Monday, December 31, 2012

Elder Larsen....

Heyyall!!!!! WEll, back to email! Skype was so fun! My comp skyped for 5 hours...and cried like it was going out of style. I thought skyping would make him trunkier than ever but it actually gave him a new breath of life! We got a lot done this week! We found a less active family that hasnt been to church in 3 years and are working with them. they want us to teach them all of the discussions again! I spoke and taught more than ever today as well. My portugues is literally getting better by the day! I forgot to tell you guys a few things during skype. Theres no such thing as taxis here....only Mototaxis! Its the funniest thing just seeing people hopping on a little motorcycle and holding on to some stranger! One other thing about the area, Reggae is HUGE here! 2 things keep this town alive: Alcohol and Reggae. hahaha! Also, my branch president is a gym teacher for his job! hahah i was off!

dec 27- Its so funny whenever we teach a lesson, everyone calls me "Loirinho" or little Blondie. I guess i appear blonde here because everyone else has black hair. Whenever you go to anybody's house as well, they ALWAYS offer you Bolo. You never know it will taste until you bite into it. Its either really sweet like a muffin or salty and bitter like sea water. We have been doing great here the past few days. We're leading our district every week in numbers. and....We have a baptism set!! The one little girl in the less active family we are teaching is 9 years old and hasnt been baptized. Her name is Ana Vitoria and is so smart for her age! She understands everything we teach her! Its been great practice teaching her because we speak very simply and not use a lot of complicated words. The family offers us dinner every night as well that we pass by! You NEVER get dinner here! only lunch. Its so cool to be that missionary that kids like. It reminds me of when i was little and the big hawaiian missionaries we had. We'll have the first baptism in our zone in a while! This area's been dead for a while. I gave my first blessing in Portugues as well! The holy ghost sempre puts the words in your mouth that you need to say.

dec 28 - Well, we went to lunch today literally 10 miles away from our house...one way. The sun here is so dang strong!! So when we started eating, i noticed the meat tasted pretty funky so i asked what it was and the old lady said, "Coracao de cabra e Testino de porco" ....Goat heart and pig intestine!! I looked back down at my plate, smiled, and subtly continued eating. hahahah!

dec 29- Found a flippin full grown, human-eating tarantula in our house today!! You never know what you will find! This area is really, really tough, but things are looking up! We got 2 more less active families to come to church today! we passed 70 in attendance today as well! We were 50 at one point! This branch really needs activities though. Nobody will grab the reins and organize something though. We dont really have time as missionaries to do it though! I wish we could! Its so easy to invite people to an activity to get their feet wet before inviting to church. Every house here is like the basement of our old house....or worse! Theres a ton of mud houses here! So many of these people here literally have nothing. I´m grateful for the opportunities that i have that some of these people will never get to experience. Theres a ton of things that i realize i am grateful for, being here.

I dont think i need any more peanut butter. Just granola or protein bars and oatmeal packets mainly! Deodorant, soap as well. And i made my
mormon.org profile almost 2 years ago! i just edited the intro in the MTC. Thats it for this week!
Grande abra├žo por todos!!
- Elder Larsen
 




 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Where Elder Larsen is at...

When we talked to Cliff at Christmas he told us that they dont really have an address but he said that they live right by this little gas station "Posto Mirante" So we went on a search for it.... and after 2 days we finally found it!!! Its so cool to be able to see right where Cliff is living!!




Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I am Cliff Larsen, I am Mormon

My dad was on google earth tonight and was looking up Teresina Mission... after talking to cliff yesterday he was just wanted to look more into where cliff was serving at and the area that he is in. So he started looking and at the bottom of the page was some of the elders blogs that their families were doing for them and then he saw "I am Cliff Larsen, I am Mormon... Serving in the Brazil Teresina Mission..." So he clicked on it and it is a Mormon.org "I am Mormon" letter that Cliff had wrote!! We are not sure if he worte it before he left on his mission or if they had the elders write them when they were in the MTC.... but it was just the icing on the cake! or the perfect thing for my parents to find to reassure them that there "little cliffy boy" is okay and that he is really truly loving every min of being on a mission and the love that he has for this gospel! We could not be more proud of him and what a strong man he has turned into! Here is the link so that you can go an read what he had wrote! http://mormon.org/me/6x3p
We Love Our Elder Larsen!!

SKYPE

WE HAD SOO MUCH FUN BEING ABLE TO SKYPE OUR ELDER ALL THE WAY IN BRAZIL!! HE IS DOING SO GOOD AND LOOKS SO GROWN UP ALREADY!! WE ALL HATED TO SAY GOOD BYE TO HIM.... WE ARE SO PROUD OF CLIFF AND THE WORK THAT HE IS DOING AND THE STRENGTH TO CARRY ON EVEN THRU ALL THE TRIALS HE IS PUT THRU!
WE LOVE OUR ELDER LARSEN

Christmas Time....

Hey yall! ITS CHRISTMAS EVE!!! cant believe its already here!! Its been a pretty good week here, although most of it was in Teresina. We didnt get back here until friday morning at 4 in the morning. We were originally scheduled to get back thursday night at 8 but the bus station screwed everyhting up with our tickets, so we had to wait at the bus station for 6 hours.. We focused a lot on less actives when we got back and got 2 less active families with some members of the families that arent members to come to church! Its so hard to get people here to commit to anything, so it was a great thing! Still no baptisms, but we have a lot of people progressing. My companion has really been testing my patience lately. He wanted to sleep for an hour one of the days at like 3 oclock and i was like heck no, we´re going to work! I cant take control of the situation like i want to because i dont know the languarge well enough. Its really frustrating too when the brazilians all talk about stuff that isnt in my vocabulary yet and i´m just completely lost. Ive been praying really hard lately for more patience and understanding, but i know the answer wont come until after the trial of my faith. Missionary work is really tough, but so really rewarding when you can change someone´s life and show them the happiness they could have. My companion is kind of a lesson hog too. He hardly leaves a breath for me to speak and he loves to talk about himself for days. I´m trying to stay patient, but its definitely hard. We are going to the zone leader´s apartment tonight with our whole zone to spend christmas and we will get up in the morning and come to the chapel to skype at 3ish OUR TIME. Anyway, we had to stay in Teresina for my companion to take more tests for his kidney stones until thursday! I was mad at first, but it ended up being a good thing. Elder Cooper, the zone leader in Teresina, took me with him Wednesday to do a blitz with him and other missionaries in Caxias! We took a little rickety bus through straight up jungle! When we got there, he said he was gonna throw me in the fire. I didnt know what that meant until he paired me up with Elder C Silva. He has been out 5 months and cant communicate with people for the life of him. He took the first 2 doors and it was AWFUL. I decided to take the rest after that and we met 2 families and taught the Restoration to both of them! And by we taught, i mean I taught. I looked at him to say something during the lesson and he looked at me like he didnt speak portugues! Its crazy how the spirit let my tongue go loose and teach! I didnt even stutter on a word! It was just perfect! Oh, my favorite scripture is Helaman 5:12! Any congratulations to Marissa and Kevin!! So excited for both of ya! Study the language you are going to be speaking NOW! Kevin, you could brush up on your English a little hahaha! I gotta go! Talk to yins a manha!!!
- Elder Larsen

Monday, December 17, 2012

Nice & Hot in Brazil....

The New "Soldier of God"

Heyyo...From Teresina!! I got here sunday night because we had a conference today with a member of the 70, Elder Mazzagardi! We had Parnaiba, teresina, teresina horto, and sobral zones! It was fun seeing a bunch of guys. Me elder steed and elder winn got reunited! Me and Elder Winn thought we was dead, but he´s alive and kickin! Hes got 2 brazilians in his apartment that speak fluent english! I really liked Elder Mazzagardi´s talk today. He really emphasized on our potential and ways that we can better our teaching with the spirit. He stressed looking into their eyes because they are the windows to the soul! He held a question and answer thing too. it was good at first but then the annoying elders were trying to compete for who could ask the most complex question. Finally one elder asked some stupid question about how can i better follow the rules for a longer amount of time and not forget or something, and Elder Mazzagardi walks down to the end of the pugh where he was sitting and was like, "Elder, just have fun" having fun is a big deal in the work. You got to have a smile on your face and be loose if you want to make anything happen.
 
My companion has been sick with kidney stones this whole week. Its been tough, but i was able to go out a few days because we have other elders. I stayed in 2 days with him, so i took advantage of it and studied my butt off! I watched all 3 of the Work and the Glory videos...in portugues!! Theyre so good! Definitely recommend it! I wish i wouldve read the books now! It really puts you into the early saints' shoes and how they were persecuted so terribly. The Church was really in a financial crisis at the time too. Its just amazing how the Church survived during this time, its truly a testament that its true. I'm telling you, if you want to learn a language, watch movies in that language! I learned so much from those movies in portugues! its kinda funny how the words dont match the mouths hahah! The other days, i went with Elder Leite twice and Elder Antonio once. We went back and forth between their areas and ours. We had a lot of appointments fall through. Its so hard to get people to realize the importance of our message. They dont want to sacrifice and act for themselves on the things we've taught. Its much easier to go to a church and have some paid minister preach to you for an hour and tell you that you're forgiven if you pay him, but thats not our purpose here on Earth. we're here to learn and grow and gain our own testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and sacrifice. I learned quite a bit going with Elder Leite because he talks to me a lot and we can converse pretty well. We knocked a house that is pretty fancy and this guy answers the door in these really fancy clothes and rings and everything. we start talking to him and everything, but he stops us halfway through and were like, aw poop...next house, but he says guys, i'm actually interested, but i have to go real quick, can you guys come back tuesday and he just rambled off his address and everything! we were both in shock! we had some good and bad points this week. Elder antonio was a little different. He's a good missionary, he's just a little lazy. All he wanted to do is just visit members. its good to visit members and all, but thats not our main objective here, especially with our little branch! Its just not the same when you dont have your real companion. I hope he can be ready to go sometime this week. He's a really good teacher, but he gets a little distracted when he's around elder antonio. We're in Teresina until tomorrow night. He's going to the hospital tomorrow to get his kidneys checked out. I really like Teresina! Its a beautiful city and way more americanized than parnaiba! I had a great time at the conference today! I understood everything everyone was saying in portugues! A couple brazilians thought ive been out way longer than i have. We have some great missionaries here, but we have goof offs too. The mission is getting better as a whole though as for success.
 
We will go to a members house to Skype, but i have no idea about time or anything yet. probably sometime in the morning or noon. is my skype name clifford.the.big.red.dog. ? and will you skype from the ipad so you can pass it around to everyone? i cant wait to see all of the kids!! I got some mail today at the conference! mom and dad lost 20 already?! Did i make you guys fat?! hahaha parabens!! It sounds like dad is living it up while i'm gone telling me of all of the fun things and plays that you guys go to see while mom is crying in my room folding my clothes on my bed! ahhaha! Cant wait to talk to yall in 8 dias!! we still have pday on the 24th too! i think we are just going to visit a bunch of members in the ward and then have an activity at the chapel with the youth!
 
Love yall!
- Elder Larsen (Soldier of God)
 Tyler's not around to have that title anymore, so i'll occupy it! hahaha!

Monday, December 10, 2012

2nd Week out in the field!

HEYYOO!!! Well it feels nothing like Christmas here...its about 110 everyday and never a drop of rain, but its really windy! Heres a rundown of the week:
 
mon- Went to the city centre and bought some things. We had a lunch party at the house with all of us. We made hotdogs, or as the brazilians say, "hotchdogs"! I ate 6 of those bad boys! We set up our new hammocks as well and slept in them that night. You have to lay diagonal in them when you sleep so your back is straight or you will wake up in pieces. It was so sweet to email again after that long week and a half! I felt disconnected! Im glad to have the guys in my apartment though, theyre like brothers! We had an appointment at night but it fell through so we went through knocking on doors and NOTHING. We got to like the 6th door and finally someone let us in! It was a family of a mom and 2 daughters about 25 and 20, one with a little girl. We taught the whole first discussion and the book of mormon! They were so involved and asked questions! i spoke a little slower than usual and it really helped tonight. It was the first time people didnt giggle or laugh when i talked! We asked the mom to say the prayer, so she started and then she paused and just started balling, saying,"oh thank you heavenly father for sending these two messengers to us"! It was perfect! They asked when we were coming back before we could even ask!
 
tues - woke up at 5 to go to zone conf! It was good, but long! It was cool seeing Elder Winn and meeting a bunch of new elders. I really hit it off with this one elder, Elder Murray, from Sacramento. He was on a AAA basketball team and was recruited by a lot of D1 schools but chose to go on a mission instead. All of us elders went to a members house after to eat. they had a bunch of fruit trees in the backyard! Mango, starfruit, and a bunch of other things that i dont even know the name! Its so fresh and delish! We all had the runs later though because of something in the food. It was a long walk home too..We'll just say i threw a pair of bottoms away.We met a grandma, granddaughter, and an inactive lady in the ward later and taught them and really involved the inactive lady in our teaching. It went really well and we are going back. We taught another lady as well, she is married and has kids but they werent there at the time. She had 2 friends show up when we were teaching though and she was like oh sit down and listen to this guys!!
 
wed- Long day! my comp was really sick so i was trapped in the apartment all day. So i pretty much cleaned the whole day, trying to stay busy. I did a lot of studying as well. I never want to do that again!
thurs - Did a lot of walking today! Today, we just focused on less actives. We have 400 less actives in our ward....so we got work to do! We ate at a members house today and we didnt get a choice of food. there was already stuff on the plate...and im not sure what it was! I could only recognize rice! But i ate it! I havent had a problem with food here. I mean ive had the runs a few times, but thats natural here.
 
fri - What a day! My most difficult yet. We taught a few different lessons today and every time, nobody understood me! It was so frustrating! my companion had to explain everything all over. Then i tried to speak again and they still didnt understand! I said everything right my comp said, it was just my accent. So i got work to do with that.
 
sat - Today was way better. We taught a boy named Mateus. He is 15 and Atheist, but we got him to pray which is a huge step and we will visit him again this friday! We met another guy Kleyton. He is 22 and lives in a really fancy p´lace. He welcomed us right in and was really interested and humble when we taught. He was so nervous to pray but did it! Its crazy some people here have never prayed in their lives! I taught the brazilian homies how to make pancakes this morning too and they loved me for it!
 
sun- Had stake conf at the stake center, but it was different! It was a broadcast from Salt Lake! They really stressed on being 100 percent obedient and by being obedient, were being missionaries at the same time! We literally walked like 10 miles to lunch on the way back because we couldnt catch a bus in the dead heat of midday. I drank 10 gallons of water when we got to the members house. Every single meal here has 3 things: rice beans and noodles. Other thing, its no big deal for any kind of animal to be walking down the street. There was horse just chilling in the road today! hahah! I killed my first tarantula today! It was like a teenage one though. It was hopping like 5 feet with every jump! We taught one guy, Marcos at night! He is 20 and had two siblings and parents that will be there for our next lesson! He loved us!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pictures....








We Love Our Elder Larsen So Much!! 

1st Week in the Field!

Ola finalmente familia!! Foi uma boa, mas ocupado, semana aqui!! Heres what went down!

nov 27 - What a day! got up at 3 AM to go to the airport. I was nervous as crap, this is the real deal now! We connected in Brasilia and got to Teresina at 11. We jumped an hour back here. The time stays the same all year here like arizona does in the US. President and sister siedschlag were waiting at the airport for us with the APs. They are so fun and were so excited for us to arrive. President Siedchlag is a classy guy. He was an educational organizer in Arariquari, close to Porto Alegre, and is pretty loaded, but he wont admit to it. So after that, we went and got our Police info filled out with the APs. We went to fancy buffet together called Macro after. We hadnt eaten in forever so we destroyed the place. We chilled at the mission home for a while afterward and did paperwork and got interviewed...in Portugues! President really commended my Portugues though and gave me a big ol hug. We met quite a few other elders then went to an apartment close by to stay for the night. Whoa! It was a PIG PEN!

nov 28 - Great day! Had a 7 hour conference at the stake center with the pres and future trainers. It was long, but captivating. They announced where we are going and who will be our comp with a slideshow! It was really cool! And im going to....PARNAIBA! Way up north touching the ocean! Elder Winn is as well, but a different area in the city! We went to Presidents apartment after and had dinner! And it is FANCY as all get out! Everyone is really impressed with us new guys and how prepared we are.

nov 29 - 6 hour busride to Parnaiba! My comp is Elder Nakazoni! Brazilian with Japanese heritage. Hes been out for 6 months from Sao Paulo. We talked the whole way up and he is such a great guy! I couldnt ask for a better trainer! As soon as we got here, we unpacked really quick and went to work! We taught 2 families and 2 other people. the people here are so receptive and friendly! Elder Nakazoni seriously bossed it up in the lessons! Im gonna learn a lot from him. We have 2 other elders in the apartment too, Elder Antonio and Elder Leite, each from Rio. So... Im forced to speak Portugues 24-7. We went out to each at a little pastel place. The one told me i will get to take some golden pics here! He had chameleon pee on him from a tree one time and saw a huge black lady bathing over a sprinkler in the middle of a round about one time hahaha! The drivers here are SO CRAZY! Its like everyone is Aunt Tammie on Steroids! You seriously see 20 scooters or motorcycles for every 1 car.

nov 30 - Went and did service in the morning moving furniture at a members house and then they fed us! It was the fanciest house of the area here! I have no idea what kind of meat we ate, but i downed it! And of course, beans and rice. We stopped and helped a guy move bricks on the way home spontaneously too. We met a big family later on and taught for a good 30 mins! The drunk people here love us and love to call out HEY ELDERS!!

dec 1 - Its December?!?! time is slow in the morning during study, but flies when youre out and about!We have lunch appointments scheduled eveyday here! The members love us! WE ate at this members house today with the gradmpa who has the biggest gut around. He was wearing his fancy shirt, but not buttoned up...he could tell i was uncomfortable with it so he buttoned the bottom button...which did nothing.. hahah! We taught his friend at the house too! We always let the choose who they want to say the prayer and they always say The Americano! I have hot streaks with the language and then i go cold where its hard to understand a thing! The end of the day is my best because i shake off the rust of the whole day. In other news, our apartment is rather ghetto...our water works when it wants to and when you want to take a shower, its always ice cold! but its nice at the end of a hot day. Its 110ish here everyday, but we get a good breeze being close to the ocean.

dec. 3  - what a day! Literally walked about 15 miles today! Church was good, but definitely different! Had a lady pass out in sacrament meeting! Haha, but we took care of it! Its a little branch of about 60 in a little house thing! We went to a members house after...their house is literally made of sticks. You seriously have no idea how poor some of these people are, yet they give up their best food for the missionaries! Later, we went to a young man from the wards house. His name is Brendo. We taught his mom and sister who arent members. We involved him a lot and it went so well!

Today, we went to a cool market and i bought a hammock! Black and gold to remind me of home! I gotta go though! I Love you guys!!
Muito amor,
Elder Larsen