Woot woot, another wonderful week completed here in Alcãntara (I feel like I can´t say Rio since it´s about as far from me as Couer´d alene is from yáll. Lots of marvelous things have happened here recently, so I´ll get started right away! But before I do that, high five to Natalie for signing up for Drivers Ed! Better now than when Mom and Dad buy a new car or something, if you catch my drift.
I feel like my ability to speak and write in English is struggling now that I´ve been surrounded by Portuguese for so long. Sometimes when Elder Grow and I are speaking to each other in English, I don´t know how to say some stuff in anything other than Portuguese. I think that´s a good thing, but hopefully my letters will still be readable throughout the rest of my mission.
We had a training at the beginning of last week, so I was able to see the rest of my group that arrived in Rio the same day as me, including my former companion Elder Deiffenbach. I made a mistake and told President a while back that I could play the piano more-or-less, and he asked me to play prelude and Called to Serve for the training. I could definitely tell it´s been a while since I´ve really practiced (or let alone played) the piano, but it was good. Give Sister Reese a big thank you for me for learning those skills as a youth that were able to help me while on my mission. I haven´t been asked to play in any ward meetings since there´s a guy who knows how to play pretty well already, so I´ll have to see down the road if there are other wards that need a player.
President Lima has been doing interviews this transfer with all of the different zones (Every transfer either has zone conference or interviews; This transfer is interviews). I was a little bit nervous since last time I met with him, one-on-one, I spoke a lot of English. This time was a ton more different though. He kept saying how much I´ve improved and how proud he was to see how far I´ve progressed, which was super nice to hear from him. I´ve heard from other missionaries that he´s usually super strict about being 100% diligent, working with members more, and lots of other stuff with elders´ interviews, but he built me up a lot in mine which helped me to relax a little and recognize how much I really have improved since the plane landed in Rio, or even since I jumped on that plane headed to Provo.
As far as teaching goes this week, Elder Grow and I managed to teach a lot more new investigators, which is what we´ve been really trying to focus on. We have two couples still waiting on marriages before they can be baptized, Adriana and Leonarado plus Jaqcueline and Alexandre. Which reminds me, I can´t decide If I want to stay in Alcãntara (to be here for the baptisms of these couples when they get married) or if I´d like to be moved to a different area (You know, so I can see more of Brazil. Alcãntara is kindof an armpit of this mission). We also have been teaching a few other people who have been progressing a lot, too. We taught a man named Carlos who knows the Bible Front to Back. Genesis to Revelation. ALL OF IT. He believes that there can only be one true church and has spent a lot of his life looking for it. Strangly though, he hadn´t ever had a visit from the elders in our church, so It has been fun teaching him and lots of responses from him about how he knows what we´re teaching to be true. It´s really nice to have investigators like that who have a genuine desire and passion to really learn what we´re teaching them. He has been reading the Book of Mormon like crazy, too. Finally, people who can actually read!
Some sad news... The family of Lú and Valdiné (they have three sons who were marked for baptism: Mateus, Luau, and Miguel) has cut us from teaching them. Well, kind of. Lú started showing a lack of enthusiasm after we taught the Word of Wisdom. She smokes, drinks, and has no desire to stop, even when we promised her that our Father in HEaven would bless her with better health after keeping this law. Their kids still wanted to be baptized, but she wouldn´t approve of it. And now, she has asked that we don´t visit anymore. All we can do for now is put them in our Area Book and hope that later down the road, other Elders will be invited when she is more willing and God has prepared her to accept our message.
I love you all so much !!!!!!!!
Keep on being great and remaining faithful. Our Father in Heaven really does love his children. Don´t forget to pray to recognize all that he has blessed you with. Prayer is what gets me out of bed every day, and what keeps to working hard every day.
PS I´m putting together a Christmas package and will probs send it next week. I have no idea what to send though since there are no souvenirs or anything. Let me know next e-mail is there´s anything in particular that yáll back at home would like.