Friday, December 21, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Photo Find Elder Luschin


Week 21


2012_12_17

As follows, some information about my current whereabouts.
I am going to be transferred today from Biguaçu to a city called Concordia, which is located far in the West of the Mission, about 270 kilometers from here, if I gauged correctly from the tiny little map that I was given at the beginning of the mission. This will mean that I will no longer be serving with Elder Fraga, and will instead be serving with an Elder Romero from São Paulo, whom I have already had the chance to get to know briefly. I am excited to be heading out there, even though it is apparently even hotter out there as there is no ocean breeze to cool things down every once in a while. Elder Romero seems to be a likeable fellow and I am excited to be seeing a different part of the state, which is quite close to Argentina. Also, it is the area of a big meat factory and producer and so all the members serve there is meat. Also, there are hills, which is a departure from the flatland that I´ve been in so far. I unfortunately took some time to get packed. Quite fortunately, all my things fit into my IKEA backpack monstrosity, my one suitcase and Mom´s dilapidated travel bag, whose zipper broke right as I closed the bag. I hope that it will last the night. I missed the bus that was recommended for me to take at 12:30 and so will be taking a night bus at 20:30. With a 10 hour ride, I will be arriving in the wee hour of the morning at 5:30, which means that I won´t see the countryside as I thought I would, but I am able to write to you, which is a just recompense. On an aside, I managed to get out two Christmas letters that I wrote last week but I still hope to write some more letters to more of you. I don´t know if there is much of an expectation to receive cool trinkets or profound advice from me in the form of tear-dripped letters written in herzblut, but in reality, I haven´t been able to get my time together enough in order to do so nor do I have any younger siblings that need my strengthening from an older, encouraging brother. Are Grossmutti and Grandma able to hear anything from me? I know that they are the people that really need to hear from me more than anybody else. I wonder if it is a realization that the things that I´m doing right now are not particularly creative that prevents me from sending anything particularly interesting. I think I realized a long time ago that the emailing process is also a vent for the missionary to feel like he´s being listened to in the large and empty void that we call space. I do enjoy emailing very much though, however, so I will continue doing so. I´ve wondered if 2013 is going to be my challenging year, as I realize that there is never going to be a ´moment´ of feeling like you´ve arrived at a ´real´ point of being a missionary. In two weeks, I´ll be one year and a bit before returning. Ponder that for a moment and read on. On the topic of the blog. I have thought about starting to send you photos based on subject matter, for example, the different types of dogs encountered, Floripa Flora and Fauna, Architectural Mishaps and others.
 
Having found out on Saturday that I would be leaving, I said goodbye to the members. I grew to love some of them and will miss all of the them in different ways. I think that by the end, a majority finally knew my name. My time with the bizarre Biguaçu Branch has finally come to an end. Furthermore, my time with Elder Fraga, who is really a good missionary that tries hard, has also come to an end. You end up spending so much time with one person that their absence is strange. Though I believe that is also because this is only the first time that I am switching companions in the mission field, while nearly everybody else from my district that arrived at the same time switched companions several times or even areas. I am going to wrap up now and going to try to compose my thoughts (which are various) in my journal for the next few hours, as it is still 4 hours till my departure. I hope that I can talk to more than just mom and dad this next week, but they are the most important people for me to talk to in the meantime. Topics to think about: that we need a balance between taking everything too seriously and taking things not seriously enough. In reality, life is good and I have a testimony, despite not having had a baptism in my first area. All the best, Love, Elder Luschin

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 20


Family Letter:   The wintry day, descending to its close...

That I would, that I could see some snow. Alas, that is not going to happen anytime soon. I got a sunstroke from contacting ever so vigorously on Thursday, and then spent Friday all day lying in bed with what would seem like a fever. The soreness in  my neck and shoulders as well as my sore throat remain. It was probably good that we didn´t go out on Friday, seeing that it was 42 degrees Celsius, as I found out on Saturday. What a pain. Nevertheless, with applying plenty of sunscreen and drinking a lot of water all day, I generally don´t mind, but I am constantly thirsty and I have had a sore throat
for some time now. I think it is a result of the insect repellant machine that we have plugged into the wall at night that causes me to wake up completely dried out. My singing has thus pretty much disappeared and when I try, it comes out poorly. Oh well, that might be my mission life.  Waking up like that does cause me to not want to exercise in the morning, which is a pretty serious concern for me as I am still trying to lose weight and gain time. How I still wish I might be more effective, though I realize that I may just have to go for it instead of hoping for some sophisticated thing to happen.
Tomorrow is the Mission X-Mas Conference and I might have a solo, if I feel up to it. My singing has suffered incredibly due to lack of practice.

We had a Branch X-Mas party Saturday. Twas fun.
Life is good though, and I´ll talk to you soon.

More next week,

Elder Luschin
 
Christmas time in sunny summertime in Brazil. Elder Fred gets a package from the USA!
Elder Fred getting a lot of sun which led to a bit of a sunstroke.  His companion is giving an incredible Hulk grin.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Week 17


2012_11_19

Dear Family,

The month of November is descending to a close. It's certainly hard to believe that I was celebrating Thanksgiving in Arizona this time a year ago.Nevertheless, being here is no less of a cause to be giving thanks.

This last week has been a lot about realizing more about myself in regards to patience.A good part of the last week was not particularly effective. I was sick on Wednesday.Nevertheless, things improved and after feeling pretty down on Friday as well, we were finally able to get back to some work.  
One sentiment that I felt in the CTM was that if I were to work as hard as I could during the mission and focus on the Lord's work as much as I could, that the Lord would bless me to procure all the opportunities that I had either neglected or not used to full capacity before my mission.  Needless to say, despite that feeling, I also have the feeling that I haven't been working hard enough nor effectively enough.
How can I increase my effectively?  IDEAS for studying the scriptures or Preach my gospel?  
One thing that you might think funny to know is that the Branch here is really full of unusual characters, to put it affectionately. 
No progressing investigators, nobody came to church. I have learned a lot of patience by listening to my companion talk for hours at an end. Sorry I don't have any interesting news to report.
My feet are doing a lot better, and right now I don't have any blisters specifically, but my feet do get hot on some days. I still don't know what it was that caused all those problems in the first place. They´re doing a lot better. I've been trying to use the mole skin to make my shoes fit better. 

TIme is up, love
Elder Luschin









Thursday, November 15, 2012

Week 16 Sore Feet!


2012_11_12 Family Letter

Dear Family,

I´m at the mission office and writing. Got a shot today in Florianopolis, which is why we´re using the email here.
Interesting to hear about Obama, but so far, nobody seems to really care in my little Branch of Biguacu.   The work is so slow or non-existent. It makes me sad.  Our Zone Conference is fun and large. Nevertheless, in my immaturity, I struggle to be very spiritual.
 
We had a lesson last week with a Catholic lady who let us in from the heat, which was searing. Things went well but her Evangelical son arrived to drive the spirit away. He didn´t want to pray with us.
Anyhow, I go up and down and all around, and I wish I could say more, but I hope you share information from what I write.
We need to get back to Bigaucu; we have one lesson with Fatima at 7, maybe. Appointments are hard and I find that things are not going too well. I think at times that it´s like the Israelites who get the 10 commandments in stead of the higher law. I just am having a hard time working effectively or doing Anything effectively.
 
My feet have been itching so much the last few nights that it has been waking me up. Sister Silva from the office thinks that I´ll just need to make sure that my sheets cover the mattress (probably pretty infested) and make sure that everything is clean.
Love,
Elder Luschin
 
(Comment from Mom Julie:  Fred has always been a hard judge about himself.  He makes me smile because I can just see him saying these things.)
 

Monday, November 12, 2012

More photos of hike


Week 15


2012_11_05

Hello Everybody across the seas!
I am doing quite well here in Brazil. Fortunately, that has a lot to do with attitude. I have been writing down four things for which I am grateful every single day and have been noticing an improvement in my daily attitude about things. I've noticed that a lot about the mission is just going and doing, and that you pray a lot while doing so. Ultimately, it also helps that when we walk, I either have tried practicing contacts with Elder Fraga or tried memorizing hymns or scriptures.
For some reason, my singing has been suffering and I can tell that Portuguese has taking a hit on my vowels as well as breathing spaces, though my breathing time might be improving.
Scriptures are going well but due to lack of pens I have not marked my scriptures since leaving the MTC. I probably have to spend the money. One thing is that other than probably R$50 that I spent from my own money at the beginning of the mission, I have stayed solely within the mission money that I have been receiving. That is also to say that I haven't really seen anything that I really would be interested in buying other than some different kinds of food, seeing that miscellaneous goods are pretty much the same here as anywhere else. I'm probably going to buy a Brazil soccer jersey as I finally have a reason to do so. Other than that I may be the cheapest American missionary we currently have in this mission.
Right now we have been continuing getting up at 6:30 and going to bed at 11:30. I think I am doing better with the schedule than my companion is. My exercise program is becoming more intense, but I still struggle to get in as many pushups and planks as I would like on a given day.

This last week was really good, but mostly because of the attitude issue more than anything else. On Sunday, not a single one of our investigators came to Church which is rather sad and pathetic.

One thing I've realized is that I am probably a better cook than any of the sisters in the ward, but that is also because the Brazilian palate is that much different. i.e our meal on Saturday was mashed potatoes, rice, spaghetti bologna and rib meat, as well as really salty lettuce which would be termed a "salad." Vegetables are a rarity and overcooked. Oh well...

On Thursday, we had one lesson with a really fascinating woman named Fatima who has lived in England and the Netherlands and thus knows the respective languages. She is really spiritual and somewhat disenfranchised with all religions, which is why she was intrigued by our promise of James 1:5, because she knows the scriptures really well and is interested in reading the Book of Mormon. She asked about plural marriage and the Indian issue in the Church, which was different because nobody ever asks us interesting questions. Some people think we are Seven-Day Adventists or Catholic.

Time's up but the love increases,

Elder Luschin


P.S. you should be able to see Floripa in the pictures, which are from last week's hike.



 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Week 13

2012_10_22 Family Letter

  Dear Family,

 I am doing well and hope that you are always doing fantastically! The weather has been good and generally quite warm. The cold spell that we had at the beginning of my being here seems to have gone away. Also, it hasn't rained in over a week, which is nice as well.
This last week was good because we finally had lessons with members present, which was a pleasant change.
 

Nevertheless, we had 15 new investigators this last week, which means that 15 people listened to our lessons and were willing to commit to one further lesson. Unfortunately, none of our investigators made it to our ward conference on Sunday, which would have been quite a treat and would have sky-rocketed the numbers of Biguacu.
We tarry on.
One of my concerns is that we don't do our work particularly effectively. We get a contact in one street and generally manage to follow up in teaching a lesson, but a somewhat eclectic method of choosen houses resolves in investigators being spread out all over the city of Biguacu. What I didn't realize is that our area extends way beyond what I had thought, but that the farthest parts can only be reached through bus, making it much more of an investment to get out there.
My blisters are starting to do better finally, which is good as I hope that we might be able to start running some days, which would be good because the only time that we've had to run has been when we've been bad at keeping time (ie during a lesson) and need to get back to the apartment at night.
One big change is that we just "fell forward" with the time change, as everything here is the opposite of the North. However, our mission is changing its schedule so that instead of getting up at 6:30 and sleeping at 22:30, everything in the schedule goes forward to 7:30 and 23:30, as well as everything in between. That will be interesting. But perhaps a good change as it might mean that the members can help us more during the evening so that we can fellowship our investigators.
We had a second lesson with one of the investigators, a fellow named Anderson. (I've noticed that a lot of people have American names or American-sounding names such as Annelly)
He's a really nice fellow who wants to know a certain path to follow. When we met, he had already read a good portion of the BoM.
Anyhow, I'm liking the work more and trying hard to be grateful. I generally remind myself that the people are a lot friendlier than Phil's were. After all, the mission is kind of funny.
Between all my inconsistency, I'm trying hard to like everything I do and love life by keeping more scripture cards ready and at hand. The language is coming but I need to learn more vocabulary and study more consistently.

 I love you all and will try to write some letters to you today.

Love,

Elder Luschin

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Week 11 2012_10_08


2012_10_08
 
Dear Family,
 
As I write this, a beautiful day here in Biguaçu is drawing to its half-way point. Furthermore, the realization that once something has been established in a pattern, things go that much quickly and the mission is just going to take off in flight. In other words, there are only two more months left in this year and I will have finished the first big part of my mission. So things go.
As to questions:
I was able to see General Conference, but unfortunatel,y the ward that we went to (20 minutes by bus in a place called Casa das Acassias) did not have in English and that was that.
It appears that I am able to print emails here at this internet cafe, but I still need to check the rates.
I received Mom´s small packet with the emergency rain coat, but not the birthday greetings.
 
I am happier about being here. It is a nice area with some nice members. I had one occasion where, when praying at a less-active member´s home, consisting of the divorced mother, a grandmother and 5-year old son, I had no idea what to pray for as all of the things that one normally can give thanks for did not exist in that person´s home.
I hope that as I go along, I will increase in my love for the people here.
 
Contacting goes as such:
Houses are generally fenced or walled in, which means that you´re anywhere from 5 to 30 meters away from a house. You clap your hands 5 times signifying that you´re there (unless they have a door bell, which is about 1/30 houses.) then wait as multitudes of dogs come running from somewhere and bark at you. Then, the proprietor of the house might lean out of the window or come out of some back entrance to talk to you. Most people are busy or are not interested due to being catholic, but we were able to teach 2 lessons this last week just from people receiving us into their homes. I am trying hard not to feel like I´m not working hard, but I do feel like my companion and I could work a lot harder than we have been.
I´m wondering if one of the only resources we have is to really talk to every single person. We rarely get to return to somebody´s home, and I do think we have way too much downtime walking to and from in our area, which is quite a big area for the mission, apparently.
 
This last week I got blisters on both of my feet and they´ve just starting healing up now. I believe they were caused by one of the pairs of comfort socks that I have with me. Some of them work really well but others, not so much. Additionally, the slip-on shoes that Phil gave me are ever so slightly too big.
I´m starting to feel more comfortable in the language and in the circumstances here. I think I´ve figured out how to live somewhat healthily between tomatoes and carrots and apples bought from the store. For breakfast I generally just eat a ham and cheese sandwich. Lunch is with a member, which hasn´t been particularly consistent in who gives the lunches. But one thing is apparent: that the Brazilians love their carbs. Most meals lack vegetables (but might have a salad) and feature 3 to 4 different types of carbs. Dinner is non-existent, but I want to change that to not have such an unbalanced day by eating smaller snacks such as bananas throughout the afternoon.
My companion is nice. His teaching style is so very different from mine and he keeps on cutting me off in teaching. However, I was glad to discover that what I thought was contempt for me or regarding me as stupid is actually a cultural thing. I have been apparently coming across as rude due to my  straight-forwardness and directness. Where I thought that my companion was treating me as stupid by adding a inquisitive/confirmative "Ne?" or an "OK?" at the end of every phrase wasn´t to indicate that I´m slow or anything; rather, it exists to be less direct and more vague.
Oh cultures. I hope to increase in love and patience.
Contacting is fine and it really doesn´t bother me anymore due to the strangeness of it all, as Christoph pointed out. In reality, what we´re doing is so unusual that I find that I just need to work on avoiding using the same words over and over again and instead have sincerity. Lessons are good but I think I need help with doling out even portions of the lessons.
I try to memorize scriptures or hymns while we walk. My studying hasn´t been as effective as it was in the MTC.
 
Seeing that my time is almost up and my release to the world is thus fading away, I wish you all the best, my dear friends across the seas.
 
Love, Elder Luschin

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week 10

Dear Family,
 
I am excited to finally be out here in the field, even though I have not too much idea of what to do except to bring people unto Christ. It's rather shocking that we're goingto be having General Conference this weekend. Last conference, which was a special one to me, seems like it only occurred yesterday. I am, however, particularly excited at the fact and am looking forward to being able to participate in listening to the words of our beloved Prophet. Right now I am copying and backing up my pictures for the first time, as it also is the first time that I'm able to do so.  Miscellaneous information:
P-day, as you may have noted, is on Monday and will always be such. It lasts from the morning until 6:00 PM.
Letters: Unless a specific occasion occurs, I will get letters whenever we go to the mission office to have zone conferences or interviews with the President. This is about every 6 weeks. This is because we can only be sent letters to the Mission Office, the address of which you already have as was apparent when I arrived in Fl. and found a letter from Arnold and Astrid. Thanks! It can happen that with APs traveling or DLs that the letters might be able to get out to me earlier than that, and this, apparently, typically happens. Nonetheless, a letter sent to me will probably take a minimum of 3 1/2 weeks to have an answer, and up to a maximum or even more of 9 1/2 weeks. That is to say that mail will not be the fastest means of communicating with me.
 I feel that I'm pretty good at staying focused and thus I am trying to memorize a good number of scriptures and hymns to keep me focused and happy. I just memorized number 14 in the hymnbook, which deals with Revelation 14:6-7. Pretty amazing scripture.
 
I'm now in the area of Biguaçu, which is an area about 30 minutes by car to the NW of Fl. The area is right along the coast. Most of the area by the coast is pretty flat, and pretty much all of the area can be reached by foot in an hour and a half from our centralized location 10 minutes from the down-town. The city is mostly urban with a few residential blocks that are gated off.
This means the work that my companion, Elder Fraga and I generally walk around all day trying to find people in houses to teach. Most of the people are not on the streets. In going around the last few days we have only been invited in to teach a lesson or return 6 times, with only one lesson being taught right from the onset. This was to a young man last night right before retiring to the apartment at 19:00 for our weekly planning. He said that he had been looking for a path to choose in his life. We taught him the first lesson, which was pretty exciting. I hope that something may occur.
 
The ward is really nice but has about 35-40 active members. Our goal as a companionship is to work with the members to get referrals and the fortalecer, or strengthen the ward.
 
The language is coming along and I find that depending on context, I can understand around 85% of what people say. Elder Fraga, from Bahia is a great companion, but doesn't really speak any English.
 
Off to go shopping, my love stays with you.
 
Love,
 
Elder Luschin

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Week 9

2012_09_25
 
Hi Dear Family and Associates,
 
I just got five minutes to send out a quick hello that I arrived in Florianopolis. We are at the mission home right now and the city looks beautiful. I am really excited to be here, but I need to find out what is going to be happening. All is well and I am happy that the real work can begin.  The flight was only an hour long, and I am pretty tired because I got up at 3:00 to be ready for 4:00.
 
 
Love,
 
Elder Luschin

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Week 7


2012_09_11

Dear Family,

I hope all of you are doing well, as I certainly am here at the CTM. Hard to believe, but I have less than two weeks remaining. I'm excited to go, though anxious about speaking Portuguese, though in reality it wouldn't improve much by just staying here. That is one thing that I have a question about: I feel like my comprehension of other speakers of a foreign language has always been less than my ability to speak; i.e. in Russian, I could say what I wanted with a pretty good accent, but I didn't necessarily understand what native speakers had to say. Same thing with Portuguese, but I'm sure it'll get better as I speak more and more with others who can.

We're leaving on the 25th of September, just a few days after my birthday.

Thank you for your lovely emails, Dad, as I very much appreciate them. Most of the scriptures that you share have been ones that I've already memorized. While here, I've memorized about 40 somewhat scriptures or passages. I have to say though that I need to find more balance with the usage of my time, because my scripture reading proper as well as my PMG (Preach my Gospel) study has not been doing particularly well. Much to my general consternation, I have not been reading either the B of M or PMG in Portuguese, which I know is hurting me.

Nevertheless, this last week we had President Massagardi from the Area Presidency come and speak with us this last Tuesday devotional. He was the man who was in Rome this summer. He talked about how we should baptize even the rich.

On this sad day, (Sept. 11 because of 9/11) after having been to the Temple, I remember that there is so much more purpose to our lives than we would sometimes have it. Hence, I want to conduct myself with all regal manner that I can, according to a servant of God.

Love,

Elder Luschin

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 6


2012_09_04_Elder Luschin

Hi Everybody,

September is here. In other words, the third month of my mission. What a surprise. Birthday wishes go out to the September people, especially Morgan Steinagel.

Christoph's novel is certainly going to take me my whole mission to get through, so thank you especially for that. I don't think I need anything for my birthday, especially since I'll be able to buy things a few days later in the field, so that's fine. We're leaving Tuesday, the 25th, exactly three weeks from now. Which raises questions about preparedness, as I really don't think I'm prepared. Nonetheless, I don't think I could learn any more here by staying longer, so that's fine indeed.  I think our District could have been working harder to speak the language that much better.

I'm just biding my time and learning everything I can by myself.  Portuguese is going well. In reality, it is a simple language with rather simple grammar that is very similiar to French or Spanish, and so I haven't had a hard time figuring that out.

Estou animado para ficar no CTM, embora eu preciso aprender mais rapido.

This last week I've learned yet more again about teaching with the Spirit and being enthusiastic with investigators. For Brazilians, it's really important that you focus on how you say something rather than what you say. Animation and elan are the key-words, I guess.

A thought from my journal, after going to the temple today:

"In short, I wish to be a Man, with a capital letter. Not to be pretentious, but to give reverence to the Father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9) desiring to grow in grace and wisdom for all eternity. Sobriety of the senses, for the edification of the soul."

How grateful I am that the mission gives me the opportunity every day to do something uncomfortable and grow from it. I'm happy to be leaving the CTM soon.

Thank you everybody for your lovely letters and messages. I hope to be able to respond to them in time, or there may be a letter coming in response.

Love, Elder Luschin


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cousin James in CA seeing miracles!





Hello, everyone!
Well, first of all, I owe you for last week. A story I was going to tell but didn't have time to type up: We visited our investigator who is an alcoholic and she had a friend from Nashville visiting. She had told us that this friend was coming to give her some help, but the friend did more than we expected. Already this friend had had her completely sober for 3 or four days so far (and that has continued, now she's almost at two weeks without alcohol!) and had been fixing her very healthy meals. The swelling in her legs and feet had gone dramatically down. Physically and emotionally she was in a much better state than she had been just a few days before. But that's only half the miracle. This friend was also very spiritual and knew the bible well. She asked us some questions and was surprised at our knowledge. She asked us "well, what do you believe about this, I bet we differ" and more often than not found that we shared beliefs. And when we asked her about the scripture that says "and other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring" she told us (without our telling her anything about the Book of Mormon) "Well, not very many people know this, but Christ did visit the Americas! There's plenty of archaeological evidence." We were completely shocked. And excited. The friend is back in Nashville now but before she left we visited once more and she told us that she has a friend who she is pretty sure is LDS and she wants to go to church with her. I hope that the seed we planted will be able to be harvested sometime soon!
This week has also gone pretty great. The alcoholic investigator now wants to quit smoking too and we're going to go over tomorrow and help her start the LDS stop smoking program. This week we were also able to start teaching a military guy we met at the park last prep day and he seems very open-minded. And while we did have several appointments cancel, we've set this next week up to be quite eventful. Oh, and today we got transfer calls and I will be staying with Elder Johnson in Pacific Beach. He's going home at the end of this transfer, so I'll either be taking over the area (and possible becoming district leader) or this area will be whitewashed (missionary slang for putting two elders in the area at the same time).
♫ Onward, ever onward! ♫
-Elder James Evans

Week 5


2012_08_28

Dear Family,

This is the last time that I will be writing in this August, which really is an indicator of how quickly time has been going. As to some previous questions; I was not able to throw a coin in the Trevi fountain, but I'm sure I'll be back in Rome yet. In the meanwhile, I'm certainly happy to be able to use my experience here to learn a lot. I've learned this last week that I can really be a support to the other missionaries in my district by helping them in their concerns and trials. I really am praying to know how to bring out the best in each of them; ultimately. I'm trying to bring out to light some of the talents that have been hidden away in other people up until now. I'm learning a lot.

Last week my instructor told me directly that the purpose of being here in the MTC is basically to learn the foundations of the lessons, not necessarily the language, and that it will come in the field. Thus having taken my learning experience into my own hands, I find that I'm able to make progress step by step as I apply what I learn by myself in talking to the natives. Yesterday, my district had an all-day English fast, which was incredibly frustrating at times but certainly worth the experience. I believe I've never gone that long speaking so little English.

I've finally received some letters, and I'm glad to hear that my letters have started coming through as well, at the very least. I really am trying to focus entirely on the work, which means having memorized hymns and scriptures ready to drive any errant or wayward thought away. This really works, and I'm exceedingly grateful for Dad's list of scriptures, which I've been marking up as I try to memorize three different scriptures a day. Between Portuguese and Religion, I fall asleep quite exhausted (esgotado) at night. Great experience.

This last week was great. We watched President Monson's Birthday celebration last Tuesday for devotional, which was a touching experience. On Sunday, we had President Martins speak to us. President of the Sao Paulo North Mission. He was the first black man to be sent on a mission after the 1978 proclamation. A very humble, friendly and spiritual man; I got to meet him, which was nice. He said that I'll love St. Catarina.

The newspaper article was nicely written. It's a little different to see yourself in the paper, though. I hope that I can live up to the expectations that have been placed on me.

Anyhow, here's a thought from my journal: "Tomorrow is TRC, and I need to show my brightest spirit, which I hope never to tarnish through inattention to personal and spiritual matters."

Scripture of the day. Luke 24:36-39 which was great in the temple.

I had the brief prompting the other day that I'm really in the same work as Grossvati, Immo Luschin (who was a translator) and every other Luschin.

Love,

Elder Luschin

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cousin Elder James Evans serving in San Diego,CA


I know this is Fred's Mission Blog but right now he has a cousin, James Evans from Tucson Arizona serving in San Diego and it is nice to share a special Missionary Moment that James has had this week.
Hello, everyone! This past week was awesome! My favorite part was going to see the baptism of the Vega's daughter. Last time I had seen her, she had thrown up an "I'm catholic" wall, so I was curious as to what had changed. Apparently a lady from the ward took this girl (she's high-school age) to the temple grounds and she had felt the spirit vey strongly. That, along with talking to this lady sparked her interest. The next day, on a whim, this girl picked up the Book of Mormon and started reading. To her surprise, she really loved it! Also, as she read, she felt a profound peace enter her life. She then read the Book of Mormon every day for a week and her parents said she seemed completely different, totally relaxed and happy. Then, when she did stop reading for a few days she felt all the stress of life cascade back in. All these things plus other incredible blessings she felt led her to a testimony and that led her to baptism! I was so happy to see the Vega family and everyone else from that ward. Brother and Sister Vega were talking of how excited they were to get sealed next year, too. A mission is tough, but there are certainly moments that make it worth it.
There were so many other amazing things this week that happened, but unfortunately I'm running out of time to email. Well, I'll have to make a note and include them next week!
♫Onward, ever onward!♫
-Elder James Evans

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Week 4 "How to learn Portuguese?"

2012_08_21 Week 4
Hi Everybody,
It has almost been a month here at the CTM. I'm still happy to be here, even though we still hardly receive any language instruction. Several of the elders from my district think that I have a German accent when I speak Portuguese, but that is the least of my concerns. .
On a fun note: the person in charge of maintaining our floor is called Adolfo Jeeves.
Does anyone have any especially good tips for language? At the moment I've been trying to write flash cards in the morning, and then use them all day, using phrases from the book to complement them. I know a lot of the conjugations by now, but am not particularly fluent at speaking them.
Teaching lessons is becoming more fluid, but I'm not certain I can listen very well. That has always been my problem: my accents are always good, but I have a hard time understanding people. Practice, I guess, is the word.
Today and last week, we were able to go to a different temple, namely the Campinas temple. When going to the temple, we leave at about 6:30 and get back at around 12:30, though it's an hour later for Campinas.
I am able to stay healthy; we play a lot of volleyball here and I try to ignore the fact that I rarely see sunshine. My companion and I have started studying outside, though, as we might be able to concentrate better.
There is not really any formal language instruction, and the people who transfer here from Provo feel like it's better over there. Our instructors are nice but.... (Blog editor Julie edits to...:very Brazilian)
I'm excited to watch Pres Monson's video tonight.
Love,
Elder Luschin


Fred's address in Brazil

Until the 25th of Sept. 2012
Mailbox number 5 Districk number 30-A Mission:Florianopolis Birthday 21 Sept. 1992

Elder Frederick Andreas Luschin von Ebengreuth
Brazil Florianópolis Mission
Brazil Missionary Training Center
Rua Padre Antônio D'Ângelo, 121
Casa Verde
02516-040 São Paulo - SP
Brazil

After the 25th of Sept. 2012
Mission Office Address:


Elder Frederick Andreas Luschin von Ebengreuth
Brazil Florianópolis Mission
R. Feliciano Nunes Pires, 42
Centro
88015-220 Florianópolis - SC
Brazil


Friday, August 17, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Elder Luschin featured in German Newspaper

Prior to leaving on his mission, a journalist from the German newspaper, Frankfurter Neue Presse, interviewed Elder Luschin. The article she wrote was recently printed:

http://www.fnp.de/ndp/region/lokales/wetterau/auf-mission-in-brasilien_rmn01.c.10038626.de.html


For all non German speakers a very short summary:  The article explains Elder Luschin's preparation for his mission, what he will be doing on his mission, and a little explanation about the church.

Auf Mission in Brasilien

Der Nidderauer Frederick Luschin von Ebengreuth wirbt zwei Jahre lang in Südamerika für die Mormonen

Ein Auslandsaufenthalt, den sich viele Jugendliche in seinem Alter wünschen, wird für Frederick Luschin von Ebengreuth Wirklichkeit. Doch der 19-jährige Windecker muss dabei hart arbeiten: Frederick missioniert die nächsten zwei Jahre in Brasilien. Es ist für ihn eine Reise ins Ungewisse.
Von Georgia Lori
Nidderau. Man sieht ihm an, dass er stolz ist, für seine Kirche zu missionieren: Frederick Luschin von Ebengreuth und seine Eltern Julie und Hanno halten in ihrem Windecker Garten mit der brasilianischen Flagge Fredericks künftige Heimat in den Händen. Foto: Georgia LoriMan sieht ihm an, dass er stolz ist, für seine Kirche zu missionieren: Frederick Luschin von Ebengreuth und seine Eltern Julie und Hanno halten in ihrem Windecker Garten mit der brasilianischen Flagge Fredericks künftige Heimat in den Händen. Foto: Georgia Lori Der junge Mann ist für seine Kirche in Santa Caterina in Brasilien unterwegs. Frederick missioniert für die "Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage". Ihre Anhänger, die sich selbst zum Christentum zählen, sind als Mormonen bekannt. Für männliche Mormonen ist die Missionstätigkeit Pflicht, Frauen können diesen Dienst freiwillig leisten.
Der Name Mormonen leitet sich vom Buch Mormon ab. Neben der Bibel wird dieses Buch von den Mormonen als Heilige Schrift verehrt. Das übrige Christentum erkennt diese Schrift nicht an. Die Mormonen glauben daran, dass eine Gruppe israelitischer Auswanderer etwa 500 nach Christus Amerika besiedelte. Das Buch Mormon beziehe sich auf deren Geschichte.

14 Millionen Mitglieder

Der Amerikaner Joseph Smith stieß nach eigenen Angaben auf die überlieferte Schrift und gründete 1830 die Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage. "Die Zahl der Mitglieder ist von einst sechs auf heute 14 Millionen gewachsen", sagt Frederick Luschin von Ebengreuth.
Er gehört der Hanauer Gemeinde der Mormonen mit ihren rund 200 Mitgliedern an. In den USA sind die Mormonen mit rund sechs Millionen Mitgliedern die drittgrößte Glaubensgemeinschaft, in Deutschland gibt es rund 38 000 Mormonen.
Zum Pressetermin erscheint Frederick Luschin von Ebengreuth im frisch gebügelten weißen Hemd, mit blauer Krawatte, Anzug und Lederschuhen. Seine Kleidung entspricht dem strengen Dresscode seiner Kirche. Diese möchte ihre Missionare gepflegt in die Welt entlassen. In Frankfurt geboren, verbrachte Frederick mit drei Brüdern und einer Schwester den größten Teil seiner Kindheit in Nidderau.
Er besuchte von 1999 bis 2003 die Kurt-Schumacher-Schule in Karben. Weitere Stationen waren das Georg-Büchner-Gymnasium in Bad Vilbel, Schulen in Kiew in der Ukraine und die Mormonen-Schule in Provo in Utah. Seit einigen Tagen und noch bis Mitte September wird der 19-Jährige an der Sprachschule des Missionstrainings-Zentrums der Mormonen in Sao Paulo in Portugiesisch unterrichtet.
Im Anschluss wird der Nidderauer in Santa Caterina als einer von rund 100 Missionaren in diesem Gebiet tätig sein. "Mein Vater Hanno missionierte in England, meine Brüder Arnold in Frankreich, Christoph in Südkorea, Philipp in Russland", erzählt er. Trotz allem wird es Frederick in Brasilien nicht leicht haben: Portugiesisch, die Sprache, mit der er Menschen für seinen Glauben gewinnen möchte, ist ihm fremd. Frederick wurde mit acht Jahren getauft. Er studierte an der kircheneigenen Brigham-Young-Universität in Provo.
Auf seine Mission bereitete er sich mit intensivem Bibelstudium vor. Die Kosten für die zweijährige Missionszeit, rund 10 000 Dollar, werden von der Kirche nicht vergütet. Sie werden überwiegend von Fredericks Eltern übernommen. "Ich habe als Deutschassistent an der Uni in Provo mit zur Finanzierung beigetragen", sagt Frederick.
Dass er nach Brasilien gehen würde, wusste er bei seiner Meldung für den Missionsdienst nicht. Der Einsatzort wurde ihm von der Kirche zugewiesen. Allein ist der Deutsche in Südamerika nicht: Er wird, wie bei den Mormonen üblich, von einem Kollegen begleitet.
Mit diesem teilt er auch ein Zimmer, steht jeden Tag um 6.30 Uhr auf, studiert die Heiligen Schriften und begibt sich dann bis 21.30 Uhr zu Fuß und mit öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln auf Missionsarbeit. Dazu zählen die Ansprache von Leuten auf der Straße und Hausbesuche.

Disziplin und Gehorsam

Frederick glaubt, dass es nicht einfach werden wird. Man müsse bereit sein, alles zu geben und wirklich zu dienen. "Die Arbeit erfordert Disziplin und Gehorsam", meint er. Darüber hinaus muss er sich an strenge Regeln halten: Er darf weder rauchen, noch Alkohol, Kaffee oder Tee zu sich nehmen. Fleisch ist nur in Maßen erlaubt.
Freizeit haben die Missionare der Mormonen nur einmal die Woche für die Erledigung von Hausarbeit, Sport oder um Briefe zu schreiben. Flirts sind tabu, Telefongespräche in die Heimat nur an Weihnachten und zum Muttertag erlaubt.
Auch Freunde von Frederick Luschin von Ebengreuth sind derzeit weltweit unterwegs. So reiste Benjamin Uhlig aus Echzell nach Provo, um Griechisch zu lernen. Michael Fiedler aus Büdingen ist in der Schweiz unterwegs und Rima Avanesian aus Fulda in den USA.

Week 3

2012_08_14, Tuesday
Dear Family (and possibly friends),
I am able to write every Tuesday between about 13:00 and 16:00 or so, for the time period of 30 minutes. I currently suppose that Mom is able to take care of forwarding my emails to anybody who might be interested. I am trying to worry about anything extra-Mission as little as possible, and I would like to think, have been succeeding quite well at that goal. I have to admit that being at the MTC is a little different than I expected. We still do not really have any proper language immersion, so I've been trying to get help from Brazilians that I've been meeting during the meal hours. Needless to say, the language is making improvements but it is my teaching skills that are seeing the most progress. It strikes me every single time that I'm able to give a lesson how quickly the Holy Spirit testifies that what one is teaching is true. We have two progressing investigators in our teachers and their respective characters, Carlos and Iemanuel. They act quite realistically and so I have been able to get into the idea that these are real people that I need to share a message with, as I can bring great joy to their lives. However, feeling like I'm not measuring up to the ideal lesson is somewhat frustrating, but not considerably so. I must say that I feel incredibly blessed at having been prepared by much living-abroad to be able to face living here without any degree of homesickness. Of course I miss my family, but realizing that my time is not my own is a great incentive to get to work and forget myself.
On Sunday I was able to hold a district meeting with my district, which was nice as I was able to use a talk that I had prepared (we need to prepare a talk every Sunday as we might get asked to speak during sacrament meeting) about the Book of Mormon. It really is a powerful witness, and I'm finding out more and more how I can apply it to the lives of investigators. All I can do now is hard work to prove that I'm willing to expend myself in the service of the Lord. Anyhow, I saw the occasion as a blessing as I felt prompted to say certain things that I hadn't even prepared.
On a different note of being blessed, I had lost my temple recommend last week and hadn't been able to find it till Sunday evening, when I felt I should unscrew the safe from the closet and check between the safe and the wall. I took out my safe and found my temple recommend! That really made me happy. I didn't want to seem like I was being trivial about something as important as that.
I'm sorry I can't send pictures, but the thing is that I'm not even allowed to take pictures except for on P-days, and that only at the CTM. We have a good group of missionaries here. The missionaries here go to all over SA, it seems. I haven't met many others who are going to Florianopolis, but I meet Brazilians who all love Florianopolis. Apparently, it is a happening place. It made me really happy that I found a friend in a Brazilian who was impressed by my knowledge of the country, as apparently very few people would know what I do about its history. That made me grateful for the all the history books I read before coming here. Go reading!
I've starting reading Jesus the Christ and I really enjoy it. Additionally, I find myself gaining more insight into the scriptures as I ponder them  Galatians 5:25 is pretty great.. We had a very positive experience in having an English language fast. I need to share a bit about the food. Papaya is not what I expected, but I've had cashew juice and a fruit called goiaba. I've actually lost some weight here, unlike many others.
I'm surprise at how fast time is going, but that is because I know that the time I have here will pass by like a dream. In reality, the only answer, and a time-proven one at that, is to use every single moment we have well.
In love and faith,
Your dear Elder Luschin