Dear Family & Friends,
I am sorry about last week and that I didn’t get to write a letter. Last week we had transfers and I had to bring three elders and their bags to our house in P-Sul and then I had to take a 2 hour trip with one of those elders to another city to get the stuff for our zone and the rest of his bags!!! It was an extremely hectic day and our assistants don´t give permission to write a letter during the week if you missed Pday. But all is well.
I am so excited for Dallin that he will be serving in Colorado. He will be going out a year after me. He will be reporting a week before when I reported to the MTC. Also I have had some other friends that have gotten their calls and have reported to the field. Mother do you know anything about Donivan or Chief and the boys on the team? How they are doing? I still haven´t gotten the other letters you sent. Life is crazy here and I think the postal service has a problem
This past Monday was transfer day and I stayed in my area and I got a new companion but also another surprise. My area has received two more elders and now my area has become the area of the zone leaders. I am learning so much everyday from my companion who is Elder Escobar who is from Peru. He is 19 also and he is my district leader. He is great!! The two zone leaders are also great. There is Elder Schinigoski who is from Parana of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul and Elder Porter who is from Kansas City, Kansas and he is going home in 5 weeks because he is about to complete two years.
Here I am doing great. Our ward is great and everyday I am always meeting new people that we can talk with and share the gospel with. When we use the ward is goes along so much better. Yesterday Elder Escobar and I were walking with one of the boys in our ward doing contacts. Really we were knocking on doors and we meet a kid who was 15 years old and he said that he has an interest in our message and wanted to know more. It is amazing to see the blessings of the gospel here in the field. I love being a missionary!! Also here in Celandia it has started to cool down and it is amazing!!! I don’t like the heat and there is a cool winter breeze that has come along. Every day it is becoming a paradise and our investigators are wonderful.
We have 11 people with baptismal dates marked in about 2 weeks. We have a couple that is very firm on being baptized and this couple is interesting. They are great. The woman is healthy but the husband is completely paralyzed on his right side. He cannot speak clearly. This couple is great and they have really progressed. We have another family that my companion and I have only met the mother and the kids of the family but the father does not like us and does not want to talk to us. This family (I will call them Jane’s family) is wanting to progress but that the husband is not wanting us to enter into his house. We are having to meet in another member’s house now to speak with Jane and her family. They are great but have a few problems. When people go to school they go to learn. Here in Brazil the school systems is horrible and I have encountered many people that do not know how to read or write. Jane and her husband don’t know how to do these things. For me I feel extremely grateful for all of my teachers and parents for helping me through school.
Every day here is a new experience with all the people that I get to meet and I love it. I would like to invite everyone that reads this letter to do something this week to help someone that you know or a random person in the street. Do it out of love and a desire to be happy. Serving is one of the best ways that you can encounter happiness and that is the best part of my job. Also this week my companion and I encountered a man in his house. When we started talking to him, he became very irritated with us and tried to tear us apart about what we believe. He was so belligerent that my companion started to become really frustrated and so we ended the contact and went home. My companion started to vent and told me that he doesn´t like it when people talk bad about the church and I learned what I think is one of the best lessons yet in my mission. When life is beating down on you, when the world seems to be targeting you and that the enemy of all is trying to get to sin, that the best way to push them all away is to smile. When you smile or try to smile you become happy and also you can think this thought. If you believe in Christ you know that He lives and that He exists and that this is all that matters. The Holy Ghost and an army of angels are on your side fighting for you every moment of the day and we must always remember the sacrifice of our Savior.
Mother & Dad, I love you and I am having a great time. I will try to send some pictures to you next week. If you could find out what is happening with the team and how you and the family are I want to hear. I love you a lot and remember as Spencer W. Kimball says, “Great women and men are more anxious to serve than to dominate.”
Until next week,
Elder Ashton Nephi Hoopes