Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 14, 2014

So you're probally wondering why did you send me a picture of this?  Well,  I was taking a shower and this cockroach climbs up my leg and bites me so I freaked out and sprayed shampoo all over the floor and I'm going to buy lots of poison today!   It was horrible I hate going in my bathroom here because cockroaches will crawl out of the walls.  It is awful!  My companion thinks im crazy because he heard me trying to stomp the heck out of the cockroach! 

Climbed to the mountains last pday!  Was awesome to get a break and to see all of Brazil!

 Being a missionary is just living life on the edge!

So I'm on the top of the mountain and I hear this weird howling sound so I'm like what is that?  And the member that drove us says,  oh,  that's just a howler monkey.  I'm like what?  A monkey!   So I followed my crazy Brazilian comrades into the jungle to find a monkey.  And after it was done howling it fell to sleep and then later we saw 10 of them swinging through the jungle is was soooo cooooool!!

Then after the monkey we returned and we saw people jumping off the mountain on hangliders and paragliders.

And then we headed back.  It was awesome!

This week was awesome.  We have a boy named Juliano who is super spiritual and awesome.  He's only 14 but he really wants to go to church,  and he is scheduled to get baptized this Saturday so that will be super exciting!   We had another family attend church with us and they are super elect.  They want to be baptized but aren´t married but we´re going to help them to acheive their goal of getting married.  The husband is named Eder and it was fast sunday so everyone is giving testimonies and my companion says to me go up there and bear your testimony.   And I'm like no way I can´t speak Portuguese!  Then my investigator turns to me and says get up there!  So I went up and bore my testimony and it was awesome!  He gave me a hive five and the other members seemed impressed that I went up there for not being able to speak very much and it was great!   So I have a lot more confidence in myself and I know quite a bit of Portuguese.  I was quite surprised!  All in all a great week! 

That is crazy Blake is in the hospital again!  He´s following in my footsteps of breaking his bone super badly but it looks like his is a lot worse!   Bones dont gross me out and I was grossed out a little when I saw the x-rays!   Blake being high has got to be the funniest thing ever!!   Man I want to be in the hospital to hear him sing and say randome stuff!   I went to the hospital this week too.  We have somthing in common!   Don't worry nothing bad!   The tendons in the top part of my foot were sore and the doctor said that my shoes weren´t good for walking and that the tendons were stretching apart and so I have permission to wear running shoes.   It feels stange to wear running shoes as a missionary!  My shoes were totally worn out after 2.5 months on the mission.  The outside was totally fine but the inside was caving in and covered in cracks from all the walking.  I walk about 2 miles a day on average- sometimes more.  It is almost completly better now so don`t worry I caught my problem super early on and so in a few more days it will be totally fine.   And so I think for my mission I will just use running shoes because I have special permission from the president.   Enjoy the pictures of me at the mountain!    still stressed and confused a lot because I never know where I am or what people are saying.  I understand a lot of words but I can't piece the sentences together.  I feel like I'm 2 years old and I have to rely on my companion who for me is literally my father -  haha because I have to do and go where ever he goes.   And with time I start to grow up - right now I'm about a super intelligent 4 year old that can talk about church stuff but doesn't understand adult things yet.  It's weird comparing myself to a four year old but when you learn a new language you start from the beginning. At least that is how I look at it.  But I'm learning and I love Brazil. It is aweosme to live here and meet people. A missionary just returned home in my area and he learned English on his mission and it was fun to talk with him in English.  My companion knows a lot of English also. He has been studying for one year and I've taught him a lot.  Hope Blake feels better.   The beach house needs to be named after me.  It sounds like life is very normal with lacrosse, and me and Blake visiting the hospital ahah!   Well all in all I'm not feeling super stressed out and I'm learning a lot more Portuguese and I met a super pretty Brazilian girl who is a member but inactive hmmmm. Haha,  and she is learning English maybe I can teach her some more? Haha if you don't hear from me or if I'm living in Brazil you know why ;) Haha. I think I get to go to the temple soon.  I was supposed to go tomorrow but my companion never called and I'm kinda glad I want a day to relax a little so I think next week I might go or soonish!  Well I love you guys. You're awesome.  I'm glad you liked my letter I need to send more.   I haven´t sent any in awhile sorry!! I'm going to write more today and sent them tomorrow I hope!
Peace out!

April 7, 2014 Conference Weekend

On Sunday a member didn´t attend the conference because he felt like he wasn´t worthy to hear from the prophet and apostles and was just having a bad day, so we went over and told him to go with us to contact people. And it was great we found this one family and taught them a quick lesson about families eternal and it was great.  I was glad to help the member and I know that if we see people in need don`t be afraid to help them.  Because when we reach out and let people know that we care about them it will only bless them.  Sometimes when I think or ask my self why is this so hard? Why don´t the people just understand?   Why can´t I speak better?   And then I remember the path that the Savior went on.   I am teaching his gospel and he was rejected.  I to will go through some hardships and I too  will have difficult times helping people to understand that this gospel is true.  But when I remeber the words of Elder Holland, ´´Salvation was never a cheap price to pay``.  Christ paid the price for us, He died for us, and He loves us, Salvation is not easy and it is not easy to apply these things to people´s lives,  but when they see how the atonement helps them and how all sins are cleansed throught Christ I remember that I have the oppurtunity to let people choose to accept these things, and to live with the gospel in their lives.   I will teach many but only a few will choose to accept the gospel, the atonement, and endure to the end.  But those few that accept these things it will be worth it.   It will always be worth it.  I´m happy and I´m doing well,  I know this is where I need to be.   I feel as though I have waited many years to be here and now that I ´m here I know I have a great oppurtunity to teach and love these people.   I know that life isn´t easy, we all go through challenges and trials and I don´t know these people,   I´m only 19 but God knows these people and when they pray they can know of the power of revelation.  I know these things to be true.  I left everthing in my life behind to teach people these things.   Many people lost there life to travel to Utah, to mobsters, to persecution, how thankful I am to lose my life for just two years to teach people and join the 80 thousand other missionaries.   As Noah built a ship long ago there is another ship coming and as members of this church we have the opputunity to let people choose to get on or stay behind.   These are the last days, and these are hard times, but stick to the teaching of the gospel, and remember that we are his children and he has a plan for us.  I love you all and keep being awesome.  There is an elder who has become more tan than his Brazilian companion and he loves you all.  

March 31, 2014

So this week was pretty great, I ate chicken heart pizza, six layers of cheese pizza and chocolate pizza all in one pizza yea it was crazzy.  Then I had my first Brazilan milk shake.  It is completly different from an American milk shake -  no not really... Then I went with a zone leader to do an interview for a baptism but the person wasn't there.. So we taught a few more lessons and then the next day went to another city called Novo Hamburgo and did a interview for other missionaries since my companion is the district leader.   We went into this house and they owned three dogs and there was poop everywhere and it was terrible and the woman kept giving me this red juice that left this bad after taste it was weird!   And after that I went to a member's house and ate a huge pile of meat -  the member grilled a huge barbeque! Then later in the week we found this man who is really poor and he was totally drunk so we scheduled for a time to return and we taught him the word of wisdom and the first lesson and he came to church with us!   So my companion and I hugged the crap out of him and he stayed the whole three hours with us.  So he´s doing great except that when we went to his house later he was totally wasted... but if we can stop him from drinking he deffinetly can be baptized and he wants to stop so thats good. I also bought Brazilian candy for 2 reals and it was almost like eating Starburst again.  PS -  candy in Brazil doesn't exist. It is really hard to find candy.  I usually only find crackers, chocolate, and cookies.  So I got to walk around Nove Hamburgo because the members put us on the wrong bus and we got lost so it was fun to walk around a little bit.  And so all in all Brazilan pizza is awesome and I want to eat more chicken heart that problally sounds really weird but it is super amazing. And I love being on a mission finding new and interesting people to teach each and every day! 
Pictures of Sapiranga, Brazil

Elder Barrus with his chicken heart, 6 cheese, and chocolate pizza.

This dog is evil        

March 24, 2014

Thats crazy about the beach house!  I was laughing when you were telling me about the description of the house!  The pictures look crazy but the ocean is awesome!   I miss the ocean!   I got a hammock and relaxed today.   I also got to eat at a Burger King.   It was amazing -  the best Burger King ever and that made my day because I've only have Brazilian burgers which are good but nothing like America. The buns are flat and they have corn, lettuce,mayo,tomato,no cheese :(, and ketchup,  and other stuff -  but no pickles. It was strange but really good.  I also went to an English school and taught people English.   That was pretty sweet.  It felt really weird to talk in English.   My English is going to be terrible in two years!   I gotta new companion and he is awesome!  His name is Elder Gabbaiand.  He is a hard worker but he also knows how to have fun.   Next week we´re going to the mountains with a member so that will be a lot of fun!   And on the 15th of next month I can go to the temple so im psyched about that!   And I finally got to take a small break today and it felt great.   I got a hammock for free from my last trainer and it is aweome!  The family I taught this week that are very interested are a family called the Nixons.   They are very interested in the gospel and have friends that are Mormon.  We are teaching a boy named David and he is awesome as well. He wants to get baptized this Saturday so hopefully it works out!  And a girl named Jessica - she wants to get baptized but is having trouble setting a date because her boyfriend is a recent convert,  and if she gets baptzed then she feels like she will probably marry him but I think she is leaning towards baptism so that is good.  I deep cleaned the house, found two bottles of pee from prievious elders - ugh! That was gross but it made p-day official - haha!  There was so much dust!! Now it's so much nicer and it feels like my own little home and I like it.  My house is one of the bigger houses on the mission so I'm lucky. Today we made homemade potato chips with slices of potatoes and grilling them in oil, and we each ate a whole pot of rice and a liter of juice.  Brazil is awesome because I can buy unlimited juice packets because they are super cheap and have tons of juice so that's sweet.  Eating at Burger king was the greatest thing ever, when I get back to the US im going staight to the nearest burger place haha! Well serving a mission is awesome.  It is so cool here! Also I'm offically a Brazilan - it is winter here now and the coldest it has gotten is 60 and I had goose bumps because I wasn't used to it.  I'm used to 80+ and so I was bundled up in a sweat shirt and shivering.  I'm literally going to freeze to death when it gets cold here in July!

 Relaxing in the hammock
 Rice, potato chip, and juice dinner with Elder Gabbaiand

Happy St. Patrick's Day! March 17, 2014

So this week went by so fast!  We had a baptism scheduled for the past Sunday but it got cancelled because the husband said he would leave her if she got baptized so that was sad.

I had two divisions this week.  One with the zone leader and one with an elder.  Found two new investigators with the zone leader.  When I went with the elder we found just one new investigator.  It was a great lesson even though I couldn't understand a lot of it but my companion was teaching about baptism.  And then my companion started crying and the woman did also and I'm just completely confused.  And we have a member with us named Fabio and I look over and he's smiling and he tells me they're crying and he's smiling.  And I'm just kind of laughing to myself because there are two people sobbing and Fabio smiling at me so that was an interesting lesson.

So then it's Sunday and we have to talk to 60 people so me and my companion split up and we both go with members who are each about 14 years old.  So I go and talk to people and I did it.  I talked to 58 people in an hour and a half, and the member wrote down all the addresses.  And my companion did 6 lessons with the other guy so that was a super busy day.  My companion leaves tomorrow so I will be getting a new companion.

Today it rained a lot and I helped a family move out with my companion and with the dad.  We got all their stuff moved in an hour and a half.  I'm hungry.  Today I think I'll make hotdogs so that'll be good.

So I never told you the story of ______.  _______ is a little strange.  He likes to sing me Britney Spears and that's a little scary.  He also says "Elder Barrus!!!!" super loud, and I look at him and say what and then he says hi.  And he does it 3-4 times.  Also when I'm headed for the bus station I see him and then I leave and like 15 minutes he is still there so I think he is following me…

TACOS:  So this is a good story.  We're walking and we find this woman who is inactive.  So on Saturday we taught her and we had family night with them.  Her husband served in New York so I got to speak English with someone and it was a miracle! AND he made tacos.  Real tacos!  I know right?  Like who would think you could have tacos in Brazil?  I was sooooo happy!  Because you can't make tacos here.  You have to travel to a big city like Porto Alegre just to buy flour tortillas.  So I was way happy to eat tacos.  And they're active now in the church and they are really happy and that's way awesome.  So finding people to teach is important but I also like finding the less actives and giving them a reason to go back.  So overall this week was good.  I can't believe it's already been 6 weeks here in Brazil!  I've already been on my mission for 3 months.  Time is going super fast!

My teacher from the MTC is going to live in Ashburn this summer and he said he is going to come over and say hi.  How crazy is that? I got a letter from Grandma Lipton but haven't had time to open it yet today.  I wonder what other missionaries do on P-Day because I am always super busy and we work non-stop.  Today we helped members move.  It's raining a lot and feels great here!  It's supposed to get really cold here like in the 30's which probably sounds nice for you guys.  That's crazy how cold it gets!

I think I told you this but I got 4 Dear Elder letters and it was fun to re-read them!