Good grief. Probably the best way to describe this week. For those of you who don’t really follow useless Brasilian holidays (so...everyone) this week was carnival. The country´s excuse to not work for 4 days, drink until they drop, and do other horrible and disgraceful things in public. Needless to say I am not a fan. The only neat thing about Carnival is the competitive samba parade which is really quite neat seeing a ton of talented dancers doing themed Samba routines in the street around huge coordinating floats that make the Macy´s day parade look like grocery store brand cookies next to real Oreos. It would be ten times neater though if the dancers actually wore clothing. It is a mess of a holiday and even the people say so. But they still participate. It comes as no surprise to anyone that Brasil´s largest birth rate month is 9 months after carnival. Needless to say Mardi Gras is totally lame to me now and I have never been so glad that we have a 9:00 curfew. :)
|It rained a lot this week. Not happy...|
Apart from some unproductive contacts this week and lots of noise we had a few really great (and sober) lessons with some new investigators! We started teaching a new girl. She is 14 and she is so sweet. She has been to church twice and to seminary and then she asked her friend if she could meet with the missionaries. So we came and taught her the first lesson. When we shared about the first vision she cried. When we gave her a Book of Mormon she cried again. She was so grateful to hear that the truth exists and that she has purpose and most important of all that God loves her and won’t abandon her. Her story is very sad. Her dad left her and her mom and sister when she was little. Her mom has been dealing with schizophrenia and depression for years and so L has been the one who cooks and cleans and takes care of the family. She is very quiet and shy but very funny when she opens up. Her mom wants us to teach her too. We are very excited. When we teach L, the spirit is so strong it moves all of us to tears. We know that she is very, very special to our Heavenly Father. She agreed to be baptized in the first lesson. We just need to teach her mom too or she can’t be baptized for another 3 months of going to church because of the area rules about baptizing kids under 15. We are anxious to teach her mom this week.
We have continued teaching P and M. It is very interesting because they literally believe in all the usually difficult things for people to believe in....prophets, Joseph Smith, The Book of Mormon....etc. But they also believe in a whole stream of other things that are a bit conflicting. When we bore our testimonies this last time though the spirit was so strong it was almost tangible. M expressed that he believes and that where he is now in his church is not sufficient to him. He wants to make the change. She, however, is way more reluctant. We can see it on her face that she feels it’s true...but we also see the major conflict she feels about making a big change from something that she has been a part of for years. I can understand that must be difficult.
|Sorry Em, I am not bronzing those shoes! -Mom|
This week Sister M and I were talking about how it is very interesting to find people who are looking for answers but when they find them....they don’t follow them because they still insist their church is enough. For me, if you are looking and praying to know about other religions then where you are is not sufficient for you. A person who truly feels they have all they need doesn’t look for more. Then it made me think back on my life growing up in the gospel and how not even once, did I have a desire to explore other religions. Not even out of curiosity have I been to another church or had a desire to hear from other missionaries. Thinking back I realize that its not because I am intolerant and don’t respect other religions. Or even that I am afraid to hear because I want to stay in my own little mormon bubble. But that in all honesty....it is completely unnecessary to me. I have no desire because I don’t feel anything is missing. I have what I need. My religion is more than sufficient and to me is completely unquestionable. I have no doubts.
Sister M talked about how people who have a desire to look else where and find answers have it because God planted this desire to find the truth in our hearts. In every one of us we have a desire, be it big or small, to discover the truth of all things...to find direction...to find answers. This little seed of searching is what drives each one of us to read, to learn, to talk with others, to pray, to find, to think, and finally to know. What a beautiful gift. Imagine how much more difficult missionary work would be if God didn’t plant this natural desire in the human heart?
Apart from this, my week was rather the same as usual. My friend Sister W almost cut my finger off with her razor and I almost had to get stitches but....seeing as how I made a vow never to set foot in a Brasil hospital I used tape and gauze and prayed. hahaha. (I joked how I have been wanting to loose weight but not really through blood loss and taking chunks out of me! ;P hehe) Also I got my two packages from Christmas! So we had a little christmas on Thursday afternoon. It was awesome. :) (Thanks mom!) <3
I hope all of you are well. I love you all and am so happy to hear from you! <3 Have a great week!