Monday, December 16, 2013

Staying Together in Alcantara

Dear Family,

First of all, I KNEW IT. I knew yáll would buy a car while I was out
here in Brasil. But seriously, I bet you are all loving having a
shiny, flawless piece of metal in the garage, and I´m looking forward
to ride home in that thing... in about 18 months :) What year is the
car? Is it brand spanking new?

I´m still not sure what skype username I´ll use to talk to you all at 
Christmas, but I´ll figure that out this week and let you know
I´m guessing I´ll be calling home around 2 in the
afternoon here, which is 8 in the morning in Spokane. Will that work
out all right for everyone at home? Goodness, this past week has been
pretty awesome, and with transfers this week, there should be some
pretty big changes and even more exciting news to come.

Sooooo transfers surprisingly won´t change a lot for Elder Leite and
I... mostly because we´re staying together in Alcãntara! It´s a litle
bitter sweet for me, I was pretty sure that Elder Leite would train
someone, and I was expecting I´d move to a different area, get to see
more of Rio, but my Father in Heaven seems to have more Cariocas
waiting for us and prepared to hear our message of the Restoration of
the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But we have some investigators who are
really progressing and are finally showing desire to make some changes
in the life. I was worried I´s have to pack up my bags and say tchau
to them, but luckily that won´t happen to me. I´ll still be in an
apartment with 3 other brazillians. Without a doubt, my portuguese
will be even stronger (qué bênção!) Also, my companion from the MTC
(Elder Deiffenbach) is in my district finishing up the training of
another brazillian Elder. Way to go, Deiff, way to go. I´m pretty
proud of him for having progressed so much these past few months.

A few exciting things that happened this week include:
-We had a zone conference in Rio last thursday with 4 other zones in
our mission. We learned a lot about how we can help our investigators
who get baptized stay firm as members and how we can help them learn
how they can always develop a stronger testimony, even when us
misionaries leave the area. President shared a story about his
conversion (when he was 17) and how 12 other investigators were
planned to get baptized the same day as him, but President Lima was
the only one of those investigators who was able to get baptized. One
of those missionaries who baptized him, Currently living in Utah and
is 50ish years old, has kept in contact with Presdient ever since his
baptism, has visited him a few times here in Brazil and the US with
his wife, and never imagined that his one baptism that was able to
happen that day would one day become a mission president. Pretty dang
cool and inspiring for me. I was able to see Elder Grow there for the
last time before he heads home this week.
-After the conference, I had a division with an american elder (Elder
Evans) who started his mission the same day as me, but we were in
different zones at the MTC. He was serving in the States for 3 months
before he got his visa, so he only has 4 weeks in Brazil. We had a lot
of fun in Alcãntara that day, we taught a few pretty good lessons, and
he said he really enjoyed having a break from his trainer for a day. I
can´t imagine how difficult it would be to have a that short 6 week
training at the MTC, stop learning or speaking Portuguese for 3
months, and then have a Brazillian companion 24/7.
-There´s a young married couple named Ranna and Bruno that we´ve been
working with a lot this past week. Brunos cousin is a member in the
ward next to us, and they´ve been investigating the church since the
beginning of the year. The Elders from that other ward were teaching
them, but the stopped a while ago since they live in our area and we
never received a reference about them. They´re wayyyyyy cool and would
make stinking great members of the church. Bruno has 4 cars too.... I
don´t know how to help yáll at home comprehend how much of a miracle
that is here in Brasil. NO ONE has cars here in Alcãntara, and they
have 4.... One of which is a 95 Ferrari. He drove us home in it after
our lesson. I didn´t complain about that :)

I love you all!!!! The Spirit of Christmas is so strong here, the sun
won´t stop getting hotter because of it! WOOOO

Elder Braun

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