Monday, June 24, 2013

President Cordon's last week

June 24, 2013


  So you got to see the Missionary transmission yesterday?  We all got to go, it was fun, the whole zone was there, with a ton of youth, and ward and stake leaders.  I liked it a lot, but a lot of the things they said, especially about technology, will take a long time to get here in Brazil.  I don´t think I’ll see that many changes here.  I liked how they were focusing a lot on the MEMBERS working in missionary work.  I´m hoping that the Lord will bless me with more baptisms after the mission as well. But, for now, my responsibilities are here in Tatuquara.

  We had a lot of success with less-active members this week.  We´ve been working with a less active young-man in our ward.  Let´s call him John. (I think I should be a bit more discretionary with the names of the people I use).  Some of the youth in our ward know John from seminary, so they were excited and willing to help us out in bringing John to church.  We visited John with these youth, and we invited him to come to Church, and also to talk to the bishop at Church about going to the Temple.  Yesterday, these same youth from our ward went to go get John in the morning, and brought him to Church.  And, without any incentive on OUR part, these youth encouraged John to go talk to the Bishop.  As I was leaving the Chapel, I saw the Bishop speaking with him in his office.  I felt great about being able to help him, because like was said yesterday during the transmission, the same celebration in Heaven that comes with someone getting baptized happens when someone takes the sacrament worthily.

  Elder Rex and I have been going great this week.  We´ve been sharing ideas with each about how we can work more effectively with the members.  The focus of the transmission yesterday seemed to be on how the ward and the missionaries can work together more fully and effectively together, so we´re already making goals to involve more the ward.  It was good, because yesterday our Ward Mission Leader took us to and from the transmission, so during the car ride after, we discussed some plans to put in practice what the Prophet and Apostles taught.  It was exciting.

  There have been some political demonstrations here in Brazil this whole past week, in several cities, including Curitiba.  But you don´t need to worry about me, I’m far away from where the protests are at, the protests are more in downtown Curitiba, where there are a bunch of stores and stuff.  Everyone´s been talking about it here, and a lot of people are going to participate in these protests, including a youth from our ward (he was there at the beginning of the protests when it was peaceful.  As soon as they started getting violent, he left).  Besides everyone talking about the protests here, the work continues the same.

  This is the Last week of President Cordon.  How sad!  We do know that our new mission president is from São Paulo, but besides that, I don´t know anything about him.  I´m also not exactly sure about what´s going to change for ME next week.  But, next Thursday, we should already be having Leadership Council with him, so I’ll be able to tell you more.  I don´t think that the Temple is in our mission boundaries anymore, and I’m not sure if I get to go again.  But I think that we´ll still be able to go.  We´ll see!  Elder Barkdull is in Curitiba South, and Elder Hobbs is in Curitiba North.

  It must be hard for you guys, now, being empty-nesters.  It´s hard.  That´s exciting for Autumn, though, that she got to meet Quentin L. Cook.  But that´s a lot of pressure living with his granddaughter, she´s going to have to do everything perfect!  I´m sure that she´ll be hearing more about him.  Elder Olpin was dating Elder Holland’s granddaughter.  A lot of times she would send texts to Elder Holland, asking questions, and he would respond.  Neat, huh!?

  Well, I’ve gotta run!!!  LOVE YOU LOTS.  





Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Progress in Tatuquara

June 17, 2013

Hey family!

  I think Elder Rex likes the new area.  We made a lot of progress in Tatuquara.  We focused a lot this week in finding out which of our investigators really are willing to change and repent, and which ones are not quite willing or ready.  The reason we´re doing this is because we have a BIG teaching group, but many of these investigators we´ve been teaching a while now, and haven´t kept commitments with us.  We have stopped visiting some of them, so that we have more time to focus on new families who are ready to be baptized now.  We discovered that even though each week we were teaching the lessons we needed to, these lessons weren´t leading to baptisms, or investigators at Church.

  We´re hoping that if we focus more time on finding new families, we´ll see more progress and baptisms in our area.  This week the Lord has already blessed us with two new families.  One of these families is a new couple that is living with members in our ward.  They´re names are Wallison and Manoele, and they are doing great.  They came to church last week, but yesterday they didn´t come because the members they are living with didn´t come as well (they all woke up late.  Come on!  :P ).  However, we had a family night with them this week, which was fun.  We watched the film ´´The Restoration´´ with them, and then we ate Lasagna.  They´re also reading the Book of Mormon, which in and of itself is a miracle.  We´re way excited for them, they have a lot of potential to get baptized.  We have their baptismal date marked for 30 of June, at the end of the month.  The members they´re living with are already planning the after-baptism-party!  ;)

  Mario and Cleane are going better this week too.  Mario, unfortunately, had a relapse with alcohol, but he´s super sorry about it, and they all came to church yesterday.  This week we´re going to get everything ready so that they can get married next month.

  Elder Ryan Rex has been amazing, I think we´re going to be able to accomplish a lot this transfer.  I´m going to use the Rush Hour analogy again, but with a twist--this time, I’m playing the role of the sassy black guy, and he´s more like the Jackie Chan.  And again, just wait for the photo to see why.  I think Elder Rex´s greatest strength is study and planning.  He thinks things out beforehand, and likes to really hone in on what the investigator is needing to progress.  He´s teaching me a lot!  Also, i think out of all of my companions, he likes companionship studying the most.  The entire hour that we study together, we´re practicing.  He has just 7 months on the mission, but he´s already got this whole missionary thing down.

  In my personal study, I’ve been learning more about having Charity for investigators, and working WITH investigators instead of THROUGH them (in other words, focusing on the person, instead of the numbers).  It´s interesting, because Charity, like Faith, leads to action.  We have to be willing to work hard and make sacrifices to really have charity for our investigators.  And, a lot of the time, it´s kind of hard to really love someone you´re teaching.  It´s pretty easy to love someone when there´s no commitment, and you´re just kind of hanging out together, eating food, or playing video games.  But, when you´re calling is to invite someone to change their life and follow Christ, the relationship is a lot different.  If they´re prideful, our call to repentance is not received well.  Also, it´s a lot easier for us to see someone´s defects and flaws.  However, we have to love, love, love them, and be willing to work hard to help them with their difficulties. This kind of attitude will reflect in our teaching.  Our investigators will likely not want to go to church or get baptized, if our objective is just to show off to other missionaries.  But if our objective is sincere worry and love for them, and a true desire to help them, they´ll see that.  I´ve been trying to apply this in our teaching, and I’m seeing how it is important.

  This week was kind of funny, because on Saturday, apparently Brasil played against Japan in Soccer.  Japan lost, so since the game, everyone has been making fun of Elder Rex, because he has Japanese ancestry.  It´s been pretty funny to me, but maybe not so much for him.

  In our zone are a bunch of new trainers.  Wow, I’m way excited with all of the missionaries in the zone.  Elder Woodruff is training here, Elder Little also is in the zone, training an American named Elder Ritchie.  Elder Reeves came also, and is training a Brazilian.  There´s also two other Elders, Elder Wurdel and Elder Carvalho, both of whom are training new missionaries.  I love having new missionaries in the Zone, because they´re a lot more willing to learn and work.  Old missionaries may bring wisdom and experience to the zone, but they also bring tiredness and laziness.  The oldest people in the zone are Me and Elder Little, and neither of us are tired nor lazy, so we don´t have this problem anymore.

  Our District leaders are Elder Woodruff and Elder Little.  I feel like I can trust them :P

  Well, tell me how it is when Autumn goes to college.  I think I can safely guess that Mom´s going to start crying  :)

  LOVE YOU ALL LOTS!  Happy Father´s day to dad!


  Elder Twitchell

Monday, June 10, 2013

Curitiba South Mission

Curitiba Mission is being Split July 01, 2013 so there is a lot of excitement with what missions everyone is going to be assigned to.  Elder Twitchell will be in Curitiba South Mission
? --   Elder Little  --  Elder Twitchell  --  Elder Woodruff  --  Elder Vighetto
Avram trained 3 of these Elders

Another Friend, Elder Yesquens.  He was in my district in Bom Pastor.  He´s the best Peruvian I know

This is Elder Lake!  He´s one of the secretaries, but he´s going to stay in the Curitiba North mission.  He´s a great friend
June 10, 2013
June 10, 2013
Dear Family,
  Well, I stayed here in Tatuquara one more transfer!!!  So that means that I’m going to be in the Curitiba South mission.  Elder Rodrigues got transferred, and now I’m with an American from Washington named Elder Rex.  I´m waay excited to be with Elder Rex, I have a feeling that the Baptisms will be raining from the heavens these next couple of months.  He has been on the mission for just 5 transfers (about 7 months) and already is a Zone Leader.  I´m excited to start working with him.
  Today, during the transfer meeting, I saw a lot of familiar faces.  A lot of missionaries going home, unfortunately :(  I felt old, seeing this group of missionaries finishing the mission.  Elder Sudweeks, Elder Soares da Silva, Elder Veiga, Sister Mulhstein.  Not to mention President Cordon and Sister Cordon.  They bore their testimonies to us today, the spirit was so strong.  It was sad to see them all saying goodbye (even though President and Sister Cordon will be here for another three weeks.)  But I do have some good news.  At the transfer meeting was also Elder Little, Elder Woodruff, AND Elder Vighetto.  And each one of them is going to train!!!!!!!!  Wooohooo!  Oh man, I was suuuper happy to see this.  I feel like an accomplished trainer.  There are a TON of new missionaries coming.  Tomorrow will arrive 28 missionaries, and there are 20-30 missionaries waiting for their Visas.
  Well, this week in our area, the Lord was helping us out quite a bit.  We´ve been asking for referrals this whole transfer, and until this week we only received two or three.  But this last weekend, a few members came forward and gave us several referrals, which we´re going to visit.  It was great!  And yesterday, the members brought a new family to Church, so we got to know this new family, and we´re going to visit them during the week.  They had a lot of interest in the Book of Mormon.  That’s good, because I like to GIVE the Book of Mormon.  We´re really excited with these referrals.  It´s refreshing when the Members bring people to Church.  It reminds that we´re all working for the same goal, it´s just that we as missionaries doing it 24/7.
  Besides these referrals, we have been helping out our existing investigators this week progress for baptism.  We have a couple, Tiago and Larissa, that are going to get their Birth Certificate this week (we were waiting for them to get together money for get the certificate), and soon after we´re already going to mark the marriage.  It´s time for them to get baptized.
  We found a man this week named Aparecido, who came to Church yesterday.  He had visited the church for three months about two years ago, but stopped coming.  We found him street-contacting, and he has a lot of potential to be baptized in the coming weeks.  He´s pretty down in the dumps, because his Mother died a few months ago, and he started drinking again.  But since we started visiting him, he´s already stopped drinking. 
  So yeah, our area is doing well.  This past week I’ve been thinking a lot about integrity (partly because of a talk that Elder Woodruff gave me, from Elder Tad R. Callister about integrity), and studying about this trait.  It´s so important!  It is our spiritual and moral strength--are we steadfast and immoveable, do we do the right things even when others aren´t looking, do we stay true to our word?  I liked a statement in this talk that says that in a written contract, you can find loopholes, but in our Word should never have loopholes.  I´ve been thinking about this a lot.  How much better would the world be if we all had integrity?  There wouldn´t be people taking advantage of one another, putting on a mask of falsity, backstabbing.  They’re wouldn´t be corruption in politics, business, etc.  It´s an interesting trait to think about.
  Well, I’ve gotta go.  I hope all is well with you guys!  I´m loving the mission more every moment.  It´s not always easy, but it´s the best thing you can do.  I´m so thankful for this time I have to serve the Lord.  Stop getting sad that I’m gone, I’ll be home soon!  But I still have families that need to get baptized.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Last Interview with President Cordon

Elder Barkdull  --  Elder Twitchell  --  Elder Hobbs
Missionaries that were in his MTC Zone
Elder Twitchell with President Cordon (who goes home July 1)

Elder Twitchell  --  Elder Trevisanut (from the MTC)
June 03, 2013
BOM DIA! How is everyone doing!

Here in Tatuquara, our area has been progressing a lot. We´ve been able to work more closely with the ward this week, going on splits with our Ward Mission Leader, Eder, and the 2nd councilor in the bishopric, Serginho. We had a meeting with Eder this week as well, which helped us coordinate better with the ward. We discussed the needs of our investigators, and we received input from Eder, finding ways that the ward could help us more. With these kinds of meetings, and bringing new investigators to Church, we hope to conquer the confidence of the members. It´s always fun to remember members about their missionary obligations.

Well, this week we had Leadership council, so I got to see everyone again--Elder Little, Hobbs, Barkdull, Trevisanut, etc. The council was great, it was exactly what I needed to turn our area more effective. We learned a lot about effective teaching, using questions and adapting our teaching according to our investigators needs. Elder Rodrigues and I have been putting into practice the various principles we learned. A lot of times, when we´re teaching, there is a gap between what we´re saying, and what the investigator is understanding. We talk and talk and talk about the Plan of Salvation, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, etc, but the investigator gets lost! They´ve never heard of this Mormon Bible or good ole Joe Smith before! But through questions, that gap is eliminated.

Another topic that we learned at the council was the process of marriage here in Brazil, which is something our investigators have a lot of problems with. We have to be the leaders, the light to the people that we teach, so we have to help them, by the hand, to make these big steps in life. The same night after the Council, we visited Mario and Cleane, a family that we´ve been teaching for a while. We sat down with them, explained the whole process of marriage, and we got all of the documents that we needed. We told them that we would make the call to get their birth certificate, and set specific dates for our plans. I think that we scared them a little bit, being so direct and effective. But they could see that we were there to help them get baptized, and they immediately got excited about getting married and baptized again.

I had my last interview with President Cordon this week which was great! I took advantage, and talked a LOT with him! He also redid my Temple recommend. It´s valid until three months after I finish the mission. I also asked him what advice he would give me, if I was going home right now (because my LAST interview will be with another mission president, so it won´t be the same. I wanted to know what President Cordon would tell me). He told me to focus on 5 things after the mission, and if I focused on these things, I’d be happy. These five things are:

1)Temple Marriage! Don´t procrastinate

2)Temple Attendance! Less than once a month probably isn´t good. Also, I have a temple really close to me in Provo, so I don´t have an excuse

3)Education! Don´t put it off.

4)Calling! Don´t ever be without a calling. My first Sunday back, I should go to the bishop and ask for a calling.


Thank goodness I don´t have to think about ANY of this for the next few months.

I can´t think of anything funny, but I am sad that President Cordon is going home, I can´t imagine the mission without him. I took a picture with him at the Council, along with some other missionaries, just in case I don´t see them again before the mission splits.

Other questions:

Do I wish that I brought a blanket?

No, there are a lot of blankets here on the mission. I think bringing a blanket would be a waste of space in my suitcase.


I liked my Ecco slip on shoes best, because it was easier to get ready quicker. Also, if my shoes were all muddy, it was a lot easier to take them off. Whatever kind of shoe you get, be prepared to throw that shoe away, or at least switch the sole. I have yet to see a pair of shoes last the WHOLE two years.

When do I find out which mission I’ll be?

Well, the mission itself splits 1 of July, but our next transfer day is 10 of June (next week), so everyone will pretty much know which mission they´ll be in next week. According to the spirit of prophecy which is in me, I am 100% sure that I’ll be in Curitiba South, staying here in Tatuquara.

Well, I gotta run, but I love you all LOTS! Have a great week, tell me the news about the ward and family and everything! I pray for you guys everyday!