He’s HOME!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2:20pm: Began tracking Scott’s plane – Belém to Sao Paulo, Brazil. The beginning of his 22 hour journey home. Getting EXCITED!

10:00pm: Noelle and Eric arrive, after a 3-hr drive from Boston. Scott’s flight leaves Sao Paulo for Atlanta. Then on to Albany!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

1:00am: Melissa and James’ flight from Salt Lake City lands. All the siblings are now in one place! Bed by 2 am. SOOO tired!!

9:30am: T minus 3 hours till plane arrival. Garage full of kids painting welcome signs for airport and garage door. Eric and Craig even hang up an American and Brazilian flag out at the end of the driveway. Plenty of Welcome Back balloons, too. Definitely in missionary homecoming mode!
IMG_1064scott-driveway-flags11:20am: Leave for airport. After nearly missing Eric’s plane when he returned from his mission to Brasilia, Brazil, in 2008, we opted to go to the airport in PLENTY of time! (Eric arrived 30 minutes early, even though the Arrivals screen said that his plane was still just ‘in range’. He had almost reached us when one of the kids called out, “There’s Eric!” Yep, almost missed him! The sweet kid made sure he was one of the last ones off, but we were still missing some extended family who arrived just after him!) But I digress…..

12:20pm: Lots of family members and friends there in plenty of time. Whew! Arrivals screen shows Scott’s plane delayed until 12:58. Oh, the irony of it all! James, Alan, Eric, Noelle, Melissa, James P., and some of the children head up to observation deck to watch for the plane, and the rest of us wander around the arrival area and chat.

12:37pm: I glance over to the security area and see Scott only a few feet away from us! Yep, pretty sure I yell, “There he is!” to get everyone’s attention before heading towards him for the hug I’ve been waiting two years for! Banners and cameras grabbed (great reflexes, Michelle!) and text messages sent to get those on the observation deck to come downstairs! LOTS of smiles and hugs all around! (Arrival screen STILL says 12:58pm!)

scott-airport-4square12:45pm: Take two! Scott backs up so we can show him the signs and balloons that we had planned to greet him with.  I can’t believe that this was almost an exact repeat of the mix-up with Eric’s homecoming! Never, EVER believe an Arrivals screen! 🙂

scott-airport-recreateDespite the mix-up, it’s wonderful to see Scott and he seems very excited to see us, too. He looks great – happy and healthy and glad to be back home.

IMG_1077In addition to our extended family pictured here, a number of close friends joined us in welcoming Scott, including his good buddies Chris, Otis, (brother Craig) and Jared.

scott-and-friends-at-airportAnd finally, our first family photo since 2009! All eight and a half of us! 🙂
all-family-airport-landscapeWe’re so thrilled to have Scott home, and grateful that he had the opportunity to serve the Lord in Belém.

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It all gets mixed up in the stomach anyway…

Boa tarde!

So I hope everyone had a wonderful week! This week really flew by, probably because it was rather busy. When all your plans fall through, that’s when the hours and days crawl by. But when things are going well and are busy, there aren’t enough hours in the day!

But that actually doesn’t mean everything went so smoothly this past week. Unfortunately, there was a probably with the documents in the marriage. But there’s no problem that we can’t resolve, especially with the help of God! But, also, faith without works is dead, right? So here are our works: we travelled to Belém yesterday, and today, and tomorrow. All this so that I can be there still at their baptism, haha.

That being said, their wedding ceremony was Friday, and that was a big hit! Lots of members came, the music was nice, the decorations were pretty, and the food was awesome. And, best of all, Divaldo and Joana seemed sooo happy!

The next night they made us dinner to celebrate: rice and beans (typical) and bull’s heart, sheep’s ribs, and pig’s feet (not so typical).

So I don’t have time to tell you about my day today… but let me just say that I can tell I’ve grown a lot since the beginning of the mission, seeing my capacity to speak to strangers, get information from them, and get people to do favors for me. I remember that Eric said once that if you walk and act like you own the place, people won’t ask you questions and you can do what you want/need to do. Well that’s pretty true! Next week I’ll tell you more.

Well sorry for the short, sporadic (sp?) email, hopefully I’ll be able to write next Monday also. Have a wonderful week, thanks for all your prayers and support!

Com amor,
Elder Maughan

Star Spangled Postcard

Good morning!

I hope everyone had a wonderful week, and a great 4th of July! Eric had an american companion on his only 4th of July on the mission, right? Well I never had an american companion… but thursday night I called up another missionary in my district and we sang “The Star Spangled Banner” as I waved a postcard that Dad postmarked with 3 american flag stamps, haha. That seemed to cheer us both up, since we both had had rather tough days (see below). But to get back in the brazilian hang of things, I sang the brazilian national anthem friday morning. Which, let me say, is much harder to sing than ours!

So, unfortunately, I don’t have pics to send of a wedding and baptism, since some of the paperwork got all tied up. BUT we got it all figured out, so things look more certain for this week now. And I think that one more week was actually for the better! They were able to get to know all the members a little bit more now. Divaldo prayed in Elders’ Quorum, in Sunday School, and even bore his testimony in the sacrament meeting. All the members seemed really impressed, and they are giving them lots of support. So it was a great week! I’m thinking that God had a better plan for them, and that’s why it didn’t work out last week.

Well I’m off, have a wonderful week! Thanks for all the love and support, until next week!
Com amor,
Elder Scott Maughan

Pray with faith!

Bom dia!

Glad to hear that life is good for everyone in the States!

So here’s a small, testimony-building story. After filling out the papers of a marriage on Saturday, we needed 100 reais to pay for the marriage, and we need it by Sunday night so that they can get married/baptized this coming week. But they only had 50 reais, so we had to somehow get 50 more in one day. That ended up being a little bit tricky, since there aren’t too many members here in the branch, and all have a rather modest living. Some of the members pitched in what they could, but we still were lacking. (And mission rule: we missionaries can’t pay anything at all). After brainstorming with the branch president’s family (and not coming up with anything) we decided to just pray with faith that it would all work out.

Talking with the branch president’s wife last night, she asked if we had gotten all the money. I told her that we were still lacking 20. A less active member who had come to the fireside perked up next to us and said “20? I felt like to needed to bring R$20 tonight, but I don’t know why, because I won’t use it. Here ya go!” So yup, that was the miracle of last week! The miracle of this week will be everything turning out just right for the wedding and baptism on Saturday. Let’s pray with equal faith for that to happen also!

Well that’s my short email for the week. And I sent 2 pictures, so that’s 2000 more words. Thanks for all your love and prayers and letters and support, have a wonderful week!

Love,
Elder Maughan

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Service Project

Here’s part of the wall that we painted at the branch president’s house! It was a fun service project. Elder Sales worked a few years as a painter, so he helped us to learn a bit more about how to paint. Can’t say I’m the best painter ever… but practice makes perfect! At least I didn’t totally paint myself blue, like the last time I painted a house…

Festa Junina!

Festa Junina!

Here’s a pretty sweet holiday celebrated in all of Brasil: June Party! It lasts the whole month, and it’s characterized by a lively dance, lots of forró (a type of music with an acordeon), little flag decorations, and, of course, lots of food. Especially corn. Here was the branch party last week, which was really fun! We missionaries even sang a song and everyone danced. Lots of less active members and investigators came to the party also, so it was a successful missionary opportunity as well!

Picture Time

Brazil-Outeiro-78Here’s a picture of me and Elder Baldwin playing the piano at zone meeting! Someone wanted to sing “Com Braço Forte” (which I think is “God of our Fathers”?) but I don’t know how to play it, and neither did Elder Baldwin, and it wasn’t programmed in the piano, so we tag teamed that hymn. It was pretty sweet, with him on the right and me on the left. This is what a piano looks like in the newer church buildings. Lots of technology. Like I said, almost all the hymns already come pre-programmed, you just have to play any key on the beat. Pretty neat! I, unfortunately, never passed through an area that had one of these, haha.

Reminded me of what Jared and I used to do this in priesthood meeting! Also, the main reason I’m sending this picture is because now Elder Baldwin can be on the blog, hahaha.

Brazil-Outeiro-0137So yesterday was the birthday of the first conselour in the branch presidency, and he invited more or less the whole branch to eat lunch. He bought a huge pig (which we helped him to clean and gut a few days earlier!) and his wife made maniçoba, which is what I’m eating in the picture. Let me try to describe maniçoba: you take a bunch of leaves from a certain POISONOUS tree, you cook them for a week until the poison is gone, then you mix in a ton of other ingredients, including pig intestines, and you put in on your rice. I’ve been dying to experiment this one day, and it was worth the wait! Way more tasty that it sounds, let me promise you.

And the birthday party was actually a great missionary opportunidade also, because we were able to do lots of contacts with friends and family of his, and also we brought a few of our investigators. The mission presidente likes to speak about the importance of the “social conversion” as well as the “spiritual conversion” so we’re working on that too. And the members are great, they always greet our investigators and are nice to them also.

Service Project & Familia de Paar

Scott likes to send photos and tell us a little about them:

Brazil-Outeiro-103

So I thought you might like this photo of a service project that we did last Tuesday, in the house of a part-member family. We built that wall that you see! Well, actually, I was more like the apprentice (can’t remember what that word is…). I carried all the bricks to the back of the house (8 at a time!) and I made that cement also. Lots of manual labor, but that’s how I like it! Elder Sales and the member are the ones who actually placed all the bricks, since they already knew how to do that. And I didn’t want to be one to make the house fall down…

This photo also shows of what almost all the houses here are made. Some older houses are made of wood, but most are made with these brick and cement. Almost everyone here actually helps to build their own house, which I thought was rather fascinating. There are lots and lots of people who work with constructions like that, including almost all the men in the ward.

Brazil-Outeiro-102

So remember when I said last week about the family that I met from Paar? Here’s a photo of them! It’s really nice to see people that are still firm in the faith after a long time like that.

And yes, the sisters did make the zone t-shirts! They turned out pretty cool, it’s nice to have a good lembrança assim of the old zone. It changed a lot last week, but I think it’ll still be pretty awesome!

Oh get this, our zone now has a district of sisters! Haha I don’t know if they already had that in New York, but this is a first here in Belém. It’s also the first time that there were 6 sisters in the same zone. They are 4 brazilians, 1 american, and 1 chilean. I don’t think too many of the sisters here are americans, maybe because of the visa troubles. I think that the sister missionaries are going to take over our mission, haha. But that’s fine by me, they do a great work here!

Só Milagres!

Dearest family,

I hope everyone had a wonderful last week! Our last week was pretty great also! I was hoping that I would be able to send you some photos, since for me it’s way more convenient to take photos, write captions, and send those. It’s also probably much more interesting for you than reading what I write. But, unfortunately, it appears that this computer seems to have been completely overwhelmed just by having my camera plugged in. So I’m thinking that this week it’s not going to fly… which is a shame, because I had some good pictures! Kinda.

We had another baptism this week! A young single adult man of 26 years. He was actually a former investigator also, we ran into him in the street a few weeks ago and he asked to come back to his house and teach him again. So yeah, more miracles here in Outeiro!

So the missionary work is going well, and the rescue effort as well! Yesterday we signed all the papers of the wedding of a less active couple who were living together. They seemed incredibly happy for that. They have lots of desire to return to full activity in the church. And we’re happy to help!

In other news… yesterday I ran into a part-member family that I knew really well from my first area, Paar! It was really strange, because even though it’s been almost a year and a half since I left there, I remembered them as if it was just yesterday. And they remembered me! I’ll admit, I didn’t think anyone from my first area would remember me very well, since I didn’t speak too much and my companion did almost everything there. So that was a fun surprise! Also, it was kinda nice finally being able to understand everything that they said, haha.

Well, I hope everyone has a fantastic week! Love you all, thanks for all the love and support!
Com amor,
Elder Maughan