GC is NXN NY

Happy Monday! First off, transfers were today! (Fun fact: Belém is the only mission in the world that transfers by car, bus, boat, AND plane!) Elder C left, along with Elder S and Elder B (the other twos missionaries in the house), so looks like things will be changing up a lot. I’ll be staying here in Ala Alegre though! Not 100% sure who my companion will be yet, so looks like I’ll have to keep you in suspense until next week, sorry! I’ll be meeting all the new Elders that are coming to Bragança tomorrow.

Elder C’s last week here was really great though! He and I organized a Talent Show for friday night, and invited both wards to attend. It was a pretty big success! At first it seemed like it wasn’t turning out too hot, considering we asked all the acts to show up before 5:00 so we could rehearse and plan until the start at 7:00, but by 6:15 there was still no one there… Not gonna lie, brasileiros aren’t exactly the most punctual people haha. But at 7:30 a ton of people showed up, and it turned out really well. Elder S and I got roped into singing in English THREE times; my voice was completely shot by the end. But other than musical performances, there was still a pretty decent variety of dancing, drawing, and telling jokes too. Everyone had a great time!

The next day we baptized the granddaughter of a family of recent converts, and a handful of our investigators were able to attend the baptism! The baptismal service went so smoothly and so well, and everyone could feel the Spirit so strongly. Afterwards, two of the women we are teaching told us that they wanted to get baptized just like that girl had been baptized! It’s so great to see the Spirit work like that. I’m so grateful for the help of the Holy Ghost. Although help probably isn’t the right word, since really he’s the one doing everything, and I’m just trying my best to help. Either way, it was a really really great experience for everyone!

So, saturday is the big day! It’s the last general conference of Presidente Campos, and everyone is waiting anxiously and nervously to see if the temple will be announced. And we’ve all been working like crazy too! We’ve definitely been “kicking” this month, to put it in running terms. In just this month, 178 people have been baptized here in our mission! We’ve definitely been showing God our desire to have a temple here, now we just have see if it’s been enough. And, of course, if it’s His will at the moment. I realized that this Saturday, at roughly 13:00 here, it’s going to feel EXACTLY like NXN Regionals all over again. Set a goal, work really hard at your goal, and then just SIT in the chilling suspense to hear if your name is called. The real question is: will it be NXN Regionals my junior year or my senior year? Looks like we’ll see… Rumo ao Templo de Belém!

Well I hope everyone has a great week, and enjoy Conferência Geral! Love you all, thanks for everything!

Sincerely,
Élder Scott Maughan

P.S. “Bragança” = bra-´gone-saw, hope that helps!

Weeee are the champions!

Olá querida família!

Hope everyone had a wonderful week! My week passed quickly, but was a great week again in Paragominas! Elder O counted at least one big miracle everyday, it really was one more week full of miracles. We found a few more members that didn’t know the Church had arrived in Paragominas, and found other people on the streets that asked to be taught by us. Elder O and I joked that this was probably the only area on the planet where you do the walking but the people on the street do the contacting.

So we ended up not having a single baptism during these 2 weeks, but I still think our trip to Paragominas was a huge success! Especially considering the attendance was about 20 when we got there, and yesterday there were 45 people at church! Everyone in the group seemed super excited; for sure it will become a branch soon! Presidente Campos made it a goal that he would have a branch there before he leaves in July. He said that he’ll be sending another couple of missionaries there this week, so I hope that there will be missionaries in this area permenantly now! That would be so awesome, one more great, growing area here in Belém!

We missionaries hosted a cooking contest Saturday night! Tons of people came — it was a big success. And the best part was guess who won? Of course, the missionaries. We went with the American classic, brownies with vanilla ice cream. How could we lose? The judges gave us a total of 77 points out of 80, almost perfection. But the rest of the foods there were super delicious also, and everyone seemed to have a great time. We also made sooo much brownie, that’s going to last a while!

Well I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to return to Paragominas! Elder O says he’s been putting in a good word with Presidente Campos, haha. We’ll see! Either way, I’m excited to be back “home” in Bragança, and to put in practice here all the things I’ve been seeing and learning in Paragominas. And I’ve sure got plenty of time left here to return to Paragominas. So who knows?

Well I wish everyone all of the best, and a great week! Oh and happy belated birthday Craig! Love you all!

Sincerely,
Élder Scott Maughan

Most Awesome Week Yet! (aka Paragominas woohoo!)

Hello from Paragominas!

First off, thanks everyone for the birthday wishes! [We sent him screen shots of all his FB and blog birthday wishes] Thanks for all the support and thought for me – I hope that things have been going great for all of you also!

My birthday was actually very exciting! Found out the night before that I would be leaving Bragança and taking a 6 hour bus ride to Paragominas, a large, newer city farther south. And it has been quite the experience ever since I got here! Here in Paragominas there are only 3 families of members, who formed a group here about a year ago, and have been working to become a branch sometime soon. In the past 2 years, missionaries have only visited here 4 times, so the members here are very excited that Presidente Campos let another duo of missionaries come down here to help out. And usually the missionaries only stay for a few days, but we got permission to stay here one more week, until Sunday. So we’re definitely working our hardest to take advantage of these days we have here! It definitely helps to have missionaries here, to show people in the streets that the Church has finally arrived! We’ve already found one family of members from São Paulo who moved here 6 months ago and were very sad because there wasn’t a church here. They were so excited to see us in the street! Also, 2 separate men have stopped us in the street and told us that before they moved to Paragominas, they met the missionaries and also got baptized but they had to leave, and now they want to be baptized! So many miracles; the field is certainly white and ready to harvest here in Paragominas.

My companion here is Elder O from Porto Alegre, and he is really awesome. He’s actually going home the end of this month, and so needless to say, he’s super experienced. I’ve also been trying to take advantage of these days that I have with him, to learn as much from him as I can. And I feel like I’ve been learning a lot from him so far! At first I was a little bit overwhelmed/confused about why I was coming here with him, because there are definitely tons of missionaries way more qualified to come work here. But I felt much better after my first day, when the Lord really showed me a tender mercy. Walking down the street, we were stopped by a man on a motorcycle. He told me that he had seen me before, but I told him that I had just arrived in town a few hours before. He then showed me a picture that he took of his girlfriend at Ver-O-Peso in Belém. Clearly standing in the background were Elder C and me! Coincidence? I think not! I’m so glad the Lord knows who I am, and that he loves me.

Paragominas is super beautiful city. It’s also a relatively rich city, compared to the rest of Pará. It’s only 45 years old, but it’s been growing very rapidly, with people moving in from all over Brazil. Hardly anyone here is actually from Pará, so it’s really interesting to see all the different accents here. This actually makes me feel better about my Portuguese also, because just about every other accent is way easier to understand that the accent of people from Pará haha. We’re staying in a small house on the property of one of the families here, and they are super super nice to us. They give us breakfast and dinner everyday, and they keep giving me foods (mostly fruit) to try that I’ve never eaten before. I’m not complaining! So far haven’t found anything yet I don’t like! This family even washes our clothes (thankfully, considering I thought I’d only be staying the weekend so I didn’t exactly bring too much) and give us rides to appointments sometimes. They are a really awesome family!

There’s no chapel here or anything, but one of the members here bought a lot and built a small church to gather in, which is really neat. I took a picture or two, but realized that I forgot my camera cord in Bragança, so I’ll try to send a few next week. I’ll try to take some more during the week to show how beautiful Paragominas is also!

Well I hope everyone has a fantastic week. Happy Birthday, Craig! Miss you all, love you all! Até mais!

Sincerely,
Élder Maughan

Happy 20th Birthday, Scott!

Scott will be celebrating his birthday in Bragança, Brazil, today (and will mark seven months in the mission field tomorrow.) If you’d like to send Scott a birthday greeting, please comment on this post (or leave a note on his Facebook wall) and I’ll be sure that he gets it on Monday. Gotta love technology! *Ü*

Didn’t Spellcheck This – Sorry!

Tudo bem? Beleza!

So, my last email as a teenager… haha, thanks for the birthday wishes! [Scott will be 20 on Thursday] Thanks to a surprise conference in Castanhal last week I received my birthday packages earlier than expected, so thank you! Glad to hear that the missionaries in our ward will be eating well! I’ll probably be eating very well too, I hope! We actually happen to be lunching Thursday in the house of a woman in Bragança whose dad owns the hospital and whose husband owns a restaurant, a pharmacy, and a house of show (which I don’t really know exactly how to translate).  I hear she feeds the missionaries very well, to say the least!

Life’s going well! We have no exciting plans for today… except actually we’re going to Catanhal again tonight! Elder C has a meeting in Belém tomorrow. We were thinking about it, and it’s actually kinda funny: Before the mission, and trip over 3 hours away was like a vacation that you had to plan for a month in advance. Here, we just hop on a bus and travel for 4 hours like it’s just whatever, even if we don’t really know exactly what’s supposed to happen when we arrive at our destination. Didn’t Jesus tell his disciples once or twice that they shouldn’t worry about what they were going to eat/wear/sleep or something like that? Yup, that’s us.

Wow I just reread that last sentence and corrected it in 4 different places. And now I realize that I never go back and spell check my letters before sending them… Craig, you might have to be my editor.

That being said, I hope my Portuguese is improving also! Still working on the accent and new words every day, and learning new ways of saying things that I probably should’ve learned 6 months ago. But hey at least now I know! Elder C is helping out a ton with that. Also, I’m helping him with his English, which he speaks super well. It works out very well; we usually are learning new words together. We spend lots of time in the street! We actually have to walk 10 minutes or so until we actually arrive in our area, and then we have to have walk up to another 15-20 minutes to arrive where we actually teach most of our investigators. So we sure get our exercise!

Speaking of exercise, we’ve started running a few days a week! There’s a little plaza near out house where we run laps. Brings back great memories, I love it! Even if we only run 15 minutes, haha. Better than nothing! You’ll have to tell all those guys congrats at States [Indoor Track Championship]. And also tell them that I’m representing Burnt Hills and Section 2 here in Bragança, wearing my Burnt Hills Track and Field (7) shirt while I run. Section 2 Represent!

Well, I promise this coming week I’ll try to keep a look out for exciting things to tell you guys. So until next Monday! Love you all!
Sincerely,
Élder Maughan