Hello Family and Friends,
Well, I finally arrived in my new area late Wednesday night. We left Porto Alegre Tuesday and arrived in Bagé around midnight. I spent the night with other elders in Elder Weber's apartment ha ha. It was just like good ole' times with Elder Weber back in Butiá. I told him everything that had happened there the past few months and he was happy to hear that we had really made a change in that area. We got up early the next day and went to a zone meeting in Bagé. Later we had lunch and got all our luggage together to make our final trip to Dom Pedrito, an hour and a half away.
We arrived in our apartment in Dom Pedrito around 5:00 and we started to unpack. I was not surprised to see that our apartment was in terrible condition when we walked in. -This morning we cleaned everything and the apartment is now looking very well- Later we went to a meeting with the Bishop and other leaders of the ward. Yes, it is a ward but the frequency of members is about that of Butiá when I left. So that was about it our first day.
The rest of the week Elder Machado and I went to work on full-speed, contacting people in the street, visiting less-active members, and visiting other active member to get a good idea of what we are working with. We walked and walked and walked and walked a little more. I don't know if I mentioned that we are opening up the area, the last companionship was taken out of the area. Also, the other elders did not have ANYTHING for us, no appointments, no investigators, no contacts, and very little information about the members. We little literally are starting from zero here.
We did a lot this week considering what we had to work with. I kind of feel bad because I think I burnt out Elder Machado this first week. By the end of the week there was literally no fire left in him, but I kept on wanting to work. I'm trying to find a balance right now with him because he has a few health issues and is relatively a new missionary, but he is a fighter. He had just finished opening up another area in Arroio dos Ratos which is a difficult area, and he had a lot of success there. His testimony is really strong and I can see him having a lot of success on the mission.
I was called to give a talk Sunday. Welcome to Dom Pedrito ha ha! I basically told the ward that we needed to work together, missionaries and members in order to have some real success in the area. I think the ward really likes us and sees potential in us.
Living in an apartment with 4 missionaries is very different. There is a lot more noise and distractions, but at least there is never a dull moment. The other companionship is Elder Beary, from my original group back in São Paulo, and Elder Carlos a Brazilian, recent convert with about 6 months on the mission. They are both really funny.
All in all this week was good but extremely difficult. It will be like this for a few more weeks, but I know that soon through our hard work and obedience we will be blessed. We already have been blessed in this area! We were able to bring a member with us to a few lessons and we have made some new investigators already. In this first week I have grown a lot as a missionary. I have had to take a leadership role not only in my companionship, but in the apartment also. Also, I have had to come out of my shell a lot by trying to talk with everyone, starting up conversations, and taking the lead in lessons etc.. These things are difficult for me. I have always liked staying out of the limelight and voicing my opinion only when necessary, but it is time to grow up. In difficult situations I tend to think about my scripture on my missionary plaque back home. Ether 12:27, I know that through my faith in the Lord my weaknesses will become strengths. We are going into round 2 this week, I'm hoping and praying that Elder Machado and I can keep our spirits up and keep on fighting.
Love you all,
P.S. Pictures of last day in Butiá. Me with our recent converts and members of Butiá