Monday, June 30, 2014

Pres. Souza's FAREWELL

This week was a rush. Elder Imperador and I didn't get much done, because we had two weddings to arrange, Brazil's game against Chile, and President Souza's farewell. Basically, it was the most unproductive week of my mission so far. However, it was quite fun.

Our President's last Zone Conference was quite a show. At various points of the conference, and between all of President and Sister Souza's great talks, and the training sessions with the Assistants, random missionaries got up to sing songs to beloved President Souza and his wife. There were about fifteen performances of the sort, and they were all quite entertaining. About half of the songs had re-written lyrics, usually about the funny quirks of Sister Souza's personality. However, the highlight performance came at lunch. In the middle of the gym, a bunch of Elders and Sisters got up to sing President Souza's favorite song. Now, you all need to understand that he REALLY likes this song. He actually likes it well enough that he plays it for the whole mission every single Zone Conference. And thus, it is very well known around the mission. The song, "He's My Brother," is from the seventies, and appears to have been a much bigger hit here in Brazil than it was in the USA. Literally about every Brazilian I've met knows this song. 

Anyway, our progress in the area is coming along slowly, but I'm hoping to see some improvement soon. As long as we keep working a lot, I'm sure that we can find those people that have been prepared to hear the good news of the Gospel. 

Oh yeah! One last thing. On our ride downtown, to mark the date of Regina and Epitacio's wedding, N'Sync's old hit Bye, Bye, Bye played on the radio. That was pretty funny. For those of you that don't know, this song has some history in my family, and it was really weird to hear it in an entirely different country. Who would've ever thought that 90's Boy Band's still exist in Brazil?

Well, that's all for this week! See you all later!

Elder Bishop

Monday, June 23, 2014

FIFA: World Cup Soccer

Well, this week was actually really tough, for various reasons. But, Elder Imperador and I were able to mark the wedding date of Vitor and Naiane, and we were able to find a way to pay for the Regina and Epit├ício´s wedding also! It looks like this next transfer we are going to have some solid baptisms, but right now our area is suffering. 

On every mission, yes, even Fortaleza, there´s difficulties. Now, I´m starting to experience those difficulties. Out of about thirty new investigators that we find every week (up to now in the transfer we´ve had 81), none of them have gone to church. Finding people is not the problem here in Fortaleza, but finding those that will recognize the True Gospel, and that are willing to accept and follow it, is starting to get really hard. The worst part of these difficulties is watching someone that you´ve baptized, with whom you´ve felt the spirit, fall away from the Church; especially when the reason is one that should be easily solved. However, I imagine that it wasn´t easy for Christ either, as the only perfect Man, to watch so many people reject His True Doctrine, after that he had shown such love for them, and preached to them the way of Eternal Life. Despite this, I know that Christ rejoices even more in the fact that there are many who accept the Gospel and follow it, and I know that I can learn to rejoice with these righteous ones also. It´s going to be a little hard in this area for a few more weeks, but I know that it will be a lot better in the future, because the eternal goal of righteousness will always triumph!

Well, that´s about it for this week. See you all later!

Elder Bishop

The World Cup has actually been really cool. Only during Brazil does it get in the way of our work. But all throughout the city, people have decorated the streets with Brazil´s colors.  It´s really awesome. And I´m silenting rooting for the US, because we´ve never accomplished anything cool in the World Cup, and it would be super cool to be able to say that I was there in the fray when the US first won the world cup! 

Grandpa is looking great now! All smiles! 

Hey, is Carson interested in engineering? Because I feel like he would be perfect at that. He´s got the genius and the creativity. 

Sounds like when I used to play piano! I´d really like to learn how to play again. It´s pretty useful as a member of the Church.

My son is great! A lot of the time I feel like he´s training me, instead of the other way around.

My health is fine. As I´ve heard is the case in most of the Brazil missions, my mission also is two big years of the squirts. Everyday. But everyone that lives here is fine! Although they get really weird reactions to weather changes. Such as when it rains, everyone gets a cold. 

I love you Mom! See you later!

Elder Bishop

Dear Elder Bishop.    June 23, 2014

We are curious to learn about how you have been surviving in your apartment with the World Cup going on. I Imagine you are experiencing some very different and foreign moments as you observe the community members of Fortaleza celebrate their teams success. We watched the USA v Portugal game yesterday and we're distraught when Portugal scored in the last 45 seconds to TIE the game. It was heartbreaking!!! The competition was quite intense and very exciting to watch.

Grandpa continues to gain movement and energy and mobility and appetite. Carson, Jess, and I enjoy going to his floor and play cards and eat FREE root beer floats, chips, and cookies. My siblings have been able to FACETIME with him and interact that way. Thank you so much for your prAyers. I have felt the power of your spiritual energy. When I read Grandpa your letter, he got very emotional and was very uplifted by your powerful words. Thank you for putting your thoughts on paper.

Carson spent last week at CAPS attending a class on Final Cut Pro: editing software. The first day was a bit overwhelming and he was upset that I signed him up, but by the end of the week, he was excited about what he learned.

Jess is taking voice and piano lessons and I really try to keep her motivated to practice. She gets a little snarky and negative, but I am determined NOT to give up! She got a very cute haircut and looks energetic and cute.

Your picture of the 6 Fortaleza members was so inspiring and when I posted it to FB, IT GOT so many likes. Your family and friends were inspired by your faithful and diligent testimony shared to these delightful and eager people. I am so excited for your experiences. How are your "fathering" responsibilities going? What a great opportunity for you to practice your leadership skills and language. Your companion is lucky to have such a great trainer!

How is your health? Particularly your allergies. Do people in Brazil suffer from sneezy and runny eyes or are their immune systems fighting these allergens?

Dad is busy with work and has been working many hours last week. He is tired and worn out, but will persevere. He gets a vacation this week.  YEAH

WE LOVE YOU and are so thrilled for your wonderful example of Christlike service and love for the people you teach and serve!

Love-- mom

Ps glad the package finally arrived!  Sorry about the stale Oreos!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

World Cup Soccer: 2014 in Fortaleza

Well, things were a little different this week. Elder Imperador and I were still able to work a lot, but the World Cup has started here. President Souza ordered all the missionaries here to stay in the house during any of Brazil's games, or during any game that they have here in the stadium in Fortaleza. This week Brazil had their first game, against Croatia. The whole city was literally dead for about two hours. Except for the unanimous roar of every single person alive here whenever Brazil scored. Yeah, people like their soccer here.
Elder Imperador and I are finding a ton of families that are really excited about the gospel, but literally every single one of them are not married! This isn't too common, but since our area is a little poorer than the rest, many people here are not married only because of financial issues. However, we have two marraiges coming up soon! Vitor and Naiane are going to get married (whooo!!!), and we were able to convince Epitacio (finally!) to get married to Regina. I'm super excited for this! Their marraige will be a real strong testimony of prayer. Literally Regina and all the kids (Gustavo, Larissa, Emily, and Felipe) have been praying for months for the Lord to help Epitacio accept marraige. Regina has been wanting to be baptized for a long time now, and finally the way is opening up to allow her to acheive this goal! I am one hundred and one percent sure that these blessings are starting to arrive in Regina's life because of her diligence in prayer. I've already seen many fruits of prayer myself, and it's even more wonderful to see God responding to the prayers of my investigators.

Left to right: Me, Larissa, Emily, Gustavo, Cleiton, Francinaldo, Brena, Leandro, Baby, Elder Brooks
Well, that's all for this week! See you all later!
Elder Bishop

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Elder Bishop writes his Grandpa

Hello Grandpa! Everyone has been telling me about you lately, and I'm sorry to hear that you are sick again! I've been praying for you every night, and I'm really hoping that you can get well soon. I just wanted you to know that you are really an inspiration in my life of hard work and dedication. I've always looked up to you as such a wonderful example of diligence. Especially here in the mission, where I've been learning to dedicate my time and service to God, I have appreciated more and more of the service that you have always strived to give to your family and to our Savior. I remember how fond I was as a child to tell everyone of my Grandpa Evans. I gloried (as I do to this day) in the fact that I had a Grandpa that, no matter what ailed him in life, would always give his best and his hardest in the service of the Lord. I look forward still to the day where all of your descendents will talk about the great dedication that you gave as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know that you have lived to the fullest the Law of Sacrifice, and I am very grateful for having you as my Grandpa. I know that God loves you very much, and I want you to know that I love you too! I'm looking forward to the day after my mission where I will be able to see you and give you a hug! See you later Grandpa!

Monday, June 9, 2014

First week as a Father!!

Well, it's official now. I'm a father. I'm going to be the mission "Dad" of Elder Imperador. Or, in English, Elder Emperor. Pretty sweet, huh?

This week went pretty smooth, for the first week as a trainer. Elder Imperador is already super familiar with Preach My Gospel, so he has been learning really fast. He's super excited to be serving here, and I'm really glad that I will be training him. He's also really excited to see all the miracles that we are constantly bombarded with. I'll send everyone a picture of when I picked him up at the mission office! I'm so excited to be training! 

This week, we had a pretty awesome miracle: Elder Imperador and I went to go teach an investigator, Loreina. She's been investigating the church for a long time now. Loreina is 14 years old, and has been going to church with her aunt and uncle for about ten months, but has never had the opportunity to get baptized. This is because her mother, for some reason, has never given permission for her to get baptized. Loreina has gotten very frustrated at times because of this, but we've always encouraged her to keep on praying for a way that she could get baptized. Well, when we went to teach her this week, her mother happened to be there, and sat to listen to the lesson. We taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we focused on baptism and recieving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. At the end, I felt inspired to ask Loreina's mom permission for the baptism. She just up and said "Well, if Loreina wants to be baptized, I'll support her in it." It was so cool! After five sets of missionaries, Loreina is going to be baptized! The funny part of this story, however, is that Loreina still has to wait two more weeks because she broke her leg. But it'll all work out in the end!

That's about it for this week. We are working with a lot of families at the moment, and almost all of them need to get married before they can get baptized, so it looks like we are going to be working a lot with the marriage-government-contract-thingy here (I have absolutely no idea what to call it in English). Keep on the good work in wherever you are, everyone else! Tchau!

Elder Daddy Bishop