So, big news, that is with the whole fact that we had an apostle come. Let´s start out. First off we all woke up, but on our best suits, white shirts, shoes, socks, garments, basically best of everything haha. And we left for Penha, where Élder Anderson would go. We arrived there and all went into the chapel. We received some instruction and we were all waiting and trying to keep quiet. Our president was as nervous as heck!! I have never ever seen him so nervous haha. Usually we are all nervous of getting burned by our president hahaha (in a good way) but this was the opposite. I think he waxed his head too hahahah. Anyways, that's not the point. We were all waiting. He got word that Elder Anderson had arrived. We all stood up and waited. Waited. Someone told us "they" were getting a drink of water. Okay. But finally he entered. My first thought: I´m pretty darn sure Elder Anderson does not have white hair like that.... wait... That´s Elder Ballard! And after Elder Ballard walked in, so did Elder Anderson. Yeah, two Apostles! I was very very excited. I learned so much from them. Also, a member of the 70 was there, I forgot his name, but I´ll remember next time. It was very awesome! Elder Anderson knows how to speak portuguese also! His accent sounded very french and sometimes he used french or even spanish words but it was very cool. Basically, it was a very spiritually uplifting experience and was awesome!
Anyways, this week was very very good! We found a family, they went to church last week and the mom and one of the sons (Damiana and Wallace) were baptized this week! It was very good :) Vitória (a filha.... daughter!) was almost baptized but she had a lot of fear. So we will help her this week and help the other children of Damiana get baptized this week that comes also. But it was very awesome and I´m so happy for them :) It´s amazing how you can gain so much love for a someone or a family in so little time! this next week I believe we will have 4-5 baptisms. It´s possible! :) the week after we have 3 marked as well!
Speaking of those 3 let me tell the story of two of them. So we were going to the house of Damiana and we were stopped by these two girls, one mom and the daughter. The mom asked who we were and everything (by the way, we were doing magic tricks for some mulekes... umm... rapazes... i don't remember..... little boys? I don´t know) Anyways, we talked to them and set up an appointment the next day. The next day we taught them the plan of salvation and asked them to pray and when they received the answer they would follow the example of christ and be bapitzed. This is what we do everytime so was nothing new. But the next time, I gained a huge testimony how the lord sends people in your way that are prepared. We asked about how the prayers were and they both (by the way we asked the daughter first because the mom was out and was returning) said that they felt really strong in their hearts that they need to do the thing we asked: baptism! Also, the mom said that we were sent in their path which I completely agree. I gained a huge testimony about that and I'm really excited to help them till the baptism and after!! :)
So sunday was crazy!!! I was running all over the place (searching for people, getting signatures and all that) And one hour before sacrament meeting two things happen. First off I'm asked to give a talk! Second play the piano. Oh yeah and my companion had to say a prayer! AHHHH haha. First time I had to give a talk that is 10 mins long and I have an hour to prepare but really i don't because i have to help our investigators also! So I spent 10 mins preparing and said a prayer and went for it. Luckily it went really well. I talked about how we can have true happiness true progressing in the gospel and serving others, especially through our home teaching! I shared the experience I had with dad--how me and him went to visit Brother Talley. I'm very grateful for that opportuinity I had and I always will cherish it :) Anyways, it was weird cause I stood up from the piano to go and give a talk and then sat back down hahahah. But I spoke for 15 mins... hahaha I just start to get going sometimes. Anyways, I had lots of people say that it was really good and they gave specific parts they liked, so I know they understood too! :) I feel really good and that my portuguese is really progressing well. I know it is, because I can´t remember some words in english now. and I as I´m writing this I´m still thinking in portuguese... it makes it difficult haha.
Hey phil I have a question: Na sua missão, você tinha quantos batismos? Same question for you dad, on your mission, you had how many baptisms. I just want to see what the difference is between here and europe. Becasue here São Paulo Leste, Elder Ballard said was one of the highest baptizing missions. But also retention is back. This is what bugs me. We have a lot of recent converts, but I hardly see them at church.. It really bugs me. This next week, we are going to visit a lot of them and try and help them. But the biggest problem is the people don't do their home teaching and visiting teaching. We have to have the help of the ward. It doesn't work without them. There are not two churches (the church of members and the church of missionaries) but there is one, we have to remember that and help out one another! That's my advice, always do home teaching. It's so important. But also, do your párt to help out the missionaries!
This saturday, I will get to go to the temple again! This time, because a person that my companion baptized will be going through the temple for a mission!!! He is very excited and me too! :) I'm actually very lucky that I get to the temple so often! :)
So let me start off the next line with that I need new jeans... hahah. It's like i'm emo or a girl. They are so tight on me hahaha. But also, I'm 70 kilos now... which is like 155 or something like that. hahaha. Basically I gained a lot! But! I'm normal now :) I'm not fat just normal finally :P hahah. Also it helps that I work out... hahahah. But yeah, new jeans would be nice... I don't know what size yet, I'll let you know just keep that in mind :D
Two funny stoires! Both with drugs! Kind of... First! We were walking along and I was telling a story to my companion when he suddenly stops me and says: Look there! I looked to my side to see this man walking. but then he stops and turns to the side. Take note also we are walking pretty darn fast. He continues to walk and stop and turn to the side. He just keeps doing this. And the whole time he is walking extremely fast that he gets out of our sight. It was the strangest thing I saw, but pretty hilarious.
The other: So we were walking to our next appointment at night; we were late. So I said, let's take this way, I know it's faster and Elder Richins took it when we were late. We didn't like to take it too often because it's more dangerous but yeah. So we started off and we got pretty far but then we got to one point where I didn't remember if it was left or right. So I got to the end of the road and I just stood there. Thinking hmm... left or right left or right. And my companion just bolts past me saying, " Vai Vai Vai Vai!!!!" or "Go!" I was very confused but I followed him and he's like: Man you're crazy! Still very confused! I asked him Why am I crazy? He says because we had stopped right in front of a drug deal and there was a guy that was walking towards us with a knife hahaha. Then I said: "Oh." hahahaha I didn't even realize that had happened hahah but okay.
Anyways, I'm glad you finally got some pictures! yay! haha, and yeah I have duck tape on my belt! It would be really cool if Mitt Romney won!! That would be really exciting! :) The members here are talking about it a lot. Oh hey HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID!!! I sent him a card but I had to say that too! :) So gentry reed is going to brasil too?!?!?! CRAZY!!! But knew it hahah. That's awesome! Yeah, I wish I could send you some of the rain here. We get rain everyday here and it's hot still haha. And tell brother marks I will e mail him. Not sure about this week because I sent you guys a long e mail today but I will :)
A GIRL!! :) Yay! To tell you the truth, I forgot to even guess what it would be... But! A girl! I'm so very excited :) I will need pictures when it happens! When will it happen by the way? I did get the pictures you guys sent me in hawaii!
And yeah dad, we have mission conferences a lot actually haha. Our president is really awesome. He always gives the conferences and really inspires all the missionaries. He knows what is right :) by the way, I'm very excited that when I come home, there will be a new carpet :P ahahaha. I can't wait to see all the new things that happen :) Did you know they have Outback here as well. It's not in my area. We do have a mcdonalds but i've never gone haha. It's funny, here mcdonalds is EXTREMELY expensive. It's like if you took a girl on a date and took her to mcdonalds, that's impressive hahahah.
Anyways, this week was really good. My companion has taught me a lot about faith and really a lot. He's an awesome guy and I'm gald to be working here in Limoeiro one last transfer, I really think this is my last transfer here. It will be hard to leave, I really love the people here. But a new area will be good too :) Anyways, I love you guys too much and I hope that all is well! Especially with the new baby coming too! :)
Élder Grant Shaw Merrill