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, July 25, 2011

July 24, 2011 Luis Henrique Saves the Day!

Oi Gente!

Last week I talked a little about the referral that some other missionaries sent us named Luis Henrique and... He is incredible! He already knows everything and is super ready for baptism. We finally managed to visit him Monday night and his family was way nice and accepted us and said that soon they will begin frequenting the church too. They need to get married so for now we can only baptize Luis... Saturday! The young men in the ward did some amazing integration so he is not having any problems transitioning to the new ward. This was truly a huge blessing.

After District Meeting, we went to the Cartorio with Sergio and Durvalina to mark their marriage. So the buracracy in Brasil is even worse than in the United States. We weren´t able to mark a date because Durvalina´s birth certificate is old and the cartorio closest to us requires that all documents are renewed which is really expensive. And another things, Durvalina was born in a little town called middle of nowhere, Brasil so it´s being really difficult to get in contact with the people there to send a new certificate so we´re frozen for now.

Tuesday was my companion´s birthday! Elder Arnaud is now 21! Everyone in the world threw him a party. First Priscila threw him a party. Luckily she is the sweetest and we celebrate my birthday at the same time! Haha! She bought us both new ties and umbrellas. Throughout the day we recieved tons of cake and our last visit was with the recent convert Elena who made us cuscuz. (It´s basically steamed corn meal and it is really good.) She made pork ribs with it so what you do is grab the butter and melt it on top then pour a little of the pork juice on top and eat it with the meat. My favorite brasilian dish is cuscuz. Then when we got home ten minutes later irma bete called us up to thier house and they made us hot dogs and another cake! I don´t think I can handle cake for a while...

Last Sunday we met Pedro´s dad, Gildo, who visited church for the first time. Pedro has been going to church forever but couldn´t be baptized because Gildo didn´t want anything to do with the church because he was catholic. His mom and brother both received answers too but got way disanimated because of Gildo. So Gildo invited us over Friday night and while my comp was in the bathroom he told me that he and the whole family want to follow the same path and be baptized! Holy Miracles! We need to see if they are actually married but for now seems like we are going to baptize a complete family! We danced down the street when we left the visit.

Saturday morning we did a service project cutting the shrubs of an irma but it was almost impossible! The scissors were old and rusty and didn´t cut hardly anything and the ladder was broken too. The shrubs were huge! We worked for 3 hours and didn´t even finish because we had a visit and had to leave.

This morning we had interviews with Pres. Pinho. He showed up 2 hours late so everyone was really antsy and we were all planning to go to a restaurant after but he said we couldn´t do things in groups right when we were getting ready. It was a good interview and he gave Elder Arnaud and me a ride home. He even offered to buy us lunch but my comp rejected it, I almost killed him when we got home! Haha!

Well, things are going really well. Oh and I´ve started losing weight again thanks to an herbal tea I bought. All things are looking up! haha! I hope everyone is happy and healthy! Keep praying for me, it´s working! Peace and Love!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lights Back, Water Back, House Clean . . . I'm Ready July 18, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011 1:06 PM

Hey World,

Well last week I wrote to you all about how we didn´t have power in our house. That continued a few more days and the day our lights came back the water was cut... thank you financial secretary. In total we went 9 days without energy and 4 days without water. Luckily we live next to the stake patriarchand his wife, and they let us take showers and fill up water bottles in their house.

Last week I forgot to tell you all about the Festa Junina! Here in Brasil they celebrate all things caipira (red-neck) in June and July. The ward had a huge party on Saturday after Arici´s Baptism. Everyone was dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls with fake freckles. There was a ton of sweet rice, sweet corn, hot dogs, and cake, LOTS of cake. It was so much fun. Unfortunately we left to grab an investigator right before the quadrilia (square dance).

Tuesday was transfers so at district meeting we have a few new faces in the zone. Elder Barbosa and Elder G. Smith are new in the district that I follow-up on with and Elder Nascimento is new in the other district. We´ve been working on a zone t-shirt for a month now and we can´t change the names so unfortunately the new guys won´t be getting shirts and we´ll have to ship the shirts for Elder J. Medeiros and Elder Dressman.

Wednesday was incredible. Priscila invited us to have lunch with her and we showed up and they threw us a party. They were worried that one of us would be transfered so they made a HUGE cake and a delicious lunch. The theme was Justice League because Rafael and Omar call us super heroes. They even dressed up as Superman and Batman! In the end they gave us ties that they panted. They read (translation) "Taggart, Arnoud, and Mendon├ža = One Familia". It was an incredible day.

Well we´re still working hard to get Marlene in a white jumpsuit and the baptismal font. She has such a strong desire to be baptized but sometimes it´s hard to tell if she really understands everything because she is a little slow. We took her to the baptism of the Sisters in our zone and she loved it and cried. BUT the next day she didn´t go to church because she forgot to set her alarm... frustrating.

Super blessing! I guess the Lord threw us a bone with the whole no lights, no water thing. The Elders from Jd. Clementino called us this week and asked if we were fasting for baptisms because they´ve been teaching a young man for a few weeks and preparing him for baptism but they found out this week that he lives in our area. So they basically gave us a baptism! We still need to work everything out with him and his family (who also want to be baptized). but... Haleluhah!

As you can imagine a house with no energy and no water is hard to clean so today while Elder Arnaud was finishing up the design for the zone t-shirt I cleaned the entire house and did 4 loads of laundry. It was exausting but well worth it because now everything is clean and the spirit will return to our formerly disgusting house. Let´s make this an awesome week!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011 Dancing in the Dark

Hey Everyone!

Wow, this truly was one of the most interesting weeks of my mission so far! From awesome meetings to crazy egyptian contacts, it was just full of suprizes!

After District Meeting on Tuesday I headed to Jd. Mac├¬donia for an exchange with Elder Dressman, who is currently on a plane headed back to Utah. It was a way good exchange. I wanted to focus on finding new investigators for them and it went really well. At the end of the night we were walking home and a woman who works for another church stopped us and gave us a referral. We went to contact him and his house was full of his friends who were also interested! I´ve never had someone stop me in the street to give me a referral, and even more it led to five new investigators!

When I got back from the exchange Elder Arnaud de Souza said there was a surpise waiting for me. What was it? The lights are out! The financial secretary of our mission 'forgot' to pay our bill and with Brasilian buracracy it´s been almost impossible to get the lights back on. We´ll make a week in the dark tomorrow. I can´t wash my clothes and we don´t have any food because the fridge doesn´t work. Luckily our neighbors are members and are letting us take warm showers in their house. We´ve been laughing about how romantic it is in our house by candlelight. Haha!

Thursday we had the mission-wide 'Welcome Pres. and Sis. Pinho' meeting! It was amazing! He is the coolest guy on earth. His trainings were incredible and he used a bunch of movies! I loved it!

Saturday we had the baptism of Arici! It went so well and her enitre non-member family watched and loved it. After we had a huge BBQ! It was awesome!

Yesterday was way good too. We needed to find 8 new investigators and in 2 hours we found 3 families that are super interested in the message. On the way home I made a contact with an egyptian man that thought he knew all about the church but he really didn´t know anything. I got kinda mad because he said I don´t know how to speak Portuguese. Whatever he didn´t speak well either!

Anyway my time is up! I love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart


Monday, July 4, 2011

The Fourth of July, 2011 Pinho Arrives

Dear Family and Friends,

The saga of Pinho has begun! Wow, Pres. and Sis. Pinho are way different but are super cool! Pres. Pinho is a business man who has moved 32 times. They lived in Salt Lake for 5 years. He is super excited and has a completely different approach than Pres. Jackson. Sis. Pinho is really cool. She is way stylish, so far I´ve only seen her in 5 in. heels. She doesn´t have much experience with missionary work but is happy to be here.

This week was super busy! We had district meeting on Tuesday, Thursday was Zone Leader Council, and Friday was Leadership Training. Zone Leader Council was a little different. Sis. Jackson always made cinnamon rolls and Sis. Pinho showed up with bread and bologne (SO Brasilian!) It was good because we were actually able to solve some problems.

Leadership training was great! We talked about the Doctrine of Christ and Teaching People, Not Lessons. The only thing about Leadership training that bugs me is that some missionaries are so desperate for Pres. Pinho´s attention that they talk the whole time and by the end you want to tell them to be quiet. I hope I´m not one of them... haha!

We have a few really good investigators going right now. Areci will be baptized this Saturday morning! She´s awesome! Her future mother-in-law is way excited for the baptism and bore her testimony in Sacrament meeting this week saying that we worked a miracle because Areci was going to church but didn´t accept the missionary visits for 2 years and started shortly after I arrived in the area. She buys us pringles everytime we go there now! haha! Pringles are imported from the US so they are really expensive. They are planning a huge Churrasco after the baptism.

Marlene would have been baptized with Areci but something happened with her husband. He doesn´t accept our visits but he told his daughter that he actually likes what we teach. We tried a ton to get him to come to church and listen to the message but I think we pushed him a little too hard and she freaked out on Marlene and she didn´t go to church this week so we need to get back there and help her a bit more.

We have a few new families like Antonio, Eliane, and Gustavo who are a super smart family and are really interested in the message. Margali is another investigator that we have who opened up to us about her hopes for the future and how she knows she needs to find the right path to follow so that she can better her life. The visit was super powerful. Her boyfriend Mario is way interested in the message too but he doesn´t live in our area. Margali wants to start a life with him so we can help them start in the Gospel.

Sergio is a less active who was drinking 5 liters of scotch a day! He has stopped completely because he turned 61 and has to take new medication. He is way different now and it´s helping a lot because his wife Duvalina who was a Jehovah´s Witness for 18 years wants to get baptized. We´re going to help them get married so that she can be baptized.

In other news, I´ve started gaining a little weight again. It seems like every single family we visit makes us cake or something sweet! I can´t do anything about it! AH! What can I do?

Anyway everything is good here on my side of the planet.

Elder MacLane Taggart