My Dear Amigos e Família,
Today is, and not my P-day. I know, I´m breaking rules, but President Lima allowed it because yesterday, there was some goofy holiday where EVERYTHING is closed. Grocery Stores? CLOSED. Drug/Convenience Stores? CLOSED. Internet Cafe? FECHADO. So, that is why I am writing my loved ones on this wonderful day.
Anyway, this week was truly incredible and I certainly had a chance to grow a lot as a missionary, and overall as a person. (For some reason, I feel like those two aren´t considered the same thing right now). Speaking of growing as a person, I´m only talking quite figuratively. As far as literally growing, like size/weight sort of stuff, the exact opposite has been happening. I thing I´m the same height as I was when I left, but I´ve already lost 15 pounds since I left the MTC, and none of my shirts fit me anymore. I can easily fit two of me in each shirt. So that´s cool. Maybe I´ll try and so something, like work out more in the morning, to try and gain weight, but with all the walking we do and blazing summer heat around the corner, it´ll be tough.
WHICH REMINDS ME. It´s hot here. Like so hot, my deoderant melted. It started to sweat a bit (ironinc, huh?) and it melted. There´s no AC in our house, and all we have to keep us from, well, dying is a fan that Elser Grow and I share between us. It was 45 degrees celsius yesterday. Go ahead and check for yallselfs how hot it is here. Plus humidity. I wake up sweating, walk out of the shower sweating, and pretty much breath hot water vapor all day. AND YET I hear that there are areas in our mission that are far worse than Alcãntara. Fun stuff happening in the life of Elder Braun. But really though, I´m loving it here. Taking a shower is probably my favorite time of the day.
So I was able to have a couple of divisions this week. One with my zone leader, Elder Fontes. He´s from Uraguai, but he did an exchange in the States for a few months when he was in high school, so he speaks pretty good english. I think I could understand his portuguese better though, since he had a pretty strong accent on English. It was the first time in my mission that I had to plan for myself what proselyring and teaching we´d do for the day since Elder Grow was in the Zone Leader´s area, Itaboraí. I was so nervous and stressed about it, but we used our time pretty well and were able to visit a family that was baptized about two years ago and quickly stopped attending church after baptism. We´ve been teaching them a bit this past week and have been working with them to return. One of their sons, named Patrique, is 8 years old and wants to get baptised! That should take place pretty soon, so I´ll keep you posted on that.
Also,, Elder Grow and the other District Leader in our zone had a training in Rio, so I had another division with his companion. I did the division with Elder Kunzler, and he´s from Utah (Somewhere close to Nevada, I don´t remember). Elder Kunzler arrived in Rio the same day as me, but he had been reassigned and served in Richmond, Virginia for 5 months (WOOHOO Elder Jensen! I´ve been keeping in touch with him, beeteedubs). Again, I was sooooo stressed and nervous since again, it was in Alcãntara and I mostly planned who we´d teach and what we´d do. Somehow (Seriously, this is seriously a miracle) in the 4 hours we had, we managed to contact 2 people we received eference from, teach 3 lessons, and have 4 new investigators as a result. It´s funny too, since combined, we onle had 16 weeks combined of experience in Brazil. I feel like I can speak the language pretty wellm especially with the Spirit during lessons, but I still can´t understand everything being saidby natives here. And Elder Kunzler can understand almost everything, but he has a really strong accent and Brazilians had trouble understanding him. Together, we made a great team :)
Elder Grow and I have ´´grow´´n a lot this past week. Starting about 2-3 weeks ago, I was starting to get a little frustrated with him. I felt like he was being a little bit rough on me during practices and teaching, and overall expected a lot of me. He started to notice this in me this past week, and we sat down and had a real companionship inventory to resolve any problems we had. Being with Elder Kunzler and Elder Fontes this past week helped me to truly recognize how much I´ve been able to learn from having Elder Grow as a companion. I´ve finally been able to see that although at times he pushes me a bit and tests my patience with learning the language or how to teach, I´ve really learned a lot and have already become a powerful missionary in only 10 weeks in Brazil. Truly a blessing that I had been looking for since I jumped on that plane about 3 and a half months ago.
Sad news... I feel like I have to say this a lot. The wedding that we had planned for Leonardo and Adriana forfell through. The guy that we marked with to do the ceremony... well, dissapeared. So, it´s back to the waiting game for them. It should be about 2-3 months before they can be married and baptized. PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE... That´s what I keep telling myself. Paciência, muito paciência.
Way to go Ryan!!! I´m so proud for him for getting the internship he was looking for. He asked me to pray for him, and I managed to make room for him in my daily prayers to do that. Weird, our loving Father in Heaven really blesses those who have faith to sek for his help. If Ryan´s still working for them 4-, I wouldn´t mind a good word or two to help a brotha(in-law) out.
I love you all and I promise, I don´t think of Taylor Swift that much while I´m hete. Only enough to keep me to push myself even harder. Like she says in one of her songs, ´´Baptize me, Juliet, you never have to be alone´´... at least I think that´s how it goes.