Hello Friends and Family,
There is so much I have to talk about and so little time. I will try and remember all the interesting things and include them in future emails.
Right now I'm in the heart of the city, Porto Alegre. We are here with a another companionship and a member of the ward who is preparing to go on a mission. The city is very cool with its old architecture and such. I passed the captial building just an hour ago which you could probably see on wikipedia. Lots of people are coming up to us asking where they can find our church. The people are interested to hear what we are all about and we are happy to anwser. Its suprising how many people know about us here, I wonder if it has anything to do with Mormons being in the news lately?
I will tell you a couple things that happened this week. The first is that I went on splits with one of the zone leaders for a day. It was intense and what I expected missionary work to be like. We were talking to everyone and it seemed like we had an appointment every hour. It was very eye opening and spiritually uplifting. The zone leaders name is Elder Capistrano an African/Brazilian that has been out in the field for a long time. He was super humble and hard working. One experience that stood out was we went into a member's "house" which just some bricks and blankets, and sung christmas carols. It was good experience because the member was this old guy that looked as if he was about to cave any minute. He was missing his feet and was blind, obviously bed ridden. I was pretty choked up inside while we sang because the whole time I was thinking just how good we have it in the states. We are so blessed I can't even express it. It seems like I am thinking this way all the time out here, especially while in the favelas.
The lessons we had this week went very well. Renatta just needs a baptismal date now which we are hoping will be sometime in early December. Hopefully we can achieve this goal. Also, those brothers I told you about last week are actually a brother and a sister. The brother is Rafael who is 13, I think, and Ingrid who is maybe 16. Their grandma is a member and she reffered us to them. Our meeting were really good and I committed them to baptism! The problem is now the Mom of, Rafael and Ingrid, all of a sudden does not want us talking to them. It is really sad that their mom would deny them such a blessing as this. Their mom is a less active member and we are scheduled to talk with her about the whole situation Thursday. Hopefully this meeting does not fall through, I have noticed in Brazil what you plan usually does not happen. Oh, and while we were talking with the Grandmother we made another contact. I can't remember her name but she is in her early twenties and is a family friend. We taught her a couple times and she went to church yesterday and had a really good experience. We committed her to baptism in December also. It was really funny yesterday at the end of the lesson because we asked her to pray and she would not do it because she said she felt "vergonha" or shame. Elder Queiroz and I just closed our eyes and folded our arms waiting for her to offer the prayer. Eventually, she finally prayed and it was very powerful, especially when she mentioned her parents that had passed away. I could feel the spirit and I know her parents were looking down on us.
The last thing I will mention in this email is Macumba. It is something native to Southern part of Brazil and is kind of creepy but worth mentioning. So there are a lot of these African ritual religions down here and they like to play with evil spirits. A couple nights ago I saw it for myself. There was this family and they had all these weird statues and paper etc. with a fire going on, and they had a cage with something in it. I dont know what was inside and I dont want to know, but lots of times they do sacrifices just out in the middle of the road and nobody does anything about it. Lots of times when we leave our apartments in the morning we see the remains of Macumba. It is actually kind of scary because the missionaries tell me that sometimes you might even come in contact with someone that is "possesed". Pretty crazy huh? Elder Queiroz gave me the whole run down on what to do if im ever in house or with someone like this, it was pretty funny. You can tell which houses you should not go into because in their front lawn they have these little red houses where they keep all their macumba stuff. Just thought that would be something to tell you all about, but dont worry about me. It just goes to show the mission rules are inspired because we were like 10 minutes late to getting back to our house when we saw this family starting their macumba session.
Questions. Christmas is going to be really weird this year since it will be hot and humid, we should be able to use skype at a members house, maybe the bishops. Don't worry about me being hungry anymore. We recieved a giant suitcase full of candy from Manaus this week. This should keep me going a couple more weeks haha. Oh! I found a pannini maker in the cupboard this week so I bought a bunch of meat, cheese, and bread and now I am a pannini making champion! Last, week I ran out of money so I had to use the debit card a lot. I should not run out of money again, last week we had to use to buses a lot for Elder Queiroz's doctors appointments which quickly burned through my cash.
Anyways there is a lot more I want to say but I have to go. I'll save it for next time.