(Editor's note: on Tuesday, August 20, I got a call from the mission office saying Elder Cetraro had been mugged and got his debit card taken and it needed to be cancelled. This is the experience he is speaking of in the beginning.)
Yeesss, I am totally fine. I’m sorry if that first heads-up wasn’t detailed enough, I was standing there next to the secretary ready to fill you in if you freaked out. But it was chill. I guess I can tell you a bit more about it but I would like to forget about it a bit.
So like I told you in my last week’s email. I was in a different area with different missionaries who were all waiting to pick up their new companions. Like what I also said in the email we will probably go check out the ocean. Well it was the combination of these two that pretty much caused what happened. So Tuesday we were supposed to go to the office at 4 o´clock. After lunch me and another American got a glimpse of the ocean from afar and went all "goo-goo gah-gah... omg omg omg omg" If you can understand, I haven’t seen the ocean the whole time I have been here. Well what happened was the Elder whose area it was said, "Well you guys are in luck, because our next appointment is right by the beach." And then while we were going there he said "Oh! On the way there is a great view, it’s a bit dangerous though."
So yeah, we swung up by this hill that really did have a great view and I of course had my camera for that. But as we were leaving there appeared a bunch of kids. (like 12-16 years or so) and one of them had a broken beer bottle yelling at us to get down on our knees. I wanted to run, it would have been the best idea. But sadly though, the other two missionaries got down on their knees and if I would of booked it or fought back (I’m a black belt so I definitely already had an action kick-butt plan in my head) but if I would of done that, the situation would turned active and I would of put the other two Elders in danger. So they ended up taking my camera (I already hid the memory card in my back pocket) and my Missionary Manual, which had the (debit) card and money for a taxi. Funny thing is usually I don’t carry these things but due to the occasion I had them. I didn’t have a bag I just had these two things in my pocket so I couldn’t hide them. The other American Elder had his camera and wallet well hidden in his bag so he got away lucky.
But yeah, don’t worry, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t of handled, nothing crazy. I do kinda feel bad though because I was the oldest Elder there, so I should of been more responsible, but then again, I didn’t know the area at all to make those judgment calls. But yeah.
Anyways as for the rest of the week. So we stayed in Expedicionários and I am with Elder Monical. He is a tall kinda quiet guy and he kinda reminds me of Uncle Jared with how calm and athletic he is. Anyways, he basically forgot most of his Portuguese because he spent 3 months out of the MTC not using it. So it has been interesting. I will have to really focus to help him participate in the work and really grow in this transfer. I am able to do the work but I can’t do it all and neglect him the growing experience and practice that he needs, so hopefully this next week we will figure it out.
As for the work I felt like it was a little slow this week since I didn’t have the opportunity to do weekly planning or do weekly goals. It is amazing how slothful we become without these two things. I will want to do this weekly planning and goals after the mission for sure! But it was waaay cool though because I didn’t tell you about Tiara from last week.
So last Friday I got a phone call from the office that they had a great referral for me to baptize. So we swung by Saturday afternoon and she actually was just about leaving. But real briefly I asked her how does she already know about the Church. She shared with me how at the moment she is without religion because she has studied the Catholic church’s history as well as the Baptist church’s history and she didn’t like what she has seen. She said that she already has looked into and studied a bit about the Mormon Church and has a return missionary co-worker that took her to some church things and gave her a Book of Mormon. I know an elect when I see one so I just briefly bore my testimony of how God has answered her prayers and sent us and gave her the first 3 lessons to read. So she did, she went to church with us, she loved it. We passed by her house last Sunday afternoon (while I was still with Elder Medrado) and we ended up teaching her the Restoration and about the Gospel of Christ and she accepted to be baptized. We then tried to pass by during the week to teach the commandments but basically with studying and work she has no time whatsoever. So we ended up just teaching her everything that afternoon. She already was living all the commandments. We really could of baptized her right then and there. Thing is though that night was transfers which means a night of packing bags and not baptisms.... so we put it off for this week. But yeah, she was the driest Mormon I have ever met and wow she is 19 years old and I think she has a desire to serve a mission. I am excited to see her blossom in the church.
Ha, but thanks for the updates. My companion actually already told me about the temple video he was there last week..... Jealousy....... and I am excited to see it as well but I am sure that just being in the temple will be good enough for me.
Gotta go! Love you all, have a great week!
-Elder Zachary Cetraro