Drum roll please! ... (drum roll) ... HI!
I just wanted to get you excited. I hope you have had a great week because I know I have. I am getting better and better at the language, better and better at teaching, and better and better at losing myself and going to work. Time already seems to be flying by for me out here. Early this week, for example, I just passed the 4 month mark. How crazy is that? That means I only have like 20 more to go! :P Last Wednesday felt like yesterday, and days are already starting to blur together. Elder Bybee, my companion, trainer, and friend, is going home one week from today so this will be our last full week working together. I am really said to see him go because we have learned so much together. He truly is a great missionary and a great man. We have had such good times together. It is weird for me that as I finish my training, he finishes his service. But we just feel as if the lord is blessing him so much for his service. We have two promised and three possible baptisms this week and almost all of them were just kind of dumped in our lap. Fernando, one of our investigators, stopped us on the street and asked to talk with us, found our home when he was late to the meeting to reschedule, has read Jesus the Christ, the Book of Mormon, the Teachings of Joseph F. Smith, and Principles of the Gospel, and has already been to church with his daughter who also wants to be baptized. Any question he had, he quickly accepted our response, and his only problem was with drinking of coffee. I talked about how we could talk about how it is addictive, not a cure of headaches, but a cause, its ill effects for the heart, but none of this is truly important. What we need to know for ourselves is whether Joseph Smith really was a prophet when he received this revelation or not. If he was, and I testify that he truly was called of God, then this is a commandment and we must keep it. He said that he would stop without problem and I look forward to seeing him on Sunday.
Another of our investigators was so funny when we talked about marking the baptism for this Sunday. We explained to her that each week we report on who might be baptized. She slammed her fist into her hand and said ´´Promised!´´ and told us to tell our zone that. So we did to everyone´s amusement :) Another investigator that we reported this week posed a problem because we forgot her name. So in the meeting we called her Neighbora because she was a member´s neighbor. This brought endless amusement to the Americans and confusion to the Brazilians. We´re so funny :).
For one of lunches this week we went to a churrascaria with the First Counselor of the ward. Now for those of you who do not know what that is, imagine a Brazilian steak house with an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet where fancy waiters walk around bringing you different kinds of meat to sample and there is a dessert table with cinnamon pineapple. I know right? This divine present needless to say did not go un-wasted. I believe I ate more meat then than at any other time in my life. It hurt so good. The problem was that we literally felt sick for the next two days and we could barely walk. I wrote in my notebook ´´I never want to feel this way again.´´ Close quote.
We were at the house of the family that we baptized last week for dinner when the mother said ´´Fatty.´´ We didn’t know what she was referring to so Elder Bybee asked if she was talking to him :( Then Paulo, her son, said that they should name the cat after Elder Bybee. We were all laughing so hard. And then when we were waiting for the bus to return home, Paulo thought it would be a good idea to fence with umbrellas and Elder Bybee eventually responded after being poked several times. They went back and forth for a bit when Elder Bybee tossed his umbrella in the air to distract Paulo and just charged him. Paulo ended up on the ground with Elder Bybee´s knee on his stomach. The results replaced the air around them with something of a smellier variety. They both ran away laughing. Thought you guys would enjoy that one.
At the start of the mission I was constantly fighting between what I wanted to do and what I should be doing. I would think of home, of sports, of video games, of pretty much everything but the MTC. As I have turned more and more of myself over to the work, I feel my character being replaced with attributes and talents I never expected. As I serve and learn more and more, I feel myself becoming a tool that the Lord can actually use to bring about his purposes. I just had to decide whether I constantly wanted to think in opposition ot what I was doing or if I wanted my actions and thoughts to be unified. As I line my will with that of what I am expected to do, I find myself happier and more successful. I decided that this where I want and need to be so I needed to change my wants and needs to match. If you are finding yourself ´´out-of-synch´´ with your surroundings I invite you to look inside and find out why. Either change your environment to match what is inside or change what is inside to match your environment. It is the only way to be at peace and happy with what is around you and what is happening. Prevent this constant struggle because it is the only intelligent thing to do. I just wanted to express my extreme thanks for every person who has sent me a card or package. I have tried to keep every written word and you are in my hearts and in my prayers.
Come on really,