Monday, March 31, 2014

The Week of Much Fruitfulstuff

Wow! This week was great! Elder Brooks and I worked our tails off to get the work in the area running real smooth, which was really hard. It really paid off though. We both got to see some really cool miracles this week.
First off, in the beginning of the week, we were able to get literally lesson after lesson with a huge family that all lived in the same area. The area is very hard to find, because it is tucked tight in this very narrow alley, and it isn't visible from the road. But it has about seven or eight houses all packed quite close together, and every single house had another member of this big family, and many of the members of the family are beginning to start their own families. Our contact with them all started with the youngest brother, Paulo. He's the man! He's super excited to be baptized, and just about every day he talks about where he wants to serve a mission. He's very bright, as is the rest of the family, which makes teaching them quite easy. Also, like many of the people here, they have a lot of faith. I hope a lot, if not all of them, get baptized.
Another miracle we got to see was while we were contacting a referral. No one answered the door of the referral house, so we asked some random neighbor that was standing outside his door if the referral person had left the house. We started talking this guy, and he accepted us into the house to teach a lesson. Elder Brooks saw that there was another person way inside the house, and he called to her to ask if she wanted to join. She came over and started to tell us how she was a less active member from the church, and that she had been praying and waiting for months for someone from the church to arrive at her doorstep to invite her back to church! It was so awesome! This experience is a solid testimony that prayer really does work, and anyone that has the desire to serve God can be a tool in His hand to bring about His purposes, to be the answer to someone's prayer.
And lastly, we made some street contacts on the corner of this one road. Literally every single person that we contacted there accepted baptism, and accepted a date for their baptism. This was one of the coolest things I've seen! So many people, already prepared by the Lord to accept the message of the Restoration! I'm looking forward to working more with these people, and I'm hoping that they can prepare for their baptisms as well. I know that in these last days, God will always strive with men, and that He is still preparing the hearts of men to recieve the truth of the Restored Gospel. I'm really glad that I can be a part of this marvelous work.
Atê mais, gente!
Elder Bishop

A description of Elder Bishop's mission are thanks to GOOGLE EARTH

From the information you gave me in last week's email concerning the Al Omega Ward, I was able to learn the address of the building the ward meets at using LDS tools. From there, my GOOGLE EARTH search began.

I located the address of Al Omega ward as listed on LDS. Org.  A "street view" from google earth revealed a large, 2-story white stucco building surrounded by a high steel gate with the recognizable LDS logo. There is green grass and healthy palm trees on the property. The building and property are well maintained as compared to the surrounding structures. The building has a large net-covered area possibly used for recreational activities. 

Street names near the building I located include R Quatro, R Matoso Filo, R Seis, R Gen Allpio dos Santos,R XX1, R XX.
As I searched the neighborhood using the tools in Google earth, I was able to read signs on buildings indicating businesses. Here are some signs:

--PJ Lanches
--Veja Nosso Cardapio
--Compre Alex
--Dany Design  Banners, Adsevios

Located directly next to the large stucco building is a large red brick building that appears to have many buildings protected by a brick wall with broken glass at the top. I could see the word CERE written in several places. To my eyes, maybe this structure was a school of some kind.

There is a newer, modern two-story apartment structure across the street from church. Pink stucco is the building material.

Other google earth map items I could see and read:
--Frighore--Novilhojo De Ouro
--People ride small motorcycles to get from point A to B--most of them wear helmets
--If you walk 2.44 miles from the Omega Ward Building, you can be at the Atlantic Coast
--If you take a bus about 7.5 miles from the Omega Building, you can be at the mission home.
--there is a LARGE shopping mall in the downtown district that appears very modern compared to other buildings
--there are stone walls surrounding most of the buildings in Ceara Fortaleza. The walls look very old and are covered with some graffiti. Stealing and related crimes must be a big problem in the city.

I did not see any mountains, but I did see the Atlantic Ocean and along the coast are many modern hotels, restaurants, shops, and attractions. In the rural areas, there are structures with swimming pools, farm lands and rocky roads. A river flows with murky water very near the Omega building.

Does the above define your surroundings? It was fascinating for me to use this technology to really connect with my missionary serving in a country I have no experience with.

Either I have just described the area which you are currently living and you recognize the names and structures and you are amazed at what I can see on Google Earth.  OR you are confused and recognize NOTHING and this letter has been a waste of time!!!!

You will email me and let me know if this is CORRECT or if I need to keep searching.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Google Earth helps us map where Elder Bishop is

After attending a class on using Google Earth for genealogy, I began my quest to understand more of where my son Elder Bishop REALLY is and what his surroundings look like, and the distances he travels. This first map shows the distance from the LDS chapel which he composes his email to me to the Atlantic Ocean--it is 2.43 miles on foot.
This second image helps you understand how far the LDS mission home is from the LDS chapel by bus--7.44 miles!  What a great tool to help educate me on the surroundings of my son whom has YET to send ANY pictures. I don't have expectations of receiving any, but am pleasantly surprised at what I can gather from my home computer!

Here are 3 photos where I know my son spends several hours a week in worship, composing his weekly letters and performing baptisms.

 The covered court could possibly keep sporting equipment from going over the high walls. This MIGHT be the only Air Conditioned Building Hunter spends time in however, at a pleasant 81 degrees, I hope he is comfortable.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Traditions of Brazil's children

This week went really well, and also not really well. I'll explain.

Elder Brooks and I are getting along great, and working like beavers trying to stop-up the Amazon River (Which would be really hard, because there's like alligators trying to eat you up and stuff. Also the Amazon River is really big), and we are starting to see a little more success. We found another family this week, and they are super prepared already! I hope to see their baptism, but we need to get the couple married first, so it will be a long time until then. 

Also, the work continues with Lucas and our other investigators, and things are looking great for this next week. 

This week was also really hard, because almost the whole week I was walking around with some sort of virus. It wasn't too pretty. I'm all good now, but I'd be fine if I didn't have another week of sickness.

Two more things, for all of your enjoyment. The last thing is a little nasty though, so don't read if you are wuss. Ha! Now you have to read it! But seriously, it's nasty, you don't have to read it.

Both of these things happened in the same house. Figures. But the first thing was pretty hilarious. During a lesson with recent converts, some random drunk guy just walked into the house. He wasn't related to anyone we were teaching. He just walked in. The people in the house didn't mind it too much. He just sat there and listened to the lesson. But in the end of the lesson, Elder Brooks decided to show everyone a magic trick! There were a lot of kids in the lesson, so it was for them. But the drunk guy was the most impressed. He started looking at the coin and asking how Elder Brooks did it. Then he took the coin, put it inthe middle of his palm, closed the hand, and started waving his hand all over the place. Then, he opened up his palm again, to see the the coin was still there. I don't think I've ever seen a more disappointed face on a man. And then he started asking Elder Brooks to "give me some magic." We wanted to talk about the magic of baptism, but we're going to save that for another time for him. He was pretty drunk.

And the second thing was, again, during a recent-member lessonduring a recent convery lesson. A little kid, during the lesson, opened up the refridgerator and pulled out a dead bird, plucked of all its feathers, and began to play with it like it was a toy. The parents weren't too happy about that. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

TRANSFERS: a new American companion

 Well, this transfer I will be staying in Ala Ômega, but Elder Dup is going to serve as a Zone Leader in another area. I probably won't see him again until the end of his mission (which is only two transfers away), so best of luck to him and being a ZL! I will be serving with Elder Brooks, an American, who arrived in Brazil the same time I did. He already had five months in the states though, and he is going to be our District Leader. This transfer is going to rock! It's also going to be quite hard, because both of us are still learning the language, but this is also going to speed up our learning, I think.

In other news, we didn't have much work in our area this week, so there isn't a lot of other news. 

Nevertheless, we did find a family that just moved here, and the wife is a less-active member. She has been sharing the gospel with her husband for a little while (she's got a great testimony), and when we found them, the husband accepted the offer to take the lessons from us. So yeah, that was pretty awesome.

And that's all for this week. 

Atê logo! 

Elder Bishop

Monday, March 10, 2014

Weekly review: It's Hot!

Well, not too much happened this week. Everything has been winding down from the baptism of Carlinhos and Clédiane. We found a new investigator that is really an elect, though! His name is Lucas, and he knows more about the Bible than any person I have already met in Brazil (besides the missionaries and the President). Let me tell you a little about him.
Lucas is only fourteen, but he's super smart and like most Brazilians, super faithful. He is the son of a woman that works for a less-active member we have been visiting, and we started talking to him about the gospel when he overheard us talking about prophets. He was super excited that our church has a living prophet, because he has read the Bible and has always thought to himself that a prophet is an essential thing for the true church of God (smart kid!). The more we teach him, the more he seems to have already been prepared to receive us. We have challenged him to read the Book of Mormon, because he already understands the truths that the Bible teaches. He has been very faithful in everything so far, and has excepted the invitation for baptism. He already understands the importance of baptism, so it was quite easy to make the invitation! I'm very excited to see his progression in the coming weeks. He most definitely will be baptized.
Until next week! Tchau!
Elder Bishop

Monday, March 3, 2014


Finally! The day came! The wedding for Carlinhos and Clédiane came and went, and they were baptized and confirmed this last weekend. Elder Dup and I actually weren't able to go to the wedding; President Souza visited our Zone for district meeting and specifically called us to say that we needed to be there. But later in the day we were able to visit Carlinhos and his wife to talk about how the wedding went. Then, later that night our ward had a party for the newly-weds in the Church, which went really well. That night we confirmed with the couple the date for their baptism. They both said that they felt ready for the baptism.
When the day of the baptism arrived, Elder Dup and I made our way to the Church to  fill up the baptismal font: usually a very easy thing to do. We arrived and found our Bishop already there, filling up the font, which is good. Except the water ran out very quickly, which is bad. So, we spent half the day filling up the font in various ways. None of the ways were fast enough to have the font filled for the proper time. Finally, Elder Dup decided that the easiest way would just be to fill up the font with the ten-gallon-mineral-water-containers that they have here in Ceará. We bought thirty of them. THIRTY. Luckily they were three bucks a-piece. And they worked quite well. 
The couple arrived at the baptism, and everything was going great, until we remembered that we had forgotten to think of a safe way to baptize Clédiane, because she's super pregnant (with twins). Needless to say, it wasn't the prettiest baptism, but she was baptized correctly and nothing was hurt and that's all that matters! Carlinhos and Clédiane were both very happy after their baptisms. It was really great to see! They've been waiting for baptism for awhile. 
Well, that was the highlight of the week for the Elders in Ala Ômega! Also, it was Carnaval this week in Brazil. Don't worry though, they don't celebrate it super crazy in our area. The craziest it got was two guys walking down the street in dresses and wigs. Oh yeah, and then the bigger guy picked up the other guy and carried him across the threshold of the bar they were headed for. Yup. 
Well, atê mais!
Elder Bishop