FERNANDO GOT BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =]
But anyways, let me start at the beginning..........
It´s been a good week...... Once again, the week FLEW by, but I guess that is a good thing...... Did I mention that it is NOVEMBER??!?!?!?
After meeting with Fernando last sunday (as I told you all last week..) we marked to meet with him everynight this week. And as we met with him everyday, we found out just how truly prepared he is!!! We were able to teach him in the chapel, with members present at every lesson, which was SO helpful!!! Man. As we taught the lessons, he was full of questions for the members about their experiences and about everything.... He wants to understand EVERYTHING!!! It is soo cool!! Really, we didnt teach him much, he basically taught US..... hahah. He is super intelligent, and learned a lot from his reading in the book of mormon, from what he had learned at church the few times he went, and from what we explained.... After we taught a new concept, he got it completely. AH. SUCH a relief to teach some one who gets it!!! hahaha. As of thursday night, we invited him to be baptized on Sunday, but he said that he would prefer to wait and keep coming to church for a while longer..... But we explained a lot about the importance of baptism and how he would have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, and he agreed to pray about it and meet with the elders for his baptism interview. Friday, after the interview, I asked him how he was feeling about baptism and he was just like "I´m getting baptized on Sunday" WOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Saturday night, the elders that work in the other ward that meets in our building had a baptism and we invited Fernando to go and see it. It was probably the BEST thing for him in that moment.... He was started to get a little nervous and worried about a lot of stuff.... worried about being baptized and staying strong for a while, but then falling away.... So we were able to talk to him about his doubts and worries for a while, and then able to all stay and watch the baptism. He was able to feel the spirit there so strong and see how everything would happen... He left that night reassured and SO READY for sunday. =]
Sunday, we had Sacrament meeting first and Fernando showed up all decked out in nice dress slacks and a dress shirt! haha. AWESOME. And he was so excited for the baptism. In sacrament, the bishop announced that we would have the baptism after the meeting, and all the members surprised us a bit by being awesome and congratulating Fernando and talking with him. SCORE. Then after all the meetings, we had the baptism and everything went great. Our ward mission leader who helped out in one of the lessons this week performed the baptism, and several other members that participated in the lessons this week, and have been adopting Fernando into the ward were there for the baptism as well. It was really cool.
Finding and having the opportunity to teach Fernando was such a miracle. REALLY. I am sooooo grateful for it!! We got here knowing nothing and with nothing to go off of, but have just been working hard and trying anyways, and then Fernando just falls out of nowhere, totally prepared and ready. AH. So great and such a wonderful answer to our prayers.
On to some of the other less exciting happenings of the week..... =]
Monday, we made tacos with the elders for pday..... hahah. Not quite true tacos, but they were pretty good. An elder from Chile knew how to make the dough and the tortillas, and it turned out pretty delicious. Sister Feistner and I tried to make some at home the next day, and it was a disaster.... hah. Apparently neither of us are very good cooks.... Our tortillas ended up dense and flavorless.... oh boy.
Tuesday, we had a couple funny experiences....
We were walking up a street to an inactive members house when we stopped to talk with a man standing in his garage. We started talking to him, and invited him to church and started talking about our message a little bit, when he interrupted us and went on a rant.... He started talking about his church, "Deus É Amor" (god is love) and then said how he could tell when people had the holy ghost with them, that he could see it in their eyes and faces. So we were just like "oh really" and then there was an awkward silence....Sister Feistner kind of laughed and was just like "well..... do we look like we have the holy ghost with us?" Then the guy was just like "something is missing". OH SNAP. Then he pointed his finger right in my face and was like "THIS.... is not of God" (meanwhile, I´m thinking "what, the sweat dripping down my face right now cause it´s so ridiculously hot outside???") then he continued and pointed at both of us and was like "this makeup is of the devil..... " Then he continued to tell us how we DID NOT have the holy ghost with us because we use makeup and earrings..... hmmm. Interesting. At one point, we were getting a little bugged and Sister Feistner was like "are you telling me that as a representative of Jesus Christ that I dont have the Holy Ghost with me???" He got super nice after that... allthough he didnt change his opinon. haha. Sister F. just ended up bearing testimony about the church to him (pretty confidently... =]) and he wished us luck and promised to come visit our church sometime............. yeah right.
After that, we went to visit a little old lady, Nilsa, that is inactive who we found knocking doors our first week. She works as a hairdresser and manicurist in her house, and she had a client in there when we went by. But she invited us in anyways to get out of the sun for a minute and drink some water. As we were sitting there, another friend of hers came by. Nilsa turned to Sister Feistner and was like "my friend just got back from the viewing of a 5 year old girl..." expecting Sister F. to be like, "ohhhhhh that´s so sad." or something of the sort. IN REALITY, Sister Feistner hadnt ever heard the word "velório" (viewing) before, and therefore had NO idea what she had just said. So she paused for a second and then answered with a huge smile "HOW COOL!!!!"................. woops. hahah. Everyone was silent (I went to two viewings when I was in Araras, so I already knew this word and I was busy trying to hold in my laughter in this awkward moment.... ). Then Nilsa was like "do you know what that word means??" ... Sister Feistner´s smile fell off her face and she was just like "apparently not..." hahahahahah. It was so great..... Not sure if I loved it more because of the funny situation itself, or because it was finally NOT ME that made the awkward mistake.... hahah.
WEDNESDAY WAS HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!! woooo!
Didnt feel exactly like halloween since it was BAKING outside, but we tried to celebrate anyways. It was SO HOT the first part of the week!! Wednesday, I heard that it was about 37 celsius.... not sure what that is in farenheit, but it was HOT. The sad thing is... it is gonna get way hotter still!! AGGGHHHHH
As we were walking that day, I kept trying to IMAGINE that we were walking in Utah, with the leaves falling and only needing a jacket to feel just perfect outside.... thought maybe I could overcome the heat in my head. Yep. Didnt work. It was still hot.
That day we taught about the commandments to Rodolfo during the day, and then again with Fernando that night..... we almost started laughing when poor Rodolfo was in shock after several of the commandments... "IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE???" ahhhh. poor guy. A different day this week he started talking about how people sometimes go on 40 day fasts and asked us if that was how it worked with the commandments like the word of wisdom and law of chastity..... Nope. Not quite how it works buddy. hahah. But dont worry, he is working really hard and progressing a lot.
That night, after we got home, Sister F. was DYING to carve pumpkins. BUT, we hadnt been able to find any anywhere..... So, being creative, she looked in our fridge and we still had two tomatoes left from our taco making adventure on monday, and decided it´d be better carving tomatoes than carving nothing... haha. What you all should realize in this is that Sister Feistner HATES tomatoes. Like big time. She wont eat them. EVER. If we go to lunch and there are tomatoes, she avoids them. IF they come mixed in the food, she puts them on my plate.... If they are cut up in tiny little peices, she STILL doesnt eat them, and picks them out and leaves them on her plate. She hates tomatoes SO much that even watching people eat tomatoes bothers her, and the smell is even worse. SO, when she got this tomato out and started to carve it, she would pause every few seconds, start to feel sick because of the smell, then steel up her determination and continue on.... hahah. It was funny.
But yep. We carved tomatoes!! Then we found some handy little bday cake candles that I had laying around and put candles in them and everything. Not the prettiest jack-o-latern I´ve ever made, but for a tomato-o-latern, it was pretty good.
We also got to eat some of the butterfingers and peanut m&ms you all sent, so it was LEGIT. =]
THANKFULLY, it rained thursday night and cooled off a TON. Thursday-Sunday was actually pleasant! YAY!
Thursday, we got to work with a girl in the ward that has volunteered herself to leave with us every week. Her name is Leila, she is 19 and one of the bishops kids. She is SUPER cool, hilarious, and way fun to work with. She gave us a whole ton of 7 belos (raspberry flavored candy like now and laters...) and so we decided to share the love and give her a butterfinger to try. You should have seen her face. hahah. When she bit in, it kind of fell all over her and she was just like "what the heck??" hahah. andddddd she didnt appreciate it very much. Now she keeps going on about how american chocolate is crappy and so sweet that it will give you seizures..... oh brother.
She loves to help us with our portuguese (make fun of our accents and teach us hard-to-say words????), and so I always try to ask her words I dont know and write them down in my planner.... I´ve got a whole two-page spread in the back full of words I´ve been learning in the last month.... I asked her what they call billboards here.... and she was like "its an english word! you should know!" BUT, weirdly enough, it is NOT billboard.... they call it "outdoor".... WHY???? So we explained to her how we use that in english and for the rest of the afternoon, she kept using it as much as possible, mixed in with her portuguese. haha. it was cute. I like her a lot.
OH, and while we were out with her, we knocked at a house close to the chapel. The lady leaned out her window to ask what we wanted, we told her we were missionaries and she was like "oh, thats funny. We have missionaries here right now!!" Turns out they are catholic, and they had two catholic missionaries (preists?? I dont know) from the roman catholic church in São Paulo in their house doing a prayer service for them and their neighbors. These two catholic missionaries werent too impressed that we were there though.... they were just leaving when we arrived, so they walked out in all their attire (they honestly looked like knights.... just missing the shiny armor...) and when Sister F. was all like "oh heyyyyy. What church are you from?'" they were just like "roman catholic. Tchau." Alright. byee. Needless to say, the lady who lived there didnt want us to say a prayer with her....
Friday, was a holiday. I swear Brazil has a holiday every other week.......... its ridiculous! Somehow, holidays are always practically impossible to work at all......... NOBODY is home. Or if they are, they are having a party and drinking. Really effective.
But, our ward had an activity (one in a million..... they arent much for activities in our ward....) and we got to go and eat lunch with them. It was a potluck and all the men cooked..... haha. Well, TECHNICALLY, all the men were supposed to cook, but I think a few of them gave up in despair and their wives finished the dishes for them... hahah. But there was actually a good turnout and everyone enjoyed themselves. ANDDDD they had icecream! WOO! from this AWESOME little icecream place close to our house that is soooooooo good!!! mmmm. Did I mention that I love icecream??? yep. ahhh.
We´ve been meeting with Rodolfo just about everyday this week and he is progressing A LOT. He is reading almost everyday, and saying prayers!!! YEAH! and when we taught about the commandments, he agreed to everything and has been going without coffee ever since. (granted, its only been a few days, but i´m so proud of him!!) ANDDDD to top it all off, friday when we went by, HE PRAYED AT THE END OF OUR LESSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!! WOOOO!!! We have been pushing for
him to do that for SO LONG!!! ahhhhh. And he did, and it was sooo good,
and I was sooooo happy! He really has come soooo far. Saturday night, he
also came to the baptism service to watch and really liked it. (that
was also a miracle in itself because he has some weird,
unconquerable fear of leaving his house and coming to the church...)
ALSO, saturday, I invited him to mark a date for baptism, and marked the
11th as his tentative day...... ONLY BUMMER---- he STILL didnt get up
and come to church with us sunday morning.... so now his date will have
to be pushed back again.... Hopefully, everything works out in the end
though. Not sure what happened sunday... We came by again in the
afternoon, and he had apparently locked himself in his room ALL day
long, and his mom was pretty worked up about it (please remember that
this guy is 29 before you all get too stressed as well....). Hopefully
he was just sitting in there reading his book of mormon and praying or
something wonderful like that!! hahah.
Oh, funny thing he said saturday.......... we were reviewing over the plan of salvation with him, and looking in the back of the pamphlet were they have a layout of everything that happens in the plan.... He was reading through and thinking through out loud what everything meant.... When he got to the fall, he was like "the fall..... the fall..... what is that? Is that when we came out of our mother????" ahahahaha. Sister F. and I had to try REALLY hard not to laugh at him too much over that one.....
Rodolfo is super funny and way nice. I´m really loving teaching him! He is always laughing at himself and it makes teaching super entertaining.... Like after he understood what the fall really was, he was laughing with us about it.
Saturday, had another cool experience.... After lunch, we had planned to go by a family that lives close to our lunch appointment that day. One of the grown up daughters is a member, and her brother was recently baptized, but decided after the baptism that he didnt really believe it, and never came back to be confirmed. Their other sister, passed away a few months ago, and the whole family is struggling a lot. Their mom is REALLY having a hard time, as well as their nephew (son of the sister that passed away) who now lives with them. When we were planning at the beginning of the week, I didnt know when we should go by their house, but I just decided to write down to go by there after our lunch cause we would be close by.... It ended up being perfect timing. The brother- still doesnt really want to talk to us.... but the sister who is a member--- Inyra, was having a WAY hard time and was super depressed, so our timing couldnt have been better. She was upset about a lot of crap going on in our ward right now, as well as everything else in their life and stuff. Our ward is frustrating though, because the ward is VERY un-united.... they arent good about home teaching or visiting teaching, sundays there are always LOTs of people sitting alone, and every family just sits by themselves..... everyone is super- un-animated about everything, and most everyone is going through some kind of difficulty or challenge. But instead of uniting and helping each other out, everyone is just goint through their own problems ALONE!! AGH. It is so frustrating!! But when we talked to Inyra, she just ranted to us and talked with us for about 2 hours...... But as we were talking with her, her mood completely changed. She went from being angry/upset/depressed and ranting to us, to us all turning to the scriptures and bringing the spirit back. I hope we left her in a better state of mind.
a few more funnies.....
Sunday afternoon, we were walking back from our lunch and passed by the little park by the bus terminal and decided to go try to do some contacts and find some people to teach. Apparently that was a BAD idea....... There was practically no one out there. We did find two or three cool people that we will be going back to, but it also was a little sketchy..... After we invitied someone to come to church, this guy in his 20s came up to us. He had a big backpack like he was traveling around and he started talking to us in english, all excited to talk to americans. Turns out he lived in London for a while, and worked as a missionary for his church. He was going to catch the bus, and had to leave super fast, but was interested in hearing more about the book of mormon, and we were able to explain a little and give him one as he was running away.... MEANWHILE, a drunk homeless guy had come up to us as we were talking to him and was trying to talk to Sister Feistner. She ignored him like a BOSS, and just talked to the kid we were teaching in english, so that the guy couldnt interrupt as easily.... But I dont know how she could think straight enough to teach cause this drunk guy was getting up in her face and muttering in portuguese and jumping on every word he recognized and yelling it at us... "ENGLISH!!"" "ENLGISH"" yikes.... I think he even touched her hair at one point.... When the kid left to catch his bus he was like "BE CAREFUL" and we just turned and walked away as well, and then the hobo guy went on his way.... calling after us "I want to get to know you!! I will get to know you!!" Yep.... Cool.
After that, we were leaving to head back down to the chapel when we had to walk by a group of bums sitting on the sidewalk drinking.... As we came up to them sister F. just said to me jokingly "dont even THINK about talking to them..." haha. But they saved us the trouble by talking to US. One guy that was standing there drinking said hi to us and told us he had come to the church before. We were just trying to invite him to come back, when all his drunk friends decided that it would be cool to talk to us as well. Then Sister Feistner almost got into an argument with a drag queen when she/he told us that she "was saved" because god payed for carnal sins, and that god gave her this talent and gift of being a prostitute and she needed to use it............................
..... YEP. Needless to say we walked away from that one a little bummed. Okay, more than a little.
Gotta love Brazil.
Dont worry mom..... we are being careful. =]
ANDDdddd to end things on a happier note........... here is a little saying that one of the members who helped out with Fernando this week shared in one of our lessons, and then quoted again in testimony meeting yesterday. (sorry if I translate this poorly)
"It doesnt matter the speed, but the direction"
I think a lot of times we get caught up in how much we want to progress, or where we THINK we should be with the things we are working on......... When we mess up, we get frustrated because we expect a lot more of ourselves. BUT, the important thing to remember is the big picture of the direction we are going. If we are going in the right direction, then it doesnt matter where we are at right now, we are MOVING towards our goals. We just need to have patience and trust that we will get there someday, in the lord´s time.
PS---- Did I tell you all that I hate cockroaches????????? Yep. They are so gross. Sister Feistner makes fun of me for freaking out..... butttttttttt, they really gross me out. And they are everywhere here. ewwwwww.
Love you all soooooooooooo much!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have the best week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks so much for all the emails, I really really really appreciate it.