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

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