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