Church

This week was a little crazy!  We had to go to Caruaru twice this week instead of just once because we had interviews with President Houseman.  We also spent a lot of time with Mirelle.  It turned out that she actually was smoking when she said she wasn´t  . . . which was sad.  But then she had to go to the hospital because of blood pressure issues and decided to never smoke again!  Which was wonderful.  So we spent a lot of time trying to help her learn the lessons this week.  She is learning!  But her baptism this week fell through — we will see if maybe she can be baptized on the thirtieth.

So we had less time with our other investigators this week.  But we saw the most important people and on Sunday we had a miracle — ten investigators who made it to church!  We always have an expectation of 15-23 people at church more or less, but usually less than five people actually show up.  So it was exciting because of the number of people, but really we were excited because we pray and hope and think about each one of them, and we know that going to church is really important.  So every time someone walks in the door we get super excited! 

A picture with some of our investigators

We spent an hour with a young woman last week before church.  She didn’t end up going, which was very sad, but this week she showed up!  We were trying to be reverent because sacrament meeting already started but we were very happy. 
I remembered this scripture which is about when the sons of Mosiah return from their missions and find one another:

17 Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth.

18 Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.

19 Now the joy of Alma in meeting his brethren was truly great, and also the joy of Aaron, of Omner, and Himni; but behold their joy was not that to exceed their strength.

Alma 27: 17-19

I have a long ways to improve in order to be a  truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness but I can relate to the joy they felt here.  (I didn´t faint twice like Ammon, but still . . .) Every soul that is at church on Sunday, or reading the scriptures or praying or serving others during the week deserves a little celebration.  

I know doing little things like reading the scriptures, praying, serving others, and going to church really does make a difference — out of simple efforts, great things come to pass.  I have seen it in my life and I am seeing it in the lives of our investigators! 

Love you all!

Fruits of Brazil and Proselyting Priorities

Wise men and women still seek him! The counselor to the Branch President is a sculptor of this plasticky-y material. He restored a creche for the city center. 

I had a great week this week!  We have a lot of people to teach and are trying to follow-up with all of them. It’s really hard to know how much time to spend with everyone and when we should stop visiting someone.  This area is great because lots of people accept visits, but that makes it a little hard because if we talk to everyone all the time and visit all the people who accept visits, we end up with too many investigators!  It’s hard to know at first if someone is really interested or not, and what if they don’t seem interested but really they deserve a chance?  


But those are good problems to have.  We are also trying to get more of our investigators to church.  It is sad when people say they will go and then don’t show up, because I know how important it is for them.  It’s a special opportunity to show God you are trying to remember the Savior and His atonement, learn more about the gospel, and help the other people in the community.  We can take the sacrament and have our sins forgiven!  If we are really trying to improve and follow the commandments, we can be completely clean from all the mistakes we have made.  I know it will be  easier for me to prioritize going to church when I get back from my mission.  I also know it seems easier to go to church from a missionary perspective than from everyone else’s!  But it’s worth it. 

The caju [cashew apple]. Lots of people eat this by sucking out the juice and not eating the flesh because if it’s not super ripe it burns your throat a little when you swallow it. I learned that the hard way! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cashew#Cashew_apple

More about Caju

Wikipedia: “Cashew apples”

Miracle from this week: We were worried that none of our investigators were receiving answers to their prayers about the Church.  Literally none of them felt like they had received a response. [Then] we fasted for them and some of them received answers!  The ones that didn’t mostly weren’t actually praying.  You have to ask to get an answer! Some of the people who received answers were people who hadn’t been acting interested at all. 

Sister Faulconer poses with a blue glass plate with a white cylinder of rolled-up tapioca on it.
First tapioca! The texture is much thicker than a crepe and chewy. You put the flour in a pan, press it down, and wait, then flip it. You roll it kind of like a crepe and fill with similar fillings. We have been eating lots of tapioca with banana.

It has started raining more and more and I love it.  It’s not rainy season yet but we’re getting there.  I have always loved rain and it’s even better when the alternative is sun that wants to burn you to a crisp!

I also experimented using pants this week.  Pants are great, especially if you are walking through lots of weeds and hills and mosquitoes.  I might send pictures next week. 


We bought a jackfruit!!! At first I wasn’t sure if  I liked it but then I decided I do.  The yellow parts are seed pockets. You rip them out, remove the seeds and eat them.  I was very excited to finally eat jackfruit and now I really like it. 

Fun fact about jackfruit — it makes your hands terribly sticky, and the stickiness does not come off with soap!  But I did not know the word sticky in Portuguese and was having trouble communicating my problems.  I finally managed to explain it and a member told me you can only get it off with oil.  Those of you who have good access to the internet can figure out which chemical property of jackfruit juice makes it oil but not water soluble.  

Sister Arce with a sonho (“dream”) which is similar to a donut. It has filling — goiaba [guava] or carmel-y stuff and is fried and has sugar on the outside. It’s very good.

More about sonho