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Letter 91: I Got Robbed!

JK! I didn’t get robbed for reals. Ha. Scared ya, didn’t I?

This week was stake conference, and as part of stake conference, we had a “Night of Parables” in which every ward in the stake did a play based on a parable in the Bible. Our parable was the Good Samaritan. And guess who was the guy who got robbed, beat up, and had ketchup squirted all over his face. That’s right. The gringo. But it was super fun! The people really liked our play, and laughed a lot. The Good Samaritan dumped a bunch of water on my face and put a bandage on my head which was a paper towel and packing tape wrapped around my head like three times. That didn’t feel too good to rip off, but hey, it was fun.

91-Connor Robbed

91-Weeks-Melo

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there! Life wouldn’t be the same without y’all!

We found a bunch of new investigators this week, through less actives, through contacts, through members, through everything. We’re going to work really hard this week to mark their baptisms.

The beans are doing well, they’re growing and are pretty tall. I gave names to them. The tallest is Dani, the second tallest is Bru, the third is Jenny, and the last one is Renan. So yeah. After I gave the names to them, they started to grow vrey well. I learned that beans like to be loved.

Sorry the email’s so short, I am bad at managing time.

Love,

Elder Connor Weeks
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Letter 90: It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

It’s raining a little bit here in Arapiraca.

It rains a little here in Brazil!

It rains a little here in Brazil!

We’re in the winter, which means that it cools off a liiiittle bit, but just rains every day. How you put clothes on the line to dry in the rain is beyond me, but they end up getting dry by some miracle. But it’s awesome here.

The biggest news of the week is that we have a family that we’ve been working with for a loooong time, the parents’ names are Carlos and Vera and they’ve always been flaky on the commitments, especially going to church. Well, this week, they went! It was a huge step, all thanks to the idea of Elder Melo, who said that we should watch The Restoration movie with them. Carlos, afterwards, said that now he knew that everything about Joseph Smith was true.

Also, here in Arapiraca, there’s a festival called São João, or Saint John. How it works is that people buy a bunch of fireworks and firewood. They spend the week leading up to this day shooting off fireworks, actually the word is bombs. They light these bombs, and make a bunch of noise that seems like gunshots. Then, this weekend, they make bonfires in the street. There was at least 5 bonfires burning in the street on every street we walked on Friday. This throws a bunch of smoke into the air, and you go home smelling like you spent a week at scout camp. (Shoutout for scout camp this week). They let the bonfires get really low, just to coals, then they put corn on it, and eat grilled corn. I’ll talk a little bit more about the love of corn during this time of year, but for now, just have this picture of a mountain of corn being sold in a square in our neighborhood.

Corn for sale!

Corn for sale!

Elder Melo found two tiny unused bombs on the street and put them in his pocket. I had forgotten about these bombs until we got back home, and he went out front to see if we had water coming from the street. The next thing I knew, there was an explosion in the front of the house, and a huge wave of laughter coming from my companion. I had been so startled, it was like I had jumped super high, and my companion was laughing in my face. We calmed down, and planned, then Elder Melo went out front again, and threw the other bomb. And I did the same thing. I don’t do well with loud noises.

We also planted beans! We’ll give you a picture every week of the progress. We started them this Tuesday, just in wet cotton. But I put it in dirt today, so hopefully we get a harvest before I go home!

Beans growing in cotton

Beans growing in cotton

Love,
Elder Connor Weeks
The district after transfers

The district after transfers

Elder Melo

Elder Melo

Letter 89: Uma Oraçãozinha (A Little Prayer)

Hey, so this week I got a little carried away looking at the other emails so my letter will have to be cut a little bit short. But I wanna take a moment to testify that I am very happy that our church teaches about prayer and its role in our lives.

We can receive answers to our prayers. We can know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. The first thing we as missionaries do when we teach someone is ask them to pray to know if the things that we have taught are true. Maybe the way we pray is different than the way that they’ve prayed their entire life, and it’s something entirely new for them. We were teaching a woman this week, and I asked her if she’d ever received an answer to a prayer. She said no.

I got so sad in that moment, because here she is, a woman of more than 50 years, who hasn’t received an answer to a prayer, whereas I’ve been taught since I was little that you can pray to Heavenly Father about anything, even if it’s that you lost your keys. I actually lost my nametag this morning. (How does a missionary lose his nametag?) And I said a little prayer in my heart that I’d be able to find it. Soon after, Elder Melo found my nametag on a shelf that I never ever touch. Just one more on a heap of answered prayers during my life. I’m still working on praying with sincerity and then following through with my actions, but it’s always a process, isn’t it?

I love you all, I don’t have time to send pictures, but next week, we’ll see what I come up with, okay?

Love,

Elder Connor Weeks

Letter 88: The Last Airbender (Companion)

The question on everyone’s mind is: Who’s Elder Weeks’ new companion?

Well.

My new and final companion is Elder Melo. He’s from a city called Natal in the state Rio Grande do Norte. Natal means Christmas. So yeah, my last companion was from Bethlehem and this one’s from Christmas. They’re very religious with their city names here in Brazil. He’s fresh from the MTC on his mission, but was able to spend one week on the mission with his brother in São Paulo before coming here, so his brother already gave him a taste of the missionary life. He also has a sister who is serving in Porto Alegre, in the south of Brazil. He’s the youngest of 6 kids, 5 of which will serve, are serving, or have served a mission.

Elder Melo and me

Elder Melo and me

He’s awesome, and already knows a lot about being a missionary. He’s got a fire for missionary work that won’t be put out. Sometimes we’ll be walking, conversing, and he’ll cut himself short in the middle of a sentence to make a contact. He’s like the new Elder from the Best Two Years, I think, with all that spunk. But he’s awesome, and I think we were put together so that I don’t cool off at the end of the mission, because he’ll be pulling me along. I’m super glad for that 🙂

We’ve worked more in the neighborhoods that the bishop pointed us to: did a ton of contacts and knocked a ton of doors, and have found a bunch of potential investigators, so hopefully that all works out this week, and we have something to share with y’all back home next Monday!

Something cool here in Brazil is their hot dogs. They’re called ‘cachorros quentes’ which literally means hot dog. But, you order one, and you get this bun full of everything. It’s got potato chips, corn, peas, carrots, pepperoni, and who knows what else on it, and you look and see zero hot dogs. You begin to eat, carving out a hole in this monster of a roll, and there in the bottom is the little hot dog, crushed by everything, but hey, it makes a hot dog a hot dog, right?

A Brazilian Hot Dog

A Brazilian Hot Dog

But yeah, my new companion’s loving the mission, I’m loving the mission–what else can you ask for?

Love,

Elder Connor Weeks
I bought a Reese's

I bought a Reese’s

It's like the same.

It’s like the same.

Letter 87: Third Time’s the Charm

This week is transfers!

Sadly, we have to say goodbye to Elder França, which is actually a shame. He’s been one of my favorite companions so far, so I’m sad to see him go. He’s going down to Sergipe tomorrow, to be in Elder Kimball’s zone. I’m going to stay here in Arapiraca, and I’m going to train another new missionary! This is the third new missionary in a row! I only have 12 weeks left on the mission, the same amount of time it takes to train a missionary, so it looks like this companion will be the last. So I’m not sure who he is until I go to Maceió tomorrow to pick him up, but it looks like the only missionaries arriving are from Brazil, Mozambique, and Cape Verde, so we’ll see who I get to be with next week!

So, there’s a brick wall in our backyard. We defrosted our freezer and there was that little bit of ice left over, you know? What do you do with that leftover ice? Throw it against the wall, of course! So we were throwing the ice, breaking it into smaller and smaller pieces, until there was only one left to throw. Elder França gave his very best discus impression, spun around and let the ice loose. Well. There exists here in Brazil, pipes that put water into your water box to use in the house. This last piece of ice squarely hit the pipe that fills our water box, shattering the pipe. Water started shooting out everywhere. We didn’t have any idea what to do. Elder França tried blocking off the water, but just ended up taking a nice cold shower. It was like Old Faithful opened up in our backyard. I ran to the front and shut off the register pulling water from the street.

We had a ton of water on the ground, a pipe busted, AND we were out of ice to throw. I looked at the break and thought. ‘Duh. Duct tape.’ We went to the hardware store, but they didn’t have duct tape. Well, maybe they did, but I don’t know how to say duct tape in Portuguese. So we ended up buying super glue and electrical tape. Let me tell you, that does NOT fix a pipe. We reopened the water, and Old Faithful returned to get her revenge. But our bishop’s a plumber, so he fixed it up for us. And, most importantly, showed us how to fix it, so when it happens again, I’ll know how to fix the situation 🙂

Lesson learned: They don’t have duct tape in Brazil.

Also, our ZL hurt himself in a fake war that we did in district meeting to show the importance of following up. That’s a whole nother story. He twisted his ankle, and couldn’t walk. So my companion and I decided to go there and take some chocolate to him. We went to the ‘Lojas Americanas’. Literally ‘American Stores’. It’s like K-Mart. They were selling boxes of chocolates for 7 reais. And the chocolate is bomb. (They also had Reese’s on sale, so I grabbed one of those). So we bought two of those and took them to the ZL’s house. On the way, it started raining. Then it started raining harder. Then it started raining harder. Then it started raining harder. All that until it was like the Perfect Storm. My companion and I were without umbrellas, and we had all of our books, scriptures, everything with us, everything getting super wet. Luckily my bag’s “water-resistant”, but still, everything got a little wet. But hey, we made the visit to the ZL’s and they seemed at least a little happy to receive the chocolates and get a visit from two soaking wet missionaries leaving wet footprints all over the house.

Lesson learned: Always take an umbrella.

Our bishop asked us to work in a couple of neighborhoods in our area that haven’t been really well worked by missionaries. There are very few members, and our records don’t show that the missionaries have done any work there, so we knocked a lot of doors this week. It gave almost nothing. So yeah, that was our week.

Lesson learned: Knocking doors is really not that fun.

Thanks for all the support! Until next week!

Love,

Elder Connor Weeks

Letter 86: We Got Soda Money from a Drunk Guy!

So this week was interesting. Most of our investigators have stopped progressing, and are falling off the wagon. Even Zenilda, our guaranteed baptism once the marriage went through, moved to another city like 40 minutes away from Arapiraca by bus, so it’s kinda super hard to visit her. So, we’re in the rebuilding stage.

One way that you can find new people to teach is through visiting the less-active members in your ward. They are the people that haven’t been coming to church for a long time, but whose names are still registered on the church records. So, we set out with a list of 91 names, provided by the bishop, to go and find. The awesome thing is that these people have been outside of the church for a looong time, and the majority of the people aren’t really excited to see you at their door. The approach is ‘Hey, are you so-and-so? Oh, cool, do you want to come back to church?‘ We did that for almost everyone on the list.

These are their stories.

DUN DUN.

There was one old guy, we went to his house, did the approach, and he said, ‘No, take my name off the list’ and almost punched us. He’s like 60 years old. But luckily he didn’t punch us because he looked pretty fragile. I’m not sure if he would have withstood the blow.

——————————————

Another house, we saw a man sitting in front of the garage. Cue approach. And he said, ‘No, I’m a mystic.’ whatdoesthatevenmean? ‘I follow my heart. I believe in reincarnation.’ Cool. ‘I believe that men can talk to plants.’ Sure, alright, but will they talk back? ‘I’ve seen angels, leprechauns, and wind spirits.’ Okay calm down. ‘So if my heart says to go to the Mormon church one day I’ll go. I like your church. It has a very natural energy in it.’ Right on. “Just know that you’re always welcome” I don’t even think he was on drugs at the time.

Author’s note, we didn’t actually say the stuff in small font.

——————————————-

We were searching another house, and the house number was missing. Where the house should have been, there was a huge church that had a bunch of people showing up for the services. Nice. So we start chatting with the lady in front. ‘Hey, what’s the street number of this building?’ She said it was the house we were looking for. ‘Does anyone live here?’ Nope, nobody lives here. ‘It says that an Edimilson lives here, do you know him?’ Then she was like “OH YEAH! That’s pastor Edimilson.” Turns out he’s been the pastor of the church for 20 years. Hmm… Do you think he wants to come back to our church?

——————————————–

Last but not least, we were going to the church for a Ward Council Meeting yesterday, and a drunk guy starts flagging us down. I thought, dang, well, he’s gonna ask us for money. NOPE! He started saying, ‘I like you guys. I like you guys. You guys are good.” Then he starts hugging us and breathing his beer breath in our faces. He then reaches into his pocket and grabs some money, “Go buy yourselves a soda. I like you guys. Go buy a soda.” He was also taking our hands, pushing them up against his chest to show his love or something. All this while I was trying as hard as I could to not laugh because of the absurdity of this situation. He then gives us the four reais, kisses our hands, then walks away. Too bad it was Sunday, so we couldn’t buy the soda. But it’s with that money that I bought some ramen today. Shout out to my homie!

I like Brazil.

Love,

Elder Connor Weeks

The Sisters made cake for França's birthday

The Sisters made cake for França’s birthday

França's birthday sandwich

França’s birthday sandwich

 

Letter 85: Happy Mother’s Day, Ladies!

Shout out to the servers at Skype that didn’t crash yesterday with 80,000+ missionaries calling to their families to wish them a happy Mother’s Day! We really appreciate your service, allowing us to talk with our mommies 🙂 It was awesome to see my family yesterday, seeing them all growing up. I think I’m the shortest person in my family now.

Connor showing how much he loves his mom!

Connor showing how much he loves his mom!

But seriously though. My family’s awesome, and I’m gonna see them all in 100 days! Everybody send your mom a hug for “Merry Day After Mother’s Day!”

So this week was super slow. We went to Maceió for a mission leadership council. We left on Tuesday, the meeting was Wednesday, and they said I needed to renew my visa on Thursday, so I was going to stay another day. Well, we got there, and they told me that, no, I didn’t need to renew my visa, but that my ticket for the bus was still for the next day. So, I took advantage of the day with nothing to do in Maceió, and visited a family from Beira Mar, and ate lunch with them on Thursday.

Elder França got sick on Monday, and Friday, so those days didn’t serve for anything, and Sunday we spent the whole day messing with/preparing for the phone call, so we really worked only one day this week. BUT on that day, we took the instruction we received at Leadership Council, and applied it. And in receiving revelation for our area, we found two families that said that we could come back to share a message with them. We’ll go back tonight, and tomorrow to help them grow in their faith.

Another testimony that miracles happen. All we have to do is ask. Isn’t God awesome?

Love,

Elder Connor Weeks
85-Connor3