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, December 27, 2010

December 27, 2010 I'm Dreamin' of a Hot and Rainy Christmas

Oi Pessoas!

Tudo bem com vocês? Well my first Christmas away from home came and went like a trunky snowball. But let´s talk about the week first.

I´m still getting used to my new area Parelheiros and my new companion Elder Alves de Oliveira. Parelheiros is literally the last area before you leave the city. It is huge (bummer) and green (which I like). We live right next to a health post and the train station so we move around pretty well. We spend a ton of time on the bus getting from one place to another so the style of work is way different than it was back in Grajaú. Elder Alves de Oliveira is pretty interesting. He has almost a year and a half and he turned senior this transfer so we´re still trying to figure out how our companionship is going to work.

Here in Parelheiros we have no one close to baptism and our group of investigators is really small so we are working really hard to get into peoples houses and start teaching them. We are knocking a lot of doors right now. We started teaching a man named Antionio last week and when we went to follow up with him he had already read 80 pages in the Book of Mormon (say wha!?!) and was asking questions about temple marraige so let´s hope he keeps it up! We´re finding good people so we just need time to cultivate our garden of seedlings.

Christmas here was way wierd! Down here the concept of the family doesn´t really exist outside the Church so Natal (Christmas) is pretty much another excuse to set off fireworks and get drunk. We spent a big chunk of Christmas eve caroling to find new people and spread some Christmas cheer. It was way successful! The secretaties called and said my package arrived too! At night I taught Elder Alves de Oliveira "Jingle Bell Rock". Unfortunatley he hasn´t stopped singing it since! haha!

Pres. Jackson gave us an extra P-day on Christmas day so we took things slow. We had a big churrasco with a member family in their dirt house and it was a blast! Then we went to another member´s house to call our families. It was awesome to talk to my family and hear their voices after six months. Doesn´t seem like much has changed back there. The best part was when mom answered the phone and screamed when I said, "Hi mom!" haha I almost cried!

Sunday was way interesting too. First, one of my favorite irmas from my old area showed up in our ward so I got to talk to her for a bit. Then during Principles of the Gospel two young men walked in and Elder Oliveira got way nervous. He whispered to me, "I can´t belive my brothers are here." His brothers! They tracted him down! After church they gave him a huge Christmas package full of candy. It was way weird and way against the rules, but Elder Oliveira didn´t solite it so I´m not holding him at fault.

Right now I´m on a division in Embu-Guaçu with Elder Mello. This is the interior (country) and it feels completely different than the city. I really like it.

Anyway, that´s that. I hope everything is going well for my friends and family back in the United States and abroad. I love you all! Don´t forget to write me! haha!

Your´s Truly
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20, 2010 TchauGrajau, Ola Parelheiros

Well hi there world,

This week was pretty good and interesting!

Things were going as normal for the first part of the week, making our normal visits and preping Derrick for his baptism on Saturday, then Thursday came around and everything changed. We´ve been waiting for two big suprises here, the Mission Christmas Conference and the transfer. Both were secret so no one knew, well a bunch of people didn´t know, when they would be. Then we got up Thursday morning and everyone in our zone called asking if which of us had been transferred. We didn´t get a call from the secretaries so we didn´t know. We called them and they asked to talk to me and they told me that I was transferred and to bring my bags to the Mission Christmas Conference the next day! Crazyness!

I spent Thursday visiting all the people I baptized in Grajaú and getting all my bags ready. It was sad. I cried when I talkd to Derrick because I told him about how he has to be the man for his family and that his decisions now will shape the rest of his life. My bags were ridiculously heavy because I had wet clothes. Irma Ieda made me a box of Pão de Mel to say bye.

Friday morning we got a ride to the mission office for the activity and pretty much half the mission was transferred so it was crazy. The Christmas Conference was awesome. They had each zone present a different witness of the birth of Christ. Ours was Isabel and then I sang 'What Child is This?' in portuguese. Then we had a mission talent show and a turkey lunch. Then we listened to Pres. Monson´s Christmas message and got a present for the Jackson family.

The transfer was right after the conference. I was transferred to Parelheiros in Casa Grande which is pretty close to Grajaú. My new comp´s name is Elder Alves de Oliveira. He is pretty cool but we only have a few days so I don´t really know him well yet. We´re going to have to work really hard here because we have few investigators and the area is huge. It´s way green and spread out so it´s way different than my first area.

We had the ward christmas party on Saturday night so I meet a ton of people there.

Well, that´s the week. I´ll have more to talk about when I get better settled in here.

Feliz Natal!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010 Can I Be Baptized on Friday?

Hey Everyone,

Well this week went by so fast that I don´t really remember what to tell you guys!

Let´s see... We went to the temple this week on Wednesday. It was awesome! I love the temple because there is a feeling there that you can´t find anywhere else. After the temple I bought a bunch of church DVDs to use in our lessons.

We also had a baptism! We were getting really nervous with Denis because he was not keeping his commitments for a while but this week we really decided to take it seriously. He was marked for this Saturday but we weren´t sure if he would. When we visited him before we started the lesson he asked if he could be baptized on Friday because he didn´t want to wait longer! haha it was awesome. The baptism was really funny cause the jumpsuit was really small so he refused to take pictures and when he was getting out of the font he slipped and swore! haha people don´t change in an instant right?

We had stake conference this week also. Pres. Jackson was invited to speak so he was there and all the missionaries got nervous cause he was watching us the whole time.

Well... don´t know what else to tell ya... I guess I´ll end it there! Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010 Prestigio Pizza

Hey Everyone!

December has arrived! Isn´t crazy how fast time is going? Anyway, this past week was pretty good and I have a few things to relate to you all so here we go!

Monday we had a zone activity. It wasn´t super amazing but I definitely am laughing about it because it was so badly organized. First it was way off in Noronha which is the end of the zone were only one companionship has church and no one knew how to get there so we all showed up late. Then we arrived and Elder Muniz got us all together and asked, "Alright, what do you all want to do?" so really there wasn´t an activity planned. The zone leaders didn´t buy any of the food beforehand so we all went to the market and bought random stuff. In the end, the morning was spent playing UNO while we waited for the other elders to finish making the sandwiches. Haha oh man!

I ate one of the most amazing foods ever this week! There is a chocolate bar down here called prestigio which is basically an almond joy without the almond, or, if you prefer, a mound with mild chocolate. They are really good. But this is not the food that blew my mind. We had a prestigio... PIZZA! It was amazing! Chocolate Pizza with Coconut baked on top! Can you hear the angels singing?

I´ve been getting a lot of questions about food (mainly from my mom) so I figured I´d explain what is typical in my diet. We have very little food in our house so I rarely eat breakfast unless Irma Ieda calls us over to eat with her, which thankfully is pretty often. She´ll make us an omlette or we´ll eat bread and butter. NOTE: People here love their butter and mayonaise so they heap it on everything. Lunch is the main meal here so we have lunch almost everyday in the house of a member. It always consists of the following: Rice, Beans, Some Fried Meat, Tomatoes (sometimes lettuce), Juice and Soda. People drink soda down here like it´s water, probably because the water isn´t completely safe to drink. Usually someone will offer us something small to eat around dinner time like bread and butter or we´ll pass by a bakery and buy Pão de Queijo (cheese bread). Iram Ieda usually offers us something to eat when we get home at night, too. She makes a dessert called Pão de Mel (honey bread) that is amazing! It has a million ingredients so I don´t know what to compare it to but it´s delicious and covered in chocolate! That´s the usual meal plan.

We had a suprise multizone this week with Pres. Jackson because the area presidency has established some new stuff for the upcoming year. Our new focus is families, families, families (and we have the rules to force/prove it). Pres. Jackson always manages to turn it into an amazing spiritual lesson when we have new rules to it was awesome. He talked about how families are the foundation of the church and the purpose of the church is to establish eternal families. It was really good!

Things are continually interesting with E. Pereira. He is crazy for Harry Potter so with the new film that just came out he has been freaking out! It´s so funny! We´ll pass by a magazine stand and see everything and he always gets really excited. He also has pretty bad health so he usually has to stay in bed in the morning while we have study time. This week he´s developed insomnia so he hasn´t been sleeping at all.

We´re still working with Denis and Derrick (the twins). They are starting to not keep their commitments and lose momentum so it´s getting hard to get them in the water. I keep having to remind myself that they are 16 so I don´t get frustrated with them. But they are really good at the same time because they remember everything we teach.

Rimunda finally came to church for the first time this week! It made me so happy because we´ve been teaching her for about two months now and she has never been to church. She lives about as far away from the chapel as you can get in our area and she´s really old. She was going to go last week but broke her toe on Saturday before church. This week we walked with her and she held on to our arms to get her to the chapel. She really liked it!

Our recently reactivated Shirley is a gem. We always help her make cake when we go to her house. It´s hard for her because she´s a single mom with four kids between the ages of 4 and 12 so the house is always crazy. Her kids go crazy for a camera so we always have fun with them.

The mission, like the whole world, is getting ready for Christmas! Pres. and Sis. Jackson are planning a big activity but the date is secret so everyone is going crazy to find out what and when it is. I´m going to be singing during the program (whatever it may be) with the Jackson´s daughter Aimee, ´What Child Is This?´

Well that´s the week! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart