Monday, May 27, 2013

Well you think you had a crazy week? Don’t get me started! Ha, It was a very good emotional and exciting week. So as you know I guessed it right, and I was leaving my little beloved area of Jardim Castelão. It was cool though because I did a split with the little greenie companion of Elder McLaws’ and I visited my old Ward, Castelão. I thought it was funny because it really wasn’t even the people that I missed exactly but more just walking around there. It just gives you that weird feeling because you know you have passed sooo much time of your life there. It was quite enjoyable, and it was very nice to be with a greenie, I liked doing the training with him, I felt like I inspired him a little more to do exercises and English study a little bit more.

Saturday though was a day I never will forget in my mission. So in the time that I have spent here in Fortaleza I have really learned a lot about working with the members (ex: ALL my baptisms here came from a referral of a member) and how God really needs us to strengthen their faith as well. It’s hard to be a member here. They aren’t as stable down here and it is crazy how a firm, strong member a few weeks later stops going to church and is openly sinning. My goal for this last transfer was to really get the Ward Missionary Work organized, so that after I leave I know that it will continue and help retain members and make the difference that I know members have in the missionary work. Well after many prayers, fasts and meeting with leaders, we finally had our first activity with the new Ward Missionaries. We had a nice little Churrasco (BBQ) and then we started a little meeting with them. Wow, the Spirit was strong. I felt impressed to talk about the privilege to have a calling and the power that comes from it and how God really strengthens us in our weaknesses in our callings. I got really choked up and stopped when I said, "Not a day passes that I don’t thank God for my Calling". Later after this training, everyone got up and bore their testimonies. The Spirit was really strong and you could feel the missionary work fire starting up in them. With this whole experience I really felt the confirmation that I fulfilled my duty in this Ward and that my time here really made a difference. I know I left that Ward better than I found it. It was surprising too how emotional the members got when I told them the news that I was leaving. Especially my semi-active members that live above us and also that family, the Jalis’, that we had all those fun FHE’s with. It was great!

So now you are probably wondering, what happened now? Well I have to say it was pretty shocking! So the mission split.... I stayed with President Souza; ha, it will be cool though because my first 3 areas are in 3 different missions now. But get this. I was called to open an area (start from scratch, I know I always do this but it is actually rare and is real work). I was called to be Senior Companion, but not only that, I will be training!!! I also was called to be a District Leader over 2 other Elders and 2 Sisters (I heard a rumor that one of them is the granddaughter of the Prophet!) SOOOOOO YEEAAAHH...... EXCITING!! All of these new things on my plate. I will go get my "Filho" tomorrow and then all the fun will begin.

SO, it is now Praying Season for our family. I need your Prayers; I know God called me to do this because He knows I’m able, but I know it will be A LOT. My limits will be stretched no doubt, but I want to pull through it all mightily and baptizing! Alright? So let’s call down the powers of heaven in Fortaleza, I know this could really make my mission, I’m excited.

I love you all and THAT was the Good News for the Day =)
-Elder Cetraro

Monday, May 20, 2013

WoW Mom,
What a wonderful letter. Ha, Skyping was very fun, and very short. I liked it a lot, but I won’t lie this last week I was stuck thinking about home a bit more. But I shook myself out of it, and I decided it probably is a good idea that we don’t Skype or call every week... because it’s THAT nice! I agree though this last time really was a blessing, talk with grandparents, see and talk with you all, and most of all see my new nephew, WOW! Perfect timing buddy.

Wow, I also got a little emotional reading about the priesthood blessings the bishopric gave you guys. As a missionary we are promised that our families will be greatly blessed with spiritual blessings while we are not there. I fully believe that this experience honestly was one of those manifestations. I am really grateful for our inspired church leadership and priesthood that God uses to express His love to His saints. This only can be done in His true church as well.

Awesome. Well I guess I should probably fill you guys in on my last little week. Well, big news. We got the news on HOW the Mission will be split, and we will know WHO will be split next week with transfers. Sounds like Juazeiro will be a part of a whole different mission, "Natal". Ha, so there is a 1% chance that I will go to another big city of Brazil. But we’ll see. The conference was very good and I loved to hear the President and his Wife really express their love for us. I also was able to talk and converse with just about all my good friends from the mission.

For the work, we baptized a man named Cristovam. He is a 60-year-old man. He was an alcoholic a month ago, but the moment our Ward Mission Leader told him about the church, he stopped. He is a very humble big ol’ Eyore (from Pooh Bear) type guy. It was very heart warming to see him draw very close to his Heavenly Father. Like what Elder McLaws said after he interviewed him, you can FEEL that the Atonement is really working in his life.
 Love you all, BYE
-Elder Zac Cetraro

May 6, 2013

Heeeyy theerrreeee!
WOW! I can’t believe that I am going to be seeing my family and my new NEPHEW!!! - next week. I am really antsy. Last time was kinda whatev, but this time I am definitely ready. I guess I should get some questions ready for you guys, right?

Garage sale, huh? I need to know though.. What did you sell? I still can’t believe you sold that old Nintendo system for 20 bucks forever ago. It’s worth like 100 right now! Ha, speaking about Nintendo. Ha, last P-day and this P-day I watched Wrecking Ralph! LEGAL! I liked it. I don’t know if I am like super spiritual in tuned or if the movies now-a-days are just getting better but I was learning little spiritual lessons the whole time I was watching! It’s a great movie, you can probably put that as one of my favorite movies (as a missionary) right under Tangled, ha. (Editor’s note: Missionaries are only allowed to watch Disney movies on their mission, nothing to worldly!)

But once again. WOW, TAYLOR IS A HUGE PREGO AND WILL HAVE A BABY!!! I actually had a mental breakdown about it this last week. (Okay it wasn’t a breakdown but I kinda thought about it for a good 20 minutes and talking/freaking out about it to my comp) I actually know a LOT of pregnant people down here (they are everywhere!) and I always just think. “That’s Taylor”.... weird.... And then I see lots of cutes babies and kids. Actually, I am surprised, I haven’t lost my touch with kids. It’s actually a rule down here that I can’t play with them and/or should focus on the adults, but the little guys still LOVE me. Ha, so that’s cool. (Editor’s note: Zac’s sister, Taylor, had a baby boy May 9th.)

As for the week, wow, I think my adultiness stepped up. This last week the focus was organizing the Missionary Work in the ward. The weird thing is.... It was kinda me doing the organizing. (Yes... your son... organizing...a bit weird) We have a lot of good members in the ward and our ward mission leader is a great guy who is always super willing to help us, but the thing is they just talk about what would be good. All talk, No Do. So finally we sat down and I taught that planning is the "How are we going to do that" So with that we listed out some ideas and responsibilities for the people in the ward missionary work, the leaders, and the members. So it was really good. So we are getting a little bit more structured.

Another good lesson that came into my head this week was about how patient and humble God is. He is great and glorious, but at the same time, patient and humble. He has all the power in the world and me being a priesthood holder you’d think I could just force choke people into going to church. But no, God gave man free agency and He really does respect it. So God really doesn’t use police down here, but instead he uses witnesses. We, in the Gospel are all witnesses, and the greatest power we have is to testify and the spirit that accompanies it. After that it is the responsibility of the listener to believe, and then the magic begins. I am constantly amazed with the patience of God, and with His patience with me. Now I need to be patient with others as He is with me.
Sooo yeah.
Love ya Fam
Até Proxima Semana!
-Elder Cetraro

Alrighty, so the members who live above us, one of the boys had a birthday. They are actually not a very strong family in the church and if the three boys go on a mission or not is a real question. So I guess they weren’t going to have cake and ice cream so I hurried and jumped on it and spent like 7 dollars on cake and ice cream, and we had a little birthday party. It was amazing how grateful they were for what I did, because it really was nothing, it was the least I could do. The best part is the Mom (who isn’t even a member) grabbed 2 of her boys and Lucas (that young man/ less-active that I have already talked about) and took a picture and said. "Now a picture of the 3 future missionaries." WOW! I don’t think I have ever heard more beautiful words on my mission. I really hope I have made a difference for these 3 GREAT boys who I know would make great missionaries. If really all 3 went, I think that would be better than any baptism =)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

……But yeah, for the work it was AWESOME this week. Ha you know me, I like mixing things up and Elder Barbosa is WAY different. I’ve learned a lot with him. He is super obedient which I love, he seriously grabs the information of every single person we talk to which helps us always meet new people and our days are filled. He loves teaching about the priesthood. His lessons don’t really change so I feel like I have taught the same restoration lesson 30 times this week but its good for me. He is real cool and I am helping him a lot with English, hopefully he can help me with the Portuguese. I want to get rid of my accent completely. But yeah, it was really good to be able to focus on one ward this week. It’s going pretty well. 
Tá bom
Love you muchly,
-Elder Cetraro