Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Batismo! Conferência Geral! Woot!

Semana ótima, deixa eu ver a onde começar.
 As vezes quero só escrever em Português, mas pelos benefícios das pessoas que não falam, escreverei em Inglês. Sigh...
Portuguese is coming along faster. I´m trying to learn around 5 words a day, and I´m starting to try the more complex words. Hopefully that´ll increase the good ól vocabulary.
This week was an interesting one. We had to walk all the way across town to get to the stake center to watch conference, but it was well worth the walk, of course. It seemed to absolutely fly by, and I tried the best I could to take lots of good notes. It´s always difficult to choose a favorite talk, but I think that Elder Holland and Elder Bednar caught my attention best. It was really amazing to watch in English; we speak a lot of Portuguese here, and it was amazing to be able to hear the speaker´s actual voices. Plus we got way better seats than in the big room :) A Really amazing conference, one that we can apply directly to our lives.
 Alex was baptized this week! He´s a really special kid, and his baptism was a really good experience for all of us. The day of the baptism, Sunday morning before conference, Elder B. Fernandes was feeling like he might try to give us the slip, because as we all know Satan is a really big doofus and doesn´t leave people alone. We went over there and, sure enough, his mom was waiting to tell us that he couldn´t leave his house because he had dirty pants. As a missionary you hear all kinds of excuses, but I think this was probably the worst and most desperate one. I basically told her that it didn´t matter if he didn´t have any pants at all, and that I would give him my pants so that he could be baptized. Her ploy was destroyed, and he walked with us to the church and was baptized. It was an amazing service, and there was a good gathering of members there to support him. Also, he was baptized by William, a young Elder in the ward who will be leaving on his mission soon and is a reference-giving machine. It was really cool, and William did really well with the baptism. It is amazing the testimony that you feel during a baptism that the church is true. It really is true! We really are doing the right things out here, and not one drop of sweat is wasted.
 This week was basically a summary of the mission; you work the whole day, plan everything immaculately, and work by the Spirit, but nothing seems to go right and no one is home, until the very end of the day. I am positive that Heavenly Father has a huge sense of humor, watching the retarded and dorky 20 year-old boys running around, trying to talk to people. Eventually though, we did find a lot of new investigators, including an enormous family. Here´s the story on them:
So we were walking down the street near the end of the day, searching for some addresses that we marked from contacts the day before. It was April Fool´s Day, which only added to our joy as people gave us fake names and other jargon. Fools. Anyway, as we were walking, there were two 10 year-old girls who were giggling and looking in our direction. As those who have served a mission know, this happens about 3 times a day. They came skipping over to me and started speaking fluent English: "Hi Tcheacher! Whatch tchim is itch? Is yer nayme Elder?" I love it when this happens. Naturally, we tried being polite and explaining who were were and where we were from. Once they found out that I was actually American, they basically screamed and said we had to come teach them and their family. We are here to find families, so we went with them to their house. Upon arriving at the incredibly stuffed with junk house, we found out that there were two familes that lived there, comprising of about 5 people each. We taught a lesson aobut the Restoration and there was a remarkable calm, even with so many kids. It is AMAZING what the Spirit can do! It can even make little crying children pay attention during the First Vision! After we were done talking about the Book of Mormon and having left them to read it, they got really excited. When people get excited, you commit them to do something. We invited them all to be baptized, and they all accepted! There were 10 people above 8 years old, and they´ll all go to church this week! It was amazing! We just need to be careful because both of the dads are in prison and we´re almost sure that the mom has problems with the Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom. But, it is possible and I have a testimony of people that change, 180 degrees.
I am starting to feel like I know what to do here. Of course, when you get to the field, you want to do everything and know how to do nothing. But after some significant learning experiences and practice we are ready to continue and expand the work here. We have 3 people scheduled to be baptized this week, and we´ll check up on them every day to help them prepare.
I hope all of you are well, and that you know that I´m doing well. The mission really isn´t hard like most people think - it´s just working and obeying and loving. Those things are easy and simple, but if you overthink it, it will always be difficult. We had interviews with Pres. Araújo yesterday and I really had a good experience with mine. First of all, I was surprised that he talked about the last email I wrote to him. I was pleasantly surprised that he was that interested in my email, and it made me feel important. He also talked about the work in our area and how it really is ready to baptize every week, as we are doing. We just need to keep it up. He also said that I need to work on learning to develop Christlike attributes, especially Humility. I also feel that I need to study more about Patience, so I´ll make the both of those part of my study curriculum. It was a very positive interview and I left feeling refreshed and ready to go. It will be difficult to watch Pres. Araújo leave, but I´m sure the next Pres. will be up to his caliber too.
 I love you all and want youto know that we need to try harder. We NEED to do our best, and then improve and do better. We can´t compare ourselves to others, we can only do our very best and the Lord will accept it. He loves us and wants us to succeed. He WANTS us to succeed!
 Elder Brown, Autódromo, Pinhais, Missão Brasil Curitiba

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