Now I have two companions! I did not know I would be in a trio — it was a big surprise! Apparently there are a few trios of sisters right now. I don’t know why — President doesn’t want to open more areas right now? Lack of houses to rent to missionaries? Revelation? But it’s cool to be in a trio. I especially appreciate how much faster doing the Area Book is. The Area Book is a large binder with forms that you update for every visit with investigators. It also has forms where you write the information for every new person who wants a visit and forms we give to the Ward Mission Leader about the help our investigators/recent converts/other members need from the ward. I do not enjoy doing these forms and having three people means it’s that much faster. It is also cool just to have two people to talk to and do stuff with. It’s different teaching lessons together – I was so used to having one companion!
I really miss Sister Arce and want very much to know what is happening in Palmares (we were teaching a couple of people who were really progressing that I hope might get baptized and continue as strong members of the church). But Gravatá is great! It is a little cooler at night and I can tell that I am sleeping significantly better here . . . when I am not being eaten by mosquitoes. There are a lot of mosquitoes in our house and I am their favorite snack. My first night here I woke up unbearably itchy, covered in bug bites and my companions were untouched! I don’t know why it’s so much worse here than in Palmares. But luckily the anti-itch cream saved the day (thank you, Mom). I am going to have to go to bed wearing repellent.
It’s a ward rather than a branch here so there are a lot more members. There are a lot of great people in our ward.
I gave a talk this Sunday. It was very mais-ou-menos because I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare it and I didn’t write out all the words but it could have been a lot worse; I’m sure it was better than the testimony I gave my first month in Palmares!
Gravatá is a tourist city, so it’s a bit bigger than Palmares and has more stuff. I am anxiously awaiting the six-reais [Brazilian currency] acai I plan to eat later today. I told Sister Arce I was hoping to get blessed one day with an area with cheaper acai and I got my wish! It is a lot less hilly here and it has been raining like crazy.
We were drenched yesterday; I loved it, although it is a bit inconvenient sometimes because our stuff gets all wet, we were wearing skirts, and the streets here turn into small lakes. There were a couple of times we had to walk through some very sketchy water and I was telling my companions about how Dad always says that when crazy things happen it means you have good stories to tell. It’s an adventure! So we had an adventure to remember yesterday walking through the sheets of rain and lakes of sketchy water.
Miracle from this week — I was on the bus from Caruaru to Gravatá during the transfer. At one point, I was praying for my new area and companion (did not know I would have two!) — that we could be led to the people who were ready for the Gospel, etc. I found out later that at the same time I was praying that we could be led to the people ready for the Gospel, Sister Centeio and Sister Broadbent were walking down the street. Suddenly, a man, call him “Danilson,” yelled out to them and asked if they were selling copies of the Book of Mormon. They explained that we are happy to give free books away (click here for your own free copy). He had read online about the Book of Mormon and really wanted a copy! We will visit him today; let’s pray that he will recognize the spirit and that his heart will be open to follow its promptings.
The Book of Mormon is really special — Helaman 15:7-8 is a scripture that touched me recently about the importance of scripture study. Alma 17:2-3 has the story of people who changed their lives through their scripture study!
As you might imagine, I am super excited about the announcement this week [about a rule change allowing missionaries to contact their families on their weekly preparation days]. We called our District Leader that morning because we had marked someone for baptism and he said “Have you guys talked to any members recently? You should, you will like it!” We convinced him to tell us about it, but the cellular started having troubles with sound. We could tell something exciting happened but couldn’t hear to figure out what! Finally he started half-yelling in English — Sister Broadbent and I were stopped in the middle of the street huddled around a tiny cellphone and I was trying to translate for Sister Centeio — it was difficult because we were all so excited! It was really hard to wait until today to talk to you guys. We kept imagining what it was like at home — I bet Facebook in Utah was exploding.
I had thought about how cool it would be if the rules changed, but I didn’t expect it to actually happen! I should get to do a video call with you guys soon! I was all mentally prepared to wait until Mother’s Day. [Update: Sister Faulconer attempted a video call Monday afternoon, but the LAN house (internet cafe) didn’t have a working camera or speakers, so it was simply texting with enthusiastic waving at the camera on the part of her family at home in Utah. We hope for the miracle of sound and video in the weeks to come!].