Sunday, February 28, 2016

To Talk or Not to Talk

Elizabeth gave a talk in church today.

She was asked if she would be willing last Wednesday during church activities. She said yes, but apparently she seemed nervous about it. As a matter of fact I didn't know anything about it until after we got home. Then the panic started. Then the tears started. Lots of tears.

Of our six children there is only one that I could say is truly shy and it is actually not Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a gentle soul. She is reserved and observant. She does not like anything sudden. She is patient with the world and expects the world to be patient with her. She likes to study things out thoroughly before she makes an attempt. She didn't start walking until she was 14 months old. She didn't really talk until after she was two, but when she started there wasn't any baby talk. She is a classic introvert.

We had already made plans for Thursday that would take most if not all of the day. It was Friday before we could work on that talk. It was not going well. I tried to show her how to look up scriptures. How to research the topic (How Temple and Family History Work Can Help Us Do Missionary Work). There was a lot of resistance. A lot of frustration. A few more tears. It occurred to me that something was bothering her that was not being said. Most people are anxious about public speaking. It is quite normal. Her oldest sister is very outgoing, but she is terrified of being in front of a crowd. I am one of the weird people that actually likes speaking in front of people. Even with all the practice I've had I still am a bundle of nerves up until the moment I open my mouth. It came as a great surprise to me when she finally blurted out that the delivery of the talk was not what she was most anxious about. It was writing the talk. She not only felt like she didn't know how but that it was impossible for her to accomplish. We made a few more attempts and then decided to take a break. We both ended up taking a very long nap. That nap seemed to cure a lot of ills. Our next attempts to put together a talk were much more successful.

Just a couple of months after Elizabeth turned 2, her sister joined our family. Elizabeth was so very excited about her baby sister. She had not really talked much until after Sarah was born. I guess she just didn't have anything to say. She certainly had plenty to say about her baby sister. After about six weeks of life with a new baby some of the enchantment wore off. There was one afternoon she was just plain cranky. Nothing was right. I told her that as soon as I got baby sister down for a nap we could do something together.

"NOOOOO!!! I don't want anymore baby sister! Take her away!" Elizabeth wailed.

I managed to get the baby asleep and then I held my toddler and rocked in our chair. She fell into a much needed nap. That nap cured a lot of ills that day. Everything was sunshine after that.

These experiences, along with many others, have taught me that things are not always as they appear. In both of these instances my sweet Elizabeth was acting difficult and emotional when all that was really needed was a nap. She seemed to be worried about giving a talk when the real issue was a lack of confidence in her writing ability. It is not any different from any of us. It is not always easy to look with love at unpleasant behavior. It is important to try. We all have moments when we are not our best. Sometimes we may not even understand what is truly bothering us. How wonderful it is when we receive patience and understanding at those moments. How much better it is to remember to react with love. The solution may be a simple as a good nap.

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Hike

News from Elder Monzingo. The best part, there are pictures!

So today we got up this morning and went on a hike with some of the
young men in our ward to this old fort thing that's up in the jungle
rather large hill thing. There was a lot of old cannons that were
rusted and, well unusable but were really cool. Apparently there are
monkeys in that area but we didn't see any. Which was somewhat oh well.
Wish we could've ran into some but probably better that we didn't. But
that was cool. Some pictures are included. But this is the last week
of the transfer and both me and my companion are hoping we don't get
moved. Cause our couple Patricia and Edson, gave us the stuff we need
for their marriage yesterday we are sending it off tomorrow but they
wont be officially married until March 4th. So hoping this all works
out in our favor as far as transfers go. Cause well yeah. But we had 5
investigators in church yesterday, four of them are all neighbors and
truthfully might as well be one giant family. There was also a lot of
less active members in church. Apparently the Elders quorum president
extended a challenge to invite a less active friend that they know to
church so we have 1-2 families with a less active parent and nonmember
parent and kids that we are going to visit this coming week. Hopefully
we can help the less active members to remember the joy of the gospel
and bring their families in with them. Cause Really the goal is the
temple and that's where I'm trying to get our investigators and all
those other less actives. Cause there they get so many more blessings
than they really know. So I really hope we can help. Also I really
like it when people are honest with me about whether or not they
understood me with our lessons. Cause its important that they do.
Otherwise they cant progress and grow. It sucks when you ask a bunch
of people if they understood you they all say yes but then one of them
asks a question that you already explained the answer to and they all
tell your companion they didn't understand. It would be much nicer if
they just said they didn't understand the first time. It really sucks
not being understood. My companion understands me pretty much all the
time. Its only really when I don't know what I'm saying that he doesn't
know. But that's also probably because he spends 24/7 listening to my
Portuguese. So hopefully I can get this Portuguese thing to the point
where people understand me. I love you guys

Elder Monzingo

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Day Late

A day late, but here is the latest from Elder Monzingo:

So hello everyone. This is a bit late. But yesterday at the chapel
after my companion finished with his email stuff the internet for the
whole town was out. So we were told that I could do it today before
almoço. But this week was better than the week before with Carnaval.
Cause its over. But its funny cause this one guy we passed in the
street was talking with someone else about how God helps him because
of carnaval when the reality is that people participating in Carnaval
really dont get much help. The whole place sleeps all day and drinks
all night. Seriously. But we have much more investigators now than
that week. There are unfortunately like one or two of them I think
that dont seem very interested. Which kinda sucks. For them and me.
Cause I know it will help them but they dont necessarily seem to be
very interested. So Yeah. Some other people that we have yet to meet
with and some others we have look like they´ll be really cool
truthfully. One is a guy that lives close to the church building with
his family, currently its just him but i think we can probably talk to
him and his family and that would be cool. But an interesting thing
is, for some people, having to explain why specifically we dont keep
saturday as the sabbath day. Unfortunately Portuguese is probably the
only language that uses the same word for Sabbath and Saturday,
Sabado. So all the scriptures everywhere, BoM included, say Sabado. It
doesnt help that at times I just dont understand whats going on.
Fortunately my companion does. SO yeah. But thats this week. This past
Sunday at least in the U.S. was valentines day. Remember that love is
not exclusive to couples. You can and should show your love for
everyone as your brothers and sisters in whatever small way you can.
Literally a smile is all it takes and could make a big difference in
someones day. So dont forget that. I love all you guys.

Elder Monzingo

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


From Elder Monzingo:

So here in Brazil there is this thing called Carnival. Its taking
place nowish. I have to say it is super annoying. The closest thing
that I know of that is apparently somewhat comparable from what I know
is Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Except more like that and multiply the
stuf by like 10 or something stupid largish like that. But as my
companion says FRICK CARNIVAL! For our mission and area we have to be
back in the house by 5:30-6ish in the evening. So since a lot of stuff
is a good walk away we´re lucky to get 2 appointments in a day. Also
this week we had zone conference and a day where it was a day for us
to clean our house. Like the zone leaders told the zone during zone
conference that Friday the whole day except almoço we had to clean our
house. So we did. it seriously took all day. We moved everything out
of the front room, our study area and into either the kitchen or on
the beds. Then we swept the 2 bedrooms, one of which is really just a
large closet more or less for us, and when I say swept I mean the
ceiling and the walls as well. Then we made a soap, bleach, water
water mixture to scrub the floors and so there was this reddish dirt
that was just kinda stuck on the floor that you had to really scrub at
to get off, then we squeegeed the water out and dryed it, moved all
the stuff back and repeated the process for the kitchen. Then I got to
do the bathroom, My companion said `When Elder Capello arrived he
cleaned the bathroom, when Elder Green arived he cleaned the bathroom,
when I arrived i cleaned the bathroom, and now Elder Monzingo will
clean the bathroom. So yeah. Fun times. And by fun I mean really super
tiring. I was honestly really tired. But this week we plan on sending
off the papers for 2 of our investigators to get married. It is kinda
annoying cause Its complicated cause it takes a while and different
lengths of time for different places. But they should be married in
like a week and the plan is for the baptism on the last day of the
transfer the 28th before church, I think before church. But thankfull
carnival ends for us this well tomorrow and then we can go back to
normal. Carnival for us started and ends earlier than just about
everywhere else. So i will be rather pleased when this is over. But or
now that really kinda sums up my week. Cause carnival, zone
conference, and the cleaning day stole all the rest of it. So yeah. I
love all you guys. Have fun.

Elder Monzingo

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Look Beyond Looks

Day 3 Love One Another Challenge

This morning it was cold. Cold enough to use the fireplace. I empty the ash bucket and then refill it with all that remained of our last fire. Carefully clean out the fireplace. Brave the cold to bring more wood inside. Wad up newspaper. Stack a few logs and start that thing up. Very soon I had a blazing fire. It was beautiful. The only problem is that the wood wasn't what was burning. It was the kindling. It appeared that I had a fantastic fire in my fireplace. What I really had was burning paper. It's what my husband would call drama. We had pyrotechnic drama, but no substance. And no lasting warmth.

On the surface this challenge is about physical appearance. There is so much more to it. We need to look beyond the drama, beyond the presentation. A child may be misbehaving or a person may be rude. What do we usually think about them? Sometimes we think what an awful human being. While that may be true, it is also true that each of us is a child of God. The bad behavior may be as simple as lack of sleep or bad environment at home or some other frustration that has nothing to do with us. My middle son gets very, very cranky when he is hungry. Until I made the connection I would get irritated at his hostile attitude.

A friend posted a video on Facebook. A man is trying to get to work. People keep getting in his way. A neighbor boy on his skateboard gets in his way. A woman steals his parking spot. The very slow person in the line in front of him at the coffee shop. The man is stewing in his frustrations when someone give him magic glasses. He puts the glasses on and can then see all the burdens the people around him have to carry. Parents fighting. Divorce. Death. Financial struggles. Addictions. All these people that were an inconvenience to him were now opportunities to serve.

"Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. Each one is doing their best to deal with the challenges which come their way...may we strive to do our best to help out." Thomas S. Monson

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Overlook Someone's Shortcomings

Day #2

The challenge for today has some overlap with yesterday's patience challenge. In order to overlook someone's shortcomings you need to demonstrate some patience with that person. But first a person needs to notice deficiencies in others. If we look for the positive instead, there isn't much room to be worried about the flaws. That isn't to say they are ignored, they just aren't important. To truly love, we accept all aspects of an individual. The good, the bad and the ugly may not all be equally delightful but they are all parts of what makes that loved one unique. Therefore, all bits, even the shortcomings taken together with the whole are valued.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Be Patient With Someone

Love One Another Challenge Day One.

Patience is hard. It is universally seen as a good thing. I used to think I was a patient person. It seems that I am patient in certain areas but the attribute is not completely mine. I am often impatient with my kids. They were very nearly the undoing of me before I had even finished breakfast. The way the challenge is worded it seemed that I should pick one person. I have five kids living at home and two of them are teenagers. We have a dog that is not my favorite. And I don't tolerate well my own shortcomings. I have plenty of choices. Instead of choosing just one I decided to be aware of the times when I felt it necessary to exercise patience.

My youngest daughter wasn't feeling well and stayed home from school this morning. That was the first test of the day. I tend to get testy when my routine is interrupted. Almost before I caught myself I could feel myself getting irritable. I remembered before there where actions or words. I felt impatient and I felt the ridiculousness of my impatience. There wasn't any reason except a minor deviation from my plan. That served as a reminder and a motivator to pay attention. I did. The rest of the day I tried to stay mindful.

When the baby quilt didn't come together as quickly as I planned I did not berate myself. When the unfavored dog was acting particularly unfavorable, I took her for a walk. When the teenager failed to sufficiently plan her work/school balance, I bought her supper. When we were running late and the car in front of us was really, really slow I just breathed and kept moving forward.

Focusing on this attribute has taught me something. I have some ability to remain patient, but not as much as I would like. When I acknowledged that I really don't have it, I felt a tremendous peace. I don't know that I have to be perfectly patient. I want to be, but that will come in time. It is a kindness we owe to those we love and also to ourselves.


News from Brazil:

The Lord loves me because he gave me bananas. I was sorta sickish this past Friday I think and not feeling all to great and I had prayed for bananas cause at first adjusting to everything with new foods or whatever is weird for all missionaries. But I thought, bananas are good for you, potassium that sort of thing, but the members that were going to feed us that day forgot about it and so they gave us a bit of money to get something to eat and i got bananas. So I am really happy with this.

 But in other news we had a baptism this past week, Fernanda. We got the authorization for her from her mom Wednesday, shes 17 so still needed it. But yeah, that was pretty cool. We had to spend about an hour both the day before and that day cleaning out the font. For some reason crickets were or are, not sure which, fond of it. So yeah. But we got it all shiny clean and filled it and I think we are still waiting for the water to evaporate and drain cause the drain isn't working right for whatever reason. So its just kinda in there. I think. Don't really know actually.

But we have a couple that we had a lesson with yesterday about temples and eternal marriage that the plan is for them to get married this week and I really think that they are ready. I think that Patricia especially is really excited about the possibility of a temple marriage in around a year. But this week the plan is for their marriage and the week after for baptism so we´ll see how it goes cause apparently the whole marriage thing is confusing enough as it is not that I really get why but mostly time I think.

It's interesting when you sit in a meeting like ward council and don't understand anything that goes on. I think i've discovered I can understand Portuguese much better the fewer people that are there. No not that but more like the more it's directed towards me but even then it's really iffy.

Also I think that my mom, well family in general, will be somewhat tickled to know that people here think I need to eat more too. So its not just a you thing mom. Its an everyone thing apparently. Members and whatnot have told me in the past few days I need to eat more. That by the time I leave here, not sure if this is Óbidos or the mission, I should gain at least 5 kilos. So yeah. Apparently people in every country think I need more substance. But yeah. This is all for now. Talk to you all later. Love you guys.

The one with a bunch of people is the elders quorum which ended up being pretty much if you´re a preisthood holder join in. But the guy in the suit front row is the bishop. So yeah. Just fun facts.