So, you will all read this a week late, because my family is lounging on a beach in some tropical location at the moment, but it´s all good. I´m sure you have survived the week well.
I have good news and sad news. Sad news first: No more pictures. My first camera chip got a virus from using it in the sketchy LANHAUS, and I´m not going to risk losing any more of my mission pictures. I didn´t know that an SD card could get a virus. SURPRISE! It can. Anyways, that´s all the sad news I have. If you are incredibly heart broken, I will show you all of the pictures when I get home.
Now the good news: I don´t think I will be able to write it all before time is up. There´s just that much.
Firstly: Our dear friend Benedita got baptised last week! She is one of the neighbors of the member with whom we have been working, the one who conincidently had to take out the trash last week. It is amazing to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ is transforming this neighborhood! All these people who lived close to each other hardly knew each other until Lindaura (the member) started inviting people to meet the missionaries. Now they are sharing precious moments and uplifting each other and encouraging each other to be strong! Last night we went to Benedita´s apartment to teach her and congradulate her again on her baptism and just when we were going to start reading a story from the Book of Mormon, the power went out, because (once again) someone drove into a telephone pole (the telephone poles are concrete and pretty weak) and left lots of people in the dark. So, we looked at the pictures from her baptism and helped her eat the ice cream in the freezer. You can´t have the ice cream just melting away. We took some silly pictures of eating ice cream in the dark and talked about how we get by without electricity. The apartment was quickly becoming an oven without the fan on. Afterwards, we left and all the neighbors sat outside talking to eachother until the power came back at 1 AM.
I ate a chicken foot for the first time yesterday. It was interesting, lots of bone and tendon, lots of flavor, but no meat. Well, what do you expect from a foot. It was overall a good experience. You can see the pictures in 2015.
Our friend from Nigeria is a sincere seeker of truth, and he was always a bit pessemistic about the people around him. He told us when we started talking to him that he has many acquaintances but no friends in Brazil. He doesn´t want to get caught up in the trouble he sees everywhere he goes. The other day the bishop stoped by the neighborhood to pick up some people for an activity and ran into the nigerian. They started talking about the church and baptism and who was going to the activity. He told us later that he knows the gospel can transform the neighborhood where he lives. He can see the change already in the friendships that are forming between these people who would not have known that there were other people with the same questions and beliefs living right down the street. I think he is going to find that he has a lot of friends in Brazil.
The other sisters serving in our ward (now Sister Gonzaga and Sister Vargara- new missionary from Chili) helped one of the people they are teaching propose to his "wife." There are a lot of people in Brazil that live together, but never get married, because they don´t know if they want to stick with it, but we know that if both people want it and ask for the Lord´s help, marriage can last forever. So, they helped him propose to his soon to be wife and yesterday the couple surprised the sisters with a big cake with their names on it! It is so great walking into this neighborhood. Almost everyone knows who we are and what we do. They ask us about the work and sometimes invite us in. The transformation taking place in these people is amazing!
Our friend Lizandra finally came to church and now she is coming to everything and getting baptised on Sunday. Her mom is coming too! It is amazing the difference the testimony of a friend can make. That is how it all started.
Another miracle: Today is our preparation day and the time is not flying by. I just asked how much time we have left on the computer and my companion said we´ve only been here a half an hour. When you really give all your time to the Lord, somehow it all works out.
This week we are going to have a MEGA TALENT SHOW! Everyone is invited to enjoy talents, see our chapel, and learn a little about what we´re all about. There are a lot of bizarre lies about the church here in Brazil, and we want people to know that they are welcome and that we don´t do those crazy things. We´re just going to show them that we are normal, fun-loving people too.
Well this is getting to be incredibly long, and I don´t know about you, but I don´t have all day to read emails and blogs, so I´ll let you go. Sorry for the lack of pictures! I hope everyone is well!
P.S. If you haven´t smiled yet today, smile at the next person you see.