Mission Slideshow

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Week #56

Random Thought: I love hugs!

Wow so it was kind of a crazy week! I didn't leave Cáceres until Tuesday! It was a four hour bus ride back to Cuiabá and then a twelve hour ride to Campo Grande. When I got there I was told that because I would have to go back to Campo Grande anyway for a meeting on Thursday if I went all the way down to my new area, so I just stayed in Campo Grande and did divisions with the Assistants and then left Thursday night to go to my new area. It was a long and crazy week!

So a little about the new companion and area. My companion is Elder Groff and I have never met someone as fearless in missionary work than him. The way he teach and bears his testimony is amazing! More on that later. The new area is great! When I got here and for this past week it has gotten down to 53 degrees at night. THAT IS COLD! Almost 100% of the houses in Brazil are without heating, so I have been sleeping with three giant blankets and taking freezing cold showers (there is rarely heated water here either. It's warmed up a little now so it's all good.

Random side-note. I am in the same house as Elder Paredes...again!

Ponta Porã is a city that borders with the country of Paraguay and the cool thing is that there is no wall or division. We just walk from one side to the other. The really cool thing is that Paraguay is literally 60 seconds from my house on foot! Now because of this everything here is cheap! Like milk is only fifty American cents! Also Paraguay uses Dollars and Guaranies! Its just a really interesting culture bash.

So I have only been in my new area for three days but I have learned a lot and we had two baptisms on Sunday! Our goal is to baptize weekly and I am finding, that here it is very doable. Elder Groff is teaching me a lot as the Sr ZL. He looks a lot like Asa and is even a little crazier! During one of our lessons the other day a man showed up to visit the woman we were teaching and asked us how we baptize. We told him how and he just started to tell us that we were wrong and wouldn't stop, so Elder Groff just used his testimony and said,"I say to you that this is the only true church, I say to you that we have received authority to teach these things and that we have been called of God to do this work. What we say is true." The man just stopped talking about religion after that. What could he say?

Sunday when we were going around to take our investigators to church one of them (Felícia) said that she wasn't going because she had a headache and needed to wash the dishes. So Elder Groff grabbed the sponge and started washing and I took Felícia to the front door and we told her to go get dressed while we washing the dishes. So she went inside! There was no plumbing at this house so while Elder Groff washed the dishes outside I went to the well and got water and we finished all of the dishes before she got back outside!

Church was a lot different. I'm serving in a ward now and it's weird to see how different it is than a branch. The bishop here is really great. I talked with him for a little while on Sunday and he was telling me about his family and how the gospel has blessed his life. He has two brothers and they are both in prison. I told him about how my mom has a story a bit like his and he told me something I will never forget. He said,"When you look at the people you teach, look at them as if they are your mom waiting to hear the gospel and have the same happiness she has today."

I say to you all without shame, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church on the earth with the complete gospel of Jesus Christ. I have authority given to me by God to testify of this, and I will not deny it, no matter what.

Alma 42:11

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Monday, July 22, 2013

Week #55


Random Thought: It's 62 degrees today in Caceres!

Alright so first, today is transfer day and I will be going WAY down south to Ponta Porã (approx 600 miles south of where I am right now)! It's a town by Paraguay. I will be a Zone Leader with Elder Groff, a Brazilian Elder. I am pumped!! I'll tell you more about it next week after I get there and get moved in.

So this week wasn't too exciting! But I will do my best to tell you all about it. We were having some good days proselyting and really having fun and then on Wednesday I got a call from our zone leaders saying,"Hey I know this is really last minute...but we are coming to do divisions with you tonight!" I just said ok and we continued our day! They finally arrived at about 9:45 at night while I was taking a shower and decided to smack my window to tell me that they were there. I about died because it scared me so much! I jumped and almost slipped.

So the next day we had a district meeting and usually it's the district leader (me) who speaks in front of everyone. So there's this talk that's been inspiring me lately and I decided to base my training off of it. It's called "Cast not away, therefore, your confidence", by Elder Holland. Afterward as I was putting my stuff into my bag and another Elder who is going home this transfer came up to me and said,"Dude, that's exactly what I needed." I asked what he meant and he said that he is worried about going home and becoming inactive or not feeling that the church right anymore. I had no idea he was feeling like that. Sometimes we receive promptings to do things without knowing why, or who it will affect. I am so glad I followed that prompting to speak on that subject.

Anyways after that was lunch with the zone leaders in a restaurant! There is a man here who isn't always home so he just pays for the restaurant whenever we go! Our zone leaders are super cool and kind of crazy so we decided to drink enough juice to make a pyramid out of the cans! It was really cool and we took pictures.

This time I went with Elder W. Santos. I really like him and we get along really well. We taught a little kid and it was really cool. He explained some principle of the gospel and I gave him physical examples. He has a hard time focusing and I know how that is, and I remembered from my childhood that if I had an example that I could feel or touch or do, then I would remember it a lot easier. It was a really fun lesson and I was glad for the experience.

So Elder Combs is leaving here to go home today. I have to admit that makes me trunky. It always does when another missionary leaves. Elder Combs was awesome! We had a ton of fun and he is really great example to me. I can't help but think things like ,"What is he thinking? What will I think when it's time for me to leave? Will it pass fast or slow for me? Is he happy with what he did on his mission? I want to be happy with my mission." Just a lot of things like that. But then I slow down and just think,"All in due time" and continue on. I am going to miss my mission so much, so I really need to cherish it while I'm in the moment. This is the work of the Lord. This is what I'm supposed to be doing. This is the Only true gospel of Jesus Christ

Alma 40:25-26

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Week #54

Random Thought: Patience George.
Fantastic week!!
After Stephane's baptism last week we met her sister! So we've been going by her house to teach Stephane more and her sister so she can be baptized!!! BATISMO! Going to their house we found out that their are six girls and four kids living in that house and the whole house is only the size of my kitchen! We are trying to teach them all but everyone is always coming and going.
Thursday we went to renew my visa in Cuiabá! We got up and left to get on the 8:00am bus and had a four hour bus ride to Cuiabá. When we finally got there the bus was caught up in traffic so I got up and asked the bus driver if we could just get off where we were, which was on the same street as the mission office. Without saying a word he just opened the door and we got off. 
Then we walked to the mission office where we waited to go to the federal police. The office missionaries are great and the finance secretary even bought us lunch at a self service restaurant. They are super funny and the time passed really fast. We then went to get pictures taken and then the federal police! I had to get my finger prints taken again and right before I went in the Elder that was helping me told me a story about how people have already left that room in handcuffs because their prints matched that of a crime scene! Everything went well and I got my new visa. Then we got on the bus again and came back to Cáceres the same day. So glad that is over with!
Now for THEE story of the week. Yesterday we went to have lunch with a recent convert and her family. Her name is Dora. She has a son, Hector, and a daughter, Brunelli. Dora is a funny little lady and she is always happy. Hector has been addicted to drugs for a long time and it's basically fried his brain so that now he has the mental capacity of a 16 year old but he is 25. Brunelli, I don't know that well but from what I have seen she is super nice. 
Well yesterday, as we finished with lunch, Hector got home and grabbed a plate of food and went to sit on the couch. Then a few minutes after, Brenelli came home with her cousin who just got into town. As they walked in I shook their hands and said hi and while I was talking to the cousin something SLAMMED in to my head, and it was hard. At first I thought,"What the heck was that!!??" Then I looked and Hector was standing next to me. Then I realized that he had just punched me full force in the head!! Everyone was on him immediately, getting after him and asking why he did it. Then he started screaming at me to get out of the house and yelling profanities so I stood up and said "ok I'm going". So I passed by him and then he punched me again right in the back. I just kept walking and then he threw his elbow into my back. The I said,"Let me just grab my backpack and I'll go." As I bent down to get my backpack he spartan kicked me right in the back again and I almost fell. I remained calm and took my back pack and we left! I AM NOT HURT so no one needs to worry. Actually I thought it was pretty cool. I felt like I joined the ranks of Alma and Amulek! Then as we were walking my companion said,"Wow man I am so glad you were so patient in all that." I asked why, then he said,"He still had the knife in his hand from when he was eating!" I had no idea!!! 
Again I am completely fine AND safe. It turns out that after I left he "came to" and had no recolection of what happened. MOM, do not email the mission president or sister Reber. They already know what happened.
Just another story from the mission!
Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Week #53


Random Thought: Do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?

Hello world! Great week! One of our investigators, Stephane decided that she wanted to get baptized! We had only taught her two lessons and this was only the second visit. After the lesson we asked if she had any questions and she said no, but she had an answer to our invite to be baptized. Her answer was YES! So we marked a baptismal date for Saturday! It was really cool because President Reber would also be there! Everything went as planned and we had an awesome baptism.

So the reason President came was to have a meeting with the liderança (leadership) to start two new things. One is the 5 minute meetings. The 5 minute meeting is not 10 minutes, it's not 6 minutes, and its not 5 and a half minutes. The 5 minute meeting is 5 minutes. After church the liderança (leadership) gets together and for 5 minutes discuss who wasn't there that day and who is going to visit those people THAT DAY. Not later. I really liked the idea of this. President said,"Parents, if you lost a child how long would you wait to find him or her? It's the same principle. Immediately look for them and rescue them.

The second thing he talked about was a new way to strengthen the branch. The ward mission leader, with the missionaries, chooses 3 people who have strong testimonies. Like super strong members. Like SUPER members. Then these members bring a person such as a less active member, a new member or non member to a meeting at the chapel once a week. At these meetings, the members will help us teach the lessons. This happens until the person being taught either decides to stop or is baptized. Then after a while the people being taught will be the people helping us teach! I am super excited about this too. It's a way for us to work together to see real growth here in Cáceres.

Also Sister Reber told me to write home about this so I am. Please know that I say this as humbly as possible. Last week President Reber went to a meeting with a bunch of the leadership in Cuiabá. One of the high councilman stood up to speak and said,"Look brethren (showing a report) there is a branch in Cáceres, out baptizing our stake!" President said he was very happy to tell us this and told us to keep it up!
OH I almost forgot, on Saturday we got permission from President to go to the alligator reserve! We went in the morning and had a really cool tour and then they told us we could pick them up if we wanted. So the first one I grabbed was only about 6 inches long. Then when we were closer to the big ones I grabbed one that was a little more than two feet long AND they don't even put tape on their mouths! It was really cool.

I love my mission. I love Baptisms. I love the Lord, and I love you all.

 Alma 31:38

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Week #52


Random Thought: One day when I am a daddy, I will have to clean my baby because she threw up all over herself and me...and for now I'm looking forward to it.

This weeks letter will be a little short because we had a zone conference this week. Tuesday we didn't have much happen because we had to leave for Cuiabá. BUT this time the bus ride was super fast and I had some good thinking time. Sometimes thinking is good.

Wednesday we had our conference and it was so great. The topic presented was how to become a consecrated missionary. There were six talks all about a different word that keeps us from becoming a consecrated missionary. Fear, Laziness, Pride, Disobedience, Discouragement, and Worldly Passions. The part I liked the most was about Laziness...because I am lazy. A Sister gave a talk about not being lazy and compared the mission to a process that eagles go through in their lives. I learned that eagles can live up to 70 years BUT to gain the last 30 years they have to go through a renewing process first. They have to smash their beak on a rock until it falls off, then they have to wait until it grows back and then rip off their own talons. Then they rip all of their feathers out. Sounds terrible right? They have to go through this if they want to live another 30 years. This process was compared to the mission. The mission is to completely serve the Lord by serving other people. IT'S HARD. BUT going through this process, it changes who we are for the better. There is also a lot of symbolism to think about when you compare the story of the eagles life cycle to our own. Pretty intense!

Saturday I decided we would do divisions. I went with Elder Combs in his area. I learned a ton. Elder Combs is leaving to go home here in three weeks. We had some great talks and became great friends just in the 24 hours of divisions. Honestly I want to become a missionary like him.

Other than that the week was pretty normal! Sorry for the short letter but I still love you!

Alma 27:17-18

Com muito amor,
Elder Roman Laws