Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Phone Call

On Christmas and Mother's Day Mormon missionaries are allowed to Skype with their families for about an hour.  Here is some information about the conversation with him today.  He looked and sounded good.  He says he has a good relationship with his companion and we were able to say hello to him as well.  When we thanked him for training our son he made a gesture like fanning himself because it was so much work.  Seems like a funny guy.  We found out he is an older missionary at 24 yrs and that he comes from a humble Brazilian family.  There was no bishop in Nathan's ward for a while but they just got a new bishop who is 27 and has an 18 year old wife!  When describing his mission president he said he is the complete opposite of the mission president he had in the Washington Everett mission.  Apparently he is a real go getter and a real ball of fire!  He said it's just what the missionaries need there.  When asked about the mission president's wife he said she was so great that he thought she probably had the priesthood.  He's a funny guy that Elder Tagg.  A fun part was when he asked his brother to play violin for him.  While listening to him play he fingered the notes on his arm along with his brother, still remembering what to do from years past of playing the Bach Double.  He says he lives in a favela.  Pretty much a slum.  He eats rice and beans each day.  He is working hard and we are proud of him.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Better News Next Time

Nathan's letter this week was pretty much a downer.  Pray for him and hope for a better letter next week.  He is struggling with his companion and with the numbers expected of him.  I'm sure the language is also a barrier to his progression.

He does say that he knows his entire mission will not be this way and that he refuses to baptize anyone without making sure they are truly converted first.  He takes missionary work very seriously!  He misses the Washington Everett mission very much.  It's a big adjustment right now.  Hope to post something better next week!

Elder Tagg's Mother
Life's full of problems

Monday, December 9, 2013

About a Dog Bite

My son is Elder Tagg from Maryland. He had very little time to write to us today but has reported a dog bite. This is his first week in Brazil.

My concern(knowing my son), is that he did not think anything of this event and may not think it needs any attention. He did not elaborate on any details. I don't know if skin was broken. I wonder if someone there can reach out to make sure good judgment and care was implemented. I will worry much less if I could be filled in on this situation.

He said he was fine. As a mother I would like a second opinion please.

Thank you
Sister Tagg

Dear Sister Tagg,
First let me say that we are loving Elder Tagg.  He is very obedient and dedicated and having a good attitude while everything feels so strange at first.  I saw him yesterday at the temple with his companion and other companionship that lives in the same house.  They are all good young men serving in a very humble area, but also receptive to the Gospel.  We expect good things to happen with them serving in this area.
Immediately after he was bitten by the dog, his companion called me to report it.  I then talked to  Elder Tagg.  He reported that no skin was broken, nor did it rip his pant leg.  However there were teeth marks on his leg.  I told him to wash it well with soap and water, put antiseptic cream on it, and get a rabies shot just to be safe.  One of his roommates knew where the clinic was for that, so he was able to get him there.  I think all will be well.  They know to call me if anything changes.
Thank you for your concern and prayers, and for sharing your son in the service of the Lord.
Sister Tanner

This week went well. My companion is still a challenge, but I'm teaching him. We had a guy the other day tell us he kills robbers so he was not interested.

There is a problem here in Brazil. This year 30,000 people were baptized in Brazil. 28,000 of those are already inactive. The whole system here is set up to get as many baptisms as possible as fast as we possibly can. In the United States I learned a lot about the importance of a baptism. Baptisms are more rare out there and so the missionaries are really humbled, and every new investigator is a gift from God. However here it seems that the  people are nothing more than numbers. It's not our mission president's fault. He is doing everything he can to get ´´real conversion.´´ He is following the advice of the 70.  Now im not rebelling against my leaders. I believe that the standards they set are inspired, but no one is infallible.  It seems that what's happening in Brazil right now is that we are ultimately condemning  people.

I will try my best to reach the goals they set. But if this mission ever makes me lower my standards, and start baptizing just for the numbers, I´m leaving. Going home. I will not allow myself to fall into this illusion of numbers.

About the dog bite, first of all you should maybe stop texing my friends for information. its weird, so stop. Second of all, I'm totally fine and you should stop worrying. If you hear about something that happened, please don't be that steriotypical worried mom. I'm a grownup now so I can take care of myself.

also, do missionary work!

Love Elder Tagg

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stories I Can't Tell

Dear Mom,
I have a lot of stories I can't tell right now because I only have ten minutes.  We had a temple trip today and P-day is almost over. So I will write more next week.
Elder Tagg
Elder Tagg at the Sao Paulo temple!

Sister Green and Elder Tagg (from his MTC district)

(A day later I received this letter from Elder Tagg...)

Hi Mom,

So yesterday I went to the temple and that's why I couldn´t email much. But the zone leaders gave us time to do it today.

Anyways, my trainers name here is Elder Sousa and he is Brazillian and he speaks 0 English. He has been a missionary for only two weeks longer than I have so this is going to be interesting... We are finding our situation really challenging.  Our work ethics do not really match up.  I have already had to chap my tiny Brazillian companion´s hide a few times...(joking). Here they call apostate missionaries ``fubecas`` not sure how to spell that. but it translates literaly to ´´pile´´. So yeah, Brazillians are funny.

I really kind of miss the United States though. Because here I feel like I am not using my brain as much... it's just too easy to get investigators and the issue is finding out who really is ready to make covenants with the Lord. So far I haven´t found anybody that I think is ready for baptism. It kind of stinks. Maybe when I master the language better it will be easier. 

My portuguese is pretty good. Whenever people find out how long I've been here they are always suprised at how well I am able to communicate. There are missionaries who have been here for three months who don´t speak Portuguese as well as I did when I first came out. So I have really been blessed in that regard. 

Take care,

Love Elder Tagg
Elder Gasser holding an I heart Elder Tagg sign.  He was Nathan's trainer in his last area in Washington