Wednesday, December 30, 2015

From Elder Monzingo

So this week has been interesting. For one our Brazilian roomates have moved on to the mission field which waws kinda eh i guess. Cause they were really cool and they helped with the Portuguese. Especially the one that actually knew pretty good english cause he taught us new words and whatever. But I think we have new ones I just dont really know. Another Brazilian that has gone on to the field that was a good friend of really everyone in the district was Elder M. Alves. That guy is awesome. Doesnt know english but he is the only member in his family and he earned all the money for his mission himself fighting. Which I think is pretty darn cool. 

Anywho we had Christmas here which was really rather cool. For one we got to wear our excercise clothes all the first half of the day which was rather nice. But that first half we did some volleyball, basketball, and these paper airplane contest thingamajigs. Then after we changed we went and watched the broadcast for the MTC Provo Christmas devontional with Elder Bednar, which was awesome. He, his wife, and one of his sons and his family spoke. One of their grandchildren sang these two primary songs, one spanish, and that was actually really kinda cute. Cause its this, sixish year old girl that is kinda being broadcasted around the world to every MTC. But Elder Bednar did a Q&A thing with all the MTCs. we didn't get to submit questions but that was still absolutely very cool. I would do that every year if I could. But then afterwards we went and played games in the main auditorium, ping pong, Uno, puzzles, these team games, other stuff, Legos. Elder Dixon and I built this tower out of them that we dubbed the tower of Babel, cause it was a lot of legos. There's a picture of him holding it. But then we got ties from President Swenson, MTC President, who actually leaves at around the same time as us. From what Ive heard at least, also in case I haven't said it his son is the missionary baptizing some one on the front of the missionary call packet that everyone receives. So that's kinda cool. Also it rains everyday.

Also one thing you don't expect to miss is not having to wear shoes in the shower. Cuase you need to wear shower sandals in the shower or risk foot fungi so you do. One handy thing is the window showers that have windows at about head level so you can store soap and shampoo and stuff there instead of shampoo on the floor or something. But what becomes useful can also make an interesting story, like say using a window shower and when putting your soap back in its case the case happens to shoot out of the window and fall about 5 stories. Thats pretty exciting. But yeah. Good times. 
I think that's about all I have for today. I love all of you guys. Oh! I almost forgot that we went proselyting yesterday. That was kinda interesting, each person got 4 BoMs and had to hand them out. So our companionship had 12, but its interesting. Cause it wasnt that hard because I know the language for at least that, it was more of where do we go and then actually talking to people. But then there are some people that ask questions which isnt too bad it justt depends on the questions. And if you understand what they are saying. Which doesnt neccessarily happen all the time. Or a lot. I don't know whatever. But yeah. I love you all. 

Elder Monzingo

Sunday, December 27, 2015

It Takes a Ward to Make a Missionary

Today was a missionary Sunday. Logan Robertson recently returned from his mission in Boise, Idaho. He gave a report on his time there. Before he spoke the missionary mommas got a chance to speak about their missionaries.

I actually had been warned the previous week. I should be ready to speak for a couple of minutes. It seemed perfect since we were going to speak to Daniel on Christmas. In theory I would get a chance to ask if he wanted to say anything to the ward. It would've been perfect if I hadn't completely and utterly forgot. My bad memory didn't prove to be much of an impediment. Before he got on that plane for Brazil, I had been thinking about how important our ward families have been for preparing him.

There have been many that helped shape this marvelous boy of ours. Primary teachers to youth leaders. Scout masters. Seminary teachers. Bishops. Many amazing people guided, loved, encouraged, listened to Daniel. I am so very grateful for every single person. I don't know if I can thank them enough. Not just for Daniel, but for our entire family.

We are greatly loved and greatly blessed.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Letter to Santa

As published in our local paper:

Dear Santa,

How's life? I bet it's good you know makeing toys, Christmas the reindeer. Question, are reindeer nice or mean? And how are the reindeer? Well Santa Pal, can yo do me a favor? Can you get me a camera? Because I don't have one. And I'd like to take videoes and pictures of people and I have nothing to do that with. or a tablet! Then I could do games, school and have a camera! Great Santa! But please, please, please get me ALL the wide awake princess books and dork diaries. I LOVE those books and bookd are good for you. Really thats it but, your Santa you can also problay butter up a dirt bike for me because I've never a bike, I have no concrete only rocks and dirt, so I need a dirt bike. Candy and hair bands for me as well to keep my hair out of my face and candy to eat. All in my stocking please. And maybe a little statue of the eiffle tower! And a suevaner from somewhere. And one peice of reindeer food every christmas so I can keep it for next Christmas!

Sarah Monzingo
Age 9
Mrs. Blake's Class

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Week

From Elder Monzingo:

"So there are trees everywhere. It may seem kinda random but this is the biggest city I've ever been in, its one the worlds biggest, and there are trees everywhere. Not Dallas style trees every couple feet or something. But Trees actual trees with green leaves and they are MASSIVE at times. Just super super super very tall. Can't look anywhere without seeing them and its amazing. I'm gonna try sending some pictures out to mom and she should distribute them. Now you know mom. No idea how it will work. But trees, all variety from palm to that's about all I actually know. In traffic going to the temple you see these people on motorcycles flying in between cars in the traffic. Which I honestly think makes so much sense I have never understood why it doesn't really happen in america. But it's crazy, kinda cool, and sounds fun. Don't worry I don't plan on doing it. Plus it,s probably not allowed. Also a birthday P-day is kinda nifty. Also, It's CTM pizza night on Quarta-feira so double bonus. Cept pizza doesn't have sauce, but it is really good.

    But I was sorta kinda a little maybe more than that sick this week. There was fevers and cough and a general feeling of unwellness. But Meu Companhiero and I took a trip to Elder Sharp, CTM doctor, got some meds and everything seems to be good for now. Also the daily excercise time we get weekly is a welcome break from sitting down all day. Its super great. We do lots of volleyball. and Elder Hoose brought this folder with his workout plan and so some of us do that and it is generally rather exhausting. But its ok.

   Also Portuguese is mean sometimes cause I don't understand it much at times. Generally I do and I get a lot more than I used to but still. Sitting in front of your investigators trying to find a word in your mind or dictionary is absolutely no fun. And they are all technically fake. Only because they are instructors but then they really aren't fake. 2 investigators right now.

  The entire english group I arrived with minus the one sister that was at Provo is now one district that has seen much difficulty. The first week I think Tuesday Elder Capistran left and went home, Then Elder Cassador and Sister Summers were transferred to a Brazilian district and now they are back which is great. Currently Elder Hiller , Elder Cassador, and me are a trio companionship. Elder Cassador is nice to have cause he actually speaks and understands Portuguese much better than we do.

  Anywho the Temple here in São Paulo has probably the coolest interior of all the temples that I've been in. It is really awesome and has some super cool stained glass stuff inside of it. Not really much outside but oh well. But other than that everything is going good except for this keyboards lack of punctuation.

   Also the address for the MTC  if you want to send me stuff is: Rua Padre Antônio D`Angelo, 121 - Casa Verde CEP 02516-040 - São Paulo - SP - Brasil

So there you go. Also the MTC won't accept packages so it would just be letters but it there if you want it. I love you guys.

Elder Monzingo

Also They have these flowers here that are absolutely amazing looking. I'm thinking of specifically in the MTC there's this tree with these awesome flowers. I´ll try to send a picture out. I love you guys again"

This is Mom. Google helped me find the letter address format for Brazil. His address is:

Elder Daniel Monzingo
Rua Padre Antonio D'Angelo, 121
Casa Verde CEP
Sao Paulo-SP

The Difference of One Person

The interesting thing about our oldest being gone is that we didn't miss him right away. That doesn't mean we didn't notice a difference or that we didn't like him. Senior year of high school was very busy and he wasn't home much. Also, he has been away from home for various camps.

The second week was different. The kids were a little crankier with each other than usual. One sibling starting looking for Daniel before she remembered that he was in Brazil. I would do the head count and feel that something was off. "One, two, three, four, five. There is supposed to be 5, why does it feel wrong?"

Joseph has moved up in the world. We treat him less like a little brother. I rely on him more to do most of the things I used to ask Daniel to do. Most. Not all. Joseph doesn't have the height or the long arms to reach the high places. However, he can provide muscle when needed. He also can be the one in charge when the parents are not home. We had to have a little discussion about what that meant. He had the notion that being in charge meant that he was the sibling overlord.

With the added responsibility comes some benefits. He is now as he phrased it "in the circle of trust". That means he gets to be Santa's assistant after the younger ones go to bed Christmas Eve. He is very, very pleased. Kermit thinks that some of the added responsibility will mature him. It just might. I'm not sure that anything would completely tame him. I'm not even sure I want him completely tame.

Hannah seems to be the one who most misses having her older brother close. He has been a constant presence in her life. She tends to like having her loved ones accessible. I remember when she started 1st grade. She was nervous. I don't think she would have gone to school except that she knew her big brother was at there, too. They never saw each other, but just knowing he was in the building calmed her.

I don't know what will change as we adjust. One person definitely makes a difference in the family dynamic.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In The CTM

Letter from Elder Monzingo:

"So today being Wednesday is my first P-day (preparation day). Will be until I'm out of here. Then I have no idea when it will be. But there are currently 6 other elders and 4 sisters in my district. It's pretty fun. The language in kinda interesting at times. For the most part I seem to speak portoespangles. Some mix of the three languages. At least some of the high school spanish seems to have come back to me. I'm surprised by how much stuff I've leaved in simply the first week in the MTC. Well CTM. But we got to go to the temple today in Campinas which was actually pretty cool. It's fairly large. I enjoyed that. We've also been teaching these practice investigators. First lesson was super iffy but after that the next 2-3 were not half as bad. I have rather enjoyed the time that I have in here. Still got another 5ish weeks to go. It's kinda strange knowing that I've been a missionary for a week. Both me and my companion, Elder Hiller, think so. But yeah. Not quite sure what else to put in this for now so Ciao!

Also, as an added thought, these keyboards are really weird. They don't have all the punctuation that I want and the stuff they have is in the wrong places so I'm not using it cause it's more effort to figure out than I'd rather exert. So, yeah. I love you guys.

Also, one more thing, I'll try to send out pictures but not sure how and if I really can. So it might be next week until any are received by anyone."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Shiny, New Missionaries

Received an email from the MTC (Mission Training Center) president. 

"Dear Parents,

Sister Swensen and I are very happy to let you know that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil Missionary Training Center. What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they begin their missionary experiences with us. We will surely take good care of your missionary."

The letter, mercifully for the mommas, included many reassurances that our missionaries would be just fine. This was my favorite part of the email:

Isn't that fantastic! Look, he has a name tag now. Seems more official.

Love my missionary.

All is Well, But He Doesn't Speak the Language

Just got an email from our missionary! He has arrived safely to the missionary training center in Brazil. Quite a relief for this momma. We had been tracking his flight. I knew the plane had landed where it was supposed to land and not in the ocean. Now we have confirmation that he and his luggage are all where they were supposed to land.

From his email:

"So I got here right around an hour ago. Things are not too bad. I understand just about nobody that is actually here. Most of the people that I've met in the MTC have been native spanish speakers or something along those lines. But in Atlanta I met about 13 other elders and sisters that were on my flight. But I love you guys. Have all my luggage. Had barely any sleep on the flight over. I think just about everything's is going well. I think. Mostly. Anywho, love you guys. Bye. Oh wait. First companion is Elder Hiller. He seems like a pretty cool guy. I don't remember where he's from right now. I think it's Washington or Idaho. Yeah. Not sure. Anyhow. Bye. I'll talk to you guys later."

I might have been a little excited to hear from him. Can't wait to share with his siblings when they get home from school.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Elder Monzingo is in the Air

Here he is, my missionary son as we left him in DFW airport. We had a brief moment of excitement when the TSA agent said that we might be able to go with him into the terminal. The ticket agent was less accommodating. We did not ever really expect to go with him, so it was only moderately disappointing.

I think letting him go was hardest on Hannah. She didn't seem to want to let her brother go. Even Elizabeth was a little emotional.

I have been feeling so many emotions, sometimes all at the same time! I am immensely happy for him and for our family. This is such a wonderful time for us. This is such a wonderful time for him. There is always such joy when the gospel is shared.

There is a bit of anxiety. I hope the plane doesn't crash. (We've been tracking the flight.) I hope he doesn't get eaten by vicious Amazonian fish. I hope he doesn't get lost. I hope he is healthy and well fed and loved. I hope that all of us can recognize the blessings that come from his service. I hope that we can spread the joy.

One emotion that has surprised me is the love that I've started to feel for the Brazilian people. I don't even know them. Daniel isn't even there yet. Already my heart yearns for their happiness. No one told me that I would feel that.

The plane has been in the air for about and hour and half. When Daniel lands in Sao Paolo in the morning it will be raining. The temps will be between 69 and 85 degrees fahrenheit. According to, the next ten days will be the same. I don't know what else is going to happen. I have faith that all will work to the good.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Open House

This Sabbath day was full. Full, full, full. We started the day driving to Corsicana. Our nephew was blessing his baby boy. Baby blessings are always wonderful. Also, I think it is good for the kids to visit different wards. It is good to see that even in a different town, a different building, a different congregation the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the same. We only stayed long enough to take the sacrament and see the baby blessed. Since this is Daniel's last Sunday before he leaves, we thought it would be good for him to be in his home ward one more time.

Today's Relief Society was over the atonement, specifically this beautiful talk by Dallin H. Oaks.

The atonement is so much more than repentance for our mistakes. It also covers those wrongs afflicted on us. Our illnesses and pains and sorrows and challenges can all be covered by the atonement. It heals us. What a comforting thought. When we understand the atonement, it is easy to see why Christmas is such a time of joy.

After our meetings we dashed home to prepare for Daniel's open house. I had no idea how many people would be here. Really I should have been better prepared. More cleaning yesterday. More getting food ready. Then maybe I could've enjoyed my brother more when he showed up right after we got home. It was a most excellent surprise to see him. He had some new photography toys that he was willing to use. He snapped a rather nice pic of Daniel. Another nice surprise was our niece Kriston. She was without the rest of her family. Her oldest son was not feeling well. Actually, I could say how fantastic it was to see everyone. We had a rather nice turnout. Our house was full to bursting. I think I even mentioned to Kermit that we might need a bigger house. I was only half joking.

Daniel leaves on Tuesday. He will be in Brazil for two years. I'm not sure how I feel yet. More accurately, I feel so many things that I don't know how to settle on one. This is an exciting time. I am proud of this young man. I am happy for him. I am excited, but I am also anxious. I don't know how the dynamics of our home will change. I want him to be safe. I can't help him if something goes wrong. I think of missionary parents of the past. All four of King Mosiah's sons left at the same time. They did not know if they would ever see each other again. They did not have a return date. There was no telephones or even mail service.  I know that my son will serve for two years and then come home. I will be able to write to him. Twice a year we will be able to talk. It seems a small sacrifice.

We put our missionary son on a plane on Tuesday. Maybe by then I will know how I feel.