Monday, September 7, 2015

´´Why Were You Baptized?´´

Like I said in the photos, Elder Cerna was going mad to buy Settlers of Catan which a shop had in Petrolina. It all started when I was with Elder Macalupú forever ago. We were just walking around and entered that shop and saw the game. I didn´t think much of it at the time until 3 transfers later, Elder Santana and Elder Cerna came. Elder Cerna loves board games, and when the subject of Catan came up, I told him that a store in Petrolina has it. We spent a lot of time trying to search for the shop that had it because at the time, I had forgotten which store it was. Elder Cerna was so frustrated and really wanted the game. Anyway, the other day, we went to grab our biweekly money, and out of nowhere I saw and recognized the shop as we passed. We entered to see if they had it, and luckily they still did after all that time. Unfortunately, neither of us had the money to buy it because Elder Cerna wanted to buy it, but didn´t have enough at the time, neither of us. Since that day until the day we bought the game, I kept joking with him telling him that somebody is going to buy the game because he didn´t heed a spiritual prompting (he had a feeling that he should´ve brought money that day but didn´t). Luckily, it all worked out and he bought the game. The first two games we played with João, and I won both. It was super fun.

Just a normal week of work. The heat has been really kicking off and it´s barely just getting started. Elder Cerna tells me that I´ve been spending too much time with him because he´s kind of lazy at times and likes to complain. Not serious complaining, it´s mostly joking, but complaining nonetheless. What he means by that is that I´m starting to slow down at some things. I used to wake up a little bit earlier in the mornings to do exercises but now I feel so wrecked each morning that it doesn´t even cross my mind very much anymore. The work has gotten to be a drag sometimes, doing the same thing over and over again in blistering heat with relatively the same results. Our teaching group is literally just Clayton these days and visiting less-actives and members. Sometimes, I really feel like the mission is a thing of numbers. Elder Cerna and me have had no faith in doing street contacts anymore, which I know is super bad. Until now, we haven´t had any lasting success with contacts and we feel like any attempt to do contacts is just to have higher numbers because all members that have been faithful recent-converts have always been member referrals. Our leaders have to always accompany us on people with baptismal dates and it´s actually my job to do so as well from the Sisters. The only reason why I grab the names of the people with baptismal dates is just so I can hand them off to the Zone Leaders because the only key indicator that I care for is ´´Investigators Progressing´´, because people that are progressing are people that will have meaningful baptisms. What I mean by that is is that  Our area is full of recent-convert less-actives and children who are the only ones baptized in a big family. Literally, they´re both recent converts and less actives.  That means these people were taught by missionaries, given the bare minimum of what was expected for a baptism, and baptized by a District leader who probably just wanted to get a baptism for his district. It´s frustrating because we asked these people, ´´why were you baptized?´´ and they don´t even have a clue. They don´t have members accompanying them, they don´t pray everyday, they don´t read the Book of Mormon. One of them is still drinking. Heck, I actually doubt they even know what then name of the church is.  It´s outright ridiculous and it leaves me angry at the missionaries that got them baptized. That doesn´t mean that Elder Cerna and I are perfect though. If we aren´t going to do much street contacting, that means we have to work more with the members, something we aren´t doing a whole lot of, so that means we still have a lot of improving to do as well. 

An update on the progress of Clayton. We tried to put a baptismal date on him and he actually accepted. The only problem is that the marriage process is a joke here in Brazil and takes forever and he needs to formally marry his wife still. We have faith that he´ll get baptized and stay strong because he´s naturally very curious about everything we´ve taught, prays, reads, has a wife who´s a less-active who´s returning, and overall just a great guy. A funny little story but one day when we went to teach him, that day we had a huge lunch (as always) and we were stuffed beyond belief. I told Elder Cerna that whatever he offered that I would have to respectfully decline because I´ve been tired of overeating here. Elder Cerna also agreed, but our only exception was that if, should all planets allign, that there would be pizza. Want to know what he gave us to eat for dinner that night? Pizza. Nobody ever feeds us pizza here because it´s a little expensive compared to what the people earn here. It goes without saying that our bellies made room that day. 

Today´s going to be swell. Today´s the Brazilian independence day, one of the only thousands of holidays that people celebrate here in Brazil that´s actually a good excuse. It seems like every other day, the locals here are celebrating here just to celebrate, it´s hilarious. Anyway, Elder Cerna bought a new game that´s both hilarious and really fun called ´´Munchkin´´ that I seriously want to get when I get back. You guys will have to look it up. We plan on just playing a bunch of board games again with João, which I´m super excited for. 
I hope the things I said didn´t leave the impression that I´m depressed, upset, or angry. There are things that frustrate me, sure, but in spite of everything, I´m going strong here. It helps to have Elder Cerna here to help me deal with some of the nonsense that happens here along with the members, the good investigators like Clayton, and the time we have to relax at the end of each day. Despite complaining of some of the hardships, I´m actually super grateful for them, which is rather funny to say. It will leave me more grateful and more strengthened in the future once the real challenges come. 

That´s been my week out here in Petrolina. We´re just about at the halfway point of the transfer, so in another 3 weeks, we´ll see what happens. Love you guys! Hugs

-Elder Skinner (Mostly Elder Sky-ner this week)

-Élder Logan Brent Skinner
Missão Brasil Salvador (Outubro 2014-2016)
The dogs here are hilarious. They´re always doing funny stuff. The other day, we were walking around and found a dog that burrowed a little hole and just always sits in here. We wanted to take a picture just for some laughs

Our District. Elder Cerna, me, Sister Do Vale, Sister Reis, Sister Conceição, and Sister Amorim in front.
 My other favorite family. Me,  Zeneide, Amon, Tordoia, and Elder Cerna. I decided on giving them the Disneyland sweets with the little tokens. They´re just such good people
 Yeah, so guess what. Downtown Petrolina had a shop that had a copy of Catan that Cerna had been wanting to buy forever. So what happened, I was with Elder Macalupú like forever ago, and we entered a shop that had this game. I didn´t think much of it, and when Santana and Cerna came, I told Elder Cerna that I saw a shop that had Catan and he flipped out. The problem is, is that I didn´t remember where the store was for the longest time. Then out of nowhere, we were in the Centro last week, and we saw the shop. The game sat there since then. What luck, huh? We played 2 times with João, who ended up loving the game, and Elder Cerna had played a few times before on the Internet. Needless to say, I owned it both games and won.
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