This last week has been one of the most tiring ones of my entire life. We had the performances for the Mission Choir in a place called Shopping Estação. It´s a super nice mall and it actually felt really, reeeally bad to be in there - it is completely "of the world", as you might say.
One experience, though: We went from Ala 2 (in the Center) to another bus tube to get to the mall. Imagine ~50 Elderes and Sisteres piling into a huge red bus and you´ll know a little of what I mean. When we arrived, all the Elders freaked out (because it is soo against the rules to go into the mall), and I went in, leading the Elders. It was impressive. Imagine a line of 50 missionaries, suited or dressed, all excited and smiling, and then imagine every single person in the mall looking at them, almost in a jaw-dropped fashion. When I got to the place where we were to sing, I turned around to see if everyone was coming. It was an awesome sight - literally, the whole mall stopped! Girls, men, little kids all looked to see what was going on. Then they showed us the riser where we were to sing and we got ready. We started the program, and I got to introduce the choir, blah blah blah.
We sang Joy to the World, then a small group sang All Creatures of our God and King, then the Sisters sang with the small group Away in a Manger, then Far, Far Away on Judea´s Plains, then the Sisters sang Teach me to Walk in the Light, then Silent Night (we had one Elder read Mosiah 3:5-8 with the choir humming, it was cool), then Beautiful Savior with the small group (the best one, by far), then Angels We Have Heard on High, then While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night, then Joseph Smith´s First Prayer with me and the sisters, then I Believe in Christ with the whole group. It was super cool, and we got a big applause from everyone. It was reeeeeally hot in the mall and we were all sweating a ton. There were a couple Elders who almost fainted from the humidity. Miss Curitiba was there, because she got baptized the week before. President was there and there were a lot of members and investigators. I would say that everything worked out and we have no regrets. It required a lot of energy, but it all worked out in the end.
We (the small group) also got to go to a special presentation waaay outside of Curitiba on the way to the beach to one of the Stake President´s in Curitiba´s work party. It looked nice for Brazil, a little run down for the states - lots of land, nice cabin, etc. We had to listen to the President of the company drone on for a while about the marvelous success that they had and then we heard a Catholic priest talk about Salt and Light. We had to repeat the prayers that he passed out on pieces of paper to us, etc. Very glad to be a member of Jesus´ church. Then we sang and it was warm fuzzies for everyone. Then the little snack and we left by taxi. It was super expensive, but we didn´t have to pay (~R$130 round trip, for two taxis).
It´s been interesting in this time working up until Christmas. A lot of Elders have the attitude that no one will be home and that nothing will work out like it should. We don´t! We´ve been able to teach tons of people, especially with the wonderful deluge of rain that we´ve been receiving recently. We´ve been working to help the Élderes keep their positivity up, and the article that I got from Elder Mott really helped. We´re excited! We´ve got several people that are preparing to be baptized on CHristmas! IT´ll be awesome!
I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that, even though at times we have difficulties and problems, we can find peace in Him. I can personally testify as to the cleansing effect that His Spirit has on us and of the peace it gives us, amidst a very troubled world. It really is worth it to be here, and I love it. Every day is another adventure, and I know now with an increasing amount of reality how little time I have left to serve. I know that while I feel that my sacrifice is small, it is the best I have to offer and I know that it´ll be accepted by the Lord.
Love you all. Merry Christmas, almost!