January 30, 2017

Hey Guys!!!

I hope this email isn’t too short, because we spent a decent amount of time traveling this week!
On Tuesday, we left at noon on the bus traveling to Videira. We got there, and then spent the night there with the elders there.
On Wednesday, we watched a world-wide missionary broadcast. It was broadcasted from Salt Lake City, for all the misisonaries in the world! They announced some changes in the daily missionary schedule, and some other changes. Basically, the schedule for missionaries is now a lot more flexible, and each missionary can plan their own day to better fit their situation. If you want to read an article about it, here is an article:
But, it was a few hours long, and was sent out by satelite, so we had to have someone come to the chapel and set up the equipment.
Later that night, Elder Larsen (another American missionary who is serving in Videira right now) made us burgers. We spent the night there in Videira.
On Thursday, we headed back to Joaçaba by bus, and got back in the afternoon. We went and printed some things and ran a few other errands.
On Friday, we had our weekly district meeting in a city called Campos Novos, with the 2 missionaries from there. Because of the irregular bus schedules, we only got back to Joaçaba at 6:00 pm, and had time to look for a new investigator, but didn’t find one.
On Saturday, we went to a part of the city called “Menino Deus” and went to knock some doors and look for a new investigator! At first, we weren’t having much success. Many people just answered the door, said they were Catholic or already had a church, and then closed the door. They weren’t rude though, the people usually are nice about it, just not receptive.
We did manage to talk with a woman named Valdemira, and shared a message with her. She is really Catholic, but decided to let us in because she had some extra time. She liked to talk, and listened to our message. I don’t know how well she understood, but we are going to try going back another day.
Yesterday, we went and talked with our two investigators, Nelson and Rose. They want to be baptized, and all that is left is for Rose to divorce with her ex-husband, and then Nelson and Rose to get married. We didn’t know a lot about the process, and talked with the branch president of the church in Campos Novos, who is a lawyer. He told us that all of that would take about 2 months. So, after talking with Nelson and Rose, we decided that they could be getting baptized starting in April. So, we are going to help them get a start on this process!!
One thing that I thought was interesting happened to us yesterday. There is a guy here in Joaçaba who always walks around the city drunk. He stopped to talk to us a couple weeks ago, and we didn’t give him much attention. Mostly because he wasn’t making very much sense, and he was also speaking half Spanish. But, yesterday he found us again, and asked if we could say a prayer in his house. We wrote down his address and told him that we would go visit him. He told us that his wife of their 4 kids left him, and he needed a prayer in his house. I guess I kinda looked at him a little differently after that. He might be a drunkard, rambling on in half portuguese half spanish, but who knows how he will accept the gospel!!
Well, that is how my week went! I hope everyone has a good week!!
Love your favorite missionary,
Élder Spencer Reece Peterson

January 23, 2017

Hey Guys!!!

This week was good!
On Tuesday, we visited Nelson and Rose, our investigators. We talked with them a little bit, and then told them we were going to come back later in the week. We then went with João, a youth from the branch, and visited our Haitian investigators.
On Wednesday, we traveled to a city called Videira for a zone meeting. We spent the night there on Wednesday, and ordered a pizza for us 6 to eat. Pizza is pretty good here. There are a lot more toppings and combinations.
On Thursday, we had our zone meeting. President Silva was there, and we had our interviews. We had a little time to ask president some doctrinal questions, and since no one else was asking, I spent the whole time asking questions while President responded to my questions using scrpitures. It was pretty cool!
On Friday, we came back to Joaçaba, and went to visit some investigators in Herval Dóeste, the town to the side of Joaçaba. We visited Renilda, a little old lady that is lonely and likes to hear our messaeges. She likes to talk, and we let her talk a bunch so she has someone to talk to! We also visited Glecie, the mom of one of the members here who is investigating the church. We invite her to church, and she always says, “Pode deixar que eu vou.” Or, “Eu vou uma hora dessa.”   In English  “Leave it to me, I’ll go” and “One of these days, I’ll go.”   It’s pretty annoying when people don’t give a yes or no response!
On Saturday, the branch mission leader took us out in his car to some appointments! It is amazing how many more lessons/appointments you can do in a day when you have a car! We visited some less active members that he knows that we hadn’t met yet. We went and taught Alexandre, a relative of an investigator of ours that isn’t progressing, and he seemed fairly interested. He didn’t go to church this week, but we will keep trying!
On Sunday, we went to visit some less active Haitian members and investigators with a sister from the branch. The Haitians here are usually pretty quiet in conversations (probably cause they are still learning Portuguese) but it went alright because the sister from the branch here talked the whole time! She was talking to one of the particularly shy Haitians, and the Haitan wasn’t looking the sister in the eyes because she was shy. Then the Sister said, “Your not even looking me in the eyes! Look me in the eyes when I am talking to you!” in a joking, happy sounding way. But the Haitian was still shy and I felt bad. It’s hard to learn a language!!
That’s pretty much how the week went! I hope everyone is doing well at home and that everyone keeps me updated on life back in the US!!!
Have a good week!
Love your favorite missionary,
Élder Spencer Reece Peterson

January 16, 2017

Hey Guys!!!!

Well, this week was good. It was extremely hot!!! Before I tell you how my week was and what I did, I decided I would let you know a little more about the heat here, and how I am coping with it.
Because it is summer here in Santa Catarina, and here is a subtropical climate, it is HOT!!! It is around 85-95 degrees always, inside our outside. Last night, I was struggling to sleep because of the heat, and decided to go see the temperature. At 10:30 at night, it was showing 87 degrees inside our apartment! With the humidity, it felt more like 90. Without air conditioning, sometimes it is hard to sleep.I do have a fan that I keep pointed on my face, but sometimes it just blows hot air. So, here are a few methods I’ve developed to fight the ridiculously high night temperatures and be able to sleep:
  • The Frozen Towel Method
One way I have used to stay cool at night is the Frozen Towel Method. Basically, you grab a towel of any size, get it wet, and stick it in the freezer. After it has completely frozen, you put the rock-hard frozen towel over your face and whatever else it can cover (the bigger the towel, the more it covers) and then enjoy the coldness of a frozen towel on your face.
  • The Cold Water Bucket Method
Because I have a fan that I can point at my face, I am able to wet my face down and lay in front of the fan. You leave a bucket full of cold water (ice cubes to make it colder) at the side of your bed with a washcloth or sponge inside. Then, you wet your face, arms and legs and lay in front of the fan to sleep. Repeat as many times as necessary.
  • The Ice Cold Shower Method
Sometimes the only thing that works is to take a long, Ice cold shower and then to immediately lay down and try to sleep before you dry off and it gets hot again.
  • The Sleeping Outside Method
I know you’re thinking, “How can you sleep outside? Don’t you live on the seventh floor of an apartment buliding? And are you allowed to sleep outside???”  But, this method is not what it seems. In our seventh floor apartment, we have a balcony that hangs over the seven floors below. So, tecnically, it is outside. If it is hot enough, you can lay out on the bare tile floor of the balcony to try and sleep. Everyone knows that tile floors are cold, so that usually works as a last resort idea.
Well, that is all for my methods on how to sleep in hot temperatures. If anyone has any idea I didn’t include, let me know!
The week was pretty good for me! We sspent Tuesday knocking a few doors in a neighborhood we hadn’t really gone to yet. It is basically on the side of a huge hill, so it was exhasuting. Not much happened.
On Wednesday, we decided to eat ice cream to celebrate my birthday. So, we went to a fast food restaurant called ‘Bob’s’ and ate Ice cream there. For the rest of the day, a member took us out to visit and teach some people he knows, and the day was full of visits. We visited/taught some less active members that are basiaclly only accessible with a car, and some investigators that the member knew would let us in. It was a good birthday, because I didn’t have to really do any walking.
On Thursday, we left at 1:00 pm on the bus headed to Florianópolis for our leadership council meeting. We got there at 11:00 pm, so the entire day was basically spent on the bus. We spent the night in the secretaries and assistants house.
On Friday, we had our leadership council meeting, and it was good! It started in the morning, and went until 4:00 pm. We had trainings from President, his assistants, and the secretaries. We ate lunch at a restaurant there, and then it ended at 4:00.
Afterwards, Elder Marcelino and I decided to walk around Florianóplois just to see if there was anything cool to see or buy. I bought a neckalce from some homeless person/hippie that is pretty cool! It is has a rock in it called ‘pedra da lua’ which means ‘stone of the moon’. It looks pretty cool. Later that night, we went out to eat with the mission secretaries, and then spent the night at their house.
On Saturday, we got on the bus headed back to Joaçaba at 8:00 am, and only got back at 5:45 pm. So, that was pretty much the entire day!!
Yesterday, we went out to do visits/teach with a young man from the branch here called João. We went to teach some investigators, and to visit some less active members with him.
That is basically all that happened this week!! I will write again next week to keep you all updated! Hope everyone has a good week!
Your favorite missionary,
Élder Spencer Reece Peterson

January 9, 2017

Well, another week down, and only 28 to go!!

This week was good, but extremely long for some reason!
This week, we taught our Haitian investigators again, and it was good! We can’t teach very much each time because they don’t speak Portuguese that well. But, they make really good soup, and almost everytime we go there, they offer (and by offer, I mean hand us without asking) us a plate full of soup. So, I always eat some good Haitian soup everytime we go there!
We are also teaching a couple named Nelson and Rose, who actually were investigating the church like 3-4 years ago and almost got baptized. The only reason they didn’t get baptized was because Rose is still trying to get divorced with a previous husband, and then they have to get married. So, we met them at church one week they decided to go, and we are trying to work with them to help them get ready for baptism.
It is going well with William and Welton, and we finished teaching them the Restoration, and left a copy of the Book of Mormon with them to read and pray about. So, I am hoping that they read it and pray!!
With our investigators Camila and Terezinha, it is going alright. Camila is younger and is open to hear what we have to say, and says she is looking for something.Terezinha is very Catholic, and has already made it clear she will die Catholic. But, she is older and doesn’t have that much to do. We marked the Book of Mormon for them to read at the introduction, and when we came back, the marker was in Helaman 2. I was really confused for a second, and couldn’t remember leaving that chapter with them to read, but then Camila said that Terezinha had been reading a lot, and got to Helaman 2. Then, Terezinha started explaining about the Book of Mormon, and how it is a record of the people in the Americas passed from father to son and so on, and then she cited 2 Nephi about Adam and Eve having to had partaken of the fruit or they would have stayed in the Garden of Eden forever. Then me and Elder Marcelino just looked at each other and almost laughed! It was awesome! But then she said she was going to die Catholic and never wanted to switch religions! Camila says she won’t read the Book of Mormon, and to me that doesn’t really make sense why… But, we are going back this week and we will see how it goes!!!
We ate lunch yesterday with a less active family that makes flip-flops for a living. It is seriously a legit buisness! They even put people’s pictures and other things on the flip-flops, and customize them. I am thinking about customizing and buying a pair of flip-flops.
This week, it is my 20th birthday!!!!! So to celebrate on Wednesday for my birthday, I think we are going to this one Mexican Ice Cream place to eat Mexican Ice cream. And the day after, we are going to Florianópolis for a leadership council meeting, so that should be awesome! Despite my mission being the Brazil Florianópolis Mission, this will only be the fourth time I will have been to Florianópolis in my entire mission! Once when I got here, once to renew my visa, once to train, and now once for the leadership council meeting! Maybe I will get a chance to serve in the city of Florianópolis later!!
But, that is all for this week! I will make sure to send pictures and let you all know how our trip to Floripa is this week! Hope everyone has a good week!!
Love your favorite missionary,
Élder Spencer Reece Peterson

January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!!!!

It is pretty weird how it is already 2017! Here in 6 and a half months, I’ll already be home!
This week was pretty good. As most of the people we are teaching only marked for return appointments after the New Year, the week was pretty empty as for appointments. We spent most of the week knocking doors, and looking for people to teach.
On Tuesday, we managed to find a little old lady named Renilda. She let us in before I even asked! We talked with her for a while, and from what she told us, she is pretty lonely. Most of her kids and grandchildren live in other states or cities, and she doesn’t have many people to talk to. So, we talked to her for a while, and ten left a message with her!
We are taught William and Welton again on Wednesday, and are teaching them about the Restoration of the Gospel. They seem to be understanding what we are teaching, and we marked to come back this Wednesday.
I decided to go to the grocery store, and buy some more weird fruits from Brazil that I had never heard of. I’ll send pictures of what I bought.
One I bought is called ‘Kino’ in Portuguese, and in English is referred to as ‘Horned Melon’, ‘Kiwano’, or ‘Blowfish fruit’. It is apparently an African Cucumber/Melon. It wasn’t as sweet as I thought it should be, and added some sugar to sweeten it up, and that turned out pretty well.
Another fruit I tried is ‘Rambutão’ is Portuguese and ‘Rambutan’ in English. It is pink on the outside, and white on the inside. It is originally from Malaysia/Indonesia. I thought it was pretty good. You just have to see the pictures I guess.
Another fruit that I tried is ‘Lichia’ in Portuguese, and ‘Lychee’ in English. It is similar to Rambutan, but I didn’t think it tasted very good. It is originally from China.
I had also never tried a fig before, but had already heard of it. I didn’t really like it that much.
There are still some other fruits here that I haven’t tried, and will try them and send pictures later.
We spent New Year’s Eve at the Branch President’s house where we ate dinner and talked. We were only there for a couple of hours, and then we went home after midnight.
On New Year’s day,  we spent the day at the branch mission leader’s house after church. We ate lunch there and then played some games and talked with his family. Their family is awesome, and it was a pretty fun New Year’s day.
That is basically all that happened this week! I will make sure to let you guys know how the week goes this week! Hope everyone has a good week!!
Your favorite missionary,
Élder Spencer Reece Peterson

December 26, 2016

First of all, Merry Christmas!!!

This week was pretty good!
On Tuesday, we spent a lot of the day knocking on doors to find someone to teach. We managed to teach an older lady on her front porch, but she had some sort of mental disease, and wasn’t understanding too well. But, she seemed really happy to have someone to talk to.
That night, one of the members took us to visit some of his less active home teaching visits. We met some less active members in the area, and that way, we can come back and visit them if we happen to be passing in the area. We met and talked with a less active lady that is 113 years old and still walks!! It is pretty incredible how some people are so healthy!
On Wednesday, we went knocking doors and were able to find two boys named William and Welton. They are on break from school so they had some free time to talk with us. They are 13 and 17 years old. They have interest in religion, so we were able to teach them a little and mark to come back.
On Friday, we took the list of members and started looking for everyone there that we didn’t know. We found a couple less active families that not everyone is baptized or has heard the missionary lessons, and we marked to come back and talk more with them! One was a guy in a wheel chair that has some siblings that are also members, and they love to talk with the missionaries. The other person we found told us that there is no way she’ll come back to church, so that stunk.
On Saturday, president let us stay out until 1:00 am! So, we went to a Christmas Eve party of some one we are teaching, and it was fun. They had a ‘churrasco’ or barbecue here, and roasted even quail! It tastes like chicken, but better. They had some guy dress up as Santa and give the children presents, and even I got a box of chocolate. I had to sit on Santa’s lap in order to earn the chocolate, but it was totally worth it!
Yesterday, we ate lunch at a member’s house, and they made a huge Christmas lunch!!! We afterwards were able to skype our families at their house, and it was good to be able to talk to my family again!!! The members here gave us a box full of chocolate and candy for Christmas, so that was pretty cool too!! I enjoyed Christmas this year!
That is basically all that happened this week! This week now is the last week of the transfer, and we might be getting transfer calls. I am hoping to get transfered to the mission office, but I don’t think that will happen.
I hope everyone had a good Christmas, and that all enjoy the rest of the Holiday season!!!!
Love your favorite missionary,
Élder Spencer Reece Peterson

December 19, 2016

Hey Guys!!

This week was pretty good.
The elders from Campos Novos and Videira came over to Joaçaba on Tuesday, and then spent the night there with us. Well, at least they spent a little of the night there. Because the Christmas conference was this week on Wednesday, a bus that the mission rented came to Joaçaba to pick us all up at midnight on Tuesday-Wednesday. We all got on the bus and then had a 6 hour bus ride.
On Wednesday, the bus got to Lages, and we had our christmas conference in the chapel there. There was a white elephant gift exchange, and I won a miniature Chewbacca figurine that came with miniature light sabers. I haven’t watched more that 2 star wars films, but I am pretty sure Chewbacca doesn’t use a lightsaber…. But, when everything is made in China, things aren’t accurate!
We also ate lunch, and then had time to talk with other missionaries and play games. There was Uno, chess, checkers, and some games like that. It only went until 4:30pm, so it wasn’t that long. Christmas conference could be a lot cooler, but I’ll be home before next Christmas anyway!!
We took the bus back to Joaçaba, and got home around 11:30 on Wednesday night.
On Thursday, the elders retuned back to their areas, and we cleaned up the apartment a little. Whenever 6 or more missionaries spend various nights in a small apartment, it gets messy.
The rest of the week, we spent trying to visit some people that we hadn’t visited because of the Christmas conference. We found someone knocking doors, that knows a member here. The member said he knew someone that he wanted to introduce us to, but never got around to it. So, we found the person randomly knocking doors!
There was the branch christmas party on Saturday, and basically there was some snacks and people standing around talking. Some members brought some friends, and we got their addresses and will go visit them this week. The members sent us home with some leftover snacks, and that was good.
As Christmas gets closer, you might think that people are more receptive to let us in and hear our message about Jesus Christ. Sadly, you’d be wrong to think that. Lots of people are traveling and aren’t home. If they aren’t traveling, they have guests over, and don’t want to hear out message right now. So, the end of the year is always tough! But, it’ll be over soon, and 2017 will be here!
That is basically how my week went!! I am excited to talk to my family via skpye on Christmas! Hope everyone has a good week!!
Love your favorite missionary,
Élder Spencer Reece Peterson

December 12, 2016

Hey Guys!!

This week went by pretty fast. It was full of rain, hills, and scorching-hot sun.
On Tuesday, we went to visit a reference we got from a member here. The reference’s name is Ademir, and he has lung cancer. He is basically in bed all the time, and we went with the member to visit him. We shared a message about Jesus Christ and his atonement. I thought it was pretty good, and he said we could come back and that he is always there!
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we spent knocking a LOT of doors, and it involved a lot of hill and stair climbing, and rain. We didn’t manage to teach that much, but marked with a few people to come back later, so that is basically how that went!
On Saturday we went to visit a reference we got from a member here who teaches English. The reference’s name is Camila, and we had an awesome lesson, and she was really interested in our message. She thought that Joseph Smith is like Jesus for us, so we spent a little time explaining that that is not true!!! But, she is really open to learn about other religions, so we marked to come back this next Saturday!
Also on Saturday, we taught our less active Haitian member, Rose, and her husband, Marc. He translated our message to her, and it was cool to hear him speak in Creol. They have a baby named Mishimana (or something like that). Rose went to church yesterday and brought her baby. I know it was a sacrifice for her, cause she has been in Brazil for 5 months and doesn’t speak Portuguese at all! So, she didn’t understand ANYTHING at church! But, Mishimanna got candy from the primary, so I’m sure it wasn’t all in vain.
Church wasn’t normal this week, because there was a broadcast for all of Brazil to watch instead of normal church. There were a various speakers, and I remember that it was Jeffrey R. Holland and Claudio Costa of the 70. Elder Holland tried speaking Portuguese for a little while, but it was a mixture of strong accent and Spanish, so it was pretty funny! But, everyone understood him and it was pretty cool to see!
We said by to some recent converts who moved away today. Gisele, Célia and Cauã moved to Paraná this week, so we visited them last night before they were going to leave.
That’s pretty much all for now! I will keep you all updated next week!!!
Love your favorite missionary,
Élder Spencer Reece Peterson

December 5, 2016

Hey Guys!!!

My second week here in Joaçaba has passed! I am adjusted to the hills, and my knees aren’t hurting anymore.
On Tuesday, we went visited our Haitian investigators and left a message with them. They are working a lot, and it is hard to find them at home. They also don’t have very much time, so it is hard to mark visits.
On Wednesday, we visited a less active member and her investigator husband who are also both Haitian. Their names are Rose and Marc. Marc wasn’t there, and that was going to be a problem because Rose doesn’t speak Portuguese. Or English. But luckily, she had some other Haitian friends over and one of them speaks Portuguese and English. His name is Pierre, and also speaks French and Creol! So, he was able to translate our message for Rose. So, Throughout the lesson, people were speaking English, Portuguese and Creol all at the same time! It was pretty cool to hear all the different languages. And now we are going to go visit the guy who translated for us.
On Thursday, the Elders from Campos Novos came over in the morning, and we ate lunch together in the apartment. Then at noon we all took the bus and went over to Videira. There, we spent the night with the 2 elders there. My MTC companion, Elder Larsen, is serving in Videira, so it was cool to get to talk to him! We ordered a pizza that night and all ate it together!
On Friday, we had our zone training meeting. Because Elder Marcelino and I are the zone leaders, we gave a training to the rest of the zone. We made our training into a Jeopardy game to try and make it more fun and entertaining. I feel like everyone liked it, and everyone got chocolate at the end.
On Saturday, it poured rain almost the entire day! It was really annoying and made the work hard. I came home with wet shoes.
Yesterday, we went and visited some recent-converts who will be moving to another city soon. Their names are Gisele, Cauã and Célia. Cauã is a 12 year old boy who due to an accident, can’t use his legs anymore. Elder Marcelino and I gave him ties and signed them as a remembrance! I gave him a Batman tie, and Elder Marcelino gave him a Mickey Mouse tie. I’ll send pictures.
That’s basically it for this week! We are starting the 3rd week in the transfer, and in a week we will have our christmas conference and then 2 weeks later it is Christmas!! I hope everyone is doing well! I’ll write more next week!!!
Love your favorite missionary,
Élder Spencer Reece Peterson

November 28, 2016

Hey Guys!!

My first week here in Joaçaba was pretty good. There are a ton of hills here, so my legs are pretty sore. But, I am learning my way around Joaçaba, and I am liking the area. My companion, Elder Marcelino is a great companion!
Elder Marcelino took me to meet some of the recent converts in the branch. I met Gisele and Cauã, who got baptized earlier this year. Cauã is a ten year old boy in a wheel chair, but he is happy anyway. They are going to be moving in a couple weeks or so, so that stinks.
Here in Brazil, there are a lot of Haitians. After the earthquake in 2010, a lot of Haitians came here to work. We are teaching a few Haitians right now, and this week two of them came to church! Their names are Velius and Jackuilin. I think they liked church. Besides the language barrier (their native language is Creole, but they speak Portuguese well), the Sunday School lesson on the importance of EFY, the switching of the branch presidency, and the primary program, I think they understood everything that happened.
We visited another Haitian recent convert whose name is Urick. We are going to mark a visit with him to teach the our Haitian investigators.
Yesterday, there was a pretty important soccer game here in Brazil. It is a tradition for the fans of the winning team who are watching the game at home to drive around town honking their horn, waving the flag out the window for hours. So, it was pretty entertaining for a few hours yesterday.
That’s basically it! I will send some pictures. I will keep you all informed! Have a good week!
Love your favorite missionary,
Élder Spencer Reece Peterson