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

Friday, July 31, 2015

Changes in July 2015

July 6, 2015
Araripina and a man living in our attic...

Hey!  This week passed by crazy fast, Elder Rodrigues just has 2 weeks left, and has been pretty good about not being trunky.  

Me with Elder Castaño.  This has to do with them movie we made. 
You'll get it in like a year and 5 months...
So this Tuesday we had district meeting in Araripina, then we went on splits.  This is the first splits of my mission  (with other missionaries) and I was a little nervous.  The district leader came here, and I went to Araripina.  I'm not sure how it was here in Trindade, but it was definitely an adventure in Araripina.  In our district, there are only 2 non-Brazilians.  Me, and Elder Castaño, a Colombian.  He super cool but only has one more month then me, and I can hardly understand him.  But, this week we got to know each other really well, and even make a movie!  (well, a little video of us talking... but... close enough)  

You thought I was kidding... This door thing was open 
and we had closed it before taking this picture.
After returning home on Thursday, we worked and got home, and noticed something different... Remember a couple months ago how a bat had fallen from the attic and we returned him?  Well we closed the attic door thing and havent touched it since... and when we got home, it was open.  Wide open.  AND there were feet marks high on the wall.  Like someone climbed up there, which is totally possible.  And there is no way our 280 lb district leader was able to do that.  So naturally, we decided to check it out, and naturally, I had my camera on hand.  And what did we find?  Nothing.

I was expecting a mattress or trash, or a Sméagol or something, but just more bats (which I don’t actually care about).  But we did decide to make a movie about this little experience, so get ready for that!

Other than that, nothing else really happened.  It poured on us last night which was awesome and earlier this week I taught the youth that Werewolf game where one person is a werewolf and everyone has to figure out who it is.  We played it for like 2 hours! 

I love all of you guys, and LOVE getting your emails!  I'll talk to you next week.

Elder Biggs

July 13, 2015

Pizza and Lots of People

This last week has been very eventful, so I will try and summarize everything.  Also, I've been noticing that my English is actually really bad.  I don’t think in English anymore and Í remember everything in Portuguese.  So if I make mistakes in my letters from now on, that’s why :)

So on Monday, we helped Elibrauli, the (standing) Branch President and Secretary, with organizing financial sheets and receipts and stuff.  I never want to be the secretary in my ward.  This guy is pretty much the coolest guy ever being a member for only 2 years and already doing EVERYTHING here.  He’s super great and has been helping with the growth here.  While helping him he called and ordered a pizza and Coke.  But it didn’t show up by 9:30, so we went home without pizza.  But about 5 minutes after arriving at home, he showed up with the pizza and coke.  Rules are that non missionaries can't enter into missionary houses, so we brought the table to the front door and ate pizza with him for like a half hour.

Our recent convert Wedja (who’s been awesome in the church) had to break up with her Boyfriend/Husband in order to be baptized.  But they’ve been dating again (in different houses) and are getting married tomorrow!  They already have 2 kids and have been together for like 12 years already, so it's not a crazy shock.  But he was almost baptized with Elder Young, and then fell into temptation and didn’t want any more.  But... We’ve been talking with him again, and he’s looking pretty good!  Really good!  and Wedja has been teaching him and helping him, and I think he'll be baptized here in a little.  But he’s the kind of guy that'd make a great leader in the church.  Hes got a very similar story to another member who is President of the Elders Quorum, so I can see him helping a lot here in Trindade in the next few years.

This Tuesday we had a big activity.  And we had planned a couple things to do, but everyone wanted to play Werewolf again.  So we did. And everyone was telling me how cool of a narrator I am, and I told them how my dad taught me this game YEARS ago, and everyone said the same about him.

This is the Family of Brother Clovis.  His whole family is very serious,but in kind of a funny way.  
For this picture he made a "sucking in his gut"joke and it made me think of dad
After a couple months without propane in our house to cook, we finally bought more.  Its expensive, and were lazy.  And so this week I've been eating way more!  Its awesome, I'm finally not starving all day!  This week I was given a MOUNTAIN of food to eat (as a joke because Im skinny) and I ate all of it.  Then they gave me another mountain (more skinny jokes) and guess what, I ate all of it.  Then another.  And boom!  Now I'm about dying and they gave me a 4th mountain.  They were joking at this point that I wouldn’t eat any more, but took the challenge.  And won!  Later that day, an inactive family that we reactivated took us to Araripina to eat pizza.  and I ate half a pizza.  Yeah... the drive home was difficult to not puke.  Especially because the pizza here is really gross.  No tomato sauce, just bread, greasy cheese, tomatoes, and onions.

On Saturday we had a fireside  (me and E Rodrigues) where we talked about the atonement. and had lots of people crying at the end.  I didn’t cry (and still haven’t once on my mission (I know, Im heartless)) but it was definitely cool.

Sunday we had conference in Trindade.  Trindade is a branch and has 2 groups that are technically part of the branch, but meet in other places.  Yesterday, the branch split and now the group in Araripina is a separate Branch.  This doesn’t actually effect us except that they'll probably be sending 2 more missionaries to Trindade here in a few months!  But it was cool to have all the members from Araripina and Salgero (another city close-ish) in our little church building.

Also!  We baptized this week! A young man named Michael.  He’s 9.  He’s was super excited to be baptized, chose his own date and everything.  Right now he wants to be a missionary and thinks he'll be my next companion. :)

Last thing.  So, maybe on of our investigators likes movies a lot, and maybe a new batman v Superman trailer was released this week, and maybe he was watching it and maybe i watched it too.  OHMYGOSH THAT MOVIE LOOKS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And it’ll come out a couple months before I get home which means it’ll probably still be in theatres!!!  I'm freaking out!!!!!!  Ok, that’s all.

Its so great hearing about all that’s going on back in North America, congrats Lillian on your mission call and leaving exactly 1 year after me.  I love all the emails and pictures and will try to send some right now.  I love you guys!

Elder Biggs

PS:  Elder Rodrigues leaves for Fortaleza this week and leaves for home next Tuesday.  And I'll now if im staying or leaving this week also.

2 young men that we're trying to baptize, but have anti-Mormon parents.  
At least they’re both really excited about church and are working with them.
July 20, 2015

Elder Azevedo and Transfers,

I know what you guys are thinking about the subject of this email, but it’s not that.  I'll explain.

This has been the LONGEST week of my entire mission (which is now 8 months btw.  1/3 What!?).  So this last Pday we made a movie with a member about that man living in our attic.  Its pretty funny, and scary, and I cant wait to show you guys in 16 months :P

Monday was "Say goodbye to elder Rodrigues Day"  After P-Day ended we some of the members bought us Milkshakes and the afterwards we had a family night at Brother Charles' house.  But it was more like a party!  When Elder Young left everyone was at the church taking pictures, crying, bearing their testimonies.  But here, they were singing, dancing, laughing, it was super fun.  It was like in the movies when foreigners are having a party.  But everyone was there.  It was awesome!

Tuesday was a day LONG awaited.  Wedja, our Recent Convert, got MARRIED!!!  It has been 4 months of trying to make this happen and it finally did.  Elder Rodrigues and I were the witnesses and I was the designated photographer (she put all the photos on Facebook if y’all wanna see them).  Afterwards we headed for lunch outside of Trindade, and the whole branch showed up.  André, our investigator and groom, loved it!  And is closer than ever in 4-5 months to being baptized.  

Wednesday was the day.  Elder Rodrigues bid "adeus" to Trindade and we headed to Araripina.  Why?  I'll explain.  Our zone leader Elder Jácome was also ending his mission and they'd both head to Fortaleza, and I would stick with the other Zone leader, Elder Azevedo.  So there in Araripina we said tchau, exchanged emails, almost cried, almost, and headed out.  Elder Rodrigues said that he'd call his first dog "Biggs" because he doesn’t want to feel without companion.  He's gonna send a pic.  I spent the day in Araripina with Elder Azevedo who is btw the coolest person in the world!  So this has been going well!  The next day we came to Trindade and have been working here.

Saturday we did a cool activity where are person is blindfolded and led into a room.  They are guided to a "wounded soldier" and feel his wounds.  Amputated leg, bandaged hand, messes up head and his eye. But when they touch his eye (remember they cant see) they poke a tomato and think that they’ve poked his eye out!  The best part is watching them, one by one, scream and react to the thought of poking someone’s eye out.  I was the soldier.

So... Transfers... Elder Azevedo received a phone call yesterday about transfers.  His new comp will be our current district leader and Araripina will now have a companionship of Sisters!  Then he asked, "and the companion of elder Biggs?" And the assistant said, "Yeah, Elder Biggs doesn’t have a companion right now..."  UGH!  I'm staying here (thank goodness) but this means im going to be staying in Araripina for a week or two.  Also, we don’t have a district leader, so this'll be interesting.
This week has been a very VERY good week.  Super long, but good.  Me and Elder Azevedo made 2 movies! and have become very good friends as well.  Too bad our companionship already ended, but we'll see what happens this next week or so.
Elder Azevedo and I like taking pictures!  This picture actually shows pretty well what its like here.
Another of the front
Love you guys and I'll talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs

PS:  If I don’t respond to your emails, isn’t because I didn’t read them and/or love them.  Just because I don’t have very much time... :D

July 28, 2015

These have been the longest two weeks... ever...

Hey!  So I will answer 2 questions right out of the bat:  Yes, I am still in Trindade (for which I am happy) and Yes, I have a companion.  His name is Elder Camargo, I'll explain more about him in a bit :)

Elder Azevedo being awesome
So this week was long!  I'll try to summarize.  First of all, Elder Azevedo, my Zone leader is famous.  He's a singer and has opened for some pretty big singers here in Brazil in São Paulo. He's crazy talented and at the Family Home Evening, he jammed out on Guitar and everyone loved it.  cool!

Tuesday we headed to Araripina.  Azevedo and his new comp, the former District leader, had to leave to Fortaleza for a leadership training thing.  So I hung out with Elder Bellon (Brazilian Neal) and his trainee, Elder Ehms.  This was fun working with them for... 4 days.  Ok, it was fun, but I was calling every hour to Elibrauli (who was called to be Branch President if I didnt say that last week) to visit certain investigators.  But seriously, Elder Bellon is exactly like Neal.  From his apearance to his laugh.  So that was fun.  Also, while walking in the street I found a brazilian hat that lots of old men have.  So naturally, i picked it up, put it on my head, and have it right now :)

On Friday, we headed for Juazeiro do Norte to have (half) mission conference with President Fusco. There I met my new comp, Elder Camargo.  He is Brazilian and has one year on his mission (so (hopefully) I wont kill this one too). He's really cool and was companions with Elder Azevedo, so thats cool.  He likes to work and likes a lot of crazy stuff, like mountain biking, ziplining, and cliff jumping.  Right now we're still getting used to eachother, but we're like on another, so its all good :)

Anyway, at conference we had interviews with President who help me with some stuff, with the mission, Trindade, and companions.  He really is an amazing president.

We arrived in Trindade Saturday and got to work. These last 2 days we worked a lot, which was refreshing, and got to know one anothers work ethics.  Yesterday we talked with Matheus' parents.  Matheus is one of our 16 year old friends who wants to be baptized, but whose parents wont let him.  His mom is rich, and his dad is a councilman here in Trindade. And is probably the most well know person who lives here.  We were nervous going into it, but they made hambergers (sorta) and gave us chocolate milk, so that was good.  But we answered their many many questions, and even taught them some important points of doctrine.  I feel a little better about them now.

So anywho, that was my week that never ended...  I dont know if you guys can tell, but english is extremely dificult for me right now.  I'm translating everything in my head, because I think in portuguese now.  Also... I have an accent... we found a guy who speaks English, and I COULD not talk right with him.  He told me, "You can talk normal, Im fluent" and I said, "I am talking normal."  So that'll be an interesting talk when I get home :D

I love all you guys so much, and I'm so happy to hear from you guys.  I miss you guys so much, but am loving it here.  President gave me a scripture that explains the purpose of life: Mat 16:24-25.  Its kinda self explanitory, so I'll leave it to you guys to read it. 
Elder Biggs

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