Saturday, December 29, 2012

its beginning to look a lot like an oven.....m​osquitos are everywhere​... (add music, you know what tune...)

Dear family, friends, and whoever,

yay, I had the opportunity to skype with my family this week on Christmas day, which was by far the highlight of the week. We have had rain constantly for the last 3 days, and has started a significant amount of normal flooding here in Porto Alegre. Most of the areas are fine, but there are little villages that are very poorly constructed and are made out of cardboard/billboards/alluminum sheet metal, and other things of the like that don't endure really that well against several days of storming. Before the rain, we had a heat spell, it got up to 102 on Christmas day, and since the houses are made out of cement, there were few who were less than that temperature. There was one house here in the mission that had a thermometer in it and read 124 that evening. I am very gratefull to be here in Lindóia where I have an air-conditioned office that we can flee to. It is one of the only air conditioned buildings here in POA.

This week has been a lot of fun for Elder Dowden and I. Before I arrived, Elder Dowden and the old AP had been working the area, but had been required to be in the office a lot, so not much actually missionary proselyting was happening. Now that they have junior companions, we have the task to maintain the areas and focus on the investigators, along with learning how the office works and how to make everything function. It was fantastic, we spent several days tracking down over 100 inactive members (most of whom have moved out of the area) but we found 3 families who were still in the area, and had not been to church in a very long time. When we arrived, each one of them saw who we were and greeted us with a huge smile, hugs, and cookies (a must). We have been working with these three families, and because of this week, each of them now has a desire to return to the church, get endowed, and get sealed. what a blessing, because most of them aren't members. One house for example is a family of 7. The mother was baptized thirty years ago in a neighboring town, and had left the church after she moved. We found her address, and knocked on her door, well, since then (she was 16) she has had 5 kids and gained a husband. We now have baptismal dates for the 5 kids, and they all are excited to learn about the church that brought such joy to their mother so many years ago. That is just one of the many examples of the reactivation progress that we are doing. Because of this work, we have found litterally hundreds of new investigators of people who have never heard of the church before-they are the family of the inactives, or the new residents of the homes where the residents used to live.

Wednesday night, we had quite a bit of excitement...I had a spare 5 minutes before bed, and so I decided that I was going to try and fix the fan that had fallen off of the stool yesterday and had stopped working, I took off the back and saw that the wiring had come apart. Well, me, being the independent problem-solver that I am, pulled out my leatherman and went to work. well, as I finished, I put the plug into the socket to see if it would work, and something happend, but not exactly what I expected. When I placed the plug into the socket, the motor started to whirl and then exploded, at that moment, through my hand that was holding the plug, I felt a very painfull sensation- I was being electrocuted by the plug, and the skin on my had was melting. I quickly retracted my hand, but not before the outlet on the wall caught fire and the fan had exploded.... the entire house filled instantly up with smoke, but out of a miracle/blessing, our blazing hot house had been constructed out of cement, so nothing caught that very moment when all this happened, the pizza man arrived and we recieved a phone-call from a weeping sister. Yes, I am fine, and I thanked my Lord that evening for being alive. It truely is a miracle and a blessing that I am still alive. My hand is fine-I only lost a little bit of skin. Elder Rech stomped on the fan and crushed the inner-parts while I was looking for the money to pay the Pizza man, so I couldn't try to figure out what went wrong and try and fix it. I may not be destined to be an electrical engineer....who knows.

We had a secret santa thing going on here in the office, and I recieved the name of Elder McMullen, our financial secretary- the cap was 15 R$ which was fine, I didnt want to spend anything more than that, So on P-day, I bartered with a street vender and got a giant silver crucifix and chain necklace (HUGE!!!!) and put it in a little Internacional bag. He's a Grêmio fan. Anyways, It was hillarious. President and Sister Wright drew my name and so they gave me a very fancy tie. It was fantastic. We had a little Churrasco, barbacued pork ribs and sausage... so good :D

well anyways, have fun, do something to make this week interesting, and eat an entire roll of oreos for me okay?

with love from brazil,
Elder Eliason

Monday, December 24, 2012


howdy there, well, it as happened, I am no longer in the beautiful bento gonçalves...I am now in an area called Lindóia, i am actually in the office..... I am a junior companion to one of the APs, yup, I get to learn how to be an AP, two transfers in..... ?:) oh well, I get to see the mission president every day, which is tons of fun, he is a brilliant american (IQ level = genius..) His wife is hillarious, and we have a good time here... we work hard, but they are a bunch of crack-ups, when it is appropriate to be...oh my heavens, elder Dowden, my companion, is absolutely hillarious... he dies this transfer, so I will have to stick around at least one more transfer in order to keep the information about the area up to date and investigators going on what we work on...but for the time being, we are together here in the office, doing computer-number crunching, area-securing, and taking care of the mission....resolving any issues (ie...elders who have gotten mugged, apartments on fire, etc....) we also call all of the areas on a regular basis to make sure everybody is running at 110%... it is a ton of fun, but it is also requiring a ton of patience...nobody is ever responsible for anything that happens...of course, it's somebody else's fault.... -.- oh well, i'ts going to be a good transfer
Elder Dowden is an incredible missionary, he is from San Diego, and did Army ROTC there at USoCal... cool huh? well, we live with the other AP and his junior companion Elder Anastácio, from São Paulo, who entered the CTM at the same time as me, four months back... they're unbelievably awesome. we also live with the Mission Executive secretary, Elder Rech, who is from Santa Catalina Brazil, which takes care of basically everything that the president doesn't have time for (normally lots of computer data entry, missionary small problems...etc..) and the Financial Secretary, Elder McMullen, who is from Connecticut...and is in the least-gratifying and hardest-working position here on the mission... he is incredible.... so that makes 6 of us, we live in a full house across the street from the mission HQ.... thus the title of this email.. it's pretty crazy, seeing as how we have 1 bathroom that works, and 2 bedrooms and a kitchen that could fit inside our blue bathroom.... it's a hoot. i love it, we have such a fun time all the time, and they know when it is time to buckle down and do work. we have a fantastic time and I am learning tons of teaching techniques, Portuguese and other missionary qualities from them all the time when we are studying...., our study time is incredible, we cover so much more material than I thought was possible with an incredible comprehension.. they are awesome
today we ate xis burgers again, so absolutely incredible....i had a xis bacon...which means I had a hamburger patty as big as the plate, toasted buns to match, peas, corn, fried egg, cheese, bacon, tomato, lettuce, grease, ketchup and good... most of the other guys got stuff like chicken hearts, fries, pepperoni, sausage...etc, on the burgers, but each of those cost an extra 2 or 3 real each, so i opted out... we drink an incredible amount of tereréi here, lemonade with the green hay/grass that has been chopped's really good....also, most people drink coke here instead of water, it's just a fact and we adapt to it :) we had the yearly burn this morning, where we get all the files that have to be destroyed, and burn them all....all 8 boxes of them, we threw them in our barbaque pit, and spent an hour trying to defy the extreme heat of burning paper by putting more paper on the fire....yeah, i have no more hair on my right hand........ and my eyebrow hairs are a little bit shorter than normal....not that anybody can tell...

it rained for the last 3 days, so hard to the point where there were quite a few roads that had to close due to flooding...but that didn't stop us from walking along them (I brought my fire-fighting boots that are waterproof, elder Dowden wasn't so lucky...oh well...) now it is 90 with 100 percent humidity....oh well :) it's summer, we eat at an all you can eat buffet almost every day because the members don't give us lunch, we have a schedule of lunches, but everybody either forgets (we always call the night before???) or doesn't prepare anything and just gives us whatever, i have eaten watermelon, mangoes and pineapple by the kilo over the last couple of's awesome...they are so much better than up there in the states, no offence (except probably hawaii....)

i am also losing weight again :( I entered the CTM at 76 kilos, I exited at 86 kg.... I weighed myself this morning, im back down to 74....oh well, the CTM weight wasn't good anyways... oh, we have a pull up bar here, so i'm happy, my arms wont atrophate all the way now :)
i am terribly sorry for what happened on the phone today can't put me on speaker phone..i couldn't hear a thing, just a ton of yelling...and my time expired, so i'll talk to y'all on tuesday at 1230 your time :)
you asked who can send emails, any family member and grandparent :)

elder eliason
Xis Burgers

Elder Dowden and I
 All of the roommates

Monday, December 17, 2012

Macaco nas calças feito de borracha..​.... (monkey in rubber pants)

well, this week has been tiresome...

Wonderful to hear from home, I'm really bummed about the shooting....that blows, and also the political implications mean that the ********** will get more sway about gun restrictions...which is unfortunate for everybody....

well, this week we did 3 moves...(helped 3 families move), carried 4 refrigerators up/down a 5 flights of stairs.... had a christmas conference (see the photos from cousin egberts...???) and fought against the forces of evil...
but seriously....
Last P-day, i was feeling really lethargic...and even though I didn't take a nap, I failed at my cleaning duties, planning duties, and any other duties that I had to take care of....except my eating duties... and elder Bryant had a little bit of inspiration to help me get back on my feet.....
this week, I lead and taught every lesson...he sat back and testified about what I was saying and how it is true.... yeah. well, yeah.... -.- that was not pleasant...I made every decision as to where we would proselyte, who we would visit (he helped planning at night, but still) and what houses to knock....yeah, it was good. extremely stressful...especially since there were some EXTREMELY delicate situations we had to take care of...including but not exclusively- Abusive parents, crack-cocaine, extreme amounts of alcohol, family disputes.....etc... things of the world. these things happen, but we have to get over it and press forward...

on a more positive note...on friday, we had the christmas dual-zone conference where every district had to perform a skit.... our district, the smallest one since it includes us and farropillia...had a tough time creating something we made poems about Christmas (with slight bits of humor) and sang Angles we have heard on portuguese of was off beat, tune deaf, and completely terrible, but the brazileiros loved it.... later that evening we went from Caxias do Sul (where the conference was) to Farropiliah to do a baptismal interview (it has been over a year since they've had a baptism there) and then headed back here to bento to have the chrstmas dinner with the ward (and to our amazement, we had investigators show up w/ desserts :D) it was a fun day..i got zapped by an electric fly killer..ate my weight in pastels....I could eat those all day....stepped on a cat (no regrets right?)
oh, and I got one package!?!?!?!?!? im sorry, didn't realize that it was a christmas gift, so I opened it! thank you so much mom!!!! that footsie is incredible, it's a piece of wood carved with ridges to soften the Plantar's incredible invention that has been working miracles for my aching feet. and I got a couple of letters too....there were 2 that made me smile though...Renee, there is no snow here in brazil right now...its actually extremely hot, and any missionary who tries to go out wearing more than just a white t-shirt and slacks and the backpack would pass out....and of course are hillarious...I love your letters, you make me laugh so much...I especially like the one that you sent where you dropped the waffle on it and there were waffle was perfect! and guess what...we got permission to we're going to have to figure out where we can skype.....but yeah :D

which brings me to my next we recieved a call during our exercise time that told me that I am being transfered...I know not where, but i have to be at the Rodoviária in Porto Alegre tomorrow morning at yeah, specualtion is that I'm going to be opening a new area with another elder...since there is a positive influx of missionaries....over the last 3 transfers (so amazing...before they were closing areas because they were losing more elders than gaining) but now, my arrival, they lost 3 and gained 9....last transfer they lost 2, and gained 8, this transfer is supposed to be the same way....and for every other positive new elder, they have to open up a new area to work in. miracles for the Rio Grande do Sul :)
and yes dad, they do tithing settlements here too...
I have eaten at all-you-can-eat buffets 3 times this past week and 3 times the previous week...when lunches with members fall though, (ie they forget, even though we call them the day before, or they can't) they usually give us a bit of money to go eat out...which is nice of them, and depending on how much they give us...can be EXTREMELY nice for us....but we love the home-made meals, oh well....I would like to thank you mother for making me eat beets when I was a kid, I love them, and they are served with almost every restaraunt meal here...along with pickled carrots (pretty good) and usually 2 or 3 leaves of lettuce. all of course with salt and vinegar over top like normal. one of the ladies that I baptized 2 months ago, Enecir, made us each a fruit cake....or Bolo de they say here cake of christmas...but it's fruit is absolutely incredible, I ate it all over the course of 24 hours, its even better if you put it in the microwave and spread butter (well, butter-like-substance here) over the top...incredible
anyways, the spirit of christmas to me is... service, in remembrance for how much Jesus Christ did for us, see Alma 7 for a glimpse.... it's Alma talking about what Christ will do... absolutely incredible.

anyways I'll hit you up with the pictures
much love always
Elder E.

Elder Eliason & Elder Reeves

Typical Road

Christmas in Brazil

The new drunk - we found him 2 more times

Me & the Giant Jesus Head

The Giant Jesus Head

It rains sideways sometimes

Fortunately nobody was hurt.

Plastic bottle Christmas tree

Elder Eliason & the Egberts, relatives from Burley!

Singing at the Christmas Conference

Reading his poem

Elders Eliason & Bryant

At the gate


Monday, December 10, 2012

dear everybody,
i love your letters mother...thank you very much :)
to answer your questions, we don't have much poison ivy here, but tons of stinging nettle...people keep it as a decorative plant because the leaves can get HUGE....stupidest idea ever.
- the house...well, we threw bricks upstairs, (yes, that was fun, especially when the person up top didn't catch it....) made home-made cement, laid rebar....made reinforced cement walls...the usual house-stuff here....houses here are very rarely made up of a frame and drywall...actually I have yet to see one...they are all cement walls, or bricks with cement laid overtop (more common)....or if they are poor, wood planks. if they're extremely poor, plastic-bag tents (see: picture next week of gypsies that have moved in...)
i'm sorry, this week i forgot my camera, so next week I will send pictures...i took a bunch this week that will make you sorry, i have to talk about one right now...last night, as we came back from a lesson....we found on our doorstep, a drunk man who was passed, we know most of the drunks around here...we have the white haired silent man, the wanabe opera singer (to our chagrin), and the bald mexican....we find him normally passed out about 9 or 10 in the morning.... the bar next door opens at 0530 to serve the early morning hard-liquor enthusiasts...yeah, its pleasant..but i didn't recognize this one....maybe he'll stick around?

well, this week was rough. very rough. especially for Elder Bryant. every year, about this time, he has extreme stomach pain... it hapens in a searies of 3 events...first pain only for a few seconds....the second time for a few minutes....the third and final time for a few hours...extremely intense and excruciating...well, on friday, he had both the second and third he wasn't even able to walk....he laid down in the apartment for a couple of hours while I read the Liahona...luckily it left and we were able to teach a couple of lessons that evening...between that and a meeting that elder Bryant had to go to on tuesday out in Porto Alegre...(2.5 hours away) that took all day....we suffered sufficiently by way of well-taught lessons. I went on exchanges with elder Reeves in caxias on tuesday while elder Bryant and elder Herai went to Porto Alegre. the highlight of that day was when elder reeves, (while teaching a family of a single mother and ten kids ages 1-13) asked "so, who wants to be baptized?" and all of the kids jumped up and yelled "Me!!!" we kind of just chuckled and said okay, and left.
i have to say, that my favorite photo that you sent mother is the one of BJ, he makes me laugh, and is so adorable.... XD
anyways, last night we met a very interesting man....we have an investigator who lives up the street from us...he's 35 lives with his parents (very common) but single...(usually people live with their parents, grandparents...etc with their own families...very common to find 3 or 4 or even 5 generations in a single house) but he likes the book of mormon, so we were going to follow up with him about it....and low and behold, his brother (who has been dropped from the fam..he's atheist (just because he doesn't like catholics)) was there...and he spoke english. turns out him and his brother....both speak english, fairly did they learn? well, one of the brothers bought an oxford dictionary when they were teenagers, and they sat down and read the entire dictionary....because it had context sentances in it, and they would memorize the words and use them in about the most terrible way to learn a language... :P but they could communicate really well... he lives out in PO, so i got his information because he wanted to know more about the "ideology of the mormon church" be completely frank, I really don't care if people try and speak english, i almost enjoy it more when people just speak portuguese..its easier for me to understand (as narcassistic as that sounds) but a supprising number of people here speak little tidbits of English...for example...bispo yesterday in church was talking..and somebody butted in (elders quorum meeting) and he said "I KNOW!" and then calmed down and explained in portuguese...its funny

Flavia (mãe do Artur-the little guy with my name tag) finally came to church, she is the most elect woman I have ever met...when elder Black came to do the interview with Andreo, he met her and told us that she was the most elect woman that he has seen yet on his mission....he's at about 1 year....she reads the book of mormon all day (she's a receptionist at a hotel that doesn't have a ton of people) and reads the gospel principles book when she has questions...she also loves profiles and the Liahona...we gave her a conference issue of a couple of years ago....the only problem is that she has to work on sundays...and she only gets 2 days of vacation a month, so she took two sundays off..and next month she will be baptized the day before her vacation day (sunday) so she can be confirmed.. :) she is absolutely incredible, and will make an amazing relief-society president.
everybody gives us juice *(suco) aka Tang, which is absolutely incredible here...the tang in the united states has nothing on it....the tang here is literally like fresh juice.....fresh orange juice is very different is made with a different type of orange that has a very bland flavor, and they love it....i have a hard time drinking it....but do not worry...i have little chewable vitamin c pills from BJ's, so its a costco-sized'll last me most of my mission....if you are preparing for a mission...that is a very good idea to bring...vitamin c pills and multi-vitamin pills, lots of time people start lacking in one or two areas because of the typpícal meals that are served almost every day (little bit of meat, lots of rice and black beans, and some lettuce with salt and bassalmic vinegar on top and maybe a sliced tomato and raw onions with a bit of oil over them...actually really good)
brittany's little date episode reminds me of something exactly the same as what I did...except it was the other way around...I had an (unplanned) date that just happened, and i had to kick her out of the apartment before my next date arrived (who wanted to stay the evening, but left, i don't remember why... ....i felt kind of bad, but it was alright because I went back over to her (date#1) apartment afterwards and we watched a movie.... yup.... fun of luck B on your provas! (portuguese for finals)
portugese word of the week for all yall....

Lápide: significa- tombstone (la-pee-je) emphasis on the á
much love-
elder T-whizzle

ps. elder bryant just sent me this photo...

Monday, December 3, 2012

abacaxi (ah-bah-ka​-she) N. sig- Pineapple :D also what they say when taking a picture instead of cheese!

hey howdy hey....
well, this week has been absolutely incredible, difficult, trying of patience at times, but absolutely rewarding....
first of all, to the questions that all y'all have been asking....
christmas in brazil?
- well, it reminds me more of the fourth of july than anything else....people have been lighting off fireworks every night, getting ready for christmas, the new year, and at the end of the soccer games.....yesterday was the Rio Grande do Sul classic, Internacional vs. Gremiel, very dangerous to wear either color (red or blue) so we chose neutural ties, even though I'm Colorado (supports inter.) and Elder Bryant is Gremista (supports gremiel)...the temperature here is rising, during the day it can get up to times, but if not...well, then it's our luck :) people are placing red bows on the palm trees, that's cool, and everybody has a little two foot fake christmas tree....the poor people make theirs out of green plastic 2 liter bottles and pvc pipe....the rich buy little plastic trees.... fun stuff....we found a couple of pinecones...I think i'll find some string and decorate the apartment with them...watermelon is in season....peaches rot if you don't eat them within a couple of days of purchasing....(and yes mom, they are ripe when they're green and hard, thats how they are here, they don't get soft and yellow...) somebody in the bar downstairs found a Cindy Lauper cd...yeah that's been fun.... i don't know....we have a dvd with some christmas music on it...along with every efy cd ever made.... so we've been listening to that lately. which reminds, good luck finding a dvd with motab on it...what i was refering to is getting a blank dvd from downstairs and dropping classical/instrumental music and motab on it from the computer, it works the same way as a cd, but holds about 100 times more music - love you XD

we did not get to watch the christmas devotional unfortunately...and president Eyring sounds like he was a crackup.... XD i'll watch it when i get home in two years, they put them all on

dad, you asked about the service projects that we render....well here are a few of the things that we have done...
- weeding the garden
- moving rocks
- carying rocks
- building a house
- throwing bricks upstairs (yes, it happened)
- planting a garden
- mowing lawn with a weed-eater
- painted an apparment
- laid a cement sidewalk (that was fun....i mixed cement with my bare feet and a broken hoe...gravel, sand, and concrete mix and all....)

ideas to have missionaries help you?
- think of service projects that you do with them and family

ideas to help the missionaries?
- offer car rides
- offer to go with them to visit investigators (effectiveness of lesson = 100X more)
- offer to teach investigators in your home (this makes an incredible difference and results in the more likeliness of an investigator being baptized and remaining active)
- give references....anybody who you talk about the church to, offer to send some "friends" to talk about it some more...(seriously we get people who members have met at super markets, standing in line, sitting next to on the bus...all sorts of things, we love it....this makes the work a MILLION times more effective)

so, this upcoming year, our ward here in Bento Gonçalves is kicking it up a gear....last year they had 7 months without a baptism with a 60% retention rate, we are now baptizing (this year) 2 or 3 every month with a 95% retention rate....and the reason? the ward is getting involved...we teach almost every lesson (with investigators that are progressing) either in the home of a member, or with a member pressent. the ward sees it too, how the ward is improving, and to kick off the new year...the stake presidency has decided to set two goals:
1- every month, every home teaching duplo should give at least one reference to the missionaries.
2- over the course of the year, every home teaching duplo and their families should become friends with and reactivate a less active family.

realize, that if these goals are the end of next year, we will have almost enough active members to sustain 3 wards here in Bento Gonçalves
I saw a window sticker the other day...that said something along the lines of ... My secret to success? Jesus and hard work.
too true.... reminds me of a song by Rodney Atkins that i'm not allowed to sing at this current time...
also, yesterday we had testimony meeting...and it was incredible, every time we have testimony meeting here, after the first five minutes the bishop has to stand up and say okay, so we will not be able to have any more testimonies than those who are sitting up in the stands...everybody wants to bear testimony, its incredibile. the most powerful testimony was born by the richest man in the ward by far...he bore testimony about the power of tithing...he has a son right now who is serving a mission in Manaus (amazon mission) and the blessings that he has recieved by was incredible.

the baptisms were incredible, i got to baptize Andreo and elder bryant got to baptize Fernanda...the Lord has blessed us with this because we were able to accomplish our goal of 3 baptisms last month, and with incredible youth, the youth program here didn't exist until last year when the leaders got together, prayed, fasted, and worked their tails off to reactivate...we now have about 15 active youth...and growing :D pictures are to come....
i love you all and pray for you on a regular basis... feel free to write me an email, shoot it to my mom, and she can send it to me :)

Elder Eliason