Hey! (1) is me and Elder Santos-Melo, (2) the bridge to Argentina, (3) a FHE with Elder Matoso, (4) me and a gurí, (5) raising the bar with Elder Vernon, me, Elder Matoso, and Elder Santos Melo.
This town is crazy right now. I think Dad may have forgotten, but I am smack dab in the middle of Carnival in Brazil. For those of you who don't know what Carnival is, it comes the weekend before Ash Wednesday, where people give up sinning for Lent. So they party hard the 4 days before Lent.
Luckily, they don't party as hard as Rio or São Paulo, and especially not Bahia (I hear stories), the people here usually just celebrate it by getting really drunk, having water balloon (or beer balloon) fights, playing loud music, and running around in groups of immodestly dressed people. So we still leave the house and proselyte as normal, avoiding the "bloques" of crazies.
Despite the excitement of Carnival, the work here is booming again. There was a rough patch in there for the last couple of weeks, but Uruguaiana Ala Porto (our area) is back in business. We visited Zaira on Tuesday on a division with Elder Santos Melo. The spirit was so strong there, he committed her to baptism on the 28th. She accepted. This is funny, because before the lesson, I hadn’t even talked to him about a date, or baptism or anything, he just did it. He’s going to be a powerful missionary... Understands how the spirit works.
Turns out, just like last week, we had another contact that accepted the invitation to church. "Our church is located there at the top of cidade nova on Presidente Vargas...blah blah...Starts at 8:30...blah...we would like to extend to the invitation to be there." "Sure, I’ll be there" "... ...okay, cool, see ya there!" The next morning, we passed by there to accompany him to church (wake him up) and his wife leans out the window and said "he already left!" another "...really?" moment. For it is. His name is Dorival, and he’s progressing, just has a Word of wisdom problem.
It feels nice to have progressing investigators again :)
On P-Days, Companionships Porto B, Santana, and we go down to the bus station at 6am and play basketball. It’s really fun. To answer dads question, no, I still can’t dunk. But I think (honestly) those rims are higher than 10 feet. More like 11. So maybe. Who knows.
Fun fact: We're now teaching a guy named 'Élder.' How cool is that? Haha
Other Fun Fact: I will not argue which language is better, but I can say Portuguese has its plusses. You know those awkward moments where you don't know what to say, but feel obligated to say something? Portuguese has a cure for this: They use the phrase: "Pois é." meaning, "for it is."
Here’s a fun story, a month ago, I could talk fine, but still had some problems with thick gaucho accent or fast talking. On Saturday, we met a woman with more talent than I have ever seen. I can’t even talk that fast in English OR Portuguese, even if I tried. And she talked straight, almost without breathing, for 15 minutes. Elder Motoso and I were stunned. We couldn’t find a break to get a word in. First off, I understood her. But secondly, I have never ever seen anyone talk even close to that fast in my life. She must’ve talked 13 words per second for 15 straight minutes.
Let me recount a story that I forgot to share. This is the most memorable moment of my mission to this point. And I forgot to tell it. So that one Wednesday. The horrible, horrible Wednesday where everything went wrong. The one that I wrote my only depressing letter about. We had just finished our final lesson with Evellyn. She had given up on us, and told us she wasn’t to be baptized, along with 3 others earlier in the day. Everyone left the house except me, Elder Molina and Marcia. Elder Molina and I just hung our heads in exhaustion and disappointment at the end of the worst day of my mission to that point. Marcia didn’t know what to say. She told us "I just don't understand. I did everything I could to help that girl. Did I fail? What did I do wrong?" As missionaries, seasoned with this kind of feeling, we told her about free agency and our role as members to invite, and theirs to accept or not. Then Elder Molina put in his flash drive to her TV, and we watched a video segment. It's called "The atonement and Missionary Work" by Jeffery R. Holland and Henry B. Eyring. It just... really was exactly what we needed to hear at that point in time. I can’t really say more, just watch the video on YouTube, and you’ll understand better. Elder Eyring is addressing the Priesthood in conference; Elder Holland is addressing the Mission Presidents in some conference.
So I’ll leave you with that this week. Love you all. I’m doing great. The Church is true. Feijão é bom (Black bean soup is good).