Well, this week was nuts. I´m currently writing from my new area Ala Floresta. The funny thing is that Ala Floresta makes a boarder with the ward where I was just serving. I litterally just passed to the other side of the train. I wish they would have told me this sooner and I could have just walked here. But in general things are good. My companion, Elder Bradley, is from Pensylvania and just finished training yesterday. I actually had a feeling I would get put with another American and if nothing accelerates my language learning, this certainlly will. I feel very overwhelmed with everything that´s happened in the past few days but I will try to put the most important here.
Well, remember that family? GUESS WHO GOT BAPTIZED?!?!?!?!?!?!? Yes! We baptized an awesome family of 5 people yesterday and the service was awesome. I was able to baptize the Mom and one of the sons. The father and mother cried a decent amount but I held it together. It´s so wonderful to see these amazing people all being united under the gospel banner and preparing to one day enter the temple and be sealed as a family. I now have two families for which I am waiting to receive letters and pictures that say "this was when we were sealed for eternity" and what a blessing that will be. Aluizio and Regylani are firm and steadfast and definitely always abounding in good works. To see the changes that happened over the past few weeks with Joaquim, Eliane, and their family has been so amazing and truly one of those experiences that I will never forget.
And that brings us to yesterday. Here, transfers are different. We pass our numbers Sunday night and then wait for our leaders to pass them all upwards. Once the secretaries have recieved everything they give the OK to the Assistants and they call all the Zone Leaders. The Zone Leaders then call all the District Leaders with the names of everyone in their District that will pack up. Yesterday, Elder Savaryn called and said "well, you both need to pack up. They´re whitewashing your area." So, I´m thinking "lovely, now I have to pack" But Elder Tribino said "we need to visit Joaquim and Eliane one last time. 5 minutes" so we went. We showed up and we explained our lack of time and that we were being transfered. They were a little shocked and began to cry a little. We cried together and we gave hugs and left. As we were leaving Joaquim said "there aren´t words to describe the feelings right now. Just thanks" and we headed out. We said a quick goodbye to Aluizio and Regylani and we returned home to pack. After a crazy hour and a half, everything was in suitcase and I stopped for just a little. With the lights off I stared out the window and thought "this was the first thing I really knew of Brazil." It was hard to leave. I knelt in prayer and instead of the expected "why on earth am I being transfered?" I instead petitioned the Lord for grand blessings over the whole ward. It was interesting as I reviewed with the Lord the members, investigators, and others in the ward. I reflected on the grand experience that I had to arrive there, be trained in the language, train another missionary, and develop lasting and meaningful relationships. Words, truly, cannot describe the experiences I´ve had as I consider the ups, the downs, and in-betweens. To be a servant of the Lord is the world´s greatest blessing, but also one of the greatest difficulties. I dearly love the Ala Parquelândia and it was so hard to leave. But as I learned when I left Kansas, I can look back and live in the past and lose today. Or, I can put my trust in the Lord and know that he has put me here specifically for a purpose. I have no real way to describe my feelings for the Ala Parquelândia other than that it was a blessing beyond price. But now, I will serve faithfully looking towards the future here in the Ala Floresta. Because it really doesn´t matter where we´re called to serve or how we´re asked to serve, it just matters that we serve. As Dad told me in his letter this morning, "faith is a future word". So, we look forward with faith. We press forward with happiness. We serve with dilligence. And with Him, all things are possible. I´m without words to describe my feelings for the past, but certainly, I´m without adequate words to describe my hopes for the future as well.
Até o próximo,