Missionaries Taking Over Bragança

Dearest família,

Bom dia! So I actually have things to say today that are kinda cool! First off, transfers are tomorrow, but I’m not going anywhere! And neither is anyone in our house. The 4 of us are staying in Bragança, and we’re pretty excited. The other Elders are really great, super fun and spiritual and hard working at the same time. We have lots of great discussions and learn a ton together. So we were pretty happy! Things are really been catching fire here too recently, so I am happy because I didn’t want to leave just as things are starting to improve a lot. Also, the fact that we just got a new fridge and washing machine Saturday — wouldn’t want to have to leave that behind.

Saturday was Day of the Missionaries! That was actually really neat; all the returned missionaries in the wards here in Bragança, as well as a few from neighboring cities, were set apart again as missionaries for one day! Everyone spent the day out in the streets visiting less active members, friends of other faiths, and just making any contacts with people in the streets. The streets of Bragança were packed with white shirt and ties (and a few skirts too, thanks to a few sisters) and black nametags! All in all, it was a huge success, and now we have 50+ references to contact in the city haha. Certain got our work cut out for us!

Also, I was really inspired by how exciting all the returned missionaries were to be able to put that nametag back on, for even just one day. Made me really think about the rare and amazing opportunity this is, and how I don’t want to waste one day here. Definitely don’t want to have any regrets in the end!

As for housekeeping… I can buy contact lens solution here (way expensive, but available). My shirts are more or less still white… but most of them have stains or marks, which I believe are thanks to the old washing machine. Also, wouldn’t mind a few more ties, those are always useful! If I think of anything else I need this week I’ll write it down and let you know.

As for Skype [on Mothers Day], not sure yet… if we can use Skype, I’ve already found a place here we can use it. So I’ll let you know when I find out!

Well thanks for everything, dearest family! Love you all, and you’re in my prayers also!

Sincerely,
Élder Scott Maughan

Bragança knows how to dance!

Hey family!

Sounds like a pretty epic week for everyone, not going to lie. I’m sorry that some of you were a little sick, but it seems like everyone had an exciting week! And I love the pictures; everyone looks so nice! It must’ve been great having the whole family together for that. Congrats to Eric and Noelle. I’m super happy for you two! Basically everyone here in my ward knows that you got married Saturday. I was pretty exciting about that and told more or less everyone haha. They share their parabéns also!

Scott's oldest brother, Eric, who also served a mission in Brazil, was married to Noelle on Saturday in the Mount Timpanogos Temple.

Well while my week wasn’t nearly as exciting as yours, it was good as well! While all your festivities were going on Saturday, we also had a pretty special day! Walking down the street, we found a couple who had been taught by the missionaries in Belém, and had moved to Bragança just recently. Not only are they actually married (that’s exciting because it’s not too common) but they seemed pretty excited to meet the missionaries, and they even came to church with us yesterday! Everyone in the ward welcomed them really well, and they really enjoyed the meetings. So I’m going to credit that miracle to Eric’s wedding, considering that since I’m here on the mission instead of celebrating with the family, I deserved something special for that haha.

Also here’s a pretty inspiring story: there’s a man in our ward who got baptized 1 1/2 years ago, and he’s the secretary of the ward. He lives with his parents, who hate the church. Every Sunday, he had to sneak out of the house and go to a friends house to change into his shirt and tie in order to go to church. One time his mom tore up a attendance roll that she found, and she threatened to burn any Book of Mormon she finds. But he’s super dedicated, magnifies his calling, goes to every activity, and helps us our with our missionary work a ton. Yesterday he spoke in church, and told us that that morning he was leaving for church when his parents stopped him. They told him that he couldn’t trick them anymore; they knew he was going to church. But then they surprised him by saying that they no longer have any problem with him being Mormon. What a miracle! I was so happy for him, and I could tell how much joy he was feeling too.

In other exciting news: Bragança became famous in all of Brazil last night! On national popular television there was a competition between Bragança and some other city in the south, about which city danced better. After a length presentation of what the city was like, each city had a huge group of people that preformed a dance that supposedly represented the city and its culture. Then everyone in Brazil voted. Unfortunately Bragança lost by a lot… but hey, at least it’s on map now!

Well I hope everyone has another fantastic week, maybe a little more relaxed this time! Thanks for all the letters and the support! Love you all a ton, take care!

Sincerely,
Élder Scott Maughan

It’s Hard to Type Accent Marks

Scott, Elder L (his companion), Elder S, and Elder V

Happy 2nd Day of the Market!

Sounds like everyone had a pretty busy week! I’m starting to think that maybe your weeks are busier than mine. Glad to hear that the Priest Laurel conference went well. I love the pictures! Also I’m pretty excited to find out how many pictures you take this next weekend. Also can’t wait to see the pictures!

Life in Bragança is going well! Things are great with Elder L, and with Elder V and Elder S. Things are going really well with the ward too! Our bishop had been in São Paulo for a month, but he just got back Saturday. Our bishop is such a champ: He’s been in São Paulo having medical procedures done on him, but that hasn’t stopped him from helping out the ward and doing everything he can. He’s super excited to be back, and all the members are just as pleased to see him! He’s a really great example, and he supports us missionaries a ton.

So one more blessing from being a mission: I always wanted to be able to sightread music (hymns) on the piano, but I was always terrible at that. Well turns out that’s been improving too! I still need a few minutes to practice/look it over, but it’s gotten to the point where I can add at least a little left hand to each hymn by the last verse! Haha I know it’s kinda a small thing that probably doesn’t matter too much in the scheme of things, but I sure appreciate it.

Speaking of music, I got to play the cello this week! As a service project, I taught a short lesson in a school of music here. The ward mission leader knew I played the cello and so he offered my help there. That was kinda fun! Wasn’t exactly sure what to do, but the professor said that I helped haha. He told me to play something that I knew (without music, which is basically nothing) but I somehow remembered that version of “Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” that I played last year, so that worked out nicely. Another service project we did this week was type up some papers for people. I decided really enjoy typing, despite the fact that it’s rather difficult to type in português. But it’s nice to do any type of service project, and it gives us the chance to meet and talk with lots of different people!

Well I hope that this next busy week of yours goes well! Have an awesome time at the wedding! Love you all!

Sincerely,
Élder Maughan

FIFA Pays Off

Happy day after Easter!

Haha sounds like it’s a rather busy weekend! Thanks for all the effort you guys put in to write to me, really appreciate it!

First off about Easter… other than the fact that the Sacrament meeting talks were about Christ and his Atonement (which of course were really great talks), there was really no other way of knowing it was actually Easter. Turns out people here don’t really do anything different at all for Easter, but that’s alright!

My week here with Elder L went just fine! Nothing terribly exciting… we had organized another activity Friday night that was a success. It was called a Gincana! Not sure how to describe it – it’s where you have a few teams and a ton of random small contests and you get points for your team depending on if you are able to answer a question or do a certain task… it was pretty neat! Also, I feel super Brazilian. There was a name-that-celebrity contest, where they showed the face of a celebrity, just little squares at a time. One of them was Kaká (soccer player) and I guessed him right after just 2 little squares, way before the others were able to get it! Yup, thank you FIFA.

So Elder V and Elder S are the new Elders in the other ward, and they are super awesome! I like them a ton; they are both super funny and animated, but also work hard and are very obedient too! Elder S is American also, but we don’t speak nearly as much English as I did with the other guys. I know him pretty well already though, he arrived a transfer after me, and we were in the same zone before also. He’s from California, so we like to “argue” about what’s better, the west coast or east coast (east coast). But the guys really help create a great atmosphere in the house, where we can have fun and work hard at the same time. It’s a great mix!

Well I hope everyone has a great spring break, or finals too! Love you all, take care!

Sincerely,
Élder Scott Maughan

A Beautiful Ranch-Camp on the River

Hey família!

So I’ll try not to feel too much pressure about having to write a good letter right now… I’m glad to hear that my letters have been able to help a few people! It always means a lot to me to know that I can help people back home, even while being here.

Conference was great! Despite the lack of the temple being announced… but that’s okay! Guess we’ll just have to wait until October, and I’ll still be here then! So it’s all good. Talked a lot about families in conference, that’s for sure! Realized it’s not quite as cool to hear about families here in the mission, since sometimes it seems I can’t help my own family because I’m far from them, and I’m definitely not in a position to start thinking about having my own. But I realized I can still do my best to help out family from here! So if there’s anything I can do to help (besides letters) let me know. Love you all a ton!!

So my new companion is Elder L! He’s way cool – I like him a lot. He’s been out on the mission for 4 months and he’s from São Paulo. He’s the only member of the Church in his family, but it’s amazing how strong his testimony is and his desire to serve. Actually, of the 4 companions I’ve had, 3 of them were the only active members in their respective families. I have so much respect for these Brasilians here serving missions; they are really great examples of putting God before everything, even families. I’m excited to work with Elder L! Obviously we have lots of work to do, lots of improvements to make… but that’s alright, we’ve got plenty of time to work on that!

Friday morning we had a baptism! I don’t know if you remember, but we baptized a man named C a few weeks ago, and this week we baptized his sister! Had to overcome many challenges (such as finding a time when her mom would let her be baptized, and finding a place to baptize her thanks to a broken pump in the church) but we overcame all of these things! We ended up going to a sister’s sítio (Not sure exactly how to define it… a mix between a ranch and a camp?) early in the morning to baptize her in a pool of natural water from the river. It was pretty neat to say the least!

Hmmm… every week I say I’m going to write down cool things in my planner to tell you guys… and I do that! Except I do that Monday morning after completely forgetting what happened during the week. But I’ll try to keep up a little better this week! Have a fantastic week and a great Páscoa!

Love,
Élder Maughan

P.s. Watched conference in English! What a relief, haha.