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, May 30, 2011

May 30, 2011 Ate Mais Aracati

Dear World,

Well I´ve got news... I´ve been transferred again! I´m not really sure if I´m happy or sad because I really like Aracatí, but I was starting to get sick of some of the people we have to work with. I get the impression that this new area might be tough. This transfer Elder D. Silva and I managed to get 14 baptisms in our zone which was the most in the mission, so I think Pres. Jackson is sending me to a zone that isn´t baptizing much to lift it up a bit, let´s try right?

This week was pretty good. We did a division with Riviera Paulista and I stayed with Elder Nunes. It was great! He is a district leader with a ton of potential, he just gets really soft with his investigators so he hasn´t be baptizing much. I´ve been pushing him and pushing him to go the extra mile and to get tough and I think he learned a bit with me. I learned a lot with him.

We also had an integration activity on Friday that was awesome. We had potato (wow forgot how to spell this word) sack races and a bunch of awesome games. The turn out was a little low but by the end everything was awesome!

The big highlight of the week was the baptism of Aline! It had to be Sunday morning because Robson (her husband) had to work Saturday and he needed to baptize her. SO we filled up the baptismal font Saturday night and slept in the house of the elders that live close to the church. Then we got up at 5:00 am to heat the water, watching sunrise in the Chapel. Everything was perfect! We sang 'Grandios Es Tu' ('Then Sings My Soul') which is her favorite hymn. She was crying the whole time and was confirmed the same day. She is going to be stronger than her husband for sure!

Anyway, I know I don´t have much to say. I´m kind of lost in my thoughts right now because of the transfer. We´re going to Rodizio right now to celebrate. Meat will do me good. :)

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23, 2011 Here Comes the Bride

Dear Everybody,

Hey world! Wow, one more transfer is almost over. Time flies when you´re super busy all the time. I am going really well and am the happiest I´ve been on my mission so far. Area, companion, everything is going well. This week our Zone passed our monthly baptismal goal of 12. Right now we have 13 with 3 more firm baptisms scheduled for next week, which is really good. The next closest zone has 7. The mission is going through a down period and hasn´t been baptizing much so it´s exciting to be breaking the barrier. If we get these 3 baptisms we´ll reach the pattern of excellence! Elder D. Silva and I are finally seeing the fruits of all our hard work with the missionaries here in Guarapiranga and we are going to complete our area goal of 2 baptisms this week!

Sunday we received a huge blessing. It´s been a struggle to work with our Leader of Missionary Work in our ward because he works so much that he doesn´t really have time to help us. This week he was released from his calling and Irmão Valderi was called! Valderi is an ex-bishop and is super excited about the work. He has already made visits with us 2 times and did a family home evening for our investigators.

Monday was interesting because we took Valderi to Carla and Oliveira´s house. We had a baptism marked for this weekend but when we showed up at their house Carla was drunk. It´s been a while since we followed up about the commandments so they got a bit weak and fell through. But everything is going to work out. They have a really strong desire to join the Church, obviously they have some things to work out but everything should be good for the 18th of June. And even though we didn´t baptism them this week we helped them fulfill another important step, Marriage! They got married Saturday! It was all so fast and we didn´t really manage to organize anything (which turned into a ton of drama with some of the members of the ward) but it was all good in the end. They did invite us to the family party at night so we went and guess what? They were both drunk this time! haha! Some of the members keep saying that they won´t be baptized but I feel like they will. Even though she was drunk, Carla gave a speech at the party about how much we´ve done for them and how much they need us still.

Our amazing investigator is Aline! She is ready for baptism and she will be baptized Sunday morning, really early... She and her husband do family home evening just the two of them every week and she is in the stake choir already. We´re going to do family home evening with them tonight.

We did a division with the Assistants this week too. I stayed in Aracatí with Elder E. Silva (Elder D. Silva´s old companion). It was great! He is an incredible missionary and he´ll be going home next week. During the division I lost our cellphone. We were sitting on the bus and it fell out of my pocket. By the time we got to a phone to call it to see if a good person had found it we realized a bad person had because it was already turned off. I had to pay for a new one.

I am dirt poor right now. We had a change in our accounting system that screwed everything up! I even had a little bit of money saved up for emergencies but when we switched the system they put tons of money on everyone´s account so the next day they emptied out everyone's account. Most of the missionaries (including me) were put into the negative so when more money was put on the account I only got a little bit of money. Right now I have to use my personal card because I don´t have anymore money. Don´t trust the mission secretaries!

Anyway that´s all I got for now. I hope everyone is fine. Love you all and I know that miracles are real.

Elder MacLane Taggart

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 16, 2011 I Don't Remember Much

Hey World!

Wow I don´t remember much from this week. Really it passed by so fast! Ah, but today is special, I made 11 months! Here in one month I´ll be half way, can you believe it?

Anyway earlier in the week we did an exchange with Chacara Santana again. I stayed with Elder Pinheiro. It was fine. He is kind of a control freak so he was trying to tell me how to run my area a bit but it was fine.

We had Zone Conference this Friday. It was our last one with Pres. Jackson. It was great. He talked about becoming instruments in the Lord´s hands. We had a ton of practices too. In the end we took the normal pic with everyone and they rolled out a bit cake. It was Pres. and Sister Jackson´s 30th anniversary. It was great and they were way cute. I think all the missionaries got a little trunky seeing a couple being all touchy feely! haha!

We had an incredible experience with our investigator Aline this week. We were teaching her and her member husband and she stopped us and told us she received an answer. She was reading the Law of Chastity pamphlet (how that brought the Spirit I don´t know) and started to pray. She said she felt something in her chest that she can´t describe and couldn´t open her eyes for a while because it felt so good. She had already felt this way when her husband took her to see the temple the first time. It was funny, she said, "Is that place like really special or something?" haha! Uh, yeah it is! He husband only has a few weeks back in the church because he was less active but the Bishop said that he can baptize her. I can´t wait for the 29th!

Now for a kind of crummy experience. This weekend is the wedding of our investigators Oliveira and Karla. We were planning on having the baptism on the same day but last time we went there we got a surprise. We were passing by so we knocked on their door and she answered and said we shouldn´t enter. We said whatever it was didn´t matter and went in. She was drinking beer with her friend. The visit was way awkward and she was totally disgraced. In the end we´ll have to postpone the baptism a while. At least we know why they were nervous about baptism and we can help them.

This transfer is coming to an end really quickly and our zone is going to fly. Our goal is 12 baptisms by the end of the month and we already have 6 with a bunch planned. We can have 16 if everything goes right. We have to set the example for the zone and get our 2 baptisms. One down and the other is already in the water so let´s do this! Elder D. Silva and I will be splitting up here in 2 weeks and at least one of us will be transferred, I´ve learned a ton with him. I Love Aracatí! Time is going by so fast!

Love you all,
Elder Taggart

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011 Locked in the Bathroom

Hey World!

It was so great to talk to my family yesterday! Wow, I really miss them like crazy. Anyway, since I talked to them I´m going to be short and sweet this week. Mainly Photos!

Monday we did a division with Chakara Santana. I stayed with Elder Beron. He is part of the first group of Argentinian missionaries in Brazil. The two countries are huge rivals so it was way funny to spend the day with him. People say the funniest/rudest stuff to him. He really doesn´t like Brasil very much.

Wednesday we went to the Temple! It is always amazing to go. I feel so good after! After the temple we went to a place called Solo Sagrado (Sacred Soil). It´s the temple of the messianic church. It was way cool there.

Friday was my companions hump day. He made one year. The tradition is to burn a tie at six months, a shirt at one year, and pants at one year six months. It was so fun. Another elder in our zone made it on the same day so we got together and celebrated! The shirt went up in flames super fast!

Sunday was the Baptism of Maria Jose! It was awesome. We did it after the normal meetings so there we tons of people there and it was really spiritual. It was also Mother´s Day! Shout out to all you mom´s out there! it was ridiculous trying to call my family, it took almost 2 hours to get it to work!

Today has been great. It was Elder Nunes´ birthday so we all got together and ate lunch in their area. I got locked in the bathroom and they had to kick in the door. I don´t think I´ll be able to go back to that house again. Haha!

Anyway, Love you all!

Elder Taggart

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011 Bare Feet and Seventies

Hey everyone,
Wow, this was quite a week! Lots of stuff happened and the time pretty much flew (I realize I say this every week but really this week was special).
First off, I´d like to explain something about serving in Brasil. Your shoes do not last very long. I have already destroyed 5 pairs of really good shoes. My solution: construction boots. All the Brasilians use these horribly ugly boots that you buy at the local construction stores. I feel like this is going to be the best route to resolve the problem so I´ll have to take the bullet. We´ll see if they last.
One highlight of the week was Tuesday. We have a greeny here in our zone who happens to be the companion of one of the district leaders so we had the opportunity to do an exchange. Elder Crandall is fresh off the plane, he stayed 6 weeks in the MTC in Provo and then 3 here in Sao Paulo and now (if he´s anything like me) he´s finding out that the language they taught him isn´t Portuguese. Haha! It was great and was his first exchange EVER! One of our appointments fell through and he knocked his first door with me. It´s hard to believe that I almost have a year already because I still feel like a greeny at heart.
We went with Oliveira and Karla to mark their wedding! They are getting married on the 21st in the morning and their baptism will be at night. They are not very well integrated which is their main concern so we are going to try to have all of our visits with them from now on be with different members and assign a family to visit them during the week without us.
The rest of the week was full of meetings, meetings, and more meetings! Thursday we had Zone Leader Council. ZLC is basically the 20 ZLs sitting and talking about the problems in the mission and waiting for Pres. Jackson to tell us what to do. Friday was leadership training in the nicest chapel in the mission. It´s in the middle of a busy part of the city so instead of building out they built up. It´s 5 stories tall and so fancy. One of the things I don´t like about leadership meetings is that there are so many missionaries that are desperate for attention. They just talk and talk and talk and never actually say anything. It´s way funny when Pres. Jackson tells them to stop talking and doesn´t call on them for the rest of the meeting.
Saturday was our special meeting with the whole mission together. We had Elder Coeh who is an area seventy I´ve never heard of, Elder Soares who is the Area President, and Elder Hallstrom who is in the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy. It was a pretty good meeting, not nearly as good as Elder Oaks but what can you do. They all kind of burned us a little and I left the meeting a little ticked. The next day I was thinking about repentance and realized the first step is recognizing you´re doing something wrong so we´re doing some evaluation as a companionship this week to see what we need to do better.
Sunday was awesome! It was fast and testimony meeting and one of our investigators, Ronilton, bore his testimony and said that he is so grateful for his friend who invited him to church because he now knows that it´s true and that he´ll never leave! He´s a youth so we need to get authorization to baptize him but hopefully we´ll baptize him later this month. At night we had an awesome family home evening with a bunch of our investigators in a member´s home too!
We are also teaching Aline. She is the wife of a recently reactivated returned missionary named Robson. She is so good. She was raised super Catholic but now she is wanting to join our church. She is reading everyday. We can only visit her on Sundays because Robson works during the week. This Sunday when we started the lesson we asked if she had question and she asked about the gifts of the Spirit! Then we taught the Word of Wisdom and she is already living it because of Robson! She doesn´t even drink Coca-Cola, she´s a better Mormon than I am! haha! The 28th should be really special.
Maria José is our investigator closest to baptism. She has already been interviewed but didn´t pass so she has to be interviewed by Pres. Jackson this week. She also had a family emergency on Sunday so she couldn´t go to Church. The baptism should happen Sunday right after the meetings so everyone in the ward can see it. Hopefully this puts some fuel in the members here.
Really things are so great right now. I´m super grateful to be a missionary and love the work. I hope everyone has a good week and a happy mother´s day! I know I will because I´m going to be calling my family!
Jesus Loves You! (that´s what they write on cakes here)
Elder MacLane Taggart