July 8, 2013
So this week was normal. Nothing super special. Just some weird stuff going on here and there that's funny to report.
So pday was another relaxing one where we just stayed home and shot off fireworks. We couldn't leave because all the bus drivers have been on strike for about a week now. It's pretty annoying because that's all people talk about. It's affecting our work a little too because people are starting to work around the bus schedules, making it so we have to change our schedule too. Good thing the missionaries are pretty much always flexible. The Sunday before pday we were aske by the Bishop to do a family night with this family who had a daughter going to another church. He wanted us to help her build her testimony and kind of see what the deal is because she used to be an active member of the church. So we walked up the huge alto in the pouring rain with Jyn and Mainha, and met Painho there too. The message was left by us. I chose to use a scripture in 2 Nephi towards the end of the book when he's kind of just bearing his testimony and saying that "I will meet you at judgement and we will know that what I was writing about Christ is true". It's a scripture that kind of just wakes you up a bit and he says something like, "If you don't believe in this book, believe in Christ... and if you believe in Christ, you will believe in this book too." The whole chapter is just powerful and is a good one to use for someone who needs to strengthen their testimony. After the message, everyone just bore their testimony, we sang a hymn and all the women cried.
Another day we taught this kid named Anderson, 18 years. We went with this member Diego, 17 years old. Anderson has tons of dogs and Diego was getting super scared, so we called all the dogs over to mess with him. It was good fun. Anderson is one of these guys that always plays soccer behind the church and has tons of friends that are members. He's a good kid and everyone calls him batatão(big claves). He said he had already received the missionaries and that he hasn't been touched by the holy spirit to get him to be baptized. He knows that he has to, he just doesn't have the will to do so yet. We taught the first lesson because he said he's never heard of the restoration. Duh. We'll have to see what happens with him this week.
So Galileo booted us. I guess he couldn't handle it. He was progressing really slowly and stopped drinking for like a week. Then the weekend hit, we called to make an an appointment and his mom said he was getting wasted. I got a little depressed that day and just had to shake it off. We called a couple days after that and his mom said he didn't want to receive us anymore. Can't say I didn't see it coming but it still made us sad at the same time. We marked him for baptism like 3 times. And we were teaching his sister too. You win some you lose some.
Valkiria is the mom of one of the young men of the ward. She went to church one time and said she wasn't working and had time to receive us. We went to her house and her son was asleep so we taught her without him. Her friend was there with her and she's one of those people that just talks to talk. I've learned that there are just people who just talk to talk and you have to interrupt them to say what you need to say. I've gotten quite good at this because it's kind of the culture here. Just talking, haha. So we taught the first lesson and challenged them both to be baptized. They both said, "yes." I sensed that the friend was just saying yes just to talk, but Valkiria was sincere. We went back another day and marked her. She hadn't prayed or read but we marked her for baptism because we knew she would want to after praying. She agreed that it was fair.
We taught this guy without legs yesterday. He was a reference from the bishop. One day, he and painho helped him into his house and noticed that his wheelchair had the emblem of the church on it and they started talking and told him that they would send the missionaries to leave a message with him. So we went there after church and taught him the first lesson. I asked him what happened to him and he said diabetes got him. He's really not a healthy guy and his mind is suffering because of it. He's been through a ton of surgeries and has scars all over his body. His speech is really hard to understand, even for a native speaker, but we got through it. We had to teach him like a child because he just couldn't concentrate. He's one of those people that just talks to talk that I was talking about. haha. Amaral and I had to tag team teach this guy because we would just get tired of trying to keep his attention. He can't read so that makes things different for the Book of Mormon. It's alright. We taught him as well as we could and challenged him to be baptized. He's going pray to see if he should. Ja era.
So we knocked a lot of doors this week. There's tons of weird people here, and some normal people. Teaching a normal person is literally a refreshment. People who understand and ask questions and want to learn. It's great. We met this guy named Jenilson. He's recovering in his house from a motorcycle accident. He said he was in the hospital for a while not really eating anything because when he got in the accident his intestines came out of his body and they had to fix him up; He's got tons of scars and stuff and he's trying to gain weight back so he can drive buses again. But he's super legit, 27 years old and says he's open for anything and that he wants to visit the church. He said as a kid he used to play soccer at another chapel close to Aguas Compridas with his Mormon buddies and they always talked about the Book of Mormon with him. He was really interested in the BOM and asked where he could buy one. We said anyone can get them for free from the church and that's why they're not in your usual bookstore. Cool. He's not married legally but he's planning to so there's hope for him and the woman he's living with.
We found this family knocking doors. There were a bunch of kids in front of this house just staring at us and smiling. So I walked towards them and they got scared, haha. I said, "Why are ya'll scared? And I gave them all high fives and asked them their names. They seemed to like us. The mom came out and turns out shes a inactive member with like 3 kids over the age of 8. Missionary gold. She said she doesn't want to go to church or receive a message from us and so I kind of worked my words around her to let us visit to leave a message with the kids next week. She accepted and we're going to baptize/reactivate everyone!
So this week the same exact thing happened as last week with our baptism. The same girls didn't come to church to be baptized so we went there and marked her for the next week. This week were going to have to teach everything again and befriend the family because I don't think we've established that trust level with them yet. Her 3 sisters still have to be confirmed. It's just a mess and we're going to have to be careful and use members to get these girls to church. The mom couldn't bring them this Sunday because she worked because of the bus driver strike. Somehow I think it would be weird to have 2 missionaries bring 6 little girls to church. It's just not realistic. Especially since they live pretty far away.
The work is trudgin' along, me and my companion are good friends now and my Portuguese is getting better every day. It's amazing what happens when you put your trust in the Lord. Can you believe I completely forgot about the 4th of July. I feel like a terrible American, but I remembered on the 6th. Something about being in Brasil and a missionary just makes you forget about your identity, haha. Whatever. Love you family. Till next week!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll