Theres one picture here where the light is coming in strangely. I dont want to be the one to point out that the picture makes it look like we're two angels bringing this rather aged soul to the next life, but...
So, it has been a CRAZY week for us this week. Weve been working our tail ends off, and it seems to be going right! We even had...a baptism this week! Here we go with the details!!
Pedro: WAS BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!!!! It was actually a very welcome surprise to us. He was progressing really well, until we taught him about the word of wisdom. At that point, he was very hesitant to even listen to us, saying that coffee doesnt offend God (And then going off on other tangents, he's very old and his mind wanders a lot.) Not knowing exactly what to do, we did a "Hail Mary", or in other words, we decided to interview him to see if we could get him miraculously baptized. And, believe it or not, he opened up more to the interviewer, and said, "I dont understand this commandment right now...but perhaps in the future, I will. So, ill cut the coffee." And, he was baptized this Sunday! It was a very nice baptism, and even funnier when he thanked us: "Thank you both for baptizing me...sorry, whats your name? Elder? And his name? Elder too? Youre both Elder! Thats cool!" We helped baptize a man that didnt know our names. I suppose thats Christlike service, not looking for recognition? But, it was cool!
Rodrigo: Kinda going off the deep end. Spending a lot more time with a "lady friend", so its harder to find him at home. We'll try and work a miracle with him this week.
Alessandra: Still firm, still following, still wants to be baptized. But, before she can, she just needs to cut a few little things from her life. But, luckily she has desire, so we're still working with her.
Antônio, Alessandra (2), Lizandra (new!): Thats right, Im currently teaching 2 alessandras. Theyre a family that have been coming to church. Legally married, good people, have a desire to follow Christ. The wife is a bit reluctant about baptism, but theyre doing well in progressing. We'll see how we can help them. And Lizandra is the 10 year old daughter.
Apparently Im getting this week something thats known as a "Trunky Card", which is basically the card that you get when youre getting close to the end of your mission, to plan travel stuff, etc. So...thats weird. Its hard to think of other things when the idea exists that my mission is ending, sooner than I think.
Alright, Ill send pics of Pedros baptism! Love you all! Have a great week!
Thats right...the time has come...ITS 2015!!! I am so so exicted that this year has arrived! It was a good week for me, although as any returned missionary knows, it was weird, seeing as it was New Years. Nobody was home, and yet it felt like i was busier than normal. But, it was alright. We had New Years Eve lunch with the Stake President, celebrated the day by going to the Walmart that exists in Itú (Ive never been in such awe about a Walmart before this week,) and we welcomed in the new year...waking up for 10 minutes as the fireworks in the town went off, and then promply returning to sleep. It wass a calmer New Year, but...ITS 2015!!!!! AHHH!!! :D
Its weird, when 2014 arrived, I thought to myself, "Well, Im gonna end this year the same way that I started it: doing missionary work in Brazil." Its very weird to think that I will end this year back in the US, unless I travel. But seeing as Ive been traveling for 2 years, itll likely be in the US.
But, heres some info about our top investigators!!
Alessandra: By a miracle, we found Alessandra this week, to be interviewed for baptism. She was calm about all of the commandments and such, but just asked for 1 week to tell her family her plans to be baptized. But, she seems firm for this weekend. Please pray for Alessandra!
Pedro: We talked to him on Tuesday, and taught him the Word of Wisdom. He put up a giant argument about how God doesnt frown on people drinking coffee, how hes sure that there are people at church that are secretly drinking it, etc. But, when we invited him to live it, he was like, "yeah, thats fine. I can live it." So...hes still a surprise to us. And because he was out of town for this weekend, we'll interview him this week and remark his baptism.
Rodrigo: Was interviewed, by a very strange surprise didnt pass. It seems like he has a secret life that we'll have to talk to him about. But, we'll see what happens.
Seeing as I have 5-6 months left on my mission, Ive decided to do something crazy: read ALL of the standard works (Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, etc.) before I get home in English, and finish the Book of Mormon in Portuguese again (O Livro de Mórmon), all before I get home. So, starting from last Monday (I got a headstart), heres where I am:
Old Testament: Numbers 23
O Livro de Mórmon: Alma 48
Alright, thanks for everything everybody!! I hope that everybody has a great week! Ill try and send some pics!! Love you!!
So, we've finally arrived at the end of the year!! Its been a very fast-paced year, and Im still at a bit of a loss of words that it is already over. On the mission, this is called my "black year", or the year where I start and end the year on a mission. Next year wont be like that, seeing as Im coming home in 5-6 months, which is absolutely crazy-go-nuts.
So, before I talk about how my Christmas was, lets talk about our top investigators! Here they are:
Pedro: Went to church again this week. Because of Christmas craziness, we were only able to talk to him on Friday and Saturday. But, on Sunday morning, we knocked on his door to give him a ride to church, and nobody was home...because he was already waiting for us on the street. The only problem is that hes 86 years old and sometimes forgets things, so he sometimes goes off on side-tangents and starts talking about random things. But, we have a goal to baptize him this week!!
Alessandra: Also went to church again. She is INCREDIBLY receptive, understanding perfectly everything that we teach. She has a large interest in prophets in our day, and she is excited to be baptized this weekend.
Rodrigo: Also went to church this week. He forgot on Sunday morning, but we woke him up and just told him to come with us. So...he came with us. We have a goal to baptize him this week. Please pray for our investigators!!!
Two days before Christmas, our mission had a Christmas party. It was super fun, filled with a spiritual program, a churrasco (Brazilian BBQ) lunch, talent show, gift exchange, and just a good opportunity to see friends from the mission. Super fun.
And Christmas was very very great! Firstly, I got to talk to my family!!! It was awesome to be able to talk to them and see how theyre doing personally. Its weird, the next time that I call them will be 3 weeks before I go home, so that is a weird realization that my mission is going by so quickly. But, aside from talking to my family, we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day visiting members and receiving a bunch of food, and avoiding the hot of the Brazilian summer sun as much as possible. And, I received some gifts from people! Lilian, my recent convert from Jaraguá, was nice enough to send me a white shirt for Christmas. And, my mom sent me some great things for Christmas, including a mission countdown calendar. So yes, I do know exactly how many days I have left on my mission.
Alright, I hope you guys have a great new year! Thanks for all of your love and support! Until 2015!
...on Christmas day. (Just a bit of cheesy Christmas music.)/My new area!/Christmas time!
...Ive been in a crisis deciding what title to use for my email this week. So many options. Just pick which one you want.
So, I am here in my new area, Itú! Although Ive only been here a few days, I am LOVING it here! There are some details about the city in my voice recording (voice recordings work here!!!!!!), but basically, Itú is a touristic city in São Paulo, thats about 400 years old. Its known as the "biggest little city in Brazil" because they have the quirky attitude of making a bunch of big stuff. Theres a park here that I want to visit, filled with abnormally big things. Ive already seen the famous giant stop light in the middle of the city. Its a quirky city, and I love it so far. And, Im getting along well with my new companion, Elder S. Costa, from Natal (translation: hes from Christmas). So, things are good here.
Unfortunately, my weekly baptizing streak ended, at the last minute. Here are the details of our top investigators (all new!)
Cris: Her details are in the voice recording. Shes the mother of 3 mentally handicapped children, and weve been helping her prepare to be baptized for a long time, and helping her children at the same time. It had been a GIANT war getting her to that point (getting the ward prepped to handle 3 very mentally handicapped kids isnt a small task), but at the last minute, she told us that she wouldnt be baptized, nor would she accept anymore of our visits, because her ex-husband threatened to take her kids away if she was baptized. She wouldnt even open the door for us. Satan works freaking hard, but we'll see if we can talk to her one more time this week.
Pedro: An older man(about 75 years old) that I found on my first day here. We connected immediately, seeing that he was watching a band video when we arrived at his door. As it turns out, he was a band teacher for his whole life, focusing on trombone! So, we started talking about music/trombone for a while, and he has been very receptive. We have a baptismal date marked for January 4, and he went to church this Sunday and said that he liked it a lot! So, here we go!
Rodrigo: A nerdy 25 year old kid thats living with his parents. We dont know a whole lot about him yet, but he accepted a baptismal date. And hes very fun with us and receptive.
Alessandra: A woman that lives with her brother and sister. She had gone to church a long time ago and loved it, but never returned. Accepted a date for the 4th, and went to church this Sunday.
Its the Christmastime call this week! So, family, heres the plan. I am planning on getting on Google plus at about 3:30 PM here, which would be about 11:30 AM in Missouri. Ill likely be using a members computer in the chapel, so we dont have to be too stressed about incomodating the members. If theres any change, Ill inform you on Christmas eve. My companion will be talking to his family on the 24th, and Ill be in the chapel, so if I need to, Ill inform somebody about the change of plans. But, for now, lets plan on 11:30 AM missouri time. IM SO EXCITED!!! (Its been 7 months since Ive talked to you guys!)
And, as we come to Christmas, let us remember what is truly important about the season, which is the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Go to christmas.mormon.org, and watch the short video He is The Gift. I promise, itll be worth it!
Alright, Merry Christmas everybody!! Thanks for the love and support! Hope that its a good one! Im sure itll be good here!
So...there are two big pieces of news this week. I suppose I'll just start.
Firstly...we had a baptism this week! Without a doubt, Stefany was one of the most surprising baptisms that Ive had on my mission. Dont think of it as a lack of faith, but I was super surprised that everything went so that she was baptized this week. As I had said last week, we had taught her on Sunday, and marked her to be baptized on the next Sunday. She had been taught everything about a year ago, so we just needed to interview her (easy), and get the signature of approval from her mom (super hard.) We went to the address that she gave us on Monday night, and...she had given us the wrong address. An old man answered and said that no Stefany lived there. So, we tried to get in contact with her, but she kinda avoided us during the week. So, by Wednesday, we thought that it was all doomed. BUT we had a ward Christmas party on Saturday, and of course, Stefany came to the party. She was talking to a bunch of people, and we were waiting for the perfect moment to call her out. Luckily, my companion is kinda super blunt and a bit socially unaware (in a good way), so he walks up in the middle of the conversation and says, "Hey everybody! Sorry, did I cut the subject? Hey, Stefany! Can we talk for a minute?" And she was interviewed, and passed. The only problem: Her mom would only be at home at 11:00 at night, and she lives in a sketchier part of town. So, we trusted a member to talk to her mom and get the signature. And, 11:30 comes, and we get a call from him, saying, "The baptism will be tomorrow at 10:00, during Sunday School. Get to the chapel early, fill up the font." So, we did. And, although we had some other little things go wrong, the baptism went really well! I honestly was not expecting that her baptism would be this week, but this is Gods work, and He wanted her to be baptized on Sunday!! Miracle!!
And the other note...Im being transferred! After 4.5 months in Jaraguá and 6 months in the grand São Paulo, Im going back to the country-er part of the mission! Im going to a city called Itú. From what Ive heard, its a nice little touristic city, known for a park where they have a bunch of big things (like, a GIANT chess set that you can play a la Harry Potter 1, big benches, etc..), and they sell things in bulk. In the past, its had a problem with a lack of water, but it seems like the problem is getting better. And Ill be companions with an Elder S. Costa, another Brazilian. So, everything should be good. Im excited to go back to the not-gigantic-city! So, this letter is a bit shorter, because Ill leave the LAN House a bit earlier today so that I can say goodbye to people. Ive already said goodbye to a few, but its all good!
And, for the family's knowledge, Ill give more details next Monday about Skype on Christmas, but I think itll be more or less 2-3:00 here, which would be 10-11 there? I think itll be like that, but Ive gotta make sure.
ALright, love you all! Heres a pic of Stefany's baptism!!