Brazil Fortaleza East Mission

This blog will share my experiences for the next 2 years while on my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the people of the Brazil Fortaleza East Mission.

I will start my mission with 6 weeks in the Sao Paulo Brazil Missionary Training Center (MTC), where I will learn to speak Portuguese and receive training on teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am very privilaged to be able to do this, as it will be a great opportunity for me to grow as individual, all while bringing others to Christ. My mission is to share the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Brazil, as well as serve them as Christ would serve them. I am very excited for this opportunity and hope to do my very best.

Elder Daynen Biggs

Thursday, December 31, 2015

December 2015 - Christmas in the Field

7 December 2015

This Week

Hey, hows it going? Cool! 
This week was very uneventful, as in I honestly don’t know what to say.  Its getting pretty hard to think of cool stuff that’s happened because its like, right now: Im training.  That IS the thing that’s happening.  And that'll be for the next 10 weeks.  So... Ill just talk about that :)

I love Elder Rodrigues!  He is really turning out to be my favorite companion.  Who until now was other Elder Rodrigues :)  He just BARELY turned 18 and is really cool.  He's going through the whole start-of-the-mission  thing, but he’s a lot better than I was when I got here.

Sorry for the short letter.  Im saving all the good stuff for Christmas!   See you next week!

Elder Biggs

14 December 2015

Another Week

E ai? (that means what’s up) Glad to hear from you guys, I really do love hearing about what’s going on back at home, don’t have to worry about long letters (Dad), if im running low on time, I just wont read it all :)

So this week was another week of just work.  Elder Rodrigues and I are really good friends at this point.  Id like to think that he doesn’t hate my guts, but there's probably a couple times when he doesn’t like me too much, but whatever.  Part of the experience.

Right now we're working with a woman in a rich neighborhood named Valésia.  She is a young mom and is absolutely eating up everything that we and the church are offering to her.  The only problem is that she isn’t married to her husband (super freaking common here) but she received a very strong answer to her question if the Book of Mormon is true and is half way through 2 Nephi!  She is the one with the cool dog named Mike, here’s a photo:

​He's a super rare type of dog called Shah pay or something mandarin or something.  I don’t know exactly...

This week we also did a service project where I used a normal shirt in the sun all day.  Well its been awhile since my neck has been exposed to the sun so... 

Yeah, that isnt feeling very good right now.

Oh and you guys have to send this to DeWitt.  The ward secretary here is named Theo (pronounced tell).  He served his mission in Argentina and got back just a little over a year ago.  I asked which mission he served in and asked if he knew and Elder Evans.  He said "Was he a secretary?" I said yes, and he got super excited when I told him he was my cousin!  So: DeWitt, Elder Da Silva told me to call you a "Bunda Mole" I'm sure you know what that means.  Also, he told me some pretty funny stories...

Alright I gotta go.  I love you guys, Dad, if you could send me the skype info thatd be great.  Next week we can get all set up for that!

Elder Biggs

21 December 2015

Good Week

This week was a very good week that I would like to start by sharing a picture of me eating "Tapioca" (basically starch cooked like a pancake) with eggs - a delight here in the Northeast of Brazil - with my instate hat and hammock:

Anyways, Tuesday was our Christmas Conference.  Super cool and super spiritual.  We started with pancakes with honey (they don’t have maple here) and later on watched Kung Fu Panda! A MOVIE!!!  The conference lasted all day and was a really cool experience.  Tempted me to stay for next year's too!

This here is Elder Amaral, who’s basically my best friend right now.  He lives in the same house as me and super cool!

The rest of the week was pretty normal.  We’ve been talking with this mom, Valécia, for the last week or two and she was nervous of what her husband would think when he got home from a business trip.  But when he got here he was very prepared and the two are really excited at the idea of Temple marriage.

I'm pretty much all out of time now, but it’ll be a lot easier to talk to you guys this Friday.  I love you guys so much and I'll so you guys this week!

Elder Biggs

Ready for Christmas!

28 December 2015

Christmas is Different Here

Skype Call!
So ever since I can remember, Dad’s always been telling me how magical Christmas on the mission is.  And receiving emails from my friends in the field in the US, the same thing.  But here... well... its a lot different.  Basically, here there’s a big party the night of Christmas eve, a huge dinner at 10-11pm, the at midnight they trade presents (secret santa) Then sleep, wake up at noon have a big lunch, the Christmas ends.  After noon, everything was totally normal.  People drinking and partying in the road, just like all the other holidays.  It kinda made me sad to see that no one really thinks about Christ on Christmas (even less than in the US) but maybe it’s all good and I'm just not used to it here.  But this is my last Christmas so, its whatever!

The day after Christmas I woke up extremely sick.  I was so weak and so bad that I couldn’t even sit down and study.  I called President and he told me not to eat anything or drink anything for the rest of the day.  Anyways, it started with the worst diarrhea of my life, followed by very painful vomiting.  And it was worse because I wasn’t vomiting anything.  I think it was like what happened to Mom when she was a kid (if I remember the story right) [dry heaving] anyways, that night I was (trying) to throw up and a tiny little thing came out and I instantly felt a hundred times better!  Apparently I ate something that wasn’t supposed to be eaten, and my body was like, "no no no no no no!"  So yesterday and today Im still pretty wasted, but its getting there :)  Fun mission stories!

All right, I gotta go.  It was so cool talking to you guys and I'm so excited to see you guys again in 5 months!

Elder Biggs

Me and Wedekind are pretty bummed about not be able to see Star Wars, so we made this.  I also should point out that this is COMPLETELY in camera.  That means there are ZERO effects on this photo.  Not photoshop, at all!

Monday, November 30, 2015

November 2015 and the One Year Mark!

9 November 2015


So last P-day we invited Elder Wedekind and his comp to finally make Missouri Cookies.  I was way nervous to mess up but it actually turned out REALLY good!  And the best part is that I only used half of the peanut butter!  So I can make it again!  But send more, because that was good! 

Other than that this week has been a pretty good week.  We've been working like crazy and having lots of success.  We have a few rules here from President that are 1, mark 4 baptismal dates every day.  And 2, invite 40 people to church on Friday and Saturday.  Last week we invited 40 people and had lots of people at church.  This week we worked crazy hard to mark 4 dates every day and because of that were blessed to meet tons of new people.  But we didn’t invite a lot people to church, and because of that we had almost no one at church, which ruined a TON of the dates (because you need to go to church two times before baptism).  We're learning in a very real way to be exactly obedient.  President told me today that I need to be 100% obedient starting today.  Which I am to everything in the handbook, but definitely can improve in the counsel that President gives.

One other cool thing to add.  We marked a date with this kid who seemed a little emo, but whatever.  Then after we marked the date, another (raging fruit basket) comes in, kisses him, then leaves.  And we're like, dang it, he's gay.  But we're still teaching him, so Ill let you know how that goes.  But wait there’s more.  We found 2 lesbians while knocking on doors who are atheists.  But  their super cool, and found the Book of Mormon really interesting.  It’s cool because I’ve had tons of atheist friends so I knew how to explain things to them. 

Alright, 40 minutes is up, but I love you guys and will talk to you next week! 
(6 weeks til Christmas)

Elder Biggs 

16 November 2015

Good Week

This was a pretty good week.  Already the 5th of the transfer, which means next week someone might be transferred.  In our house there is me and Elder Calixto, Elder Amaral and Elder Ramirez.  In this instance, I'm Elder Johnson, and Calixto is Elder Vanpelt from the Best two years.  Then Elder Amaral is one of the coolest missionaries Ive ever met who is also our District leader, and Elder Ramirez is basically Barney from the Andy Griffith Show.  So, yeah!
Last P-Day, me and Amaral played ping pong just about all day, until it turned into Mortal-Combat-Ping-Pong.  That was fun until we both hurt ourselves (seriously...).  Another cool thing was that we had headed to a favela to teach someone and their grandpa had been burned their trash (which is normal here) so naturally we helped (see first picture). Wednesday was Elder Ramirez' birthday so me and Calixto went home about 10 minutes early to set up a surprise party for him.  Cake, candles, coke, Christmas tree, it was cool!

So this week we had been teaching a couple young men when their sister and 2 of her friends showed up.  One of the friends told us that she was baptized, had been praying and thinking the day before what God wanted her to do, and she found us.  We told her that she had to come back to church and that her sister (one of the other girls had to be baptized.  They both went to church yesterday and she is excited to be baptized!

So that was my week written in like 40 seconds!  Oh, one more thing.  Here in Brazil the sewage isn’t under ground in a lot of places but just flows on the side of the road (gross right?).  Anyways almost a year has past and I have never step or tripped in the gutter. Well what do you know it?  2 days ago we're leaving a house and FWOOP! my foot falls in the gutter and I fall flat on my face!  I ripped my pants on the right leg and hurt my knee, but we were in a hurry, so I just kinda jumped up and we kept going.  Good stuff :)   And yes, I washed my shoe :P
Alright I gotta go. I love you guys and I'll talk to you in 5 weeks!

Elder Biggs
Fire!  The fire actually got so big and so hot that 1) I wasn’t able to get any closer, and 2) the neighboring buildings fire alarm went off.  It was AWESOME!
Me with Hulk.  I know we look alike, but Im the one with the zits.

23 November 2015

One Year!

Me with Hulk. I know we look alike, but Im the one with the zits.
So this last week I finally hit the one year mark!  It was super cool because Elder Wedekind is here in the same district.  A member in his ward invited us to her house for dinner and we had barbeque and burned a shirt (that Wedekind found in his house).   Also I discovered that the rule of the mission isn’t that you cant EAT Oreos, just that you cant buy them with mission money.  So I bought R$10 of Oreos which won me a free Oreo BAG!!!  Its awesome, because its a bag, but with Oreo!  Im not sure Ill be able to send pictures, but I'll try.   

The other thing, I was walking down the street a couple weeks ago and found a shop selling movies.  And in the front of the shop were a bunch of movie posters including one of the Avengers (in Portuguese: Os Vengadores: Era de Ultron)  I asked how much and she said R$5.  SO I was like, I'll come back tomorrow. Well the next day, we returned and they had moved locations to a place that I didn’t recognize.  Well on Thursday were walking down the street (me still sad about the poster) when we come across a new store selling the same thing. It actually took me a minute to put two and two together before I realized it was the same store :P  So I totally bought it!  OH MY GOSH Its pretty cool. Hanging over my bed right now :D

A couple other things, they cut our power on Monday, so we went a few days without energy.  That was cool, sleeping without a fan to keep the mosquitoes away.  Another thing was that we had interviews with President.  Now this is rare, Ive only had 3 interviews with him in 1 year (excluding the first day in the field).  It was really cool, and afterwards we had a training with him.  When we started the interview, President Fusco said that he was sick, I was too,  and afterwards I ended up getting really sick.  Im not sure what it was exactly.  Probably just the cold (for the millionth time.) ut Im still sick and my voice is crazy weird.  But gotta work, so, doesn’t really change anything.

The only other thing is that we baptized this week. I think I talked about this last week, but 2 girls found US in someone’s house and said that one was already a member and the other was baptized, but lost the records, so we went ahead, reactivated one and baptized the other.  They're both super excited to come back to church, it feels like 2 baptisms.

Anywho, Im just about out of time.  I love you guys and will talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs

30 November 2015


So this week has got a couple surprises. Tuesday, the package arrived which I opened and read all the letters.  Thank you so much, I really liked it.  I didn’t open any of the presents yet, they'll wait until Christmas.

Elder Rodrigues and I
The other thing.  I received a phone call from our zone leaders that Elder Calixto was being transferred, and that I was going to train!  So we headed over to the stake center here and found a big group of new missionaries including lots of Americans and another Elder Rodrigues.  Anyways, we did a lot of training without know who our comps would be and I slept with them at the mission house.  I was called the big brother because I was the oldest missionary in the house.  The next day, we arrived at the stake center and they announced the companions.  I was one of the first ones < "Elder Biggs will train Elder... Rodrigues"  And I was like, "No WAY!" So I now have 2 Elder Rodrigueses (Remember, Hod-ree-gez).  Anyways, training is really hard, but its also really cool.  He's a lot like me, having a little hard time adjusting but is doing ok.  He was with his family just 3 weeks ago, so its a little different for Americans who already have a month down.

Our baptism this week, Wesley, who was baptized by his uncle

A couple other cool things.  Our Zone Leader Elder Padilla went home this last week so our new ZL is Elder Camargo!  We had a great chat about his son (who he trained) Trindade, and how to train and stuff.  Super cool.

Also, we found a pug, like super pug, like all those rolls and stuff, at a investigators house, and his name:  Mike!  They even called him Mikey!  I tried to take a picture but we ran out of time...
Also, we were eating lunch and there was something a little strange about it.  I asked and they told us what we were eating, and guess what it was.  Pork Blood!  Like the kind that Rhett and Link ate.  It was pretty nasty, but I ate 2 times anyway. 

One more thing.  Last night, we were heading home and another drunk dude with 2 other drunk guys tried to rob us last night.  hey were like pass you hone and your watches, and we were just kina like, he doesn’t even have a gun.  So I said ok, then we took off running.  When we got home we found Amaral and Ramirez and told them, yeah we almost got robbed again, but I just barely got this new cell phone, I will not give it up again!    So yeah good stuff.

Ok, Gotta go,  Love you guys and I'll talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs

-Elder Rodrigues and I

-Our baptism this week, Wescley, who was baptized by his uncle

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 2015 in Castelão

12 October, 2015

Frozen Hot Chocolate

This last week had some interesting stuff happen.  I will try to send pictures with this:
Wednesday we got home and Elder Da Hora went to use the bathroom.  While he was "busy" a rat ran from the corner into our room.  We then spent the next 10 minutes trying to kill it, which we finally did by throwing a flip-flop at it.  Here, if you find a rat you have got to kill it, or it might get other people sick and kill them.  It was a cute little guy, but, he had to go.  This is the 2nd rat we’ve killed here.  (I wont send it, but I totally took a picture)

About a week ago we stopped by a soccer field and watched a group of kids playing soccer for a bit (missionaries cant play soccer, and no one here plays basketball, so that’s lame).  But we ended up teaching them and a couple of them are looking really good.  We talked with the family of one of them who is also looking pretty good.  This is a picture of Martinez (Mar-cheenz) who I call Tony for no reason.

We also had a mission conference this week with a special guest.  And when we arrived there, it was President Swensen!  From the MTC!  And another cool thing, is that President Swensen was President Fusco's Mission President!  So it was really cool to see the two of them together.
Then after the conference, I decided it was time!
I made frozen Hot Chocolate and Oh Boy! Was it good!  Everyone except Elder Da Hora liked it (which was good for us because we got to have more) but it was super cool. The guy in the middle is Elder Amaral our new District Leader who is super cool!  He likes to think about crazy stuff like me, so we get along really well.  and the other is Elder Rameirez from Equador.  He's super crazy sometimes and super quiet sometimes, we get along pretty well also!

The other day we also got to paint a big wall.  That’s all I really got to say about that, but it was fun.

But that was my week!  The transfer ended yesterday so now starts a transfer really special.  3 days before the transfer ends will mark one year!  Me and Wedekind and I are excited!  I love you guys and will talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs


19 October, 2015

Internet for Just 40 Minutes Now...

Hey, so missionaries have been doing bad stuff on the internet so President Fusco is cracking down on everyone.  For the next 3 weeks we only have 40 minutes of internet time, and if things don’t get better in 3 weeks it’ll be 15 minutes, then 3 more weeks it’ll just be letters.  But it'll probably stay at 40 minutes.  President said that he couldn’t do that to our moms.

So the biggest news is that after emailing last week, we got a phone call that said that Elder Da Hora was transferred.  He left about an hour later and I stuck with Elder Amaral and Rameirez (our roommates) for the next 2 days.  My new comp arrived from Crato Tuesday night at 11:30.   His name is Elder Calixto (Cal-ee-stow), hes Brazilian and has 8 months on the mission, which means I'm senior *what what*  He's pretty much Mr Bean.  So we get along really well.  He really is though the goofiest little guy that Ive ever met.  He's 21 and is the only member in his family.

As for things that happened this week, we've been finding lots of new people to teach and baptize (we've got a few people getting ready to get baptized this week).But really the only thing worthy of note is that yesterday we got robbed.  These 2 drunk guys assaulted us (with a finger gun) and we'd just leave but they had me by the hand and had Elder Calixto's bag before we had a chance to do much of anything.  They just took our cell phone from 2001 but it really leave us annoyed.  Today we had a conference and President laid down the law and cut our internet.  Also, while leaving I ran into Sister Nevin!  She didn’t know Portuguese yet so we talked while walking back to the bus stop.  It was cool.

Anyway, there's my 40 minutes.  I love you guys and will talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs
Me with Sister Nevin
(Sister Nevin is Daynen's cousin's cousin- small world!)

26 October 2015

One Year From Today

One year from today at about 10am (give or take 2 hours) all of you will be waiting at the airport for a tall(er than Tayte), super skinny Elder in a dirty suit.  Elder Wedekind is sitting next to me right now and told me that we'll be heading home on October 25th, 2016, and that we'll be arriving one year from today!  So... YEAH!  We're not trunky!

Anyways, this week went pretty well!  We've been working really really hard.  Remember how everyone said the Trindade is the worst area in the mission?  Well everyone is now saying that the Castelão stake is the worst stake in Fortaleza, and that the Castelão ward is the worst ward in the stake.  So we're trying to change that.  We're working with 4 couples right now who will start the month-long process of marriage next week.  So hopefully here in a month we'll have 8 baptisms!  This week we taught the owner of Milo, the dog who ate my foot, and she was baptized!  I have a goal to baptize 6 more people before I hit 1 year.  So it'll be crazy.

Speaking of working hard.  One thing we like to do pretty much everyday is pass by the grocery store here and go to the little snack-bar (I don’t remember the actual name) in the back and buy 2 Reais of food and 1 liter of Coke in he glass bottle.  Its a good way to relax and its only R$4 per day.
Well, I'm gonna head out with the whole 40 minutes thing.  I love you guys and will see you in one year.  *what what*

Elder Biggs

There wont be pictures today because either the computer or my sd card is broken.  Lets hope its the computer...

2 November, 2015

Halloween Week
So I had completely forgotten that this week was Halloween until Makenna told me last Monday.  I was like, "Oh Yeah!"  Here they don’t celebrate Halloween very much, but the Brazilian equivalent to Day of the Dead today.  But on the bright side, Christmas season started yesterday so we totally put up our missionary Christmas tree (I'll try to send a picture but I'm not sure I'll be able).

So on Tuesday, we had a Seventy visit our mission.  Elder Campos.  He talked with us about a bunch of stuff, we had lunch, then after lunch he started talking about something really important.  He said that the 70 has a training with the Apostles a week before every General Conference.  And usually they all talk about different stuff, but this year they ALL talked about one thing.  The Sabbath.  Elder Campos showed us Exodus 12:13 (switch the word token for sign), and Exodus 31:12-13 (in Portuguese token and sign are the same word).  Basically the destroying angel is out and about now like how he was in Egypt, and in those days the sign protecting everyone was the blood on their door, but now its the Sabbath.  So I'm gonna really make sure that you guys keep the Sabbath day holy because IM the first born and I don’t wanna die ;)

But after receiving this we shared it with one member who then held a family home evening and told everyone, who in testimony meeting and all the other classes shared again, then in Ward council everyone shared again.  Everyone here is really getting excited about the Sabbath, its actually really cool!

As for other stuff that happened this week, that’s really about it.  I went on splits with my DL who lives with us, Elder Amaral. He's super cool and has the same voice as Wacko!  Its cool, I'll try  to send a video one day!

I love you guys and am still trying to get used to this 40 minutes of internet. BYE

Elder Biggs

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September 2015 in a New Area

4 September 2015

September in a New Area
Our area.  It is much smaller than my last area. 

This week was extremely long without much happening.  One of those weeks.  But, I will do my best.  So we had Mission Conference this week (my first mission conference of my mission.  President doesn’t invite the zones far from Fortaleza, he holds a separate conference for them) and it was super cool.  If I haven’t said it before, President Fusco is the man!  He is extremely direct and strict, but super funny at the same time.  He was explaining about how we missionaries need to close our hearts here on the mission, that we are not allowed to date or marry anyone from the mission.  That if we return to Fortaleza to marry a recent convert, member or sister, we'll be marrying the devil.  Kissing Satan.  That she'll be like the aliens from Alien, killing us and eating us afterwards!  He’s made his point very clear :)
Our baptism this week, Luciana
We had the opportunity to baptize a young woman thing week of 21 (who’s married to a guy of 45....).  And that’s all I really have to say about that.  She was already taught everything, we just kinda showed up to dip her in the water.

This week we also got to help build a house. Lots of people here just build their own houses.  So we got to help with that, it was pretty cool!

But I'm pretty slim on time this week, and that’s all that really went down.  But I love all you guys and will talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs
I'm living with these Elders, Elder Amaral and Elder Ramirez. 
 Elder Da Hora is the black one.  
This kid in the middle left on his mission this week.

The stadium INSIDE my area!
21 September 2015

I Got Hit in the Head

So this week passed by super fast.  I've gotten to know just about all the members, am super good friends with the Bishop (who is our neighbor) counselors, secretary (who is a marvel fan) and Quorum President, and a bunch of others.  Me and Elder Da Hora are improving in our companionship and we have 4 couples who have accepted baptism and we will marry.  Like 4 André and Wedja's!  (But André and Wedja are way better - just in case they're reading this)
This is our chapel!
And Inside.  Its honestly pretty annoying.  You cant hear anything inside. 
 But the ward will be moving to the stake center here in a bit, so that'll be good!

So on Thursday we brought in Recent Convert to the neighboring church building to play soccer with the Elders quorums in the stake. We watched for a bit (awesome!) and headed out.  They were actually playing Futsol, which is basically soccer on a basketball court.  So as we're walking out, I'm looking at the exit, walking, then: WHAM!!!  Soccerball LAUNCHED at the back of my head.  Immediately my body went completely limp and I fell on the ground, seeing tunnel vision.  But the second that I came to myself I jumped up (not wanting to look bad in front of all the men in the stake) and joked with them saying that it was just because I was Mormon.  They all thought that was pretty funny, and we took off. The rest of that night my head was hurting pretty bad (Da hora said that the ball was really cruisin') and I took some Advil and went to bed.  Since this day, I had been feeling a little more and a little more pain on the other side of my head.  I called Sister Fusco who told me to go to the hospital.  That’s why I took so long to email today.  When we got there we waited for a couple eternities and then they stuck my head in a big spinny tuby thing then told me to wait one more millennium and a half.  Then when we talked to the doctor she said that everything was fine and was totally normal to feel what I was feeling.  That’s what I had thought, but Sister Fusco wanted me to check to be sure.  They then gave me a bunch of pictures of my head and sent me off!

After that, we passed by the Burger King in the middle of Fortaleza (awesome!) and headed here!  That was pretty much my week. There's not quite as much to write about here in the middle of everything as there is in the middle of nothing.  But I'm super happy with where I am right now!

i love you guys!
Elder Biggs

28 September 2015

Stuff that Reminds me of Home
This is my planner.  All the missionaries like to make covers for their planners so I made this!
These last two weeks have been going by pretty fast, so that’s cool.  And before I forget again, Mom, the package came two weeks ago after I talked with you guys.  So it looks like it takes about 1 and a half months.  Not too bad.

Anyways, since I arrived here in Fortaleza, Ive had a pretty nasty cold.  Then last week it was finally going away. But then Elder Da Hora got it.  And what do you know it.  I got it again.  UGH!  But it’s nothing really bad, just annoying.  Also, my head is fine.  Since last Monday I haven’t really felt anything, so don’t have to worry about my eyes falling out or losing my memory or anything like that.

So this week I was hit with a ton of Trunky-brinks. Twice.  First:  We arrive at a house in the favela and knock on the door.  And as I pay more attention to what’s going on inside, I hear the all too familiar sound of: Doctor Who!  (S1EP3)  They were watching Doctor Who!  Apparently its airing right now in Portuguese, and people are really liking it.  So that was cool!  Then a few days later we find this kid who reminded me a lot of Mattheus, Daniel, and João Victor.  We talked with him for a bit about the Book of Mormon, and ended.  I then decided to pull a Mentalist on him and said, "You look like a guy who likes Doctor Who" and guess what.  I was right!  He loves Doctor Who and we talked about that for like 10 minutes. So that was fun.
In Trindade, I had taught English classes for a couple weeks, but no one seemed too interested and I wasn’t all that good of a teacher.  But this last week I was asked to start giving it here because in Fortaleza, the demand is greater and it’d be a good way to find new people.  So I prepared differently and gave the first class this last Friday, and it was really well.  All the class said that I was very cool, and taught really well.  I think the fact that my Portuguese is better probably helped.  But it was fun.  So I'll be doing that now every week.
Speaking of Trunky, I got 2 more stories to share.  1) there’s a member here with a dog that looks a like Mike, so I sat on the ground and started playing with him.  My comp thought I was crazy, but it totally made my day.  2)We're in the favela again talking with some members, and their big guard dog,  Milo, is laying on the ground in front of me.  So naturally, I start to pet him (but just with my foot, he was really dirty, and big).  And he did the whole dog thing where he lays on his back and I was all like, yeah, it’s all good.  Then I must have hit a tender spot or something because instinctively, he jumps up and goes to take a big bite out of me!  Luckily, he just got my shoe, but my whole shoe fit in his mouth, so that could’ve been nasty.  He walked off a little way, but he felt pretty bad.  Just kinda sat there in front of me not looking at me.  I forgave him, but I definitely will be a little more careful with the dogs here.  Just a little ;)

So yeah, this was a good week.  I love you guys and will talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs
There was a lunar eclipse here last night.  

This was the closest it got until it was time for us to go to bed

5 October, 2015

I'm gonna be here for a long time!

This week was pretty low key.  I've never been so excited for conference! And I think because of that I don’t really remember much until Conference.  But 2 things happened this week that I would like to share.

The first things is that Elder Da Hora and I have been having a pretty hard time getting used to one another, but as he has already been here for 3 transfers, we were pretty certain that we could just wait out one more week until the next transfer and he'd leave.  But this Thursday called President about a question I had, and afterwards said that my call was inspired, that he was going to call later that day, and told me to put him on speaker.  He then told me and Da Hora, that we would be staying together for 3 or 4 MORE transfers.  That we had a lot to learn from one another and needed to find it out.  And he only has 4 more transfers of his mission, so that’s the rest of his mission.  The other thing was that every 2 weeks we'd switch being the senior companion.  So right now im senior (which I really don’t care about but, this means that I beat Elder Wedekind at being Senior :P

Speaking of Wedekind.  Our District leader went home for some reason and Elder Amaral (a missionary that lives with us who has a voice like the oldest of the Warner brother and sister) is our new DL.  And who came here to replace the old DL?  Elder Wedekind!  So that’s pretty awesome to be in the same district with him.  We already taught English together, watched conference in English together, and played ping pong today!  So that’s pretty awesome!  Not for him exactly because he’s got a hernia :P  And he has to have surgery and that’s why he’s here in Fortaleza, but the Lord works in mysterious ways :)

The 2nd thing is about conference.  Friday I decided that I would fast to have a good experience in conference.  Last conference I was very frustrated getting stuff set up in Trindade, and I didn’t understand anything.  But this time we'd watch at the stake center, and the Americans would be able to watch in English.  Saturday was one of the most spiritual moments of my life.  I have never ever felt so spiritually strengthened and uplifted from conference.  And it was in Portuguese because the internet wasn’t working.  I took notes on every single talk, which helped a lot.  And when I started to get a little tired I'd eat the Reese’s Pieces that you guys sent.  After conference I had a spiritual experience very, very special, which I would say really converted me.  I’ve always believed in everything, and even felt the spirit confirming practically all the things I’ve learned and taught, but Saturday night I was able to apply the gospel in a way I never understood.  President Fusco told us a while ago that the only conversion that we had to really worry about on our mission was our own.  And I feel like that happened this Saturday.  Sunday was an incredible day as well.  I've never realized the power that conference has in teaching and helping me.

Anyways, that was my week.  It’s been a good one.  I'll definitely be focusing these next 6 months on studying the talks from this last conference.  I love you guys and will talk to you next week

Elder Biggs

Monday, September 7, 2015

First Transfer in the Field -after 8 months...

September 7, 2015

The New Area!

Alright!  It's been quite the week!  And I'll just start right now with the big questions:  1) I'm in Fortaleza, the area is called Castelão and 2) My comp is Elder Da Hora.  He's about as Brazilian as it gets (from Rio) and is pretty cool.  When I heard about my new area being in Fortaleza, my heart kinda sunk.  I was told that I was going to Jardim Castelão, and Elder Camargo told me that it was a good area, with everything and at least I'm not going to HIS first area, Castelão, where the ward only has 60 people attending, TONS, of problems, and the meet in a warehouse. Literally.

What would I do in a ward?  Well established.  Church building.  Tudo bem.  I don’t wanna just kind of, by through.  But when I arrived here, I discovered that my area isn’t Jardim Castelão, it's Castelão.  I immediately got excited!  Now, I got a challenge, something to do!  I also found out that this was the former area of Elder Camargo, Elder Rodrigues, AND Elder Young.  Yeah!  All of my companions served here.

Also, if you wanna know exactly where in Fortaleza is my area, just look up the stadium where Brazil lost to Germany because its INSIDE my area.  I'd send pics, but the computer isn’t letting me.  But this area is very small, like Santa Rita Ranch and Mesquite Canyon.  And the Stadium here is IN our area.  So that’s cool!  I'm already starting to get to know the members, they're pretty unexcited, but we'll see what we can do.  Also, if I could ask that you guys pray for one thing, pray that Elder Da Hora and I's companionship gets better.  We're completely different and are having kind of a hard time adjusting to one another, but, it’ll be good.

Alright, that’s all for this week! I'll be sure to write more next week, but until then: Tchau!

Elder Biggs
Its a long way from Trindade, ~650km (400mi)

Monday, August 31, 2015

All About August 2015 and Adeus

August 3, 2015

Calling, Rapaz, and Demons!
This has been the slowest month of my life.  Seriously, feels like months ago that I emailed you guys...  But this week was very good.  Tuesday we had a district meeting where our new district leader, Elder Bellon said this, "You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you cant count the number of apples in a seed."  I don’t know where he got that, but I sure liked it.  Referring to missionary work and eternal perspective.  We also had an activity completely off the cuff.  I gave a little message about Zion (that wasn’t prepared, just went for it), Elder Camargo set up a little activity about teamwork, and then we asked everyone what they learned.  And a 11 year old boy said that this activity was like Zion.  We then made a million parallels to Zion and how that’s what we are working for here in Trindade.  This activity started as an unplanned, loud, crazy thing, and ended up being very spiritual.

After a long day of giving away a tie, planing an activity,
and expulsing demons
So, still Tuesday, at 9:00 after the activity, a young man (recent convert) asked for my tie because he lost his and liked the one I had on.  So, I gave it to him right there. 9:00, were going home right now anyway right? NO!  The first counselor in the branch brought a young married couple to hear a message that went great!  And I didn’t have a tie the whole time.  Ok, so 9:25.  We got 5 minutes to arrive at home.  But the Branch President said that a young woman needed a blessing NOW.  So I called president who gave us permission to stay out after 9:30.  We rushed over to the house of a member who told us what happened and led us to this person’s house (who I have never met). She said that last night this girl saw a spirit in her room, and even took a picture.  As soon as she took the picture, the spirit vanished.  And I saw the picture and guess what.  There was a freaking ghost!  Cool! Right!  So we rushed over there and met a 18 year old girl, very shy and extremely scared who said she hadn’t slept since.  We definitely felt something very evil inside this house.  So we left a little message, read a verse from the book of Mormon with her, then gave her a blessing (my 3rd or 4th blessing).  Afterwards we felt inspired to dedicate the house.  We called the whole family in and I dedicated the house. It was incredible the sense of peace and the spirit that replaced the horrible feeling that was there before.  We left that night and arrived at 10:25 when I called President to tell him what happened.  He told me that I had acted perfectly and gave me a little "congrats" which totally made me feel better.  This young woman visited church yesterday and accepted baptism for next week.

Cool story, huh?  I got another one.  A LONG time investigator has been deciding if he should be baptized.  He has a testimony, but isn’t feeling ready.  So this week, he had a dream that he was inside a font of water, surrounded by 10 missionaries.  I baptized him, and all the missionaries became very happy!  He accepted this as his answer.  But the other cool thing, is that right now, there are 6 missionaries in Araripina praying for him.  (we're all praying for each others investigators) then there’s us, and Elder Young, and Elder Rodrigues.  10 missionaries.  He also described exactly Elder Azevedo, and Elder Bellon.  He'll be baptized this week!

Also, for the past 4-5 months Ive been teaching the Gospel Principles class, but someone else was just called to be the new teacher.  WEDJA!  Yeah, our recent convert!  She taught about the Word of Wisdom yesterday and it was so perfect I almost cried. I'm so incredibly happy to know that I will leave Trindade with at least one new saint!

And now: Portuguese!  Rapaz means young man, and is pronounced Hapaiz... I think... (I don’t remember how to pronounce things in English.)  Ask Grandpa.  We've been teaching these same 3 rapaz for months now, and yesterday, 3 miracles happened.  One received permission to be baptized on Wed, another most likely the same day, and the third received permission to be baptized that VERY DAY!  Yesterday I had the opportunity to baptized the 2nd rapaz in front of almost the entire branch at about 8 pm.  Everyone showed up, his mom cried and it was an amazing experience!

Yesterday the first mentioned rapaz above, bore his testimony for the first time.  He's believes everything, but hasn’t received an answer yet.  He gets up there and says "I haven’t been here long, and am not even baptized, but I will say what I believe: The church of Jesus Christ is true!"  This moment he wasn’t able to speak more, and started crying, along with EVERYONE in the congregation.  He was only able to say amen before he returned to his seat.  He then spent the next 30 minutes trying to calm down and stop crying.  It was the most spiritual moment of my mission, and I'm so happy for him.  But now, the other 2 are making fun of him because he cried, like how we always did with dad :)  But he’s super cool about it.

Wow, this was a long email!  But it was a long week too... A cool scripture I found is 3 Nep 13:31-34.  I love you guys so much and thank you for all the news updates. Congrats Porter! And I'll talk to you guys next week!


Elder Biggs
Brazil is a dangerous place...

August 10, 2015

Nose Bleeds and my 4th Pen
This is for Dad.  (not really, but I asked if I could buy it to give to dad, but they said no...)
This week was not quite as eventful as last week, BUT it did have quite a few miracles.  So I'll be sure to tell you about that.  But just to reiterate, English is really hard right now.  Yesterday an investigator asked me to speak in English and I couldn’t.  So... you’ve been warned...
So this week started with my 3rd (Pilot Precise v5 rolling ball extra fine tip) pen dying.  I have 10 more.  So at this rate I'll end my mission only using 9 pens.
Activity "Coisas Legais"

We had a crazy activity on Tuesday where we organized a scavenger hunt in the church and everyone was finding scriptures that talked about another place in the church.  For example: a scripture that talks about a door that opens everything which leads them to the front door.  Or a scripture that talks about baptism that leads to the baptism font.  In the end we gave a Book of Mormon to all the youth and told them to give it to someone.  They all got super excited and were asking for more throughout the week.

We showed up at an investigator's house (whose been waiting on baptism for months now) and the moment they opened the door, my nose started bleeding.  This, believe it or not, hasn’t happened in MONTHS.  And my whole mission probably like 3 times.  So, we taught the whole lesson with me holding toilet paper to my nose talking like... Like... I know who I want to reference, but I cant remember his name. .. Shoot. Im forgetting everything.

Last Sunday, we baptized one of the 3 rapazes, he'd be the easiest to baptize.  The other 2 who need straight up miracles.  The other repeze's parents are politicians, and had talked with them a lot but they were fixed on waiting.  Imagine trying to baptize the anti-mormon-mayer's son.  On Wednesday, we talked with him and asked what his parents said about the baptism.  They both 2 were baptized the next day!  I've already shared a couple miracles, but this. was. a. MIRACLE.  The actual baptism was pretty funny actually because the baptismal font was already full, but a few hours before the actual baptism, someone emptied the font without telling us.
Two of the Rapez and their families
So it was time to baptize them and the font was empty.  And filling the font is slow!  So what did we do?  We gathered all the buckets in Trindade and all the young men and we started filling up the font ourselves.  It took about an hour, but we managed t fill it to a point where we could baptize them.  The first went perfect, then the taller one was next.  I had to restart the prayer a couple times because I couldn’t say his name right (names are hard here), then when I finally got it, his knee stuck out of the water.  I had to baptize him FOUR times, but finally got it!  After the baptism we ate cake and Coke, and one of the moms wanted to thank everyone, and even allowed him(if he wants to in the future) to serve a mission!  Thursday was a GREAT day!

So if you think I'm over, you’re totally wrong.  On Monday at Family Home Evening at one of the member's house, our investigator was there.  On Monday he announced to the whole world that he would be baptized on Saturday!  We were so excited and were working with him every day to help him get ready.  It was a looooooong week, but this was the baptism that Ive been waiting for for six months!  And it finally happened!  This baptism went perfect and everyone was there.  He and the three rapazes (who our most supportive member is now calling the 3 Nefitas) were confirmed yesterday as members of the Church!  

As for a couple other updates, Elder Camargo and I were having a bit of difficulty getting used to each other last week, but this week has been incredibly better, and we are now very good friends.  The girl who we saved from demons spernatural-style is getting baptized this week along with her friend who’s a boy, and I got 7 months here in Trindade!  What what!?

I love all of you guys so much and am always praying for you.  I'll send more pics in another email.  Até logo!

Elder Biggs
Translating the Book of Mormon. (yes thats a Book of Mormon.  It Japanese)  

August 17, 2015
Slow Week….. and Long Week …. One of Those Weeks….
My District (L-R): E Bellon DL, Camargo COMP, Da Silva ZL, Sou Eu, E Ehms, and E Azevedo ZL
This week was fairly uneventful, no baptisms (yet), but some other stuff.  So this Tuesday we stopped by the house of an inactive member, a 23 year old guy, whose trying to return to church.  When we got there, his mom (who has actively shown us and all other missionaries that she wants absolutely NOTHING to do with the church) answered and invited us in.  She told us that her son was in Ouricuri (a neighboring city) with his older brother, in the hospital.  Apparently 10 pm the night before, his older brother had been walking down the street and a man stepped out of a car on the other side and shot him 5 times.  This didn’t kill him, and after this man (standing above him) shot him 3 times in the head, then left.  But this also didn’t kill him.  Her youngest son (inactive member) ran him to the hospital in Ouricuri where he is right now. Talking, awake, normal.  This family who never wanted anything to do with God now asked if they could be baptized.  Its increasable to see how when people are stiff-necked and hardhearted, God gives them trials very big.  But also to show how merciful he is, he didn’t just kill the woman's son, but saved his life in a miraculous way giving this guy another chance. 

Oh, and don’t worry people at home, this guy was mixed up in a whole lot of bad stuff, people who keep out of drugs and gangs and stuff don’t have problems with getting shot, so I'm fine :)  IF I do get shot, it’ll be in the nametag which will save me, so its all good ;)

Other than that, I really can’t think of anything else that happened.  We've been so ridiculously busy here in Trindade because its just us two for the whole city and we only got 9-10 hours to work per day.  We're asking for 2 more missionaries to come here, but we're getting nothing right now.  Juazeiro do Norte, a city much larger than Trindade but smaller than Safford (more or less) has 40 missionaries.  One more time, FORTY. President Fusco does not like Trindade, this is a well known fact.  So we're trying to convince him right now to send a second companionship here right now.  But this month, Elder Anderson (yeah, Apostle) is coming to Juazeiro, which is KARAZY!  Probably to finally change it from a district, to a stake.  So President has doubled the number of missionaries there.  But we're part of this district too and he's sent nothing, and all the members feel pretty forgotten.  But there strong, the members here are amazing!  And they'll get what they want because they've worked for it!  this week we had 71 people at church.  When I got here it was 30.  This is the highest attendance this year! Our goal is to have 15 men with Melchizedek Priesthood paying tithing, which is necessary to form a ward, and have 100 people at church for more than 6 months, which is necessary to build a church building.  When I got here we had 5 men, and an attendance of 30.  Now we have 11 and an attendance of 71.  This branch is getting there!

Ok, that was a little GH (Jay-agá) (Gloria dos homens) (A fraze members use here for pride), but this has been my last week-couple of weeks, thinking about this.  The last thing I want to do is leave all this work to do behind.  But if we at least get 2 more missionaries next transfer (Aug 30th) all will be good!

I love you guys so much.  Thanks for keeping me in the loop with things there at home. I'll talk to you guys next week!

Elder Biggs

August 24, 2015

Our Week with Water... Without Water...

Sem água não dá  (I'm smelling my pits if that wasn’t clear)
So Saturday at 6pm, water arrives.  We only have water here in Trindade every other week.  So last Saturday we were so excited to get our water because our reserve was almost out.  Saturday night when we arrived home, we checked for water and... nothing.  Apparently, in Nov 2011, the missionaries didn’t pay for water, which caused a problem in the Water company’s system and they cut our water.  So after calling the mission to pay the bill, and 3 more days, we headed to the water company's office.  We got everything cleared up and he said that later that day we'd get our water.  Which was good because that same day we had 0 water.  None. Nada.  to take a bucket shower, to clean the dishes, or clothes, use the bathroom, nada.  TWO MORE DAYS and nothing.  This was quite the experience.  FINALLY on Friday.  Our water arrived.  I took the longest shower in the world, we cleaned the dishes, washed our clothes, it was awesome.  Then the very next day at 6pm, our week with water ended...  But at least we have our reserve again :)

Now I know what you're thinking.  My son/brother/friend/enemy freaking out because he cant take a shower?  That doesn’t seem like him.  Well you'd be right.  The truth is, I was pretty cool with everything.  Just the bathroom part, having to walk to the church just to use the toilet.  But Elder Camargo was NOT happy with not being able to take a shower.  Saying he wasn’t able to sleep dirty.  Me?  I was able to sleep just fine.  Yup, I'm a trooper :P

An activity we helped set up at the church
The only other thing worthy of note (I think that’s a phrase) is how busy we've been.  We have SO many things to do with the members, less actives, service projects, helping the leadership that we have so little proselyting time.  But, service brings blessings and it definitely did.  Every day this week we were able to go on splits with the members, visiting 23 people with members!  Just to put that in perspective, 10 is difficult.  I talked with President about sending more missionaries and he promised that he’d send more.  Just not this transfer.  But he’s super excited about Trindade right now, so there’s a positive change.

This next Sunday is Transfers and I don’t want to leave.  But Ive got 8 months here in Trindade, and that almost never happens, especially with the first area.  But I feel like God will inspire President to know what is better for Trindade.  So if I don’t write on Monday at the regular time, its probably because im on a bus heading for Fortaleza.

Oh, one more cool thing (I don’t remember if I already said this or no) but our District, Juaziero do Norte will become a stake this Wednesday!  District is like a small stake.  And to announce this will be Elder Anderson of the Twelve!  Right now everyone is extremely excited and will be more than 3,000 people there (in a chapel about the size as ours at home)

Alright, Ive gotta get going.  Sorry for my bad English.  I'm starting to forget things like English, Dad's voice (not Mom's, I remember Mom's :P), The theme to Doctor Who, the words to Jack Johnson, and how the Chocolate Volcano tastes... .Tragic, I know...  But hey!  I love you guys so much and I'll talk to you next week! maybe...

Elder Biggs

12th Birthday party of my first friend here in Trindade, Jorge Alan

August 31, 2015

9 ½

About 4 minutes ago Elder Azevedo (ZL), who is chilling with us because his comp went home, received a phone call about transfers, and.... No one in our ZONE was transferred.  SO!  I'll stay here in Trindade for at least 9 1/2 months!  WOOHOO! This is good, I really have no desire to leave here with so much work still to do. Just one more transfer and I'll be here for half of my WHOLE mission, which I’d also like.   Elder Camargo had 5 areas with 9 months.  And at the end of this transfer I'll have 11 months on the mission!  What what!

In the van to Juazeiro
So anywho, this week was very eventful in some regards and very uneventful in others.  This Wednesday we headed to Juazeiro do Norte for a conference with the Apostle Elder Anderson!  It was crazy getting everyone there filling up 3 vans full of members and investigators.  The day before we invited one of our investigators, Inácio, to come with us.  And he said that he would go because he will be driving a group of Crentes (Nickname for anyone who isn’t Catholic) to Juazeiro at exactly the same time.  We later found out that he is a driver, and is driving US!  So with that cool coincidence, we headed out!  The conference was super hectic but really cool.  Elder Anderson knows Portuguese, but he talks very slow with a very strong accent.  But everyone understood him and it was really cool.  

That night I slept in my new hammock!  I traded for a hammock, blue. big. beautiful.  Ill send a pic.  And got totally eaten by mosquitoes.  But whatever.  And the next day, I woke up and realized something,  I was alone.  The whole house with 10 missionaries forgot me.  Luckily, I knew where the Branch President lived (because I saw him one time) and he gave me a ride to the church.  I almost ripped Elder Camargo's head off, but when I got there, Elder Anderson arrived to give a special training to the missionaries.  (Just kidding, I wasn’t going to rip his head off, just an arm or a leg, or his nose or something) This training was super cool and made me feel a little better.  Afterwards, with 5 hours until our bus leaves for Trindade, we headed to the MALL! Yeah, there’s a mall in Brazil!  And it was like... an actual mall... I bought a long sleeve shirt (super-slim) and a cool Oreo blizzard thing.  Then afterwards we headed out.  Elder Camargo and Elder Azevedo were already companions, and are like best friends, so Elder Azevedo decided to stick with us until his new comp arrives.  So he’s here right now :P

The rest of the week was very uneventful, but I'm excited to know that I'll be staying here for 6 more weeks and am excited to work and help the church here.  I love you guys and all the emails and love and stuff :)  And I'll talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs

So, Lassie found us at the church building IN THE MIDDLE of church and decided to join in the service.  It took us about 20 minutes to get her to leave.

The city here in built like a U.  To walk from one end to the other you gotta walk ALL the way around just to arrive at the other side which is really close.  Well yesterday we found this and I almost cried with joy.

(1 hour later)

I just recieved a phone call...
So we just received word that I am being transferred.  I don’t know to where yet, but Elder Camargo will train someone here, hopefully someone who will love this place like I've loved it.  I'm gonna say by to everyone tonight at the FHE and probably cry for the first time.  But, it’s been 8 months.  I haven’t met a single missionary whose stayed in one area for 8 months.  Good thing that today is P-day because there's no way I'm working today with packing and saying goodbye.  Elder Bellon is also leaving, so we arrived together and will leave together.  Apparently he's taking it pretty hard.  But as for me, this last week I kinda felt a confirmation that this was it for Trindade.  I've been pretty sad this week because of that, but know im feeling like this is right.  I'll let you guys know next week where I am, my new Comp, and everything.  I'll probably head to Fortaleza with Camargo and Bellon tomorrow and find out there.  Mom, if you hear from anyone here on Facebook, be sure to tell them that I really have loved my time here, and am really sad to leave what has become my home.  But, I'm excited to get to know other places and other people. I love you guys and will talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs

(After I got this email from Daynen I, his mom, cried!  I have been so grateful for the people of Trindade for loving and taking care of my boy! I know these experiences will be cherished for eternity!)  Below are pictures of the farewell party that some of the members posted on Facebook for me:

A message from the branch president: 
"Hi am the president of Trinity branch was very bad for us to see our fellow biggs left and leaves us, it was very good this time he spent with us, we follow all his crecimento a shy boy who spoke little with the people for a cheerful person always glad conversation and plays with people and speaks very Portuguese, it is relmente a very special person very loving with people is also very clear it is what it is, has no mask, helped me a lot here in the business, he was as a Councillor for me always giving me ideas and municipalities, he was already a member of our branch very involved in the work, we have become great friends, made a farewell for him was very exciting. Congratulations for the child you have !!! we will send to you the photos and videos we did in farewell. thank you for having sent us the Biggs elder.
hugs !!!"