Thursday, December 29, 2011

Picture from the Skype

Avram Skype at Christmas

Skype was CRAZY!!! December 28, 2011

Goodness, the Skype was crazy! It was such a weird experience for me, because we went straight from church to the member’s house to do Skype. When I was speaking to you, it was so weird, I was speaking in English!!? I don’t know if you noticed, but I was speaking slower, and kind of tripping over my words, and I said some things that I’m not sure make sense in English. Oh well. But the Skype went by too fast! Saying goodbye was hard too, I started feeling super homesick during the last 3 minutes of our call. But, tudo bem, I’m back to work now!
That´s sweet that you did the 12 days of Christmas for the Missionaries! Who still is there? Who´s
been transferred? I think that I came at a really good time here in Curitiba, because Elder Brino was just finishing up teaching the Peterson Family, and that´s six baptisms right there! Treat the
missionaries well, I think it would be hard to serve in California. Ooooh, Chinese sounds good, I wouldn´t mind having some Chinese food. Haha, I received the Curry, I think I’m going to try to make it, although I also think it will be hard. I´ll tell you how it turns out!
Christmas sounds like a fun time! Haha, it was so weird, the past few days, thinking about what you guys are probably doing during this Christmas Season. I knew it, lots of Puzzles!
I actually got a few Christmas Cards today, so that´s good. The mail system here is just a bit slow,
and I only get cards once a week. I loooove all the mail I get from you guys, keep sending me letters! I´m sorry if I don´t respond to everyone, but I’ll try.
Today, I took some time to write a letter for the Family, and also I wrote a letter for Autumn, so you can expect that to come in the next few weeks. I think my New Year resolution will be to write a letter to the family at least every other P-day. I need to take time for the family!
Thanks for sending Elder Brino the Journals, he´ll really enjoy that. I don´t really know what else you can send with the Journals, maybe if you want send me a few more white shirts, but really, it´s not necessary. Have dad send me that book on the JW´s. Candy also is welcome :)
I hope all is doing well with you guys, I think about you often. Have fun, and remember the Lord always! He loves us, and we can have true happiness when we follow him. I know that I am here for a purpose, and although this work is hard, it´s worth it!!
I love you a ton!
Elder Twitchell

Merry Christmas

On Christmas we got to Skype Avram, it was great. He called at 1:00 pm, 7:00 his time. He looks really good and seems to be really happy. He said it was weird speaking in English. His companion is Brazilian and doesn't speak English. His companion is Elder Brino, he has been out for 9 months. Avram would turn and talk to Elder Brino a couple of times, his Portuguese sounds great. He said it is very hot but rains quite a bit. On P-days they wash their clothes (it takes 3 hours) then bring them home and hang them on the clothes line. A lot of times by the time they get home the clothes are wet because it had rained. It rains a lot. We got to talk for 40 minutes, it was fun. We had Ed, Me, Autumn, Amber, Elaina, Austin in person here and then Alicia was on the phone. We took a couple of pictures I will post them later.
It was the Best Christmas present.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

1st Letter from Brazil written 12/28/11

This is the 1st letter from Brazil, it took 24 days to get to us
December 28, 2011
Dear Family,
I’ve been working a lot, and have lots of things to think/worry about. From now on, I’m going to use my P-day’s more wisely. I’m having a lot of amazing spiritual experiences here, but they’re not just of me, I need to be sharing them with all of you!
We work every day here. Every day, every hour, every moment we’re doing something to further the work. But, there is an order to the work, and my days go like this, more or less:

9:30 – 10:00 pm Really, each day starts the night before with our daily planning session. Here we decide who we’re going to teach, and set goals for the day
10:30 – 6:30 am Sleep!!!
6:30 – 7:00 am We do exercises, I mostly jump rope, push-ups, sit-ups and stretches
7:00 – 8:00 am shower, Breakfast, get dressed
8:00 – 9:00 am Personal study
9:00 – 11:00 am Companion Study. In the first 12 weeks, missionaries have two hours of comp. study. Mostly, this including practicing teaching. It’s a lot of time for practicing, but it’s helpful.
11:00 – 11:30 am Estudo da Lingua! (language study)
12:00 – 9:00 pm WORK! We teach lessons, talk to people on the street, get their addresses,
clap outside houses (here in Brasil, they don’t knock on doors, they clap in front of the houses) and do various other activities to invite people to come unto Christ!
9:00 – 9:30 pm Head home
9:30 pm close the day, see how we did with our goals, and plan the next day!

So, this is what I’m doing, more or less, everyday! By the end of the day, I’m exhausted! We walk and run a ton. And also it’s really mentally tolling, with following the spirit, planning what to do, and listening intently to the people – especially because they speak in a different language! If I’m not focusing completely on what they people are saying, I can’t understand. I’m getting better with the language, though, and I have a plan and some goals to help me learn faster. I carry a
dictionary everywhere I go, and write down words I don’t know yet. I will learn this language! It’s also hard because Elder Brino is a district leader, and has a lot of extra responsibilities. For example, right now our district is having some issues, so Elder Brino leaves for other areas to assess and correct the work there. What this means is that other missionaries from other areas come to work with me, so I have to remember everything alone – the area, where investigators live, their needs, and what to do when commitment fall. It’s really hard but at the same time I’m
learning to be a missionary really really fast. But enough about my schedule!
The Lord is blessing us so much in this area. It’s amazing and humbling at the same time. God is
trusting his choice souls in my care. It’s a responsibility that is overwhelming. But, President Cordon told me something really cool in my interview with him. He said that there are people everywhere ready to receive the restored gospel. But, the Lord won’t have us teach these
people if he doesn’t trust us. Therefore, if we’re not having a lot of success, it’s because we’re lacking one of two things: either we’re not obedient enough, or we’re not working enough. If I start having a hard time, I need to work more or be more obedient. So, every day I’m trying to be more obedient or work harder.
One person that’s really cool that we’re teaching is Welton. We contacted Welton on the street and started teaching him last week. My goodness, he’s awesome. When we teach, he basically knows everything, and he knows to trust in the Lord.
I can’t believe how quick our call went on Christmas! It definitely wasn’t 45 minutes; it was more like 5 minutes. I had tons of stuff I wanted to say and ask! Some questions: What did everyone get for Christmas? How does Alicia like Tennessee? How is Dad’s calling? Is that less active family you spoke to going to church now? How is Autumn doing with school? Did she finish Life of Pi? What has Amber been doing? How is Adam? Have you heard anything about Elders Olpin, Hodson, White, Barkdull, Morrey, Etc? We just didn’t get time to talk about anything!!! Is there anything else you want to know about the mission?
During the call, I got confused about which Christmas party you were talking about. The party on the 13th, I was NOT doing interviews. First, we had training. We went t a few different rooms, where we learned about teaching records and other things like that. Not fun. Then, President and Sister Cordon spoke to us. It was awesome! We had an amazing lunch, and then did this
secret Santa type thing. Where every missionary brought something for $3, or $4 and exchange with one another. I gave this thing of bubbles (the AP got it, he thought it was hilarious. LOL) and I got this desk clock that doesn’t work. Whatever. After that we all ent home. It was a ton of fun.
But wow, I hadn’t felt that homesick until when Elder Brino told me I had only 3 more minutes wit our call! WOW! It was really hard to end that call!
But, this work is amazing, and I am learning and growing so much. This work is truly of God, and brings a joy that I can’t really explain, within the center of my soul.
So, don’t worry about me, I’m doing fine! Keep writing and keep telling others to write me. I loooove letters!!
I’ve got to return to the work, but stay strong, and remember the Lord.
I love you so much!!!
Elder Twitchell
PS Sounds like you are doing a lot to help with the missionary work out there. That’s so great, keep helping the elders! They really appreciate it - I know they do! Tell them I say HI

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas.. Excited for phone call

December 21, 2011
Dear Family!
I am soooo excited for Sunday as well! I can see why they only let us call two times a year; it
definitely distracts your thoughts. But it´s not so bad, I´m focusing on the work.
I´m pretty sure it´s 5 hours behind, but just in case be ready! We get to talk only for 45 minutes, so yeah, be ready! I´ll try to talk fast so we can the time well!
That´s good that Alicia made it safe, it´s a long drive. I hope they like their new home! Tell them I
say hello. It´d be really really cool to Skype with them as well, but I’m not sure how that works, sooo we´ll see...
It sounds like you all are already ready for Christmas. I´m a little jealous, but it´s all good here
in Brazil. We are working a lot, which is really good. And also, the people here really like Christmas, and they basically have the same stuff here--lights, decorations, and Santa Claus. It´s not as intricate and crazy as in the USA, but they still have it. The main difference, really, is that it´s super-hot down here in Brazil. I think that today was our LONGEST day of the year, but I’m
not completely sure. The days are getting longer, though.
I can´t believe it though, I’ve already been here in Brazil for 1 month, and on the mission for 3
months. It´s weird, because the days themselves seem normal, but the weeks pass by soooo fast.
Leonardo did get baptized, it was really cool, and now, we only need to baptize his brother, Alex, and the whole family will be baptized! Alex is hard though, he likes to go out partying with friends, and doesn´t go to church, so we can´t work with him as much as we´d like. But my goodness, the rest of the family is soooo strong, I can´t even believe it. We hardly did any work, they were just ready. The other day we went to teach them a lesson, and we noticed that the two 10 year old twins were talking to some of their friends across the street. They saw us and came running up to us, and told us that they were being missionaries too. We asked them what they meant, and they said that they had been talking to their friends about Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ. What!!!!! lol, they´re already being member missionaries. And the father, Peterson, is just as good.
Lately, Elder Brino and I have been trying to have more lessons with members. The members here are great, but a lot of them are a little apprehensive about leaving with the missionaries. During Priesthood meeting, Elder Brino and I were trying to get people to sign up for hours that they could leave with us, and the response was tepid at best. But Peterson, in the back of the room, rose his hand, and we let him talk. Right then and there, he bore his testimony about how important it is to help the missionaries, because when the members came to teach him at his house, the spirit was so much stronger, and helped him decide to be baptized. My goodness, if that isn´t a miracle, I don´t know what is. After that, a lot more people were willing to sign up, and now, this week, we´re on track to teach at least 15 lessons with members, which is really
really good.
We´re not just teaching the Peterson Family, though. Each day, we´re teaching a lot of different
people, and a few of them are really, really cool, and have amazing stories of their own. But the Peterson Family is just amazing, so I talk about them a lot. I´m a little worried, though, because elder Brino and I have already had 7 baptisms since I’ve been here, but this is noooot normal at all, I just arrived at a really good time. So I’m afraid that if I’m not having so many baptisms each transfer, I’ll get discouraged. It´s not a big issue, but I’m realizing more and more how rare a family like the Peterson family is.
But yes, we teach lots of other people. We walk everywhere we go, and are talking with a lot of people on the street. This week, my goal is to talk with at least 100 people on the street this week. We also get addresses--from people on the street, or member references-- and we visit them. Each day, we´re teaching 3-5 lessons with people, and about half of these are new people. The problem is that a lot of times our investigators just don´t pray, read, or in general keep commitments, so we have to visit them less. We have to focus on the people that ARE progressing, so if they´re not... we kind of just leave them. This is the part that is the most difficult for me, because their good people. But really, we have to focus on the people that are willing to act with faith. It´s hard.
The language is going better, but still is hard. I´m learning all the time, but the more I learn, the
more I realize that I don´t know that much. The Lord is definitely helping me out, though.
I didn´t have time to write you a letter today, but I’m taking a lot of pictures, so next week I’ll
probably send them to you, and write a letter. I’m sorry; things are sooo crazy down here.
I´ve got to go!
Love you all lots!
Elder Twitchell
PS. For sure, we´re going to be doing Skype at 7 PM, so be ready
at 1 - 2 PM. We´ll be using the account elderbrino. So, just look out for this
account. Can´t wait!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Holidays!!! 5 Baptisms this week

December 14, 2011
Happy Holidays!
Christmas is just as big here as it is in the United States. They have Santa Claus (Papai Noel), lights, nativity plays, and Christmas carols. It´s sweet!
I did receive a package from Joylyn and Aaron, tell them thanks for the Ties! My whole zone is coveting my beautiful Christmas ties that they gave me :) I also got two packages from you guys, one with presents, and another with a stocking. Thanks a ton! I´m excited to cook some cookies. Yum! Tell Grandma Johnson Thanks for the money.
Here´s the deal with the e-mails. At the MTC, I was really spoiled, because I would print out your
letters in the morning, plan out what I was going to say to you before I actually wrote, and then I had an entire hour to just write and write. So, that´s why my letters were so long before. Here, I have 40 minutes to read everything I receive (including letters from you, letters from others, and
letters from our mission), write a letter to you, and write a letter to the mission president (mandatory). So, yeah, I don´t have much time to do everything. After all is said and done, I´m usually spending 20 minutes writing you guys, so it´s not that much time. I still want e-mails, from everyone! But yeah, it might be better if you write more in the handwritten letters, because then I´ll be able to respond better. I can´t print off e-mails anymore (it´s super expensive) so whatever you write here, I probably will only read it once. Sorry!
I think I´m also going to start writing handwritten letters more during P-day. I haven´t written one yet, but we certainly have time to, so next week, I´ll write something to you, and it´ll be long, ok! Sorry, I´m still trying to figure out how everything works down here in Brazil, and how to manage my time well, given the mission rules, money, time constraints, etc.. I think about you guys a lot, and I am really thankful for all the letters you send me!!
Maria and Patrique were not baptized. I think that they only said they wanted to be baptized because they wanted to please Elder Brino and I, but really, they aren´t ready, and they weren´t willing to keep all of the commandments. We basically had to drop them, which was really, really hard for me and Elder Brino, but even more so for Elder Brino. We still pass by every once in a while, and I think the YW president here is going to visit Maria and invite her to Mutual, but yeah, we´re not really teaching them anymore. It kind of sucks.
About the Peterson family... they got baptized this past Sunday! It was on the 11th. Anyway, Peterson, his wife Adriana, and their three daughters, Adrielle, Aline and Alissandra were all baptized. Their son, Leonardo, was going to be baptized, but Sunday morning his boss came to their house and told him he had to work. Satan is really trying to work on them! but, I think he will be baptized this Sunday, so it´s all good. Also, we started teaching their oldest son, Alex, yesterday, and hopefully he´ll get baptized as well. But it was soooo cool, their family is amazing. It was really funny, our ZL, Elder Rogers, did all the interviews, and after Aline and Alissandra (their twins, both 10 years old) were interviewed and passed, they ran up to me and hugged me. Ahhh, I broke the rule!!! It was funny. And, I baptized my first person ever--Aline Pareira Rei!
I was nervous because I did the prayer in Portuguese, and I wanted to say it right. Everything went great, it was such a spiritual experience!!!
The church is the organization of Jesus Christ, and so, when we do stuff
for the church, we´re working to strengthen Jesus Christ´s organization. So
yeah, it´s good! I didn´t realize this as much before my mission, but now I´m
really understanding how important our callings in the church are, and how
important it is to really magnify our callings. When we do our best, so many
people are blessed through our efforts.
Ok, I have to go, but I
promise I will write a loooong letter next week, and I´ll tell you all about
the Christmas conference we had yesterday. It was really, really cool! I´m
sorry I can´t write more, but I am praying for you always, so hopefully you
feel my prayers back home!
Love you all Lots!!!!
Elder Twitchell

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Third P-day December 7, 2011

Hey Family!
I don´t even know where to begin, it feels like so much has happened, but at the same time, it feels like no time at all has passed. I can´t believe I´m already on my third P-day! Que Isso!
So, I, in fact, did have clean clothes this week, which is a relief. I went one day having to use dirty garments, and it was horrible, I´m never going to do that again.
The woman we baptized is named Fernanda, and she is 23 years old. She had a hard situation going on for a while, because she had her twins, and was living with this guy who didn´t treat her well (I think, I´m still not understanding everything very well) but she broke up with him, and then somehow we got her reference, and went to teach her. It was really cool!
This past week we didn´t have a baptism, but we had two baptisms planned. It was with Maria and Patrique, who are part of this group of awesome teenagers that we teach. The problem is that they both were unsure about being baptized, but they didn´t tell us. Maria was iffy because she doesn´t like keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, because she likes to go shopping. Also, her dad doesn´t think she should be baptized, but he really doesn´t have custody over her. And Patrique wasn´t baptized because he was still drinking coffee. It was really hard for Elder Brino and I, though, because we were so hopeful about Maria. We planned her baptism for 7 PM on Sunday, and we went to go get her at 6, and she wasn´t there. We waited outside of her house until about 6:50 PM, when she finally arrived. She had been shopping. SO we talked to her a little bit, and how important sundays are. But really, we spoke to her yesterday about being baptized this coming Sunday, and she´s really reluctant, I don´t think she´ll get baptized. It´s really sad for me, but Elder Brino took it really really hard, because he had been teaching Maria for a while. So that kind of sucked. We´ll see about Patrique, though.
On a happier note, we have 6 other baptisms marked for Sunday. Yes, 6! We are teaching this awesome family, the Petersons (American name!?) and they are super super firm, I would be really surprised if they WEREN´T baptized at this point. They´re awesome, the family consists of Peterson and Adriana (the parents), their son, Leonardo, and their three daughters Adrielle, Alissandra e Aline. They´re awesome, they´re always trying to teach me new Portuguese
words. They think it´s so funny that I don´t know anything. haha.
So, I´m not sure Elder Brino´s middle names, but his first name is Felipe. Felipe Brino. He´s really great, although he get´s frustrated with me sometimes because I don´t know certain words when he´s telling me. The other day he pointed at his shoe and said ´borracha´. I had no idea what he was talking about, and I told him so. He just kept repeating Borracha, and they he pointed at a tire and said ´Borracha´. I still had no idea what he was talking about. I thought he was saying worn, because his shoes are definitely falling apart. But it turns out borracha means rubber. NOssa, how was I supposed to know that.
I don´t really know where I live, sorry! The street is Mandirituba, close to the crossing of Mandirituba and Izaak, but really, I don´t know my address. not important ;)
That´s really cool about your missionary moments, I am so glad that you guys are helping out the missionary effort. Really, it´s so much better when we have the members here helping us out. It makes all the difference in the world. I think 70-80% of all baptisms world-wide come from member referrals. So, keep doing the missionary work!
The church dinner sounds fun! We had one this past saturday too, but the whole time, we were getting investigators to come, and also we did some baptismal interviews for our Zone leaders, so we didn´t really get to eat all that much. The food here is great though, it really isn´t that much different. Of course, they eat Beans and rice everyday, but it´s good. The number one thing that´s different is the milk, the milk is kind of... thin. It´s not as good as US milk, that ´s for sure.
I actually already know a couple of the missionaries in that list you sent. Elder Rogers is one of our Zone Leaders. He´s a really good missionary, he loves to work, and he´s helped me out a lot to learn how things operate here in the field. He´s been great. I also know Elder Christensen, he´s in my zone. I haven´t got to know him that much, but he´s really nice, so that´s good. And I definitely am looking forward to meeting Elder Patton. I also hope that Sister Patton comes out soon, that will be great! it´d be cool to see her at our Christmas party on the 13th.
Ok, I have to go soon, but a few things real quick:
Elder Brino wants a couple of journals, like the one I have (with Jesus on the Front). He said he would pay me back if you sent him a couple of Journals, so if you can do that, that´d be great! but, wait until next week, because if you send a package, there might be some stuff that I need, so you can send them with the Journals.
Also, there is a member here that claims to Know Eric King. His name if Nefi Ugarte. Ask Eric King if he knows him:
One more thing. So, on Christmas I´ll be able to Skype you guys from a member house!!! But we have to arrange everything through e-mail. I don´t really know where we´re going to do skype yet here, but I´ll tell you as soon as I know. We´ll probably be doing skype during the afternoon sometime here, which will be earlier for you guys. I don´t know exactly how much, but this would be a good thing to consider. You guys can tell me a specific hour that would be better, and I can try to call you then.
Ok, I gotta go! I love you all so much! Keep praying and reading your scriptures!
Elder Twitchell!!!
PS. I thought you might enjoy this, the other day, we were in a members house, and their TV was playing some sort of Brazillian Soap opera. I glanced over at the TV for a moment, and in the Soap opera, there were two kids watching Avatar: The Last Airbender!!! the episode, to be exact, was the Avatar State.
This told me two things:
1) God Loves me
2) they have Avatar here.