Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Brandon's Thirty Third Email! March 21st, 2016


Really rushed on time today because the computer has been freezing like crazy and we are cutting p-day short to help a family move their house!!!!

Going to start with the top ten today so I can cut this baby short when we have to go!

Bottom 2

2. Mosquitos WORKED me this week! I don't know why, but this week, allll over my body, I got killed!
1. The bike tire has a flat! As of Saturday, so I'm going to fix that ASAP because walking takes forever and this town is huge!

Top 8

8. It was kind of cold since Friday so we had Gizo twice and I love it! 
7. We cut the grass at Sister Sosas house and it was fun! She is super funny so it was entertaining! Two young men came and brought a weed whacker so we worked there for like 2 hours. Nice change of activities!
6. My spanish is slowly but surely improving! It's fun being able to understand almost everything! Sometimes the jokes do not translate at all so those are still hard sometimes!
5. Nice people in the ward, in the town, in the mission etc. It's just really fun to meet new people who are nice people. Member or non-member, everybody can be a nice person if they want to be!
4. Thank you for the package Emi and Jill! Such a nice surprise on Wednesday!!!
3. Friends that I've made in the ward, like especially Terezinha! 
2. I only have one chapter left of Jesus the Christ! Because Elder Gehring was sick, I had lots of time to read!
1. Maria is set to get baptized on the 26th!! We're really excited for her! We have had lots of lessons with her and she has come a long way!

Okayyy, so now for the week!

Tuesday we had the multizone conference, but Elder Gehring threw up so we couldn't go, so Tuesday was all day in house! Long day!
Wednesday the zone leaders came and Elder Gomez stayed with Elder Gehring, and Elder Ford left with me to some important lessons, and it was super fun and good and helpful that they came! The lesson with Maria was so entertaining! She speaks very uniquely and sometimes says really funny jokes, so it's always good with her haha.
Thursday, we only could go to one lesson with Terezinha in the late afternoon, so another longgg day inside! 
Friday we made visits in the morning, went to lunch, then came home and Elder Gehring was sick, so we didn't go out after lunch! He really had a long stretch of sickness! 
Saturday was good, we cut Sister Sosa's grass in the morning and then she fed us a really good lunch of millanessas and rice! Then in the afternoon we could only visit Maria and Francisco! They both are doing great! 
Sunday we had three investigators in church, Claudia, Maria, and the other Maria, so that was nice! Claudia is getting her papers figured out!

Sunday we had a lesson with Maria and then talked to this family where the mom is active, the dad is not (he has had tonssss of hard things in life happen), and their little girls who are 6, 8, and 11 and not baptized. He seemed really open to us, so we have a lesosn with them tomorrow

Maria has her date to get baptized the 26th, so pray that all goes through and she is all ready!!! She is really excited to take a photo in white before! 

Something cool! Sheridan and her comp have someone getting baptized the 26th also! 

Next week is transfers so that means I have Tuesday p-day next week! 

Sooooo it got way hotter Tuesday to Thursday then it has been pouring ever since! We got SOAKED Friday after lunch! Kinda fun, kinda gross and muddy from all the rivers in the roads! 

I'm having a great time! I LOVE THE MISSION. Like 4 months ago, I probably wouldn't have been able to say that honestly, but I love the opportunity to learn about the WONDERFUL plan God has for us. Then I get to share it with other people. It's a really fun and simple idea!  I have a great family, tons of amazing loved ones who support me, and feel very blessed to be here. Thanks everyone. Sorry everyone who ever was in charge of me during primary years. I know I was a pill....

Buttt, that's all for now! I'm undoubtedly forgetting tons, but I've learned to kind of try and not care so I don't get stressed at email time! We have district meetings in Durazno tomorrow so another hour long bus ride each way! Kinda relaxing and pretty though. I love Uruguay! 

Peace! aka. John 16:33... still my fav scripture

Elder Richmond

Thanks Jill for the fun Easter package! 
It was and is super tasty! And fun Easter things too!

This is us when we got home on Friday after riding home from lunch! 
It was pouring and we were completely soaked! 

We had an extra bunk bed so we dismantled it and pushed it together 
and now we both have our own double twin bed! 
We pushed extra blankets in between the two to try and gap the mattresses! It's pretty cool!

Thanks Emi for the England sweets! 
I was so confused by the mysto package with no return address!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Brandon's Thirty Second Email! March 14th, 2016

So not tons of time to email right now, kind of confusing day! So p-day started and Elder Gehring was in a cleaning groove so we went to cyber late in the morning then the Wankiers called us and told us they'd be at the house in like 20 minutes, so we had to get off after like no time. They looked at our house and were going to put fly screens but the windows don't work for it, but they said the house looked good, which was cool! Elder Gehring did a really good job of cleaning all of his stuff today and the house looks and feels good! So then they were like have you guys heard of the Repressa (Dam) and we were like yeah! We were going to go today but maybe we'll go next week. Then they were like well why don't we go exploring? So we went in their van and went to the Dam! It was sweet! I think we might go back another day to waste more time and like eat lunch in one of the old beached boats! It's cool! They were super cool and nice though. Then they dropped us off. We made pizza for lunch, I think it turned out better today but maybe I was just hungry. Then we went, I sent a few letters, Elder Gehring got a haircut, now we are finishing our time here! 

So that's today, tomorrow we have a multizone conference in Florida, so we might have to sleep in Durazno today! Pray that no!!! Sleeping on the floor is not ideal!  

Sorry my organization of this email is absurd. Goin back in the week. Tuesday we had zone conference, we all gave like 15 minute presentations. Elder Gehring and I did ours on urgency. Then Wednesday was normal. Thursday also. Friday morning we went to Durazno and exchanged comps. Elder Ford, the zone leader, came here to Paso de los Toros and we had a great day. Lots of lessons, went to the bridge real quick at night SO SKETCH!!! And made cinnamon rolls at night! Then Saturday morning we traded back. Saturday was pretty normal except another giant piece of skin fell off my foot. I think my skin is too sensitive or soft haha. So gross. Sunday was good, calm, pretty normal.

Now about investigators. We have Maria, the mother who has a date to get baptized the 26th of March. She is marching along well, had a good time at church Sunday with this less active lady who also came (and is SUPER cool and really normal), she like helped her stay calm when her daughter was there. We will see how well she is learning, to see if she keeps the date of the 26th. 
We have a brother and sister teenagers named Juan and Sheyla, who we both planned for the 26th also, but we just heard yesterday that they ended up moving in with a different family member in a different town somewhere, so it's possible that they are just gone! 
Claudia still is so ready, but is having trouble with her papers! At the post office I saw a sign for the papers she needed and asked the crazy lady who was helping me and maybe found out how she can do it, so we will see if we can't help here this week with that! 
We have a bunch of other investigators who are more or less progressing. But we have had a bunch of really, really good, spiritual lessons this week! The Book of Mormon is powerful because it testifies of Jesus Christ! I love reading and coming up on scriptures that really help me understand the reality of what Jesus did for us. It dumbfounds me every time. 

We found a lot of future and new investigators this week by talking to everyone and knocking some doors! We were knocking doors and this little girl was yelling "Mormones! Mormones!" So we wanted to go see kinda why she was being mean, and we pull up and there were like 6 people just chilling at an almacen and they like had her yell because they wanted to talk to us, so we had a super cool, spiritual, simple lesson as it started to pour rain. They pulled out chairs and we all sat under the overhang and it was really cool. A husband and wife. Then two neighbor teenagers who are brothers, and then two like 20 year old brother-neighbors too. All really good friends I guess. 

I'm loving it here. Very used to everything missionary. The weeks are going by super fast now. Like at some parts of a long day it feels long, but then weeks are fast! 

Teezinha, my fav little Brazilian lady had to go to the hospital this morning because she has a problem with her kidney. We went to her house yesterday and gave her a blessing and I was really happy to be able to give her the blessing. Kinda hard in spanish, but I felt such a responsibility because I know her so well and want her to be better so badly. She told us of all the times she has had a blessing of health and she had such a strong testimony! Pray for her! 
I don't know if I'll send pics this week but I actually have lots! From the giant bull statue, this weird old man statue, tortas fritas, intercambio, and the Dam!

Top Ten!

10. Cinnamon rolls turned out best this time! Elder Ford has magic touch I guess.
9. Our house is sooo much cleaner now! It makes me so much more happy. Also, think we are going to unstack the extra beds and put two together each so we each have our own double bed!
8. The opportunity to give Terezinha that blessing because of her testimony of blessings.
7. Multizone Conference tomorrow!
6. Super fun intercambio! Exchanges I think? I'm not sure.
5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUSTIN! 18 and never cuter wheeeeeewwww
4. Sheridan arrived and completed her first week in Recife! Such an example of a good attitude! 
3. We had lots of investigators in church! I really enjoyed the mesajes too.
2. Reading The Book of Mormon ALWAYS makes me feel better. From bad to good and good to better!
1. The example of selflessness of Jesus Christ has been something I've thought a lot about this week. I really liked Matthew 25:34-40

I love you all!!!!
Elder Richmond

This is the Bull at the entrance of the town! 

There is this random statue of this guy sitting with a book.

More dumb ones with the guy! 

There were a bunch of hoodlums sitting watching us the whole time, I'm sure we looked really cool.

I made tortas fritas and we were pretty bored so here is the result of that...

 More tortas fritas.... I made one look like an old dude. 
I realized, I don't know why torta frita art isn't a thing!

 Last of the tortas... I put dulce de leche and powdered sugar on to give him hair! 

Then this is the bridge at night! Cool cool reflections! 

 Elder Ford and me on the bridge.. So sketchy at night. 

 The dank cinnamon rolls.

 The repressa!!!! (The Dam)

 More of the dam!

 The dam

 Lunch today! Starting to figure out how to do it better maybe!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Brandon's Thirty First Email! March 7th, 2016


So first, requests :) Can you send me a recipe for the biscuit dough that I could make the chocolate bunny tail things with? Like the canned biscuit dough? I want to make that because we have a bunch of shallow baking things that I could use to do those.  I was going to ask if Austin got into BYU-Hawaii but read it casually from Sheridan first haha. Congrats Austin!!!!

So some things to share first. Terezinha, the Brazilian lady, is seriously such a happy, nice person, and always, always makes me happy when we leave. She went and did baptisms for the dead 2 weeks ago for the first time (if anyone who isn't mormon is reading that, go to Mormon.org and read about it, It's amazing, and is nothing weird at all!) and she told us about her experience! She like didn't even really understand 100% when she went what it symbolized, but she said in the baptistry she said she didn't recognize the person being baptized each time they came up out of the water, and she felt like it was a different person each time, and felt so much love and happiness each time. She described the purpose and joy of baptisms for the dead so perfectly. Such a blessing that members of the church have, to be able to help those people who are waiting for somebody to do the ordinance! Ah, it gave me the best chills as she was telling us.

So fun story: The weather has dropped one nivel in heat at night and so last night for the first time in like months I went to crawl under my sheets and I did so, and then felt a cockroach go crazy and start climbing all over me and I freaked out and finally got it out. SO gross! BUT, the cockroaches are like 90% less than there were! I bought poison traps and they're working! The cabinets are no longer like a rave, more like a kickback. Progress!

We went to Trinidad in Flores again on Saturday for a baptismal interview but... the girl never came! The sisters were so sad because she had given zero reason to suspect that. I felt really bad for them because they were so excited for the girl. So that wasted like all of Saturday between the travel and waiting for her! Bummer!

This Tuesday, we went to this lady named Claudia's house! She is like 50 and wants to get baptized really bad! She already knows soooo much! We read over the baptismal interview questions with her and she is legit. Like reading to get baptized.. except she lives with her pareja and they aren't married because her last husband and her aren't divorced still. They have been seperated for 25 years and no one knows where he is now, so she is going to try and get the papers through anyway. They want to get married ASAP so she can get baptized. But really a great lady who already has such a strong testimony. SO nice to see! I love hearing people bear their testimonies who are new to the church!

This transfer is only 5 weeks! It ends the 30th of March. So like 3.5 weeks left! They changed something so the MTC would go smoother idk.

This week we were focusing on finding a lot of people to teach! We talked to lots of people, did lots of contacts and like met a lot of people, but so far none of them have become investigators, which is a little tough, but we'll keep going at it! We got this reference from the guy that baptized Francisco, named Miguel. So we called him to ask him where she lived, and he was like, "Here come with me," and we walked across the street and he knocks (knocking is clapping from the gate here) for like 5 minutes straight haha. Then she walked up from the street and we had a lesson. She was really nice, very humble education also, but set the date to get baptzied the 25th of March. So it was a great lesson, and Miguel brought her to church. Then class was about to start and this couple walks in and sits in front, and the investigator started acting really weird and I asked if she was okay, and she started crying so I said let's talk outside. So Elder Gehring and I went outside and she starts bawling and said the lady that walked in was her daughter and the daughter like hates her, and won't say hi. She wasn't the best mother I guess, so it is just sad on both sids of the story. But it's kinda awkward, we like can't hug her or like do anything comforting, but luckily a lady from church that knew her came up and started hugging her. So super gnarly random drama. We had no idea. The daughter isn't baptized either, but comes every single week. Just WILL NOT get married.

We had 5 investigators at church. Juan, this kid with like 15 years also has a date to get baptized the 26th. He has a sister who will probably get baptized the same day, she just wasn't there during the last lesson. That is, given that they don't go back to this other tiny little pueblo town where their mother is from (very complicated mother situation. May continue living with their Aunt).

Overall, a pretty good week! We have zone conference tomorrow, and maybe exchanges but we still don't know! 

Oh, I fixed the bike!!! So one was working, but last week I bought tires and tubes for a bike and changed them (sweated like crazy changing them. I was soaked) But since Monday we have been riding!! It is a dream!!!!!! 1 of two areas in the mission with a bike!!!! We get from place to place so fast! Saving my shoe life, and it's fun! haha The bike is janky, but whatever!! 

Keep me updated on everyone! Sheridan asked me some simple questions about my brothers and sisters and I didn't know one of the answers! haha but I hope all is well! I pray for you guys all the time!

 Top Ten

10. Less cockroaches in the house!!
9. Reimbursements FINALLY came in! Aka. I will get to eat this week!
8. Bikes fixed!!!!
7. I can understand everything in church now without even paying special attention! I can feel the spirit a lot more now that I'm not always lost!
5. Grandma's package! Thanks so much grandama!!!! Loved the treats and the flea repellent was such a good idea!
4. Getting far in Jesus the Christ, learning so much. Love reading it!
3. The reference and introduction by Miguel was great /funny!
2. Claudia is so ready to get baptized! Just needs to figure out paperwork!
1. The 2 investigators with dates and 5 investigators in church is encouraging!

Alright, I love you all!!!
Have a great week!

Ignore my really big forehead, but this is Pricila! So cute!

The Sosa Family!

The steez machine by the river, note the white walls that went for $7 US dollars 

A very, very weirdly lit picture. I swur I'm not this white

Us with our sick vests and helmets by the river. It's a local law I guess. 
Everybody except for the hoodlums use them.

Montevideo port as we drove into the Bednar Conference! 
Picture was SOOO lame but it was cool! Cruise ships and it looked cool! 

Last week I made like 5 or 6 pizzas like this because it's the
 cheapest thing to make and we had the ingredients! 
Pretty good actually but it's no round table, that's for sure.

Cool Plaza in Trinidad. 
Seriously it looks just like the plazas in the practice videos from middle school spanish class!
 Like they were always at some random plaza and I swear they filmed them in Trinidad and Durazno!

Then Sister Sosa made us Empanadas and Pigs in a Blanket for dinner because 
we missed lunch with her to go to Flores! I loved the pigs in a blanket!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Brandon's Thirtieth Email! February 29th, 2016

Hey Erebody! 

So this week was super irregular and kinda weird, and short - literally, but felt even shorter because it was so rando! So there's the intro...

It started out Tuesday after we emailed, so then that night we had a fun pizza night lesson to celebrate Elder Gehring staying.. 

Wednesday we had a Broadcast in the morning from Elder Bednar while he was in Argentina. So there was a conference there with three or four missions, and it was broadcasted to all of the South America South area missionaries at the same time! It was 3 hours but sooo cool! It wasn't a talk, it was like an interactive discussion and was so captivating and really awesome. He talked about how to receive a testimony of faith, we need to act. Without action, faith is really just a belief. Anybody, us, our investigators, any person, has to act on their belief to make it faith, then they will see the fruits of their faith. Really cool lesson. Then that afternoon we had a lesson with the Brazilian, she is SO nice, I love her haha, Always make me so happy. She turned 71 this week and so she was excited about that! Then that night we had a lesson with the family Sister Sosa introduced us to. Only the mother could come with three kids, and it actually got cut short because they had to go to this party they were going to skip, but then someone kind of called them out, BUT regardless of all of that, it was great! She was so into it, and totally interested for all of the right reasons. It is a family of 7 (one baby), but they are so cool. I am very excited for them. They didn't come to church this week, (we went by Saturday to remind them), but they really were super busy this week. They need to come to church though so they can make an action on their faith, because they will love it! 

Then Thursday we went to Durazno for a baptismal interview. In the afternoon we made visits and we had a lesson with Francisco. Alba came back for the first time during the lesson. Very Awkward, but she is living at her kid's house and they aren't like boyfriend/girlfriend anymore, she just wanted to come hang out and drink mate. But he was like telling us, yeah if she wants to come hang out, fine, but I'm always going to be at church. And he was, he is awesome! 

Friday, we went to Durazno at 11, and waited there for like an hour till a bus picked us up at 1:30. We picked up two other zones and I talked to Elder Balke for a long time! It was really nice to see him! We both talked about how we missed parts of El Pinar! He isn't there anymore either. Then we got to Montevideo at 5 and waited until 7:20 ish when Elder Bednar arrived with the area presidency from Argentina. It was so great! It was like the same format as the other one, but totally different subjects. He talked about how members need to read the Book of Mormon all the time to have a lasting conversion, and how the atonement cleans from sins, but also gives us power to accomplish righteous goals more so than we would normally be able to, I really liked that. After we left at like 10, got to Durazno at 2 AM, slept there, then woke up at 5 AM to take the early bus back to Paso. It felt so weird being out so late! haha I felt so sketchy. But then in the morning I was so tired haha.

Saturday we had weekly planning, then a good day in the afternoon. Talked to tons of people trying to find new investigators which I really liked. Lots of nice people. We'll see who is serious once we pass by for second rounds!

Sunday was nice, lots of people came who normally don't, and this investigator lady that has been gone for a long time!

We are probably going to go to the Rincon today (a big dam on the Rio Negro). It's like 20 pesos to get there so we just want to go and explore for a bit. I guess busses run every hour. 

Another great week in the mission. Really unordinary week but that's fine.

I am so excited to be a missionary. I feel like this time I have is so special and I try to take advantage of it as much as I can. I have gained such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. It will teach us for our days, even though it is an old record. It was meant for us. Christ is the key to everything, and for this the Book of Mormon testifies of him and teaches us why he is so important. I love him and do more and more - the more and more I learn about him and come to know him.

Top Ten

10. I have had the weirdest most realistic dreams this week! One time I got hit in the face with something and my face legit hurt!
9. Times when my stomach is normal / doesn't die from all the oil!
8. The weather is changing a little. Not SOO hot in the mornings and nights! We had a HUGE rainstorm Friday morning. CRAZY downpour for like an hour straight. 
7. Happy Birthday Sheridan! 20 Years Old!!!!
6. Happy Birthday Daddio! A couple more years, but still shredding!
5. I got to see all my friends from the mission on Friday after for a few minutes (mostly Elder Mcmillian, he is so cool!)
4. The Bednar Broadcast Wednesday
3. The investigator lady that came to church
2. The really cool family, I hope we can have a good lesson this week!
1. The Bednar conference on Friday!!!!

Brandon didn't send any pictures this week.