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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

September--Going Back HOME!

5 September 2016
I’M GOING HOME!!!!!!!!
Mine and Elder Kusuda's Farewell
Elder Kusuda is sitting right next to me, but here in a few hours he’ll be heading to the mission office, then to President’s house to eat dinner, then the next day will be heading out.  I am officially the oldest missionary in the mission with Elder Wedekind!  There is also another Elder, Elder Larson, who will be coming home at the same time who is from Mesa.  So we’ll be arriving at the airport at the same time.  So that’ll be cool.
Alright.  Now for the big news....  Last night were transfers and I already knew that I was going to be staying, because Elder Kusuda is going home.  And when they called we were informed who was leaving:  Elder Kusuda, Elder Ramirez, and Elder Biggs.  I made them repeat, because I didn’t believe it.  I absolutely love this ward, and really wanted to end my mission here.  I then asked where I would be going, and they told me that I was going to be zone leader in...
ARARIPINA!!!!  If you guys don’t remember, Araripina is the neighbor city to Trindade! Which means that I’ll be ending my mission as Zone leader of Trindade!  WOW!  I got so sad, then SO HAPPY in a matter of seconds!  When I left Trindade, it felt like I was leaving home for the 2nd time.  Now, I’m going home!  My companion will probably be Elder Torres, a Mexican, my first Hispanic companion.  I’ll take advantage of this and learn Spanish with him.  I don’t know him, I think that maybe I’ve seen him once or twice, but I’m SO excited to be going back to Pernambuco to end my mission.  You can forget being trunky!  I’m way too happy to be thinking about home right now!  I couldn’t even sleep last night because I was so happy!!!
But ok... Here’s some pictures to top this letter off! 

2 weeks ago Elder Pasqualini marked 1 year on the mission on the same day that I marked 1 and 9 months.  So we bought a pizza and he took this picture.  He didn’t know about my “9 meses” (9 months) until afterwards :)
We all bought matching shirts for our zone.  
If it's not easy to see, it says, ZONESUL (Sul (South) Zone)
And this here is the Sul Stake Center. 

This is Bishop Dos Santos, one of the best Bishops I've ever seen!
Sister Marcia and her daughter Thais.  Marcia who we baptized and Thais who we reactivated.

Speaking of Cristen, he got a suit!  Let me tell you, it is super cool to see your recent convert in a suit.  This week we had stake conference, and we had a Seventy visit.  Afterwards I learned that The Seventy was a convert and the missionary who baptized him was our stake president, President Lima.  So it was probably pretty cool for the stake president to see HIS convert as a seventy visiting his stake.  Then the person who told me said “how cool would it be if one of your converts became a seventy one day? “ And I looked to Cristen sitting right next to me and said, “Yeah, Cristen will one day!” So, I’ll be maintaining contact.
I also learned that a recent convert's daughter moved to Gilbert, AZ when I left on the mission, and that she just came back. So we had a good little talk about how awesome Arizona is. Cool coincidence!

This is a pretty bad picture, but while we were teaching a family, the 5 year old daughter wanted to paint my nails, so I let her paint my pinky.

Anyways,  I’m SUPER excited for this next six weeks.  I don’t know how the internet will be there (just think of the first few months when I couldn’t even send pictures) but it should be fine.  I love you guys so much and will let you know how it goes next week!

Elder Biggs

PS:  Mom, if you wanna let Elibrauli, Charles, Wedja, etc, that’d be alright!
12 September 2016
Monday night I got on the familiar bus to Juazeiro do Norte for the first time in exactly 1 year (and 2 days) and arrived there the next morning.  Then at 9:30 am I reenacted my first days on the mission riding on the much lesser quality bus to Araripina.  It was probably pretty funny for the other people in the bus to see an American so happy to be passing by a tiny little town like Trindade.  It hasn’t changed a bit.  Maybe a little dirtier  :P  But I was super happy to see it again.

When I arrived in Araripina, my companion hadn’t gotten there yet (again, like the first time I arrived in Trindade) and after about 30 minutes he arrived.  My last companion is Elder Torres from Mexico.  He is my first Hispanic companion.  We’ve gotten along really well, and as of right now are very good friends.  He will be doing one year and 6 months next week.  We also decided that he is going to teach me Spanish while I teach him English.  We’ll see if I come home fluent in 3 languages!
It is very strange to be coming back here, because you realize all the differences between Pernambuco and Ceará that you didn’t catch before.  The people talk different, the roads are different, the houses are different, the food is different, even the smell is different.  But with little time on the mission, there was no way for me to tell the small differences like these.

The other strange thing about coming back is that I feel like I’m starting my mission all over again.  I’m feeling everything I felt went I first arrived in Trindade with Elder Young.  But this time I’m not a greenie on the mission.  I’m an expert.  Literally the oldest on the mission.  You know how return missionaries always say that if they could start their missions over, but knowing what they now know, they’d have way more success?  Well that’s true.  And in a way, I’m kinda doing that right now.  But because of that, I’m not trunky anymore, I’m not obsessed with thoughts of home, and I’m not dying to make movies.  In fact, the idea that I won’t even be speaking Portuguese here in 5 weeks scared me a bit last night.  I’m so happy to be able to end my mission here.  This (so far) has really turned out to be a huge blessing!

This week we baptized a young girl name Tamirez.  Her whole family has already been baptized and this week she decide that she too want to be baptized.

Its still a branch here, and its in the middle of nowhere so we don't have a chapel. So we do the baptisms at the Branch President's house in a huge bucket of water:

Elder Biggs
19 September
Well this was quite the week!  I had just gotten back from Fortaleza and last Monday after writing you guys, we had to go BACK to Fortaleza for the mission council with all the zone leaders.  16 hours one way to Araripina,  16 hours back to Fortaleza, then on the same day, 16 hours back to Araripina.  The worst part is that we arrived in Araripina on Wednesday at about 2pm.  So we ate something small when we got here, then we went out to work like any other day. Completely wasted, but to be honest, it was probably the day when the Lord blessed us the most this week.
This here is a photo of us with the zone leaders of Juazeiro do Norte heading to Fortaleza.  Elder Occon front left, served about 6 months in the United States because of visa problems.  And when I asked him where in the USA he served he told me the Gilbert, Arizona mission! So when I was telling everyone that at my home it gets to be 122 degrees and no one believes me, Elder Occon says, “no its true.  We’ve had sisters pass out on their bikes because of dehydration.”  So that’s cool.
One super cool thing about the mission council:  Afterwards, President Leite interviewed all the zone leaders accept for me and Elder Wedekind (Elder Wedekind is a zone leader now!) and Elder Larson (because he’ll be interviewing us here in a couple weeks) and Elder Torres was the last one.  So after his interview, President played some really cool hymns for us on the piano (He is REALLY good) then asked us how far from the stake center the mission office was, and we told him about a half hour walking.  And because he had let Sister Leite use the car that day, he walked with us.  The whole way we just talked about normal stuff with him.  He is very approachable and very humble.  Very different than President Fusco.  He isn’t better or worse than President Fusco, but way different.  Just to give you an idea, as we passed a fast food restaurant, Elder Occon’s companion said, “Hey President, do you like fast food?”  and president just said, “Lets go!” And he went in and bought us dinner!
Anyways, for the last month or so, the missionaries have been teaching an awesome family that was recently baptized, Mom, Dad, Daughter, and Grandma.  They have also been teaching 2 friends of the daughter, Kathly, who live down the road who are twins.  Kaylane and Kalyne.  They’re 12 years old and ADORE 1 Direction and are extremely talkative.  EXTREMELY!  I filmed them talking one time, and I’ll have to show you guys when I get home (4 weeks couch cough).  The first time I met them, Elder Torres told me to brace myself.  And wow!  They’re crazy. 
Usually when I come to a new area, or get a new companion I’m pretty quiet for the first few days to try and give a good impression.  Anyways, the second day that we went there, I too decided to be crazy with them and… It worked!  You talk with them about one direction for about 5 minutes and then start to talk about the gospel and they stop talking and listen.  We left and Elder Torres told me that they had been progressing very slowly because they don’t take anything seriously and don’t stop talking, and that I was the first to get them to stop.  Anyways, they had been preparing for baptism but were very nervous, so they didn’t want too.  Their mom is also a member and was baptized in Trindade about 8 years ago, but has since fallen away from the church, so we are also reactivating her.  She helped a lot motivate the twins to be baptized until the very hour.  Sunday after church we all walked to the Branch President’s house and Elder Torres and I were pretty nervous that they would give up at the last minute.  1 chose me to baptize her and the other chose Elder Torres.   
So there we are, one of the twins standing on the other side of the yard with me already in the water tank calling her over.  She slowly climbs in saying “I hate water. I hate water. I hate water.” And me explaining how the baptism will work, then as I finished the prayer and put her into the water she yells, “Is this really happening!” And BOOM! She came out of the water screaming “THAT’S IT!?  THAT’S WHAT IVE BEEN AFRAID OF THIS WHOLE TIME!?  I DON’T BELIEVE IT!!!” And everybody just laughing their heads off!  Then the other was baptized and after coming out of the water saying “Alright!  Alright!  You all saw what you wanted to see!  I’m getting out of this water now!”  
After they changed cloths and everything, they were much more relaxed and we ended the baptismal meeting with a very strong spirit with the testimony of the young women’s leader and the closing prayer by their friend Kathly (who had only been baptized 3 weeks earlier).  We talked with the two afterwards, and they thanked us for literally throwing them in the water  :D
Right now I’m writing this from a city called Salgueiro.  It’s about 4 hours from Araripina and is the furthest place from Fortaleza in the mission.  It is a part of our zone, so we came here to have a zone meeting with them.  We’ll sleep here, then go back to Araripina tomorrow night.  Yeah, there’s no such thing as a normal week in Araripina, you travel like crazy!
But alright then.  I’ll send some more pictures in another email, but I love you guys so much and I can’t believe that here in 4 weeks I’ll be getting ready to come home.  Until next week!
Elder Biggs
26 September 2016
This week I was finally able to do what every missionary wants to do: visit their first area!  On Friday, we went on exchanges with the missionaries in Trindade and… well… It was pretty great!

The first thing that happened getting out of the van, and walking to the house was see João Vitor walking down the road!  We were both without words!  We talked for a bit and he said that he’d be at an activity that night that we would be going to as well, so I didn’t take a picture with him there.  But just for you to know, he hasn’t changed a bit.

After that we visited a few people then headed over to Elibrauli and Tereza’s house!
I don’t know if you can see too well, but she’s a couple months pregnant!

We then visited and worked quite a bit until the activity that night.  It was funny because I knew the area better than my companion who had been there for almost a month! I also got to show him a bunch of people who I had visited, so that was cool!
Just before the activity had started I learned that Wedja had moved to another house close to the church.  So of course I didn't hesitate to run over there.  When I got there, Ana Luisa (her now-8-year-old-daughter) answered the door with a huge, "HUH! Elder Biggs!  MOM! MOM! MOM!" Wedja told me later that she thought her daughter had gone mad until she came to the door to see for herself.

We had a great little visit and marked another visit here in a couple weeks before the end of my mission.

After that visit, we headed to the familiar chapel and met a lot of other members there including:

and Mattheus and Daniel!

It was so cool to see everyone again!  Except I didn't get to João Vitor, who didn't show up for some reason, but Mattheus, João Vitor and Daniel are all preparing to serve missions now that Karol, Marcelo and Jessica Weidya are all on their missions.

Finally to wrap everything up, the next morning, I went to visit Francisca Barbosa and Jorge Allan!  Jorge Allan was my very first friend here in Brazil, so it was cool to see how he had grown so much!

But it was really a great experience to visit Trindade again!  I really am lucky to be able to do that.  I don’t know of many other missionaries who have.  That’s all I’m gonna write today.  It’s crazy to think that I’ll only be writing 3 more times and the third will be as I am leaving.  So let’s make this next 3 weeks count!
Here are some comparisons from last year and today:
Matthew And Daniel:
 Allison and Denis:

Elder Biggs

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August, 6 More Weeks, but Who's Counting!

1 August 2016

This week was full of learning experiences.  It’s interesting how you learn the most when things are hard.  I always thought (when I got here) that after I learned Portuguese and memorized everything that I needed to memorize, everything would be way easier.  And it did in many ways, but it’s interesting how the challenges never really stop.  On my mission I’ve learned that when you passing through problems, its for one of two reasons.  1) You did something wrong and are being punished, or, 2) God sees that now you’re ready to grow.  
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27) 
These last few weeks I have seen that scripture come into play, and it is really incredible!  The Lord is never satisfied with us, he always wants us to be better.  And I think that that might be why he is the greatest parent in the universe.  Reminds me of my parents J,  If he didn’t want to help us, he wouldn’t give us difficulties or weaknesses. 

Two things that I’ve really gained a testimony of these last few weeks are the power of prayer and of the scriptures.  In this scripture it says that 
“if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.”  
It’s interesting because a few weeks ago, everything was going very smoothly, and in prayer I asked God to help me be better. And it was just after that that the difficulties started.  Boy, I am NEVER gonna ask for that again! J  But while these last few weeks have been pretty rough (baptizing, leading the zone, getting to the end of my mission, even Portuguese got harder for me, etc) I have learned to depend much much, much more on the savior than before.  I’ve seen a lot more of how the atonement works for me. And that is wonderful!  Definitely worth a couple challenges. 

I have a goal to end reading O Livro de Mórmon before the end of my mission.  I’m in Alma 39.  Last week Dad sent in his letter some pretty interesting thoughts about reading the scriptures that I even shared with my zone this week.  That when we are always reading the scriptures, God has a means to always be talking with us.  It’s incredible how we can receive personal revelation every single day.  I’ll share an example that I read this week: Alma 29:1,3 
“O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!”
“But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.” 
Basically, I wanted to be like an angel.  Able to call millions to repentance!  Baptize the whole favela!  Work miracles!  Do great things!  But while I want to do all these things, I make a lot of mistakes and am not perfect.  And quite frankly I should be happy with the calling that God has already given me (because as you know, just being here in Brazil is a miracle (Visa, making movies in places where it isn’t legal to make movies…)).  But then I remembered another scripture that I had read the day before in Alma 26:22, 
“Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance.”  
I’m a very unprofitable servant (Luke 17:10), but if I repent and use my faith, pray always and do my best, God will help me. 

And this was in just one day of personal study.  I haven’t even started about the other 6 days.
Sorry I didn’t talk too much about this week or send any photos (I took like 1 picture this week) but I felt like being all cheesy in my email J  And I also don’t want you guys to think that I’m suffering or anything.  I’m as happy as ever, Elder Kusuda and I are best friends and he is honestly one of my favorite companions. But I felt like I needed to talk about this with you guys! I’ll be sure to take more pictures this week to have some to send to you guys next Monday!

Elder Biggs

8 August 2016
Sisters... lots of Sisters...

Getting ready to leave to work
This last week I have been focusing a lot on goals.  Specifically goals to keep on working until the end my mission.  The last thing that President Fusco told me was that I needed to end my mission RUNNING!  So I have made a few goals these last few weeks to keep me running.  I have 10 more weeks.  And I need finish the Book of Mormon in Portuguese as well as baptize eleven more people. In the beginning of my mission I made a goal of baptisms and I now need to baptize 11 more to reach that goal.  So there is no way that I am gonna relax until I’ve done that!  I should start Helaman today.  Which means that I’ll still need to read 81 chapters in... just a sec... let me do math...  71 days.  So, yeah,  I gotta hurry.

Elder Kusuda will end his mission here in 4 weeks, then will be my last transfer.  I doubt that I’ll be transferred because one elder will leave and the other usually stays, and it’ll be my last transfer so.. .  But Elder Kusuda will be my 5th companion that I’ve killed.  So there’s that too.  But he isn’t trunky either. We’re gonna both end our missions RUNNING!

Anyways.  Here is our zone (which changes about every day).  Our zone now has 6 SISTERS and just 4 Elders, 2 of which are zone leaders and another the district leader.  Its a very strange zone, but whatever.  We baptized 4 people yesterday.
Speaking of that, I baptized 2 men this week, Raimundo and José.
Raimundo didn’t  want to be baptized but while watching another baptism, felt the spirit and wanted me to baptize him (probably just because I was sitting next to him) 
Then I had interviewed José (a pretty crazy dude) and then also baptized him.  So I baptized 2 people this week, but they were both the Sister’s baptism, so I still need to find 11 more people...
But anyway, my week was another very difficult week, but another spiritually uplifting week as well.  Saturday I was frustrated as heck for example.  But when I arrived at church the next day all my stress was taken away.  I even felt strange to have released so much stress simply going to church.  While I took the sacrament yesterday I had a thought:

Christ is the only one of God’s children who deserves a blessing.  One blessing. Any blessing!  No one else deserves anything other than punishment, because day after day all we do is break God’s commandments.  But Christ’s atonement was basically him, “trading places” with us.  We step into his spot, perfect and without punishment, and he steps into ours, punishment without end.  I don’t know how He did that, but I know that he did.  He lived a perfect life, and earned his ticket into heaven.  And he gave that ticket to me.  I hope to learn even more about the atonement and the gospel in the next 10 weeks.

I love you guys so much and I’m excited to be there with you in 10 weeks, but until then, I’m here!

Elder Biggs  

15 August 2016
Very grateful and very humbled!

This week was a very, very good week!  As soon as the week began, things were going good.

On Monday night, President Leite called and invited Elder Kusuda and I to eat lunch with him the next day.  He asked us to meet him at the mission office and we walked over to a restaurant close by and talked about the zone and mission stuff.  We also asked him about what it was like when he received the call to be a mission president, how his first month was, and what President Fusco was like on the mission (President Leite was President Fusco’s zone leader, in case you didn’t know already).  Then after that, he invited us to his office and showed us a great way to work with members.  Wow!  He is really smart!  He’s got some incredible ideas and is very creative.  We’ve already seen that he is going to focus a lot more on working with members, and preparing for the temple that will arrive here in 2018.  Then afterwards we asked if we could take a picture with him, and he was like, “Sure!” which was a surprise, because President Fusco HATES taking pictures.

Other news,  my shoes which arrived here on the mission with me have officially died...  It’s funny because shoes here on the mission last for like, 3 months, 4 months. Elder Kusuda has had like 6 pairs of shoes and my first pair lasted 21 months!  So, I sure won’t be buying any other kind of shoes for the rest of my life.  GO ECCO!

Alright, now for the good part.  For the last 6 years, the missionaries have been teaching a woman, Marcia, who went to church, participated in everything, but couldn’t be baptized because she wasn’t married to her husband.  He too had been going to church and the 2 wanted to be baptized, but he had to legally divorce before he could get married, and his ex-wife didn’t want too.  So their kids were all baptized and they were going to church, but after some years, they just kind of stopped.  Well... last week, Marcia’s husband passed away (they’re an old-ish couple) and Marcia felt so comforted by the missionaries (us) and the ward, that she decided that she would be baptized without further delay! 
There was more than 50 people at her baptism last night, and it was a very spiritual baptism!  Elder Kusuda and I, with member, Diego, sang “I’m trying to be like Jesus” afterwards, which was cool too.

And if you think all, you’d be wrong!  I didn’t even mention the other baptismal meeting after church where 5 young men were baptized!

Left to right, Kaué, me,  Allan, Allison, Gustavo, and Elder Ramirez.  Elder Ramirez baptized Allison, and I baptized Kaué (who is from our ward) then Allan and Gustavo (from the sister’s ward).  
Also there was Kaio (pronounced Kyle), Kaué’s brother who would’ve also been baptized, but was really shy, and didn’t want everyone to see.  But after baptizing Kaué, I started to leave, and Elder Kusuda said, “wait! wait! wait!, Kaio is coming, he wants to be baptized too!” And then he came and was baptized too!
The Lord really blessed us this week.  I am very very grateful and humbled for everything that he does for me.  And I am really grateful for this mission!
And if you thought that I was getting trunky, check this out!  I’ll let you guys google-translate this:
I love you guys so much and I’ll talk to you guys next week!

Elder Biggs

22 August 2016

Two more weeks until Elder Kusuda goes home.  We’re both counting the days (literally).

On Tuesday, we had a meeting with all the zone leaders and President Leite which went until about pm. Then afterwards, President interviewed Elder Kusuda for the last time, then we had to go to the mission office and grab some medicine for a missionary in our zone.  But we had to wait or a few hours for the medicine to arrive.  So while we waited, President Leite grabbed his guitar and started to play and sing for us.  WOW!  He plays and sings REALLY well!  There was another missionary there who was a professional singer in his country and the two sang a bunch of hymns together.  It was actually really cool!  Then after all that, we got back to our area 8:30 that night.  And to get where we work, and then get back would be enough time to get home at 9pm.  So we stopped by the church where the youth were playing basketball and volleyball.  So, for the first time in my mission, I played basketball.  Yeah Dad!  1 year and 9 months, I played basketball for the first time on my mission.  

On Friday, Elder Pasqualini completed 1 year on his mission and I completed 1 year and 9 months.  So he wanted to go on splits with me so that we could buy pizza that night.  It was funny to see the difference between 1 year and 1 year and 9 months.  With the extra nine months you find that your skills as a missionary are much better, but your desire to work, work, work is much less.  Physically that is.  I started thinking, “wow, I’m getting old for this.” “My knee hurts” “my back hurts” etc… I’ve seen this in the 5 companions of mine who were ending their mission, and it’s weird to see it happening to me too.

This week we found an old man sitting in front of his house, and we decided to talk to him.  His name is Francisco, but he calls himself "Reis" (pronounced Heys) which means "Kings." This isn't a normal name here either.  But whatever!  He told us that he had already gone to church a couple times, and when we talked about baptism, he just said “Ooh! I wanna do that!” and we were like, “you do?” And he responded, “Let’s go for it!”  He is 76 years old and not very quick in the head, but we taught him everything and this Sunday we baptized him.  I don’t have a picture of him because I don’t have my camera with me right now, but next week I’ll send a picture.

Other than that, my week has been pretty normal.  I’ve got 8 weeks left, which is very little, but at the same time, a LOT!  I’ve still got my goal to reach as well, 6 more people!  So I can’t get comfy yet!  There’s still a lot of work to do and a lot to learn still!  I love you guys and will talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs

29 August 2016
A Bible, I have got a Bible, and I need no more Bible! -2 Nep 29:6

This week was another week closer to Elder Kusuda going home.  It’s funny because when one of my companions is going home, I get all excited for him (and maybe a little trunky for him too) and then when he leaves I get all excited to work again.  But this time, I don’t have much time after that.  So we’ll see how this goes.

On Monday we went to the center of town to set a marriage date for a couple that we’re teaching, then afterwards we found a giant market place where I bought a couple stuff, including this dashing hat!

Speaking of the center of town and marriages, we’re teaching this couple, Bruno and Daiane right now.  Bruno is a less active member of the church and Daiane is investigating the church.  Actually, she is very excited to be baptized, but they need to get married first.  They have 2 daughters already, one of which (2 years old) absolutely loves us, which is really cool.  Anyway, on Thursday we went to the place where marriages happen (cartório in Portuguese, I don’t know what we say in English) with them and they signed the paper and on the 8th, will be married!  They’re both really excited so that’s really cool!

Not much else has happened this week.  Our friend Reis (Kings) was confirmed this week and we even arranged a deal with an inactive member who happens to be his neighbor to take Reis  to church and back every week!  Kill 2 birds with one stone.  I don’t have a picture of Reis yet, but I’ll send one next week.

Other cool thing.  The church has not had the legal clearance to print and sell Bibles in Portuguese until this year.  And so I’ve been using a Bible that I bought in a random Christian Library.  But 2 weeks ago I went online and bought one and today, it arrived!

Oh boy was I the most popular Elder in the mission office today, everyone wanting to see my new Bible!  And I just went around citing 2 Nep 29:6 
“A Bible, [I] have got a Bible, and [I] need no more Bible”

I got pretty happy for that!  Now I’m all excited to read the bible more in Portuguese!
Anyways, that was my week.  I love you guys and will see you here in 7 weeks!

Elder Biggs

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Miracles in July

4 July 2016
Forth of July!

Hello Family!

This week was actually fairly uneventful.  We haven’t met President Leite yet, so we’re just kind of working without keeping in contact with anyone.  It’s actually pretty weird.
But hey!  Happy fourth of July!  Since there are 3 Americans here out of 4, we decided to do a barbeque this morning!

This week is gonna have a lot of photos: 
Here’s a new picture of our zone, we’re the smallest zone in the mission and probably the weirdest…

We found a less active member who works on a little animal farm and look what he had!  A beagle!  I actually got really, really happy to see this beagle and play with him a little bit.  Like way happier than any other kind of dog that I’ve seen here on the mission.  Good memories probably.

Here in Brazil, the second biggest holiday after Christmas is called Festa Junina (June Festival).  It’s basically a week where everyone dresses up like hillbillies and dance around.  I actually really liked it.  Way cooler than Carnival!

This here is a picture of me with a little bow and arrow that some kids in the favela made for me.  It actually works really well.  If it hits you, for example, it hurts, but not too much.  So you can imagine we’ve been having fun with that!

Look what Sister Nevin received today:  (I was in the office today and I saw this there

Alright.  Baptism!  Last Sunday, we were sitting there thinking who we would baptize, because we didn’t have many people who would be ready by this Sunday.  And as we were thinking, we got a call from the other zone telling us of a young man called Igor who has been going to church with his friend in another ward for a month and wants to be baptized who lives in our area.  So…
​We have now gotten to know his HUGE family a little better and will see what happens here in the next few weeks.
Anyways, tomorrow is our first conference with President Leite, so I’ll let you guys know how that goes.  But I love you guys and will talk to you next week!


Elder Biggs

11 July 2016
President Leite

This week was really quick and not very eventful.

The only thing that is really worth note is President Leite.  On Tuesday, we had our first conference with President Leite.  He is WAY different than President Fusco.  President Fusco is a very serious, professional, closed man.  Nothing wrong with that, it’s just the kind of guy he is.  President Leite on the other hand is very open, charismatic, likes music, etc.  The first thing he did was hug everybody.  That isn’t something that President Fusco did a lot.

President Leite served in the same mission as President Fusco.  In fact, President Leite was President Fusco’s zone leader when he arrived on the mission.  He was also the president’s assistant before President Fusco.  So there are a lot of differences in the types of people that they are, but they have the same idea about work.  They both work like crazy!  President Leite said in the conference, “You guys probably wanna know which rules are going to change, right?  Well, none of them will change.  President Fusco was working hard, and I will too.”  So until now, the mission hasn’t changed too much.

President Leite is also a lawyer and is super SUPER rich.  President Fusco is also rich, but I don’t think he’s as rich as President Leite.  Not that that makes a difference.

One rule that he did add.  When we end our missions, we usually will pray and ask God if our offering was accepted by Him.  But he wants us to ask, not just at the end of our mission, but at the end of every day.  If that day was na acceptable offering, and if it wasn’t, change why it wasn’t and do better tomorrow.  I’ve done that this last week and it’s incredible to see the difference that it makes in the day to day work.

I don’t have very many pictures this week, but check this out.  He, they have sugar cane, and a member taught us that you can just put them in your mouth and suck all the juice out of it.  It’s way good!  They also make a weird sugar juice out of it, which I didn’t like quite as much  :P

I know, I've gotten pretty freaking gorgeous here on the mission. Look out ladies! 

Also, here is a picture of the sunset here.  
If you look close on the left, you’ll see a cool crescent moon.

I love all you guys so much and I’ll talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs

18 July 2016
Miracles.  Two to be Exact.

This week was any other week,  that ended with some miraculous results!

First of all, to start the week:  Elder Kusuda and I went with Elder Pasqualini and Elder Clements (the other 2 missionaries in our house and our ward) to a super fancy restaurant on Monday called “Sal e Brasa” which is “Salt and Coals” in English.  You know its fancy because the name doesn’t make any sense at all!  Its a churrascuria and costs R$32, which is only like $10, so it was all good for us (except for Elder Pasqualini who is Brazilian).  But holy cow!  It was good! This is the first time of my mission that I spent personal money on a restaurant, so don’t worry, I’m not wasting my money here on restaurants (although I think I might have to go back there one more time before I come home!)

Other news, Tuesday was our bishop’s birthday, to which he invited us

This is how we travel around the city here, by bus
And I found Wolverine!

Ok, now the miracles (miracles because more than one).  We have been pretty close these weeks to not baptizing anyone and this week seemed impossible.  To be baptized a person has to have gone to church at least twice.  So a lot of the times, we bring someone to church one Sunday, then the next Sunday, we baptize them after church!  Anyways we’re teaching this young man, William, who wanted to be baptized, but hadn’t gone to church with us.  We talked with him about being baptized next week because he hasn’t gone to church yet, and he said “no, I’ve already gone a couple times, but it was before you guys got here.”  So...

He was baptized yesterday!  He also brought some friends to church with him who are now also interested in being baptized!  That’s one reason why its much easier to baptize here, because baptisms bring more baptisms.  You baptize one and find 10 more!  And you want proof of that?

2nd miracle!  Igor’s brother, Eduardo, turned 8 this week and wanted to be baptized!  This week we were basically out of options.  So we just decided to work, work, and work some more.  And God blessed us not with one, but TWO baptisms, and a LOT of other people to teach for the next few weeks.  I haven’t even talked about Gabriel’s parents who are almost ready to get married, a 19 year old inactive man named Bruno who has a huge family that asked us to baptize them and all of the members flooding us with references to young families!  There really isn’t anything better than working for the Lord! 

I love you guys and I’ll talk to you next week!

Elder Biggs

25 July 2016
I’ve Been Here 5 Months Now…..


Yesterday we were walking from lunch with Elder Clements and Elder Pasqualini, the other two missionaries in our ward, when we got a call informing us about the transfer!  Only one of us was transferred and it was… Elder Clements.  He was transferred to another city close to Fortaleza that has a beach!  Lucky dog!  
And who is coming here is Elder Ramirez who lived with me in Castelão!  So that’ll be pretty cool!  That means that at the end of this transfer (6 weeks) I will have exactly 7 months in this area!  And then after that I will only have one more transfer. And usually when you only have one more transfer you stay where you are, so there’s a good chance that I’ll be staying here for the rest of my mission!  Which will be such a blessing!  I absolutely love this ward!  This is an amazing neighborhood with some of the best members you’ll find!  The ward is working hard to divide by the end of the year, so it’ll be my privilege to work with them almost until the end!
each one of these planners is one transfer.  A mission for elders is 17 transfers.  So these will be all of my planners of the mission.  Can you tell which two I haven’t used yet?

Alright.  Now that we got that news out of the way, on the pictures!  The first counselor in the bishopric taught me how to make hot chocolate really good!  So now, everyday, I make hot chocolate for everyone in the house.  And I’m not gonna lie, it is pretty good!
Speaking of drinks, this here in TURNIP-juice!  I'm making an ugly face here but it was actually very, very good!  A member in our ward makes Maracujá juice (which I think is Passion Fruit in English) mixed with turnips.  And I learned that the 2 go really well together :)

Sidinei (Sidney) hadn't been confirmed yet because he's been traveling these last few weeks.  Its actually really annoying because its summer vacation here and everyone is traveling :P  But anyway, he made me and the TARDIS in Minecraft!  I gave him the Mad libs Doctor who book that you guys sent me and told him that it was from my family and he loved it.

So after 6:30 am, we cant lay back down, so sometimes when I have difficulty staying awake, I read my little pocket bible...
Apparently, that doesn't work too well :P

Speaking of sleeping!  Sunday after church:

But yeah!  It looks like I’ll be coming home on October 18th.  The mission will call you guys here in about a month or two to buy the plane tickets.  But you guys and my companion are the only ones who know this.  No one else knows because I don’t wanna get trunky and have everybody telling me that I’ve only got 85 days left (I’m not counting).  I’m gonna finish this thing running!
I love you guys and I’ll see you next week!

Elder Biggs