Fantastic Bichos and Where to Find Them

Splits with the sisters from Olinda–Pictured are Sisters Pires, Kenner, Faulconer and Marques. Sister Marques (in the sunglasses) is my mission “granddaughter” because Sister M. Ribeiro (whose trainer I was) trained her.

I forgot to look up the exact definition for the word bicho but people use it to talk about bugs and other nasty critters and animals. You can also call people bichos (namoral bicho, namoral–the young men in Palmares). But the name of the film I referenced in the title is actually Fantastic Animals Something Something in Portuguese. Last week, when I didn’t get a chance to write, we found two scorpions in two days. They were very very tiny. One was already dead, I think. I didn’t see the other, but Sister Pires killed it without too much trouble. She says the smallest scorpions are more dangerous because the venom is more concentrated. I am not sure if that is true or not (I miss Google) but at least the smaller scorpions are less frightening! I had heard all sorts of stories about the apartment in Goiana and problematic animals and had been unsure whether I was excited to see said bichos or afraid! Some kind of pest treatment had been done the transfer before I got here, which probably helped. We had seen several cockroaches but no scorpions until last week. After those two we didn’t see anymore. But on the divisions a bat entered our house! I predict that someone is wondering at this point if I touched the bat — no. Yes, I know bats are disease-ridden creatures.

A live bat in our apartment! Also, a scorpion!

Yesterday someone new went to church — Milene.* She had already been to church once before a long time ago. It turned out that she already knew a number of church members and didn’t know it, which is always nice. She said she read the Book of Mormon — yay! She doesn’t want to get baptized but we are encouraging her to pray about it. Patrick also went to church for the third time this Sunday, but he hasn’t really read the Book of Mormon yet so that is too bad. We had been pretty excited about Mateus and Raiane, but unfortunately they didn’t go to church last week or this week and Raiane feels strongly that she doesn’t want to get baptized.

We had an activity last week and this week on Wednesday. It is a gincana — a competition — that will last four weeks. It is going well — definitely the most successful activity I have had on my mission to date. By far. A member named Leandro is doing all the heavy lifting of planning and advertising the activity. Having a member in charge of an activity who is excited about said activity makes allll the difference. There are definitely people who have the spiritual gift of being good activity planners or good at inviting friends to activities or giving references to the missionaries. There are a couple people here that are really great member missionaries and I hope to be like them one day!

Sister Faulconer and Sister Pires

Last week (the other last week) we were walking on the street and a young man with the accent of a native Spanish speaker asked Sister Pires what church we were from. When we told him he said he was a member of our church! He is an immigrant from Venezuela. He was baptized there but after 6-ish years of full activity he ended up becoming less active for a couple years. There are a lot of Venezuelan immigrants in Brazil right now because of the economic difficulties. I think there are many more immigrants in other parts of Brazil than in Pernambuco. I had seen maybe two people on the street in Recife that were immigrants, but I know that other missionaries in other parts of Recife had met a number of Venezuelan immigrants. The Sunday before this Sunday he went to church. Then we met his cousin and they both went to the activity this week. And on Sunday he took his sister to church. She seems really great. Willian and Zaqueu (the cousin) were worried about going to church because of language issues, clothing, and because their lives had changed since becoming less-active and they were worried about changing back. But Willian said he read the Book of Mormon chapters we left him (on the app in Spanish — technology is cool!)

This week I was rereading some parts of 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter that I like.

5 . . . God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 5:5-7

I love the part about casting all your care upon him!

*Names of investigators are changed as always to protect their privacy.

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