Well everyone this week was great as usual! It's the mission so of course it went great! It was a little more low key. Elder Permann has a lot of time here and it is time for this guy to get going. He is awesome and I loved every single day with him. I hope I can be a good companion for my future comps. We went to Atibaia this week for our zone/district meeting so we could say goodbye to three elders in our zone who are going home this transfer. It was pretty good and I will miss them. They were great examples and taught me a lot of things. After three bus rides we got back to Amparo and got our day planned out over a 2 liter bottle of coke. The coke here is super good. The coke in the states doesn't even compare!
We had decided that Tuesday would be the best day to head to the really far neighborhood (1& 1/2 hrs by foot) and teach a couple promising contacts there. And it all worked out! We went there and taught a guy named Gustavo. He is super great, understood everything and it was a great lesson altogether. We later found out the next investigator, Letícia, is married to an ancient less active member! And better yet he works with Gustavo! It was seriously a great strand of miracles happening! I couldn't believe my ears! Letícia was still pretty stuck on the Catholic Church and the whole saint Mary deal so we will what happens with her. We just invited her to come to church and hopefully she will feel the truthfulness of the church. She is stuck on the big marvelous worldly things that these other churches offer. But thank heavens her husband has shown that he will be pushing to get them in church, along with Gustavo! It all worked out perfectly!
The next day, Permann and I planned to head out to Serra Negra. It is a neighboring city that is technically part of our area. We had received a reference to go there and give a DVD. So we made a day activity out of it. Serra Negra is a small town of like 30 thousand but is super touristy, and super beautiful. It reminded me of California minus a beach. So Permann and I killed some curiosity and visited a couple stores. He bought a berronte. Some trumpet-ish thing made out of a bulls horn like on lord of the rings. Ha-ha it was pretty funny to see him lug it around and have people look at him funny. He didn't care; he was like a child at Christmas. We finally mugged up the courage to walk for an hour up some huge hills in Serra Negra to get to the reference's house. And it was a walk! Ha-ha we stopped in some little shack to buy a cold coke and then get back on the way to find that the person wasn't home. So we left the mother lode with them at the door! Book of Mormon, 2 different DVDs and the restoration pamphlet with our numbers and a message from us. It was a great day. We made it back home with sunburned faces and knocked on a few potential investigators to find that they really didn't want the message to close off the night. It was a great day.
The next day, we passed by the center of the city and this hippy/gypsy (we called her a "jippy") was selling some handmade bracelets from snake skin leather and whatever else. Permann had already made friends with her in previous transfers and stopped to buy something this time. We talked for a long time. She was pretty interesting, she had spent a lot of time with the Indians in the Amazon and such. She had long ratty dreads and the sides of her head were shaved. It was kind of cool to see, wouldn't want my wife to have hair like that by any means though. But she was awesome and we were able to teach her about the restoration and invited her to church. It was fun. She asked a lot about things in America too. Like whether we were fans of Obama or "the opposition" ha-ha. I wanted to say we were part of the rebellion. Ha-ha it was a fun experience.
After this we went to visit one of our mothers, Wilsy, who has been passing through some tough times lately. She gave us the whole smorgasbord of food, including my favorite, Vaca Preta. It’s basically a Coca Cola float but here they call it a black cow. Silly Brasilians. We spent some great time with her. After we talked with her, we planned on going back out to the far away neighborhood again. We couldn't get hold of our investigators and I was not super excited to walk that far to find an empty house. But we went, and while we were walking this guy stopped us. He talked with us really quick and was so happy to see us! He almost hugged us! He ran inside his house and commanded us to enter! Ha-ha we did with pleasure! He said he was a member a long time ago in Bragança Paulista and he loved the Elders there! He made juice for us and we talked until his wife and kids got home and he was super happy! We gave him the address to the church, (he thought Amparo didn’t have one) and got his info so we could come back and teach his wife! I thought about how important it was that we found him. He said his schedule is super busy, but because we decided to go to the far away neighborhood, he was able to find us, and at a time where he was home! It was super cool, and reminded me that we must always be engaged in a good cause and that the Lord works through small and simple means! I am so grateful for that experience! This guy's name is Celso. He will be awesome in the branch here and I can't wait to see what is in store with them. And no we did not find the planned investigators home! Ha-ha.
Saturday we had lunch with our other mom, Laide. She made feijoada which is a big pot of beans with all the meat you need for a Texas BBQ in it. She made so much and wanted it gone! So we ate lunch, left and worked, and came back for dinner. It was good time spent with her, and she greatly appreciates it. She guilt trips us at times for leaving her house too soon.
Sunday finally came. I wasn't too happy that morning and I didn't quite know for sure why. I just kept quiet and didn't say anything until Sacrament. We left to go get an investigator and go with her to church. When we got to her door, she said her boyfriend that lived with her doesn't like us and that she was accepting classes from the Jehovah's Witnesses too and didn’t want to be confused. My two biggest dislikes here: No one is married, but they all live with their boyfriends, and stinking Jehovoh's Witnesses. We have a saying her in Amparo, "If you don't follow up on your investigator, the Jehovah's Witnesses will." Yeah, nuff said. Just a bunch of trouble makers for us. Anyway, we got back to the church in time for sacrament meeting. The patriarch spoke in sacrament and it was so powerful. Patriarchs have a super special relationship with the spirit. It really got to me when he spoke. After the meeting block, Permann and I helped to put the sacrament away with the Patriarch. While he was doing it, I just stopped and looked at him. My heart was burning and he looked up at me and he had tears in his eyes as he looked into mine. I was tearing up a little too, and all he could say was "God bless you Elder". It was such a cool experience. I felt so much love from the Lord then. It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve these people and to be able to take care of the sacred sacrament after the meetings. I love this church! I love this place!
We found out about transfers at about five that day, and I knew Permann would be going, I thought maybe I would be also because I was starting to feel comfortable here. Ha-ha But luckily I get to stay. It is a little nerve-wracking each transfer. This time will give me a lot of opportunities to grow, we have a lot of activities and things going on this week that we planned and my new comp is going to have to rely on the junior to get it all right. I hope it all goes well and that we can serve our Savior in a manner acceptable to Him.
Well we went and visited Laide to tell her about the changes, and she wasn't too happy. She started crying but cheered up a little later. After that we went to visit a less active member who I adore. He served a mission a while back but came home early and now he was passing some hard times with his wife. He has a strong spirit to him though. He just talked to us about his mission and about how we have the greatest time of our lives right now. That even though he came home early, he would not give up his memories of his mission for a million dollars. I loved hearing that, This is the best time of my life for sure. I can't dream of being in a better place than Amparo, Brasil right now.
We may not be baptizing, but I have seen the true church of our Savior Jesus Christ work miracles and change lives. This place has flipped a 180 and I know that I have done what I can to help better this place. This next transfer will be great; I am so excited for the wonderful experiences ahead. I love every second here! This is the work of the Lord! This is His Church. We are His covenant people and we should be the happiest because we have nothing but happiness in store for us! I love my mission, I love these people, I love the scriptures, I love my Redeemer and I know that he lives and He loves us perfectly! I love you all! Have a wonderful week! I know I will!
P.S. Davies, Dean, fam, and friends, thanks so much for the letters and for the support! The letters are some of the greatest possessions I have! I love you all!