Leaves Falling? Nope, Just Mangos…

Happy Autumn! Not that it seems even remotely like Autumn here, of course. But luckily I just got a postcard from Dad showing the beginning of Autumn in New Hampshire, so I got to show Elder Rosa what a real Autumn is like haha.

Also Mom, thanks for the update about my past companions! It’s slightly ironic that I have to get updated about the Brasil Belém mission from my mom, haha. We’re supposed to get a little newsletter each transfer of who is with who and in what area, and how the mission and all the zones are doing. But we’re exiled so far out here that I know absolutely nothing, haha. And since Óbidos and we are on a different cell phone plan than the rest of the mission, when we run out of credit we can’t even talk with the rest of our zone to see what’s going on in the world. But it’s all good! Makes for a fun challenge and adventure.

So this past week was awesome. We’ve been making some great progress here! The mission president has asked that we make a greater effort in tracting and street contacts than we were doing before, so we really focused on that this past week. And it seemed like it has been working out well! While we obviously end up finding lots of people who aren’t the least bit interested (that usually at least leads to some pretty funny stories haha), we’ve also found a few new investigators who really seem sincere in wanting to learn more.

But I’ve decided that the point of these street contacts has little to do with finding new investigators. Everyone knows that while it can produce some great results, it’s relatively inefficient. Sometimes I feel that we do this just to show our willingness to work. This is God’s work, and He has all the power to lead us to those who are prepared or to lead them to us. We just have to show our faith and our desire, and He does His work. For example, while we didn’t find too many new investigators with our own effort this week, we ended up having much more success in the other aspects of our work, such as receiving some awesome references from members of people who literally asked to be baptized. I think that the miracles always come after we prove our faith!

Well have a super duper terrific week, love you all! Até mais!
Com amor,
Elder Scott Maughan

P.s. I almost got pegged by a falling mango last week, probably one of the greatest dangers here. Belém is the only city in the world where you can buy mango insurance!

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Scripture Power!

Dearest family,

Yay I’m glad my package got there! I thought you’d like the DVD of pictures. We were waiting in a camera store in Santarém and Elder Stacy was printing pictures when I suddenly realized “Hey, I have my camera, and money, and I’m sitting here doing nothing surrounded by people who can burn a DVD of pictures for me!” And when I say “me” I mean “Mom”, of course. Turns out that that wasn’t the cheapest place to burn a CD, but I figured if I didn’t do it then I’d never do it haha. That also means I didn’t take the time to look at my camera to see which pictures I was sending to you… but I don’t think there was anything too crazy. I hope not!

This past week flew by, but it was a nice week! Lately we’ve been trying out a new technique to find people to teach: completing families. We’ve been going on visits with active members to visit less-active members, to strength and rescue those members. And also, almost all of those less-active members have family members that aren’t baptized, so we get to find new people to teach. Another Elder who just was transferred into our district told us that this plan is working well in his old area, so we’re going to try out that here! There are certainly quite a lot less-active members here, so if this turns out well we’ll certainly have plenty of teaching opportunities doing this!

Also, I love the Book of Mormon! It really has such an amazing role in learning more about the restored gospel and becoming converted. We have been teaching a couple for a few months, where the wife already has a pretty strong testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but the husband refused to believe in any of this, especially that there could be any other scriptures other than the Bible. But when we spoke with him on Saturday, he told us that he had started reading the Book of Mormon, and now he enjoys reading it even more than the Bible haha. Now he’s accepting everything much more quickly, and he’s made some amazing progress. The Book of Mormon really is super special.

Other exciting things that happened this week, hmmm… I really can’t remember! My memory isn’t too good I guess, haha. But I’ll be sure to write down and keep track of cool things that happen (and of course I’ll try to take pictures!) so that my next email can be more exciting, haha. Love you all, have an awesome week!

Love,
Elder Scott Maughan

A Smile is the Best Air Conditioner

Querida família,

Hey there! Hope everyone had a wonderful week.

So to answer your questions about the transfer, Elder Tavares went back to Belém, to Cidade Nova, the same zone I started in. (Preposition at the end of the sentence? I think the Portuguese is making me think more in my English). No I didn’t go to Santarém, just to Óbidos and back to pick up Elder Rosa, my new companion. My first week with him has been great! Since he’s relatively new in the mission we get more time to study and practice in the mornings, which I’ve been loving. This whole week we’ve been studying the Book of Mormon and how to use it to share the restored gospel, and it’s been really fascinating. We’ve even been able to put a few of techniques that we’ve learned into practice, and they work and help a lot! Preach My Gospel really is an awesome manual, not only to learn how to preach the gospel, but to learn the gospel also.

And to answer your other question, life in Oriximiná is great! I wouldn’t say I’m feeling “pro” at the area, but I know it pretty well by now. And lately I’ve been feeling a whole lot more confident about my ability to speak Portuguese, so that’s made things a whole lot easier. I’ve been able to interact much more with the youth and with the members, and with investigators and other contacts in the street.

In the beginning of the mission, Eric told me that I should pick just one thing and be the best at it. I’ve decided that that one thing was smiling. I try to always smile, regardless of what’s going on, and I feel like that helps a lot. It keeps me cooler when I’m in the sun, less discouraged when plans fall through, more confident when I speak with someone for the first time, and it helps me stay much more positive and upbeat, even when things aren’t going so well sometimes. My roommate, Austin Clegg, taught me that if I spent 30 seconds each morning just sitting and smiling and thinking happy thoughts, I’d have a better day. I believe that that’s true! There’s power in smiling.

Well I hope everyone has a great week, good luck with school, work, and parties! Love you all so much, thanks so much for the support. Until next week!

Love,
Elder Scott Maughan

Bushwhacking for Baptism?

Glad to hear and see that everyone is doing well! I’d have to say that, yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That being said, I happened to have been assigned to a computer that won’t read my camera… oops sorry, not my fault! But hey there may or may not be something already headed your way in the mail…

So, transfers are today! I’ll be staying here in Oriximiná, but unfortunately Elder Tavares is being transferred. It was really great working with him; we got along really well, and I learned a ton about diligence and charity with him. He has an aunt living in NYC, so I told him that when he goes to visit her one day, he’ll have to come hang out in Upstate New York. My new companion will be Elder Rosa, from way down in the south of Brasil. He actually was Elder Stacy’s companion in Óbidos, so I already know him, and he’ll be coming just a few hours up the river to his new area. He’s been out on the mission just about 2 months, so looks like we’ll get to learn a lot together!

This past weekend was the baptism of a man we’ve been teaching named Henrique! He’s 20 years old (whoa, my age!) and he’s been dating a member of the church. I’m amazed by how quickly he’s been learning and changing his life! He’s been reading the Book of Mormon everyday, has a really strong testimony. Honestly, he already seems just as active as his girlfriend, who’s been a member for years haha. It was great to teach someone who really truly understood the importance of baptism, and someone who was so excited for his baptism.

The baptismal service itself was truly a miracle, you wouldn’t believe what we had to do to fill the font! It was one of those days when everything was falling apart: pumps were broken, wires were fried, faucets suddenly stopped giving water, hoses didn’t have any way of staying connected to faucets, I had to jump walls and walk through weeds over my head looking for water… the thought going through my head the whole day was “Surely if God can part the Red Sea, He can put 2 feet of water in the baptismal font.” Sure enough, by 8:00, we had enough water to baptize him, and it ended up being a baptismal service really special, with tons of members and nonmembers there to witness it. Such a great ending to a slightly rough day!

Well I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Thanks for the letters photos and support, I really appreciate all of it!
Love you all a ton,
take care!
Sincerely,
Elder Scott Maughan

P.s. Took me a while to remember the word for bushwhacking, got really
excited when I remembered haha. Good old times in the Adirondacks!