Wednesday, February 26, 2014

......Oh yeah, my birthday huh? Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes. I really don’t have much planned for tomorrow. My favorite day of the week my whole mission has been Tuesday because that is weekly planning day where we always make new plans and get psyched for the new week. I know lunch will be good! I also will being going downtown to be a witness in the wedding of some investigators, that’s awesome! Then I will probably just work! Which I love to death so I will be happy, and maaaybe, there is some sort of cake involved in all that. Hmm awesome!

Well well well, as for the week! uuuuh.... Ha well COM CERTEZA the highlight would have to be the Zone Conference we had. There is this new chapel here in Fortaleza where they just basically threw a bunch of everything inside. Parking lot, Chapel, Classrooms, Institute, Get-a-job place, headquarters for some other things, anyways... it’s a monster and has 6 floors! Ha, so that was cool.

During the Conference something very cool happened. In the last few months I have always tried hard to receive personal revelation to help the Zone. Whenever we give training, we share what the Assistants say, then I will try to put my own thoughts in there as well. My Companion sometimes questions me, thinking we should share it straight, and that is the obedient way to do things. When we did this last training with the Book of Mormon, we shared everything right, but I put in two little touches in the practices. One, was that we need to show people how much we love the scriptures as we use them. As we do, we will show by example the importance of reading the scriptures in their own lives. We need to teach the commandment of the importance of reading the scriptures. The second thing is, as we help people with their doubts and objections by asking them to Read, Ponder, and Pray about the Book of Mormon, we need to make it very clear that we are here to help them with their faith, and how the testimony of the Book of Mormon fits into the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So those were my two touches: Love for the Scriptures and Faith in the Gospel. Well in the Conference the Assistants followed up a bit on the Training they shared and had two different practices. Guess what the practices were about. Showing the importance of reading the scriptures, and teaching the first two principles of the gospel. WOW. So I don’t say this in a way that, they are copycats or stealing my thunder, or it’s my idea. But what I learned is that really, the leaders here in the mission are in tune with the spirit. These two touches I learned as I sought to prepare the training through the Spirit. That same Spirit talks with the other leaders in the mission. The Zone probably just thinks that those two touches I put in the training the other week came from the Assistants but it didn’t, it came from the Spirit. And the Spirit confirmed it one more time as the Assistants touched on it in the Conference. So I really did gain a testimony, that as a leader, I am inspired, and I am an instrument in God´s hands to help these missionaries here, and even more, learning myself!

In the Conference, Presidente Souza left his two Motto’s very clear. "He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother" and "Encantar e Surpreender". The Spirit really confirmed that these two mottos are perfect for my mission and that Presidente Souza also is a man prepared and inspired to be my one and only Mission President.  Also, My comp and Elder Villalba bore their final testimony before everyone. It was great. Yikes... I am next.

Also in the Conference guess who I saw?! My "Son" Elder Monical, and his "son", my "grandson" Elder Franco! Wooow! It has been a while since I have seen him, and it’s the first time I met my "Grandson".  Ha, and if you think that is great, my "Grandson" Elder Vasquez is now training, so that means that I met my "Great Grandson" Elder Thiemes! Ha! That’s right, here in the mission I am a "Great Grandfather" already, now that’s old!

Ha alrighty.... the rest of the week was pretty chill. I did another exchange with Elder Gregersen. We made a ton of a delicious shake that they just have here called Pó of Guaraná! Mmm.. also we invented the "Ants on a Log" shake which is Banana, Peanuts, and Chocolate.... Oh boy it is good!

Our investigators are good. This Sunday, Espírito Santo continued her streak of bringing a new person to church from her family and it was awesome because they were late, and this week 9 people all entered in and sat in the front. Good stuff.

Anyways that is my week for ya!
Good week for you all and thanks for the birthday wishes.
Love you all!
até mais!

-Elder Zachary Cetraro
February 17, 2014

Hey there!!
First of all I would like to thank everyone for all the cards that are coming in (including Christmas because I don’t know if I thanked everyone or not). But Cards/Letters are awesome and it makes me remember the awesome life that I left behind me (not in a trunky way but in a grateful way). It means a lot because I know sending a letter is asking a lot in the modern click-send world we live in.

Woo! So I will give a little update on the week. So Monday I was down with a strong cold, but it seems like when I get sick, it just hits me hard and I hurry and get over it. I was perfectly healthy again by Wednesday to give the training. The other Elders aren’t as lucky, they grabbed the same cold and it is draggin’ out.

So yeah, some of the highlights of the week would be. First, the exchanges. I love doing exchanges and spending time and getting to know the Elders in the Zone. I did an exchange Wednesday with Elder Galvão who we really don’t know too well because the District Leader Elder Borges does such a good job taking care of them. He taught me to always listen to the spirit even if it means knocking on a door. He found a giant family of 8 adults this week when he randomly stopped to clap hands at a random door. There was nobody inside but he continued on... and sure enough somebody showed up. The next morning I taught him a bit of how we can teach lessons using the needs of the person. For example, he was teaching someone who drinks, for 2 weeks without teaching about the Word of Wisdom. I taught how we can mix the lessons and teach the doctrines of the Word of Wisdom while teaching the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, and the gospel. I think on my mission this has really been a strong point of mine; when I can really focus on the needs of the people I am teaching and really see how the gospel can apply especially for that person. 

My companion came back from that exchange knowing how to make crepes and mmm... they are soooo good with Nutella. The best part of the week would have to be when we made the effort to baptize Luiz Alan and Alanice. They already went to church a couple times but we never really focused on them before. But this week we decided to, and to our surprise... it all went super smooth. The best part was when I made a work sheet for Espírito Santo to do with them together. They had a Study Guide of the pamphlets to help them prepare for the baptismal interview. Ha, to our surprise they studied very diligently and were very ready for the interview. I am super happy that slowly but surely the family of our recent convert are being converted as well!

Anyways... I got to go, I spent a good part of the day in downtown, doing stuffs. It was fun!
But thank you for everything and have a great week!

-Élder Zac Cetraro

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2013

How ya doin? Ha eu estou doente e muuuito preguiçoso. Que bom é P-day! Eita, I forgot to switch languages! So yeah, I am a bit sick and super lazy, it’s a good thing it’s P-day. 

 Anyways, you asked me how it is going, right?  So it’s going good. My companion is super not trunky so it won’t ever be a problem. Thing is though instead of looking forward to going home and getting sad, he looks back and gets sad. He doesn’t feel like he ever was a great missionary. So I’m working with him on that. It was cool how in the beginning of the week we got all psyched and every time he gets down, we stop and get him psyched again. I am happy I am having this opportunity to learn how to use loving words to lift him up.

As for baptisms... we are getting there. We had a really good week this last week. We started working in a different place in our area and found some good families. We had 5 people go to a ward FHE and 6 people go to church. New records in almost everything for this area. Talking about the ward, like I might have said in other emails, I am trying to improve our work with the members. I am learning a lot and am seeing that this is where I really can leave a mark in the Ward.

Besides that we cleaned our house real good today, that always gets me happy and we are gonna work to keep it clean. What else...? It’s going good! Hit me up with more questions and that’ll help me out!
=P Love you all

-Elder Zac Cetraro

February 3, 2014

Heeey Derr!
Ha, so I will be honest. I still am not trunky. I really don’t think about my family to much to be honest. Clearly I think about my real life and I think of you all, and you guys are in 1 or 2 of my daily prayers, but I don’t let my mind wander to often.

Ha speaking of letting my mind wander that is actually one of my goals for this next transfer. So today was transfers and there weren’t to many changes. We got a new Elder in the house, Elder Colvin.... we just discovered he has Pass the Pigs... Aaaaah!  And one other Elder in the Zone left. Also I am now a Great Grandfather in the mission... My "Son’s” (Elder Medrado) son (Elder Vasquez) is now training! Woo Genealogy! Anyways... about mind wandering.... ha, this last transfer wasn’t the greatest to be honest. I would have to say it was one of my most relaxed transfers. I think it is because I have always been a good go-getter, let’s work missionary, and with Elder Villalba I tried to be a little more chill to let the Spirit work more. So since I have got here I tried to stay not so stressed. So this last transfer I have been with Elder Christiansen. This last week he got sick, it’s been a looong time since I have had a sick day like that.

But though the work has been slow I am still learning and growing and loving everyday. I can feel like this next transfer is going to be a great one. It is my Comp’s last transfer and I have made it my biggest goal to help him go out with a blast, so he can always look back confidently on his mission and know that he returned back valiantly! It will be good. I am excited.

I am sure you guys have prayed a lot for me, and I feel the power of your prayers, so I would like to ask you to pray to help me finish off my mission BAPTIZING please. I could use all the help I can get, and that is what I know God has sent me here to do. BAPTIZE. =) So thank you all!
Have a great cold week! 
Eu Te Amo
até próximo!
-Elder Cetraro 

January 27, 2014

Hey theree!!
Pois é, last week I started typing up the email for the fam but the energy went out and P-day was almost over.  Last week was good. Training, interviews, and we baptized Espírito Santo HA!! So good stuff.

Our Zone needs to baptize more but it’ll all work out. Anyways, This week I decided that one of the things I want to improve here with the mission is how we work with members. So I started with myself this week. It was great because Espírito Santo is suuuuper shy, but this week we brought 2 members that are her age to be her friends and there also was a FHE that she liked a lot. Last week I was afraid if she would continue on firme forte, but after this week I know she is in good hands.

We also worked with 2 other women this week who visited some people. You feel really good when you help others serve, I feel better for helping them serve than the actual service they are doing for us. One was a less-active member who whined and didn’t want to show us her friends, but once we got her on the street and after the first lesson, she got super  excited and wanted to show us even more and more of her friends.

Anyways, those are some things that are happening. Unfortunately a lot of the people we planned to be baptized all fell through, but I can say that we are at least getting better and yes I am feeling a little bit more settled in. Ha, in the talk I gave last week in church I told how my nickname before the mission was Sunshine and now half the members are calling me by that, ha! It’s contagious, huh?

Today I got the other Zone leaders to grab the materials for us this P-day, so I will have like the first real P-day that I have had in a loooong time, I will learn how to make my own music on the piano with a freakin’ talented ward boy here.
Cool huh? Alrighty, love ya folks and good week for you all!
-Elder Sunshine Cetraro