Monday, January 26, 2015

Breaking Free from Viamão!

Dan is a free man!! #FreeDanny. Yep, looks like I'm finally getting transferred out of Viamão and headed down south to Pelotas! Fun fact about Pelotas: It is the second most humid city in the world (loses to London). Yay!  But, no, I'm actually really excited because I've heard lots of good things about Pelotas and I also already know my new companion, Elder Navarrette, from Chile! It also looks like I'll be District Leader of about 4 or 5 duplas. Should be an interesting experience...

But this week was really good! I finally hit my one year mark and we also had an awesome baptism!! Usually I feel pretty dead on the last week of the transfer but this time, I gave it my all and was able to see tons of miracles happen. We were able to find tons of new people interested in the gospel, help our current investigators progress, and perform a super awesome baptism! He has been investigating the church for about 10 years now because his wife and all of the wife's family are members but as he said, "the time never felt right and there was always something missing." We did a super awesome family home evening this week where we showed a Mormon Message video about the temple and talked about how families can be together forever and after that lesson, with tears in his eyes, he decided that the moment arrived. He pulled a last minuter on me and chose me to baptize him literally 10 minutes before the baptism started. Good thing I followed the random prompting to bring my white pants and tie.

I can't really think of anything else that happened this week. I'm excited for what lies ahead of me in my next area. I'm stoked to see what else Rio Grande do Sul has to offer because I've been stuck in the same city for the past year. Here's to new experiences! :D

Monday, January 19, 2015

Halfway (Hump) Day

Wow.... One year on the mission. To be honest, the time has gone slow but at the same time, fast when I look back. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was waking up at 4:30 in the morning to head to the Jacksonville, FL airport unconscious of the fact that I would be leaving my entire life behind for 2 years. A lot has happened and a lot has changed. Don't worry, I'm the same ole Dan; just a different perspective on life. I've learned a lot about myself throughout this past year as well as the life of the Savior. One thing I can say is that the mission isn't easy, however, it is worth it. Many times I find myself on my knees praying for help to push through another day and 100% of the time, I get it. While I may be on the other side of the world in a country that isn't mine speaking a language that I only recently learned, I'm glad I made the decision to come. Here's to the next chapter of my mission. Amo vocês MUITO. Saudade de vocês cada dia mas eu sei que aqui é onde eu preciso estar. O tempo vai voar. Até Dezembro!

Monday, January 12, 2015

#DanTheGaucho Is Back!

#DanTheGaucho is back! Look out Brasil, Elder Sanok's got a dagger and jedi boots! Hope everyone had a great week!

Here in São Tomé, aside from dying in these scorching temperatures, we're doing great passin out the Book of Mormon and talkin 'bout the Restored Gospel all day, every day! This week went pretty good - full of both super spiritual and super weird experiences (as usual).

We were able to expand our teaching groups a little this week as we found new people that are excited about hearing the gospel.
One of our investigators shocked us one day when out of the blue she told us she wants to get baptized and then bore her testimony of the Book of Mormon to us - sweeeeet.

We had interviews with President this week and President Castro shared some cool scriptures with me such as 1 Peter 4:12-13 which I think is way awesome - we all face trials (which is normal) but I feel like I'm being exposed to a billion every day but somehow I find the strength to push through them and I'm grateful for them because I'm growing so much more.

On our way home one night, some dude called out to us and asked if we've read some scripture in Revelations (I don't remember which one) but we were like, "uhh...yeah?" and he was like, "yeah well that scripture says that those who practice Spiritism will go to hell" and I was like, "well, good thing we don't practice Spiritism!" and then he paused a sec and goes, "did you know that Joseph Smith's name doesn't appear in the Bible?" and my comp goes, "duhh... and Jesus Christ's doesn't appear in the Old Testament so what's your point?" and then he's all, "there's a scripture that says that liars will go to hell so stop preaching lies!" and my comp shuts him up by saying "read Matthew 7:1-2 which tells us not to judge others, but just to let you know, there's another scripture that says that all people of iniquity will go to hell as well so be careful what you do and who you do it to...good night!"

We saw a super cool sky the other evening. 

Speaking of things in the sky... on Friday I was on a division with my district leader and we were out knocking doors when within about 5 minutes the sky turned black and there was a gigantic cloud in the sky that literally looked like a hurricane coming our way. I was like, "elder, I know storms like this...we should probably get somewhere safe" and he's all like "nahhh, it's just a little rain storm, let's keep walking". All of the sudden, a super strong wind started and we could see the pouring rain coming at us. We looked at the sky, looked at each other, and ran! Haha as we were running, some woman called out to us and told us to take cover on her porch and as the storm was passing we ended up teaching a lesson to her family! 


And after the storm.....  


So some of the previous elders in our apartment decided to play baseball inside and ended up breaking a window.  For about two months our apartment went without a window (don't worry mom, we're on like the 5th floor so there's no way someone could break in unless they were Spiderman). This week, the glass guy finally came to fix it. I was just chillin in the room watching "On the Lord's Errand" about the life of Pres. Thomas Monson when all of the sudden I hear my comp out in the living room, "...and as it turned out, the people rejected the teachings of Christ and started to kill off the apostles" when I realized that he was teaching! I leaped up, threw on my tie, and ran out to finish teaching the Restoration to the glass guy. hahaha, funny experience.

I've been having a good time studying the Book of Mormon in Portuguese lately! Such a great book. I always feel a great peace when I'm reading the Book of Mormon. I encourage EVERYONE to read it! I've decided that at some point this year I want to start studying another language using the Book of Mormon because with English and Portuguese under my belt, the other romance languages are relatively easy. I want everyone to vote on what language I should start studying and send me their idea because I'm very indecisive. I'm stuck between Italian, French, or Spanish. Let me know! :D

Other than that, I can't remember of anything else exciting or out of the ordinary that happened this week. Hope you're all well and having a great start to 2015!

Friday, January 9, 2015

FELIZ 2015!!!

Olá! This week was pretty good in terms of work. In terms of heat, I'm dying. I'm basically black now. I'm super excited that it's 2015! THIS IS MY YEAR! I've made tons of goals and plans for this year and I'm excited to see what it has in store for me. Unfortunately, my New Year's wasn't too exciting... I came down with a super strong migraine that lasted two days (New Year's Eve and New Year's Day) and spent a good amount of time throwing up my insides. I guess that's a good start on my goal to lose some weight. ;)
Yesterday we did a pretty cool activity with one of the families in our ward. We wrapped up 12 Book of Mormons in super shiny wrapping paper and went around passing them out to all their neighbors. It was super fun and everyone was much more receptive because their neighbor and friend was with us, bearing testimony about how awesome the Book of Mormon is. We called it our "Amulek Activity". Read the story of Alma and Amulek in the Book of Mormon and you'll understand a little more. *Hint: Alma was the missionary and Amulek was the member. Note the increase of success that Alma had with his member friend. It's something I've tried doing in each area, finding my "Amulek".
But yeah, that's about it for me! Hope you all had a great New Year's! 2015 is gonna be awesome!! :D

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Christmas 2014, JÁ ERA

Well Christmas has come and passed. It's kinda unbelievable that 2015 is right around the corner (this week). I remember this past year perfectly and am amazed how fast that it went by. Just ONE more! My Christmas week wasn't too eventful. Skype was awesome and so was opening my package with maple syrup and Florida Gator shorts! I was super happy to get ZEBRA CAKES!!! 

I just want everyone to know that I love you all and I hope you had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!!