Mission Slideshow

Monday, December 17, 2012

Week #25


Random Thought: Playing solitaire with real cards isn't as fun because the cards don't do that cool bouncy thing when you win.

Great week! Not a ton happened but what did happen was great!
Wednesday morning we did some service with one of our awesome investigators Edilson! He is 20 and he is getting married in January so he is getting a house ready for him and his wife to be. So we showed up in the morning and he showed us around. I have to say that this was the first time I truly thought about living in Brazil. His house isn't huge but for he and his wife, it'll be great. The back yard has all kinds of fruit, oranges, star fruit, abuticaba, limes, mango, graviola, ect. So it was way cool. The plot of land is right on the river too so he can go fishing any time he wants! I even was kind of jealous.

Wednesdays we have been having English, guitar and piano classes! Not a ton of people come but it is really fun to teach. Elder Grantham teaches Guitar and Elder Bresciano teaches piano. Since Elder Shuss and I don't play either so we teach English. It's weird because you end up learning a lot about your own language too.There's a young man who has showed up every single time now and he asked me,"when will I be able to speak these phrases without looking at the paper?" I told him that if he practices everyday it'll be about three weeks. He looked shocked and was really excited about it.

The next day our zone leaders came over from Campo Grande to do divisions with us. Now this was the first time I had seen either of them so I didn't know what to expect. I ended up doing divisions with Elder Furrar. It was weird because I always thought he was Brazilian because of his name but he is American and VERY white and has blonde super curly hair! People here say that's what angels look like so a lot of people call him an angel. The divisions were awesome and the zone leaders brought the cool weather and rain! It has been on and off since Thursday but right now it is raining and has been all day! I love the rain!!

SUNDAY!!! Wooo! We had three more baptisms and the other dupla in our district had two! We are super excited about all this because all the other missionaries told us that it would be super hard and that this area was dead, but we are putting everything we have into it and we are seeing results!! Two of the baptisms were the parents of a family and we should be baptizing three of their kids here pretty soon! Pray for these kids.

D&C 64:9-10

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week #24


Random Thought: I made a key-chain out of a cow tooth.

Another great week on the mission! Tuesday we had a service project painting all morning. The colors they choose here...let's just say I wouldn't choose them. I guess I'm just not used to the exotic-ness yet. Anyway it was fun!

BENTO is the MAN!! We went to his house to see how he liked church. He said,"I loved it! I definitely want to keep going and I want my family there too." So I'm thinking that this is great! Now I'll ask about The Book of Mormon and we'll try to answer his questions. So I asked,"Remember that book we left you? The Book of Mormon? Wha..." He cut me off and said, "Yeah! The Book of Mormon! That is a really good book. It's definitely true. Can you mark some more parts for me to read?" Elder Bresciano and I looked at each other and just gave each other the surprised "are you kidding me/this never happens" look. Then we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and asked how Bento felt about baptism. So we were already ecstatic about the visit and then Bento says,"I don't think I want to be baptized this Sunday...but the Sunday after that I do!" WOOOO! This guy has got some serious faith!

Thursday had an amazing lunch with one of the member families and it was incredible. When lunch was ready we walked into the room and we were shocked! There was a TON of food! Like maybe more than we have at Thanksgiving back home! I just thought, "Wow she made all this for us. I am going to eat as much as I possibly can." It was nice. It felt more like the holiday season.

After lunch we went to visit an inactive family and it turns out the Dad there just got home from hernia surgery too! So we went in and talked with him, which was kind of funny because he was still drugged up from the surgery. Before we left we gave him a blessing and left him a foto of him baptism that he never received.

Thursday was also the birthday of Albert! One of the young men we just baptized a couple of weeks ago. So Elder Bresciano and I went to a store and bought him a white shirt and tie! On the way to his house we were stopped by a man named Sampaio. He asked,"Hey are you looking for me?" Elder Bresciano said,"We are now!" Ha we talked for a while and he asked us where we were from. We asked what he thought and he said that he didn't have any idea! We told him we are both American and once he found out he started speaking English! Now some of you may be thinking,"Why would he have to find out, of course Elder Laws looks American!" Well with my accent and how I look everyone here thinks I am German! Anyway we went to this guy's house and it turns out he is an inactive member because he works on Sundays, but that's going to change at the new year! So we are going to try and work with him and get him active again! We finally got to Albert's house after that and gave him his presents and he seemed pretty happy about them.

Friday we always have soccer at the church. While playing Elder Grantham and I jumped into the air at the same time and just slammed into each other. My knee hit his hip. So there was a huge mark on his hip and my knee got pretty messed up, but it's all good now! I'm walking fine and don't have pain anymore! Have a great week and say your prayers!

Moroni 7:5

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, December 3, 2012

Week #23


Random Thought: Naked mole rats are super ugly.

What a week!!

On Tuesday our zone leaders wanted us to go to Campo Grande (about 2 hours away) for a zone conference. So we moved all of our appointments back a day so we could attend this meeting. When Tuesday came we got up at 3:00am (that was the only bus that would get us there in time) and walked to the bus station about a mile and a half away. We got there and then waited until the bus came about ten minutes later and it turns out they had no seats! So we walked back home and went back to sleep. We were kind of frustrated because we had a busy week and we moved all our appointments because the zone leaders insisted that we attend...and then we end up not going. BUT while we were walking home Elder Bresciano and I saw an ant eater! It was huge! Like as big as me! He was pretty ugly. So something good came from waking up early!

On Wednesday we had lunch with this lady in our branch and after lunch we were going to teach with her! As we were walking I noticed we were going to a part of the area that I had never been to before, so I looked at Elder Bresciano and asked,"Hey where are we going?" and he just said,"I have no clue, we´re just following her." So that's what we did. We ended up in this pretty poor neighborhood where all the houses are made of tree bark and tin. I've never seen anything like it. We taught a married couple (Bento and Maria) the first lesson and Bento was really interested and even came to church yesterday! As we were leaving an older man showed up and we found out he was Maria's dad. He told us that he has been to many different churches and each one had rejected him for one reason or another. He started crying and said that he just wanted to be a child of God. We bore our testimony that he is indeed a child of God and that God loves him very much. He is now one of our investigators and thus far he is really liking our message!

Later we went to a different appointment but she wasn't there so we just had a friendly conversation with her grandpa! He is 102 years old!!! He is nothing but skin, bones and tendons and he is very proud of the fact that he does NOT take medicine. He said,"I´ll die when God wants me to." It was really interesting to talk to him. That night we went to teach a less active member that lives pretty far away. We showed up and talked with her for a while and then left a spiritual message. Afterward she asked if we wanted a little snack. Of course we wanted a snack! So she brought out this GIANT watermelon and said we could eat as much as we wanted! So my companion and I ate about half of it! Delicious!!!

Our next and last stop of the night was Edilson. We met him on a street corner while playing a tiny four stringed banjo and found out that he is 20 and in the military but plays his little banjo on the radio for fun. Way cool! He asked us what we were doing in Brazil so we explained a bit and asked if we could stop by his house later in the week to talk more and he accepted. Anyway! Wednesday night we went to his house and talked with him and his mom for a while and then got into the lesson! I have NEVER felt so directed by the Spirit in my life! We really just opened our mouths and they were filled!! At the end of the lesson we asked Edilson if he would pray about what we talked about and to know if it was true. He paused and thought for a second and then said,"I'm going to be honest with you guys. For a while I was searching for the truth and looking for a church, but all of them I went to just had something missing. So I stopped looking because I felt like I was shaming myself and God with my unbelief. But not long after I stopped, you two showed up. I think that God is trying to tell me that He is still here and that I shouldn't give up." What an answer huh?! He accepted our invitation to pray and we were about to leave when he asked,"Hey, my girlfriend will be here Friday night. Would you mind coming back and teaching her as well?" We accepted and told him we would come back! It turns out she didn't go to his house that night so we just taught him some more. It was another great lesson.

Saturday we had three baptisms! Emerson, Albert, and Matheus! They are all going to be in the young men's program with their friend Keven who was baptized a few weeks ago! They all were baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. I got to confirm Emerson! That's the first time I have ever done that! They all have the priesthood now too! The young men's president was super happy because now we have a young men's quorum! There wasn't one before now.

Well that's about it for now! Thank you all so much for the love and support from back home!

Jacob 1:19

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, November 26, 2012

Week #22


Random Thought: I am wearing a Fanta Grape shirt right now. It's very purply...

HOLY COW!!!!!!! So good news! I slept the entire 10 hour drive to Campo Grande! On Tuesday I arrived in the city of Campo Grande where a bunch of Elders met me! I soon found out that none of them were my new companion and that we would have to wait another half hour or hour until the bus of Elders from Cuiabá arrived. When it finally arrived I met my new companion and he is GREAT! More about that later. We then got on our bus to Aquidauana and rode for another two hours until we finally arrived! I am sad to say that I was really disappointed about the weather. It´s still hot. Only a tiny bit less than Rondonopolis.

We finally saw are new house at about noon. I will say the truth, at first I was a little nervous! It´s in an ally way next to a paint shop and not all of the outlets work, our fridge doesn't work and only keeps thing a tiny bit cooler than if they weren´t in the fridge at all. Only one Elder has a bed frame and it´s not me, and my mattress is only about 4 inches thick but since its six years old my entire body touches the ground. Ha it was a shocker!

Only after we looked at the whole house, did the Elder that was already in this area tell us that we already had authorization to move and he had talked to the mission president and he said he would make sure that we will get our fridge and new beds! I´ve spent a week in this old house already and we don´t move until Thursday! I am happy though! Oh so happy! When I feel a little like complaining about the conditions I remember that I am privileged to be out here preaching and teaching as a representative of Jesus Christ! I am LUCKY to be a missionary and to be living in this house!

Elder Shuss took us to see the two options we had for new houses and we decided on one that is an upstairs apartment! There is plenty of space for us four Elders and everything is in good condition! The rest of Tuesday we spent meeting people in the area! The new town is much smaller than my old city, only about 45K people for us 4 Elders to teach. I don't yet know how big the ward or stake is or anything like that. More details next week.

Wednesday after lunch all four of us went shopping for appliances! This is a small town that is kind of isolated so anything here is a bit more expensive. We ended up looking at a few different stores but there wasn´t much of a difference in pricing. We should be able to get our new appliances and furniture about the time we move!

Thursday was Thanksgiving!!! It´s funny because we didn´t even realize it until it was almost lunch time. I´m sure a million missionaries have already said this but it just feels weird that no one makes a big deal out of it here. So what did I do for Thanksgiving!?!? Elder Shuss and I had divisions together and we taught until about 7:00pm when we walked up to a house with some people that Elder Shuss already knew. They immediately brought out a bench and asked us to sit down, so of course we accepted! We started talking and when they found out we were Americans they started asking us about a ton of stuff in the states! Well while we were talking more people showed up and then more until there were about 15 more people! During our conversation we found out that they were part of a reformed baptist church and that everyone who showed up was a part of that same church! Then out of the blue they said they were about to have a worship service if we wanted to join. Elder Shuss and I looked at each other, looked back at them and said,"Of course why not!?" So we joined them! It was a little strange but nothing that was preached was contrary to the teachings of the LDS church! During the whole thing we played a game where we would sing while passing match boxes in a circle and the whole point was that as a church and as followers of Christ we have to work together to continue faithfully on the right path! It was great! Everyone was friendly and loved having us there! They even invited us for the next meeting! So what did I do for Thanksgiving? I had family home evening with a reformed baptist group!

Friday and Saturday were fantastic teaching days! Elder Bresciano and I are turning out to be a great team! We are both from Washington (he´s from Seattle), We both want to work hard and we have set some pretty high goals! All of our lessons have gone great and with the help of the Spirit we´ve done some major work this week! We taught 29 lessons, and marked 3 baptisms in the 6 days we have been here! I LOVE WORKING THIS HARD!!! We are seriously working our tails off!

Saturday night we went and played soccer with a bunch of young men at the church! The church building here has a soccer court made of pavement that doubles as a parking lot on Sundays. Anyways, we played soccer while some sisters in the branch cleaned the building. After soccer we sat all the young men down and taught them the lesson of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. All but one of the young men were non-members so it was perfect! Elder Bresciano and I then went to the front of the building so we could get our proselyting clothes from inside the building, but it was locked! The sisters that were cleaning locked the building and locked the gate, so none of us could get outside the church property unless we hopped the fence! Since that was the only option that's exactly what we did! It was way fun.

Sunday was cool. We didn't have any of the young men we expected at he beginning of church so we talked with someone who had a car and we went and pick them up! I didn't know where the president of the young men was so I ended up winging a lesson that took up all the class time. This week was also the primary program and they don´t have anyone here who plays the piano, so when they heard that Elder Bresciano plays they asked him to wing it during the program! He ended up doing a fantastic job!

This week was fantastic and it looks like life her is going to be great! I am nothing but excited for this transfer!

James 2:17

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Week #21


Random Thought: I wish I could grow a new limb like Lizards do with their tails.

Transfers!!! I will be leaving at 10:20 tonight and taking a bus for twelve hours to Aquidauana (AH-KE-DO-AH-NA) in Motto Grosso del Sol! It's about 450 miles south of the mission home in Cuiaba. All I've heard so far is that it is going to be tough missionary work and that it will be colder! WOO! Way excited!! Also I will have an american companion, Elder Bresciano!

This week was better than last! Last Monday one of the young men from our branch came over at night and cooked us dinner! He also brought a watermelon! I ate half by myself, I LOVE watermelon here! All the fruit here is way better because it is so fresh...except oranges...they're green here. I have come to realize that my favorite fruit ever is Abacaxi (AH-BAH-KAH-SHEE)! Pineapple! Fresh pineapple is the best ever!

This week we had our district meeting on Tuesday instead of Wednesday because the traveling assistants of the mission president were here until Tuesday. It was nice because I already know one of them and we got to talk. Anyway it also happened to be my first time giving the lesson or training! I want to pause here and say that preparing lessons and talks is way easier now that I'm on my mission. So I prepared what I thought would be an hour lesson about Christ like attributes and I ended up having to stop three quarters of the way through the material I had prepared because I had no more time! I just love teaching about the gospel so much! Why would I ever want to stop?

We also had another family home evening with our investigators and a member family! This time we watched the film "Together Forever". It was a great film and I actually almost started crying, but for those of you who know me well understand that thats normal. Afterward we invited our investigators to ask questions and to comment. They really liked the film and they are so curious about temples. Then we had desserts! ("you looked stressed...you need desserts!" haha name that film) Evelyn (a member) made cinnamon rolls! Oh I how I miss desserts in the US! It was really funny becasue Elder Almeida is allergic to cinnamon so he had to sit and watch. I just told him thats how I feel when everyone eats beans.

Other than that it was a pretty calm week. I'm just loving life and living the dream!

Matthew 5:48

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, November 12, 2012

Week #20


Random Thought: One way streets are annoying when you're driving but not when you're walking, because when you're walking you only have to look one way.

WOO!! Uemerson was baptized!! His baptism was supposed to be two weeks ago but it fell through because his dad wouldn't sign the papers. Well we talked with our zone leaders and Uemerson about it and we got permission to have his aunt sign the papers instead because she is his legel gaurdian! He was baptized yesterday and it was wonderful! The other elders in our district had a baptism as well! Geison (Jason) was baptized yesterday morning and both of them will be confirmed next Sunday. I'm so happy!

On Tuesday we had another activity called "Activity of Geniuses". It was a mix of trivia, charades, pictionary, and a scriptural scavenger hunt. It was so fun! People here get a lot more into the activities than back in the US. There was a lot of yelling and laughing. I realized I'm not a huge fan of the game pictionary because everyone just gets mad at each other for not drawing or guessing right!

So about a week and a half ago Elder Paredes broke our mirror in the bathroom so we only had a tiny one for a while. BUT Flaviana works at a sort of "bed bath and beyond" place and we were able to get a new one! The only problem was how we were going to put it up! We needed a drill to put holes in the wall and use wall anchors and screws. But we didn't have a drill! While at lunch with the branch president we asked if we could borrow his drill and he said yes! So on Friday I put up the new mirror!
I'd to say a huge thank you to the stake for sending me a care package! I loved the pillow case and letters, they were seriously the best!!

The absolute best part of the week was on Thursday. Usually we have a zone/district meeting on Wednesday mornings but for some reason it was Thursday this week. Anyway we left the chapel and sat at a bus stop heading home. We were there for about ten minutes when this little boy with downs syndrome and his sister came to sit at the bus stop as well. The sister sat down but the little boy came up to us and gave each of us a handshake! It was great! Then he insisted on shaking our hands again, but this time he gave us a huge hug as well! But that's not all! He then pushed us aside so he could sit right in between each companionship! He sat there with us until our bus came and then gave each of us a hug goodbye!
Sometimes we feel the love of the Lord in ways we don't expect by his most precious angels! :)

D&C 68:4-6

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week #19


Random Thought: how are jelly fish living if they don't have blood or anything?

WOO! this week was great, again! I received two packages! One from Grandma and Grandpa Pahl and one from my mom!! Thank you so much for sending them!! I shared my gummy bears with my companion and some kids that we teach and tonight we are going to make peanut butter cookies with the mix I received! Also I gave the English books of mormon to two of the people I baptized! I decided that's going to be my present to the people I baptize!

So this week, while walking with Elder Almeida, I realized that we say the words "freak" and "freaking" a lot. So I proposed that every time someone in our house says it, we get to punch them in the arm, but just for a week. Not a knockout punch, but enough that it hurts. Needless to say we had a TON of punching each others' arms all week! It worked though! Good times...

THE RAIN CAME!!! Oh how I love the rain! It makes everything so much cooler!!! Last week, almost everyday was above 110 degrees! It was hard but I made it through alive and without being sunburned! Its been so nice this week with the rain and really a blessing!

I decided I want to have a better Portuguese accent so I asked the Brazilians in my zone how it can get better. They said to read out loud in Portuguese! So this whole week I have been doing that and they said its getting better! We have an investigator that used to never understand me but she said that my accent is getting better and I'm becoming easier to understand! So happy!

Last night we were in the home of a member having a little dinner. Afterward she asked if I would like some sardines. I was super surprised because I have never been asked that before so I said, "Sardines!?" They thought that because I said it as a question, that I didn't know what it was so they were trying to explain "sardines" to me. So funny! I finally told them that I knew what sardines were but I had just never had them. Well I ended up trying them and I really like them! I ate the whole can by myself! MMM!

Kind of an update;
I've cried once because I've missed home
I've read the old testament once while out here
I'm half way through the new testament
I'm halfway through the book of mormon for the second time
I'm a quarter of the way through the book of mormon in Portuguese

Helaman 3:35

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, October 29, 2012

Week #18


Random Thought: Snails are weird....

Great week! Hot week! Earlier in the week we went to a part of my area where I've never been before, to talk to a family referred to us by other missionaries. The other missionaries were Elders John and Gonzalez. We arrived there, talked for a bit, then asked what they remembered from the first visit with other Elders. The mom, Elizabeth, said she remembered something about families. Now the first lesson has a little bit about families, but the rest is about how the gospel was restored! So we asked what they learned about families and the little girl piped up and said,"really we don't know what it was about. The other Elders Portuguese was really bad!" So we laughed and retaught the first message! After, we called the other Elders and teased them a little. It was hilarious! Also as a side-note, I don't think a lot of people have seen Americans or missionaries in that area because EVERYONE was staring at me! Being blond and taller than most (although I'm only 5' 10"), I seem to stick out. Haha!

We did exchanges a few days this week and it was really great! The first time it was Elder Paredes and I and we had a great experience with teaching! We started by asking how they were doing with reading The Book of Mormon and did they enjoy it. They said yes and stopped there... We felt that we should explain more about the book and that it's about Jesus Christ coming to the Americas. After that it wasn't us speaking anymore! We opened our mouths and the spirit filled them with all kinds of wonderful words! It was a fantastic experience! After we left Elder Paredes said,"that wasn't me talking." I said,"Me either". During the lesson Elder Almeida (my comp) kept calling us. We called him back after. Usually elder Paredes and I have the keys and we are with our comps, but this day we were together and we took both sets of keys with us. The other Elders couldn't unlock the gate to leave! We felt pretty bad about that.

I also had exchanges with the zone leaders and we went to a house on the other side of the city...walking for miles! Ha it was long but that doesn't matter. While we were sitting in the house the younger boy kept looking at me funny and it turns out I am the first American any of the people at that house have ever seen! They asked me to pray in English and thought it was crazy that I speak and understand English and Portuguese! It was a cool experience!

Later in the week we were contacting and Elder Almeida saw a pretty girl and wanted to invite her to church! So we walked over to her and he was stuttering the whole time! It was hilarious! She ended up going to church so I guess it worked out.

Sunday! We had another baptism! Leonardo! He is only ten years old but he read every pamphlet we gave him, all the way through!! Also some investigators we have been working with for a while, finally came to church and we were so so happy! We'll see how it goes but we might have three baptisms next week! So excited!!

D&C 10:4

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, October 22, 2012

Week #17

Random thought: Painting nails is a waste of time! All that work and it only lasts a short time...then again so is shaving...
Fantastic week as always!

Earlier in the week my companion and I were at an appointment and in the middle of our message the other Elders who live in our house called. Of course we ignored them until we finished our lesson and left. We called them back and asked what they needed and they said they couldn't lock the gate because the lock was gone (I took it). So we laughed and told them it would be fine and we would check it out on our way to our next appointment! Before Elder Almeida hung up I had the best idea ever! I just looked at Elder Almeida with wide eyes and a dropped jaw and he understood... We went back to our house messed everything up (carefully) and hid tons of valuable and invaluable things from everyone, in our suitcases and in the other room. We then left the back door unlocked and opened a tiny bit. Since I had the gate lock, we locked it and gave a member next door, the key and asked her to unlock the gate and take the lock with her when we called later that night! We went through the rest of the day as normal and our last appointment was at 8:00pm. The other elders appt. fell through so we invited them to join us! It lasted until about 9pm (Elder Almeida called for the member to take the lock off at 8:50ish). We then returned home and Elder Paredes and Duarte were shocked and worried sick!!! HA! Elder Duarte said we needed to call the police and the mission president. So naturally I offered to do so! I "called" them and came back and told them the police were on the way! Elder Paredes kicked the wall when he found out they "stole" his toy picatchu! IT WAS HILARIOUS! My speakers and ipod were gone too so it was perfect! We waited until they decided to check on the suitcases. Finally Elder Paredes went to check and we hear "YOU JERKS!!!!!" from the back bedroom! Hahahahahaha! They were wonderful sports about it and all of us ended up laughing about until we went to sleep! Good times!

Saturday we had lunch with a member family (just like every day) but Friday and Saturday morning I was feeling pretty nauseous. So we went to lunch and I decided that I was only going to drink water or juice! We get there and everyone starts eating except for me and they asked why. I just told them the truth, that I was sick and they just left it alone. Anyway about half way through lunch I stood up and said, "excuse me, may I use you bathroom?" Of course they said yes. So I walked in to the bathroom, which was literally two feet from the kitchen table, closed the door and knelt down just in time to throw up! I was in there just throwing up for about 10 min. then cleaned my face and the bathroom a little and went back to sit at the table! Everyone was just looking and me because they heard me getting sick. So I said,"sorry..." and then,"do you have any more water?" Surprisingly I wasn't embarrassed at all and we just continued on as normal! Again good times! Don't worry mom I feel fantastic now and I am not sick at all any more.

After lunch Elder Almeida and I went back to rest until the baptism we had at 4:00pm. Remember Flaviana, the mom we baptized a few weeks back? Well she was our last baptism and on Saturday her son Richard was baptized! It was so wonderful and he was so excited! He is so smart and understands everything we teach him! Now that Flaviana and Richard are baptized, Leonardo one of her other sons, is excited and wants to take the discussions this week as well! So now we have his baptism marked for next Sunday! Also a young man named Uemerson wants to get baptized next Sunday! Two more next week! I'm so excited and happy!!!

D&C 25:11-12

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, October 15, 2012

Week #16


Random thought: Easy-rest beds are the best in the world!

Great week!
My new companion is GREAT! Last Monday we had transfers so at about 5:00pm we saw Elder Herrera off at the bus station. Elder Paredes and I were told we needed to wait for our new companions and that mine would arrive at 8:30pm and the companion for Elder Paredes would arrive at 12:30am! So instead of paying money for a taxi we decided to wait for our new companions there at the bus station! So we waited and after a while I thought maybe I should call our zone leader and ask when they were going to arrive, just to make sure. He said they both would arrive at 8:30am the next day! So we were waiting for FIVE HOURS for absolutely nothing!!! hahaha but its something to laugh about now!

Flaviana (we just baptized her) was telling us that her kids are loving church and that she´s going to bring them every week! At first her husband didn't want her taking them to church, but since she has been learning and taking the discussions he's seen a change in their home life. So he doesn't mind and is even smiling at us when we show up the their house!

On Wednesday night we got a call from the branch president requesting that I to go to his house as fast as I could! after hearing this I was a little worried, so we went over there right away and he says,"hey Elder Laws I need your help translating some forms for a young man who is going to serve a mission! (phew, nothing serious) So I sat down at his computer and to my surprise I could translate ALL of it!!! He doesn't use the Internet to translate because it translates wrong sometimes and the branch presidents and bishops are told to have someone translate. It was so so cool!!

On Friday we had an activity at the church! It was a huge barbecue Brazilian style! A ton of people showed up and it was so delicious! I taught the youth how to play ninja and they loved it! My companion taught another game and they ended up playing that game for most of the activity!

I had a cool testimony building experience this week. I put my backpack in the wash one morning and put all of my things into a scripture bag. Well I have a little thing of consecrated oil to give blessings to the sick that is normally clipped to my backpack. I thought,"I don't think I'll need this" but then I felt impressed to clip it to my belt. So of course I did! At the end of the day we had an appointment with a family and we taught about the Book of Mormon. Remember that little boy who head butted me last week? Well his name is Tiago and we found out that one of his kidneys isn't functional. We taught about priesthood power and so they asked for a blessing for him! I unlatched the oil from my belt and we gave little Tiago a priesthood blessing! It was so wonderful and I am so glad I listened to the spirit.

To end the week, on Saturday at lunch Elder Paredes and I were asked to give talks the next day at church!!! We accepted and they turned out to be great! After my talk I sat down and thought. Holy cow...I speak Portuguese!!!! After the meeting some people came up to me and said they understood everything! I am so thankful that the Lord has helped me learn!

Mosiah 18:10

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week #15


Random thought: Where do the bubbles in soda come from?

Holy Cow! What a great week!

First! Transfers!!!! I am not being transferred but my companion is! I will have a new BRAZILIAN companion tonight! I'm super excited! his name is Elder Almeida.

So this week one of the Elders in our house was transferred early. On Tuesday he left for Maracaju in Matto Grosso do Sul. So we were in a trio companionship for all of this week! It was fun but kind of awkward at the same time. Like contacting in the street for example. Three guys walk up to one little Brazilian. You could tell some of them felt uncomfortable.

Friday I went on exchanges again but this time with Elder Baliero! He is an amazing example and I learned so much from him! We were walking in the street and he saw a woman sitting in front of her house, so he said,"Alright you are going to talk to her." I'm kind of uncomfortable with contacting but I just said,"alright, but what do I say?" I don't know why but his response just made incredible sense to me! He said,"Just say hi!" So that's what I did! The conversation just went smooth from there and she invited us in! We had a wonderful, wonderful first lesson and she said that she had felt something! We asked her if she would come to conference on Sunday and she said yes! Sometimes when people say the will go to church they don't, but she showed up and she really liked it! Elder Baliero told me he thinks she will eventually be baptized!

Conference was fantastic and I learned so much! Kati! I'm so proud of you for deciding to go on a mission! You are going to be so blessed! Acho que você vai vir aqui para o Brasil! You'll share the family Portuguese!

We had a n investigator at conference, JOABE! I mentioned him in earlier letters! Well his wife has kind of been against our teaching and tries to bible bash sometimes. Well Joabe told us last night that she is now reading the book of mormon AND he even snuck a picture on his phone to show us! This makes me so excited because they are a wonderful family and I want so much for them to be part of this gospel!

Funny story! We were at an investigating family's house and we were having a closing prayer before we left! In the middle of the prayer while my head was bowed, something smashed into my head so of course I opened my eyes to see what in the world just happened! Their little boy was standing in front of me (2 years) getting ready to head butt me again! He had just head butted me HARD! ha So I just put my hand in the way until the prayer was over! I told my companions after and we laughed so hard!

Matt Rice! Welcome to the wonderful world of missionary work! You are going to be fantastic! Can't wait to spit portuguese with you in a couple of years!

Ether 12:27

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week #14

Alright to be honest I got sick of writing Portuguese words at the beginning of my letters! BUT I decided to start teach letter with a random thought!

Random Thought: I think its weird that boy cats make the same sound as girl cats.

Great week! Early in the week we went to a members home for lunch and found out his neighbor had a pet Macaw! Well we asked and they let us go over and take pictures! It was so cool! Its a big bird and it doesn't want to be touched! So we just fed it! I was wondering why it didn't fly so I asked if its wings were clipped. They said no and that the wings were broken a little! How sad.

Like Sister Reber said, we had an activity on Thursday with the ward! We set up chairs and everyone was "on a plane". The plane crashed and every one died. Elder Herrera and I were two angels (we dressed in all white) and guided everyone to each kingdom of glory! It was so fun! Each kingdom was represented by a room in the church bldg! We covered the lights in each room with colored plastic so when we turned the lights on, the light would be that color.The first was outer darkness and we covered the lights with black plastic and the two elders in that room were dressed in black! In the telestial kingdom room we covered the lights in red plastic and the elders dressed in jeans and tee shirts. In the terrestrial kingdom room we covered the lights with blue plastic and the elders dressed in jeans and white shirts. In the celestial kingdom room we left the lights normal and turned on the AC and the elders there dressed in all white (baptismal clothes). In each of the rooms the elders explained the kingdom their room represented! Everyone rotated through the various kingdoms. It was pretty simply but powerful and the spirit was strong!

We also had a zone conference where all the elders in Rondonopolis and the mission president got together for some guidance and training! There was so much to learn and we had a lot of fun! Afterward, President Reber had interviews with all the elders! He is a very smart man and I can definitely understand why he was called to be the mission president! After the conference a family in my branch made lunch for everyone at the conference! It was delicious! There are some people here that can cook sooooo well!

So we had a baptism on Sunday which was so wonderful! Her name is Flaviana (Not Flaviani we found out) and she has two wonderful little boys! I really love there family so I decided to give them each a gift! I gave little Ryan (3 yrs) a little light up toy, which I was told he played with for hours. I gave Richard(8 yrs) a little 3d spider-man notebook and stickers and immediately he gave me the biggest hug! After Flaviana's baptism I gave her a hard back copy of the book of mormon (in Portuguese). She really loved it because her kids get into her stuff and she has to hide her paper back copy, but now she doesn't have to worry as much!

I am loving my mission so so much! Thank you to all that have sent me letters or packages! They are so wonderful! I am responding to everyone! Just be patient because mail will be slow!

For this week, please read 2 Nephi 32:9 and enjoy.

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Sunday, September 30, 2012

9/30/12 - Letter from the Mission Pres Wife

Dear Bro. and Sis. Laws,

We just spent the weekend in Rondonopolis. We spent quite a bit of time with Elder Laws. I want to tell you what a great YM he is. He is speaking well, and emerging himself in the work. He is doing awesome in Rondonopolis. The Work in that area is incredible. The members are working well with the missionaries. There is a trust and confidence there between the members and missionaries. The church has 3 Branches in Rondonoplis and that area wants so badly to have it's own Stake. It takes 5 Branches to become a Stake. No doubt that in time they will make it.

I have to tell you when we arrived Thursday, we got there just in time for a Ward Activity which the Missionaries were in charge of. They did a little simulation of a plane wreck and the degrees of glory. Even though it was very simply done, the message was so powerful. I felt such a strong Spirit there.

Zone Conference there went really well. I noticed he got a package from home. He shared all the goodies with the other Elders. It was like they all got a package from home. That's so incredible that he is able to share. For what ever reasons, many of these Elders (Brazilians, Chileans, Argentines) do not receive letters or emails from home. Some go months at a time only to maybe get a correspondence with a sibling. It is usually the Americans that receive pkgs and they share with everyone! It is so incredible.
Just know that your love flows thru your son! Thank you for raising such a fine YM.

Today, we attended Sacrament meeting with the 3rd Branch. It was Elders Laws Branch as well. We stayed for the baptism after. They Baptized a sweet lady, mother of 2 boys. I'm sure he has shared with you the story of finding her. They are being guided in this work and hearts are being prepared for the gospel.

I'm going to attach some pictures. I hope I haven't ruined his P-Day letter for tomorrow, telling news first. It will come better from him anyway! Just know how much we love him here. You do not need to ever worry. He is loved in this mission and he is working hard. With love to your family, Sis. Reber

Monday, September 24, 2012

Week #13

Great week!
RAIN! So it turns out that I brought the rain from Washington! It rained a ton this week and I'm so grateful because it makes the weather about 10 degrees cooler! It was so nice and I slept a lot better! I love rain!

On Thursday I did exchanges with Elder Nacimento, the zone leader, again and we had a ton of fun! He is an amazing example and I love doing exchanges with him! He came the our house just before lunch and we studied for a bit then left. This time we were in his area so we had to walk from the north part of the city to the center (I have a lot of blisters)! We met up with two more elders and then went to lunch. This lunch was the first time since I've been here that there was ONLY rice and beans. So I just ate rice (I'm allergic to beans).

After lunch we went to teach a couple who were going to be baptized the next day! Not really a formal lesson but to see if they had any questions or doubts. They didn't so we left them a little message about how we all need to develop a relationship with Christ by following all of his examples! I think it really impacted them and I'm so happy that they were baptized!

We then went to the house of another couple to teach them about the book of mormon, but they weren't home. There daughter and her three son were there so we taught her the first lesson and for some reason we felt impressed to invite her to watch a baptism with us that night! She thought for a second and then said she would! SO great! So we left to go get money from an ATM so we could use a taxi but there wasn't any ATMs anywhere near us! So Elder Nascimento said," lets go ask _______!" I didn't hear who he said, so I just followed. As we were almost to their gate he said,"I've never done this!" Then I realized we were about to ask the couple we just taught for money for a taxi!! Investigators! HA! It all turned out well and he was so willing to help! That night we watched the baptism and gave a tour of the church and she said that she really wanted to go to church on Sunday! It was great!!

We also did service this week for the first time! I loved it! We mixed and laid cement for a patio! I loved it because it reminded me of Saturday yard work with my dad! Believe it or not I miss that! A lot!!!

One of our investigators, Joabe, is so fun to teach! This week as we were talking about prophets he asked why we talk so much on prophets? Pointing to the bible and book of mormom he asked, "why not more on the scriptures?" So I felt impressed that I should show him the scripture Amos 3:7,
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."
and then asked," Joabe, who wrote the scriptures?" We saw the light bulb turn on and he said,"The Prophets!" It was such a cool experience and we really made some progress with him that night!

Another of our investigators, Flaviani, will be baptized this week! I love teaching her and you can really tell that she already has the beginnings of a strong testimony! She came to church yesterday for the first time and when we asked her what she thought she said," It was great! I learned so much and I want to attend always!" What faith! One thing I've learned so far is that we don't just teach our investigators, we learn from them!

Our zone baptismal goal this month was 12 people with at least two being men. so far we have 13!!! We already met our gaol and it looks like we will have 20 by the end of the month!! I know its not about numbers but we are excited! Its the first time this zone has met its goal!

Bugs! We saw some weird bugs this week! Pictures to come, but one is called a whip scorpion and sprays acid when disturbed! LOUCO!

Anyway, it was a great week and I love my mission! This really is the best!

Alma 34:32-33

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week #12


Wood - Madeira
Fan - Ventilidor
Parmacy - Farmacia
Iguana - Teu
Stop - Pare
Window - Janela
Pan - Panela

What a great week!
Random thought...I think its weird that chickens don't have arms...

First I want to talk about one of our investigators! His name is Joabe and he is fantastic! We met him when we were going back home from a zone meeting and he was the city bus driver. When we were about to get off the bus he said ,"Hey what do you guys do?" So we told him and asked if we could get his address so we could teach him sometime. He said yes! So we've been teaching him this week and its been fantastic! He is so curious and has so many questions! I love it! It's so much fun to teach him and it's hard to leave for our other appointments! He is so smart and we can see that he really has a desire to learn about this gospel and receive an answer!

So because there is a man in our branch who raises chickens, we might be learning how to kill and prepare them! I'm so excited because if we do, then I will be doing something like what my dad did on his mission in Portugal! OH so we went to a members house for lunch on Saturday! When we sat at the table my companion asked what we were having and the member said pork and something else that I didn't catch. So we started eating and it tasted really good but about half way through the meal another Elder asked ,"what is this again?"and get this! WE WERE EATING BULL HEART! Bull heart and pork! So cool! I love these experiences!!

Saturday night it started raining! SO happy! It made everything a lot cooler and reminded me of the good old Northwest! BUT the really cool part was the lightning! HOLY COW! We opened the door and looked outside and at that exact moment lightning struck a tree about 3 or 4 houses down! It scared the crud out of us! Then there was a ton more, but far away, so my district and I took our chairs out onto the back porch and watched! It was fun! When we went back inside we realized the power had gone out. NOT good. because we don't have AC, we have fans. But without electricity the fans don't work! So we just laid there in the heat from about 10:30pm until 1:30am just dying. Then the power came back! We were so so so excited! even though we only got 4-5 hours of sleep...we got sleep!

Not much else happened this week! But I AM sending fotos! (in separate emails)

I want you all to know that I KNOW that this gospel is true! I wouldn't take two years out of my life to come thousands of miles, learn another language, and preach this gospel if it weren't true. I KNOW IT IS!

1 Nephi 9:6

Com muito amor,
Elder Laws

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week #11


Sun. Ferramenta - Tool
Mon. Caneta - Pen
Tue. Tatu - Armadillo
Wed. Pia - Sink
Thur. Cadeira - Chair
Fri. Quintal - Yard
Sat. Sorvete - Ice Cream

Great week! Last week we were walking to an appointment and passed this lady and her two daughters. Well my companion said,"hey we should talk to them" so we did and we ended up teaching them a lesson the next day! Turns out she has a son named Walison who is really interested in religion! We asked him if he believes in the bible and he said not absolutely everything because he doesn't think that the world just ends. SO we taught him about the plan of salvation and he soaked it in! It was fantastic! His family is also interested and when we went to teach them last night, there were TWO other families at their house! We had a wonderful conversation about religion and church and they want us to go teach them again today! Three new families this week! SO excited!

So a few nights ago we were hungry and decided to make pancakes! We only had this recipe from the CTM so why not try it! They turned out to be crepes but that doesn't matter because they were so good! While making them our Chilean room mate wanted to learn how to cook them so I showed him how to make a few things and he loved it! His name is Elder Paredes (which is funny because "Parede" is Portuguese for "Wall") and he had a nanny back home. So his mission is a big learning experience as far as chores go but he loves to learn! So far he's learned how to wash clothes, sweep, wash dishes, and cook a little! I might teach him how to clean the bathroom today! It's so fun!

Shout out to Jody and Nelli Cochran! There is an Elder Hullinger here in my zone from Alaska! After talking with him for a bus ride we found out he went to seminary with Nelli! I think his first name is Chase?

So in the entire city of Rondonopolis there are 12 missionaries! Four for each of the three areas or branches. I am assigned to branch three which is the northern third of the city! There are four missionaries in a district. The culture is different here than where Asa is in Manaus. Here the people love listening to Techno and Funk music! EVERYONE is blasting it in there cars! Everyones' yard is gated and there are no doorbells here so when you go up to the gate you clap to get their attention! It's was really weird doing this at first but I'm used to it now! I did have a few blisters on my feet but all is well now!

Ok here, its hot! right now the normal is about 100 degrees F. After two weeks I have a nice watch tan and I'm happy to say I have not been sunburned yet! I am pretty used to the heat now but not all the way! Some days are just too hot but now 80 degrees almost feels cold now! At night I get super hot while sleeping but I found a solution! Every night before bed I take my top sheet (because that's all I use) and soak it in water! Then I put it in this centrifuge machine that basically wrings out the water! So when I pull it out the sheet its damp but not to the point of dripping water! Then I go to sleep and by the time I wake up its dry from the heat; that and we all have our own fan!

When I arrived here, my house had so many things that were broken or not working right. My district didn't seem to care but I do! Probably something to do with how I was raised. So I fixed mine and my companion's wardrobe closet doors and drawers. The front door handle didn't work so they were using wood to bar it! So I fixed that so we can close and lock it normally now! Also one of the light switches wasn't working so I rewired it and now it works! I love doing it and now life is a bit easier in our house! Mom always said to leave a place better than you find it.

I love you all and pray for you every day! This is going to go by so fast! Time flies when you're having fun right!?

D&C 121:7-8

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week #10 - Rondonopolis is my first area in Brazil!


Então! I decided that I am going to start my letters now by giving seven Portuguese words for the week! That way you all can have a word of the day!
Mon. Cama (bed)
Tue. Roupas (clothes)
Wed. Avião (Air plane)
Thur. Pão (bread)
Fri. Legal (cool or awesome)
Sat. Porta (door)
Sun. Batismo (Baptism)

Alright! Crazy couple of weeks! So the last week in the CTM was pretty calm. The only thing that was different than other weeks was orientation which was in Portuguese so it was hard to understand.

On Tuesday we woke up at the normal time, 6:30, and took all our bags outside to these vans that would take us to the airport. There were a ton of people going to Saõ Paulo, Sul and Interlagos missions and it was cool because we all got to say goodbye and wish each other luck. Then we got into the vans and drove about 45 minutes to the airport! We all had to check in by ourselves which was a bit of a challenge because it was in Portuguese. Once all of our bags were checked we went to the terminal and waited about 30 min until it was time to board the plane to Cuiaba! It was a two hour flight and when we were finally there the plane circled about 4 times before landing! When we landed we pulled up to the terminal and it was cool because we got off the plain using stairs instead of a jet way!

We met the mission president after getting our bags and he greeted all of us with a hug! He is super cool and I really like him. For the ride to the mission home we couldn't all fit into the van so three of us got to ride in President Reber's car...WITH AC!!! It was great! While we were driving we hit a few detours because they are building the stadium for the world cup in Cuiaba, so we got lost until President Reber pulled out his iPhone! He told the other two Elders and I which areas we would be sent to while in the car on the way to the mission home.

While in the mission home we ate an amazing meal and all the other Elders were told their areas too! Some of them are an 18 hour bus ride from Cuiaba!! Anyways, next Elder Paredes (a chilean) and I had our interviews with the president first because we were leaving first. It was fun talking to the mission president and he really wants to change this mission for the better (he's new as of July)! I also learned that he is a huge Apple fan! Woo! Right after our interviews we all went to the mission office where we were taught about how to budget our money and how mail system works. SAD NEWS! The only way that they can get us our packages (and I don't know why) is during transfers with other elders or when anyone from the mission office comes to visit. Probably because we are four hours away from the mission home. That's it! So I will only be able to receive every-ones letters about once a month!! Its sad but Ta bom! I will however do my best try to continue sending weekly letters through missionties.com to friends and Sarah. Just keep in mind that when I write I will probably not have read your letters before writing. I am sooo sorry but its not my fault!

Next we went to the bus station to get tickets but there was a mix-up so we bought tickets for a later departure and went back to the mission office and waited another hour to leave. We finally left at about 7pm and didn't arrive in Rondonopolis until 12am! Our companions met us at the bus station and then we all climbed into a taxi the size of our old Chevy Aveo with three giant suitcases and all the packages for the Elders already here and had a very uncomfortable ride to our house! We didn't end up getting to sleep until about 2:30am! The next day (wed) was cool because it was my first day! We woke up and went to a zone conference with all the Elders in Rondonopolis (which is 12) and got our money from the bank. After the zone conference we walked a few miles to a members house for some lunch and then went back home to unpack the rest of our stuff and sleep for a couple of hours!! Don't worry we got permission. ;) Then the rest of the day we taught lessons and visited investigators and members.

On Thursday we went to a members house for lunch. They live up in the hills and farm area and they raise chickens! It was so cool and fun and I got a bunch of pictures but while messing with my camera yesterday I accidentally deleted all of them. I'm sorry, such a bummer. Anyway we later went home and packed to go BACK to Cuiaba for a mission conference! We spent all day Friday in Cuiaba for the mission conference and holy hot!! Cuiaba is ALWAYS 105-110 degrees! It was a blessing though because after returning the 90-95 degrees weather here in Rondonopolis felt great! So in total I traveled for about 16ish hours this week! I'm so done with bus rides!

Sunday was great! Let me explain. In the whole city of Rondonopolis there are only 3 branches and where I am the branch meets in a little meeting house the size of a home. Here they do the meetings in the opposite order we do at home! Sacrament meeting is last. It was hard to understand the Portuguese but I'm learning a lot faster out here! After church we had 4 baptisms two of which were people I helped teach this week! I baptized a 14 year old boy namedEleonardo!!!! Again sorry for losing the pictures!! It was so cool and everyone was so happy!!

Okay a little about various things!

Companion: Elder Herrera! He is so great and we get along perfectly! He doesn't force me to speak Portuguese but we sort of have this silent understanding that we should! So after a week I am able to have full Portuguese conversations with him but not yet with Brazilians though. They speak too fast! Anyway he went to BYU Hawaii on a scholarship for running! Get this, he averages a 5:30 mile or better in a 6 mile race!!! We have a ton of fun and I already love him!

House: Our house is pretty big (like the size of the downstairs in my house in Vancouver without the garage or piano room) and there are two bedrooms for two companionship's! We have two showers; one does hot water and the other does cold. There is a washing machine but no dryer so we hang dry our clothes. No AC but its cold enough at night that it doesn't bother me! So all in all its great!

My storm trooper: So while in the Portland airport before I left I bought a little Lego storm trooper key-chain and put it on my backpack and when you push his belly his feet are flash lights! EVERYONE here loves it! It is by far the BIGGEST conversation starter with kids and younger adults! I love it!

I am loving it here more than I can explain and I know its helping me grow everyday! I love you all so much and more than that!

Amos 3:7

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week #9


I don't have long to write this week because I just arrived at the mission home but I found out my area! RONDONOPOLIS!!! It's about 135 miles south of Cuiaba (where the mission is located). Apparently the work is really booming down there! My companion/trainer for the next 12 weeks will be Elder Herrera and he is also the district leader (like Asa). He is also American! I will have more details about everything next week. I leave for my area tonight on a 4 hour bus ride. SO EXCITED!!!  I will send all of this last weeks events in my next letter next Monday (that's my new p-day like the rest of the world). 


Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Week #8 - "Now we all have the giggles!"



Alright so last week on Thursday my companion and I went to the dermatologist for my head! The office is downtown in this little mall thing and to use the elevator we had to show them our ID. We didn't have it so the instructor with us told us to show them our lunch cards! So we pulled them out and gave them to the people at the desk. They asked if this was really ID and the instructor with us said yes and that the number at the bottom was our ID number and they ACCEPTED it! It was crazy! There is no way that would fly in the US! Anyway we got the the Derm office and after sitting there for about 45 min I got called in to talk with the Dr. I come out and my companion is full on giving the first lesson to a lady in the waiting room! I wish I could of jumped in but she was right after me and had to go back to see the Dr! My companion said that she was soaking it in! Great stuff!

We taxi to get there and a taxi to get back. On the way back the driver asked (in Portuguese) what we were doing in Brazil! So our instructor told him we were here to serve and teach people about the gospel of Jesus Christ for two years! He seemed impressed and asked what the message was so the instructor told US to share it! It was so fun! We straight up taught the first lesson AND the plan of salvation on the cab ride home! I gave him a Book of Mormon and Elder John gave him two pamphlets and we invited him to read and pray about them! He said he would!!!! I love this!!

OK! Then on Monday we went proselyting around the CTM! We had six Books of Mormon to give out and six pamphlets!! We gave all the Books of Mormon to people and three of the pamphlets!! It was so exciting!!! The first guy we gave one to was sitting in a little park that was on a hill so we walked up and started talking to him in Portuguese and he said,"Do you prefer English?" so of course we said yes and we talked with him in English! Turns out he is part of this black magic church but we taught him and gave him a pamphlet and he really wanted to read! Next we talked with some kids while they were walking home from school! This too was all in Portuguese. They were pretty cool and one of them already had a Book of Mormon so we gave the other two 1 copy each! The next one we gave to a man sitting on a doorstep! He seemed interested a little and then he saw that Elder John was holding a book. He literally grabbed it out of his hands and said "que isso?" or "whats this" and we started telling him about it!! He started looking through it and I showed him Moroni's promise and he started reading it WHILE we were talking to him! It was so great! He really wanted to learn and asked how so we told him to call the number which is on a sticker at the front of the book. He said he would and thanked us! I LOVE THIS!!

I leave for the field next Tuesday and I couldn't be more excited! At first I was a little nervous but this is what I am supposed to do and I know the Lord will help me! I'm a little nervous about the heat still though. As far as the language goes I can understand about 75% of what is said to me in the CTM and about 50% outside the CTM and I can say enough to communicate! I cant wait to learn more!!

I love you all and thank you for your support and prayers!

Com muito amor,
Elder Laws

Phillipians 2:2-3

mom: please buy me a Book of Mormon case to match my bible one that you sent a few weeks ago and have them send it to the mission home!

family: I love you and miss you so much! Read your scriptures its a commandment!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Week #7 - "So when you text, is it in portuguese...or...wow never-mind."


Great week! First this morning we went to the Campinas temple because the Sao Paulo temple is under renovation! It was a bit further but we made it and it is now my favorite temple! While we were there we talked with a man about Cuiaba and so far this is what I hear: Its HOT, WAY HOT, also that outside the city is all farm and and cattle land and there are cowboys! OH and apparently that's where the nicest people in Brazil live! SO EXCITED!! Cuiaba is a fairly new city and its one of the biggest in Brazil. It only has 33 meeting houses in the the 3 combined states so we are going to be doing some serious WORK! The best!

SEW, (punny haha) last week one of the elders, Elder Alex Dahlstrom was trying to iron a Brazil patch to his backpack because he thought it was and iron on. It wasn't so I offered to sew it on for him! Once I was done, he showed his roommates and immediately other elders came to ask for help with a bunch of sewing stuff! Anyways I now spend my nights helping and sewing. I've done a ton of buttons, 8-9 pant leg seems, and 3-4 suit coats! Oh and mom I have a confession...I know how to hem pants by hand...I've known for a while, but your sewing machine is faster and that's why I ask you! Anyway, I've also hemmed 2 pairs of pants for people in our district! SEW MUCH! hahaha. It's fun and I love talking with other elders while I do it!

Two Sundays ago we were told that people who have been here more than six weeks have to give their sacrament talks in Portuguese! Holy cow! So naturally I spoke last sunday! It was a great experience! My Portuguese wasn't perfect but I think I got the point across and I know I had some divine help! I loved it!

Yesterday we had a devotional and the main speaker was Elder Carlos Augusto Godoy of the first quorum of the seventy! It was hands down one of the best and most inspirational talks I have ever heard! There was just so much information in that one hour and it was incredible! Oh and I went and shook his hand afterward! He is really in-tune with the spirit and it was very inspiring to see the love he has for us even though he hasn't met us personally! He told us to read Moroni 8:1-3 and use our name instead of Moroni's and to pretend like our parents wrote it! I felt so much love I almost started crying! Great Stuff!

Other than that not much else happened! Only two more weeks in here and then I get to start the real deal! I cannot tell you how excited I am to get out and serve! Those people in Cuiaba don't even know whats coming! They don't EVEN know!

Alma 29:9

Com muito Amor!
Elder Roman Laws

Mom: read the scripture in my letter! Also I love you so much its crazy! This is seriously the best ever and I'm trying hard to make you and dad proud!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Week #6 - "Sorry...we were playing footsie..."


This week was fantastic! We set about four district goals and got 100 percent on all of them! It made us feel so great and like we are doing what we are supposed to! I have 3 weeks left in the CTM and then I go into the field of the Cuiaba mission! The day is Aug 28th I believe! Its crazy because I do not feel like I have been here for 6 weeks! I don't think any missionary is ever ready for what the field will be like but I'm trying hard and trusting in the Lord! My mission is supposed to be hotter than any other and I am a little nervous about that but I am used to the 80ish degree weather here in Sao Paulo so I think it'll be fine!

Funny story! So we were having a devotional on Sunday and at the end they had a little slide show about Bolivia because the next day was going to be their independence day! Anyway the last slide pops up and its a map of Bolivia with a bunch of cultural pictures in it and right in the middle was a big picture of a woman in the most immodest bikini EVER! So the picture was up for like 30 sec until the tech guy realized it and hurried and took it down! It was hilarious! All the heads in the room went down and everyone looked at the floor!

This week we made a goal to practice street contacting every day. It is so much fun and it really helps with the nervousness and our Portuguese! we always need to improve but we love this work. My district rocks!

There are some Sisters here that flew in with our district and they are great! They love to come in our classroom and talk to us. The other night they came in and initiated us into their "mustache hall of fame club" and gave each of us a mustache sticker to put on the back of our badge, so when we hold it up under our nose we have awesome mustaches! Ha we have so much fun here!

Other than that not much else happened this week! I just love it here and its going to be sad to leave but at the same time I can't wait to get to my area and get to work! I can't wait to have amazing experiences like my big brother Elder Laws #1!

Com muito Amo!
Elder Laws

Mom- the Brazilians think you are in your 20s and some call you hot!


Also please ask Bro Fanning and Bro Lindhorst about doing a mutual where all the kids write the missionaries in the ward!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Week #5


"So on a scale of 9-10, wait I mean 10-9, I mean...never-mind..." (keep in mind that these quotes are coming from an elder that is 250lbs of muscle!)

Holy cow these weeks are going by so fast! It's crazy! I was told if you work hard that the time goes faster and that is so true!

So a little bit about my new calling! I am the assistant to the branch president, not assistant branch president (I hope you got my Office pun). Basically what this means is that instead of serving just 8 people in my district, I now serve and help 3- 4 districts! Also I am kind of like a ward executive secretary. I ask for volunteers and assign who does the songs and prayers in sacrament meeting! I think it is way fun!

This week we were informed that we will have two new teachers because of schedule changes. It was a bummer at first because we have become very close to these people. All is well though! One of our new teachers is hilarious! When she teaches and some one is talking she tells us to jump out the window! Its probably not as funny to all you back home but its way funny coming from this tiny Brazilian lady!

While talking with one of the senior elders we realized that my district is now the oldest in the branch! Its crazy cause we've only been here for 5 weeks! We still feel young and that there is so much to learn but at the same time we are trying to be the best examples we can be! The newest district came just before I got on to email and all I have to say is WELCOME ELDER REEVES (friend from back home in the same stake and same high school)! It's great having friends here from home! Elder Ammon Hayden came a few weeks ago (friend from Wilsonville, OR) and Elder Addison Reeves! I'm pretty sure he is in my district too!

I'm sorry about using so many missionary terms like "district" if you want to understand it better please ask my family. They would love to tell you about it!

We have about an hour of gym time a day here. We play basketball, volley ball, there's a weight room and a even a track! So I am very excited to say I have lost 11 lbs since I have been here!!! I guess it helps that I am allergic to beans and that's all they eat here, but I'm still excited! I'm going to have to get creative about what to eat.

I feel like my letters are too short but really we do about the same thing every single day and there wasn't much that went on this week, but I hope you all are loving life! I testify to all those reading this that the God the Father lives and that his son Jesus Christ lives! I have felt his love very powerfully while being here and there is no doubt in my mind that they love me and that they love each of you personally!

Matt. chapter 5 verse 44.

Com muito amao,
Elder Roman Laws

Mom - please send tons more letters (or missionties letter) from the fam and have the extended fam write handwritten letters! Letters make the world go round! You all mean the world to me! OH and please have my friends write me as well!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Week #4


"Look what I drew...A wedding dress!"

So I decided that while in the CTM I'm going to start my letters with quotes from our dumb quote wall! That quote was from Elder Kahl (only his quotes are up there).

Alright so I've got news! I am no longer a district leader. The Branch president decided that Elder Gillespie should be the district leader instead. But all is well because I am now the AP! (assistant to the branch president) I love it because now I get to talk to and help other districts besides my own! I'm going to try my best and rely on the Lord and hopefully I will do the job right.

Other districts left this week and it was kind of a bummer because we got really close, but they were so excited and ready! It makes me so happy and excited for when I get to go out and get to work in my area in Cuiaba! I asked a couple of these Elders if they would write a message in my journal. Elder Reese, who was the AP before me always writes super SUPER small even the branch president made fun of him! So when I went to read what he wrote me I had to sit and interpret for about five minutes! He was such a great example to me and I hope to be at least as prepared as he was before he left!

So there is a thing here called TRC which is where you practice giving a lesson to either members or missionaries who have been here a while. They film the practice so you can watch it and figure out ways to improve your teaching. It was SO exciting this week! My companion and I committed them to go to church and to baptism! It was so wonderful and the spirit was so strong! ha and during the recording of this my companion coughed into his arm and a bunch of phlegm ended up on his sleeve so he put his other hand over it until the end! I had no idea until he told me later! It was hilarious!!

My companion Elder John is from Idaho Falls! He has a huge desire to do this work and has a good sense of humor. He is also kind of a klutz. While we were in line the other day he accidentally dropped a plate and it shattered all over the place and the first day I was here he accidentally went into the girls bathroom and didn't realize until he came out and our whole district was clapping for him in the hall!

There is a great thing I learned this week that I want to share with all of you. Some people ask why we need a prophet to receive revelation in this day in age. Well part of the answer to this question is that because of new technologies and more wicked people. We have the unfortunate availability to commit sins that ancient and not so ancient people weren't able to commit. With constant revelation from the Lord to a prophet we can stay on the straight and narrow path much easier. This is by divine design. I know that we have a living prophet that helps guide and direct us in these days.

I'm going to start ending my letters with a scripture!
This weeks is...1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 11!

Com muito amor!
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, July 23, 2012

Week #3

(This was last weeks letter but we were at a family reunion and I couldn't get to my email to forward it to you)


This week FLEW! Let me explain. Every week on Wednesday we get new American missionaries and for the first week they all wear blue dots on their badges. So today we got another group and I thought no way more blue dots already!? They are awesome though!

My Brazilian and Chilean roommates left yesterday and that was a huge bummer! They only have to stay in the CTM for three weeks because they already know the language. We got so close and I am really going to miss them! Its all good though because they are going to Cuiaba also and we will see each other again!

Cuiaba...EVERY time we tell Brazilians that we are going to Cuiaba the first thing out of their mouths is,"ai! Muito quente!" (ah very hot!) it makes me nervous because I struggle with heat but I know that I was called there for a reason and with the Lords help I will forget myself and get to work! (right dad?)

As I was leaving sacrament meeting on Sunday, the sister who was playing the piano stopped me and asked if i had an older brother in Manaus! Crazy right!? Turns out that she is going to Manaus had been following Asa's blog all along! She loved his blog and she said it helped her be more comfortable coming on a mission.

My district is awesome and we are getting really close. In our classroom we made a "quote wall" for all the dumb things we say. Only one elder has his quotes up there and we all give him a hard time about it but he's a big guy and loves joking around!

The language is still coming along! We aren't fluent by any means, but we know enough to talk to Brazilians here if they slow down there speech! Sorry for the short letter this week, not much happened. Tell everyone at the reunion Hi from me.

I love my mission, I love the CTM, I love my district, and I love the Lord!

Com amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Mom- My mail box is 25 and my district is 26-A. OH! guess what! in my district there is a certain Elder Bertha. He was in the same ward as Randy and Caroline Johnson and totally knows them! Tell them!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Week #2


Here we are again! The week has been fantastic and I have learned so much but first some of the people from home are asking what I do all day while I am here, so let me explain.

I wake up, shower, then personal study from the scriptures and "Preach My Gospel". Then breakfast, then I study again until lunch, then class until dinner, then class again until the end of the day! Our instructors teach us how we need to teach and to speak the language! Its great!! Almost every day we do a practice lesson and on the weekends we do a practice lesson with members. Its really fun and there is always something to work on.

Now about the city of Sao Paulo! This place is huge...like really huge...like 19 million people huge! We take a bus to the temple every p-day and it amazes me that so many people can be in the same place! It is kind of crowded and theres a lot of poor neighborhoods around the CTM (Center for Training Missionaires), but all the Brazilians are the most friendly people I have ever met! As soon as you start a conversation they talk to you like you've known them forever!

My roomates really help me with the language and they always love to learn English! A ton of the brazilians here are going to Cuiaba (my mission) so its likely that I will be companions with some of them! Oh that that reminds me! Asa's favorite soccer team is the Sao Paulo Palmeiras! One of the Elders I talk to and spend time with daily PLAYED PROFESSIAL for them for two years before his mission! I got his autograph and everything!

The sisters missionaries here are awesome too! Two of the sisters that arrived here with my district decided to come up with daily sterio-types based on the way we look. They only tell us one a day. Yesterday I was told I look like I was either on the Student Council or Air force ROTC. I dont even know what that means but ok! (Must have been the haircut - high and tight!!)

Anyway, I love it here, I love my mission, I love this work, and I love you all sooooo much and more than that!

Com amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Mom... study Mosiah 4 its the best!! and tell dad to study Mormon 9!

LETTERS ARE THE BEST! Please have Bro Fanning do the combined mutual I was telling you about where all the youth write the missionaries from our ward! HANDWRITTEN! Also, tell everyone I love them and that I pray for them every day!

I love you momma!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Week #1 at the CTM


Alright BIG news! The Lord has called me to be the District Leader in the CTM! It's some responsibility but I am so grateful for my opportunity to serve!

So first, my companions name is Elder John! He's from Idaho Falls and he is pretty sweet. He has trouble learning the language though so I try to help him as much as I can! My instructor said that the language is coming easy to me but I'm not so sure. But I do love it and I am trying so hard to be able to speak it! It's a big help to be able to talk to Brazilians too. One of my roommates is Brazilian and he is so so cool! He is always saying "I love you Elder Laws!" because I make him laugh.

I have no complaints at all! I absolutely love it here and I am learning and growing so much! The food is good, the rooms are a bit crammed but still ok!

Israel Martins is awesome! When I got here he came and gave me a big hug and a ginormous bag of Brazilian candy! (Brazilian chocolate is not very good) My instructors are awesome!! They are Irmã Da Silva and Irmão Zamignani!

Funny story! Last night one of our instructors was teaching us Portuguese and my companion was having trouble with pronunciation. So our instructor says,"your pronunciation is great compared to my English. My English is terrible compared to your Portuguese and I've been studying it for two freaking years!" Ha its way too much fun to learn the language!

Today is P Day so we walked around to look at the shops and stopped in a sports shop and the Brazilians that work there are awesome! They taught us some words, joked around with us and talked sports! It was so much fun!

Anyway, I love the language, I love the people, I love the gospel and I love the lord! I can absolutely feel that this is right and that lives will be blessed because of it!

Com amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Thursday, June 28, 2012

From the MTC in Brazil... 6/28/2012

Dear Parents,

We are happy to send the good news that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil MTC. What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they come through the front door of the MTC for the first time. We promise to take good care of your missionary.

They now have companions and are settled into their rooms. They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study. The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give them a second greeting. These couples are rewarded in their callings through the love they always develop as they embrace and watch over the missionaries.

The MTC has a full time live-in physician to care for their health needs. He is assisted by his able wife. We are also happy to report that the Cafeteria food is abundant and very good.

Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple. This will be either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on individual assignments.

Your very important young person is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote by President Lorenzo Snow: “ There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children".

Please accept our love,
President Ralph Degn and Sister Mary Ann Degn


DO NOT SEND PACKAGES to the Brazil Missionary Training Center. All packages must be sent directly to the mission where your missionary will be serving, not the MTC. If you have already mailed a package to the Brazil MTC and it arrives after your missionary has left for the field, please understand that the package cannot be forwarded to his or her mission and will be returned to you.

WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE SENDING HAND WRITTEN LETTERS. Please write your missionary´s first and last name. Your missionary will provide you with his district and box number. Also, please DO NOT SEND ANYTHING BY FEDEX, DHL, UPS, or other private carriers. The cost to get this type of correspondence is exorbitant.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Alright I am officially an Elder for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! Becoming a missionary is an amazing experience. There is a very powerful spirit I feel now that I have never felt before. Some might say that it is the holy spirit, and of course part of it is, but it feels to be much more. It is the authority and responsibility to invite others unto christ and to feel his love for us.

As far as nervousness goes, nothing is bothering me as of now. As time moves on, I feel more and more at peace. What I'm about to do is absolutely one hundred percent the right thing.

I will miss you all!

Have fun and make good choices!!

Com Amor,
Elder Laws