To start out, I´ll do something that I should probably do every week - a brief description of the area and stuff that happened. My new area (Paranaguá) is literally right on the ocean. It´s not the "beach" (like sand and stuff), but the coast is here and it feels just like Hawaii. Every day (for the first time in my mission) I´m using sunscreen and it´s been easy to think about when we were in Hawaii, putting on sunscreen. Anyway, there is a legend here about the "snakes" (tie-grabbers, missionary-stalkers, etc.). Basically, Americans are severe eye-candy here and, seeing as how Elder Lott and I are both blondish Americans, it´s been pretty interesting. Every hour or so we walk by different groups of 1. school girls, 2. young adult women or 3. the rare, crazy married woman and they cat-call us to death. Stuff like "vai lá em casa" (go to my house!), "me ensina, Élder" (teach me, Elder!), and the like. It´s kind of weird, but we´re doing our best to avoid them. There´s a good mixture of rich and poor here - we work in several bairros (sections of the city) on the mainland, and there´s also a big Island called Ilha das Valadares that you have to take a bridge to get to, and it´s all our area. The richer parts have a lot of Palm trees and look a LOT like certain parts of California. The others look more like Brasil, but it´s a great area. Everyone seems to have a really, really slow attitude maaaaaaaan. Just slooooooow doooooooownnnn. And there´s weed all over the place, which helps the illusion.
This week has been very different but very awesome. Elder Lott and I have been deciding to make our area into the Celestial area (that it already is) and help all the other missionaries to understand how it´s done. Our focus has been one that´s very simple: we want miracles. We need miracles in order for this work to get going. They can be big or small, but they just have to happen. To be able to receive these miracles, we need to do three things: 1. Ask, 2. Deserve, and 3. Thank for the miracles when we receive them. Until now in this current week, we´ve seen several miracles that have really been amazing.
First, yesterday we have several miracles. First was Diego: all our appointments had fallen through and we were looking for someone else to visit. We said a quick prayer to ask for someone to teach and kept going. We walked by this 25 year-old guy who was playing guitar in his living room and something said "teach him". We almost passed him, but we turned around and went to talk to him and he was already coming to the door to let us in. He´s from the Baptist church and plays the drums there. As we came in he asked if we could speak English with him and we said sure, can we leave a message with you in English, and he said yes! He understood really well, and it actually was probably a big blessing because he wasn´t able to understand everything nor interject with doctrines that his church teaches. It was a really spiritual lesson and we were praying like crazy that we would understand and want to follow. After the first vision (which practically blew his socks off), Elder Lott asked what he would do to know that the message was true. He thought for a minute then said that he was feeling like he should pray and do what Joseph Smith did - ask to know the truth. We stared at him in awe and complimented him for his courage to follow the answer. We invited him to be baptized and he´ll pray about that too. He´s awesome! It was really cool to be able to practice in English and to feel the simplicity of our teaching and power of our testimonies.
Next, on that same day, there was Maria and her family. We were, once again, hunting for people to teach and we visited a house that we had contacted a few days before - the contact was this crazy old lady and we were half-hoping that she wasn´t there. Well, we were informed that she had moved. Go figure. So the 13 year-old boy let us in to teach his family...of 7! 6 of them can be baptized! They´re legally married and really, really want to be baptized! Woo!
We´re also teaching several young couples, another huge family (of 6 - Aliete and her family) and several singles. We could seriously baptize 20 people this month! It´s all about families! Let´s do this!
I love being a missionary. Let´s baptize.
Another thing: on Sunday we will be able to call for 45 minutes for Mother´s Day! yay! You can use the regular international code that you used last time (country-area code-number = 55-41-3422-3176 ). We´ll probably have to call later just to check and make sure everything´s ok. Organize your thoughts, questions and words so that we can use the time efficiently, please. Thanks!
Love you all. Be missionaries! Preach His restored Gospel!
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