It's crazy to think that Bonnie is already home...that's so weird!!!...
I found out some names of favelas here in Penha that I thought were really funny like esmaga sapo which means, smash frog or pé sujo, dirty foot haha or morro da fé hill of faith. Speaking of the hill of faith, we were chilling there enjoying the view (because it really is a hill) and some guys came out with and said "hey German, go away! What are you doing here?!?" And one of them had a gun, we asked forgiveness and started our way down the hill. But I wasn't worried, we weren't doing anything that was going to give them a reason to use the gun. Rockwood even things that it wasn't a real gun.
Yesterday, guess how many people were at church!....155 people the whole last transfer, normal was like 120. Last week there was 141 and this week 151. We were talking about this with the bishop in the ward counsel and he said "and we haven't even started yet" with a smile on his face. He has a goal to double the frequency of the ward in 8 months and he says that that's because his faith is small! Seeing the numbers jump already I said "hey bishop, we don't even need 8 months, we only need like 4" And he replied "my faith is small." I also threw out an idea to take out some benches to make the members sit closer and get to know each other better and the bishop said "no, we need to leave them, we're going to fill them all up!" He's an awesome bishop, in the ward counsel, we just talked about missionary work and he testified of how missionary work resolves all the problems of the Ward. So from now on, this is a missionary ward. And the best part, it's something that anyone can do, it's not just in Brasil that this is possible but really anywhere in the world, it just depends on our faith and desire and dedication.
I got a letter from the activity day girls in Greer, SC wishing me a Merry Christmas, that was nice. But I didn't recognize a single one of them...has it really been that long?? I only recognized their leader/teacher. I think it was sister rouse?..an older lady, white hair, a little rounded out (don't tell her I said that) I don't know if it was Rouse or someone else but I recognized her at least. But that was nice to get the letter.
Friday (2 weeks ago), we visited Elaene, the less active daughter of Judite who is returning to church now. And she had a neck brace on. Saturday, still had the neck brace and we wanted her to be able to go to church so we offered a blessing which she accepted. And in the prayer as we were leaving, I asked the Lord specifically that He could heal her in the night so that she could wake up without pain and go to church. Well she didn't go to church. But after Sunday, like Tuesday or Wednesday, we went there and she didn't have the neck brace anymore! I was like "Sweeet! When did that happen? Today, Monday?" assuming that it was after Sunday because she didn't go to church. "It actually was better already by Sunday morning" "...you see! Prayer works, blessings work, the priesthood is real, and God wanted you to go to church!" and still she didn't go :/ Oh well, at least it was a proof to me of the reality of the priesthood we hold and the power of faith and prayer. It served to at least strengthen my testimony.
Man....we were hungry one of these nights and we decided to order pizza...but not just any pizza...but a sweet pizza. Like a dessert pizza. Man that was so good. It was covered in chocolate but I mean like Covered. Like a good half inch! That was so deliciously good. I think we're gonna buy it again this week :)
I went to do a baptismal interview of a Vitoria in another area and we got there and she was taking a bath so we sat down and waited a while and talked with her dad while we waited. After a while, she comes out of the bathroom....in a towel. I looked at her real quick, said oi as did the other elder then we both looked awkwardly away quickly and we just looked at each other while Vitoria ran upstairs haha. It was an interesting experience that was also kind of funny for me that I thought I'd share with you guys
The seminary here is freaking awesome!! We went there 2 of the nights that there was seminary. The teacher is knowledgeable and fun and interesting and worried about the needs and progress of the kids and afterwards, they always do something fun like ping pong or hide and seek or soccer or some activity (it helps that seminary starts 7pm) but it's way cool because everyone loves it and invites their friends who aren't members. One of the nights, there were 5 nonmembers at seminary! Wow! Can you say baptism?? I'm really excited to work with seminary to help youth and their families come to Christ through the waters of baptism
What are you learning from reading the Old Testament again?
Like it's my first time reading the Old Testament, it's just that I stopped reading in Leviticus and then I started again. I really am loving the little treasures of knowledge and wisdom that I'm finding, some things are really tedious or boring but the manual helps a lot.
Thinking back on your mission so far, can you name one thing that you have learned from your experience with each of your companions?? Like name each companion and what you learned from your time with them. I think that would be interesting to know.
Steele: obedience, diligence, the missionary lessons
Cosme: Patience, love, humility
Mikulecky: responsibilities of father :)
Bolognini: being happy, excited, focused on baptism, how to make brothers on the mission, Thinking more of others and less of myself
Y. Gomes: the importance of trust and confidence in any relationship
Rockwood: humility, obedience, diligence
Well, the time's about up, I gots to go soon. Love you guys!