Com muito amor,
Thanks for the emails. Laughed a lot while reading them. Seems like everyone is telling me lately that my mission is ending...I dont feel that way in the least haha. I am powered up and ready to give it my all to the end (and speaking the truth, I have a long time left here :) OH P.S. I got the valentines (THANKS!!!) and I didnt get the Christmas package (Ill keep praying it gets here someday.) and for my birthday, I really dont have anything that I am wanting. To be honest I am pretty satisfied with my rice and beans and caju juice. haha I do have to buy some socks.....I havent gotten around to that yet......
I really liked the photos of Maddie. She is getting so big!!! I show the photos of the family that you sent in the valentines card to everyone!!!! They all say that Sara and Sammy are pretty and that Dad looks like he could be my brother, and that Mom looks like a brasileira. hahaha. I tell them that she looks more like a mexicana. ;)
We are super stoked here in our area. We did an open house in the chapel of Realengo (which has the Realengo and Bangu wards) with all of the zone. We marked 9 baptismal dates and did a whole bunch of lessons. The assistants were there and were very impressed. A good part of these people with dates are progressing well towards baptism. We are wanting to do the same activity here in the Madureira chapel (with the Madureira, Bento Ribeiro, and Sulacap wards) Im super excited!!! The zone is doing quite well at the moment. Madureira will baptize a family that they are working with to get married, Elder Jorge in Agua Branca will have the first baptism of his mission!! and we will get to be part of the miracle of the baptism of Cilene. She is such a sweet lady- a little bit sassy- but super funny. She is pumped to get baptized and is convinced that only the gift of the Holy Ghost will give her the courage to take on eye surgery. She is a spiritual powerhouse!!!
Last night we got to see a preglimpse of what Carnaval is going to be like here in Madureira---A mess. We were heading to the chapelat night to go to a meeting with the bishop and the other organizations and we had to enter into the main road- Intendente Magalhães. THOUSANDS OF DRUNK PEOPLE!!!!! It was the rehersal of a Samba School. With giant crowds of people on all sides, we had no way out. Elder Namanny and I puffed out our chests and started cutting throught the people heading towards the only outlet street that was less full of drunk people. Though not letting any sort of emotion show on my face, I was appalled at what I was seeing. Hundreds of guys dressed as girls, everyone drunk, girls shaking like there was an earthquake, and straight up apostasy. As we walked with firmness towards this little street, various people were grabbing out ties or touching our chests or trying to grab our attention. It wasnt until we fought our way to the little outlet that I realized that my abs were super tense and my hands balling up in fists and then releasing over and over again. It is not something I ever want to pass through again. We went to the meeting, called up President, and he told us to go straight home. Luckily it poured rain during the meeting and a majority of these party freaks had lost the urge to do evil and had gone home. Crazy right??? We heared that from now until carnaval, this will happen every . We will be heading over to Agua branca to work to avoid this danger in our area.
The experience we had reminded me a bit of a talk that a sister gave in stake conference. She was talking about the great abyss in the dream of Lehi- and how well that abyss divided those who follow Christ and those who dont. In days past, those who made part of the church werent as easy to pick out from those who didnt. Today with the change of standards, the division becomes ever so much clearer- as the saints strive to live the standards as those who dont work to bring the saints down. Unhappily, the conditions wont get better during our time here on the earth, but we do have the resources necessary to live our standards- our testimonies, prayer, a living prophet, and the scriptures. We were chosen for these days, and I know that God expects that we live our standards to the fullest. We are capable, and repentance is real- For I know that the Lord our God does not give commandments unto the children of men, unless he also provides a way for the commandments to be fullfilled.
I was really impressed by the missionary work that is happening back home. Here in Rio we are focusing on retention and reactivation. In a mission counsel we were bearing witness of the work done in our zones. One of the areas had no baptisms, but had reactivated a family. Many started to criticize. *You couldnt have done more that just reactivate a family??* President Lima stood, and said, *I too had this question, What is more important, Baptize a Family or Reactivate a Family? I asked God. He told me that they are the same. ** The room went silent. The Spirit was strong, and many tilted their heads and looked at President. Since that day, many are saying that President Lima is a special witness of Christ.
Thanks so much for the prayers and the thoughts for me and for the other missionaries in the field. I know that God hears and values all of our petitions. Ill see you all next week!
Com muito amor,