30 December 2013
Hello Family and Friends,
Wow there is a lot to talk about in this email. Let's start with the most important news which is that we had two baptisms, Paulo and Ismael, this past Saturday. Everything worked out perfectly. Paulo was able to quit smoking and his brother baptized him. Ismael accepted everything from the start and has a lot of support from the Young men in the Ward, and Elder Horst baptized him. They were confirmed Sunday by the bishopric. Also, if everything goes to plan we will baptize another two this week, a Young girl whose brother is a member and mentally handicapped man that asked us to be baptized, he also has family that are members.
Elder Horst and I are working a lot with families which not everyone is baptized and we are having success with this. It is a double whammy because we can reactivate a family and baptize those that aren't yet. I am liking our companionship a lot because we manage to work hard but we still have fun at the same time.
This past week was rather relaxed. The first half of the week we did not get much work done due to the fact that Christmas Eve and Christmas are very complicated for missionaries. The people are with their respective families eating and opening presents, enjoying each others presence and the last thing they want is two strangers coming in making things uncomfortable. Also, our thoughts were all on the Skype call home.
Christmas this year did not feel like Christmas at all. I woke up Christmas morning and did my exercises before I even realized that it was Christmas! It was hot and humid, and nobody has lights up or Christmas trees so you can imagine how someone could forget. We grabbed some laptops after lunch and quickly made our way over to the chapel and I waited in great anticipation for my chance to Skype home. After a few hours a laptop was available for me to use and I quickly called home.
The call was excellent to say the least. It had been 7 months since I had seen my family's faces and heard their voices so you can imagine the emotion that was flowing within me. I kept it cool until the very end and then I couldn't fight it anymore and let them know how I really feel about them and the missionary work. I had been wanting to say that for some time now and finally I got it out of me. Afterwards, I felt a real peace within knowing that everything is well with them and that they know how I truly feel about them. Frankly it was the greatest Christmas gift of my entire life and I am being honest. There is nothing greater to me than God and my family and I am so grateful I can share this with the world everyday.
This week we will have New Years which is even more celebrated in Brazil than Christmas. For sure there will be craziness in the road New Years eve. In addition we will have zone counsel with the Presidente which I am excited for. All the zone leaders will meet with the president to talk about the mission and how we can improve things. It should be cool and it is looking like this week will be a bit laid back as well.
In conclusion I would just like to thank everyone that has sent me a letter or a package this Christmas season. I was literally blown away by the things that were sent to me. It was very contente knowing that many people were thinking of me and went out of their way to prepare something very meaningful for me. I thank you all so much. My Christmas was wonderful and I hope yours was too.
Lots of Love