Tuesday, December 31, 2013

41st Letter 12-30-13

Photos: 1- I love the storms! 2- Me at the Churrasco! Very hot day!

Dear Family,

What a crazy past week I have had. Christmas was great here! We had many parties and people were a lot more welcoming! Of course the best part was Skyping the Family on Christmas day! You all looked beautiful! This week was awesome, but super difficult as well.. I think I know what it feels like to be home sick now... I don't like it at all. I feel very alone here and I am not used to that. I know it will get better over time, though! Just need to keep pushing forward.

Wednesday (25th), after Skyping and emailing the family we went into the park nearby and sang Christmas Hinos (hymns).  A lot of people enjoyed them and we got a decent sized crowed listening for awhile -haha. I have never been much of a performer so it was kinda cool! Really missed you guys after seeing you on Skype.  Also, was very dehydrated so I need to start drinking more water.

Thursday, was a pretty good day but was slow. We walked to a bunch of different members' homes and investigators' homes. Didn't have too much luck. While we were walking a man yelled at us and said he wanted to hear our message. So we went to his casa and taught him the Restoration. I tried teaching parts or saying little things, but I was having a hard time. Plus I don't think some of these people like it when they have to wait for me, cause I talk slow…ha. The lesson went okay though and the man and his mother said we could come back.

Friday, today went a lot better. Had studies and weekly planning. Then we taught a lot of people. Jennifer, the lady we had on date, doesn't really care to much about the church. We need to help her get a testimony, if she wants one. We met a super cool less-active member! She had me bare my testimony in English so she could just feel the spirit. Super nice lady, but has some doubts in the church we need to resolve. After seeing a few other less-actives and members we went to the New Year activity at the church, which was very cool. They always give us a ton of food when we leave the parties!

Saturday, Super hot day today.  We saw a few people today and the visits went well. Elder Silva and I kinda got irritated with one another. He is selfish sometimes…ha. That night we had a class where members and nonmembers could learn English. Radrog and his sister came and I think they really enjoyed it!

Sunday, church went great, but we didn't have any investigators come. After lunch we went to Rodrigos and taught him lesson #1. It went very well and I taught a lot better then usual. Words flew out of my mouth smoothly and I think they could understand! : ) We then went to a class where we learned sign language. I guess some members and non-members are deaf here and it helps to know it. After we went and taught a less-active lady who was super nice!

Overall I have learned a lot this week. My Portuguese is coming surely but slowly. It is really teaching me patients. I am so grateful for all of you and the prayers you offer for me. I really do feel them at this time where I am very lonely.  I love all of you so much and hope you have a great end of the year!

Mom, I was so glad to see you! The family looks so happy! I will send you a list of some things I need for my birthday. I hope your birthday went well! Sorry I forgot to say it! Dad, my companion and I are doing well. We sometimes get frustrated with one another, but that is just because of the misunderstandings -haha. There are a lot of culture differences, but I am starting to get used to them and see that these people are very similar to Americans, they just speak a different language. I think that is what has been hard to adjust to. Thanks for the awesome photos.

Love you so much!
Elder Hauck

Monday, December 16, 2013

40th Letter 12-16-13

 Elder Soares da Silva and I walking
Fatima´s home for Almoço

Querido Família,

Wow!! haha, I finally get a second to sit down and relax! The past week has been insane! I will briefly go through what happened in this email. 

Brazil is amazing! The city I am in is Sâo Borja in the Passo Ramo (branch) we have like 60 members in our Ramo. The Brazilina people are so nice here. They aren't scared of us and they actually will talk to us and stuff -haha.  It is so hot and humid here. I sweat like a gallon of sweat a day! The food is AMAZING, the drinks are good, and the fruit is great; best mangos e bananas!  The language is really stressful and I try to not overwhelm myself. My companion, Elder Soares da Silva and I live with 4 other missionaries in a house, which is a nicer house compared to the others. Elder Johansen, from the MTC, is with us and sometimes the other elders really push us to learn the language, which is good, but gets stressful at times. The whole experience is very humbling.  Mom, I am sorry I didn´t get to call. I will explain why in the rest of this email.

Alright, so Monday President Toombs picked me up and drove me to DIA. I flew out of Denver at about 1:30 PM, by myself, which was very different. I should have called home while I was waiting for the plane, but I thought I would have time in Atlanta, so I talked to some people waiting at the terminal. The plane left late and I got to Atlanta and had to figure out where to go, which was kinda fun to do by myself. At the terminal I found 2 elders from the same MTC district as I and a few other missionaries. On the plane I ran into Elder Melendez. The plane was suppose to leave at 6:58, but it ended up leaving at like 8:00 PM. The flight was so long! Elder Hinkel and I sat by one another and talked about our missions and what not. 

The next morning we landed in São Paulo at about 9:00 (over an hour late) and missed our flight from there to Porto Alegra. São Paulo is huge!! When we flew in you just see buildings everywhere! I took some cool pictures. Some people from church travel were there and they helped redirect us. We arrived in Porto Alegra at about 5:00 PM and got on a bus to Santa Maria. We arrived in Santa Maria at about 9:30 or so and I got to meet President Parrela. He is super nice and we could all tell he had a strong spirit about him. He is also super funny! The time here is 5 hours ahead of Utah, I think. That night we stayed in a hotel next to a church building.

Wednesday, we had a great Café da Minha and then met in the chapel and found our new companions. Elder Soares da Silva is from São Paulo and has been out 6 months. We then were taken out to eat at a restaurant, which was pretty good! The mission office is right in the middle of the city and is super nice! I guess a member donated it to the church. Santa Maria isn´t a huge city, but it's still pretty big. We then had to do some visa work and get our pictures taken. In the streets there are stray dogs running around and people wearing very little clothes.  Stayed another night in the hotel.

Thursday, breakfast was great again and we then went and did some more visa work and got our finger prints. Presdente Parrela talked to us and gave us these 6 scrolls to success, that is on paper and he told us to read them.  We then finally got on a bus and headed out to São Borja. When we got there we took a taxi to our home. Looking out the window I saw a ton of people that are very poor, dogs that area messed up and the drivers are crazy here! Sorry, my mind is so tired -haha. But ya, I have seen some very humbling things already! The people are so nice here, though! It frustrates me that I can't speak well cause I wanna say things to them. The language is coming, though.. just slow. That night we went and talked to the branch mission leader. I understood like 3% -haha. My companion doesn´t speak any English, so it´s lonely sometimes -haha.

Friday, I woke up and ate some bread. I didn´t get much sleep because of how hot it was in our room! I am getting more sleep now though. The mornings are hard cause my mind is working a lot slower, but at night I can understand and speak Portuguese a lot better! Today we had a zone meeting and I understood like nothing. Elder Lapray is in our zone so I got to chat with him for a bit the meeting lasted about 5 hours and we then walked home. We walk a ton each day because our area is huge. We then talked to a bunch of members that night. One family was super cool! The mother's name is Fatima. I got to share a bit on the Atonement and they said I spoke good and that they could understand me.. That night I slept a lot better.

Saturday, today was super hot! We walked a ton and saw a lot of people. I got to say somethings in the lessons but I talk like I'm 4 so I think it gets old for some people -haha. Almoço with Fatima and her family was very good! The beans and meat here are so good! They also have a potato salad with egg which is great as well. The rest of the day we taught and walked. Bruno and Bruna are a married couple and are super cool! Bruno helped me a lot with the language and was very nice to us. That night I felt like the Portuguese was coming much better. I could understand a lot more and could speak better. Slept great too!

Sunday, Church was great! Walking there and back home I almost died of heat though! -haha. Elders quorum was first and then Sunday School and then sacramental. We had a great lunch with some members and then got to teach some more! That night we went to the Christmas devotional, which relaxed me a lot. I am finally staring to not feel so stressed. 

Overall I love it here! It is definitely going to be hard, but I know I am suppose to be here. Pray for me to learn the language. I feel that once I learn it I will feel a lot better.

Mai, I did receive both packages and I will open the envelope one on Christmas Day! We need to figure out when I am going to Skype you guys!  Hopefully it works out!

I love all of you so much!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

39th Letter 12-2-13

My Visa is in!!!!! I am going to Brazil soon!! I can not even think straight right now! I am kinda shaking with excitement!:) Whooooo BABY!! haha, Okay so this week was a great week! Had a lot of investigators show up to church and had a lot of food during Thanksgiving! So I could be leaving to Brazil the 9th or 16th of December!! This is CRAZY!

Alright, so Monday was P-day and we got to email all of our friends and family! Had lunch and then went and had our Zone P-day at the Stake Center. We played Basketball and Volleyball there and it was fun! The AP's came and it was a blast! Had a great dinner and then taught the Kubics. The lesson went very well and we got to really build the relationship with them. I didn't know this but Ranea calculates the square footage of a home for it's taxing and I told her how it sounded cool what she does and she was kind of shocked -haha. I explained how I love construction work and building things and she is gonna see if we can ever help her out.

Tuesday, studies went very well and Elder Ruiz's teaching is doing a lot better! I am gonna have to help him a lot so he can take over this area! We then taught Braylan and studied some stuff out of Preach My Gospel with him. He then came with us to teach Isiah about tithing and fast offerings. It went very well and Isiah is progressing a lot each day! A lady named Ethel, we ran into, called us and needed some help transporting some money to her son. We accepted the offer and delivered the money. The son was a nice man and received us well. Got a good referral for some other missionaries! His son died a few months ago and they are going through a hard time. We then had dinner and we then went and taught Ethel. To our surprise she said she had already been baptized. We got her information to see if the Church still has her records and are now waiting for them to get back to us.

Wednesday, today I hit my 9 month mark. WOW! It was a very good day, though! We went and served at the Food Bank and even got to deliver some Thanksgiving boxes to a Lutheran church nearby. After that we went and taught Nilly the first few points of Lesson 1, with Brother Johnson, and it went very well! She has been so prepared for this! She talked about how she feels something is missing in her life and that this may be it. I had the privilege to testify that this was what she was looking for and that this would bring her peace, happiness and she would feel whole from this! She is amazing! We then taught the Hanks more of the Restoration. Then had dinner and after we went and read with the Terrazas family. They are an awesome family! That night was pretty intense with Rodney. So we talked more about the Godhead and he really was just confused on his stand on the Trinity. He then brought up the Book of Mormon and how he watched a video at his church that shows the BOM has no archaeological proof and that because of that it is false. I couldn't help but laugh a little when he said this. I explained to him that there was archaeological proof, but that none of that truly matters when it comes down to it. We explained to him we don't need any physical  evidence, besides the book its self, to know that it is true! He argued with us a little and to be honest I actually started to get a little mad. I bore my testimony and told him I would die for this book! He looked at me with a puzzled face and things calmed down after that. We told him to do his studies and to actually pray to find the truth. That was a pretty cool experience!

Thursday, Fist time going through the holidays without the family is kinda weird! To be honest I felt a little homesick today, it being Thanksgiving and all. It was still pretty fun though. We had district meeting so we didn't get to play football in the morning. That was kind of a bummer. Thanksgiving dinner was super funny! Imagine the Christmas Vacation dinner they had together and it was close to that. We had it with the Bollocks and Sister Romans, who is blind, and the Hanks came as well..The dogs were running under the table and Sister Romens sounded and acted just like Aunt Bethany, and Brother Hanks is like Uncle Eddie. The conversations went from talking about their dog stories to talking about their kids walking in on them naked and stuff…it ruined my appetite very quickly! haha. It was still super funny!

Friday, went to ARC for awhile and then had weekly planning before going to dinner with the Haymond's. We then tried a few referrals and ended up walking into a young atheist girl who was very nice, but very confused. Talked with Ron about the importance of our message and then got a serious text from Dustin about some concerns he needs help with.

Saturday, Had a great morning and then got to help the Huntleys move a few things. We then went to ARC and helped out. One of the helpers there really appreciates our help. We then had dinner with the Erikson's, which was good. We then went by to see all of our investigators to invite them to church.

Sunday, ward council went great and then to our surprise Ranea showed up as well as Isiah and Amanda! Fast and Testimony meeting went very well and I got to say the closing prayer! Sunday school went great with Amanda and Isiah. We then had studies and then went to dinner at the Rabideau's. It was super good and I even saw a glimpse of the Broncos game!:) haha. We then taught Eli and read with the Terrazas family.

Mom, I did receive that package and we shared the popcorn and M&M's with the Hanks! :)  I am excited to receive the package you sent and you should probably be expecting a package from me as well soon with all the stuff I don't need in Brazil. Great work by being a good member missionary. In the ward I am serving in the members are slowly picking it up and helping out in this great work! Thank you for the pictures as well. They are awesome! :) I sure missed you this Thanksgiving!

Dad, Sounds like the family had a great Thanksgiving week! I bet the house decorations look awesome on the new house! What a great surprise for me to receive my visa! I am so excited to go, but am sad to leave these amazing people here...I have met so many amazing Elders, Sisters, Members, and Non-members! This is seriously the time of my life!

Family, I LOVE you all so much! Thank you so much for all your prayers and fasting for me! I really have been blessed beyond what I deserve. These blessings help me work more diligently everyday! I am so happy and proud to have the Lord for my support as well as my family! Thank you again!  I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and He helps me everyday! I love this gospel and the amazing chance I have to share it!

I love you guys!!
Elder Hauck