To start off, here is Elder Duarte´s family´s email:
Let´s not let him down - I know ya´ll will do your best!
It really is so nice to hear (well, read) all of your emails. It is an amazing experience to be here to also know that we are praying for each other daily.
Awesome for the geuniea pigs and Peter´s first wrestling match! I bet the forfeit made him feel like He-Man (But there were none brave enough that could challenge this monster of a man...:) ) Por Dad´s request, I´ll try to write more specfically on what is actually happening day -to-day here - obviously it´s impossibly to relay everything, but we can try, right?
Basically, these last 2 weeks stank for teaching because of Christmas and New Years (Happy 2010! ALready?!?), and it´s not a fun feeling to be walking and walking and working and trying to teach people, but no one is home, no one wants to hear, and the pile of excuses are enormous.
One thing I would like to share is the hilarious act of contacting in the street. I would like to let it be known that I have been yelled at, sworn at, kissed on the forehead, Biblebashed (pathetically..that poor Evangelical lady didn´t know that her church wasn´t true), and also found many people to teach and baptize.
This week something extraordinary happened: we were returning from Super Dip, a local grocery strore, our arms laden with goodies (soap, shampoo, and crappy cookies to bide the hunger). We were almost to our street when a car careened towards us and stopped at our side. I was ready to go into Destructo-boy mode but that wasnt´t necessary. The window rolled down and a man and his girlfriend appeared. The man spoke: Oi Elderes, Eu quero me batizar! (I want to be baptized!) I half thought he was kidding and so I think I had an incredulous look on my face. He continued: I´ve heard all the lessons and I know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Can I be baptized this weekend? I need to be baptized as fast as possible! It was insane! This kind of thing you just hear about, but it would never actually happen to you or me, right? Wrong! Miracles happen, daily.
The weird part was this: I was feeling very badly that day because we had tried to teach and do our part, but ended p not teaching any lessons. Also it had rained a lot and ruined plans for a service project to paint a lady´s house in the ward. Not a good day. After the store, we were heading home, a little sad and frustrated in the cloudy, Oregon-like atmosphere. BUt then, BAM!!! His Baptism will be on Monday! Next week, if all goes well, we will have 5 baptisms! It´s nuts! BUt it´s great.
Also, there is a dog that lives next door that I think I mentioned to Peter. It is literally the spawn of Satan. Every time we pass, it gets up and starts running like a madman, trying to get through this little hole in the wall to kill us. I think Satan works through dogs to kill missionaries, but it's a good thing that the mission supplies us with shotguns. Just kidding. HOwitzers.
Next week will be longer, but know that I love you and will continue to do my best. Love you all!