Monday, November 26, 2012

Ta bom, Eu acho que é engracado por que eu sempre quer falar contigo em Portuguese. Bet you don’t understand that, do ya?  Sooo Thanksgiving eh? Wanna hear about my Thanksgiving? You will like what sparked it all. Ha, so the day of Thanksgiving I went on a split with E. Burnham. He is hilarious and another junior here, so we work pretty well together. Well anyways it was good because the other Elders were in a different city and it just so happened that that day was money so we had plenty to spend, ha. So we ate at a little fancier restaurant, ordered a little juice and had plenty of snacks from the street (everyone has a snack shop here in Brazil, just about every street has someone selling something, but usually I’m too cheap to buy anything) But it dawned on us half way through the day that I forgot the keys in the house. So the second half of the day we spent trying to find a cell phone to use to call the leaders to call the owner of the house, but that didn’t work so we ended up joining our companions in another part of the city. So we had 6 Elders in one house, so it kinda turned into a party. We ordered some huge burgers (Which I think Brazilians have accepted the fact that they can’t make a burger anything like an American burger so they just throw just about everything in there, hotdogs, corn and peas, bacon, ham, burger, eggs, etc...) and an Elder had some pumpkin pie prepared. We also had a dance party to some John Schmidt Paradise/African song. I then slept in a hammock in a crowded room. So it was an adventurous day. But I was thankful for my adventure, ha.

Sunday we had Branch Conference and it was focused on missionary service. It is crazy here how missionary service here is a big deal. Truly, here in a branch, missionaries are the heart of it all. Everyone here is a recent convert and all the immigrant members want to bring the fullness of a Stake here. We had some people (all which I have worked with) come and bear testimonies. One was a 17 year old who is preparing and as he bore his testimony I could see his parents out in the congregation crying... made me think of you guys =') got to me, you know. Then to follow up the Branch President spoke about how quick a mission goes by and remembering finishing it all and it seemed like a dream that he just wants to return to. That got everyone crying and we followed it up with "Whenever I Hear the Song of a Bird" which I played... it was funny how emotional everyone was though, but it was good =)
But yeah... Stuff is good here! We are working hard, and it’s hard because we aren’t seeing many fruits..... yet! But it is all good!
Love you all, and there is my splurb for the week =)

Thank you Dad for the email. I appreciate hearing your details with everything. I never worry much about home because I always get such good news from you all.
One thing, for the last few weeks I have really been focusing on Hope. It is funny, as I explored into it, I found that I am already quite the hopeful person. This includes being enthusiastic, optimistic, confident, and with patient perserverence. We need hope to stay happy in all times, even the hard ones. I found a lot of lessons that you taught me start to pop up like the importance of having long-term goals and “what you see is what you get.” It is knowing that everything will work out for your own good, putting your dreams out there, and being able to dance in the rain. Good stuff. Love ya, ciao!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Photos from Juazeiro do Norte - Elder Cetraro's first area.

 Dressing up like each other for Halloween
Swapped name tags - no one noticed

Elder Cetraro overlooking Juazeiro do Norte

Elder Cetraro blowing his own horn

Elder Cetraro and Elder Galvez out on the road together

My first baptism- Adriano Cardosa do Nascimento

Elder Cetraro and other Missionaries at Adriano's Baptism
Bottling Factory

Suiting up for the tour of the water/cajuinha factory

I baptized Jose Jackson Costa do Santos (16) and my companion baptized Natanael Bezerra da Silva (19)

Suit'n up after baptism - Their member friend is in the middle who brought them to church

Party after the baptism
McDonalds... It was a big deal for everyone else but it was normal and expensive for me

Some more photos from the Sao Paulo MTC (CTM)
My MTC companion - Elder Anderson
Where my District members are going to
In my classroom I was positioned perfectly so I could behold the gorgeous sunsets every day - Sao Paulo 
Elder Pazini - My companion for 8 hours between the MTC and Fortaleza
Zac's good friend at the MTC - Elder Boehme
Dancing with Elder Silva - He would always enter our room and start singing my name and dancing
MTC President and his wife - Ralph and Maryann Degn (from Wellsville)
The missionaries heading to Fortaleza - Zac is the only North American
The coolest Janitor ever!
My last batch of Brazilian roommates playing some beats
My first day proselyting in Sao Paulo while at the MTC
Zac's MTC District and Teacher - Irmao Israel

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

WOW!! =) Well I am happy today not just for the great news I have seen from you but from my friends!! I had Tay, Brady, and Scott write me!  So that started the week off good. =) And ooooh boooyy, what a loong week it was - in a good way! I am amazed at all the work we fit into one week! When today arrived I was so surprised that it has only been one week.

So my Comp rocks! He is a total Zoobie (Epitome of a BYU person) but it is all good cuz I like him and he likes to work. He is seriously my hero. My prayers and dreams have been heard of being the best missionary because he is really showing me how the work should be done. We doubled or tripled the numbers I would expect with Elder Galves. So it has been good, and I am still alive. I just hope that I can catch on to this.

Something that is cool. Elder Orchard and Elder Burnham and I are the oldest in the zone now (of being HERE ya know) so it is really cool how I have a lot of responsibility and say now. All the members know me, I know where things are, and yeah, I kind of feel like a leader already´;)

But Yeah, that’s great to hear about music. Honestly, I think some of my most spiritual moments have happened because of music. It really takes it to the soul. I am surprised to see that my skills and understanding of music are growing. I might actually return a better piano player! =D

Anyways... I am loving the mission. I am loving the mission life, and I am really having a lot of fun with my Americans =) and we speak only Portuguese! Crazy huh? Anyways, I have got to write some of my other homies, but happy Thanksgiving, don’t you worry I am stuffed like a turkey every day! We don’t need that silly holiday here =P

Eu Te Amo! =) -Elder Cetraro

Monday, November 12, 2012

Alrighty mummie!!
Received the ties today! Ha, how sweet eh! Ha, definitely from the D.I. (pretty nice from the DI if you ask me) but I love them I think they are rad. HA! and the oatmeal, I was laughing my pants off when I received that, I forgot about that, I am so excited to have a fast easy and healthy breakfast every morning (which is basically the only meal that I feed myself)
But today I am suuuuuuppppeeeerrrr Excited!!! Why?! Well many reasons.... lately I think I have been breaking out of my shell a little bit. Having fun with people and such. I think the transfer helps too! So I will start with transfers right now. My trainer got swapped. It was time, but we learned sooo much with each other. A lot of good feelings and experiences that I think will help with the future. But we are great friends fo sho. But hooooolllllyy smmooookeess... Remember how I felt so honored to be in such a leadershippy place? Well that grew by a bagillion. So I don’t know if I have told you that my zone goal is to turn this place into a stake. We are so close and it is easy to see that President is anxious because this transfer we are STACKED!! My house is now filled with two more legends. Elder Reynolds, was secretary for the President. He was the first (only) American friend I had in Fortaleza that one day. And my new comp! Elder Hodson! He was a killer Zone Leader and now he is with me. HE WANTS TO WOORRRKK!!! As weird as that is, that is soo relieving. I’d rather be dragged to work than me doing the dragging. I am going to learn so much, IT’S AWESOME =) I know President is giving me only the best. So yeah there is that.
So some thoughts I wanted to share. One, Thanks =) There was a moment this week where I had a familiar feeling. It was kinda the feeling I get when you would sign me up for EFY or some leadership thing or something. And then I realized that this thing is AWESOME and something I need, and then I am happy I have "funders" like you. My Mission is great. I have never felt so much like a hero. Which is every boy’s dream. And I am living it =´)
Primary was great! It is a little crazy though because right after they asked me to play next week, 2 difficult Young Women songs, and after P-day today, it looks like that isn’t going to happen.
So yeah. I will talk to more next week. Please collect addresses of my friends if you can =)
Love you Mom! =D

Monday, November 5, 2012

So Riley and yáll.... You think I didn’t hear about Star Wars?!? Hahaha, I was actually lucky to hear about that on Halloween. Which by the way, I guess I will tell you about Halloween. So you guys know... I love Halloween and I love dressing up!! So I couldn’t just let Halloween go by. So the night before Halloween while I was writing in my journal with my Comp... it came to me... we’ll dress up as each other! Ha, so we did! I wore all his clothes; Boots, pants, tie and everything. And he tried wearing all of mine! (My pants didn’t work out for him) We did a little photo shoot and it was pretty great. Here comes the naughty part... heh heh heh... we even switched nametags! Ha, but nobody noticed! It was fun =) I bought some American candy, Twix and KitKats, and I had all my investigators attempt to say trick or treat (which it is hilarious to hear Brazilians attempt, lol) then I would give them candy.. AMERICA!!!

That night we scheduled a family home evening with basically the missionary mom, which was very good because the girlfriend of her son is not a member and she brought her family. We made delicious brownies with ice cream stuff and of course they fed me up to the rim. BARF/YUM! It was here that I saw on the news about Mitt Romney, Hurricane Sandy, and STAR WARS!!!!! I gave a lesson from the hurricane (Helaman 5:12 and Matthew 7:24) but I was freaking out the whole night about STAR WARS.... still am freakin out kinda... so continue to fill me in!

THANK YOU FOR THE PRAYERS. I know God listens and answers. I have learned that even though sometimes it may seem repetitive with the words, it is the consistency and the feeling that shows that it really does matter to you. This week was great! My goal for this transfer was to get things rolling since that is what we lacked last transfer and in these last two weeks it has been a miracle to see how God has blessed us. I received tons of referrals this week and we found two elite people. One is Tierre and Rosa. They are a couple with two twins. This is what we need! The President wants us to focus on men and families and we found one. They are really good. We only taught them once and they didn’t make it to church, but I still have faith that they will make it to the font.

The other referral is a girl who lives on her own, is 21 years old, works two jobs, and studying to be a teacher.  She is kinda like a little Joseph Smith because she wants religion in her life and she prays almost identical to us, but she doesn’t trust the religions here. She accepted to be baptized if she receives an answer. As we closed our lesson she gave a prayer and in that prayer she asked to find what she feels like she has been lacking in her life. After the prayer she started to cry, we testified that she felt the Holy Ghost and that could be her answer. So we will see where things go with her. But it felt so good to run into somebody who almost has just been waiting for us.

And now to tell about my baptisms! They both went through! I baptized José Jackson Costa dos Santos (age 16) and my Comp baptized Natanael Bezerra da Silva (age 19). It was real chill because we are all basically the same age so we are pretty good friends and it was fun getting them ready that day. They were psyched. They both could be missionaries! =) After we celebrated a birthday with the member that brought Natanael to church. It was fun to celebrate!

So for Primary, I am playing! I will play this next Sunday the new Primary song and “Whenever I Hear the Song of a Bird”. I only will be playing those two. I will be honest because the rest of the songs the Smart Piano can play perfectly with the touch of a button. She just needed me for those two songs. But it has been great to practice with them, I plan on learning as many Primary songs as I can and maybe I can start playing some at baptisms =)
So I hope that was enough stuff for yáll!  Soooo love yáll! Take care!
Elder Cetraro