a pretty
slow day... but we talked to Ciro and Vanessa (from last year) and
they are doing OK.... not awesome though. They still arent married and
are having a few problems... but i hope we can help them. We taught as
well Viviane and showed her the restauration DVD.. it went very well.

Wednesday we had lunch at James house. He is like 18 years old and
wants to leave on a mission. He is a stud, and his family are not
members.. but they gave us lunch and are really cool people.. We met
up with our new friend Fábio and his friend Wesley.. they are pretty
funny dudes but always seem like they are high on something.. but they
are super funny i dont know how to explain it.. just super chill and
way to relaxed haha. We then talked to Bruno´s mom, (bruno is a member
but the mom is not) and she gave us some cake and it was a cool visit.
She is super willing to give us lunch and stuff.... but not even a
member of the church. We then had a nice long walk across the bridge
to Thiago´s house who is a boyfriend of a member in the area... he
knows the church well, but has never been went well but
we spent most of the time talking to his mom who is catholic.

Thursday we ate lunch at a little restaurant close to our house then
went to Joao paulo´s house to teach his friend Beth. She is like 12
years old. We went to go teach fabio but he wasnt home so we taught
his mom... then we taught joão who was close by, then we went back to
teach fabio and wesley, then wesley (who is about 12 years old)
invited us to teach his mom so we went and talked to her. We passed by
a members house, Ivanez, and she gave us some sanwhiches and we left a
message. We stopped by Irmã Lourdes house to say goodbye to jorge
lucas and joao victor´s house. They left to Brasilia to stay with
their dad for a few months. To end, we went to viviane´s and talked to
her about prayer. on the way home Joao paulo´s mom called me to pass
by and pick up food and she also gave me a new pair of flip flops!
haha she has helped us a lot.

Friday we had lunch at Jacyara´s (joao paulo´s mom)... she wanted to
give us lunch because she was going to fortaleza for christmas. WE
taught brendon and barbara, then we helped a calm and loving member
move her stuff in her house... that was sarcastic, but it was quite
the experience. She had us trade all her light bulbs and lift these
heavy plant pots... haha it was funny. We taught Joelda, Then Ciro and
Vanessa then we had to book it to Branch 4 so my comp could do an
interview for baptism. We got there late and he did the interview and
we ended up sleeping there.

Saturday morning we went back to our house, we had received money for
lunch and so Elder Pires cooked some rice, pork meat, and made french
fries, and it was a decent lunch. We visited Brendon and Barbara´s mom
who had some concerns about the baptism (them being under age have to
have the mom´s permission). she just said that she didnt see the
desire to follow the church yet. When that is there, they can get
baptized.... so thats cool. We taught Fábio again, then had the
english class.. I have made some friends there so its pretty fun. We
then had a little rehearsal with a lady in our branch haha we are
gonna sing on Tuesday for our ward party.. should be fun.

Sunday we had a good turn out of investigators. We had viviane who
brought her sister, and her neighbors who are 10 and 6 years old.
Fábio came with Wesley, then we had a couple of other kids show up.
One that has been playing soccer with us on the new church court and
the other a man that comes to english class... it was cool. It was a
hot day... like more than usual so after lunch at pres rocha´s house,
we went home real quick to take a shower... its normal to take about 3
showers a day here as part of the culture... it helps you keep cool.
But we passed at Vitor´s house real quick then at Ciro and Vanessa´s,
and then we picked up Viviane (well walked her) to the church with her
sister to watch the Christmas Devotional.. but they ended up
cancelling it....... so we practiced the music again and that was
about it.

Today has been good. we still are gonna play soccer later... we had a
cool member that served a short term mission with elder cunha in
tianguá in the state Ceará, he gave us lunch and took us in his car
around parnaíba... it was pretty cool.

Anyway, again its gonna be weird without snow and cold for
christmas.... but then again i dont know what that is!!! Love ya.

Have a Wonderful Christmas.

Elder Smoot

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wk 71 - Christmas time again?

--on the bridge with e Cunha

--porto das barcas... christmas

-they asked us to take a pic with her... haha it was funny

--festa of Ana Luíza.. 1 year old!


with Pires, Olson, Smoot, & Cunha!

--Elder Pires 1 year on the mish

Area: Parnaíba
Companion: Elder Cunha

Hey thanks for the pics... man i miss camping and i definitely miss
christmas lights... here there are very few... mostly just one strand
of lights and usually inside the house... being outside, someone would
probably steal them haha. Im sorry you kind of got sick dad... thats
no fun. and mom i know what its like to be extremely tired and with a
headache... if i could help i would but im kinda far to do anything! I
still love ya though.

This week was just another week in Parnaíba. Get up on tuesday, get
ready and head to the church that is luckily very close to the house.
We have a district meeting there then after we head out to lunch at
the Branch presidents house, President Rocha. Unfortunately the house
is not in my area, so after we have to walk back a ways to get back to
our area. On last tuesday we ended up going with João Paulo again and
we passed in a couple houses who werent home.. but ended up talking to
ana rita and her mom... they are kinda.... i dont know, wishy washy?
Not super solid yet... We then went and talked to Felipe, the kid that
i baptized... we read a story about nefi in the book of mormon and
invited him to church on sunday because it was going to be the primary
program... He said he would go if someone passed by to walk with him.
We taught Brendon and Barbara who are doing great. They are planning
on getting baptized on the 17th so hopefully it will all work out.
Later that night we talked with Viviane who also is working to get
baptized...not as solid as brendon and barbara but we also planned on
the 17th with her.

Wednesday we were supposed to have a training with president. on
tuesday the zone leaders called and said that we will have a meeting
with president at 6 in the morning... or that is what my comp heard.
unfortunately it didnt start till ten... my comp called and confirmed
2 times to make sure it was at six... but an american was talking and
said ´dez´ but my comp heard ´seis´ which sound pretty much the
same.... so we went at six and waited.... and waited... and nothing.
so we called them and they said its at ten. so we went back home and
waited till 10. our training was about these new dvd players we got to
use for studying. we will watch the district movie and stuff and learn
how we can do better... its pretty cool. The day was pretty rough
after lunch.. there was pretty much noone at home.. but at night we
planned a family night at mayza´s house with tereza cristina and
viviane... it was a pizza night and we left a message about missions
and why it is important for us. it was pretty cool.

Thursday morning i got up to shoot some hoops! finally the court was
done and it is fun.. but man i stink at basketball now. i only play
soccer. We had lunch at maria de jesus´s house and it was good.... we
came back to barbara´s house to teach her.. we are just teaching her
the commandments and confirming the 17th for baptism, which she is
doing very well in her preparation. we then talked to livramento who
was more or less... she was kind of distracted and drinking coffee
when we taught her so... yeah. We then went to joão´s house and his
friend fábio came over. he is 18 and has had a drugy type life and
wants to get away from it. so it was cool. We came back to the church
to have an activity, but ended up playing a little volleyball instead,
then we had a cool opportunity to teach some new investigators in
english. My comp taught well i was impressed with how much he knew in
english. anyway they were very smart 17 year olds, a guy and a girl,
and they actually understood what we were talking about! it was a
miracle... hard to find here. and we had bought guaraná jesus earlier
so that was the cherry on top of our day.

Friday we played some basketball in the morning... it was pretty fun
but everyone got tired super fast haha... good thing we only had a
little time to play. We had lunch at a little restaurant thing, what
they call ´lanchonete´ and my comp and elder pires were still hungry
so we went and got a little more food after... we visited nonato after
that.. he is struggling a little. i think he has messed up a little or
something because he has been weird lately and has a lot of drug
influence and stuff around him.. but he came to church again on sunday
and is doin better. We then taught Italana who we´ve taught for about
a month now.. she just faults going to church with us now... We then
taught Junior, the cousin of mayza and sávio... it was cool and he is
12 and has a good desire to get baptized. Later that night to celebrat
Elder pires 1 year on the mission we went to Dogão lanches... a
restaurant here.. it was pretty fun. later he burned a shirt haha.

Saturday morning we went and played some soccer as our excercise
time.. it was pretty fun. we got some young men to come play with us
at 6 30 and worked out well. we then got 10 reais for lunch... doesnt
really work for 4 people. so we grabbed some of our own money and made
lunch at home. We went and taught junior at mayza´s and savio´s
again... he had talked to his mom and said that she wants for him to
wait till he is older to get baptized... then mayza and savio´s
parents showed up so we talked to their dad. we had never met him
before but he is a really good guy. he said that other missionaries
left him with a book of mormon and he likes to read it.. we taught
raimundo, joão, fabio, and nonato again. it was really good and they
commited to go to church on sunday.. we got all of them, but joão
there. we then had english class which was decent. we left a message
about christ again and talked a little more about christmas terms. My
comp went with elder pires and taught barbara and viviane when we were
teaching english class, then we met up again and went out to ana
luiza´s party. she is the daughter of josieda who is a recent convert
and a sister of joelda who we teach. they told us to come to her party
so we did. it was quite the party for a 1 year old! i guess they have
big parties here when you turn 1, 5, and 15..or something like that.
anyway it was very cool. Then we were asked to take a picture with her
in her princess dress haha it was funny because we felt like VIP´s at
this party. we go over there a lot so we know the family well and so
they gave us extra food and stuff while we were there... cool party.

Sunday we had church again... but before church we walked forever. we
went to go get fabio and then joão said he already went, so we left
then had to go back, missed the van and had to walk back to the
church.. by 9 30 i was already dead! But we were trying to do
something that elder bednar taught at the training... he said
something about that prayer that happens in church that says, ´bless
those who were not with us today that they can come next sunday´... he
said, what do you think? God will just do some magic and they will
come the next week... no. Go get those members that arent coming! that
is your responsibility as a member of this church.... anyway, i
thought it was a cool thought. we got to the church, brendon and
barbara came... it was nice. also joao paulo is in the swing of
things.. sharp lookin kid in his church clothes and he is passing the
sacrament every sunday! We had lunch, came back, then took Viviane to
the afternoon ward.. AFter that we had another meeting with the
leaders of the organizations (ym, yw, primary, bishopric, etc.) then
we went to Antonio and Osailde´s house. We planned to paint some doors
at their house on friday and they offered their phone for the
christmas call! so i will go over there. also the president said we
can use skype so i might try it. my comp made an account and added dad
i think... so if there is a estefano da cunha.. its him.

Another cool thought. i noticed that most of the elders from the
states here were born and grew up in the church.. A lot of people say,
oh you are just following what you grew up in and making your parents
happy. It is hard sometimes but it is interesting because the same
testimony that we have, the brasilians that have just over a year in
the church, or that have only 5 or 6 years in the church, they are
here for the same reason... This church is in the whole world and it
is true... i see that a lot being in a whole other universe it seems
like, but the testimonies are the same.

Well love you all, thanks for the email and the pics they are awesome.
I am excited to finally start opening the presents ive had for the
past month haha.

Merry Christmas.
 Elder Smoot