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, August 29, 2011

August 29, 2011 Almost at the Finish Line

Dear Everyone,

Holy Cow this last week was a world of changes here in my area and in the zone. First off, like I said Elder Arnaud was transfered... tear... and on Tuesday I got my new companion! Elder J. Melo! We have the exact same time on the mission and as zone leaders and we are already working really well together. He is from Manaus, capital of the Amazonas. He has native ancestors so he looks a little like an Indian. My camera is a little broken so I can´t send any pics to show.

Wednesday we had district meeting. Elder Ferris the new district leader had to renew his visa so I conducted the meeting and suprise! Pres. Pinho showed up to watch our meeting. It was pretty good. I talked about how marking a person for baptism gives them a vision of where they want to go and how they are going to get there. Something cool also happened. President asked us to print off some graphics for the meeting and we were already late to start. I had to choose to say no or to just do it. What did I do? I ran... to the LAN house and printed the papers and ran back. Pres. Pinho keeps saying that I was the most obedient of all the leaders in the mission and he keeps talking about what happened with the whole mission. It´s a little embarrasing but also good to get a little recognition.

This week was all about Cibele! She is freaking elect! Seriously she was the easiest person to baptize until now on my mission. She didn´t have any difficulties. The Lord truly helped us so much by sending her our way because all of our baptisms fell through at the beginning of the month and we would have had 0 but because of her we didn´t go without. She was so ready and when we were finishing up the teaching we asked her way she wanted to be baptized and she said that she saw something in the families of the church that she had never seen before. She said she had never seen such unity and love and that that was exactly what she had been looking for her entire life. She is engaged to a young man who is leaving on his mission in a few months, he´s lucky because she is really beautiful too. haha!

Getting the baptism ready was a little difficult because there was a stake young mens young womens dance the same day and time and we had worked out with the leaders to use the baptismal font and room but at the last minute they changed on us and made the baptismal room a dressing room for the girls. We did the meeting in the Family History Room and then when it was the part of the baptism we had to kick all the girls out for a few minutes. In the end it was super good. At the end of the meeting everyone talked about their baptisms and their testimony. I really well so it was cool to share it with everyone. They all freaked out when I said I was baptized in the Tabernacle.

We also got some really great news about Sergio and Durvalina. They marked the wedding date! Durvalina can finally be baptized after the wedding! This is going to be awesome and we are going to work hard to make it a day to remember for them.

That´s it for this week! I hope everyone is well. I´m praying for you all... so you better be praying for me! haha! Until next week!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011 Tchau Elder Arnaud e Ola Elder

Dear Everybody,

Wow this week was super busy but I also saw a lot of miracles and am learning about revelation more than ever! The week started out normal enough until 10 minutes before District Meeting on Tuesday President Pinho called me and told me that we had to do something 'different' for the meeting. Pres. Pinho has created a few new measuring systems to track the progress of the areas that are a little different than the past so he wanted us to unite the entire zone and have a council like meeting where we explained the new expectation of baptizing weekly. Our zone has a bit of work to do so the meeting was really intense but instead of everyone getting mad because we all need to be better, we all got really excited to get out there and find the elects of the lord and prepare them for baptism! It was really an effective meeting and the spirit guided the whole thing.

After the meeting we went into an exchange with the Elders of Catanduva. I stayed in Pirajussara with Elder Alves, the District Leader, and we worked até o pó! We found a bunch of new people to teach that seem genuinly interested in the message. We also went to a little party for a recent converts birthday. And had a sub-par family home evening with an eternal investigator and her not-so-interested friends. We gave a message about the importance of family and how they can be eternal. One of the women there said that she doesn´t believe in families after death. I don´t understand how people really believe that the most important thing in the this life would stop with death. Our salvation and exaltation depend on our families!

We also got to visit Cibele. She is going to be baptized this Saturday and is going really well. She already lives the word of wisdom and is reading and praying. This week she finally visited our ward (she´s been going with her boyfriend's family in another stake). Everyone really liked her and they announced her baptism in relief society.

This week we finally started teaching Fransica! She is really great. She lives alone in a little broken down house on a soccer field and is a nurse. She is really lonely and needs friends and we are doing everything that we stay missionaries to her and that the members become her friends. You have to establish your purpose for people before you can become their friends because they usually won´t progress if they just think of you as a blond kid with a pretty accent. We walked with her to church and halfway there she said, "Oops! I left the cake in the oven!" We offered to go back with her but she refused and said we were going to church. Our ward mission leader gave her a ride back home after sacrament and nothing was destroyed.

We had another exchange with the Elders of Jardim das Rosas because I had to interview an investigator, Felipe, for baptism. Rosas hasn´t baptized in over 8 months and we have been working like crazy to get this to happen. It was difficult to do the interview. It was marked for Thursday night and he wasn´t home because his mom forgot and took him downtown, so we marked with his brother to return in the morning. The next morning we arrived and no one was home. We had to undo the exchange and I told them to call him as soon as possible and mark the interview, and half and hour after we got home they called us and said, "Can you guys come back? He´s home now." So we went back and finally did the interview. In the end, Felipe fell... in the WATER! He was baptized and they have more people that are getting ready for baptism too!

Friday another miracle happened. We visited Magali, that woman I talked about last week, and guess what happened? Her boss traded her work schedule and now she can go to church every week! We are going to mark her for baptism for the end of September! Everytime we go there now she does the opening prayer and always cries. She cries a lot but we still love her. haha!

Yesterday went well also. All of the visitors in church were investigators with baptisms marked so we have a bunch of people progressing now. At night we got the transfer call. Elder Arnaud de Sousa was transfered and now we are going to visit a bunch of people for him to say goodbye. He almost cried. I´m sad because we are really good friends and are working well together. Now I´m going to recieve a new companion and if I don´t train a new Zone Leader my options are not looking too good to get someone as good as Elder Arnaud. The only good thing about the transfer is that Elder Arnaud is giving me a bunch of stuff that he doens´t want to take with him. He gave me a brand new suit that his uncle sent him from the states. It fits me almost perfectly, I just need to shorten the arms a little (curse my short arms) and the length of the pants.

Well that´s the week for ya. Pray that I get an awesome companion! (I really should believe that anyone I get will be great... oh well... haha!) Até Mais!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011 Oh Me of Little Faith

Well Everyone,

This week I was certainly taught about faith and revelation. Last week I wrote a little bit about how our investigators starting falling through. But we recieved a miracle referral. Cibele is dating a future missionary and after she visited the church with her boyfriend she sent her own name to recieve the missionaries. When we showed up at her house and she saw us she screamed, "You really came!" and ran to open the door. We´ve been teaching her with her boyfriend and she is going to be baptized on the 27th!

Friday morning is when my faith really started to be tested. We had a suprise leadership meeting. I was in a really bad mood this day and was just sitting their thinking, "What now?" Pres. Pinho stood in front of the mission are started to show all the baptismal numbers from every area for the past 2 months and started talking about how we weren´t baptizing enough. He said that we have to baptized weekly! I didn´t believe it! I thought ," This is impossible!" I left that meeting a bit frustrated and had a lost a little of my confidence in myself and in Pres. Pinho BUT the Lord has a funny way of doing things...

That night we found an old investigator named Magali that disappeared a month ago. She was waiting for us to come that night and when we asked who would do the opening prayer she asked is she could. In her prayer she started to cry and thanked God that he had led us back to her home. She has troubles with working on Sunday but we asked her to talk to her boss and without hesitation she said she´ll ask for work off on Sunday´s so that she can become a member of the church. We are planning on baptizing her at the end of next month.

Saturday we had even more miracles. In the morning we were walking and ran into a young man in the ward and his cousin Wallice who visited the church last week. He stopped us and said, "Hey I want to be baptized." And I said, "How about the 3rd?" He accepted. Later that day we returned to teach Jusalino, Juares, Adriano, and Aelson and they we so open to the message and accepted to prepare for baptism for the 17th. Then later we were walking in the street and a woman that we contacted a few weeks ago stopped us and asked why we hadn´t visited her yet. In reality we had been trying to contact her for 2 weeks but she was never home. Her name is Fransica and is a nurse. She had been working everytime we went to her house. Now we marked a visit and she already said that she´s going to start going to Church every other week when she doesn´t have work. Then that night we finally talked to the rest of Pedro´s family and his mom was way confused about the beliefs of the Church so we worked it all out and she asked us to come back Sunday to talk to the whole family.

Sunday they asked me to speak in sacrament meeting. I talked about the Atonement and how Christ suffered for everyone, even people that aren´t baptized. I said that if someone doesn´t know about or accept the Gospel then Christ suffered in vain. I wasn´t planning on burning people but in the end of the talk it just kind of spilled out when I said, "Christ is suffering in vain because our nieghbors don´t live the gospel and it´s not even our nieghbors fault because they don´t know. It´s our fault because we know the truth and aren't sharing it, Christ is suffering because we aren´t sharing the Gospel. I love to be a missionary but I know that I don´t need a little badge to do missionary work." A few people after said that it was really necissary that someone finally say it. I felt super bad after but it already happened so I can´t really do anything about it.

So Sunday after Church we headed over to talk to Pedro´s family and everyone was there, Gildo, Cassia, Pedro, and Luis Felipe (and his sister Maria Eluisa who is 6). We taught the Plan of Salvation and they accepted to be baptized on the 10th! Gildo asked to do the closing prayer. He said, "Thank you God for the baptismal challenge and we are commited to do everything so that we can fulfill it and be baptized on the 10th."

Alright so God showed me that I need to believe in revelation. Pres. Pinho promised us that it is possible to baptize weekly and God is fulfilling that promise. Starting the 27th we have people for 5 weeks getting ready and commited to be baptized! I learned a lot about faith this week. When God makes promises we better believe that they are going to happen. I felt so much joy the past few days becuase of what I learned and the atonement that is making a difference in the lives of all our investigators.

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8, 2011 Sinergy

Ola Gente,

This week started out with a ton of meetings. Tuesday morning we had Zone Leader Counsel. It was really good. We managed to target a few topics to focus on with the missionaries this month and I found out that some of my best friends (Elder Griffin, from the not to well know town of Newton, Utah, and Elder Hickenlooper) on the mission were called as Zone Leaders too!

Wednesday we had zone conference. Pres. Pinho is trying to inject some new ideas into the mission so we had a conference completely different from any other that I´ve seen. He is from the business world so he uses lots of words like 'Sinergy'. You honestly need a dictionary. Anyway, we had 10 groups that all focused on different techniques in teaching and rotated so that by the end of the conference we had to be experts of the topics. I was in charge of the topic "Teach People, Not Lessons". It was all about asking questions to discover the necessities of the investigators and then follow the spirit to change the lesson. It was good but I learned that most missionaries teach a bunch of memorized lines that don´t really resolve anything. I tried to help them learn how to adapt but I think it came off like I was burning everyone. A really prideful greeny got super made at me when I was trying to help him and that left me a little ticked. I hope I didn´t make too many enemies that day. Haha!

The week was a little tough as far as the work goes. Naldo has been false with us the past few weeks and his wife told us that he is drinking and smoking more than every. The last time we were teaching him he got up in the middle of the visit and left without expination. When we were walking down the street a few minutes later we saw him drinking in the bar. It really teaches you how important the word of wisdom is and how addicition destroys families.

Robson is also falling through. Whenever we visit his family he stays in him room. He didn´t go to church either because his friends play soccer Sunday mornings. Another soccer related slap in the face came when Antonio Carlos told us he doesn´t want to get baptized until 2014 (when the World Cup will be in Brasil).

It may sound like everything is going wrong right now but we are actually finding some really good investigators. We recieved some golden references that we marked to visit this week so we are going to do our best to get them baptized this month and find even more people for September. We´re also going to set up a stand in some squares with Church material so that the elects come to us instead of us going to them. I´ll let you know how the first one goes next week.

Well that pretty much it for this week. Sorry there isn´t much to say. Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011 Potential Priesthood Holderville

Oi Gente!

Well another week has come and gone. This week really flew by didn´t it? I don´t have too much to talk about today so I´ll keep it short and sweet.

We´re gaining a lot of male investigators finally! They are basically all husbands of members who are finally getting their act together. Robson is married to recent convert Bia. On his birthday he decided to become a "new man" and accepted a baptismal date. He was having some problems with the word of wisdom but now he is pretty much clean. Naldo is another story. He is married to recent convert Veronica. He has major drinking problems so it´s being difficult but everyone is pretty sure he´ll enter the waters on the 20th. Luis Antonio is married to member Vania. His really quite but I like him a lot. He always calls me to sit by him during the sunday school classes. Vania said they have already set a temple goal so we need to get him to baptism fast. Jose is an old investigator who stopped us in the street and has accepted the 27th. He has some mental difficulties as a result of some heavy drug use in the past. We´re going to work with him and get him a little control in his life.

The other major news is that Luis Henrique was baptized on Saturday. His cousin Vinicius baptized him and his whole family (non-members) were there. His mom was balling! It went super well and Marcos the young mens president confirmed him yesterday!

Priscila threw us another birthday party! It´s not even a suprize anymore, haha. She always sends us home with a huge cake too so we´ve been eating cake every morning for breakfast.

July was an awesome month for our zone! We met our goal of 12! It was awesome because last week we had only 6 baptisms and in the final stretch everyone pulled through for a fantastic finish. For the month the mission had 120 baptisms! 30 more than last month and almost 50 more than May! The mission is starting to take flight with Pres. Pinho. Things are really changing (some new strict rules) and the vision of all our missionaries is raising. Missão Interlagos vamos voar!!!

Elder MacLane Taggart