Hope that you all are having a great welcome back to school!! woooooo. haha.
a little overview of this week...............
It is HOT. WAY HOT. apparently its not supposed to be this hot yet........ but we have been "blessed" with some early hot weather.... YAY. So I´ve taken up the brazilian custom of showering at night when we get home AND again in the morning......Wow. And still we dont smell so great.... hahah.
Had this awesome meeting with the bishop, leadership in the ward and ward mission leaders where we got lectured for a good 2 hours..... hahhahaha. Oh boy. Great fun. But its all good. The bishop really is cool and trusts us a lot..... They just all get these ideas about how we could be working more efficiently and then spend the entire meeting laying out these ideas that we NEED to be doing...... oh gosh. But in the end, nothing gets done. HA. Great use of time. We came home after that and wanted to drown ourselves in the shower. Its a good thing that I really do love the people in this ward......... when we dont have ward missionary work meetings. hahaha.
But, about our ward..... I really do LOVE these people!!!! It is great, cause after being here almost 5 months... I know almost everyone and have a lot of friends in the members here! I am gonna miss them all so much when I get transferred!!!
It is also fun to think back to when I first got here.... the members are always like "yeah.... sister ward. when she got here she NEVER said anything!!!" "we didnt know she could talk!!!!" hahaha. Its so much better now that I can talk to people. HALLELUJAH!!
We also had a funny experience one afternoon this week...... we were walking down a street talking to this kid who is OBSESSED with us because we are americans..... Yep. happens a lot. He looks like a brazilian version of johnathon taylor thomas at about age 12.... hahaha. But we were talking with him and walking down the middle of the street.... A car was coming fairly fast, so we went over to the side of the road. Right in front of where we were walking was one of those big dips/canals that they have through the intersections for the water to run down and it was full of mud and water.... just as the car is about to come by, he swerves over right in front of us and hits that puddle just right as he flies by to completely SOAK us with dirty water!!! hahahahaha. OHHHHHH gosh. I´m pretty sure that he TOTALLY did it on pupose!! hahah. The water got us soaked from the neck down.... hahaha. and Johnathon taylor thomas kid was just like "welcome to brazil!" hahahaha. WELP. Never had that one happen before!! And all I could think of after it happened was how Sister Tanner always told us to be careful not to step in the water on the streets cause it is usually full of rat pee.......and about missionaries who get sick and could potentially DIE because of rat pee..... GREAT..... That and how I wish it had happened in the day when it was blazing hot instead of the evening!!! haha.
Another funny experience.... we were working out in the slightly sketchy area where we are starting the "mini-branch" in José Ometto.... we were trying to find some inactive members and ended up knocking at a house full of drag queens..... ahhahaha. ohhhhh boy. One of them came up to us and said that she(he????) was interested in "learning more about Jesus" and so we taught a little bit and left a pamphlet with her(him???). hahaha. There is another first for ya!!
Later we saw some of those same people waiting over on the corner in center where all the prostitutes stand every night..... hahaha.
Exciting news from the week..............
We had a BAPTISM!!! WOOOOOOOO!
Bruna--- the shy 11 year old from a less-active family, was baptized saturday night!! It was way cool cause the whole family came out to support that night, and again during the sacrament service when she was confirmed. It has been a reallly LONG time since a lot of them have been to church, so that was a big deal. I really hope that Bruna will inspire them to keep coming back to church!!
the bishop introduced us to a family that they are friends with and we were able to go by with him and his daughter to teach them the first lesson.......... They seem super cool, and I hope that they accept our message and really read and pray about the book of mormon!!! I hope we didnt overwhelm them too much last week....... haha. LOTS of new information and Bishop was nervous and talking a LOT....... but hopefully they felt the spirit and we´ll see some progress with them! We get to meet with them again this wednesday.... I love when we get to teach FAMILIES, and it is hard to actually teach families because usually people are working and busy and other members of the family arent interested in our message.... So personally, I havent been able to teach a whole family yet....
We are also teaching a girl named Larissa who is SUPER cool! She is Guilherme´s sister (the awesome, super tall kid who got baptized back in july...) and is 12 but way mature, and tall for her age as well. I would put her at at least 15.... She is always super excited about coming to church with us, activities, baptisms and everything!! She came to Gidelma´s baptism and Bruna´s as well. Just to see it and support!! Haha. It is crazy that she is more supportive than a lot of the MEMBERS that should have been at Bruna´s baptism but werent.... She is also super excited to go check out our "mini-branch" out in José Ometto and wants to go to the meetings there instead of in the chapel. haha. Right now, the house is too small for us to be able to invite her there... but as soon as we have a "real" location, she wants to go and check it out!! AH. Love it.
She also has a hard time understanding what she reads in the book of mormon, so we´ve been focusing more on reading with her and explaining it section by section. We´ve been going through the stories that explain each of the pictures in the front of the book of mormon and she loves it!! haha. When we get there she is like "okay, we left of here..." and then she just starts reading it with us!
I´m pretty sure she would have already been baptized, but since she is only 12, her mom wants her to spend some more time investigating the church before she committs to baptism. Hmph. She is way excited about getting baptized though! And we have some big hopes for her!!
Thursday, we had some exciting lessons! We found a young lady named Maire that lives alone with just her 3 year old son in this tiiiiny one room in the back of a house. We were teaching her and it just went SO WELL. She was super accepting and interested in our message about the restoration and willing to read and pray about the book of mormon..... And, since I´m practicing being brave and talking more (hahah) I invited her to be baptized when she recieves an answer about what we taught her.... and she said yes!!! We marked a day for Oct. 7th!! WOOOOO. It was SO EXCITING. Now we just need to find a way to help her get to church.... since she works everyday..... dang it. Praying for some MIRACLES.
That night we had a lesson with a lady that Sis. Pedersen and her comp. Sister Costa started teaching back in feb/march.... When we were teaching her, she expressed so much desire to find out more and really come to know if these things are true.... We invited her to be baptized as well and marked the 7th of october. She said she really wants to get baptized and for her son hugo to be baptized as well.... It is just tough to find him at home since he goes to school and works till 9 everyday... hmm. But she is really worried about him and the choices he is making in his life... she started crying as we were going to leave. I hope we can keep teaching her and try to help her with her worries!! And I hope she will actually come to church!!!!
Joáo paulo, an investigator that we have been teaching for a few months now, and doesnt believe in god..... is still reading the book of mormon every week! And THIS week, he took NOTES on what he read to share and discuss with us!! YEAH. He didnt believe in God at ALL when we started teaching him (pretty rare in brasil.....) but now he believes in something... hahah. It is an improvement!! And I am still amazed everyweek that he is really reading and praying everyday.
Remember Michael??? that we taught for forever and were trying to get baptized??? Yeah. Well, he still isnt getting baptized yet..... BUT he is WAY AWESOME, and still always coming to church, to institute and to our baptisms!!! And he always participates, makes comments and says prayers in our classes. Man. This kid is amazing. He is sooo ready!! and so getting baptized someday! I just hope it is someday soon! LIKE NOW!!! hahah.
Not gonna send any pictures this week for two reasons....
1) this computer is LAME and not loading anything!!! takes about five years for it to load each page!!!!aghhh
2) my camera is dying.... and all my pictures are either pink/red/purple or have funny lines through them. COOL. I´m gonna have to check into getting another camera I guess........ in brazil. Sweet.
Love you all!!!!
scripture for the weeek 2 Timothy 1:7 which my awesome companion pasted inside my new planner.....
"for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind"
thanks so much for all the love, emails and letters!!!
have the best week!!!
Sister Amanda Ward