The Homecoming!

To everyone at the Albany NY airport around noon yesterday: thanks for your patience and understanding as our family and friends took up most of the arrival area to welcome Craig home from his two-year mission to Brazil. We’re excited to report that this time there were no technical glitches and we actually had all the family and signs in place BEFORE the missionary sighting. First time ever! Such a happy time. Welcome home, Craig! 🙂

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Getting the sign ready once the plane lands

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Almost there…

and then….

 

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There was lots of extended family there to greet Craig!

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Four returned missionary siblings!

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This quick welcome home sign designed for Eric in 2008 has been recycled in 2013 and now in 2015 with new names taped on top of old ones!

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Craig with his Maughan grandparents.

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Craig with his sister, Melissa, and her husband, James.

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Craig with Uncle Andy, cousin Sharon, and Aunt Nancy.

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Craig with dear friends (who have known him since he was born!) — Glen and Michelle.

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Craig with Uncle Alan.

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Craig with good friends, the Andrews (who have ALSO known him since he was born)!

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Craig with his Watson grandparents.

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Ten days left! (but who’s counting?!)

This picture was taken two years ago, as we brought Craig to the Albany Airport to fly to Saõ Paulo and the Brazil MTC:

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Hard to believe that in only 10 days, we will be picking him up at that same airport as he returns from his mission. We are thrilled that he has been able to serve the people in Santos, Brazil, for the last two years, and excited to hug him again when he returns home!

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Nasceu o Salvador

Bom dia!

Here’s an interesting story from this week: Elder Veneziano and I attended church yesterday with the elders here in Enseada, Guarujá. On Saturday night the elders quorum president called and asked us to prepare a training for the men of the ward on how to rescue less-active members, so Elder Veneziano and I (mostly Elder Veneziano) put together a few ideas and a few practices that we could do with the quorum. The training went pretty well yesterday, and afterward President Santana, the stake president, came up to us and said that he had been pondering and praying for a few days about how he could help the ward leaders become more involved in the missionary work, and that the training had been an answer to his prayers! He had even felt inspired to come attend church in Enseada, even though on the first Sunday of the month he should have been in his home branch of Bertioga, about an hour and a half away. It was great to see how the Spirit had worked with us, with President Santana, and with the elders quorum president here, just to answer President Santana’s prayers.

Other cool moments this week: On Tuesday I was on an exchange with Elder Bonham, a brand-new American missionary, in Cidade Náutica, São Vicente. Well neither of us is very familiar with São Vicente, and their house is located in another area, and our map wasn’t very good….and anyway we may have been more or less lost, and it was getting pretty late, so we didn’t know how we would make it home in time. Suddenly we stopped to ask directions from a woman who looked like she was in a pretty big hurry. She stopped, smiled, and said, “I’m heading that way too! This bus right here passes right where you want to go. Don’t worry about paying for the bus, I’ll take care of it!” That was the last of a few miracles we had seen that day, and Elder Bonham and I talked about how great it is that we don’t have to worry as missionaries because the Lord takes care of us!

Working with the A Savior Is Born initiative (which in Português is “The Savior Is Born”) has been great as well–I hope you’ve all seen the videos! We watch them with everyone who will let us into their house.

This week will be more divisions–after working in Caraguatatuba again, we’ll come back down to do our last few in Santos before the transfer on Sunday. I won’t bore you with names of areas because only Mom would know where they are and only Scott and Eric would be able to pronounce them haha. I’ll probably have a chance to write on Monday, at which time I won’t have a designated area or companion…(“WE ARE ALL ENLISTED TILL THE CONFLICT IS O’ER…!”).

Love you all, thanks for everything!
Élder Maughan

The Three Elder Maughans in Brazil

Here’s a photo from January 2011 of the three Maughan brothers — Eric (oldest), Craig (youngest) and Scott  — all of whom have served missions in Brazil:

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Eric, Craig, and Scott Maughan

This week, one of Eric’s favorite companions, Felipe Santana, sent Eric a photo of him with Craig! Elder Santana and Eric served together in the Brazil Brasilia mission eight years ago.

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Above — Eric and one of his favorite companion, Elder Felipe Santana. Below — Felipe and Elder Craig Maughan.

When I mentioned this to Scott, I received a photo of Craig with one of Scott’s favorite companions from the Brazil Belém mission, Elder Felipe Tavares. Scott and Elder Tavares served together three years ago.

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Above — Elder Felipe Tavares and Elder Scott Maughan. Below — Felipe with Elder Craig Maughan in Santos.

I love how small Brazil seems when all three sons have served missions there! And I’m so grateful that both of Craig’s older brothers had wonderful companions who made the time to visit with Craig while he has been serving in Santos.

Thanksgiving!

Hey everybody!

What a great week! We are learning a lot. I feel like I’m improving my missionary work and I’m trying to take advantage of every learning opportunity I can.

Lots of zone conferences this week! After spending Monday night in Ilhabela (which was great) we had conferences in Caraguatatuba (Tuesday) and Santos and Guarujá (Thursday). Some highlights from the week:

On the way back from Caraguatatuba, President wanted to stop at an empanada store (I don’t know how to describe an empanada so you’ll have to google it)–a specialty empanada store that makes delicious empanadas from Tucuman, Argentina! Well, Elder Veneziano was on cloud nine because he’s from Tucuman. So he chatted away with the owner, also a Tucuman native, and we got some incredibly delicious sweet empanadas. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I got the apple-cinnamon one because it was almost like apple pie. Almost.

On Thanksgiving, we spent most of the day in zone conferences (which were great–President was in a very funny mood!) and then headed to Vicente de Carvalho. After way more effort than we expected, we managed to find a little café to eat our first meal of the day: dinner! We bought some sandwiches, but unfortunately they didn’t have anything with turkey. But ham and cheese, again, is almost the same thing!

Okay, sorry, all of my highlights are food-related. Not too much time to write, sorry! The divisions this week were great, we worked in São Vicente and Guarujá. I’ll try to send pictures when I can!

Love you all!
Élder Maughan

This week in the most beautiful zone on the planet

Hello everybody!

I loved the pictures of Quincy! I’m glad everybody is doing so well! Now we all have one more thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. [Craig’s first little niece, Quincy Anne Maughan, was born on Friday.]

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This week in Brazil was great! Elder Veneziano and I have been working with the elders in the Caraguatatuba zone on what they call the North Coast of the state of São Paulo. I’ve been really enjoying the divisions! Here are some pictures to help you get a feel of how my week was:

Porto Novo:

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Indaiá:

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Ubatuba:

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Ubatuba is the farthest area from Santos in the whole mission–it borders the state of Rio de Janeiro! It’s also the only area that’s officially in the tropics. So now I can say I served in a tropical mission.

Travessão:

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Elder Cano and I are standing in the shade of a telephone pole because this was probably the hottest day of my life haha.

Yesterday we had a pretty cool experience in São Sebastião too–Elder Valente and I were walking to an appointment at the end of the night when we walked past a man named Marco who’s been taking the lessons from the other companionship of elders in São Sebastião (he went to church for the first time yesterday). One of his neighbors, when he found out that Marco was meeting with the Mormons, came over to “reveal the truth” of the Mormon church to Marco and was yelling at him. Well we went over to see what was going on and the man starting to treat us in a pretty unfriendly way! He said some unrepeatable things and told us we were ignorant bigots, that our religion was heresy, and that we were not followers of Christ because we told him no, we were not interested in going to his house then to “have a chat” with him. Anyway, we kind of just stood there and let him talk, then when he left we asked Marco if we could share a message with him, just to see if there had been any real damage done! To our surprise, when we sat down with Marco and his wife Carol, they told us they were impressed with our “Christlike reaction” and that they were glad that we were there to help answer their questions! We had a great lesson with them and they both accepted to be baptized two weeks from now. I was grateful that the Spirit is what really teaches–investigators who are really seeking for truth always find it.

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[Photos compliments of Elder Valente’s Facebook post — what a fun surprise to have a friend point out these photos!]

We’re back in Ilhabela for the day, but we just found out that we’ll be going to zone conferences this week, so it looks like all of our plans are shot haha. I’ll let you know what happens, don’t worry!

Thanks for everything! Have a great week! Love you all!
Élder Maughan

Back in Cubatão!

Hello everybody!

Sorry this email is late and short!

This week was great, we worked a few days in Cubatão–part of the time Elder Veneziano and I worked together, which was awesome (serving together again in our old area!) and part of the time we spent in divisions with other elders in Cubatão and Casqueiro. We had a lot of great experiences working with members–we visited a less-active woman named Solange and gave a lesson that we had prepared very carefully about how she could be blessed by preparing to enter the temple and receive her endowment. The lesson was great, the Spirit was very strong, and at the end she cried and said, “Thank you both for following the inspiration of the Spirit and coming to visit me!”

Missionary arrivals on Tuesday were also great, and afterward we had an incredible meeting with President and Sister Cabral and developed a lot of ideas of new plans for the mission–things that the 4 of us and the 2 sister training leaders put into practice this week and presented today to the zone leaders at the leadership council. The meeting today lasted all day, which is why I’m writing just now! But it was great, I’ll try to send more details next week. I’m sure the pictures Sister Cabral took will be up on Facebook tonight haha.

Have an awesome week! Love you all!
Élder Maughan

Gallery

Last Welcome

Craig, Elder Veneziano, Elder Timmons, and Elder Malta, along with Elder Sharp, joined President and Sister Cabral in welcoming a new group of missionaries this week. Strange to think it is the last group Craig will be there to meet. Fun photos courtesy of Sister Cabral — Thank you!! I love to see all the smiling faces.

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President and Sister Cabral’s fifth and final missionary, on the left, returned home this week from his mission to Tennessee!

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That’s “Mee-rah-cah-TOO”

Hey everybody!

This week was great–we were all over the place! On Tuesday we headed down to a little town called Miracatu that has two elders and a tiny branch. I worked with Elder Luchi, who’s finishing his mission this week, and it was great! We taught a man named Fernando who was miraculously baptized yesterday. He’s a former Spiritist (maybe a word?) and Jehovah’s Witness who was contacted almost 3 months ago by other missionaries who asked if he wanted help to stop smoking. He said no, but gave his address anyway! After the first visit, he researched everything he could find on mormon.org, and that’s when I met him. We invited him to be baptized but he didn’t commit. But the next visit, after our division in Miracatu had already ended, the elders showed up at his house and he asked, “So what kind of clothes should I bring to my baptism?” He was baptized yesterday after church, on Elder Luchi’s last day in Miracatu. When Elder Luchi asked him if he felt something different in this, his third baptism, he gave a big smile and said, “YES! I felt the Holy Ghost!”

Spent some time this week in Iguape (the largest city, by area, in the state of São Paulo), then in a tiny little isolated neighborhood of São Vicente called Japuí, and then we finished up in Vicente de Carvalho with four relatively new but outstanding elders. Despite the cold November rain every day, all in all, it was a pretty great week!

I forgot to tell you all a great story from Ilhabela! The man we had been teaching there was baptized two weeks ago. It turns out to be a bittersweet story. One day a few weeks ago his wife just suddenly left him–took their two kids and her things and caught a bus to her parents’ house in the state of Bahia while he was at work. He was devastated and it sounds like he had a very, very rough few days after that. Then he decided that God was trying to teach him something, so he told the elders he wanted to be baptized, bought himself a suit, dropped his coffee habit, and signed himself up for the next temple trip to do baptisms for the dead! He will be an incredible asset to the Ilhabela branch.

For those of you keeping track at home, yes, today is transfer day, but we have no news yet–President is at his house working on it, since he and Sister Cabral were in Recife all week for a mission presidents’ seminar. (That’s what they tell us, at least. I think they were just catching some sun on the beautiful beaches of northeastern Brasil.) We’ll probably be stopping by the office later in the day today, so I’ll see if I can let you know then! And maybe send a picture or two. Sorry, Mom! I am taking pictures (mostly on our phone), don’t worry, but I don’t have a card reader with me. I’ll send them soon! haha.

Thanks for all of the updates from home! It sounds like I might have a niece this time next week, and I’ll want pictures!

OKAY transfer call just came! I’ll be training Elder Veneziano in Embaré, in Santos. Elder Timmons will be training Elder Malta in Jabaquara. Wow! This will be awesome!! Elder Veneziano is incredible. [Note from mom – Craig was Elder Veneziano’s trainer when he began his mission fourteen months ago and he loved working with Elder V.] I guess I’ll be finishing my mission in Santos then! I don’t know if we’ll travel or what. I would guess he and I will be working more with the northern half of the mission. I guess we’ll know after our meeting tomorrow with President!

Have a great week!

Love,
Élder Maughan

Pictures!

São Vicente, walking past the beachfront on our way to Japuí

São Vicente, walking past the beachfront on our way to Japuí

Part of the São Vicente cemetery where we worked last Monday

Part of the São Vicente cemetery where we worked last Monday

On the lonely road to our lunch appointment in Miracatu

On the lonely road to our lunch appointment in Miracatu