Wow. This week was nuts. I can´t believe that it´s already P-day, and at the same time I can´t believe it hasn´t been P-day already. But, that´s mission life. What do you expect?
My companion is Elder Gonçalves. He´s a native of São Paulo and he´s learning English to go to BYU´s MBA program. He´s super awesome and he´s been so helpful.
Here in Brasil, apparently it´s cheaper to have three cell phones than one. One for calls, one for text, one for internet. We only have one, but apparently everyone else has multiple because putting all of the stuff on one cell phone is way more expensive. I don´t get it.
Our Ward Mission Leader had us over for lunch on my birthday and surprised me with a cake. It was quite exciting. Pictures will probably be on facebook eventually.
We taught and baptized a guy this week. Yeah. All in one week. Brazil rocks.
Well, I can try and sumarize events in order to tell my weekly story. Hopefully this will all work out.
So, Monday was one of the hardest days I´ve ever had. Leaving President and Sister Bell at the airport was so dificult. I loved Kansas so much and I was so sad to be leaving. But, I know it´s for the will of the Lord. Anyway, we flew to Atlanta and I talked with everyone and then we boarded a really long flight to São Paulo. On the way over I started reading in Ether 12 about faith because of the trials I knew would lay ahead. Much like I talked about two weeks ago, faith often requires us to step beyond what is comfortable into the darkness so that we may grow and learn to trust in our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ even more. As I was reading I felt prompted to read in Psalms 23.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he aleadeth me beside the still waters.
4 Yea, though I awalk through the bvalley of the cshadow ofddeath, I will fear no eevil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they fcomfort me.
As I read I considered the ´valleys of the shadow of death´ in my life. I considered how often in the moment we realize how dificult things are and we wonder where the light is at the end of the valley. As I read that, I felt that I would be entering a ´valley of the shadow of death´ in my life. I didn´t know what, but I felt it would come and that even though I wouldn´t be able to see the end from the beginning, or even the next step, I needed to run head-on into the valley. We landed in São Paulo, and I realized that all these people were saying things to me, and I coudln´t understand a thing. Fortunetely, the 7 of us headed to Fortaleza kind of stuck together and continued to speak English (yeah, not the best idea). We flew to Fortaleza and were greeted by two of the office assistants and Sister Souza (President Souza´s wife) who took us to the mission home where we had dinner. We went to the mission office where we had interviews and met our new companions and we were in our areas before the end of the night. We had some extra roomates (other missionaries) that night for one reason or another, and one of them was an american so he translated most of what was said. The next morning we went to District Meeting. I wish I could tell you what an awesome experience it was, but honestly, I couldn´t understand a thing that was said. As the day (and week) progressed I realized that though I can speak to people (in very very slow and broken Portuguese) for the life of me, I couldn´t tell what anyone was saying to me. This continued and slowly I began talking less and less because I was scared our of my mind and didn´t want to sound like an idiot. I slowly began to withdraw and was finding it very difficult to do much of anything right, even though I knew I needed to. So, I was reading one day in Alma 37 and I read verses 6 & 7 which talk about how ´by small and simple means are great things brought to pass´as I pondered these things The Spirit taught me that I´m not just going to fly down here and have native-like abilities with speaking and understanding. I´m not going to be able to speak just like all of the missionaries who´ve been here for forever. I need to learn line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little, until I learn it all. I know this particular valley will get much deeper before it gets better, but I do have one major advantage. When I speak, I speak the truth. I didn´t come to Brazil to talk to people about just anything. Even though I speak slowly, I speak the words of God. I am a representative of Jesus Christ and I preach His gospel. Joseph Smith was His prophet and seer to restore the church in these latter days. The Book of Mormon provides convincing evidence that Jesus is the Christ and that His church has been restored. I´m learning that we must descend into our own ´valley of the shadow of death´in order to rise to our mountain of exaltation. Sure, I´m slow, inexperienced, and weak. But, as long as I remember Him at all times, in all things, and in all places, I cannot fail. So, don´t worry about me. I have the Savior by my side 100% of the time. And at very special times, both Grandmas will be with me as well.