Minha querida família!
Another boring week here in Alcântara.... NOT. Haha there´s always so much to do here with missionary work, so don´t expect to ever hear something like that from me. I´m glad to here that BYU is doing well! Also, sorry about all of the package troubles. It sounds like you all back at home have done a lot to try to send me stuff, so I´m very grateful for your love. Also, if it´s not too much to ask, Mom. Could you forward my emails to my old roommates from BYU? I got an email from a few of them and I guess for some strange reason they want to hear from me. If you could add them to the email group, I´d love that!
I feel like I´m finally starting to get the hang of our routine here on the mission. I´m pretty good about being able to get up and be ready every morning by personal study at 8. Elder Grow speaks a lot more portuguese with me now that way I can learn to understand and speak more. We try to do all of our planning and companionship study time in Portuguese, which I think is beginning to build up my confidence in understanding. Now if only I could do a little bit better understanding the accents that some people have here... Apparently Rio has tons of different accents since there´s people from all over Brazil. One way I tried to help myself with Portuguese was by talking to a priest who joined us in proselyting for the day. His name is Feynner and he likes to accompany the elders here. At times, I´ll just try to talk with him since it´s tougher with older people. Plus we spend a lot of time walking from appointment to appointment. So my patience, I think, is improving with the language. I know that through prayer and dilligent study, our loving Father in Heaven has greatly supported me through my trials as a missionary.
I taught Elder Grow what YOLO means (Since he started his mission in January of 2012) and he thinks it´s the funniest thing. We still eat lots of açai since it´s so yummy and cheap. I´m thinking about starting an açai business, maybe, once I return to Provo. I think it could really take off.
So our teaching has been going really well, especially this week! President Lime places really strict standards for our minimum goals that we should have for our key indicators. Stuff like how we should teach at least 20 new investigators each week, 12 lessons with a member present, 15 other lessons, 15 lessons with families, 6 investigators at church eachand so on. It has been hard to do these each week, but we managed to teach two new families this week with many other investigators. We taught 15 news, which Elder Grow says is really good, especially with two Americans and only one speaking fluently.
The week before I arrived, Elder Grow and his old companion baptized a married couple named Rogerio and Agnalda. We´ve been visiting them a lt the past few weeks and sharing spiritual thoughts to help them out. Rogerio received the Aaronic Priesthood this week and they´ve really progressed a lot! They study their scriptures every day, and have even shared the Gospel with one of their daughters. We were able to teach their daughter, Jacqueline, and her husband, Alexandro. They aren´t married, and weren´t planning o being married for a while, but after we taught them, and they attended church, they already showed their desire to be baptized! It´s awesome, and Jaqueline totally looks like a Brazilian version of one of Natalie´s friends, Hannah Jensen. If I can get a picture with them, I´ll totally send it. Hopefully a baptism photo :)
We have many investigators who are ready to be baptized, but are just waiting to be married. It´s so tough! There´s a free way for couples to get married, but it takes a long time to get approved and processed through the government. Not just for visas, people. I think I´ve alread said a lot about Isolda in my past emails, but she has still been struggling to understand the importance of being baptized by someone with the authority given from our father in Heaven. She believes our church and has certainly received a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is a testament of Jesus Christ, but she also was really likes her other church, even though she knows there are problems with it. We gave her theas a goal date for baptism and challenged her to fervently seek an answer from her father in heaven if she should be baptized.
That about sums up the important stuff for the week. If I said everything, I´d have to write a book and I´d be breaking mission rules. I love and miss you all! Never forget to study the words of our profets in the Scriptures and try to recognize all of the wonderful blessings that our Father in Heaven has placed in your life. I´m so grateful to have a wonderful family supporting me while I´m here. I wish everyone the best!
Sunset on Alcantara, Brazil
Elder Braun and Elder Grow