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, January 31, 2011

Hey World,

This week was pretty great! It all started Tuesday with our activity that we put together for our investigators. It was a trivia game that involved throwing a pie in the face of the person who lost. It was so stressful at first because the bishop bought straight cream so we couldn´t us it. Then the only people that showed up on time were our investigators so it was awkward central for a bit. But we sent the bishop to buy shaving cream and a bunch of people showed up. It turned out great and our investigators loved it! The last round was me vs. Elder Alves de Oliveira, and I won but he threw the pie in my face anyway so we both got uma torta na cara.

I also had a companion exchange this week with our District Leader Elder Vidmar. It was way fun to speak English all day with him and talk to someone that understands American life.

It also hailed this week. I know that´s not too spectacular but tell that to my companion. Elder Alves de Oliveira is from the north of Brasil so he´s never seen hail. We were in the middle of a lesson and the kids started yelling and he ran outside and was freaking out. It was so funny. He said it was one of his life goals to see hail. He called a bunch of people and had me take a bunch of pics of him.

We also had a baptism this week! Felipe is a rockstar and successfully stopped smoking and drinking coffee in one week. The baptism was great. We sang 'The Lord is my Sheperd' and I made brownies. Chocolate is freakin expensive here so I spent a little bit of cash to do it. I got to confirm Felipe on Sunday.

We have another awesome investigator named Valdo. He was just a normal street contact but he is amazing. He is reading and went to the activity, the baptism, and church this week! We were running late on night and called them to reschedule but they told us they made a cake so we ran over there. His wife had made us 2 cakes and a big chicken torte! You know investigators are good when they give you food.

Well we start a new transfer this week and Elder Alves de Oliveira is being transferred. This transfer was SO hard but I learned a ton so I´m grateful for the experience. I´ll be getting a new companion tomorrow and I have a goal to make this an awesome transfer.

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011 Love Thy Neighbor

Hey Everyone!

This week really flew by so I don´t really remember much to tell you all. I just have 2 major events from the week that might be entertaining.

Firstly, I believe in miracles! Parelheiros is going through a down period right now and the work is really tough. We had people getting ready for baptism this month but they both fell through the first week so we´ve been pretty sure we wouldn´t meet our baptismal goal for the month. Then we had something amazing happen. Katia is an investigator who lives with her member 'husband' (he is actually married to another woman who lives back in my old area Grajaú) and she smokes so she isn´t able to be baptized but she brought her son Felipe to church last week and when we visited them he said he wants to be baptized as soon as possible so we marked him for this Saturday. We´ve been visited him everyday to teach him everything and help him. One day, José Dias (member 'husband') told us his son Gilson still hasn´t been baptized so we marked him too for this Saturday! God definitely knows that I am going crazy so I think he threw me a bone. I believe!

The other interesting event of the week has to do with our new neighbors. They moved in a week or two ago and they like to have parties. All of our windows open into their yard so it´s kind of awkward every night when we get home. I guess one of the other neighbors complained because they have put up a huge sign in front of their house that says, "If you don´t have friends or anything to do, please don´t interrupt other people´s fun." (followed by an abbreviated swear word).

Anyway, I´ve recieved a request to talk a little more about normal day life here in Parelheiros. We live next to a health clinic and the bus station. Our area is huge so we use the bus almost everyday to get to lunch or to make a visit. Their are tons of hills (mountains) in my area so we walk (hike) several miles per day. It is super hot right now so I sweat like a sinner in church all day, everyday. I have to do laundry a lot and it is freakin´ hard in Brasil so I spend a lot of time scrubbing my shirts. I´ve come up with a pretty good top ramen recipe. Cook the top ramen until it´s almost done then drain it, put a little oil in the pot and put the pasta back in. Add the flavor pack and an egg and mix it until the egg is cooked. You can add canned vegitables too (vegis come in a box here). It´s pretty good. I don´t really know what specifically people want to know so if you have a request send me an email.

I love you all and send you my best wishes. Thank you for the prayers, they are needed and appreciated. The work is difficult but the Lord is blessing his missionaries all around the world. I know that we all have problems and weakness but through Chirst we can overcome any obstacle. I would not trade this time I have for anything.

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 17, 2011 Another Day in the Life of a Missionary

Well Hi There!

Well this week really flew by. We´re working so hard here in Parelheiros that I crash into bed at night and have been really bad in my journal writing. I usually get my ideas for this weekly email from my journal so sorry if this week´s is a little incomplete.

We started this past week with interviews with Pres. Jackson. It was great and really gave me a boost. He talked to me about the source of confidence as a missionary which is obedience, cleanliness, unity, and diligence. They had us write goals for the new year and the instructions were really unclear so when I talked to the President about them we both laughed a little and talked about how to set edifying goals. Pres. Jackson is really an amazing servant of The Lord. He really helps and inspires me. He´ll be ending his mission in June so I only have a little bit more time before everything here changes.

This week started off really difficult. It seems like all of our visits fell through but it opened up an opportunity to do some service. Valdo is a new investigator and he called us and said he couldn´t visit with us because he is moving. When our appointments fell through we headed to his house and helped him move and it really built his confidence in us. Serving is an amazing way to get people to trust you.

We had kind of a downer event happen this week too. Mileide is a woman who was baptized about a year ago and she has a leadership calling in the ward and everyone is friends with her, especially my companion E. Alves de Oliveira. She´s been missing church lately so we visited her. She started, "I don´t know how to say this... I don´t want to be Mormon anymore." It was such a blow. Elder Oliveira cried and he spent an hour trying to convince her to come back but she is a strong black woman and when she makes a decision it´s pretty much final. In the end I realized she doesn´t have a testimony in the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith so I marked the Joseph Smith History in the Pearl of Great Price and told her to read it and seriously pray to know if it´s true. I hope it helps.

One of our new investigators Emerson is great. He is a young 18-year-old who is really interested. He has trouble reading with us because he has a lipst and gets way shy. His dog is way funny and wears sunglasses and a funny hairband.

This Sunday we got a great reference. Katia is an investigator that has a lot of time with the missionaries now. She lives with a member (not married) and has a problem smoking so she can´t be baptized right now but she brought her son to church this week and told us she wants us to teach him. His name is Philipe and he´s 18. We visited them last night and it looks like things might move really quickly with him. Katia really wants him to be baptized and wants us to visit them everyday of the week til he is! haha!

That´s the week! Hope you enjoyed it! Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 10, 2010 Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Hey Everyone!

We didn´t have P-day this last week because we had so many during the Holidays so this week definitely was rough. I truly have a testimony of the importance of practicing P-day because I was really feeling it during the week.

Anyway, a lot happened this week so let´s get started!

We found a really interested family this week. A member, Jorge, had been asking us to visit his family for a while so we finally marked a visit and went there. After the visit he said he had a family he wanted us to visit on his street. They lost their daughter a few weeks ago and are having a really tough time so we went to their house. Josefa is the dad of this huge family. They have already received the missionaries but said they weren´t really paying attention in the past. We´ve visited them a few times now and it is going well. Josefa is an amazing musician too. He plays the guitar for us and we all sing together, it´s cool.

Another one of our invesigators Valmir really opened up to us this week. We´ve been visiting him for the past few weeks but it´s always been a little awkward cause he didn´t really want to tell us much about himself and he has us visit him in the back of his grocery store. This week we went there with the intent to gain his confidence. We sang a hymn for him in front of the store and showed him our photos. Then we taught him about Dia do Senhor (Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy). When we invited him to come to church again he really opened up about his life. He cheated on his wife and she left him, then he lost his job. He´s rebuilding his life right now and said that now he realizes that Christ comes first, then family, then everything else. He won´t be able to really progress til February because of his work schedule but I have hope for him. Funny note: he said he gained interest in the Church because of the Masons (?) interesting...

This week has been raining like crazy. Almost everyday in the afternoon it just pours. One of these days it was raining and the sun broke through in the west while it was still raining so it was way bright. A huge rainbow appeared right above us. It was amazing. I started thinking about Alma 30 when Alma is testifying against Korihor, saying that all things testify of God. It was such a cool experience. Little things like this really get me.

We had lunch with a really poor family in our ward this week. They live in a clay house. Both the parents had to work so it was just us and their kids. All they had was rice, beans, and a few pieces of meat. It was way humbling. One of the daughters drew a picture of me and one of the sons drew a car and gave it to me.

Antonio is another investigator and he´s way interesting. We´ve been teaching him for about three weeks now and he is already in Ether in the Book of Mormon. During our last lesson with him he stopped us and said, "Can I be frank? If I´m understanding the doctrine in the Book of Mormon, you´re church is the only church that has the authority to baptize right?" I almost started to laugh because this is what we were trying to explain to him and he finally got it.

We´re having lots of difficulties with finding new investigators right now. We´re marking tons of visits with contacts but for the most part they are all falling through. The contact with be really awesome then the day of the visit there is a problem. Either they aren´t home or we can´t find their house. When we try to call them the numbers usually don´t work. We´re trying really hard to find the elects here so we have to just keep working hard.

I was volunteered to teach the English class in our chapel every Saturday. This week I taught them how to introduce themselves and pray in English.

I also had to speak in this Sunday during Sacrament Meeting. Last week the Bishop asked me to speak for 20 minutes about missionary work so I spent a ton of time preping and wrote an awesome talk. When we got to church they told me I only had 10 minutes but I spoke for my 20 darn it! haha It went really well and many members complimented me. A few members even came up to us and told us they´re going to find some references for us.

Well that´s the week! Any questions? haha feel free to write me with the goings on back home and aroud the world. Love you all and thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Até Mais!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3, 2010 Keep On Swimming!

Dear World,

Hello 2011!!! Wow, I´ve entered my long-haul year on the mission. Feels a little wierd, doesn´t it? Anyway let´s talk about the week shall we?

So I started the week with a division in Embu-Guaçu with Elder Mello. I really liked it there and he gave me a ton of really great advice so it was a success. An irma there also gave me a book of brasilian bread recipes! Little did I know about his snoring problem. The room literally shook he was snoring so loud! haha Somehow I managed to get some sleep and the next day went back to Parelheiros.

We found an amazing new investigator this week named Emerson. His cousin is in our ward and he is way interested. He also wants us to meet his girlfriend´s family because their daughter passed away and he believes our message will help them.

New Years was definitley different on the mission. Everyone was out of town so it was pretty difficult to find people in their houses and make visits. There were fireworks going off all night and our neighbor decided the best place to light them off was right next to our bedroom window. haha For January 1st we had another P-day and Elder Vidmar, our district leader, planned an activity for us. So we all went to a cool sitio (like a little ranch) and had a churrasco and played football in the grass. It was awesome! Then I messed up my toe... haha It is pretty gross looking right now.

After the activity Elder Vidmar gave me my Christmas package! It was very well received. :) I also received a few letters. I read the MOSS letters and they really helped me a ton. It´s awesome to know that I have so many amazing friends serving all over the world! I remembered how important it is to love the people and it´s really been helping me.

We also started teaching another family whose daughter passed away a few weeks ago. They were a reference of a less active member. They have already received the missionaries but it´s been a really long time and they didn´t really understand the message so hopefully we´ll be able to help them a bit.

Our baptismal goal for January has fallen through (already) so things are pretty tough here. We´re going to just have to push through this month and prepare a ton of people for February. I´m reminded of Dori from Finding Nemo. "Just keep swimming."

Thanks for all the prayers! Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart