2 Nephi 22: 2,3

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010 A Week in Cocaia

Hey Y'all!
Wow, this past week just flew by! I can´t believe it! I only have one week left in my first transfer and I passed the 3 month mark 4 days ago! Isn´t time moving crazy fast!?! Man, it is so weird! Sometimes it doesn´t feel real, I have to stop and ask myself if I´m really in Brasil on my mission.
This week was really good. E. Tibbs had leadership training this week so we did a companion exchange for 4 days! I went to Cocaia and was with E. Griffin and it was a blast! E. Griffin is from Newton! For those not in the know, Newton is a small farming town outside Logan that is really cool. One of my distant relatives has a farm there, shout out to Aunt Dorris and family! Anyway we had a really good time and became fast friends. It was cool to be there because I had an opportunity to meet new people and really push my Português skills.
Cocaia is further away from the center of the city than Grajaú so there is a good mix of what I´m used to in Grajaú and random little spurts of farms and forest. I got some cool pics. Cocaia has 4 missionaries so we ate lunch with E. Cowley and E. Machado everyday. The Chapel is in there area so we were around it a lot. The street our Chapel is on had 11 other churches on it! That´s a lot even for Brasil. One thing you notice in Brasil is that every street has at least one bakery, one church, and one bar, and sometimes all three are the same building! Evangelical churches are everywhere here and they all have crazy beliefs, if anyone says Mormonism is weird tell them to look up some of the evangelical churches.
Anyway, the exchange was fun but it couldn´t last forever. We traded back this weekend and E. Tibbs and I moved all the furniture in our house. I was having a down moment because our ward missionaries are a little frustrating and I felt like we had no control over anything. At least I can organize the furniture to the way I want it. haha!
Sunday was way interesting. We got Dna Nila and Katia to church and they became best friends in a matter of minutes. It´s funny cause Nila is like 60 years old and Katia is in her 20s. They are planning on studying the Book of Mormon together! haha! Awesome! Anyway when we walked into church the temporary bishop told me I would speak in Sacrament meeting! I was so freakin nervous! I spent the first two hours preparing. I think it actually went really well! Our ward is usually really loud but it got way reverent when I spoke. I talked about repentance and how it should be centered on Christ. Lots of people told me I did really well and that my Português is great! Confidence boost! Sunday night our zone leader planned a big devotional for all the investigators. We got Nila, Katia, and Valeria to come. We had to get a ride because it was far away. It was pretty cool. After all the investigators and all the missionaries went in separate cars, and the missionaries all rode in the back of a truck. It was kinda scary and with a brasilian car on brasilian streets with a brasilian driver... I got a little car sick. But I didn´t throw up! Promise.
Today is E. Tibbs´ last P-day so we´re having a Churrasco! I´m excited! This time next week I will have a B

"Efforts and Courage are not enough without Purpose and Direction" - JFK

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010 Snakes!

Hello World!
Well, another week has come and gone. I´m realizing more and more that life is actually moving on back home while my life is basically on pause, friends are leaving, others are coming home, some are even getting married, school has started, wow! But really my life isn´t on pause, it´s more like I´ve paused my old life and put a new one in to play. Things are so different here but it´s exciting and new and I know I´m being blessed.
Anyway, as for the past week. First off, I didn´t realize yesterday was 9-11 until E. Orton called and was playing ´Proud to be an American´ over the phone. Thank you to all the members of the armed forces that are willing to give up everything for the principles our country stands on.
I had ´treinimento missionario novo` this past week. It was actually way fun. I saw a bunch of the guys from district 25A (CTM district) and we all are in the same boat as far as the language (which is getting better everyday, by the way) and we are all a lot tanner. The training basically centered on how to plan effectively and I learned a lot. Sister Jackson made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! Peanut butter is really rare down here so it was a treat.
The language is getting better. E. Tibbs just throws the lessons to me at random times during our visits and I´ve been able to teach and talk to the people. I´m starting to understand most of what people are saying and I´m able to participate in meetings and stuff. It´s cool to see how far I´ve come, from thinking I was all that in the CTM, to wanting to cry when I first got out here, and now seeing my progress. I can look forward to being even better! E. Tibbs said people like me like to express themselves in Português so right on.
I´m really getting into planning. I´m in charge of planning from now on because 1- I need to be able to handle the area next transfer and 2- E. Tibbs is a bit trunky. haha. But my plans have usually worked out so I think that is one of my strengths.
We have been working really hard to find new investigators. Some of our current investigators and losing interest and others just won´t keep commitments so we need new people badly. We have been spending 2 hours everyday just looking for new people and it seems like we find a few people who are interested everyday so let´s hope our pool of investigators started to grow.
I had my first SNAKE! Snake is a term the missionaries and the church members use to describe girls that go after the American missionaries. It was when we were visiting Nila and she invited a friend to come listen. This girl was like 25 and the whole visit she just kept asking about what we thought of Brasil and Brasilian women and such. At the end of the lesson she finally asked if we were allowed to have girlfriends here! haha it was so funny!
I tried to bake a cake last night because we are pretty much out of money for the rest of the week and we have little food in our house. I didn´t have a recipe so I kinda just threw stuff together. It wasn´t a complete disaster though! It just turned out to be more of a big muffin than a cake. haha!
Well that´s all I really have to report for this week. Hope everything is well back home. I love you all! The gospel is true and it can change people´s lives. I´ve already seen it happen.
Your Missionary,
Elder MacLane W Taggart

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8, 2010 Nice umbrella!

September 8, 2010 Under My Umberella-ella-ella-ai!

Well hi there!
Another week has come and gone and while fall is descending upon all of you back home the weather down here is crazy! It was an oven down here last week, getting into the 90s. This week the weather took a turn and it is really cold now, and seeing how this is winter it´s as it should be. It is so nice here now. The rain is really cool cause it isn´t like normal rain, it is more like a mist that just goes all day. The other night we had a huge thunderstorm too! E. Tibbs said that is way weird and that we couldn´t remember there ever being a thunderstorm during his mission.
Our work is really going well right now. We started teaching Yolanda last week and she is amazing. She has an eye condition that makes it so she can´t read without crying but she still tried, so we had to get her an audio Book of Mormon. But the more amazing thing is she received an answer after the first visit. She said she prayed right before bed and had a dream where a giant parrot told her that everything we were telling her was true! haha! Hey an answer is an answer. Anyway she is marked for baptism in two weeks!
We actually have seven people marked to be baptized at the end of the month! (whether they all are is another story.) I think that probably four will get baptized. It´s a pretty funny story how it all happened. I had a division with E. Aguiar, who is both Brasilian and the DL, and we were only going to invite Yolanda and her neighbor (who is also way into the Gospel) but when we were visiting Katia and Valeria they started asking questions about baptism and he invited them too and they accepted. The story doesn´t stop there. The next day we were visiting Yolanda and found out that E. Aguiar (I was back with E. Tibbs at this point) only asked them TO COME to a baptismal service, so we had to go back to them all and clarify. They all still accepted! We have three others too.
I´m starting to love personal study! I read about a chapter a day, yes only a chapter, because I´ve been going way deep into everything and I´m finding stuff that I´ve never noticed before. It is amazing! The Book of Mormon is so true! And even the random chapters that don´t seem to have much when you just read them quickly are full of warm, gospely goodness! haha
We had interviews with Pres. Jackson last week. The Jacksons are so cool. Pres. Jackson is so nice and he has a really sincere desire to help and support the missionaries. He gave me a bunch of advice about effective study.
This weeks schedule was way wierd so we had a lot of random events. We spent some time with the elders in Residential Cocaia, E. Orton and E. Terxiera. E. Orton is so fun to talk to. We went to the temple this morning and we met up with them before and had a really fun time. I went through the temple in Português for the first time today and I understood almost everything! I was really nervous cause E. Tibbs told me he cried the first time. But it was way good. I have training tomorrow for all the new missionaries so that should be fun to see my old district again.
Anyway, things are going well. My testimony is growing stronger everyday and I´m grateful for the challenges. It is hard but I love it and even though I feel kinda useless at times because of the language, I know that I am being helped by the Lord. I hope you all are doing well back home. Enjoy the fall for me and don´t forget to write!
Much Love,
Elder MacLane Winsor Taggart