This week went by so fast! Probably because we only had half the week to work in our area! After P-day until mid-day Thursday, we were traveling! We had a special conference with Elder Aidukaitis (https://www.lds.org/church/leader/marcos-a-aidukaitis?lang=eng). He is currently serving as a counselor in the South America South Area Presidency.
So after our pday, we packed up and went to the other Elder's appartment to sleep there cause it is just down the street from the bus station. Our bus left at 7 Tuesday Morning, and we were traveling until 8:30 at night! These buses are good buses though. Like the 2 story buses, with the seats that can lean back, have a bathroom, and they stop every 2-3 hours to pick up other people, but also you can get off and stretch and buy food if you want as well. But nothing really settled well for me on the way there. I was a little travel sick on the way there. So I tried to study but after about 5 minutes of studying I always just fell asleep! Mom, you were exactly right on your prediction of what I would end up doing on my ride up there, sleep. But it was good, to nap because I havenet been getting a whole lot of sleep lately. But along the way the bus picked up like 10 other missionaries too. This zone is pretty spread out, and we are the farthest south. But after about 8 hours of the trip we had all the people in our zone on the bus. We all had seats next to each other so we just talked the rest of the way up, Another American (from Washington DC) sat next to me, Elder Bearden, and it was nice to talk in English for a little while, plus my area was his last area, so it was good to talk about the area too.
But yeah, the Zone Leaders there in Porto Velho, Elder Bateman and Robinson (or as everyone calls them Batman and Robin) had rides to pick us up and take us to their apartment. we only had 3 extra beds for 6 elders, but I shared a bed with Elder Chime from Equidor (one of the other Elders in Cacoal in my district) and I didnt sleep super well but got a little sleep. But the thing that was worse about it all was that we didnt eat well that day at all. haha Just snacking all day.
But Wednesday we woke up and had plenty of time to study, and prepare for the day, and then we went and bought lunch, and headed to the chapel for the conference. President Castro was there with his wife as well as Elder Aidukaitis with about 25 of us missionaries here in the state of Rondonia. It was such a good conference. The thing was that I understood it all. Last Zone Conference was good but I didnt really understand everything, but when Elder Aidukatis spoke I understood almost every word! He is very annimated but very bold. He is really funny and had a laugh like a clown. haha
He talked to us about some things that our mission can do better. I want to share everything he said but one of the things he said was in the first lesson have the host of the family say the closing prayer, kneeling. It was something that I had not really ever done, but he spoke so pasionately about it. He took about 30 to practice it with us too. After some Elders practiced extending this invitation to Him, as he acted as the investigator, we all gave feed back and learned from it all lot. But then he asked for 2 other Elders to come up front to be the investigators and he would be the missionary to show us how it can be done, I stood up when he asked for a volenteer and my companion came with me. We sat down in the 2 chairs next to him and then he began by explaining to not be really difficult but still be like any of your investigators would be, and then said, "But remember, I am a General Authority!" hahahaha It gave everyone a good laugh. But then he began the role play. He began by imediately going down on his knees, and pleaded us to join him in a pleasent but direct way. And then explained that I as the head of the house would say the closing prayer, and then asked how I normally start my prayers....I responded "Dear God, or Lord." He responded with encouragement that it was perfect, and simply asked what else I include in my prayers,...I said"like things I am thankful for" again gave encouragement and then said "and then just closed with AMEN. Perfect, you can lead us in prayer." He then closed his eyes and bowed his head and waited for me to start. It was so simple, but so sincere and full of confidence. He showed us this way, because so many investigators dont want to pray, especially the first time, but doing it this way it give them so much confidence, and they pray how they are comfortable. He then explained afterwards, that obviously this is not a perfect prayer, but that God will hear it. And that we are to teach line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. As they learn more we can help them pray with more exactness but always giving them what they can handle at that specific time. It was a great training. And it was so cool to sit in front of a General Authority and practice sharing the gospel with him as he looked me right in the eyes. He truely teaches with great power. It was really great.
It sure has helped us too! We have already tried it twice and last night we did it with a family with a man that is way inactive and his family who arent members. He hant been to church or read from the book of mormon for a loongggg time. After reading in the BOM with him and his family. My companion invited him to say the prayer to close, and he refused, he said one of us would that he couldnt. But we just did what Elder Aidukaitis said to do. Imediately after he said that, I asked them to join us by kneeling, and then explained to this brother that he knows the needs of his family and he can ask for that help through prayer, and then asked him how he starts his prayers he said "Pai Celestial" and I said, "that is perfect, what do you say afterwards?" He described a few things he sometimes asks and then I concurred and explained it is really just speaking your thoughts and feelings to him and then just close with Amen, And then I invited him to pray again, and bowed my head and closed my eyes along with my companion, and just as we knew he would, he began to pray. He gave a beautiful prayer, asking for The Father to help his family be better at living his commandments, and studying the scirptures. It was so cool!
Elder Aidukaitis gave us many other cool stories from his mission and when we was serving as mission president as well. As of which was so great! My companion and I a few days ago made a list of all the comittments he had us make there and made plans to how we would complete them. I had a lot of other goals too from other things he said that I want to continue to impliment into my missionary work!
But yeah it ended about 5:00 so we went back to the zone leaders apartment and packed up and we all got rides to the bus station but it was pretty early. We had to wait there for like 4 and 1/2 hours. But I went with a few other elders and got ice cream and subway, we couldnt find the subway and it was raining a lot so everyone went back but I was determinded to find the subway so my comp was great and came with me and it was literally like just another 2 minutes walk from the ice cream station we all ate at. haha So yeah, I had been craving subway a lot and it had been quite some time since I had a sub sandwich! I will attach a picture! (pictures are working today!) The other 2 pictures are from walking to the ice cream place and I saw this grill resturant called "Texas Grill" and I was like, "I need a picture with that!" haha The other White boy with me and my companion is the other American I was talking to on the Bus, Elder Bearden.
Then we traveled all night from 10:30 pm until 10 am the next day, Thursday, then we walked back to our apartment on the other side of town and then showered and got ready for the day. And then we finally had a really meal for lunch! I love that we have lunch in the members homes every day! It is such a blessing! Especially when i hadnt really eaten much for the previous 3 days. haha But
So yeah, it was a great trip, but like I said it took a lot out of our week! We are still working with Nealton, but Satan doesnt want us to talk to his mom, we have been trying to talk to her all week and she is never there! But Nealton is still reading and praying and still wants to be baptized! So I am still excited for him. Wendy has been sick so we havent been able to follow up with her this week either, but its not looking good for her. She still lacks the desire to change. Its sad, but all we can do is keep trying and pray. But this week will be a good week of work for us.
President Castro is coming to our area to hold a conference for the members here in Vilhena. They are so far away that they dont get much attention for other leadership. But this will be really good for them. But yeah, we will also get to have our interviews with him while he is here. I am excited for that!
But yeah, thats all I have for yall today! But I am so grateful for the experiences I am having here, and the great oppertunity it is to be enstructed by so many leaders in this church! I know that we are truely led by a true prophet today that can literally talk with our Heavenly Father and his general authorities are called of God as well! Elder Aidukaitis's testimony of President Thomas S. Monson and this church was so powerful. I too know it is true, and am so blessed to be a part of it!
I sure love you all, and hope yall have a good week! :)
And 2 more pictures of the little b-day party we had for Elder Carmargos on his birthday in their apartment. haha
These photos are of our chapel, and me trying a fruit native to brazil called Jackfruit, in english I think but everyone here calls it Jaka. I dont really like it, it has a really strong smell, and the texture is just really slimy. but there are different kinds of jaka, this one was the softer kind. But anyway a little taste of brazil! haha