So, as strange as it seems to others and to me....I´m freaking 21 years old! What?!?! I just got here! I´m still 19!
Or, at least, that´s what it feels like. It was a reeeally good birthday. I was a little (possibly selfishly) disappointed that I was transferred because I knew that the ward in Vila Oficinas would have done something - a big baptismal service or something (which we actually had with Déborah, ironically enough), but to my surprise basically everyone here was wishing me happy birthday! I have never possessed/eaten so much cake in my life! It´s so good, but it´s making me sick! It all started with the morning-of, me saying my prayer, etc. When I woke up, there was a little package on the nightstand with candles lit and my comp. was filming me singing crazy Brasilian birthday songs. He super-taped the package shut and he gave me a tie!!! Yay! It got better - we went to do interviews the whole day and during the day the Sisters and Elders in the Zone called to say happy birthday (my companion´s doing, again. Love him.), which put a certain spring in my step.
Then, arriving quickly in our area to visit some recent converts who were confirmed Sunday...we had an interesting experience. So, they´re names are Daniele and Francielle. I have never, EVER in my life seen shyness to such a degree. They would not leave the bathroom from the moment we came in. How they were baptized I have no clue, but the Elders had to teach them facing the other way, with the girls peeking out from under blankets, etc. Craziness. Finally Francielle, the less-shy one, came out, blanketed. I, also blanketed, was encouraged by my loving companion to sing for them(he does this in EVERY house...I´ve never sang so much in my life), blanket on my head. If they liked the song, they clapped once; bad, twice. I started out with "Let Me Be Your Wings" from Thumbelina. Yes, that song, Ali. Then a miriad of hymns/other songs. Then, with Elder Melo trying to convince Francielle to listen to the message un-blanketed, I went to the bathroom door to "persuade" Daniele, singing another 7-8 hymns. Defeated after about 45 minutes or unsuccesful diligence, we turned around and they shook our hands without us looking at them. Weirdest/funniest thing ever.
It was then that I beheld for the first time the eternal area of blessings - Bonsucesso (which literally means "Good Success"). It has been the ward that has baptized more than ANY OTHER WARD IN BRASIL in a few years. To put it plain, their attendance last year was 250, then they split the wards. It´s 250 in both wads now. Nuts. They´ve baptized weekly for a long, long time. They´ve got a Bishop and WML from Heaven who give all their heart, might, mind and strength to the Lord. After doing a few interviews there with a few really cool and really poor old men (Nicanor and Jair), I couldn´t help but thinking "how did this all start?". I asked Cristiano, their godly WML. He said - "Marcos. Bispo Marcos", and then explained how he, alone, has paid for a bus to get all investigators and bring them to church, etc., etc., etc. It was impressive, and I was severely intrigued. If he could do it, why can´t every ward be like this? It´s a choice!
Anyway, it was a great birthday and I received cake from my "son", Elder Marx (who lives a few streets down with Elder Melo´s son, Elder Halgren. High-quality men.), Daia (after the interviews...she called us and said that a huge scorpion was in her bed, and I needed to get it (Mom, just remember the "get the Spider!!!" incident) while they prepared the ENORMOUS cake. Her kids are seriously on crack.). I have been eating delicious, succulent chocolate cake for 4 days straight, and we still have more. Sheesh. But we played soccer today with the Zone so it´s ok.
There´s seriously too much to say. We´ve got LOTS of people getting ready for baptism, the ward is super excited - I gave a talk on Sunday and played the piano, which got them even happier about the work - our house is amazing and the Irmã that lives above us washed/folds our clothes and cleans the house. It´s almost heaven. Maybe I´ll stay here until the end! A real blessing.
We had Zone Conference yesterday and the Assistants to the President slept in our house to prepare the training. It was fun, and we got to help with the trainings. I actually thought that we wouldn´t participate as much as we did, and we talked a lot about the Law of Justice - how if we do our part, God is bound to bless us! President and Sister Cordon were as always awesome, and the Zone´s excited as ever! If we baptize 45 people this month, we can go to the temple in Curitiba!!! It´ll be awesome!
Love you all. I wish I could write more, but I just want to say that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior. Through obedience and prayer we can use His help and take advantage of ALL the blessings waiting for us. Don´t hold anything back! If we do that, we will be fighting against God and we will always have regrets! Submit yourselves to His will and follow His Spirit courageously! He won´t lead us wrong! The Book of Mormon is the key to our happiness and surety in this church - IT IS TRUE!!! I´m sick of people being afraid that people will make fun of it, call it our Bible,etc. ANYONE, including the Pope or a Baptist preacher, will receive an answer of its truth if they follow Moroni´s council to read, ponder and pray with faith. It is true. It changed my life.
Jesus is the Christ and He wants to bless us! LET HIM BLESS YOU!
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