Sunday, May 5, 2013

15 April 2013 Elder Leal is cool

Hello Family and Friends,

This past week we had transfers. Elder Weber and I made a quick companion exchange at the bus station in Porto Alegre. When I found Elder Leal we had to leave immediately because the next bus to Butiá was 10 minutes later. I did not even have time to converse with any other elders at the bus station and barely got to say goodbye to Elder Weber. When traveling back to Butiá I was really feeling the loss of Elder Weber. It cut me pretty deep knowing that the we were no longer companions. Not only was he my mentor but my best friend here in Brazil. He showed me the kind of missionary I need to be in order to have success on the mission. 

I'm really liking Elder Leal. He is a big ole' Chilean and is 26 years old. He was born into the church. When he was small, he and his mother (member) ran away to Argentina from an abusive/drunk father. A year later they returned to different part of Chile and bought a cheap unfinished house. There family home teacher at the time offered to help to put the finishing touches to their house. At first their family home teacher was always coming around with tools to fix up the house but quickly the tools turned into chocolates and flowers for Elder Leal´s mom. His mom and family home teacher, now father, got married in the temple soon after. Elder Leal grew up with a step-father but considers him his real father.
When Elder Leal was 17 he left his house to go study and work. He got caught up in the things of the world and turned away from the church. He had finished his studies at the college he was attending, got a job, house, car, and girlfriend. One day he felt the need to go back to church and his bishop mentioned serving a mission. From that moment he literally dropped everything that he was doing in order to serve a mission, quit his job, sold the car and house, dropped the girlfriend and couple months later he received his mission call. He is part of the first group of Chilean missionaries here in Brazil. 

Elder Leal is a really great missionary and I'm learning a lot from him already. He is the first companion that makes food for me ha ha. He really likes doing family home evening with the members in order to get new investigators. We have family home evening planned for almost every night this week. This is a really good way to find new investigators and produces a lot better results than the traditional missionary methods. We usually put on a DVD, give a message, do some kind of game, and then eat. It shows everyone that us "Mormons" are real people and that we have something different, something special. I'm sure we will see some fruits from our labors here in a little bit. President Castro is really pushing this method of working with members right now.
We have some good investigators and my companion is great so life right now is pretty good. I'm studying really hard right now, scriptures, other church books, and the language. I wake up a 6:30, do exercises for 20 minutes, make a banana milkshake, take a shower, and then study from about 7:30 until 11:00. I want to have a really solid knowledge of everything before the end of the mission.
Now to answer some questions... It is better to send letters to the mission office because if I get transferred there is a good chance that I will never see that letter. Yes, I will still be here in Butiá for Mother's Day. No, I do not remember Spanish, but Elder Leal has spoken to me in Spanish and I understood him just because I know Portuguese.
That's all for now. Have a good time in Utah for Greg's graduation. Take some pictures for me.

Lots of Love,
Elder Miller

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