Monday, March 27, 2017

Ferraria Week 3

So we will have general conference on Saturday, and Sunday as usual, but the first session is at 1, and the second at 5 for us. I don´t know if we will be able to attend the priesthood broadcast because of how late it will be. I think that we will be going to the chapel for the broadcasts, and some of the people here can watch it in their homes. I don´t know about the women´s broadcast; I haven´t heard anything about it.

So the weather here has warmed up again, and so I am not wearing sweaters anymore, but when I was, they were great. My Portuguese is getting better, and I am still beginning to be understand people, but it is difficult with accents. I can sometimes express everything that I want to, but not always.

My companion is small. I am about a head taller than him, although Brazilians are generally smaller than Americans. Basically most of the time I am taller than everyone. In our apartment he is crazier than me. You should see the way he dances to church music that has any kind of beat.

Our ward is about the standard size ward, smaller than our ward in Sacramento, but still a decent size. We have two wards in the chapel, and Elder R Santos and I are over one, and some sisters are over the other. Our meetings are backwards though because both wards meet at the same time. There is no 11 o´clock church here. My ward starts with priesthood, then gospel principles then finally sacrament meeting. My shoes have been great, the only thing is that rocks get stuck in my general pair of shoes. I usually polish them on P day.

Also we get to go to the temple 3 times a year, but they went right before I got there so I will probably only go 5 times on my mission. Also I got a box of chocolates for my birthday at the zone conference so I have been eating that.

I can´t send pictures today because I forgot my sd card. sorry

This week was really long. I can´t believe how long it was. Anyway we have two investigators that have dates for baptism this week so we have been trying to meet with them. I think I finally know our investigators, at least our main ones. Also we visit two recent converts that live near us. One is a family, and the other a sister. She has had a hard time this week because of family problems with the church. We have two investigators with dates for baptism, and plan on getting at least 3 more this week. We also had a family of investigators come to church for the first time this week which was awesome.

So something funny that has been happening is that Elder R Santos thinks that Beth is pretty. He saw her in a picture then asked her age. I told him that she is 14, and he jumped back like it turned into a snake. It was pretty funny.

Thank you for the package. It has been very helpful, and I am grateful for my pen. It is helpful to be able to study while walking back to our house at night, and I can do this with the pen with flashlight I got. Thank you again.

I came up with a metaphor for the importance of the Gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism. I related it to cleaning dirty dishes. Sometimes we have dishes that can´t be cleaned without first soaking them in water, and them after cleaning them. This is like baptism, because sin is something that can´t be cleaned without first being ``soaked`` in baptism, and afterwards being cleaned by the Holy Ghost. If we just have baptism we are not clean, only prepared to be clean.

I love you all, and am grateful for your support and prayers

To Jacob Pulsipher: get ready to eat a lot of rice and beans.

-- Elder Pettingill

Monday, March 20, 2017

Ferraria Week 2

This week was a lot better than last week, and worse at the same time. I am beginning to be able to understand people, and I can communicate kind of well. Understanding is harder, and it depends on the person, and what we are talking about. Anyway questions from my mom.

The food here is good, and this week I finally got some cereal which I have been looking forward to. Although they don´t have mini wheats here. Every day except pday we have meals with the members which usually consists of meat, rice and beans, salad, and something else. It is good, but I have to get used to eating tomatoes which they like to eat with salads. Lunch is usually about an hour, and we do that usually after study. The weather here was hot every day, but now it is getting colder. Apparently it normally gets cold around April, so this year is unusual. I like being able to wear sweaters though. Also it doesn´t rain very often, and usually when it does it is light. There has only been one time so far that it has rained really hard. My area is called Ferraria, and is known for its hills. Basically it is full of Frogtown like hills that we have to walk up and down a lot every day. 

Normally we have a district meeting with what is really half of our district on Tuesday, but this week we had a zone meeting. The meeting was great, and it was helpful to be able to talk to people who speak English, and get tips about living here. I have met the zone leaders, but we don´t see them too often. They are in two different companionships, and one is in our district. My companion is the District Leader, and we had a division this week because we needed a baptismal interview. So I got to go to a new area, and see the other part of our district. Our district is called Novo Mundo, which means new world. It was cool to be able to see the differences in the ways that missionaries teach. We see the sisters in our district every so often, usually when we go to the chapel. The sheets have been good for most of my time here, but I am using the blanket that you sent me with now. I am sleeping fine.

The picture last time was of the MTC front room. I wanted to send more, but my time was up. It takes a while to email the president before I start emailing you guys, and I only have an hour and a half.

The one bad part about this week was that I got sick, and I haven´t really fully recovered yet. Sister Cuvelier thinks that it is because of something that I ate. I got a fever, and we had to postpone when we started divisions. I guess the sickness is getting everyone in the family regardless of location. I was sick with a fever for a day after lunch. I was feeling bad before lunch, but we had already said that we could make it and the member didn´t have a phone. We walked for over an hour to get there which really sucked. It would have taken less time, but I was walking slowly. When we got there I didn´t eat anything, and then during our message I threw up. We went back to the apartment, and I slept for 4 hours then called Sis Cuvelier, because I had a fever, and she told me to take Ibuprofen. It has been up and down ever since, but I haven´t felt like I did the first day again. Hopefully I will recover completely today. 

I have learned so much about being a missionary this week. We taught a couple lessons yesterday, and while we were teaching I really felt love for my investigators, and for the first time I felt like I had something to contribute that a different missionary would not have. I am really beginning to love the work and have been really blessed. At the zone conference I received my patriarchal blessing, and after reading it again, my mood began to change. I am feeling much better than last week. Thank you all for being such great people!

-- Elder Pettingill

More pictures from the CTM

Monday, March 13, 2017

Brazil 1st Area: Week 1

This week has been really exciting. We left the MTC for the airport around 5 am, and took a van to the airport. It was me and I think 9 other missionaries. They were mostly Brazilians, but there were some people from Mexico, and Chile that knew Portuguese really well. I was the only one that couldn´t really speak it. We got to the mission office and had inverviews with Pres Cuvelier, who is really awesome. I met 5 other American missionaries, one is the executive secretary for the President, and a lot of Brazilian missionaries. President Cuvelier is really awesome. My interview was completely in English which was really nice. I found out that he is really good friends with the Hakes which was really cool. He is totally supportive and kind. He encouraged me to use magic tricks to get investigators.

In my mission we get up at 7:30 most days and return to our apartment at 10pm with 30 mins to prep for sleep. I have 90 min to email so that is a lot more time than the MTC. I don´t know about any other rules that he has. My companion said that he doesn´t have any others, but with my little Portuguese, meanings can come across differently. Anyway, we went to the President´s house for lunch, which was really good. While we were there, one of the Brazilians who made the meal said that he knew a Brazilian (I think) that had the same last name as mine. That is pretty weird.

After dinner we had a training and orientation. President Cuvelier explained everything that I had questions about afterwards. Then we did this activity to receive our companions. They had us write down 3 things about ourselves then they had us guess who our companions were. Nobody guessed right. Afterwards, President Cuvelier told the trainers one by one who their companions were, and they went and gave them a pillow. That was a fun activity. My new companion is Elder R Santos (Santos is a really common name here, along with a few others). He is Brazilian, and is a year out on his mission. He can't speak any English. I am the third missionary that he has trained, so when one of us transfers away he will have 6 months in this area. He is fun, and I like him. He is also an amazing missionary. His scriptures are marked so much, and he can turn to scriptures that he needs instantaneously. His bag is one that he has to carry, not a shoulder bag, and he doesn´t have a lot of money. We have a lot of investigators, and we have taught the restoration a bunch. We invited people to be baptized and no one has said no yet, but we haven´t made dates yet. I got to know a bunch of the recent converts, investigators, and members, but I haven´t even met all of our investigators. It doesn´t help that I can barely understand some of the things that they say, if I can at all, but I can feel the spirit, so that is what matters. Our area is almost completely hills, and we do a lot of walking. Also our area has three different parts, the one where we live, the one where the church is, and some in between parts. Our district is us, and 2 sisters. Sister Wilcox, and the other sister whose name I cannot remember. They are really helpful as well.

My testimony has grown so much here, and I am glad for everything that the Lord has given me. I remember asking for a Brazilian companion in the MTC before my mission, and I am regretting that because I have a companion in the field who can´t understand me. I am very glad that I did not have that in the MTC. 

I love hearing from all of you, and I hope that you are doing well.

--- Elder Pettingill

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

He made it to Curitiba!

I made it to my mission. The flight was good, and there were 7 other missionaries that traveled with me. I can´t email a lot. I am glad for having such a great family. It is very beautiful here. I can´t wait to send you pictures. 

 -- Elder Pettingill

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

CTM Week 5--last week

This is the last email I will be sending in the CTM. Questions first I did not buy scriptures, because I am going to wait, but last p-day we found this place that makes custom leather scripture cases, so I am getting one with the Curitiba Temple on one side, and 2 Nephi 32:3 on the other with my name and mission on the spine. I will send a pic next week. That is the format they do; scripture, picture, and name and mission name. I will pick it up today. I have made a list of things that I want and need so here it is:
-Nature valley sweet and salty bars
-Tiger milk bars or other peanut butter protein bars
-fruit snacks
-different color gel highlighters (blue green etc)
-compression shorts I forgot mine
-the pack of cards in the car I drove. I havent found a place that sells cards yet.
I don´t know what else... I will think about it more and send them next week.
btw don´t send me skittles or sugar babies because of sugar difference. (I wonder what this means...I just sent a package with some papers he needed with a pack of Skittles in there! Whoops!)
I think that I am flying to my mission, but that is just what I have heard.

Well this week was great, and interesting. We made a goal as a district to only talk in portugu√™s for the entire week, so far we have done pretty well. Although we had a devotional from Elder Holland this week which was awesome. I will talk more about that later. I cut the hair of most of the Elders in my district this week. I don´t know if that was allowed, and I haven´t asked yet so... It happened because Elder Davis and Elder Arzani tried to get their hair cut by the guy at the ctm but he wasnt there for the time they went, and then they tried to do it in the city during p day, but the line was really long. So I cut Elder Davis´ hair, because he was willing to let me touch it, then after Elder Arzani saw that it looked good, he had me cut his hair. Then Elder Porter thought that his hair could use a cut, so I cut his as well. Then the next day I cut my own, because I didn´t want to try and find time in my schedule to get my hair cut. We were going to go proselyting again on Saturday, but because of carnival we didn´t. Now there is a bunch of LDM (BOM) in our room because nobody came and got them back. Elder Davis turned 19 this week, so I made people sing the portugues happy birthday song to him five different times. I don´t think he liked it, but it was his birthday. I gave a talk on Sunday, and I gave a lesson. The talk was 4 minutes (don´t you guys wish your sacrament meeting talks were that short, although it was in portuguese), and the lesson was 10 min in English. We had a good devotional that night, but I don´t remember a whole lot, and I am not going to try and find it because of limited time, but I will say that I listened to the entire thing in portuguese, although I didn't understand everything. They had the closest they have come to American food this week, and they have tried quite a few times to create american food. It was hamburgers. They tasted almost like they were american, except the meat was a little off, and they didn´t have ketchup, just some Brazilian version. Me and Elder Porter have to try and teach a lot to our ``investigators`` this week because they want us to teach the ordinances as well before we leave. So far we haven´t gotten though an entire lesson yet. 

I am both excited and terrified for the mission field, although I can understand portuguese even when a person is talking fast (sometimes). I still can´t respond to things in the ways that I would like to, and sometimes I can´t answer questions whatsoever; most of the time it is just answered in a way that no actual brazilian would say. This week I met, for the first time, other missionaries going to my same mission. My companion for divisions (splits) this week is leaving at the same time as me, and to the same mission. He is from chili, but is fluent in portugu√™s. I am really enjoying the teaching practice. My companions in all the divisions have been really great, and have taught me a lot. They haven´t put brazilians in my room so it is just me and Elder Porter until we leave. So we have a lot of room to ourselves

Now on to Elder Holland´s devotional. It was amazing. He talked about so much that can help all missionaries, but one thing that he emphasized was that there should be no missionary that comes home, and goes inactive. He talked about how it doesn´t matter how many conversions or baptisms we get as long as we convert ourselves. He also talked about how we are not trying to get people to join a church, we are trying to get them to come unto Christ, and receive a remission of their sins. He said that the reason that Baptism is important is because it gives us a remission of our sins. He also talked that we need to work with a full purpose of heart, and how that means we need to be engaged in the work, and how we need to embrace the work. One thing that I thought about while I listened to him talk is that I want to be able to bear my testimony with the power that Elder Holland has, and I realized that if I have full purpose of heart then I will be able to testify with the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the power by which Elder Holland testifies. He also talked about the power of the Holy Ghost, and the importance of the Holy Ghost. He talked about when the Nephites were waiting for Christ to come back to them, they prayed for the Holy Ghost, and how the best thing for us to have would be the Father appearing to us, then the next would be for the Son to appear to us, and then the next would be to have the Holy Ghost with us. The Holy Ghost is a member of the God Head. He is on the same level or at least a similar level as God, and Jesus Christ. He talked about how salvation was never a cheap experience.  It is hard just like it was for Jesus Christ. (Missionary Work and the Atonement by Elder Holland. Click on the title for a link to the talk he is referring to. It is a classic talk missionaries listen to in the MTC. It is a great read!)


-- Elder Pettingill