Hey mom, this is the beginning of my letter.
Today for P-day we went to Aparecida, to see the basilica here. Look it up on google, I'll include pictures and details in the main letter.
Here are some of my secret spy pen fotos that I took today during our p-day excursion. They aren't the best quality but I was able to take pictures that otherwise I wouldn't have been able to take. I'll send higher quality fotos later. We went there (Elders Rivera, Gilliat, Paulo) with Natalia (member) Marlene (Non-member, aunt of Natalia) and Rogerio (little brother of Natalia and not a member).
There being Aparecida in Brasil, The second largest catholic building in the world, second only to the Vatican. We in the mission field call it the great apostasy for various reasons but it was way cool to go there and see everything!
The first picture was written on a wall underneath a bridge, it means "its prohibited to urinate here"
Another picture, you'll see a woman that's lower than the rest, she's actually on a skateboard and she came from who knows where to see the idol and representation of Nossa Senhora Aparecida (our Lady Aparecida). Marlene knows almost everything about her and Aparecide and the things that are there so she was our tour guide. She explained to me that a lot of people who are sick or having some problem or looking for a miracle do a prayer and say that if Aparecida cures them or helps them that they'll come to this city by foot or by horse or with a cross on their backs or on their knees even. You'll see another picture of a woman on her knees.
I also saw, what I believe to be, another American there, he had a shirt on from the US.
Also a crippled man begging for money outside of the church. I've never seen so many people give money before. Smart man.
Natalia's enjoying her food as she was so nice to show me but unknowing that I took the picture haha
Funny story about that restaurant where we ate at. Starting off with a quick Portuguese lesson. There’s a type of person that's called mão de vaca or cow hand (not like a helper but like literally cow hand) it's called that because a cow's hand is ALways closed, thus a person's hand is always closed doesn't open his hand which is another saying in Portuguese which means he doesn't let it happen or doesn't change. It's like you have money in your hand but you're cowhand so you don't open your hand, you don't use your money. Right so I'm cowhand right? So everyone was hungry and looking for a restaurant and I'm like "guys...I got a problem..." I balled up my hands in fists "I'm cow hand..." they laughed a bit but decided to go eat anyways. I'm also known, as any good cow hand is, for bringing food with me on p-days so I can be even more cow hand and use my cheap food! So I ate my cookieish food and I was happy. They did all you can eat and Marlene stored some food for me! Which she gave me later which made me happy :) COwhand for the win! I have some other pictures of that that I'll send later.
Branch Activity with football and BBQ!
Ana's baptism! From the other area but I taught her a couple times and I interviewed her to baptized. Her interview went very well and I was happy to see that she was very well prepared and it was a very baptismal meeting.
Me being a cowhand with my cowhands eating my cookies with a fork and knife in a weird way because I can't open my hands because I'm cow hands. I really ate every last one of those cookies with a fork and knife. It helped pass the time
weekly letter, part 2
I enjoyed your letters! I don't have a lot of time because it took a while to upload the photos. So I'll let my pictures say most of the words about my pday today, it was fun.
I gave a talk this week in sacrament meeting which I thought was pretty cool. Subject, missionary work. I told the story of the first vision and then talking about the hope and happiness we have as members of the church and then how we're the light unto the world and we should be examples and then that the Lord will bless us and help us in D&C 100. I think it went pretty well.
What was the best thing that happened to you this week?
Ana's baptism and my testimony of prayer being strengthened with that experience that I shared with the president and you guys
What do you like most about your companion?
I was actually telling him some of the things I like about him yesterday as part of our companionship inventory. I like that he's generally timely, we complement each other well, he's a hard worker, and he's woken up with me almost every day to work out. He's a good guy at heart he's just had some fubeca companions that have kind of messed with him.
What do you like to think about when you have some down time?
What's this "down time" of which you speak? What a strange word....If by downtime you mean like the 5 minutes I have in the shower then I usually think about the mission and the investigators and my companion and what I'm learning and lots of stuff. Occasionally I'll think about home or BYU or past friendships but that's pretty rare.
What’s the weather like now that you’re in the coolest part of the year? I’m assuming it’s the coolest part of the year…
It'ssss....cooling off lately but it's also been kinda on the warm side. Too warm to be winter but it's generally comfortable. A nice break from the burning heat of summer.
Do you eat in the member’s homes often? Does it change depending on what area you’re in?
It Does depend on the area and the members but usually we eat in a members home 5 times out of 6.
What do you like best about the area you’re in now? Where is it relative to Sao Paulo?
It has a nice natural beauty, it doesn't have favela or ghetto. It's the longest zone in the mission from São Paulo but in that zone, it's the closest area. It's about 3.5 hours of travel by bus from são paulo.
I have a little story about prayer. We prayed before leaving the house to go to church yesterday. I was the one that prayed and in the prayer, I asked that the Lord might touch someone’s heart in such a way that someone who wasn’t planning on going would go to church. On the way to church this man that was sitting down stopped us in the street and started to talk with us “hey you guys are going to church?” “Yea, the church of Jesus Christ” “I’m needing to visit the church” “Let’s go then” And he came with us to church and on the way there I even managed to mark his baptism for 2 weeks from that day and he accepted. And another interesting fact, 2 other investigators that hadn’t been passed as firm went to church. I don’t’ know if that was directly related to our faith or the prayer, but to me, this 2 things that happened were a real answer to my prayers. It also helps me realize that our prayers are really powerful and as such, we should really humble ourselves as we prayer, ask and plead with faith that the Lord may bless us and our investigators and always trust in him that He knows whats best. My testimony of prayer has grown immensely on the mission.
In all, it was a good week and I'm excited for this week. I'm happy and I'm looking for that same happiness that Alma had when he was overcome with happiness and fainted :) That would be cool.
The church is true! Study your scriptures!
I love you all :)