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Semana 23

By 9:34 AM

Olá família!

Sorry the past few weeks have been a little uneventful - I´m just in the normal missionary routine. But this past week was full of exciting things to tell you all :)

Tuesday we had INTERVIEWS with President - I love that man so much. Every time he has something to say, I know he has taken a lot of prayerful consideration into what he prepares to say, because it is always everything I need to hear, and my interview with him was no different. Although interviews with President are very personal and he told me some things that are very precious to me, I want to share some interesting counsel that he gave me. He told me that I should study the New Testament and Jesus the Christ every day of my mission, and that if I did this, I would have more light and understanding than I could imagine. After he gave me some other counsel, he said the closing prayer and blessed me to have a greater portion of the spirit with me, that I could be guided, know what to say, where to go, what to teach, and how to help. When he prayed for me like that, I was immediately filled with the Spirit, and I physically felt my own spirit being strengthened, and I felt more light and peace enter my heart. It was one of the sweetest moments of my mission so far.  I have also implemented my daily study of Jesus the Christ and the New Testament, and have been immensely blessed already.

This week was interesting as for the work - Sister Lopes thought it would be an awesome idea to make me senior companion.. I learned a lot of things, mostly that I am not ready to be senior companion hahah but it wasn´t as bad as I expected. We worked a lot with recent converts (a.k.a. less actives, so frustrating) and I learned a lot of lessons from that, mostly of how important it is to work with recent converts! That time after they are baptized into the church is CRITICAL time where they need to be constantly reinforced with the gospel, visits, and going to church. I learned this lesson the hard way. One of our recent converts that stopped coming to church because he worked so much called us over from the street one day. He had returned to drinking and was absolutely drunk - but as we visited with him, he said something that got me thinking: "God sent me two angels - the first was Sister Carvalho. The second, was you." and he pointed to me. He recognized that I was a servant of the Lord, and here I was not taking care of him and visiting him like I should! That was a huge wake up call for me. I am resolved to change and do a better job of taking care of recent converts, and remembering my call as an angel for these people.

As for some exciting cultural events - this entire month has been the celebration of "São João", which is the most celebrated here in the Nordeste. It has been a month-long of fireworks, parties in the street, grilling corn, and listening to "forro" (a type of music/dance here). This week peaked with celebrations - both thursday and sunday nights, every house had a huge "fogueira" or bonfire in the street. It was super cool to see all of the fires at night and listen to the music everywhere! On top of it all, our ward had a "Festa Junina" to celebrate São João, and it was so fun. I sent a bunch of pictures from the party. 

Everyone was dancing forro, they had a live trio playing (forro is always played with accordion, a drum, and triangle. I always think of Max with his accordion!), traditional dresses (someone gave me a skirt to wear, I think they are so beautiful), and amazing food (all made from corn). It was a night I won´t forget, experiencing tradition and culture here in the Nordeste!

[mom note: Emily bought herself a traditional Sao Joao dress…]

Other exciting news - we had a baptism on Sunday! Grandma Benedita, after an hour of trying to convince her that she needed to be baptized on sunday morning and not "leave it for next week" (because we know that will be the response every week), she finally said, "Eu vou, eu vou!" or "I will, I will!" and got herself ready and we headed off to church. She absolutely loved church, she got up in the middle of the meeting to give the chorister a kiss hahaha. I also had to help her change into the baptismal suit... yikes. 80 year old bodies aren´t very pretty. But I still love old people!

That whole day was so crazy trying to organize everything and make everyone happy and just have a baptism - Satan works so hard to convince people they don´t need to be baptized and literally every person has cold feet the morning of when we pick them up. The morning of a baptism is the craziest time on the mission, but all in all when the day is over I am just full of gratitude that we got to help someone enter the fold of God.

I love being a missionary, I don´t want to leave this area, but I´ll find out tomorrow if Natal will be my home for 6 months with another transfer, or end with 4 and a half. I´m grateful for the lessons that I have learned in this area, how I have grown through the difficulties, and am anxious to know what will happened! I have loved being companions with Sister Lopes, it has made the time fly by. Hopefully we´ll stick around together for "mais uma".

Talk to you all next week!

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