Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Anyone who gets this email please call Mom or Dad and tell them to read this email!

I'm not flying today.

I can't travel home today because my passport isn't here. It's still coming from São Paulo. Remember when I was saying how there was that problem with my visa, and they were wanting to throw me out of the country? Well, to resolve the problem, the mission had to send my passport to São Paulo. And the passport hasn't arrived yet. They sent it last Friday, and we were hoping that it would get here today, but it will only get here tomorrow. So, currently, the office Elders are getting me another ticket for tomorrow. For right now, I'm not sure when I'll be flying home. The earliest will be tomorrow. But it depends on when they're able to get me a ticket, and when my passport arrives.

There's no need to worry. I'll be home soon. Just not tomorrow :) We're working everything out on our end, and as soon the new ticket is issued, the mission is going to inform everyone. President said I could email today because I wasn't able to email yesterday. Right now it's just the waiting game. Don't freak out and start calling the Missionary Department, haha. Everything will work out, and we'll inform you as soon as we know about what's going on. Just wait for a call from the office, or maybe an email, I'm not sure what it'll be.

I'm fine, and happy, although a little bit fatter :) It's just a few more days, and after 2 years, a few days doesn't make much of a difference, right? ;)

Well, by the time you get this email the office will have called you already.

So this makes my email rather pointless, but I'll send it anyway haha :)

Love you all!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another week!

Well, this week was filled of some very amazing moments! Elder Bednar came to our mission and talked to us, and then had a conference with all the members here in Teresina. Us missionaries who were here in Teresina were also able to see the meeting.

I learned some very great things about preaching the gospel. It was a very amazing conference us missionaries had with him. The entire mission was here in Teresina.

Because all the missionaries were here, the Elders who are in Açailândia now brought news to me about the family we baptized there. I had an amazing sensation as I heard from this family and the difference that I made in their lives. I'm nobody special, and I'm just a common missionary, but the Spirit of the Lord has changed their lives forever, and I'm very grateful to have been a part of it.

I can't really describe this sensation that I felt, but it was a profound happiness that made me feel the bond that I have with this family. Even though I'm seperated from this family by hundreds of miles (soon to be thousands) I felt close to them, feeling the same happiness that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ brings them, and knowing that I was a part of it strengthened this feeling, that much more!

Well, time is short as always, but this week it seemed to be that much shorter. Until next week!

Elder Rackham

Monday, November 7, 2011

Elder Bednar

Elder Bednar is coming to Teresina! We're going to have a meeting with him and then he's going to have a meeting with all the members here in Teresina. I'm very excited because it's going to be the first time that I will personally hear from an Apostle!

Elder Bednar sent President Dias two talks that he gave, one in General Conference, and one in a training to the Church Education System to prepare us for his visit. That means he must have some great insights for us. One of the talks was Ask with Faith. It was really great to read. I imagine that faith will be a big topic.

We have no idea what the meeting is going to be like. Elder Bednar has it all planned out. We're going to show up, and then we're going to learn from him. Other than that, we don't know. He might call on certain missionaries to talk briefly about something. He might ask President or Sister Dias to do the same. We really don't know. It makes it more exciting this way! :)

Anyway, gotta run!

Elder Rackham

Monday, October 31, 2011


I hate holidays on Mondays. Today was a surprise holiday here in Teresina. And it wasn't Halloween. Some random "Commerce Day" decided to complicate our P-Day. Our plans fell through because of it, but that's okay. We made the best of the worst and had a pretty good P-Day.

There's a neat little artesans building place thing in the center of Teresina. I found some pretty neat little things there. There were several shops that sold artworks and crafts that the local people here in Teresina made.

I got to know a bit more about the culture and history of Piauí!

Things are going great. We're teaching a young man named Arnaldo. He's 21 and he's studying to be a veterinarian. He's very intelligent and is understanding what we're teaching him, very easily. He is really liking church. He has many questions that we're answering and I feel he is progressing very well.

I'll let you know how he progresses!

Elder Rackham

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mission Reflections

The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. It's interesting, this feeling. I look back on my mission, and I see the progress I've made. I've changed. I've become a better person. I've developed many good habits, and abilities. But the more I notice this, the more I see the necessity to keep going. I can't stop after my mission. There's much more to improve one.

I was thinking also about the people we are teaching. I wonder if they ever ask themselves, what kind of person do I want to be 10 years from now? That's not a common question in today's society. In today's society, we ask ourselves what do we want to do 10 years from now, where do we want to be in our carreer, what do we want to have in the future. But rarely, does society teach us to worry about our character.

To me, that is one of the great blessings of the restored gospel. The desire we have to be a better person, to walk a little taller, to smile more, and be enthused with life, that to me, is one of the great purposes in life. I could have all the money in the world, a great career, house, cars, but if I haven't become a better person, more christ-like, compassionate, patient, humble, diligent, charitable, then what's the point? One day I'm going to die, and where will all that be? Only my character will remain with me.

So recently, I've been asking myself that question: What kind of person do I want to be in the future?

It's a good question I hope we all ask ourselves.

Love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, October 17, 2011


So we had a transfer.

Elder Marinho is oging to Araguaína and I'm staying here in Angelim. Elder Alencar is going to come in Elder Marinho's place. It looks like I'm going to finish my mission here in Teresina, in the Angelim Ward.

Elder Alencar has already been out for quite a bit of time, I believe he's been out for almost a year and 6 months, so it'll be nice to have a compnaion that has gone through so many different experiences.

Unfortunately I ran out of time, but I'll update you next week!

With Love,
Elder Rackham

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stake Conference!

This past Sunday was Stake Conference in Teresina. Stake Conference is when all the local congregations of the Church in the local area get together and have a conference. So this past Sunday was just that! Some leaders of the Church came, Elder Godoy was one of them. He's already come to our mission here in Teresina to talk to us, and I loved it. Now I got to see him talking to the local congregations here in Teresina, and it was just as good.

He talked a lot about our responsabilities, and the order of importance. First, we have a responsability for our families, and this responsability comes first. Then we have a responsability for our jobs, and that comes second. Third, is our responsability for the Church, and fourth is our responsability for ourselves. He spent a lot of time talking about our family responsabilities, and used many examples from his family, that happened as he and his wife worked to fulfill these responsabilities and what they learned.

I'll tell one quick story. He said that when he first heard that that fathers should interview their children (sit down individually and talk with them openly about their goals, desires, challenges they're facing, etc) he came home and told his wife, "Honey, I learned today that I need to interview our children." At the time, their oldest daughter was 4 years old. His wife agreed so he called his daughter and said "Renata, daddy needs to interview you." See got all happy and and ran to her room. Elder Godoy was a little confused by this, why she ran to her room, until she came back with a toy microphone, ran back to him, held it up to him and asked "Who do you want to send a kiss to, Dad?"

I got a chuckle out of that. But, he explained that he was talking to his 4 your old daughter as if she was an adult, and that we need to adapt the teachings to our families according to the ages and situations of our family members. So I learned several things from this, that I can apply when I'm a father.

Well, until next week!

Elder Rackham

Monday, October 3, 2011

General Conference

General Conference! Woo!

It was absolutely wonderful fo rme. For those unfamiliar with what General Conference is, it's a conference that the church holds twice a year. This conference is divided into 4 individually-unique sessions between Saturday and Sunday, with a 5th session for all male members ages 12 and up. During these sessions, the leaders of the Church speak to the members of the church as well as the general populace of the world.

In preparation for General Conference, I wrote down some questions that I was hoping to receive answers to. At the end of all 4 sessions, I was able to see all 4 of those questions being answered by one more more talks that were given by the leaders of the Church. It was very special to me, because I could feel that I have a loving Heavenly Father that wants me to learn and grow, and He answers my prayers. I felt with a surety that God speaks with his authorized servents today, the prophets and apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

It was amazing to see how God answered all of my questions in a very specific manner. I also was amazed to see how clearly the answer came to my mind. The answer did not necessarily come from the words that were spoken, but in most cases, the answer came from the thoughts and impressions and feelings I had that were caused by the words that were spoken. I know realize on a more deeper level, how the Spirit talks to us. He speaks to us in a very simply, but profound way, that is not easily forgotten.

The guidance I received strengthened my faith, my dedication to the Lord, and my desire to become a better person. It was a great blessing to be able to see General Conference. And it was definitely worth the time that I sacrificed to see it.

I hope all who sought for spiritual guidance was able to find it in this past General Conference.

Until next week!

Elder Rackham

Monday, September 26, 2011

China repeat

It seems like every country I go to wants to kick me out at some point. Last monday we went to the Federal Police to get my identity card but there was a problem. I went back on Tuesday with the secretaries to figure out what was going on. We got there and the guy talked with us and he went to look into the system.

When he opened up my record and looked at it, he said quite seriously "From what I'm seeing here, you are here in Brazil illegally, you have 8 days to return to the U.S. and you're going to pay a fine of 800 reais (aproximately $600)." I looked at him and didn't quite believe him, so we asked but he was dead serious.

At first, I didn't understand because it didn't make sense. He explained why. In the system, it was saying that I didn't renew my visa. So we were telling him that I didn renew it, because I went to the Federal Police 7ish months ago to do just that but he said "No, it's not in the system, so you didn't do it." I showed him my temporary identity and he said, "This is just a temporary identity before you get your official one, this doesn't prove that you renewed your visa."

At that point I was starting to get a little scared. But the entire time I felt that there's no way that this could be happening because I really did go to renew my visa. However, he was unwilling to accept that fact. Elder Paz, the office secretary that I went with, made a few calls, while the man at the Federal Police worked on another case with another Elder. I looked through some papers we had, and I remembered a few things I learned about the process and saw that there was a paper that proved that I had renewed my visa.

So I talked to the guy and said, no, this paper proves that I renewed my visa and it was approved. That's when he said "Ah... that changes things." But he was still trying to squeeze money out of us to make us pay a fine. But I knew at that point, that we had sufficient proof that I was here legally and that it was an error in the system.

But I was definitely scared for a second. I thought that I was going to finish my mission in the U.S! Anyway, it was a good thing that I remembered that paper! If I hadn't remembered that paper, it could have been a completely different story.

Why doesn everyone want to kick me out of their country!

I'm still here though, no worries anymore!

Love you!
Elder Rackham

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Illegal Alien!

So this P-day has been very interesting. We played basket this morning with 4 other Elders from our Zone, as well as Presidente Dias! The only problem was that we had to wake up at 5:15 to get there on time. The game started at 7 in the morning! And the bus we take from our area to the center of the city takes about an 1 because of traffic. We had to go with proselyting clothes on (shirt, tie, the whole deal) and then change into other clothes when we got there. So it took a little bit to get out the door. I'm wondering now if it was worth it, but I think it was!

After that we went looking for some souvenirs, and then I went to the Federal Police to get my official brazilian identity card! I've been using a paper they gave me that shows I'm here legally. After a few months, the official identity card (that shows I'm a foreigner with a visa) arrives in Teresina. So I went today to go get it, only to find out that I'm an illegal alien!

*dramatic music* duh, duh duh!

Well, what happened was that when my visa was renewed, something went wrong, and the system says it didn't. The only problem is that I have the paper that says I have a renewed visa. So the paper I have is right, the system is wrong, but it's just going to take a little while to get it sorted out. I have to go back tomorrow morning.

I was excited to get my brazilian identity card. Dangit! Oh well.

On another note, I encourage those who have not heard the song "Reflections of Christ" with the accompaning video, to look it up. It is a very emocional and powerful song that expresses the story of 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. It starts with the birth and death of Jesus Christ, then the destruction that happened in the Americas, and the Savior's subsequent personal ministry here in the Americas. It's simply beautiful!

Anyway, until next week!

Elder Rackham

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


There were many moments this past week where I reflected on these past 18 months or so of my mission. I thought a lot about what I learned from all of my experiences. I have learned many things, in many moments on my mission, most of which are unforgettable. There are particular moments that have left undelible marks, and I realized that it was these moments in particular that I came to know Christ a little more.

I can talk about all the things I've learned, all the skills I've gained. But there are many more things I have to learn and have to improve on. When it comes down to it, the thing that is most important to learn and to know is Jesus Christ. By being a representative of Jesus Christ, I have literally acted as He would act, and said what He would say. I have been an arm of misery and love, reached out for God's lost children. Or rather, I have been the means for Christ, our Lord and Savior to heal the broken of heart, the low in spirits. I have been the means to feed the spiritually weak, and to give sight to the spiritually blind. I understand only a little of this responsability and this calling as His representative.

This is exactly what I learned from those undelible marks that have been imprinted on my soul. I know that I have a loving Heavenly Father. He knows me, and hears my prayers. When the doubts come, and they always do, I remember the moments where I felt His pure love embracing me and filling me with hope. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He was chosen to be the Redeemer of the world, since before this world existed. And He was chosen, to save me, who is prone to sin. Through Christ, we are given the means to return to our loving Heavenly Father.

In the end, this is what it comes down to, not how many scriptures I know, or how many people I baptized. What's important is that I delivered myself unto Christ, and came unto the knowledge that my Redeemer lives.

Elder Rackham

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Well, on Wednesday we got a phone call!

I was transferred!

In the mission, two new cities were opened up. It was really cool! In Tocantins, the mission opened up Araguaína, and in Maranhão the mission opened up Caxias. 6 missionaries went to Araguaína, and 4 went to Caxias. It was a historic moment for the mission!

I was transferred to the Angelim ward in Teresina. I'm with Elder Marinho, and it's a little bit of a coincidence because he was my last companion's companion in the MTC, Elder Eberhardt.

We're already working with several people who are working towards baptism. It's really great to get to know new members and new people. I'm already enjoying my new area and the members are great! Plus I've already been able to see several old members that I got to know before in my other areas.

I think this is my last area. I'm not sure though. I could have one more area, but I'm feeling like this will be my last area on my mission. I'm very pleased with the area, because I know I'm going to learn so much. I feel like I'm going to be able to grow as a missionary as well as a person, because of this area and companionship.

Well, I'll let you know how the work goes next week!

Elder Rackham

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Its been a while

So it's been a couple weeks that I haven't been able to send my normal update email out to be put up on the blog. I've been spending more time writing President (he wants us to write in detail the things going on in our area) so I have less time to write this email. But! This week I'm able to!

When we first got to Açailândia, there was a family here that was baptized, except for the oldest daughter because she lived in another part of the city. Well, this past Saturday she was baptized! It completed the family now! It was absolutely wonderful to see her, the last member of the family to be baptized and to see the happiness in the eyes of her siblings and mom. It was a very spiritual baptism as well.

It's been a great 5 months here in Açailândia. It's gone by so fast! It's hard to imagine that it's been that long. It seems like yesterday I was here for the first time!

There will be two new areas for missionaries to work in next week. In the state of Tocantins, the city of Araguaína, and in Maranhão, Caxias (Caxias is close to Timon, which is close to Teresina). Missionaries have never been there yet in these two places. I'll let you know next week what's happening.

Well, gotta run!

Elder Rackham

Monday, August 8, 2011

I've been spending more time emailing President Dias these past couple of months. The purpose of my email I send to President Dias is to report on the work and how it's going in my designated area. I need to report on my personal progress as well, and my companion's progress. So anyway, I've learned to be more detailed in this email, because it helps him be able to help me.

Anyway, I'm without time again.

We're working with several families and they're going great.

Until next week!

Elder Rackham

Friday, July 29, 2011

Howdy Ho!

It was an interesting week. It was really like a roller coaster ride. We saw just about everything, I think.

We started the week with a family that was preparing to be baptized. Well rather, we started the week without this family, because they moved without telling us and then gave the Book of Mormon back, but not to us, to a member that lives close by. It was really sad to see them give the Book of Mormon and all the pamphlets back. We've tried to locate them in their new house, but we haven't had any success. I think someone talked bad about the church to them.

That's how we started off our week, then it got worse, then it got better, then it got a little worse again. It was just one of those difficult weeks, but in the end, Church was great. There are 6 missionaries in the ward here in Açailândia and we all sang "I Believe in Christ" It was beautiful. I was able to pull off a decent bass part. The sisters and my companion filled in the other parts. The members loved it. The Bishop got up afterwards to talk about the temple but felt inspired to talk about another subject and it was perfect for several of our investigators and the members in our area. So despite all the stuff that went on this week, it was a great way to end the week.

Anyway, time is short, until next week!

Elder Rackham

Monday, July 18, 2011


Well I missed you all last week, sorry about that! At the internet cafe we were using, they put a time limit, and I literally finished all the other emails except for this one just before the limit ran out. So I wasn't able to get this email out.

We had a good week of studying. We focused alot on understanding better the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. We had some really great insights, and my understanding was taken to a whole different level. It's amazing how simple personal revelation is, but how profound it is in terms of changing us.

We had an unfruitful night where almost all of our appointments fell through. I had to use the bathroom really bad. It was about 8:30 at night and we decided to head home. As we were walking home, we said "Good evening!" to an older gentleman and he responded. We kept going but I felt we should talk to him. I didn't want to because I had to use the bathroom! But I felt it again that we should talk to him, so I turned around and told Elder Eberhardt that we should go talk to the man. I didn't know that he had also felt the same thing! We talked with the man, he invited us in and we talked and conversed and we got to know each other. We set an appointment to come back the next day. When we came back we had a really great lesson. He was really hooked by the plan of salvation. He really felt like it was how it's supposed to be. The Spirit was there testifying to all of us. We're going to go back today and teach him that God speaks to us today through Prophets. We had mentioned that this plan we taught him was revealed to us through modern prophets. He became really interested by it.

It was a good experience for me. I learned that I need to do God's will and not mine. I wanted to use the bathroom. God wanted me to talk to that man. In the end, I learned what was more important.

Until next week!

Love ya'all,
Elder Rackham

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm alive!

So I didn't email yesterday, because I was traveling. I'm in Teresina currently. And I got here safely. There will be a few days of training, then I go back. Due to me being in a bus for 12 hours and getting to Teresina much too late, I was unable to email. Sorry! But today President Dias told me to email.

This past week was a good week. We worked really hard to help some families. We're already seeing a difference in a family that was having some small arguments and unhappiness in their marriage. We can already see the change. It's been great! This past Sunday, the husband and the wife came. We're following up this week and preparing them for baptism.

Elder Eberhardt and I are getting to know each other more. We're laughing and having fun on the streets, and we're happy. It's always nice for the people to see that. Then they have a desire to learn more about it!

Well, my time is short, but until next week! I'll tell you all I learned about this week.

Love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, June 27, 2011

A wonderful week!

Well, it's been a lovely week in the neighborhood!

This week we really pumped things up! We got all bold and what not
teaching this week, and we set a lot of baptismal dates. Many people
accepted. We saw a lot of progress in a lot of investigators. It was
great to see that.

We're doing well here.

It's a short update because I'm running out of time, sorry!

Until next week!

Love y'all,
Elder Rackham

Monday, June 6, 2011

Another good one!

So I got better. That's quite the blessing. It's definitely an experience I never want to go through again.

As far as news, Elder Yorgason is being transferred to São Luís. He's leaving Tuesday. My new companion will be Elder Everhart (something like that, I'll find out for sure on Tuesday as well). It's going to be sad to see Elder Yorgason go. I'm going to miss him! It was a very good (almost) 3 months together. It went by so fast! I blinked and it went by. We had such a great district. But the new district will still be a good one.

With it being the first Sunday of the month, it was fast and testimony meeting. Near the end, there was a space of time after all the members had gone and born testemony, so I decided to also bear mine. Lately, I've been studying and thinking more and more about what it means to take upon ourselves upon the name of Jesus Christ. And I felt that I need to come to know better my Savior.

With a few investigators, we've been focusing on the existence of God and Jesus Christ. That they're real, with bodies of flesh and bones. I've had strong experiences that have shown me that God exists. The natural desire we have to know who were are and where we came from is proof of this. Proof that God lives. It is not some evolutionary side-effect. To those that deny the existence of God, I testify that He is real. I know that he is real and that He exists because I have felt his great love for me, in a very unexpressable way, but nonetheless, I have felt it. All who truly desire to know if God exists or that we matter to him, can and will come to this knowledge.

However, I feel that my personal witness of Christ the Redeemer needs to grow. Yesterday we read an investigator a scripture: For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God weare not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is Christ, and he cometh in the fulness of his own time. I pondered on this scripture and I began to understand that because God is, Jesus Christ is. Jesus Christ and His atonement is the focus of God's plan for all of us. Not just for a select group of people, those who believe and proress his name, but for ALL of His children. How can a perfect God create a plan that saves just a few of His children? That is why Jesus Christ is the rock of our salvation.

Job's words and conviction of the reality of Jesus Christ encapsulate what I wish to express, that "I know that my Redeemer lives!" That we all may be able to know that our Redeemer lives, on a personal level. That we all may be able to feel of Heavenly Father's love for us. That we all may be able to taste the sweetness of forgiveness, that only comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

With love,
Elder Rackham

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

There's a first for everything!

I had an exciting weekend!

Thursday night, we got home from working. We had gone to a part of our area that is kinda far away, but we were visiting a member and teaching his friends. Out of 4 families we visited, 3 of them made us eat something. Side note, I love Brazilians. They give me food. :) So I was pretty stuffed at the end of the night. Everything was delicious.

So we're at home, and I realize how stuffed I am. We go about our nightly routine and I start to feel a bit nauseous. But I got ready for bed and laid down and I figured everything would be fine. I couldn't seem to fall asleep. I woke up about 11:30 and went to use the bathroom. It was diarrhea. Dangit!

Unfortunately it was the kind that attacks you frequently, as in every 20 minutes or so. I kept trying to fall back to sleep between my runs to the bathroom and then around 12:30, the nausea comes back. And I just knew it was going to happen. I get to the bathroom and bam, all that delicious food they gave me comes flying out. Oh it was horrible. I start to yell for Elder Yorgason. I figured I might as well prepare him to be a dad.

I was able to get back to sleep until 3 and I had to throw up again. It was not fun. Throwing up hurts too.

5 rolls around and the nausea hits me again. I would have thrown up again but I literally had nothing left. I also notice I had a fever, and my body was hurting. I called Sister Dias and she sent me to the hospital. However, I was not willing to go to the emergency room here in Açailândia. So I convinced them to let me go to Imperatriz.

Worst hour car ride of my life. I was hurting all over, I had a fever, I was cold. We get to Imperatriz and we go to hospital. It was a decent hospital, I at least wasn't afraid of dying in it. I was admitted quickly and the doctor saw me and sent me to th]e emergency room to get an IV of that clear liquid you always see in TV shows. I don't remember the word in English. OH MY GOODNESS. I hated it. I hated the bed. I hated the needle in me. I was in pain, sick, tired, dehydrated. The bed was super uncomfortable. It put a lot of pressure on my lower back where the pain in my body was highest. I couldn't get comfortable!

It was the longest 20 minutes of my life. When it was over, the nurse came over and asked if I felt better. I didn't, but of course I lied and said yes, I just wanted out of there! There was no way I was laying on that bed one more minute.

I had to find a pharmacy after that to buy the medicine the doctor prescribed. But, I've never been to Imperatriz, so we just wandered around until we found it. This entire time, my entire body was just aching. You know that sick, aching feeling all over. But little by little, I started to get better. Whatever they stuck in me was helping.

We also had a Zone Conference on Friday, the day I went to the hospital. So we had to find our way to the Stake Center where it was at. It was not fun. By the time I got to the Zone Conference though, I was feeling better. And by the time the Zone Conference was over, I was much better.

However, the worst part of that entire day: Because I had diarrhea, I couldn't eat for 24 hours! And our lunch: Brazilian barbecue buffet! Eat as much as you want! But me? Nope, I couldn't eat anything.

Oh well, I didn't die, so it made me stronger. I hope at least.

It was an unforgettable experience that's for sure!

But I love you all! I'm fine now, so no need to worry! It's just weird to think the first time I had to go to the hospital was in Brazil.

Elder Rackham

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So we've discovered a cursed house. It took us a little bit to figure
it out, but we are now completely certain that it is cursed. There
are no doubts about it.

The best time to visit this house is in the afternoon, because the
family is always there in the afternoon and usually the afternoons are
a bit slower. So we usually get there around 3 in the afternoon,
after eating an amazing banquet of brazilian food, and walking around
in the sun, so you can imagine how good it feels to sit down. It
doesn't help that the chairs they have are quite possibly the most
comfortable of all chairs I have yet had the pleasure of sitting in.

We start to teach and it goes well, except every time with out fail,
the sleep brick slams me in the face and I can't help myself. I start
to nod off. I do my best to stay awake, but it's just too difficult.
I usually end up sleeping for a minute or two every couple of minutes.
One time I was saying the closing prayer and in the middle of the
prayer I fell asleep! I was saying the prayer out loud!

So the house really isn't cursed, it's just that every time without
fail I am unable to stay awake. And it's only this house that I have
problems with. I could be at another house at the same time of day,
and there's no problems. I think it really is the chair that's doing

Anyway, my companion told his family last week about this story, and
it looks like his cousing decided to use the story (of my I might add)
as an example in Sunday School, so I decided to set the record
straight before it hits the newspapers ;) Working hard makes you
tired. We work hard.

I love you all! Until next week!
Elder Rackham

Monday, May 16, 2011

Uh oh...

Ran out of time, sorry! I was emailing President Dias and it took a bit longer than I thought it would. Basically this area is keeping us so busy, so I had a lot to report to President Dias about! We never have enough time to get all the things we want done during the week!

Anyway, next week I'll write more, sorry!

Love you all!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A week of training!

This past week we had a training that I participated in in Teresina. It was a 12 hour bus ride there, and 12 hour bus ride back. Not fun. But that's besides the point.

I enjoyed all of the training that we received. President gave some very good insights on what it means to "take upon thyself the name of Christ". We notice that in the sacramental prayer (the prayer said to bless the sacrament, the bread and water) it mentions this. In fact, as we take the sacrament, we promise to do exactly that, take upon ourselves the name of Christ. We explored several scriptures to be able to understand more of this. In Exodus, Moses is talking with God and asks him what he should tell everyone his name is. God responds by saying that he should tell them his name is I AM. It's interesting that as Christ ministered during his earthly life, he declared his divine heritage and eternal existence by saying "Before Abraham was, I am" which is exactly how he identified himself as we read in Exodus.

President Dias talked about how in Portuguese we have two verbs for to be, ser and estar. The difference between the two is that estar is more temporary, and ser is permanent. So we see how it reads in Portuguese, by using the verb ser, his eternal identity is reinforced. By using the verb to be, it shows that the name of Christ is all of His attributes and characteristics, which make up who He is. Christ has some 38 titles applied to Him in various scriptures. They serve as a definition of these attributes and characteristics, and as we come to know His various titles, we come to know who He really is, or in other words, what Christ's name really means and what it means to take upon that name.

Beyond these titles, Christ's name is also associated to several things. In Mosiah we learn that His name is the power to cure. It was very interesting to learn this, and study more about this. I know that as I study these things, I will come to know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Redeemer.

I hope everyone had a great Mothers' Day! I'm thankful for all you Moms out there and all you do to help us learn and grow!

Love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, May 2, 2011

Another week!

It's been a good week.

Like I said we're trying to create a ward here. We trying to focus on
families but it's been a little difficult these past couple of weeks.

However, this week we've had several experiences with fasting and
praying that have strengthened me and my desire to find families in
order to create a ward. We want to have a strong leadership here in
the ward, otherwise the new ward won't be able to sustain itself.

This is how it would work:

The ward of Açailândia will divide and the ward here in Vila Ildemar
will be created. The ward will then rent a place in the Vila in order
to hold meetings here. Then it needs to up it's frequency to 125
people and then mantain it for 9 months in order to have a chapel
built. If we don't create a strong leadership, then the ward will
degress after it's created, instead of progressing and getting a
chapel. So we're very worried about this.

But like I said we had some good experiences that have helped us get
closer to our goal.

I hope everyone finds themselves in good health and happy. Mother's
day is before next P-Day, so I wish everyone a happy Mother's Day!
Mothers are so important, especially in the family. I am so grateful
for all the the moms out there that work hard to take care of their
children and their families. I pray that they are all blessed by the

Until next week!
Elder Rackham

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vive la vida!

So another week has gone by and another week enjoyed here in Açailândia. The weather has been great this week. Mostly rainy which means that it was very nice temperature wise. The afternoons were bearable because the sun was covered by the clouds! The only annoying thing with the rain is that a few streets get all messy and filled with water. Oh well, it's worth the lower temperatures.

It was an interesting week. We had an exchange with our Zone Leaders. Our Zone Leaders work in Imperatriz, which is a completely different city that is an hour and 15 minute bus ride. So... Thursday we plan it all out. I was going to stay in Açailândia, and my companion Elder Yorgason was going to stay in Imperatriz. Elder Wells was going to work with me in Açailândia and Elder Pimentel was going to work with Elder Yorgason in Imperatriz. All we had to do was do the switch. So Elder Yorgason and I travel to Imperatriz. First problem, it was Semana Santa which translates as Holy Week in English but I don't think the holiday is known by that. It's the week of Easter basically, with Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Because of this, and since it's a national holiday here, EVERYONE was traveling. You'd think that the bus company wouldn't sell more tickets then they had seats, but that's not true. So we get on the bus to find out we were going to have to ride over an hour standing. Not fun. Then the bathroom decided to leak it's toxic fumes from past users. The windows can't open because it has air-conditioning, but that's actually another lie. The air-conditioning didn't work.

We survive though and get into Imperatriz. We make the switch and Elder Wells and I are waiting for another bus to get back to Açailândia. We get one no problem. Halfway home though, I realized that who had the keys to our house? Not me! Yeah, so... it was a moment to laugh it off. We get to Açailândia, but Elder Wells had to do our baptismal interview so we got that done and ran back to the bus station. Our plan was to just end the exchange early. That way we wouldn't have to waste time going back and forth again to end the exchange the next day. We get to Imperatriz with enough time to get a bus, but due to miscommunication it didn't work out.

I slept in Imperatriz.

I had nothing with me, toothbrush, deoderant, extra clothes... nothing. It was all locked in our house.

We didn't have enough sheets for everyone, I just had one to cover the mattress, but to keep me warm, nope, didn't have one!

We weren't able to make it back to Açailândia before lunch so we went straight to lunch, it started a little late because they had to get things ready to travel, and then afterwards we walked home (a 30 minute walk). At 3:00 we were finally able to take a shower and change clothes.

Basically, I think I got the key point!


Until next week!

Elder Rackham

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another good week!

I forgot to tell you all about our goal for Açailândia last week.

We had our interviews with Presidente Dias. He talked to me about the
area and his vision for the area.

Here in Açailândia we have a bus that takes everyone from the area
where we live to the chapel, because it's just over an hour to walk
there or it's 4 reais to get there and back. One person can pay for
himself or herself, but families can't afford to pay that much every
week. So the bus is helping a lot.

The only problem is that the bus will stop running by December. So by
December we want to have 100 people from Vila Ildemar (where we work)
going to church. That way, when the bus stops running, we have enough
people to have our own congregation in Vila Ildemar. We need 20 men
to form the leadership necessary to have a strong ward. We're really
excited to work. I hope I'll be able to stay a long time to help
reach this goal.

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes!

Until next week!
Elder Rackam

Another good week!

I forgot to tell you all about our goal for Açailândia last week.

We had our interviews with Presidente Dias. He talked to me about the
area and his vision for the area.

Here in Açailândia we have a bus that takes everyone from the area
where we live to the chapel, because it's just over an hour to walk
there or it's 4 reais to get there and back. One person can pay for
himself or herself, but families can't afford to pay that much every
week. So the bus is helping a lot.

The only problem is that the bus will stop running by December. So by
December we want to have 100 people from Vila Ildemar (where we work)
going to church. That way, when the bus stops running, we have enough
people to have our own congregation in Vila Ildemar. We need 20 men
to form the leadership necessary to have a strong ward. We're really
excited to work. I hope I'll be able to stay a long time to help
reach this goal.

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes!

Until next week!
Elder Rackham

Monday, April 11, 2011

Success in Jurasic Park!

So this week we had a combined baptismal service for all 6 of us
missionaries here. This is the only place in our mission that has 6
missionaries. So this ward is really special.

It was a crazy end of the week, running around getting baptismal
interviews done for all of the baptismal condidates. Our Zone Leaders
work in Imperatriz, so they have to travel about an hour to get here.
That combined with limited schedules of the baptismal condidates meant
a very slim window of opportunity for us. But it worked out!

We had a very spiritual and uplifting baptismal service. We sang a
hymn together (in parts!) and it went well enough I believe. David
was telling me before my mission how his singing has improved as he
learned Spanish. I would say the same thing. As I've been learning
Portuguese, my singing has also improved. Anyway, it went well.

I'll be making once again chicken lasagna here. Last week it went
okay, it tasted fine, but it can be better. This week I'll be using
the other half of the leftover ingredients. It's going to be good!
I'll make it for ya'all when I get home :)

Love you all!
Elder Rackham

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An amazing week!

So Elder Yorgason and I had our first full week here in Açailândia. For those who do not speak Portuguese (or think that they can but don't *cough* David *cough*) Açaí is a fruit (aw-sai-ee). It's healthy and delicious. Also, it's a natural engery booster. So the city means land of Açaí! However, due to some unfortunate amount of harvesting, there is hardly a açaí tree in sight. Apparently though, this place was covered with Açaí.

Well, I told you of our suspicions last week, of dinosaur activity in the region. It looks to much like Jurassic Park. On friday we go to lunch on Friday, and the sister, Vane, tells us that she has two types of meat prepared for us this week, so she tells us to eat one at a time, because mixing the two together might make it taste weird. I open up the pan to take a peek and get me some meat, one is beef and the other was fish. So naturally I go for the beef first. As we're eating, I notice that her husband is pulling out some pretty darn big bones from the fish (usually their a lot smaller). I didn't think too much though. I finished the beef and went for the fish, preparing myself, because I'm not a huge fan of it. I get some good pieces and I sit back down to eat. I had already mentioned to Irmã Vane that we think Açailândia is Jurassic Park, so I taste the fish and I'm surprised to be tasting chicken! Well something similar to chicken. So I ask her, is this really fish? She says no. Of course, I remember the bones and jokingly say, there really are dinosaurs here! They laugh and say well, it's close to dinosaur. It turns out, I ate jacaré which is alligator! Oh was it delicious! That I can say is the strangest thing I have eaten on my mission.

Well... until next week!

Elder Rackham

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jurassic Park!

So I've been transfered to Açailândia. Here it's soo beautiful! The city just is magnificent, and there are a bunch of hills surrounding the city. When I look at them I think of the movie Jurassic Park, and at any moment, I feel as if a herd of dinosaurs is going to come walking out of the trees. It's the best thing ever! I couldn't have ever hoped for a better place to be, for this reason.

Maybe a few P-Days from now we'll go dinosaur hunting in the hills. I'll send pictures that I already to of the countryside. Today I ran out of time.

Oh before I forget, I'm with Elder Yorgason. He's from Utah. He was serving in Texas until now, and he got to Brazil about 2 weeks ago. We're way excited to work here!

Until next week!
Elder Rackham

Monday, March 21, 2011

A wonderful week!

So first things first, since Wednesday, I've been working with Elder F. Silva. He's a new missionary that just got here from the MTC in São Paulo. He's going to be with me until today, actually. We should be finding out shortly where he'll be going and who will be his companion. He's a great missionary and we've worked very hard this week. He has taught me a lot of things, that's for sure.

Elder F. Silva is from Curitiba, which is a city in the south of Brazil. Apparently it's an extremely beautiful city. Elder Youngberg, from my district in the MTC is there in Curitiba with Elder Flynn (also from my district) and he's been enjoying it down there. I've been keeping in contact with him.

Neto who was baptized on my birthday, received the Aaronic Priesthood today, so he's starting the path to taking his family to the temple and being sealed for time and all eternity. It was so great to see that this past Sunday.

Other news, Taquari DIVIDED! It is now two wards, one of the wards stayed with the name Taquari, the other took the name Uruguai. We had no idea it happened, but it was exciting. So next Sunday it's going to be in the seperate wards already. Taquari meets in the morning, Uruguai in the afternoon.

We found a great family. It's a father and two of his children. He moved from the countryside of Piaui (close to Parnaíba) to Teresina for his two kids to get a better education. Here in Teresina the schools are good, but in Luzilandia where they're from, the education isn't as great. We started teaching them and it's going really well. They went to church this past Sunday. They had a really good experience. Tonight we're taking them to a family night that we're holding at Neto and Zenaide's house. So we're really excited for that.

(the internet place I was at shut down for lunch and din't open until 2 hours later so this is why I'm sending this several hours after I sent emails this morning)

I'm excited for this next week, it'll be a good one!

Love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, March 14, 2011

Subway Eat Fresh!

So today I went to Subway here in Teresina for the first time! OH MY GOODNESS! It was like heaven in between two slices of angel wings and sunshine dust! And it was very cheap. It was only R$6,45 in reais so it was about 4 U.S. dollars. If you go once a week, and only get the 6 inch sub special they have, it's definitely an affordable luxury. My mouth was overcome by flavors I had forgotten that existed. It almost couldn't contain the pure beauty that is Subway and it's fresh ingredients. Maybe it was a clever mixture of two divine sauces (parmesean and chipotle), that sent me over the edge, but either way I was hooked from the first bite. If I haven't made it obviously clear by now how tasty Subway was, it was good.

Moving along, this week I was working in my area and in the other area right next to us. Elder Daniel and I were working together again this week. It was a little tough working in two areas (very tiring that is) but very satisfying, because we both worked very hard I felt. We really focused on families this week, something that President Dias is really pushing for. It's just so much better and easier when we fulfill our purpose (for those not familiar - Invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them to receive the restored gospel, through Faith in Jesus Christ and in His Atonement, Repentence, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End) through families. It's much easier for them to have that support. In fact we talked about this at a lunch we were having once with a member. Elder Daniel and I were about to split with two different members, so we could both work in our seperate areas that day. One of the members ate lunch with us. He mentioned that he's the only member in his family and he talked about the difficulties he has in being the only member. I sat and thought about that. If I really work to find the families that have been prepared by the Lord to hear the message of the Restoration, I'll be able to help more people receive the blessings of the gospel, but nost just more people, more families. In fact, families that will be able to prepare to go to the temple and make and keep sacred covenants, so that they can be an eternal family.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. I've now realized that my perspective in relation to families and their eternal potential was the groundwork for this change in attitude towards the work. Because of certain moments where I really sensed and felt that families have the ability to be together forever, that it's not "Till death do you part" (I've forgotten the exact words in English), then I wouldn't be able to have the focus on families. But because of this, and becuase of instruction through President Dias and several other missionaries, I've been able to elevate my thoughts and purposes so as to seek for and find complete families.

We found two very special families this week. We just started teaching them, but we're going to go back and work with them more this week. Well, time ran out!

I'll talk more about these families and their progress this week!

Love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, March 7, 2011

Things got interesting!

So this past week, things got a little interesting! My companion has to do physical therapy for the next little while. There's another Elder in the area next to us, Cidade Satelite, that is also having to do physical therapy. It's just an hour in the morning, but they have to go all the way to the center of the city. So what we do is they go together, and I stick with Elder Daniel until they come back just before lunch. Then me and Elder Santos go to lunch and it's all normal from there. In the morning, I'm sometimes in Cidade Satelite, or in my area. Tuesday we stayed in my area and had our District Meeting. Wednesday, we went to his area. Thursday we stayed in our area, and actually ended up working the entire day together.

That's where things changed. Elder Santos and Elder Romero now have to stay at home and rest their knees, because it's nullifying the effects of physical therapy if they walk. So Elder Santos and I got our stuff to sleep at Cidade Satelite for a little while so Elder Daniel and I could work together a day in his area, a day in our area. Friday morning we get to their house and find out that they got robbed! They didn't even wake up. The thieves snuck in and grabbed stuff. Friday night I go to sleep. Around 3:00 in the morning I hear something, but I didn't pay too much attention, I was really tired. So I go back to sleep. Then I hear Elder Crittenden come in to the room I was sleeping in and he said "They're leaving, I can see them leaving!" Something like that. I wake up and think, I think we were robbed. Oh well. And went back to sleep. A few minutes later Elder Romero came in and looked out the window and then I woke up again and decided I should probably go see what happened. They said they had weapons, but we all know they were lying. They were just very desperate.

Apparently, they got into the backyard and went to one of the windows and started talking about how they were going to break in. Elder Crittenden woke up and tried to get them to leave, but they took one of the hoes they had to clean the yard and broke the glass. Then they tried to bend the frame so they could get in. Everyone else woke up except for me and they all ran into the room. There were 5 Elders and two guys. They were really desperate to go up against 5 guys. They saw an MP3 player and demanded that. They gave it to them so they would leave and they left. They were talking with him and saw his face and everything. We called the police and President Dias.

So... they're moving houses. It's not safe anymore. It was 2 nights in a row that they came, and there is no doubt that they've already tried to go back since then, but there's nothing of value in the house, we took it all out and put it in another missionary house in the south of the city. Saturday Elder Santos and I helped before going back to our area. They had to pack everything up and go to the center to stay with the secretaries. They also had to find a new house as soon as possible. Elder Daniel and I spent at least 3-4 hours looking for a new house, but we found nothing except for a small condo really far away.

It definitely kept things interesting! I'm safe, the thieves are gone. Good thing I didn't wake up and show them who's boss, right? ;) Just kidding!

Well, until next week!
Elder Rackham

Monday, February 28, 2011

Neto and Zenaide

So last week I told you that Neto and Zenaide would be baptized this Saturday. It went through and they were baptized! It was so special! My companion, Elder Santos is having a few knee problems and we're going to physical therapy. That and a few other things, we were very busy last week. We got a little side-tracked so we didn't have a whole lot of time to plan out the baptism, but it was great.

On Saturday we went and cleaned out the baptismal font and got it filled up, an hour or so before the baptism. The Irmã Zenaide's parents came from Piripiri, about 2 and a half hours from Teresina so they could see the wedding and the baptism. Irmão Neto has a brother in the ward right next to Taquari, so he, his son (Neto's nephew who just got his call to Florianóplis) and a few acquaintances came to the baptism. It was simple but great. I wanted to do a special musical number, but nobody else who could sing with me was able to come, so I ended up singing a solo! It wasn't the best, but I sang because they're special to me. Then we had the actual baptism and watched a small clip from the DVD Introduction to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It went really well!

Afterwards we all went over to Neto and Zenaide's house and we had a little party with food and cake. The cake was delicious. Very, very delicious. So was the food! They got to know a few more members of the ward, so that was a big help.

Saturday also happened to be my birthday! So it was pretty much the best birthday on the mission. On Sunday, I got to confirm them members. I'm grateful to have been able to be a little part of it all.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Love ya'all!
Elder Rackham

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


So I said that last week I would report on the baptism we were going to have Saturday. The baptism was postponed a week, but it was for a good reason. For Neto and Zenaide to be able to be baptized, they needed to get married civily. So we went to the cartório (I don't know how to translate it, I forgot) to sign the documents and start the process. The only unfortunate thing is that it takes a bit of time to go through the process. The soonest we can hold the wedding is this Saturday. It's fine that way, because it just happens to fall on my birthday! What a great way to celebrate my birthday!

It's great to see them every time we visit. Every time that we're there, they're either reading the Book of Mormon together and talking about baptism or something about church. It's been simply amazing to see the change that has taken place in their life. I stop and think about my part of the process. I can't really explain, but we as missionaries really don't do much. I say that in terms of helping strengthen families and creating more unity in the home. All we do is teach the gospel. I've seen it many times during my mission, how home life changes dramatically as the people hear and accept the gospel and start to prepare to make and keep sacred covenants. Many people have said of the difference that has occured. We didn't help them with this. I think it's simply the Spirit that comes into their homes that cause this great difference.

I've also unfortunately seen the other side of it, where a family doesn't apply gospel principles in their home as we've been teaching them, and this great change doesn't occur. This is probably a fault of ours, not theirs. We could have taught better, or meet their needs better. Unfortunately we're not perfect. I hope one day that the seeds we planted will sprout and they as well will be able to enjoy the blessings of the restored gospel.

I'm learning so much, every single day. I hope everyone is doing well! Next week for sure I'll tell you about Neto and Zenaide's baptism!

Love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, February 14, 2011

Well well well!

I'm short on time, again! I talk to much it seems. I'll be sure to budget a smidgen more time for next week's email so I can send a better update.

We're teaching a family and this next Sunday they're going to be baptized! We have everything planned out for it to happen. Everything should go alright. I'm so excited because it's a very special family. They're so great to us, and I always feel the spirit when we teach them.

I'm excited to plan out the baptism. I want it to be special and unforgettable. They mean so much to me it's the least I can do. We're going to teach them to night.

We had our Zone Conference last week. It was great as always. President Dias' trainings are always so great. I always feel that he's an inspired man during these conferences and I'm amazed at his knowledge and capacity to teach clearly the doctrine.

I'll let ya'll know about the baptism next week!

Elder Rackham

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sometimes you're not sure what to do

We were going to have a baptism this past Saturday, but Aliciane is facing some family problems. Aliciane really felt for herself the truthfulness of these things. She wants to be baptized. But her family is important to her. And that's the problem. Her family isn't too keen about her being baptized. We watched Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration with her, her mom, and a family we're teaching. It was very powerful and everyone felt very strongly that Joseph Smith didn't make this things up. It was the first time that I watched the movie as well, and it really had a profound effect on me. In fact, I think because of this experience Aliciane resolved her concerns and gained a testimony.

We tried to work with her to see how she felt about everything. But she's scared about what could happen. She has an uncle who is very opposed to the idea of being baptized. He started visiting them and bringing pastors with him to try to convince her that she shouldn't do it. Everything is giving resistence. But it'll be okay. I need to remember that this is done on the Lord's timeline, and not when we decide to have things done.

It was a good week. I love my companion, Elder Santos. We have so much fun and we teach well together and it's just wonderful! The ward is really great. It's been a good experience returning tothe same area I was already in.

I'll let you know about Neto and Zenaide next week. It's one of the families we're teaching. It's been a wonderful experience so far.

Love you all!
Elder Rackham

Monday, January 31, 2011

My car goes vroom!

I wish I had a car. The buses here are going to kill me! I feel like the buses are going to tip over because they take turns way to fast. I'm going to carry a whistle around with me and blow it when the driver gets wild and reckless and yell "Stop good sir! You're driving is wild and reckless and I don't feel safe anymore!" I'm not sure how well it will work but it's worth a try I guess.

We're working with a great family. Their names are Neto and Zenaide. That's a first I've ever had an investigator with either of these names. Anyway, we've been working with them a lot about eternal families. They really want to be. Tonight we're going to have a special family night with a couple from the ward who's been sealed in the temple. It's going to be great! We've set their baptism for the 13th of February.

Time is short as always! But I hope everyone has a very safe and wonderful week!

Elder Rackham

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lucy! I'm Home!

So one thing I learned in this mission so far is that transfers happen when someone is transferred. That can happen at any time. Many missionaries think of this as an "emergency transfer" but it's not always like that. Sometimes a transfer just happens. Let's just say that a transferred ended up happening this past week. Let's just say that I ended up being transferred too. The assistants called me to let me know, and I was surprised when they told me where I was going, one, and two, who my new companion would be! I was transferred to Taquari. This probably rings a bell for several of you. That's because I served in Taquari for 3 weeks in the end of March to the beginning of April! And my companion, Elder Santos! I lived with Elder Santos in Parnaíba! And now we're companions.

I'm sad to leave Horto Florestal. I really liked the ward. It was a huuuuuuuge area, but it was good. I really grew to love the Horto Florestal ward. It has some amazing members who each have a unique story that's special and important. They're doing the best they can, and they're being blessed for it. I got to work side by side with a few specific members and create some close friendships. I want to come back and visit Teresina after my missiojn. I've spent several months in this city, and to me it's beautiful. It has trash in the gutters, unpaved roads, dead cats and dogs, thrown in piles of garbage in the backroads, but I think it's beautiful.

I was transfered on a Wednesday, and got here late Wednesday night. On thursday we got to work! It was nice to see the people that I got to know. Several of them at least remember that I already served in the ward! This Sunday at church, I got to see almost everyone that I knew. It was so weird but great at the same time.

Another weird moment was walking into the house we live in here in Taquari. When I was here there was only one companionship. There's two here now. There were a few things fixed and a few things changed, but the house is just as I remember it. I'm really excited to get to work. There are some great investigators that we're working with that I really enjoy, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Also I made brownies. They were delicious.

This afternoon we're going to the Institute building to spend some time with 6 other missionaries. Me and Elder Santos, Elder Magalhães and Elder Friden (they live with us), Elder Peixoto (my old companion) Elder Rodrigues (his new companion), and Elder Pereira and Elder Silva. It's going to be fun. Also, I got to know the institute coordinator, Irmão Murilo. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to anyone in the ward because it happened so quickly, so it'll be nice to talk with him again.

Anyway, until next week!

Elder Rackham

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter is Approaching!

It's getting cold here! Well, as cold as Teresina can get which is
about 28 degrees celsius. At night it gets down to 25 degrees, maybe
23 at the lowest. Unfortunately I don't think in Fahrenheit anymore
so I can tell you what it is in fahrenheit.

We had an interesting experience. More of a reminder to me actually.
The other day we were talking with our Ward Mission Leader, and I
asked him if he knew anybody that we could teach where we were going
to work that day. He worked a lot with the past missionaries, so he
got to know their pool of investigators. He remembered a girl that a
member had introduced to the missionaries apparently, but he didn't
know what happened in the end. So we tried to find the house but we
couldn't. So we called him again and he mentioned that the Stake
President knew this girl. We went over to President Santiago's house
and we actually found him at home! I was expecting to find his wife,
but he was actually home. We talked to him about this girl, but he
didn't remember her. He did remember that his nextdoor neighbors were
being taught by the previous missionaries. We took note and told him
we would come back another day to talk to his neighbors.

That was Wednesday. Two days later, we were walking in the direction
back home one night. It was about 8:15 and all of our plans had
fallen through. So we were thinking of something we could do to
finish our night and go home. First we remembered a part-member
family that we had taught once. So we decided to go down that street.
It just so happens that it's the same street as President Santiago.
Right as we turned onto the street, we remembered his neighbors and
instead of going to this family we stopped and knocked on this
neighbors door. A man answered it and we talked on the step for a
little bit. We discovered that his mom had passed away 2 years ago
and he was missing her. We told him that we have a message about
this, and he invited us in.

It was a good lesson. He invited us back. We'll be going back and
visiting him tomorrow. It reminded me that one, if we make the effort
to find people, we will find people prepared by the Lord. And two, I
should be bold in my declaration of this restored gospel.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week, and until then, be safe and have
fun! But not too much fun. That can be unhealthy at times.

Elder Rackham

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, well, well!

It's now 2011! I looked at the date somewhere on January 1st and was about to tell my companion that the date was wrong, but then I remembered that it really was 2011! I slept right through all the fireworks and loud noises and such.

I ended the year just before going to bed, finishing the Book of Mormon, cover to cover. It was a wonderful experience for me, that I have already mentioned. But to me, it was a great way to end the year.

We've been working more with the members this week and they've prepared 4 people to be baptized these next two weeks! There are more members working right now with other people! I'm really excited for the next few weeks.

Apparently we have some training this week I have to go to. It messes things up. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I'M MISSING THE BEST LUNCH IN THE WORLD TOMORROW! Seriously, I am not a happy person. I'll get over it though (we have lunch at this same place two times a month). This training will be really good for us. I'll become a better missionary and a better teacher. I've grown to love teaching now. I feel very comfortable teaching and giving trainings. Actually, being in a situation where I give trainings is something that I really enjoy doing and I hope to incorporate into my future career. So anyway, even though I'm missing lunch, it's going to be worth it.

Happy New Year!

Elder Rackham