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

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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

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

Day of the Dead

Boa tarde!

This week we spent doing exchanges with the missionaries in São Vicente! We started out in Areia Branca (which is technically in the Northwest Zone of Santos, not São Vicente, but it’s separated from everything else in Santos by mountains, and surrounded by São Vicente, and definitely has a São Vicente feel to it haha) and spent two days there. Unexpectedly, I actually worked in my official designated area (Jabaquara) for the first time since I was transferred there! There’s a little neighborhood called Saboó in the industrial zone between Areia Branca and Jabaquara that both wards claim. I don’t really know what the debate is about, but anyway, my Panamanian (Panaman? From Panama?) companion and I ended up working there for a day. How exciting! haha.

From Areia Branca we headed to Vila Jockei, which is São Vicente proper. (I hope you’re following along on a map….) Went on my first morning run in a long time with an elder who lent me his running shoes and who was definitely way faster than me haha. The next day was back in Rio Branco, my old area! That was a lot of fun. We even got to stop by a few minutes at the mission farewell of Rafael, the young man there who will be serving in Salt Lake City! That was awesome. From Rio Branco we headed to Parque das Bandeiras, which is the first area of the mission that I visited (with Elder Kocinba over a year and a half ago!). Church there was great, then we came back to mainland São Vicente and worked in Ala 2, which is where we are now!

Yesterday’s Day of the Dead activity was great–a few members and the missionaries from around here went to a cemetery here in the center of São Vicente which was packed with people visiting the graves of deceased relatives. In case you were imagining a traditional American cemetery, it’s pretty different here–most of the graves are in what’s called a “vertical cemetery”, which looks just like an apartment building but is actually full of graves. It’s kind of like a bunch of drawers, and each drawer has the name of the person, dates of birth and death, etc. written on it. On the 2nd of november people go to the cemetery to light a candle in memory of their loved ones.

I felt like we had a wonderful opportunity to literally mourn with those who mourn–many people were in a happy mood yesterday, but some people I talked with were very, very sad, and we were able to comfort a lot of people and share messages about the plan of salvation and eternal families. Overall, a very successful activity! I have a few pictures that I’ll send next time I have my memory card adapter.

That’s most of the news from this week! We’ll be doing a few more divisions just to finish up the transfer, which will be on Sunday.

Have a great week, love you all!
Élder Maughan

Heading South

Hey everybody!

The adventure continues! This week in 5 areas on the southern half of the mission I worked with elders from Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Fortaleza, São Paulo, and Utah. We’re still having a great time! After leaving Mongaguá on Monday we headed down to Peruíbe for a day or two, then on to Registro, which is basically the only inland city in the whole mission. It’s way easier to get lost, because in all of the other areas you can figure out where you are with one simple question: “Which way is the beach?” But also a very beautiful city! And everybody has a southern accent, which is kind of just Portuguese pronounced as if it were Spanish.

From Registro we headed back up to Itanhaém (where we didn’t get lost) and spent two days with two companionships there, then to Praia Grande (where we ate lunch at the house of a woman who competed in the first version of Master Chef in Brazil), then back to Santos, where yesterday I worked in Orquidário! That was a lot of fun, seeing how much I remembered. My companion and I taught Ricardo, an old investigator that I had taught with Elder Rodgers and Elder Kagi about 5 months ago. He still had the Book of Mormon sitting out on his coffee table haha. Elder Timmons and I have been traveling around a lot, catching a lot of buses and seeing a lot of cities, but there’s always something special for me about coming back to Santos. Here’s a picture:

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Well I’m sorry these letters aren’t very exciting anymore! I don’t have any investigators to write about haha. Instead I just talk about random city names you’ve never heard of.

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I hope everybody is excited for Halloween! They don’t celebrate Halloween here, but they do celebrate Day of the Dead on November 2nd. It’s tradition that people go visit the graves of their loved ones, so I think we’ll try to go to the cemeteries to talk with people about the plan of salvation. That should be fun!

Thanks for everything, have a great week!
Élder Maughan

Hello from…

Mongaguá!

Hey everybody!

Elder Timmons and I are back in Mongaguá right now (where we both previously served), which has been great. It’s so strange to be back working where I’ve already been! It’s cool to notice the differences in how I see the area now–I remember how differently I saw the mission when I was here a year(!) ago. The same thing happened on Tuesday of last week, when we spent the day in Cubatão! Since we went with the Cubatão elders to their missionary correlation meeting that night at the chapel, I got to see a lot of members that I missed. And we got to eat lunch with Rodolfo and visit Bruno and Cleidiane! I saw their new baby Valentina for the first time–she was born since I saw them last year.

This week we also spent one or two days each in a few other areas in the mission: Casqueiro, Samambaia, and São Vicente Ala 1. Here’s a cool story–remember that lady that David met on the plane at the end of his mission a few months ago? [A little background: Craig’s cousin David returned from his mission to Los Angeles in August. On his flight home, he put a Book of Mormon on his tray, and the woman next to him asked if he was Mormon. Turns out that she is not a member, but has a granddaughter who served a mission. Oh yes, and she lives in THE EXACT TOWN in Brazil where Craig was serving at the time!! She was happy to share her contact information with David so that his cousin could come and talk with her about the Gospel. ] Well she lives in Ala 1, but she had never picked up the phone when I called to schedule a visit (I found out she was still out of the state for another month after David met her). When I found out we’d be doing a division in Ala 1, I gave her one more call, and Elder Timmons and I visited her on Friday morning! She was very very nice. She told us all about meeting David, and her granddaughter who served a mission as well who had written her a note telling her to meet with the missionaries. So missionaries or returned missionaries from all over the world are working to help this woman go to church! And we put her in contact with the elders from São Vicente who will be visiting her. Cool, right?

Doing divisions is a really good learning experience–I’ve picked up a lot from the elders we’ve been visiting. And it’s a lot of fun to get to know so many areas and missionaries! In answer to your questions, Mom: we do technically have a home–the office house in Santos. That’s where most of our suitcases are, but we haven’t been there all week and I don’t think we’ll be back until probably November. Until then, we just stay with the elders in the areas that we visit! Elder Timmons and I don’t work together–each of us spends the day with one of the elders in the other companionship. Then the next morning before leaving the area the four of us get together to evaluate the division. Then Elder Timmons and I get a bus to the next stop on our mission tour!

Pictures this week:

Craig with Rodolfo -- soon to be Elder Silva! and Bruno, Valentina, Cleidiane, and also Carlos, who was the ward mission leader when Craig was in Cubatão.

Craig with Rodolfo — soon to be Elder Silva! and Bruno, Valentina, Cleidiane, and also Carlos, who was the ward mission leader when Craig was in Cubatão.

The view in São Vicente looking toward the beach from the Elders' house

The view in São Vicente looking toward the beach from the Elders’ house

That’s it for this week! Thanks for everything, love you all!

Élder Maughan

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Happy Children’s Day!

Olá família!

Lots of excitement this week! After a few days in Ilhabela, Elder Timmons and I got a called back to Santos on Thursday. Elder Arvidson is now working in Ilhabela with a new short-term missionary from Brasília. President Cabral told Elder Timmons and me over the phone to head to the mission office, but didn’t tell us what we’d be doing! So we spent Thursday night and Friday on the bus to Santos wondering what area we’d be in haha. Kind of a strange feeling. Anyway, it turns out we’ll be doing divisions in lots of areas, without a set area for us to work in.

That means Elder Timmons and I will be traveling almost every day to do divisions with elders all over the mission. We spent the last two days in Guarujá, and will spend tonight in Embaré here in Santos before heading to Cubatão tomorrow and São Vicente later in the week. I’m really enjoying it so far! It’s absolutely exhausting, but it’s an incredible chance to learn from a lot of elders and get to know places and people all over the mission. For example, at church in the Enseada Ward yesterday, I met the stake patriarch who was also the first president of the Brasil Brasília Mission!

I really loved working in Ilhabela–the branch there is amazing, and I was really sad to leave it. But it’s in good hands now with Elder Arvidson, and we know the Lord wanted us somewhere else! We got the chance to say goodbye to some of our friends there, members and investigators.

Okay well I was about to attach some awesome pictures, but I just remembered the internet café here doesn’t take memory cards. Sorry!

Hope everybody had an awesome week, love you all!
Élder Maughan

It only seems like I’ve been transferred….

Bom dia!

This was one of the busiest weeks of the mission, and also one of the best! I spent Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday outside of my area haha–I worked a little bit in the areas Embaré, Orquidário, Jabaquara, Travessão, and Indaiá. Wherever we happened to pass through! Which made Thursday and Friday pretty nuts in Ilhabela haha.

Tuesday we were at the trainers meeting and the new missionaries arrival, both of which went really well! The new missionaries seem very prepared. After they were all off to their areas, Elder Timmons and I (Elder Schwantes was already with the group of departing missionaries) went to the Jabaquara chapel to help prepare for the mission conference the next day.

The first part of the conference was on family history, specifically helping recent converts and investigators with the My Family booklet. I filled out my own (with a little help from FamilySearch) on Tuesday, and I learned a lot about my family! Probably things I should have known already, but that’s okay. After that presentation, President Cabral spoke on chastity, and I think it was one of his best talks ever–parts were funny, parts were super-spiritual, all of it was engaging, and I learned a lot! After lunch, we put together a quick quartet of “Let the Holy Spirit Guide” with Elder Clark and Sisters Teotônio and McEldowney, then Sister Cabral spoke and President Cabral closed out the conference.

After the conference, Rodolfo came to the chapel! He leaves for his mission at the end of this transfer, so we weren’t sure if we would see each other before then. So we rounded up Elders Veneziano and Sharp and a few others who knew him from Cubatão and took some pictures! That was great. After that was the long bus and ferry ride back to Ilhabela.

Rodolfo (middle) with Elder Sharp, Craig, Elder Veneziano, and Elder Gentry

Rodolfo (middle) with Elder Sharp, Craig, Elder Veneziano, and Elder Gentry

On Saturday morning we left again for Caraguatatuba, where we watched conference in the district center there! All of the sessions were great, and it was surreal to see three new Apostles sustained. We watched it in English with some other American missionaries (and one British!).

That’s the news from here! Here’s a picture from Via Panorâmica and another of us headed to conference in Caraguatatuba (Elders Arvidson, Timmons, and Clark). Love you all, have a great week!

Com amor,
Élder Maughan

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