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

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 !!!"

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