Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Week 9...holy cow, this is fast

Oi todas as pessoas,

Doing very well here in Brazil. Today is my last Pday in the CTM so I have to do a lot of stuff in order to get all ready. Beyond excited, nervous, and ready/unprepared all rolled into one.

We went to the temple in São Paulo for the last time on our mission so it was especially nice today. I´ve had all the parts memorized for the temple for a while, and that´s been really nice. It´s wonderful to be able to go the temple with a specific purpose and be able to receive specific and direct answers - the last several times the answers to various questions I have had have all been the same: love one another. At first it was a little frustrating because I wanted something a little more, or something like that, but I´ve learned to be grateful for whatever response comes (because the Lord knows us waay better than we think we do).

One more week...crazy. We´ve gone through all the required material already, so this is basically review and perfect week. Português is going well - my ears are helping me yet again. I´m getting to the point where I can hear all the words people say. Speaking is a little more difficult, and some of the grammar is a little tricky, but it´s only been 2 months and we´ve got a long way to go yet - it´ll all come together.

Last Friday was proselyting in São Paulo!!! In short, it was this: crazy. There were so many drunk/high/homeless/crazy people that it was kind of hard to find someone/thing sober enough to hear our message. We did, however, have some very good contacts. Our first one, a man named Alex, was amazing. So much faith and hope! We talked with him about the Nephites and how they came from Jerusalem, and he accepted that really well. The main thing he wanted to know was what the difference was between our church and the others (haha sucka - RESTORATION!!!) so we hit him with the Joseph Smith stick pretty hard and he actually really accepted that well . We gave him a Livro de Mormon, testified of its truth and translation through JS through the power of God, and said bye.

It´ll be great to be able to do things like that in Curitiba and then be able to follow-up to see how they did - sooo excited for that! Our other contacts were not quite so golden - one man, whom I will refer to as Hobo João, was maybe a little crazy but just wanted someone to talk to about God. A little frustrating; we started to talk to him and he started to take command of the situation quickly - every time we wanted to say something he would keep on going, and we ended up sitting next to him for about an hour. Seemed like 4. He told us that he believed that God loves all people differently and not much would change his mind. He was a nice enough guy, though, and he accepted a LM. He also gave me a flashlight and a ring with a missing diamond, which both smell strongly of urine and mint. Not a good combo. We talked to a lady who was baptized but went inactive because of other people, a few more hobos, a guy named Benjamin who accepted an LM, another guy from the Assembly of God who seemed a little annoyed with us but received a book anyway. Other Elders in our district were talking to people that wanted to trade some home-cooked fresh Mary Jane joints for the Book of Mormon. As appealing as that was, they politely declined and ran away. All in all, a very crazy experience. I´m actually pretty glad that we´re going to Curitiba; it´ll be a little tamer, I think, and not as insane.

I´ve used my musical abilites about as much as they could have been used - directed the Choir twice, accompanied the choir 3 times, played in Sacrment, played for other meetings, sang a duet last Sunday for the CTM conference (In the Hollow of Thy Hand) and have been overall very busy. It´s been immensely worth it, though, and I know that my efforts have not been wasted.

I had another meeting with the same guy who told me that I was a bad DL - basically he said he was very impressed with my efforts and commended me on the improvement. It was very welcome to hear that, especially from him. I feel like people genuinely love you here, even if you have a more difficult time loving yourself. One of our Brazilian roommates, Elder Almeida, acts just like me and shakes my hand every time he sees me (I even taught him how to sing opera, and now he sings with me in the shower). Another Brazilian waves his arms like a conductor every time he sees me, and lots of other funny things with other Brazilians. One Elder really, REALLY wanted a pair of my basketball shorts, and though I said no at first, I decided that it would be best. He even gave me 30 Reals for them, so I´ll use that to pay for supplies today.

I love you all so much. I know that this church is true, real, and progressing in it´s message. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I love the Book of Mormon and it´s surety, truth, and converting power. I know He lives.

Elder Brown

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