It has been a great week and I am honestly very happy and excited to be serving this mission. Its a different kind of happy - we work hard and there are times of disappointment but always theres a sense that this is the Lords work and I need to be happy, grateful and patient with the opportunities and challenges I have now. I am so grateful to be out here!
Lets see, this week we have taught a lot and it has been really great. Elder Sloan is a great trainer and really teaching me a lot - also, he has great patience with me because at times I am not the fastest learner. We have had some really cool experiences - last Sunday, we were at the end of the day and hadn't really taught anyone in a while. We prayed and kept pushing on. We kept knocking doors and no luck. Then one guy, Marcos, let us into his house and we started talking with him. Turns out his dad was a member and his brother served a mission. He is separated from his wife and really has a desire to change. We taught him that night the Restoration and the Spirit was so strong. Honestly, it wasnt anything we did - he really needed to hear the message. The Spirit is the key and I was just grateful to be in the room and feel that great love and hope that God has for Marcos. We are going to help him stop smoking and drinking and we are going to teach his two children also.
Brazil is great. Lunch is the big meal here and it is always provided by a family in the branch. And it is really good food - lots of rice and beans and casseroles but it is really good, especially because we dont have to cook it. The branch is really nice and though it has a lot of less actives, the members that are active are very supportive and awesome. And we will get to work on those less actives!
I am in Contagem and we have four or five bairros, neighborhoods, in our area. The branch is called the Riacho branch but we share the chapel with a ward as well. I feel safe and as long as I don't do anything stupid, I am sure I will be fine. It is very civilized here and the Brazilian people are very great. Like any people, you have nice people, weird people and grouchy people but it is great. It is just Elder Sloan and I in our house. I get mail depending on whether or not the Zone leaders pick it up from the office so don't I know. (Yesterday I got letters from Grandma Bowler and Demarie Thank you!!!! These letters always make my day!)
In two weeks we are going to have a mission conference with Elder Costa of the Seventy. I am muito animado por isso. Yesterday we had a great zone conference and we are going to focus a lot more on using members in our work as well as encouraging our investigators to have spiritual experiences.
I am very grateful for Preach My Gospel. It is an inspired book and extremely helpful. I am especially grateful for the section on prayer in chapter 4. If you can, give it a look through. It has helped me improve my prayers and helped me think about things that I should pray for that I had not thought of before. I know that prayer is really a conversation with God and I am so grateful for the time at the end of the day when I can kneel and talk to my Father in Heaven about my day, what I did, what I need to do, and seek His guidance. I know that all of us, no matter who we are, can sincerely pray to our Father in Heaven and He will answer. We are all children of God and He loves all of us.
I love you all too and I hope you are all happy, healthy and always remember the goodness of God! Have a great week!