Monday, December 30, 2013

Heya Família! How y'all doin’ there?? Was it good to see Elder Cetraro?! Ha, next Skype call will be in my last transfer! WOW!! It really is going by quick, I am looking back on 2013 and it is weird to think that I was in all my areas this year. Maybe I will have one (really unlikely 2) areas in this new year. It is fun to look back, I think that is why I am so diligent at writing in my journal because it really makes you marvel and wonder about your own life. A year ago I was with my 2nd companion, Elder Hodson! WOW! I was still learning the ropes in how to be a missionary. And now I am the most experienced missionary in the Zone... weird?! But it is good. 

Today, I did mark with a young man in the ward that plays piano incredibly to try to see if I can learn how to make my own arrangements. I think next week I will try to do a follow up on the goals I made for 2013. Really, I saw how much God wanted to help us with our goals this last year. I made a BUNCH of goals if you remember right, well I wasn’t even following up on a lot of them but the cool thing is that the majority I was able to do or improve on! I will have to try to do the same for this year. I want to make goals for the rest of my mission, the transition from mission to real life, and what I want to happen by the end of the year.

Well, you wanna hear about Christmas!! My Christmas you can say was a pretty memorable Christmas. We took Mom’s challenge and we did Caroling until Christmas this last week. We have been searching and searching for couples to teach and last week we didn’t really find any. But it was great because I made my Christmas wish to Papai nos Céus and Christmas Eve we found 2 amazing couples, one of them was from Juazeiro and I fell instantly in love. As for Christmas day, it was sweeeet because we had our District meeting that day so I got to start Christmas off with our beloved missionaries from our Zone. We made eggs and pancakes and we had a White Elephant game at the end of the day which was a hoot! We came home and we realized we should make plans to help the Zone, So we spent the afternoon making plans to help everyone, and WOW it helped a lot and will help us to continue helping them for a while. Then at night a member called us over for a surprise and he is a landlord and he took us to go caroling to 5 couples that live in his apartments! 5 couples! Merry Christmas!! So that was great, it surely was a Merry Christmas.

So yeeaah, it was great to see you all. I thought the best was to see the little Ryker! Ha I haven’t really thought much about the photos I have already seen, but to actually see the bubblin’ baby was awesome! Luckily though I didn’t get as trunky as I thought I would get for Christmas, I am still here and I am still working hard. I am happy and excited. I couldn’t of asked for a better 2013 and a mission. And hey Mom!

.... I’ll be home for Chrrriiiiisstttmaasss!! You can count on me.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Hey there!
Alrighty, so I guess I will report the week for y'all. So this week we had our Christmas Conference. That was fun. Elder Villalba and I came up with a song on the spot that we sang to President Souza "Graças damos à Deus por Presidente" It was funny, but last year’s was much much better.  But the most spiritual part for me was when the Elders that are leaving bore their last testimony. Wow. I am getting close, I can feel it. My whole life I have been preparing myself for this thing we call "The Mission", and now my time is running to home plate. Anyways, it was good.

The work this week was slowed down a bit. We had to do a lot of interviews (that’s good!) and figuring out things for a wedding of an old couple that were baptized this last week. This last transfer has probably been the best transfer of my mission. In 5 weeks (A short transfer) we baptized 12 people, and that was 3 families as well. Ohh the blessings... it really is incredible. But all good things come to an end, and guess what? I was transferred!

I left Genibaú. I am now in Ala Bom Jardim. Ha, funny thing is, following the pattern of my mission..... I am opening up another area! (Which means that me and my companion get there at the same time and basically have to start from scratch) And that is suuuuper rare with Zone Leaders as well. The Zone Batizadora divided and now we are Zone Leaders of the Zone, Bom Jardim. Even funnier is who is my companion, Elder Christiansen. Ha! Maybe I haven’t talked much about him but he was our District Leader in Genibaú and he has lived with me for the last 3 months, and now he is my companion. That’s super rare that you become companions with somebody that you know! So yeah, we will see how it goes! But yeah, I will be passing the Holidays in Bom Jardim.

I love you guys and I can’t wait to skype ya next week! I have been growing out my hair just for you guys!!

-Elder Zac Cetraro

December 9, 2013

I asked for Christmas Spirit stories, and I got wonderful testimonies. I have heard many many many tender testimonies on my mission, but I don’t think there are any testimonies that touch my heart more than those of my family. It’s true. It just strengthens my faith to know that this faith that I have is shared in my family and that we have the great hope of Eternal Families, it’s good when your family looks to the eternities.

So thanks for the Christmas spirit. This week was pretty good. Wednesday, we had a District Meeting and we made the goal of baptizing 33 people (one for every year of Christ’s life) this month. We did 6 in October, and 15 in November, so it will be quite the jump but it’ll be good. I shared my thoughts with the Zone about Christmas.

Friday I did an exchange with a new missionary from Portugal, Elder Carvalho. He reminds me of the black guy from Rush Hour, a very happy excited high-pitch missionary, Fun Stuff. That day I prepared a lesson to teach the Plan of Salvation using the Proclamation to the World,The Family. I got him all excited to baptize families, it’ll be good. This week we baptized 3 youth. Giovanna, who is 14 and is the neighbor/niece of Marcelo, she wants to serve a mission. Eric, who is the Son of Leonardo who was baptized last week, and Pablo who is the son of Fabrisso who was baptized two weeks ago. It was really special this Sunday because both of the fathers were conferred the Aaronic Priesthood, and were allowed to baptize their sons. It was a surprise for the both of them! It was really special to help baptize two fathers and then help them personally baptize their sons. My testimony grew of why God gave man His power and to work in His work. That day I was really able to see the glow of the joy in others when you help them do service in the work of salvation.

Today I had an interesting talk with Elder Villalba. I was sharing how I felt I have kinda lost the "Hang Loose" spirit here on the mission. He made up an interesting phrase. "Keep the Rules, but don’t let the Rules keep you." That really touched me. I have a strong testimony that God prepared the rule book and all the standards that are made here in the mission. All these things were prepared to help me have success. But the most important thing that God prepared for me to have success here on my mission.... is Me. I need to be myself. Of all the things I can be, a Missionary, a Leader, a Companion, the most important thing I can be... is Me. So I will try to help bring Me back out. Don’t worry about me though, Elder Villalba says I am too hard on myself and I probably am, but that really helped today. Elder Villalba will probably be one of my favorite companions. Because that is what he is, a COMPANION. Elder Galves was my Pai, Elder Hodson my Hero, Elder Medrado my Son... but Elder Villalba has been great. Maybe I have to help him in many of his duties, and keeping focused, but he fills in his part as a good companion. He never lets me get down, and always lifts me up. He says I have been good to him as well.... I don’t know what I do, but he says he feels really good with me. So yeah.

If you could, pray for my Zone, and that I can continue to serve them. Love you all!  Merry Christmas and good night!
-Elder Zac Cetraro

Monday, December 2, 2013

I had to laugh because "Happy December" is exactly how I started off my letter with President Souza. And I thought I would be unique =P.

Happy December right back at ya. Wow, strappin’ in, and getting ready for the season of trunkiness to come in! Ha, but I know that is just because the Christmas spirit reminds me of home, but I will try my best to convert this spirit of Christmas to the spirit of bringing souls unto Christ. 

So I will get started on my week. Something that is funny now that I am a Zone Leader. Before I was known to be a dedicated Elder because I was right on with the whole missionary routine. Ha, but now that I am a Zone Leader I don’t think I have had one normal morning yet! First of all we suffered this last week because our Weekly Planning time was used with figuring things out for Conference and helping out the Sisters and talking about the Zone. I did an exchange with a District Leader Elder Kauffmann who was being trained in our house in Expedicionários when I was training Elder Medrado. He is so young on the mission, and he has the burden that I had when I had a year on my mission. So it really became obvious how much I need to lift up our leaders here in the Zone.

Thanksgiving..... was special indeed!! It was our Zone Conference!! Wow it was great! It was funny because President Souza called my name out as an example 3 times. Once, because I am "well-adapted" to the mission, the other is because I am an "Explosive Leader", and the other because I am "Happy & Elevated". I didn’t know President thought so well about me. Ha, but it was good to relax and socialize a bit. I will miss Elder Lopez who is the best image of a missionary of Power and Authority. He has been our Assistant since Elder Reynolds left and he has been great. He talked a bit about planning. It was great.

So yeah we baptized a family. Friday was sweet because me and Elder Villalba went to do the wedding downtown. We got to study a bit in a little park.
I think I need to credits are gone?
Love you all, until next week!
-Elder Zac Cetraro

p.s. I ate piranha this week, best exotic food!