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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Week 102 - Farewell Brazil

I still can't believe that I'm going home. To me it only feels like I've been here a year -- if that.  It literally just flew by. 

I'm really going to miss Brazil though. Its been a blast being able to live here for the last two years.  I have grown to love Brazil (even though it is really hot at times).  I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to be a missionary and to be able to meet so many wonderful people, help and see them change their lives as their faith in Jesus Christ grew. 

I understand now why everyone calls it the best two years.  I feel like I have just grown in so many ways.  Now I'm super excited for life and all its challenges.  I look forward to being able to accomplish my goals and dreams. 

I'm dreading Tuesday when I'll be asked to take my name tag off.

I don't have much to say at the moment.  It's still only semi real to me.  I'm sure I'll have a ton to talk about when I get home. 

[Dallen returns home early Tuesday morning.   He will be speaking Sunday, March 20th in church. All are welcome to attend and hear some of his mission experiences as he shared the gospel with those he came to love in Brazil.   Church services start at 12:40.  The chapel is located at New Hope and Cammie Wages road.]

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Week 101 - Friends and indexing.

Today I am going to Jilmars to have lunch with he and the bishop.  Tonight I will have dinner with Marcio and Itacila.  It is great to have so many good friends.   It should be way fun!

As my mission is coming to a close, I will be getting everyones contact information and WhatsApp as well.  No one uses phone service here anymore and with WhatApp I will be able to text them and
call them using the internet.

I tried doing family history this week but I just don't understand how it works.  Plus my tree has so many duplicates and I don't know how to fix that either.  I ended up just doing indexing.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Week 100 - Shopping.

This morning, I was at the airport with a missionary.  A sister missionary was having medical problems and needed to go home for treatment.

I think I’ll be doing my last bit of gift shopping today.   I’ll pick up an harmonica for Grandpa if I can find one at the right price.  Last p-day, I went to an old antique store and bought some antique Brazilian things.  There aren’t that many things I can find that are Brazilian here in São Paulo.  In my area, the culture is too diverse.   I can find tons of Bolivian or Chinese things.

The food is a Bolivian dish.  I have no idea how to spell it.  But, if I was to sound it out in English it would be “Chan-cho.”  It’s pork with Bolivian corn.  The kernels are bigger then quarters!  The drink is a peach juice with cinnamon.  It’s super super good.  I also bought key chain llamas for everyone when I get home.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Week 99 - Pondering

I have had some really neat studying experiences recently. With Elder Hirst doing a lot of the office work, I can study.  I find cool little things all the time. I’m in 3rd Nephi and I was reading in chapter 17 verse 3 where Jesus tells the Nephites to go home and to pray and ponder about the things which He taught them that day.

Sister Silcox is always talking about how President Silcox has such a great knowledge of the gospel. For the last twenty something years he wakes up at 4:30 am everyday to study for three hours.

I had some time so I went and talked with President Silcox about the verse.  I asked him how he studies and specifically about pondering. President Silcox told me when he reads something he can’t understand or he has a question he can’t get out of his head he’ll spend sometimes weeks just thinking about it non stop.

I’m the opposite. I’ll find something and I’ll think about it, but then my mind starts to wander. President Silcox uses to study all the time. It’s a site that shows all the talks a general authority used a given verse of scripture. So I checked it and out and found a talk.  Apparently there is a gift of pondering.

I pondered the scripture more and more.  What later stood out to me was how the Savior tells them to prepare their minds for the next day.  So that’s what I have been trying to do.  I prepare my next scripture study the day before and my study is a lot better now.


This week has been crazy busy. Lots of traveling and police station stuff. Brazil keeps changing how they are renewing the visas and it just gets more complicated. Now we have to take the visas in 90 days before the year date of when missionaries entered Brazil. One day earlier we can’t renew the visa. One day later we receive a fine. It’s a handful.

We still have to do peoples CPFs which we haven’t even started. There is lots of medical stuff.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Week 98 - CPF cards

My companion, Elder Hirst, is awesome!!  I love him.  He reminds me of my cousin Christian.  We played soccer this morning. We plan on going to a members house to play war (a Brazilian version of Risk) and then Elder Hirst and I will go gift shopping. I got some cool hand crafted lama things from the Bolivians. They are super cool. I’ll try to send a picture. My camera’s battery has been dead for a week and I’ve been so busy I haven’t charged it yet.

This super big problem came up. All foreigners have to get something called a CPF.  It’s like our social security card.   There is only one place in our mission where we can go get it done.  I’ll probably have to travel the entire rest of my mission helping the missionaries get there CPF.

We need to go to a place called the Poupatempo.  This is where people go to get their drivers license and things like that. We have to go there to get our CPF cards except because we aren’t Brazilians we have to go to an office that is like linked with the federal police.  There is only one in our mission boundaries.  So I have to plan out how to get people out in the middle of no where to this place and back. Its going to be super expensive and complicated but I don’t think we will have the option to not do it.

I don’t have one yet.  I have my RNE which is like an identification card. CPF is literally like a social security number and we need it in order to use our new health plans. We have to bring original documents.  Missionary original documents stay locked up in the office because it’s a mission rule. That’s why I’ll have to travel. I’ll need to bring them their documents as they register, pay to get it done, and then we will have to go to Itaquera to finish the process and pick up their card.  I don’t know how long it takes because I’ve never done it.  I’m in the process of doing it. But the post office says after applying for it we have 90 days to pick it up.  If we don’t get it within 90 days, we will have to start over again.

To register for the card is only 7 reis, but that is just for the CPF processing.  Traveling and getting everyone to places is what’s going to cost an arm and a leg.  There are approximately 70 foreign missionaries in our mission.

We’ll use trains and mass transportation.  We may even rent a bus or something.  I don’t know yet what will be most cost effective.  I still need to plan it out with the mission president.

New missionaries will have to do this once they arrive too.  They can’t do it before their arrival. Elder Hirst will help all of the new missionaries after I leave.

I had some wonderful spiritual experiences this last week, but don’t have time to write about them now.  I’ll write about them later.

Elder Hirst, Elder Martins and I are doing “Insanity” in the morning and evening.  It is super hard. I’ve been losing weight.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Week 97 - New missionaries!

Things are going well!  We have been super busy and it has been crazy here.  We have been swamped with things to do.

My new companion, Elder Hirst, is great.  He’s pretty cool and fun.  He is from Illinois.  I’m training Elder Hirst to take over my responsibilities.  My former companion, Elder Marques, is training his replacement too.

I train by first explaining what we do and why.  Then I show him.  Then I let him try and if it’s something we can do together, I do it with him.  When I was trained, I was shown what to do and then turned loose on everything.  I think it is better to work together if possible.

We took several missionaries to the airport this week.  That was weird.  I had to say goodbye to Elder Homer and Sister Andrade.  That was pretty hard.  We were all so close.  It is different with them gone.  It’s just not the same.

We received a lot of new missionaries.  A new missionary arrived from Georgia on Tuesday. He is from the Sugar Hill Stake.  His family lives near Lake Lanier.

President Silcox is changing everything in the office.  The office layout has changed.  How we do our work has changed.  We won’t stay in the office anymore on our p-day except to email home. Once we email, we will lock up the office.  He is trying to reinforce the idea that the office is not our home or a place to hang out.  We won’t even eat here anymore.

I still haven’t heard anything from Utah State University or Brigham Young University – Provo. Utah State sent me an email about how they were behind schedule and it will probably be awhile before I hear anything.  I’m not sure where I’ll do my undergraduate study.  Brigham Young University – Idaho has accepted me, so it may be there.  I would start April 18th at BYU-I.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Week 96 - Preparation day woes.

Since Elder Marques and I work in the office, we have our p-day on Saturday.  Things like real estate agencies and other businesses are only open Monday through Friday and we have to be here to solve anything that comes up. We also need to answer the phone calls.  Rather than a p-day on Monday with the rest of the mission, ours is on Saturday.

We asked the assistants to try and change their p-day to Saturday so we could do things together but they didn't.  A couple of weeks ago they played basketball with President and Sister Silcox.  Elder Marques and I were allowed to play for ten minutes.  P-day alone just has no point.

With all our appointments on Saturday, we don't have time to go anywhere.  Our p-days are never really p-days anyway.  We are always solving and fixing problems.  Somebody always calls. There are often housing and medical problems that need fixing.

I don't do anything with the housing problems. Elder Marques handles all the housing issues.  I handle the medical issues.  Even if I don't have anything on my plate, if my companion does, I need to stay with him until the problem is solved.
In the states, the missions have senior couples that act as the secretaries. Here most missions don't have senior missionaries.  Plus most missions have four secretaries. In our mission it's just Elder Marques and I.

Sometimes, there is little to be done.  I hate staying in the office when there is nothing to do. I just study scriptures all day.  Sometimes I'm so bored.  It's been hot recently, but I would welcome the opportunity to be out in the streets again finding and teaching people.

Today, we woke up at 5:00 to play soccer with the youth and we hope to get away and play with the adults at 4:00. We will have lunch at a wonderful Chilean member's home today.

The Mission President, the Sister Leaders, and the Assistants are working on transfers right now. Transfers are this coming week.

The zone.
There's tons of mosquitos now.  Is the Zika virus a big problem world wide?

Here in South America dogs are like the squirrels back home. They are all over the place.  There are a lot of strays.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Week 95 - Preparation day.

For p-day we played soccer this morning with about ten people. We had lunch at a member’s house. It was really really good. They are Bolivian. She made lasagna but it tasted just like mom's taco casserole but without the crunch! We were there for about two and a half hours.

I fixed some medical problems in the mission and we just got back from going to get açaí with the assistants.

The one thing I haven’t seen yet that I would like to is Aparecida and Our Lady of Aparecida. Aparecida is in the last zone of this mission. Our Lady of Aparecida is the biggest catholic church in South America.

The family we helped last week has disappeared.  We haven’t heard from them at all.  I think something has happened...

Lunch with the assistants and sister training leaders.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Week 94 - The Lord's second coming and serving with love.

We had a conference this past week.  We were told that the end is getting closer and we can no longer hang on the fence. You have to decide who's side you're on.  Elder Nelson gave a POWERFUL blessing to all of us at the end.  He talked about how this is the last time the Lord is sowing his fields. 

Our mission president said we will have a world wide mission devotional on the 20th.  It's going to be about baptizing people who are truly converted. 

Sister Nelson gave us a question to think about to do a self evaluation.  She said what if we told you that the Savior is already here on earth meeting with his true followers in preparation for his second coming?

The mission has had some turmoil lately.  The assistants have been doing splits with the zone leaders all week and there have been several emergency transfers. But everything has been going well overall.

Elder Marques and I were contacting referrals we got from this week. We received ten. Only two really existed.  One was a person who didn't want to be contacted but he ended up taking a Book of Mormon anyways.  He is part of a religious group from Kentucky.  Elder Marques got into this huge bible bash with him and I just sat there listening to them argue for an hour.  Elder Marques tried getting out of it (Contention never produces anything good) but the guy kept poking him.  The man kept sayings things like "You can't defend yourself because you know I'm right."

On the way back this family stopped us and asked if we knew where a church was. They are from the favelas (shanty towns) in Rio.  Rio's accent is really funny! It's a ton of "ssssssshhhh"-- almost like a lisp. The man received a job offer here.  He brought his family but it ended up being a scam.  They lost everything.  He has three kids:  One is five.  One is two and the other is a new born. They were living in the streets because the homeless shelters don't accept families. They would split them up if they went to a shelter.  We gave them some clothes and I cooked them dinner that night. The bishop talked with them and the next day he helped him prepare a job resume. That same day he was hired! I don't know where they are sleeping, but they are super cool and are going to come to church on Sunday! 

We should have a lot of people come to church tomorrow!  Elder Marques and I are going to give talks. He will talk about how members can do missionary work. I'm the last speaker and was asked to talk about serving with love. I've already started working on my talk. I'm going to talk about what is service and the difference it makes when we serve with love.  I'll also talk about the blessing we receive through service.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Week 93 - Fruit smoothies.

I've heard the church is growing in Grayson!  I left on my mission from the Grayson ward or congregation.  I hear I'll be coming home to the Dacula 1st ward.  That's crazy good.  [In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you attend a specific congregation based on where you live.  As the church grows, boundary lines are redrawn and new congregations or wards created.  This just happened in the Lawrenceville, Grayson, and Dacula Georgia area]

Brazilian smoothies and fruit are so good!  I love the fruit smoothies!  I'm the king of banana smoothies.  The bananas don't ripen on the trees, but they are really good.  We are going green in the office.  I use organic sugar and the smoothies are so good.

Dragon fruit smoothie
Dragon fruit

Dragon fruit cut open.
This fruit is called Caju!  ​​The inside is like squishy cheese. You chew it until you get the juice out. The juice is good and makes your mouth tingle.  See the end of the fruit. There is a nut in there.  This is where cashews come from!

The squishy inside.  It is filled with juice.
For p-day, an elder is teaching me origami.  I made a ball with sticky notes, but it took a long time.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Week 92 - Brazilian food, computers, and harmonicas

I've tried some interesting things.   I eat a dish called mocotó.  This is a dish made from the foot of a cow.

I eat feijoada all the time.  I love feijoada! It is Brazil's national food.  The original is made with pigs feet, pigs ears, and pretty much every other part you don't usually think of eating.  Its way better that way. But I don't like to eat the weird foods. Here in São Paulo they have a light version of feijoada. It is made with sausage and chunks of beef jerky.  It is so good.

Brazil's national dish - feijoada - light version

More traditional version

We ate food from Chile this week.  It was good too.  It's not that different from Brazilian.


The computer I use everyday is having problems.  It has been dead all day.   I think it has a bad power supply. Somedays it has a flashing light and wont turn on.  If it starts up, two seconds later it dies. But if I leave it unplugged for a couple of hours it works again.  I need to call technical support.

The assistants computer has problems.  It can't pull up the church internet sites.  We haven't had this problem before.  It just started recently. We reset the router a couple of times but it didn't do anything.  When we move it into our office and tried it with the cables we here, it works just fine.  It may be the cables or the router port it is connected to.  The mission president wants to reorganize the office.  We'll rewire or fix it then.

For p-day we went to a music store and afterwards ate sushi. At the music store they sell Hering harmonicas and they look super nice!! Elder Marques bought a blues one for R$95.

Hey ask grandpa what is the brand of harmonicas he wanted me to look for?

Greensleeves - harmonica Hering A

APACHE des SHADOWS à l'harmonica Hering C

[NOTE;  Mission rules don't allow Dallen to search or watch youtube videos.  The youtube videos were added by his dad]