Olá! Tudo bem?
This week went fast and was great. Time is a funny thing. I never know where it goes, but at the same time I kindof feel like I´ve been in Brazil for years. This week I officially reached my 1 month mark in Brazil! Crazy stuff. And we find out about transfers this week as well. Sister Jales and I are thinking we will very likely stay together here in Campos Eliseos since we are still in 12 week training, but you never know. Sister Jales has been in this area for her whole mission. She may not be here for long.
This week the mother of Ana Furlam (a 19 girl in our ward) passed away. She had had some kind of heart problem for a long time and had actually been bed-ridden for 12 years. Ana is an only child and her parents are divorced so this hit her pretty hard. It is interesting the way they do funerals here. Her mom died late Tuesday night and Wednesday morning they had the body ready to go and flowers all set up in the Church. Then members and friends came and stayed all day at the Church talking and supporting the Furlams. We spent a long time there are tried to help Ana the best we could. Since we are pretty much the only other people there her age I think we were able to make more of a difference. That afternoon she was buried in the huge cemetary in our town. It was all finished in one day, no huge preparations or ceremonies or talks or anything. I liked the way the do not mourn and think about the burial and death for weeks. It was a neat experience to see the different cultural ways of doing things.
On the other hand, we also had two births this week. Two of the Elders´ investigators were baptized on Saturday! They are awesome and have huge testimonies. They are Mariana and Nezia. Mariana loves the missionaries and had actually already had us over for almoço twice this week with the Elders. She is a super chef and reminds me of your amazing cooking mom. Just not quite as good as you. So the baptisms went really well and they were both very happy. My favorite part of batisms is always when they walk in the room all dressed in white! The Spirit is so strong and they look so clean and new. Baptisms are such happy times.
We had another clean sweep of our Area Book this week, even more than before. Since we do 140 contacts every week, we always have tons of addresses and names to make return visits to. Previously none of thes Potential Investigators were organized at all and it was basically impossible to the to figure out were they live and who lives close to who etc. This week we organized them all by street and sent off lots of names as referrals for other areas. It was very successful and I feel more like I know how to work successfully in this area.
Sebastião is on fire! I have never seen someone so dedicated to this gospel who is so new to it and has no family supporting him to do this. He lives alone but faithfully comes to Church every week and is willing and ready to have us come visit and teach a lesson even with only a few hours of notice. He likes to talk a lot so our lessons are always pretty long but he is really soaking up the gospel and gaining a strong testimony. I think he reads the Book of Mormon more than I do. I believe he will be one who will never fall away.
Last week I forgot to say that I gave my first talk in Sacrament Meeting! I was pretty nervous and gave a very simple, but heartfelt talk on prayer. It was a bit crazy because it was the same day as Sebastião´s baptism and they asked me to speak 30 minutes into the first hour (we have Relief Society, then Sunday School, then Sacrament Meeting) so I had a lot of things running through my mind. Luckily, they asked me last minute last week too but it happened to be the Primary Program so I didn´t speak then. I prepared a sketchy layout of a talk last week just in case they asked me again, and yes they did. It was interesting though, I´ve found with talks now that I am always nervous before I go up there but once I start talking there is no turning back and I generally am more calm during the talk. It went well and a member told me that they felt the Spirit strongly during my testimony which is all I really wanted. First talk down!
My music is going crazy. They like to ask you to do a lot of things here last minute actually. I played for the baptism and Elder Ruberson sang a musical number. We also did a musical number the next day in Sacrament Meeting and I played for Sacrament Meeting. A few of the hymns have a little different rhythms with the different words in Portuguese so I have to be careful and really read the music! I am very grateful for the chance I had to play at home during Church lots of times to prepare me for this day. The hardest part actually is listening really carefully to hear the number of the hymn that is coming up. They don´t use programs and my high numbers in Portuguese still aren´t the best so I have to pay attention really carefully! Oh and a strong member of the ward (Paola and Fabio (the first second councilor in the bishopric)) asked me to teach piano lessons to their two girls for our hour of service so they can learn the hymns. The only music we have is the hymnbook and I´m pretty sure they are not quite ready for that so I´m going to have to be creative. We start this week and we´ll see how it goes.
One other exciting event of the week is that I taught two full lessons by myself! The first one was a contact that turned into a street Restoration lesson. Sister Jales left me hanging out to dry and didn´t say anything. It was really hard but I know it was important to training and I feel more comfortable and confident in my teaching now. I can get the point across more or less. Then yesterday we were teaching a past investigator of a woman and her mom. Sister Jales started talking to the investigator and I started talking to her mom and they turned into two different lessons. I actually had a good back and forth conversation with her for 20-30ish minutes and it was a really cool experience. Portuguese is awesome! I want to learn every word in this language.
I love you all! Thanks so much for all of your love!
P.S. Congrats dad on all of your hard work!
P.P.S. Sorry I don´t really respond to your emails. I will do this in letters when I have more time.
P.P.P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!
Foi uma semana muito boa. Eu me sinto como se esteja crescendo e aprendendo mais com cada dia. A linguá é mais fácil agora e as vezes eu estou pensando e orando em Português sem perceber. Síster Jales e eu estamos tornando-nos boas amigas e estamos trabalhando melhor juntos. Nossas números esta semana não foi muito bom, mas fizemos outros coisas importantes por exemplo ajudando Ana Furlan com a funeral de sua mãe e arrumando nosso livro de área ainda mais. Eu me sinto muito mais organizada agora e tipo eu sei mais do que expectar com cada dia.
Sebastião continua crescer muito desde seu batismo. Ele ama a igreja e tem muito fé. Ele fez muitos comentários na igreja ontem e disse que agora ele sabe sem duvida que o Livro de Mórmon é completamente verdadeiro. Ele está mais feliz cada vez que nós o vemos, e ele continua aceitar tudo da igreja. É uma bênção para ensinar um homem tão pronto e disposto aprender. Esta semana ensinamos sobre o sacerdócio e ele está preparando receber o Sacerdócio Aarônico. Ele é ótimo!
Também ensinamos Paula e Anderson e sua filha Carol esta semana. Estão tendo umas poucas dificuldades, especialmente com a Palavra de Sabedoria. Vamos continuar os apoiar e convidamos focalizar no Livro de Mórmon para orientação. Eu tenho fé que eles poderão conquistar todos seus tentações e provações. O Senhor vai mandar milagres.
Eu já tenho um mês no Brasil! Foi muito rápido e eu já me sinto como uma pessoa completamente diferente. Esta obra é difícil, mas eu a amo e eu sei que isto está mudando minha vida. Eu sempre quero ser a missionária que o Senhor quer que seja.
Obrigado por tudo,