Wow, all I can think when I read your emails is how you all are such better missionaries than I am.. Sounds like such a fun trip with the family, everyone looks cute and happy and the story about Nick is incredible. I have been praying for him every day!
It was a good first week here in Ipés. I´m a little intimidated with how to teach our new investigators. There are SUPER elect people here but in general it is not as humble of an area. And when I say elect I mean recent converts with a month in the church who are teaching in Relief Society and are counselors in the Young Men... I´m really excited to work here, with all it´s challenges and blessings.
So talk about endure to the end.. Every week here is like a race to close all your numbers. Not that it´s all about numbers, but the ´´padrão de excelencia´´ is basically the promise that we´ll have a baptism every week if we find 10 new investigators and 3 of them go to church. Saturday you´re usually just trying to get to every house of everyone you found during the week remind them about church.. but this Saturday we found our elects at the very last hour. We contacted this guy Vagner who looks like Jimi Hendrix with a Jimi Hendrix shirt, and he was just like ´´yeah I´ll go to church tomorrow, let me invite my friend who lives right here..´´ So we met Nilton also, who apparently had already read a lot of the Book of Mormon and was taught by the missionaries. He just never went to church because he never had a friend.. Well, problem solved. They both came to church and we´re gonna help them be baptized on Sunday :) Pray for them and also Alexandro, who came and brought his girlfriend to church. We taught him the first lesson and he´s really curious about the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, he´s going to be in the hospital having surgery until Wednesday... but the spirit will touch his heart and he´ll want to be baptized.
Come to think of it, this week was a lot like the game against Chile. Full of confusion and stress but ended up all right in the end. Haha.. everyone was losing their mind watching that game and it was hilarious. At the end everyone just flooded the streets screaming and hugging and setting off fireworks and waving their giant Brasil flags. It´s pretty awesome how into the game everyone is. What a moment for Julio Cesar.. I just wanted to go there and teach them the correct way to pray.. Ave Maria´s not gonna help them play better ;)
I´ve been reflecting a lot on the things I´ve learned in my last area. Colinas do Sul was a hard area, but when you put so much into something you come to love it. I´ve been missing that ward a little and it´s hard to imagine getting to know another. I guess you just have to always love where you are. I´m still junior, but that doesn´t mean anything. It´s my mission and every minute has to count, and I feel like I´ve just been thinking too much about all the things I´ll do and change when it´s my turn to train, if I ever do. The Lord knows exactly how we need to learn.
This transfer I really want to learn to completely rely on the Spirit. I´ve been studying a lot about personal revelation and the key is just being worthy to receive it. That means obedience and willingness to do whatever the Lord answers. One thing I´ve changed is that I´m writing a lot more things down. I figure the Lord will give me more inspiration if I don´t just cast aside the revelation He gives. I´m also trying to have my motives, studies and my focus be 100% about serving His children. He´s not going to help if I just want to baptize to say I baptized and feel good about myself. Just think of Joseph Smith and all of the prophets. They were the humblest of humble and willing to learn even though they felt themselves incapable.
Things are great here and I´m happy to hear you are all so happy! Mom and Dad, you are going to change the world with your testimonies and talents. I´m so proud of all of you and I love you all so much. The church is true, God answers sincere prayers and He never gives up on anyone.
Com muito carinho,