Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a merry christmas! It was wonderful here! We had a great time exchanging a few small gifts. It was anything big, but we had a lot of fun and built some great friendships. It's interesting how Christmas works here in Brazil. The big day for Christmas is the 24th. At midnight on the 24th, everyone opens up the gifts and it's a big meal. The 25th isn't the bigger day. It felt a little different but it was good.

The mission tour was wonderful. He was very specific and the things he said were just minding-blowing. My mind was opened so much to the immensity of this work. He focused a lot on "Behold this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the imortality and eternal life of man" and helping us realize just how important this work is. It reminded me how finite my mind is. It reminded me that I have a loving Heavenly Father. My eternal perspective ws widened. My desire to abandon the things that will not bring me back to live with my Heavenly Father was strengthened. I'm not sure why I hadn't thought about it this way before, I could have avoided quite a few things if I had realized the purpose of this life. I now have a guide to measure my actions against. Will this help me to return and live in God's presence? Or will this take me away from this. My desire to have an eternal family has deepened beyond anything I could have imagined. I will do everything I can to have one. I want to hold my own child, look at him or her and have that surety that the family relations I have here on the earth will be able to continue on beyond the grave. My future marriage and family will not be abolished with death. I don't really know how to explain how I'm feeling, but just know that I know that families can be forever together. I know this, deep within my soul I know this. I rings true inside of me. My spirit yearns for this. It seeks to be reunited once again with my God that created me and taught me before this life. That is the true nature of my spirit.

Needless to say, it was a great experience that I will always treasure.

I love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Short One

I didn't plan my time very well and I ran out of time, Sorry!

This past week, a Seventy came and visited us. A Seventy is a position in the Church that is used mainly to support all the different areas of the church all over the world. So we have a few Seventies here in Brazil that help train and meet the needs of the Church in the Brazil area. Elder Mazzagardi is his name. He lived in New Jersey! In Hoboken. Anyway, it was amazing! He talked very specifically to us, and I felt the spirit strongly. I'll explain more about what he said next week.

For now, here's the picture of everyone at the conference. It was the Zones Teresina, Teresina Horto, Parnaiba, and Sobral.


Love,
Elder Rackham

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's Looking Like a White Christmas!

Actually, it's not white, but it's looking more like Christmas here! Last week we set up the Christmas tree in our apartment. It was great fun! I really enjoyed it and of course I took a ton of pictures! We even bought lights and wrapped the christmas tree in them, so it looks like a pretty darn awesome christmas tree now! Then we swapped names for gift giving. All in all I'm excited for my first christmas in the mission field! I still have to figure out what's going on with Christmas. I'm not sure how we are going to celebrate it, and how it's going to work. We'll see.

We had a few good experiences with Odilon this past week. He's the one that asked us for the Book of Mormon and he's progressing pretty well! This week he went Stake Conference with us, his first time at church. It wasn't the best first visit, just because it was a broadcast from São Paulo so it was more focused on the members and the needs of the stakes. President Uchtdorf spoke and I really enjoyed it. Odilon did as well. They talked quite a bit about temples, so it was a great opener to discuss the temple with him. We've wanted to teach him about eternal marriage so we gave him a few scriptures to read, explained just a bit to prepare for our visit where we'll teach about it.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to next week! Until then!

Love,
Elder Rackham

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hey Y'all!

Hey ya`ll!

So it was a good week, with my new companion! However, it was a bit strange to be away from Elder Loureiro after 5 months! I`ve been eating so well in Teresina that I started to get a little soft in the stomach. In fact, as embarassing as it may be to say this, I might have looked a little pregnant. So I began to think that maybe my stomach was a physical representation of our time together, because after a while we just admited that it was practically a marriage that we had together.

I`m going to use a bit of my extra time to print off old emails I want to keep, so I`ll keep it short, but next week`s email is going to be great!

Love,
Elder Rackham

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Whoa There!

So it was an interesting day today! We got a call from President Dias. I picked up and we talked really quick, and he asked me to pass the phone to Elder Loureiro. I didn't think anything of it, so I passed it on to him. They're talking really quick and I hear Elder Loureiro say, "My companion is Elder Smith?" It turns out we had a transfer this morning! Elder Loureiro and I thought for sure that we were going to be together until the end of the year, so instead of being together for 6 months, it was only 5! Still a long time!

I'm still here in Horto Florestal. My new companion is Elder Peixoto! It's going to be weird not having Elder Loureiro as my companion, but it'll be nice to get to know another person and work with him. It was just so sudden that I'm a little blindsided that it's happening, haha. So next week I'll let you know how it goes. Today we're just going to clean the house, organize everything, and this afternoon Elder Loureiro will be with his new companion. Elder Peixoto will get here tomorrow morning.

President Dias has been trying to teach us a principle that we should work independently from the transfer. That we should just forget about them and work. He's been saying that a transfer can happen at any moment, it's not a set every 6 weeks kinda thing. Many missionaries think that these are emergency transfers, making it sound like something bad happened. That's not the case. It's just that a transfer happened. It's something I'm trying to apply to my mission. Forget about the things that don't matter to the work, and just go at it.

Anyway, I gotta run! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love,
Elder Rackham

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Howdy!

So Thanksgiving is coming up! I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving! They don't have a similar holiday here, so it'll be a normal day for us. It'll be weird to be walking around on Thanksgiving, realizing that there isn't Turkey waiting for us in the oven. Maybe we'll think of something we can do to celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday.

With the transfers, it was a very quiet one. I'm with Elder Loureiro until at least the end of the year! It's a good thing :) We're working well together, teaching well together, so I'm excited. We'll have been companions for 6 months at the end of the year. I keep saying end of the year, but it's hard for me to realize that the year is ending, because it's so dang hot here! The end of the year is supposed to be cold! That's okay though, I can accept it!

There was a man the other day that stopped us and asked for a Book of Mormon! We marked another day to present the Book of Mormon to him and the lesson went really well. Elder Loureiro did an excellent job. He felt like he should mention one of the roles of the Book of Mormon as a means to... I can't think of a better word than correct, but I'll use it, correct the doctrines that have been lost in the Bible due to the various translations it has gone through. Odilon, the man we met, had actually been thinking about that exact same thing. He said he's felt an emptiness inside that he hasn't been able to fill. I know that the Book of Mormon will be able to fill that emptiness with the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whenever we talk to investigators about the Bible and how unfortunately it has lost plain and precious truths, we have to treat it very carefully. If we don't, we make it seem as if the Bible is not really important to us. However, the Bible is precious to me. The Bible relates the live and works of my Saviour Jesus Christ. m Something that I'm so grateful for. Something that the Book of Mormon doesn't do. The Book of Mormon talks about the Atonement of Jesus Christ on a more doctrinal level, something that the Bible doesn't do. They complete each other, they don't take anything away from each other away. The clarify each other.

The Book of Mormon however, is so very important, because it acts as a proof that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. That the Church that Christ established in his day was lost, but once again restored through Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of the World. I have come to know Christ because of this book, and it has come through reading it and praying to know if it is true. And by the power of the Holy Ghost, I have received a witness and confirmation that this is the Restored Gospel. Families can literally live together forever because the Authority of God was restored once again on the Earth. Nothing is more important than an Eternal Family to me right now in my life. I would invite anyone who is reading this who would like to know if these things are true to read the Book of Mormon, ponder about the plain and simple truths vound therein, and pray to our Heavenly Father to know if it is true. I know that if you do this, you will receive an answer. I am evidence of this fact.

I love you all, and I hope this week is particularly special to you all during this time of thanksgiving!

Elder Rackham

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Holiday!

So today is another holiday here in Brazil. They've had a lot of holidays as of late. It's something that can be slightly annoying especially when the holiday happens to be on your P-Day. They close everything down. Luckily we found a place where we could use the internet. We were afraid that we wouldn't be able to. It was a little far though. Apparently the holiday is the national independence?

Anyway, today is transfer day, but we haven't heard anything yet. So if I'm transferred I'll have to let you know next week. I guess anything could happen, but I'm feeling that I'll either stay or I'm going to Maranhão, probably the city of Imperatriz. I've just felt it looming over me the past week or so that eventually I'm going to go over there. Who knows.

So this week, Elder Loureiro and I taught our finest lesson on the Restoration of the church on Saturday this past week. It was very good. I should be modest and humble and all, but seriously, this was a good one. We taught a part-member family where the members had gone inactive. We're trying to reactive the family and then unite the family so they can eventually go to the temple and be sealed for time and eternity! We both felt like we had accomplished what we needed to teach in the lesson, they understood everything very clearly. From here we will do our best to improve our teaching methods and follow-up with them. But then again, who knows if we'll still be companions when you read next week's email? Duh duh DUH! If we do stay together, we'll end up being companions for 6 months in total! Whoa! Oh the anticipation! ;)

My scripture study continues to be more meaningful day after day. I'm becoming more confident in the language and my abilities day after day. The things I'm learning will help me so much in my future. I'm really enjoying the food, and by enjoying, I mean really enjoying the food! The sisters of the ward love me, that's all I'm going to say :)

Things are great, fantastic even! I hope you all a wonderful week and a great Thanksgiving! I don't know if this week is Thanksgiving or not, so I'll just say Happy Thanksgiving and if it isn't this week I'll say it next week too! Two times can't hurt!

Love ya'll
Elder Rackham

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Good End to a Good Week!

Hello Everyone!

So we've been focusing on an investigator, Ayla. She's very intelligent, studies a lot and really understands what we teach. The problem is that she hasn't been coming to church. Yesterday was the 3rd sunday we've been inviting her to come. So the first hour rolled around, and she hadn't come yet. After the first hour, I call. She doesn't pick up. Which actually isn't strange at all because she has never answered our calls. She's so busy. Anyway, Sunday School comes and go and still hadn't come. So with 15 minutes to Sacrament Meeting, I call her and she picks up! It was the first time ever. I talk with her, and she tells me that she's swamped correcting tests (she teaching English). So I tell her we'll help her correct tests so she can come to Sacrament Meeting. With the help of the Spirit we keep talking and she finally says alright I'm coming. And 10 minutes into Sacrament Meeting, she gets here!

It was a cool experience, and we were so happy because she was able to come to church to have a spiritual experience, which is essential for her progression and conversion. I'm excited for this week, because we've been praying and thinking about her baptism for this Saturday, and we'll see if we can resolve any of her concerns.

Alright, well I hope everyone is wonderful! Until next week!

Love ya'll!
Elder Rackham

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum


I think that's their names from Alice and Wonderland. Anyway, Greetings!

So pictures! Just two this time. It's not looking like I'm going to be able to send the rest from last week. Oh well. Elder Loureiro and I were eating at the Relief Society President's house. We really loved her. She was so good to us! We ate well, she took care of us! She was a big help to us! So that's her and us in the picture. In the other picture with the map, Elder Loureiro and I are just being goofballs! We're both off our rockers, me more than him, so we just like to have our little fun sometimes. We had a joke about the map we used. It was really big. The part that was our area is like 15% of the map so when we opened it, it just looked funny. No one uses maps on the street here in Brazil. Not very many people do in the U.S. either but it's a bit more common. So that's us being funny.

Alright... with the new curriculum that we're learning and applying, we teach people not lessons. Instead of giving a rote lesson, we teach according to the needs of the investigator. I have always liked this principle and I've tried to apply it from the beginning. It's something I heard in the MTC before the change in the curriculum. But it's much more strongly emphasized now. This curriculum is really helping me apply it too.

We were teaching an investigator on Tuesday, and she had a few concerns about the Book of Mormon. She wasn't reading it not entirely because she didn't want to, but moreso because she was busy. She still had a few doubts about why we need a Book of Mormon when we already have a bible. We were orginally teach her about the Sabbath Day but we listened to the spirit that prompted us to ask some questions which lead to us knowing about her doubts. We had a very spirit-filled lesson where she understood why we have a Book of Mormon. That they complement each other, not that one is better than the other. The great doctrine and spirit found in the Bible is only magnified and added upon by the Book of Mormon, and vice versa. When used together, we have a powerful recourse in coming to know our Savior and Redeemer. My testimony was strengthened that day, of the power of the holy scriptures we have in our lives, that God continues to bless us with holy scriptures even today, through the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenents, and Pearl of Great Price, so that we may continue to come unto him unto Eternal Life.

So that was a cool experience that I had this week.

I love you all! I hope you're all doing absolutely fantastic! I'm having a good time down here!
Elder Rackham

P.S. IT RAINED DOWN HERE OH MY GOODNESS WHAT A MIRACLE! It was about 30 degrees celsius one day, and it was actually cool. In the morning that same day I was wrapped up in my blanket because it was cold. Only because a normal day here is 38-40 degrees do I now get cold when it's 30 degrees.






Monday, October 25, 2010

A P-Day in the Life of Elder Rackham

Nifty title, eh! I know you're all on the edge of your seats, waiting to see how my P-Day was last week, so I'll get right to it!

So the first thing we do is get up and get ready for the day. Now, to properly prepare for the day, we have to study. We excercise our bodies, and we also exercise our spirits and minds! Actually, study in the morning is very important to me. It gives me the spiritual force I need to work hard. Missionary work doesn't take just strong legs for walking, and calloused knuckles for knocking on doors (we actually don't knock on doors here though, we clap our hands. Long story, but that's how they do it here in Brazi). It also requires spiritual strength. So in pictures 1 and 2 you'll see me studying hard!

However, a good study desk can't go without a good desk toy! You'll notice my two desk toys in picture 3 that I actually prefer to call RAWR I'M A DINOSAUR!

So after studying, we went and bought groceries! We need lots of ramen noodles to get by! so there's me lugging our groceries back home in 4 and 5. You can see I'm so excited to eat delicious things!

After that we head out and eat! So in the picture appropriately titled Lunch, we're eating lunch! Yeah, I'm still really liking the Coca-Cola here! In the picture is me, Elder Epperson, and Elder Thomé. We live in the same house. Elder Loureiro isn't in the picture because he was taking it!

Of course it was time to play after that, so we went bowling with 4 other missionaries! Me, my companion, Elder Thomé, Elder Epperson, Elder Junot, and my old companion Elder Banks (yay reunion!), we all went bowling together! So in pictures 6-10 you'll see is together. Now for the most important part of our bowling experience, is me bowling! 11-13 shows top form and skill!

Picture 14 is our scoreboard at the end, I was in second place! Woo!

Picture 15 is all of us together.

We got back after bowling and it was ready to go and work!

It was a really good P-day so I decided to take some time to tell you all about it! Not all of our P-days are like this. I like to take naps. This P-Day will be a more uneventful one but that's okay it'll be just as good!

Take care, Love ya'all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, October 18, 2010

A good week in Horto Florestal!

As far as our investigators progressing, it wasn't amazing, but we had
a really cool experience.

When Elder Loureiro and I first got to Teresina, we went to go do a
Baptismal Interview of some other Elders. The interviews went fine,
but the next day, the baptism fell through. We never heard the
complete story but we remembered the people. It just so happens that
we did the interviews while we were in the Teresina Ward, and the
investigators we interviewed lived in Horto Florestal.

So now that we're in Horto Florestal, we remembered them and thought
about visiting them again trying to teach them again. We had
remembered this at the beginning of the week, and we were finally able
to find them near the end of the week. When we got there, the women
who was going to be baptized had actually left her home to go live
somewhere else for a few months, but she had just recently returned
home. She had returned home a little less then a week when we
contacted her! She was so glad to see us and was very receptive. It
will be exciting to see what will happen with her.

It wasn't a big feeling that we got when we felt we should try to
contact her again. And it was something we both felt. The Spirit
doesn't always speak to us with powerful feelings. In fact, all I
remember is just a thought that it would be a good idea to contact
Margaret again. I hope to stay in tune with the Spirit to have more
of these opportunties to really work -with- the Lord in His own work.
We can go out there day after day, with good intentions, but if I
don't follow the Spirit, I'm not working with the Lord. Sure I will
see blessings and success, I'm doing the Lord's work! But I won't
have the priviledge to really get to know my Father in Heaven like I
am enjoying right now.

Well, I hope everyone had a great week, and will have a wonderful next
week! I love you all!

Elder Rackham

Monday, October 11, 2010

It was a good week!

We didn't have a lot of success but it was a good week. We got to know our new area a little bit better this past week! You know how I was terrible with directions? Well not anymore! Hahah! That's right! I'm trusted with the map and getting us places!

Elder Loureiro and I worked really hard this week. We didn't have a lot of success though like I said. We worked with an investigator who was going to be baptized this past week, but she was uncomfortable about the interview and as much as we tried she still didn't feel very good about the interview. But she said okay I'll do it. However, the day came for the interview and she left before to avoid it. We'll keep working with her this week to see how we can help prepare her for this interview.

We're also working with Adrianna. She's close to baptism. She even asked how she can be baptized! We're helping her quit smoking but she smoked a lot. A lot! But she's improving and hitting her goals so her baptism will come up pretty soon. She loves to read so she's always so hungry for more things to read. We introduced the Doctrine and Covenents to her and she just gobbled it up! She said it made so much sense to her.

Things are going good. I'm safe, happy, and eating well! The lunches here are amazing. This ward has the best lunches of the entire mission! Oh it'll be a good next few months! :)

Until next week!
Love Elder Rackham

Monday, October 4, 2010

Whoa!

I was transferred! But it's not a huge change actually. I'm staying with Elder Loureiro, I'm staying in the same house, and the other set of missionaries in our house is staying exactly the same too. The only difference is that we switched our areas. They're working in the Teresina Ward, and Elder Loureiro and I are working in the Horto Florestal Ward. I'm excited because I hear the lunches are the best in the entire mission! It's going to be great! Elder Loureiro and I are really working well together so we'll hit the ground running this week!

Love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ho ho ho!

So first of all, pictures! I'm not sure what's going on in these pictures, but I felt like sending them. I believe it's just me and Elder Loureiro. I stole them from his camera.

So it was a good week! Mikaeli was baptized this week. I don't know if I explained a little bit about her last week, but she was definitely prepared for us. She has a child but the father is in prison, and she had a rough life. But she realized that she needed to change her life and we talked about baptism. She wanted to be baptized, but she was afraid of not being able to live a perfect life after baptism. But luckily, Elder McCardell was interviewing her and he really helped her out. The baptism we had for her was the most spiritual baptism I've had so far.

There wasn't a whole lot of people, but the members that were there were helping so much! We opened up with a hymn and I gave a message. I felt like I should use chapter 6 of Moroni where it talks about after being baptized and molded (I think that's the right translation) and perfected by the Holy Spirit, they were organized into the Church of Christ. Anyway, it was perfect for Mikaeli. Then she was baptized and we sang a hymn. The bishop talked to her while I was waiting for Elder Loureiro so we could sing a special musical number and he did a great job. After that, Elder Loureiro and I sang Nearer my God to thee. We practiced really quick right before entering the room to sing it, and let me tell you, we were rusty so it was down right terrible. Anyway, the Spirit decided that we weren't allowed to ruin the baptism so the hymn actually turned out really well. Mikaeli really liked it! I could definitely feel the spirit throughout the entire baptism.

Oh yeah, I made a cake. It was delicous.

End of story. Until next week!

Love,
Elder Rackham

Monday, September 20, 2010

Whoa, this week went by fast!

Hello hello!

Before I knew it, this week had blown by! I blinked and it was Friday!

It's really interesting how well the Lord orchestrates our lives. I spent time thinking about how the two weeks I went into the MTC early has really effected my mission in an extremely positive way. If I hadn't gone early, I never would have had Elder Harmon as my trainer, who was a great trainer, and that's just the beginning. It really changed my mission for the better. I can't even fathom how it all came together like this, but I know it was an accidente!

I wish I could talk more, but I was working on making a priesthood line of authority for a member that I ordained to the Melchizadek Priesthood and that took a little longer than I thought.

Until next week!
Love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, September 13, 2010

So this is another quick week!

One of our investigators was baptized this saturday and it was so great! She's been investigating the church for the longest time. And she was almost baptized one time before. But this time, she finally received an answer and she had the strongest desire to be baptized! It was so great seeing the desire culminate into this baptism. She's so happy, her family which is mostly members is happy to see her make this decision. It was so cool too, because her borther-in-law baptized her. I prefer when members or family baptize the person, because they have a support system already!

I would love to talk more about the wonderful things we've seen this week, but I should explain the pictures:

There's three or 4 of me eating a bomba which is a fried ball of bread with ham and cheese in the middle and it's delicious. I'm also drinking coke which is even more delicious! Then there's my amazing brazilian companion Elder Loureiro! After that I believe is my super hero picture. I made pancakes for breakfast one morning and I took two or three bites, and to me it seemed exactly like the top part of Spiderman's mask! So I had some fun playing with my food! Don't worry, I am perfectly aware how weird I am, and I enjoy it 100%!

I hope this week was great for everyone!

I love you all!
Elder Rackham








Monday, September 6, 2010

This was a good week!

Hey ya'all!

This was a good week this week! Unfortunately I was sick, but we decided that we need to work and that we couldn't afford to lose a day staying at home, so we went and worked! I'll be honest it was really difficult, but we were blessed with a baptism this saturday! This will be our first baptism together, Elder Loureiro and I! And we are working with two really good families that really want to change their lives and improve their family life as well!

I'm doing better now, it was a cold I think, but I'm feeling better now. We had to walk so much, because we were working with a investigator that lives really far away.

Anyway, I'll tell more about the baptism next week!

Thanks for the support! I love you all!

Elder Rackham

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Week has Come and Gone!

Once again, it's that time!

So this week was a good week. We had a specialized training to help implement this new curriculam that we have going on and it was very good. President Dias is amazing with trainings. I always feel uplifted and edified! We had a great little snippet on obedience that was very eye-opening and deep! The training is definitely helping. I'm starting to notice the change that is happening in our work and how it's improving.

The ward I work in is really cool! The sister of the ward that organizes our lunches is so good to us! We've been eating very well! These past two weeks however, I've had the opportunity to eat more fish than I have in my entire life! The first one wasn't too bad, and I ate it no problem. I didn't love it however. But, the last few have been so good! The name of the fish is Tambaqui and it's an Amazonian fish with teeth! TEETH! I'm glad I didn't have to do the fishing! Anyway, it tasted like chicken! I've eaten it a few times already. The only thing about fish is the bones. It's a little obnoxious having to pick out little bones and stuff. But it's quite delicious so that makes up for it.

There's a time during the year called B-R-O BRO which is the hottest time of the year in Teresina and the Northeast of Brazil. The hottest months of the year end in BRO in Portuguese so that's why it's called B-R-O BRO. Anyway, it's not uncommon to reach 47 degrees celsius which is who knows what in fahrenheit. I'll leave the mathamatics up to you! I'm preparing myself with sunscreen bathes in the morning. I'd rather not look like a beet for the rest of my life. That would be entirely undelicious. Beets don't taste good. But anyway, I'm excited for the future.

This morning, Elder Loureiro and I were prepping our day by drinking some Coke and eating Bombas (a type of pastery/meat thing here in Brazil) and I took pictures but I forgot the little card reader! I remembered my camera with the memory card and the cable! But not the card reader. Phooey! Well I guess this is just my way of leaving a cliffhanger! Hahahaha! Stay tuned until next week!

Love you all!
Scott

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hey y'all!

So this was a good week. Elder Loureiro and I have been trying to help more people come to church and mark more dates for baptism. And this week we definitely improved! There were 9 people at church! To be honest, we were helping two families come to church, and then we get there at there were 4 other people! It was really excited to see one of the families come. I'll be honest, I was a little afraid they weren't going to come, but they did! They're so great, they want to be more happy, and they want to have more unity.

It was interesting, at first the wife didn't want to come to church, she just wanted her husband to go and her son to go. Her husband has drinking problems, but he's been working really hard. But still the wife didn't want to go. Sunday rolls around and we go to walk with them to church and she answers the door. Elder Loureiro starts to talk with her and invites her to come too, but she was a little resistant. But he followed the spirit and promised her blessings! When she heard those blessing, she really stopped and thought about it. I could see her do it. And lo and behold, the entire family came!

It was so cool! I'm so happy for them and the change that they're making. I know that they're going to be so much happier with the gospel in their lives.

So transfers rolled around. Things are staying the same! It's going to be a really good next few months here! There used to be 6 missionaries living in the same house, but one finished his mission, and the other two were transfered out. So now there's just us 4: Elder Loureiro, Elder Epperson, Elder Thomé, and I. It's going to be so much fun living with them! I'm so happy!

So anyway, I tried to attach pictures, but some of the computers at this place don't have god USB ports, and it just so happens that I lucked out and got stuck with one of the few.

Until next week then!

Love,
Elder Rackham

Monday, August 16, 2010

Always Forgotten!

Good afternoon!

So I've discovered that my history of being forgotten has still continued into Brazil! We have a newsletter type thing here in our mission and when the new missionaries come in or when missionaries finish their mission, they have their pictures in the newsletter, but me, being in the weird situation I was with going to the field a few weeks early because of the visa situation, I was never put into the newsletter! I found that a little funny :)

Teresina decided to have it's birthday today. Everything was closed. I mean EVERYTHING was closed. Even the partner company to Walmart. I thought that it would have been open on a holiday, because we all know that Walmart has no mercy when it comes to holidays and their employees! But no! Even Bom Preço was closed! It was so difficult finding a place to email. Just a little frustrating. But that's okay!

Things are going good here in Teresina. I'm definitely getting a handle on the area, the bus system, and the ward I'm in. Elder Loureiro and I are trying new things everyday to try and better ourselves as missionaries. It's hard sometimes, but it's very rewarding. I'm glad for the situation i'm in right now, even if it can be a bit tough. But that's how we learn best!

Anyway, it's not as long as I hoped, but I'm running short on time!

I love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, July 26, 2010

Some Big Changes are Going Down!

Hello all!

So some big changes have gone down. Basically the following has
changed: We used to have an interview with the mission president,
every 6 weeks. Now it's being changed to once every trimester. We
have zone conferences now every 3 months as well. Every month, we
have 4 days of intensive training for 8 hours and we practice in
proselyting for the rest of the day. We're doing this to help prepare
the mission field for when the MTCs switch over to a new curriculum.
Basically it focuses heavily on teaching techniques to help improve
our lessons. I'm really excited, because this is something I'vealways tried to improve, but it's a little harder when I try to do it
myself. I like to have steps and guidelines that show me what it is I
need to do. I'm just weird like that I guess.

So these 4 days of training start tomorrow and go to Friday. Luckily
I'm in Teresina now, so I don't have to travel anywhere. Other Elders
have to travel from all the different areas and stay here in Teresina
for 4 days.

We had a pretty good week. We're helping a member with his addiction
to alcohol and cigarretes. I'm really excited to help him. It's been
going really good so far. He really wants to change, but he's just
heavily in this addiction. He's tried to quit before. But I hope as
we apply the Atonement to his efforts and help him avoid the triggers
and such he'll be able to overcome this addiction. Helping him really
makes me want to be a therapist. I've been thinking about it in the
past, but this is just steering me toward it even more.

So I sent 3 pictures today. The first one is Elder Manning on the
left, Elder Banks after him, ME in the awesome Rome soccer team shirt
(GO ITALY!), and Elder Santos! Elder Manning has a million and a half
soccer team shirts so we had fun taking pictures of them. The other
two are from Parnaíba. It's this place called Porto das Barcas. Ask
David what it means, because apparently he can understand Portuguese
but I remain in doubt ;) just kidding! It's where all the boats camein and docked. So they mantained it and it looks really cool at
night. I had fun taking pictures of it!

Anyway, I'll let you know how the training went!

Love you all!

Elder Rackham

























Monday, July 19, 2010

Hello Ya'all!

So I'm here in Teresina and I've forgotten how hot it is here! At
least in Parnaiba we had some wind! But here it's just hot all day.
It's been an interesting week, trying to figure out what's going on in
our area. Elder Loureiro and I arrived here together, so we are both
completely new to the area. We got a map, and a list of the members,
so that should help us, but the first few days were interesting to say
the least. We're going to have a lot of fun though and we're going to
work hard to make a difference.

I'm learning so many things now! One of my biggest weaknesses has
always been organization but I've decided to make it become one of my
strengths. Like it says in Ether 12:27 as I humble myself, the Lord
will bless me and help it become a strength.

Unfortunately I ran out of time again. So many things to do! I'm
learning how to manage my time better, so hopefully next week will be
a bit longer!

Until next week!

Love,
Elder Rackham

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Whoa, I did not expect that!

Hello everyone!

So I'm running a little short on time, but basically some big changes
went down. Ones that I did not expect at all! I was so sure I was
going to stay in Parnaíba! But we got a call this morning and I'm
being transferred to Teresina. I'll be serving in Ala Teresina
(Teresina Ward). My companion will be a brazilian, Elder Loreiro. He
was serving in Imperatriz before. I've only talked to him a few times
but I'm excited.

I'm really sad to leave. I really grew very close with the other
Elders in our house, Elder Banks, Elder Manning, and Elder Santos.
They've helped me so much. I was really liking Parnaíba too. But hey
this is part of what the mission is. Now I have another great
opportunity to continue the work in Teresina. But I'm not going to
lie, it's going to be hard without this lovely wind that Parnaíba has.
Teresina is hotter and I'll be lucky to get any wind.

So anyway, I hope everyone is well and healthy! I'll let you know how
my first week went next monday! Until then!

Love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another Week!

Dear Everyone!

I've probably mentioned it before but here in Brazil lunch is the
biggest meal of the day. Not dinner. And us missionaries always have
lunch with the members, every day except Monday since that's our
P-Day. But this week, we only ate lunch with the members twice,
because the other days fell through. I learned one thing from all
this: it's not a good thing to eat half a pan of brownies as lunch and
think nothing will happen.

I guess I should elaborate. Thursday our lunch fell through. I
didn't have a lot of food left. But I wasn't worried because the next
day we would be getting a bi-monthly allowance. And brownies sounded
really good at the time. Luckily my mom sent me a recipe and believe
it or not, Brazil has everything I need to make it! So luckily I had
all the ingredients on hand. I make it quick and easy like because
I've become quite the pro at making brownies from scratch if I say so
myself. And then I cut up half the brownies put them on a plate and
eat them! It was delicious to say the least. I can't deny that. And
I was totally fine until around... 4 PM that day. Then I was just
plain nauseous for the rest of the day. That's when I learned my
lesson. Don't do it, it's a trap!

It's been a frustrating week getting our investigators to church. We
have some really good investigators that are so great, but the time
comes to go to church and things start going downhill. We have these
two boys who are just so awesome, but this week we couldn't get them
to come to church. We're going to have to try different things I
guess.

So the pictures I've attached are long overdue. They're of Elder
Harmon, my trainer and first companion. I guess I had two first
companions actually, because there's a picture with Elder Cook! So
Elder Harmon is the one in most of the photos. The one with the third
missionary is Elder Cook. Elder Harmon finished his mission while I
was his companion. Elder Cook is about 8 months into his mission. So
he's out there still being awesome!

Well apparently this computer is choosing now to be obnoxious. There
may or may not be a picture of Elder Cook with Elder Harmon and I.
And there may or may not be a picture of Timon, my first area. It may
or may not be a picture of our street. And all that dust you may or
may not see, yeah that's a theme in Timon. It's everywhere. Not fun
to clean uor white shirts. But anyway, there are definitely pictures
of Elder Harmon and I!

I hope all is well with everyone, until next week!

Love,
Elder Rackham