This week was awesome!! Well, really it didn´t seem all that great til the end of the week, but it all went well so that´s what matters!! I think one of the most interesting things about the mission is that there are days and weeks that are really, really rough and hard things happen, but you always just remember the good stuff! This week really was great, so I´m excited to tell ya all about it!
Monday night we had 2 Family Home Evenings. The first was with a member and we brought a recent convert with us. It was awesome! This member is always, always, ALWAYS helping us out! I want to be a member like him when I get back home! After that we had FHE with Darlyene. She had a friend there who wasn´t really talking with us all that much but when we were getting ready to leave she asked us where we live and if she could walk home with us. The whole way home she talked our ears off and really opened up to us so that was pretty awesome! It´s interesting how much people trust you as a missionary. I know I´ve learned a lot in the past months, but I´m still just a 21 year old. I am grateful for the people that are willing to trust us!
I don´t know what it is about Tuesdays lately, but the past couple of weeks Tuesdays have been rough! It started out great. We taught a lesson about the restoration. The person said she is just really confused because she was taught differently her whole life and now we´re here, telling her that the church we represent is actually the truth. But we talked about how she can receive an answer because she has never really gotten an answer to prayer. In the afternoon we taught a young man we met last week. he´s 13, but he´s a really thoughtful 13 year old! He has lots of questions about religion, He feels like he´s still too young to choose to decide just one church to attend. The lesson with him was pretty awesome! His Pentecostal cousin was there and was pretty cool. I learned one thing that day: Get comfortable when you ask a Pentecostal pray. His prayer was about 15 minutes long and he was talking really fast and shouting. Now keep in mind, I´m a missionary! I should enjoy praying! After that we taught Neto! Definitely the highlight of our day. On Sunday, after his baptism, we told him that he should write about his feelings and experience at his baptism. Today he shared with us what he wrote and it was so sweet! I´m so grateful I had the opportunity to teach him.
Wednesday we taught a family that we met a few weeks ago. We only met and taught the mom and son, but Wednesday we taught the dad too! It was really awesome because he´s definitely the leader of their family, so if he acts, the rest of them will act too. He said they´d come to church, but only the son ended up coming on Sunday, but we´ll keep trying with them! After that we taught Michelle. She has not been coming to church lately. She feels like everyone at church will judge her because she hasn´t been there in a while. So she doesn´t want to come back. It's a tough situation. Teaching her was really good because I felt so much love for her as we taught her. I realized that she´s just a human with weaknesses just like the rest of us. It made me want to help her a lot more. that night we taught Alberto (our investigator who bore his testimony last week) with his wife. We taught him with some members and it was so awesome! In the middle of the lesson the member invited him to Family Home Evening this coming week and we didn´t even tell him to do that! Members are the best!
Thursday was amazing! We had the most incredible lesson with Florêncio in the morning. We really weren´t sure what we needed to teach him. He's reading the Book of Mormon and progressing super well. So we really had no idea what we´d teach. We got there and he provided the topic for our lesson! It was sooo cool because he found a page in the Portuguese version of the Book of Mormon that we didn´t even know existed! It´s the introduction to the guide to study the scriptures (they don't have topical guide, bible dictionary, etc. in the Portuguese scriptures. It´s all together and is called ´guia para estudar as escrituras´) and it has an example of how to study the scriptures. The example was for eternal marriage. We had shown him the temple and talked a bit about eternal marriage, But he found the definiton in the scripture study guide and when he was talking to us about what he read, he started to cry because he wants his family to be forever! It was so sweet! We know for sure that he has tons of potential, and we have to start teaching his wife too! Seriously coolest lesson ever! The other big news was that that night when I got home I got a phone call from Sister Evans, the Senior Sister in the mission. She works in the office. She first asked which airport I´d be flying in to when i return home. I told her Hawaii... I hope you guys are okay with that? ;) She told me that President is giving everyone in my transfer the option of going home on the 15th of December or the 29th like it was planned. She told me everyone else was going home the 15th, so I jumped on the bandwagon and...I´LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!! December 15! Can you believe it? It´s so crazy. I can't believe ther eis only 3 months left on my mission! I feel like I just started! But yeah, I´m so excited to be home with you guys, but also grateful that I still have 3 whole months to be a missionary! :) The other weird thing about that phone call was that it was in english (Sister Evans doesn´t speak ANY portuguese, her husband was the 1st missionary here in Fortaleza!! How cool is that? ) Talking in english was so hard! It's different when we´re teaching english class because we don't have an actual conversation. But I had to really think and I wanted to respond to everything in Portuguese! ahh!
Friday was really good! In the afternoon, we taught Eduarda. She was taught by some Elders in São Paulo years ago and visited the church a lot, but is still not a member. We taught her about the restoration and it was a very interesting experience for me. Eduarda LOVES to talk! As a missionary after you´ve spent all day in the hot sun, you get REALLY tired. It can be a big temptation to just zone out when people are talking a lot. I tried my hardest to focus and she ended up telling us how she understands everything the Elders taught her except for Joseph Smith! So we were able to know exactly what she needed to be taught. It's funny how little things like listening make the biggest difference. In the evening we taught Ed. We met him a while ago and he has a cousin who is a member, but they were both really busy all month. This week we finally got it combined to have a lesson with them. It went well! Ed is still more curious about the church than actually having interest in being a member, but that can always change. And he has family in the church so that also makes a huge difference! Another highlight of Friday was eating pão de cóco at this bakery we really like. pão de cóco is one of the most delicious things ever! It's kind of like a roll but sweeter and it has coconut on top. Brasillian bakeries are definitely a win!
Saturday made the rest of our week all worth it. We really weren´t having luck teaching lots of people earlier in the week, But saturday everybody was in their house and we taught some really amazing people! In the morning we taught English class and it was a ton of fun. We taught about height and weight since its measured differently here. Everyone got upset when we did the weight because kilograms make it look like you weigh less than you do in pounds. For example, if you weigh 60 kg, you weigh about 120 pounds. So everyone was all upset and thinking they were fat after they did the math and found their weight in pounds, haha. I love teaching English! It's so much fun! In the afternoon, we taught Maria! It was the most awesome lesson with her! We brought a member with us and she was perfect for Maria. Maria is a little slow to understand, but once she understands, she really gets it. She asks a lot of questions too which is super nice for us! But we taught the plan of salvation and it went awesome. In the evening we were going to teach a family but we felt like we needed to stop by Florêncios house and see if his wife was home. She was and we got to teach her! It was such a blessing because before Florêncio was telling us that his wife thinks what he´s learning is weird and all this stuff, but we talked to her that night and taught her the first lesson and she was so sweet and really liked what we taught! I think before she didn´t trust us very much, but after that lesson she realized that we are trying to help them and she committed to come to church the next day.
Sunday was awesome because we had a bunch of people at church for their first time! Florêncio and his wife came, Alberto and his wife were there, and Eduardo. Eduardo is 12 and is just awesome. I gave my first talk in portuguese!! I was really nervous but I think it went well. The members said they liked it, but I´m not sure if they just said that because they like me or if it was really good. but I didn´t forget any words or say anything offensive, so I´ll count it as a blessing :) In the afternoon, the other sisters in our ward had a baptism. We passed by Maria´s house and invited her to come. We told her we´d pass by again and walk with her to the baptism. When we came back she wasn´t there so we assumed she didn´t want to go. But we got to the baptism and she was sitting there and she had her boyfriend with her! We set up a lesson to teach both of them next Saturday!
I feel like this week was a huge test of diligence for me. There were times where nobody was home and it was so hot and I just wanted to sleep! But we kept working and it wasn´t until the very end of the week that we saw the fruits of our labors. There are times on the mission where we won't see any fruits at all, but the important part is that we just keep on going. I am going to do my best to remember that 3 months is so short and I have to make the best of the time I have left to serve here!
I love you all soo much! I am so excited to see you in December, and am so grateful for the help you´ve given me as I´ve been here. A lot of times my family is what I think about when I am having a hard time getting motivated! I know the happiness our family has, and I want everybody to have it!
I hope you have an awesome week! Love you all to the moon and back!