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Semana 7

By 12:36 PM

Bom dia família!!  Como está todo mundo??

Second week in the field! Crazy how fast time is going - I hit 2 months on saturday! We had lots of really awesome lessons this week, including teaching two "eleitos", or golden investigators. The first is a young man named Hugo. He showed up at church last week, and we thought he was a member! Turns out he´s not, and so we called him and asked if we could come teach him and he was like, "yes! I´m really interested, I like church a lot and want to learn more." Wohoo! So this week we went and taught him for 2 hours about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. He accepted it all and said he would read the Book of Mormon. The really interesting thing was that both Sister Carvalho and I felt like we shouldn´t invite him to be baptized yet. It´s crazy how the spirit works, and doesn´t always say "yes" or "go for it". However, Hugo did come to church yesterday for all 3 hours. He participated in Gospel Principles, and was like underlining and taking notes in the lesson manual book we gave him, and asking me and Sister Carvalho questions. Our other eleito is a young man named Nelson, who is the boyfriend of a less active in our ward. We´re in the process of getting them married, and so had a member involved lesson with two other less actives present. We taught about the importance of marriage, the book of mormon, and how we can receive spiritual confirmation that the gospel, the church, and the book of mormon are important in our lives and true. As we all took turns teaching and testifying and sharing our testimonies, you could just see tears streaming down Nelson´s face. In that moment I knew that he knew what we were saying was true - at least he could feel it burning in his heart. He poured over a Liahona edition that we gave him, and was so grateful for our visit. When people like Nelson and Hugo accept our message and really dive into what we give them, THIS is where the real conversions come from. When people can recognize the contrast in their lives that living the gospel brings them, they begin to see WHY they need Christ, our message, and come into the fold of God. I always think of Alma 29:7-8 (I think, I´ve already shared this scripture in an email before) when this happens. My soul is overcome with joy when I see people converted unto God. I have a greater desire to learn the doctrine and the language for myself so that I can become a more effective instrument in the hands of the Lord, and work miracles with His strength in these people´s lives.

As for the language again, our STL and her companion (Sister Cieslak, and Sister J. Baker from Salem UT) came to our apartment one morning to study and help train me. We did some roleplay and I taught them the whole first lesson, read from the scriptures and Liahona, and afterwards they said that I have almost no accent already! Ahh I feel so blessed. Seriously so grateful that I studied French for so long cause honestly that´s why I can pronounce and speak the language. Blessings in disguise, and 6 years in the works. Guess it sometimes just takes years, or a whole lifetime, to realize why things happen the way they do ;)

We had 2 marked baptisms from this week!! We visited a man named Macau and taught him the 3rd lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ and right there asked him to be baptized and he accepted! But upon a later visit this week discovered he smokes, so that´s a problem we need to work on with him. Also, he didn´t come to church. So that pushes us back another week too but I know that this is the Lord´s work and He can help us accomplish whatever is according to His will, so this is nothing! Our other marked baptism is Fátima, the wife of a recent convert, except... they´re not actually married. So. Miracle from last week was that we got their marriage papers worked out! We had an awesome lesson with her last night about 2 Nephi 31 and the doctrine of Christ. We invited her to be baptized after her marriage and she accepted! She is so awesome and takes care of us missionaries, absolutely loves church and comes every week. So hopefully all will work out with their marriage coming up and then we can get her baptized!

And now, I´ll be honest with you. This week was really hard... physically, mentally, and spiritually. The most pressing problem is the sheer size of our area - it takes us an hour alone to walk to church, and at least 2 or 3 hours to walk the diameter, not sure we haven´t done it all at once. Our problem is that we have a huge teching group that keeps falling through because we can´t physically teach everyone. We will take several hours to get to someone´s house, and they´re hardly ever there when we try to visit, and so then we contact new investigators and just have a huge pool of new investigators that we never end up teaching because our primary focus is on our progressing investigators, but it´s just so hard to actually teach lessons when our area is so big, and so we aren´t seeing baptisms. Not that our success is measured by baptisms at all. But it sort of is. And it´s really spiritually exhausting sometimes.


I´m grateful to be experiencing this right now because it is teaching me humility - that even though I have the desire to teach these people and follow up on contacts and make it to appointments when we say we will, sometimes it´s just not physically possible. And we just have to do all we can to prove to the Lord that we are TRYING. Even if it doesn´t come to pass, we are trying. And that the fruits of these labors might be something different than we would expect - maybe not baptisms, maybe not these investigators, but maybe something... different. Something we can´t see. And maybe this is all just for our own "profit and learning". I´m not sure. But I am learning humility and patience and faith and long-suffering, and for that I am grateful.

The work here is also physically exhausting. One of the most relaxing and relieving feelings is when at the end of the day, I can wash my aching, dirty feet in the shower. Every time I do this, I think of my Savior washing the feet of His Disciples. In this moment, I can begin to feel a portion of the relief that those Apostles felt - and how much more so if it were the Savior, Jesus Christ, washing their feet? In this moment I think of the Atonement, too. That not only can we be physically clean but through Christ we can be internally, and eternally, clean. Through His blood, we can experience the REAL relief and rest from sin and the burdens of this world.

I´m learning so much here.

As for logistics of my mission life -

Sorry I sometimes forget to inlclude captions on the pictures I send home - you guessed right on most of them! McDonalds (FINALLY, so amazing. McDonalds is always better international).  

Açai is literally the greatest thing ever, I´m addicted. It reminds me of MonaVie too haha. Dad, where did they get their fruit from? Manaus? Which region?

As for being in the back seat of the car... we have to hitch rides sometimes. JK, but we do have to get rides from members to various activities or lessons because our area is so huge. So, being the novinha and junior companion, naturally got a turn in the trunk ;)

The açai, and pictures of Sister Carvalho "pregnant" was because she hit her 9 months this week, and I´m her first "filha" or daughter in the mission! (I´m the first sister she´s trained) So she´s my mãe and I´m her filha so we had a celebration on her anniversary and naturally took some fun pictures, and celebrated with the açai!

Dad you mentioned the governmental issues going on here, EVERYONE is so upset with the recent manifestation. I obviously don´t know a whole lot about it, other than as of this month I got 2 times richer - it´s now 3.40 Real per US Dollar. And, yesterday the entire country was in an uproar - I´m sure you saw the news but Natal, São Paulo, Fortaleza, EVERYONE went crazy. There were police everywhere, and you could just hear fireworks (hopefully?) going off everywhere and it was just crazy. Needless to say contacting was a little hard haha.

THE PACKAGE LAST WEEK WAS PERFECT. Peanut Butter, Nutella, Oreos, and granola has never made me happier in my life. Send more. Por favor. And granola bars. Just. Any food. I´m usually starving, because Brazilians only eat one meal a day - lunch. They never eat dinner, and if they are ever hungry at other times of the day it´s just a snack. And of course I have a Brazilian companion who´s used to this so. A little buffer would be nice :)  

Also, we only get letters like once a month on an assigned day. So. It´s probably better that you just cancel the Mission Ties account - no use because things won´t get here any faster. Don´t worry about it though!

They drink Pero here!!! I was so excited, everyone was shocked when I said that my family drinks it at home haha. Also, they drink mate here too! Someone tell Michael Lowry (twins?) haha that stuff is weird but I like it. They have another version of it that is really bitter, not a huge fan yet but give me some time. Also I´ve had some really crazy different and good fruits that I´ve never before heard of or seen in my life. Really cool.

Anyway, that´s really it for this week. I´m holding up, don´t worry about me. Just send prayers my way!

I love this gospel, love this work, and know this is where I need to be. I just need to learn HOW to be what I need to be. (That´s the goal, right?)


Sister Brown

Emily has never liked bananas…so this is a big deal!  She talked about leaning to eat bananas.

Opps!  I guess Emily forgot sun screen!

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