Last week we went to Cruzeiro to see the Cristo Vivo. You can see it from the city. Cool fact: there is a staircase that goes up to a big cross next to Christ. It is called the Way (Path) of Happiness. Cool that the the Way of Happiness leads to Christ, right? **Deeper meaning** Wickedness never was happiness!
I forgot to tell about a miracle we had last week. We had a district meeting and then the car that takes us home was super late. We needed to visit Victor to teach him some things he had to know before getting baptized. We had moved the appointment forward an hour but we ended up leaving lunch at the time we needed to be at his house . . . and he lives 40 minutes (walking distance) away! Just as we were talking about how late we were, we saw a member of the church in the distance. As we walked towards her her neighbor passed by and offered to pick her up. She invited us too! We arrived about eight minutes later and had enough time to teach the lessons we needed to.
One awesome experience we had is teaching our investigator “Maria Eduarda.” When we met her she started saying that she didn’t believe in God. We listened and tried to read some scriptures with her, but she was pretty upset and kept cutting us off. But it quickly became obvious that she did believe in God — she was just upset about the situation she was in. She didn’t understand why God lets so many people suffer so much. She felt he didn’t listen. But we listened, testified of our belief in God’s love for us, invited her to pray, and marked a different day to go back. When we went back, she hadn’t prayed. We taught her, invited her to pray again, and left. The next time we went she had prayed! She said she felt so much better, and she knew that our visit was an answer from God. She felt like he didn’t listen, but our presence was a sign that he cared about her. She is reading the Book of Mormon too! She did not go to church because of a headache but we have high hopes for next week. This is a huge example of someone changing their life through the gospel for me. She feels better and she is praying and reading the scriptures for the first time in a long time!
Acaraje: These brown things are fried bean balls. Like falafel but not quite as amazing.
This week Victor got baptized! He is a great example to me. When we taught him about the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity he thanked God for the commandments (“which I will definitely work to keep”) in the closing prayer! He is so happy about getting closer to the Savior, being baptized, and changing his life for the better! His baptismal interview finished about an hour or an hour and a half before he had to be at the church to get dressed for his baptism. We did not feel very comfortable with that time frame but everything turned out well. The only hitch was that we filled up the baptismal font the day before the baptism, but when we got there it was empty! I think the problem was that the pump is so slow and quiet that it got turned on and no one noticed. We put a bucket and a kitchen pot in the bathroom and the janitor’s closet to fill up and went back and forth with them to help the baptismal font fill up faster. Luckily it was just high enough by the time we got to the baptism part.
Another investigator, we’ll call him “João,” is being an excellent example of praying and reading the scriptures regularly. He hasn’t gotten an answer from God yet about the truthfulness of the First Vision and the Book of Mormon, but maybe this week! We are also having a lot of trouble with coffee right now — João and Matheus are both struggling with not drinking coffee. But I think a testimony of Joseph Smith will definitely help João with that.
Mother’s Day is popular in Brazil. Here there are lots of “cars of sound” that drive around with loudspeakers playing ads. This week there was a car of sound from the city congratulating all of the mothers. Store fronts have lots of “mother” signs and balloons and it looks like the cake, chocolate, and flower shops have good business here as well. It was good for building excitement for Sister Ribeiro and I about calling our families on Sunday! Unfortunately, Mother’s Day is bad for taking people to church. But we have high hopes for next week!
Hopefully Emily and her family can go to church next week. We talked with one of her daughters, I’ll call her “Amanda,” this week. She had prayed and asked if “that church is worth it” but said she hadn’t gotten an answer. We asked her how she felt when she prayed and she said “Well, I felt a really good, happy feeling and I got chills/goosebumps all over.” ! That reminded me of a scripture we often read with investigators:
And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
This is how the Nephites felt God’s voice when Christ came to visit the Americas. This is the spirit! We asked her if she thought that feeling was from God and what He was trying to tell her. She thought about it and said “He was telling me the church is worth it!” We told her how special it was that God had responded to her question and she couldn’t stop smiling.
One thing we have been thinking about recently is agency. We know some people who have difficult family situations — for example, living with spouses (but not legally married) who treat them quite badly. These people have lots of faith in God, and they use this faith to pray to God about the trials they’re passing through. But they are only praying that God will make their husbands stop drinking, or shape up, or choose to get married to them. And when their spouses don’t change they feel frustrated that God isn’t hearing them, or they say they trust in His timing but are just waiting and watching to see what he’ll do. The sad and very frustrating truth is that God can’t force people to change. And while he can and does help us, he might want us to act as well. It’s terrible, but the truth is that some of these people might need to choose to leave their spouses in order to follow God’s commandments (like the law of chastity) or to help their children and themselves (in cases of serious alcoholism.)
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
Sometimes this seems really really sad. But also it can be very happy — Victor is choosing liberty and eternal life! When we follow the commandments we’re that much closer to liberty and eternal life — and eternal joy, rest, peace, etc. And we can always hope and pray for people. Alma the younger was visited by an angel that appeared because of the prayers of faith from his father and friends. He chose to repent after remembering his father’s teachings about Christ.
This week was great! Remember, Isabela, the girl on the bicycle who wanted a Book of Mormon from from my previous post? Isabela’s family is awesome — we are teaching her family, her friend’s family, and her friends’ cousin and other friend, her other friend, her other friend and her aunt now. Isabela, as well as Guilherme*, and Ester (both friends of Isabela’s family) went to church. Isabela’s older sisters had to work because of the craziness that is Easter here in Gravatá but will go in two weeks with her mom. Their other friends Matheu (a young adult) and Maria Clara (a young woman) and Rafaela (little girl) went to church too! Their sister Marcela would have gone but she stepped on a nail the night before and had to go to the hospital. 😦 Crazy things happen Saturday night. Because of Isabela’s family and friends, the number of contacts we taught a first lesson to improved quite a lot this week. We often have trouble with not finding people at home but they have been great!
Isabela and her friend Guilherme are reading the Book of Mormon and said they prayed about it and felt really good. Isabela told us she wants to go to church next week! Her sister, Camilla, who had to work, prayed and has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Her aunt told us she said she wants to be baptized! Marcela read the Book of Mormon, prayed, and was describing to us how she felt. She felt the spirit really strongly –“chills all over!” and really joyful. She said she she has a testimony now! Matheus forgot to read several times, but on Saturday he remembered! He told us on Sunday that he had had a similar experience. He said he started praying and had a feeling that God was there, and that they were literally having a conversation. He asked about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and said he felt that God responded that they are true! He told us that he has visited several churches but never felt the spirit like that.
Their other sister, Maria Clara, didn’t recognize any response the first time she prayed but said she started to feel the spirit more as she continued reading and praying. That is certainly more typical of my experiences — many times we don´t get an answer the first time we pray but it will come with patience and continued effort.
Anyway, finding them was a miracle for sure. The day Isabela stopped us in the street we felt a bit frustrated because we had been searching for a contact’s address for a realllly long time and no one knew where it was. I am so glad we didn’t find it right away — we needed to meet Isabela!
We also had zone conference in Caruaru this week. It was good. We have guides for our lessons with different topics. We don´t have to stick to a specific script but often we present the topics in the same order — God loves us, so he sent us prophets to guide our families, the most important prophet was Christ, etc. etc. President Houseman talked about treating our lessons like wheels rather than linear lists of events. Present the topics in whatever order works best for the investigators! This was a lightbulb moment for me, but now nothing is linear anymore! It can be confusing.
Several members have made some for me at lunch and they all already know how to cook it. I have seen a few restaurants that have things like “Chicken with soy meat sauce.” People make soy meat sometimes just for diversity´s sake. I tried it out and it was super good! I also discovered soy milk recently (pro tip– ask people where things are instead of assuming you know where they keep the milk — I had forgotten that they sell milk in cartons rather than in the refrigerator section here)
Easter is very popular in Gravatá. At night there was bumper to bumper traffic on the roads. Gravatá is definitely a tourist-y city — this week the city was way way busier than usual. There were also signs for chocolate easter eggs on all of the street corners. People like to eat large (like ostrich-sized) eggs made of chocolate and boxes of assorted easter candies are also very popular. Sister Ribeiro wrote this on the wall in makeup — she is very creative.
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. When someone gets an answer to their prayer about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon it sometimes feels like a yes or no sort of thing — either they can say they believe or not. What is harder to measure, but also happens, is the repentance process. That’s the whole purpose of missionary work — we invite people to pray about the Book of Mormon and to follow its precepts — repent, be baptized (i.e., take the name of Christ upon you, promise to remember him and follow his commandments), get closer to Christ. We tell people that Christ is the center of our message — and it’s true. I have been reading this scripture with people all week:
But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.
This week we had splits, so I went to Guaranhuns one day with the Sister Training Leaders. We also had stake conference in Caruaru. It’s an hour away, so this week was pretty crazy because we were following up with a lot of people about whether they could go, how it would be, etc. There were a lot of people who we hoped would go that didn’t make it, but we had a couple of very special people who did.
We have one investigator, call him “Tiago,” who is older and likes to talk a lot about his life. In the contact we did with him we weren’t sure if he was really interested in learning or not, but he accepted a baptismal date (in the middle of the road!) so we went back to visit him. Lots of times we aren’t sure if he is paying attention or really interested, but then there are moments that we can see him progressing a lot. This week we were at stake conference with him and the stake president gave a talk about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon every day. (See President Monson’s last talk about the Book of Mormonhere) I was inwardly very excited about this talk because we always tell this to our investigators but sometimes they need a second witness for the importance of the Book of Mormon to sink in. After the conference Tiago mentioned the talk and said “I am going to read this book at morning and at night every day!” That was a very special moment.
I also wanted to share a story about a woman who went to church this week, call her “Natália.” She had been less active for years, and hadn’t been to church in quite a while. But her son’s girlfriend, call her “Giovana,” is a member of the church. She always invites Natália and her grandchildren who live with her to church, but they pretty much never went. One day Giovana invited Natália to church. When Natália said she couldn’t go because she had to make lunch, Giovana didn’t give up. She helped her make lunch and helped Natália until all of her housework was done. They showed up at church quite late, but they made it. Natália felt a really strong feeling of peace and comfort, like the church was where she ought to be. After the church meetings, Natália found out that one of her children had died. Her family members were worried that this would devastate her. But Natália told us that because of the peaceful feeling she had from church, she knew that everything would be okay.
Later we taught her granddaughter the Restoration. When we told about Joseph Smith’s first vision, Natália felt a prompting from the spirit that the feeling she had at church was like a first vision for her — an answer to prayer and a witness that the church was true. Now she goes to church every week, and her granddaughter is progressing towards baptism!
I know all of us can have spiritual experiences like Natália´s. Sometimes we have to be in the right place to recognize the promptings of the spirit — it was only once she went to church, after so many years of inactivity, that she received an answer! We can also receive answers through the Book of Mormon, as President Monson promised in his talk, and through prayer. It is so special to be here on a mission seeing people receiving answers to their prayers.
Lots of older people here have been telling us that they are afraid of Carnaval even though it is quite small in our city. One of our investigators, Mirelle, said: “I’m not leaving the house; everybody already dyed their hair.” I was confused — what does hair dye have to do with Carnaval? Then over the next two days all of a sudden everyone in the street had hair dyed bright pink, red, blue, yellow, green, etc. She was saying that she knew Carnaval had already started because her neighbors already dyed their hair! We’ve also seen a lot of people in costumes. There are little bands of boys and some adults walking around with costumes, sticks, and masks. There are also lots of people in rainbow tutus.
We haven´t seen much Carnaval but right before we got to this LAN house we saw some people dancing Frevo! That was exciting. We are hearing a lot of marching band sort of music. Our LAN house (similar to an internet cafe) was closed today but luckily there was another LAN house open. It´s not very good — only two headsets and the computer lost power due to lightning in the middle of my video chat.
We had to wait for computers to be open so we went to a store where I tried on this hat:
We have had a number of investigators hiding/don´t want to answer the door this week, so that was a little sad, but we did a ton of contacts and we have found a lot of great new people to teach. We have two great families marked for baptism but we have a stake conference coming up so we will see whether we can convince them to travel to Caruaru for that or if they will have to be baptized a little later.
We already had trouble finding people at home for the lessons we planned with them, but now with Carnaval it is getting worse. We mark a visit with someone one day and show up the next day only to see a locked-up house. We call them and they say they´re travelling for Carnaval!
We have been talking to a lot of investigators recently about how to recognize answers to prayer. We have shown a couple of them this video with Elder Bednar’s thoughts on receiving revelation. It reminds us that we can’t expect answers to be huge signs from God — often they are more subtle. On my mission I’ve found a few scriptures about answers to prayer that I really love. One is Alma 5:45-46. Here he is talking to the people and asks them how they think he received an testimony of the gospel:
45 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.
It was so great to do a video chat with my parents today! I think the sisters and I might have found the only two don’t-need-to-be-installed-webcams in the city of Gravatá. There are three of us, so we will have to see if we can find another.
Our investigator “Danilson” went to Recife for several days, so we couldn’t see him. But then one day we were teaching one of our other investigators next to a small outdoor bar and Sister Centeio said “Sister, I think we’ve talked to that man before!” We went over and it turned out to be Danilson! So we taught him and a couple of other people the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the middle of the bar. He was slightly drunk but pretty lucid, so he understood what was going on. Later in the week one of the other men from the bar, Luis, stopped us in the street and said he wanted to hear more!
We have a couple of people that are close to baptism, so we are pretty excited about that. One of our investigators, Mirelle, is the grandmother of some recent converts that joined the church in a different city. She attended the church there and really wants to get baptized! There are a couple of things she has to resolve first, including a serious addiction to tobacco. She was using chewing tobacco so much that she couldn’t tell us exactly how many times a day she uses it. But she said she knows it is bad for her and wants to stop.
One thing I’ve been working on is saying little prayers during the day about things I’m thankful about and the needs of our investigators (and my family). Praying throughout the day helps me be empathetic, keep other people and their needs in mind, forget myself, and have more inspiration about how to help others. So I have been praying a lot that she can be free from this addiction.
The miracle of the week is that on Saturday she smoked once or twice and on Sunday she didn’t smoke at all! I hope she can stay strong during the rest of the week! She learns very slowly, but I can tell she loves God and wants to follow Christ and be baptized.
Some great scriptures about prayer are in Mosiah 26:39: (About what Alma and his fellow laborers taught): “And they did admonish their brethren; and they were also admonished, every one by the word of God, according to his sins, or to the sins which he had committed, being commanded of God to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things.”
And 2 Nephi 32:9: “But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.
There is also a super great article by Elder Juan Uceda about how to pray better in the February 2019 issue of the Liahona.
We are excited to have a conference with Elder Adukaitis this week in Recife. Next week will be Carnaval! Carnaval isn’t crazy here in Gravatá. so we will be working normal hours, but people are putting up little decorations — lots of masks, colored umbrellas (the kind you use for Frevo), and colored streamers.
I can’t believe it: I will celebrate my six-months-from-the-day-I-got-to-the-CTM anniversary on Friday!
I’m being transferred! I’m very sad to leave Sister Arce and Palmares but a new area will be an adventure. I will be in Gravatá, which is still in the interior. Apparently it is a big touristy city — I will have to wait until after our email time to ask Sister Arce more questions. Hopefully the transfer will go smoothly — last transfer my transfer instructions had the wrong times written and the bus was slow and I ended up waiting in the bus station for several hours — it is a little crazy because you travel without a cellphone, but luckily people are willing to lend cellphones if you need to call someone.
Recently we have started hearing frevo in the streets. People are practicing for Carnaval. I do not know much about frevo but it seems to be characterized by a very strong rhythm on drums that is catchy (and quite loud — we can hear it from far away). People dress up in bear costumes and say rhymes asking for money.
Today we went to a museum housed in an old train station. It is about a famous writer and actor Hermilo Borbo Filho and the history of Palmares. Very small but cool. I learned that in Brazil, slaves lived together on the dark, crowded first floor (senzala) of the houses and the plantation owners would live on the second floor. Apparently lots of slaves escaped and would start their own communities called Quilombos. They would stop sometimes in Palmares but the big gathering place was Alagoas.
This week we had some really special experiences with the Book of Mormon. People who read the Book of Mormon receive answers to their prayers and feel the spirit a lot faster than people who don’t. We have one investigator “Mariana” who is 18-ish years old, who I met asking directions. On our second visit with her, we found out that she visited our church once a long time ago. She said she felt a special feeling there and didn’t want to leave. She told God that one day she would go back — maybe a long time in the future (the church is not close to her house) but she would go back. This week we went back and found out that she took the Book of Mormon to school with her to read. She doesn’t like reading but she loves the Book of Mormon! She said she felt like some of the verses were written just for her. One of her friends asked her about it, read part, and started crying because she said she knew it was true!
The same day we visited “Nedna” who we almost dropped because she still hadn’t prayed about whether Joseph Smith was a prophet, if the Book of Mormon is true, hadn’t read the part we left marked for her, etc. But last week she read the part we marked for her (but didn’t pray), so we didn’t drop her. But she still didn’t seem very interested, and then her granddaughter was born and we didn’t see her for two weeks, so we were planning how we could make one last attempt at explaining the importance of praying and reading the scriptures. We showed up, and everything seemed normal, but then we asked her if she had prayed. She said, “Well, I have to tell you that I got an answer!” I was surprised. Apparently she remembered to pray and read the Book of Mormon despite all the chaos with her granddaughter’s birth (a miracle — we had invited her over several visits to read and pray, and she didn’t), and then she lost her cellphone in the middle of they city and asked God to help her get it back if the Book of Mormon was true. Someone found her cell phone when her ex-husband was calling her, answered, and arranged to bring the cell phone to him. This is apparently very rare here and she said she knew it was an answer from God. Note — I do not recommend just praying to God asking for a sign to know if the Book of Mormon is true. You have to read the Book of Mormon, pray, etc., if you want an answer — you receive a testimony after the trial of your faith (Ether 12:6) and the scriptures are very clear about the perils of requiring signs from God. Also, God responds to people in different ways.
Both of those experiences happened right after we ended a fast to help our investigators receive answers — it was special. It is so important to put in effort to receive answers from God — diligently read the Book of Mormon, pray wholeheartedly and go to church! We have stopped visiting several different people because they said they didn’t feel vontade (will, the urge, inclined) to read the scriptures/pray/go to church. They all said that if God sent them a feeling of vontade one day they would go to church etc, but they weren’t feeling it then. The devil doesn’t want you to pray, read, or go to church (the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray 2 Nephi 32:8), so if you wait for a feeling of vontade to do these things you will probably wait your whole life. We also have an investigator who is wonderful but keeps getting sucked into YouTube videos about the wonderful things the Church does instead of reading the Book of Mormon or praying. The documentaries are great, and now he has a lot of respect for church programs, but the scriptures are inspired books written by the power of God to guide us — YouTube videos are not.
This week was interrupted a lot because of our zone conference and the travel for our division with the sister training leaders in Guaranhuns [a city several hours away by bus], but it was good.
Miracle from this week: A little less than a year ago, our current sister training leader, Sister C. Alves was serving in Palmares. Unbeknownst to me, she and her companion gave a Book of Mormon to the owner of a mercadinho (Mercado — market; mercadinho — tiny market, usually in the middle of houses that sells a few basics) but never managed to teach her the lessons because she wasn’t interested. Sister C. Alves asked me about her during our division together last transfer, but I had never met her. That changed when Sister Arce got here because, due to her love for Cremosinho, we stopped at the mercadinho to buy Cremosinho a few times and met the owner.
I didn’t think she seemed very interested in being taught, but she told us how much she loved the other sisters and we decided to try teaching her a lesson. The other day we had a little time left at the end of the day and a lot of possible pesquisadores (investigators) to visit. We were passing the mercadinho and I said “Now is the time to say something if you are having a spiritual impression that we should visit our neighbor!” sort of joking, and Sister Arce just walked over to her and we started making conversation.
The owner told us that her church is the richest church in the world and we should visit, etc., etc., which wasn’t a great sign. Then we taught her a lesson and she accepted our invitation to pray and ask God if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I was feeling like I did a pretty bad job of teaching the lesson and wishing I could express myself better when out of the blue she said “Oh, I’m reading that book the other sisters gave me every day and I’m on page 606!” I thought she was talking about a scripture verse the sisters had left with her, because the Book of Mormon only has 529ish pages in English and what were the chances she had read the whole Book of Mormon? You guys, she had read almost the whole Book of Mormon, day by day since she had gotten it. We went back the next day and she was glowing — she prayed and received a powerful witness from God! She had to travel and of course we will teach her other lessons first, but she is already married (rare) and I think there is good reason to hope she will be baptized!
Finally, the adventures in Brazilian cooking continue:
Cuscuz e Cuscuzeira (pan for cooking couscous)! [Here is a Youtube video demonstration.]
Last week I said we had too many investigators — a good problem, but difficult because you don’t want to forget anyone or not follow-up with them enough! But God has been helping us out. I had been thinking that one spiritual gift I lack is the gift of discernment, and it would really be useful to have when trying to decide which investigators to prioritize. I shared this with Sister Arce and started praying specifically for the gift of discernment (read this Liahona article: “Adding Gifts of the Spirit to Your Christmas List” — it is excellent and I have been applying it to more physical things like organization as well) in my personal prayers and our companionship prayers. The day we started praying for this we suddenly had a ton of rejection.
Our problem was that everyone was happy to listen to us but not necessarily motivated to try to find out if God wants them to join the Church. That day a lot of people were unusually blunt about not wanting to see us. Partway through the day I told Sister Arce I thought God was sending us point-blank rejection to help us out with our lack of discernment. She said that He has a sense of humor and I think she’s right! We have had a lot of rejection this week — it was pretty sad, because we have people who have strong testimonies that the Book of Mormonis the word of God, Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the Church of Jesus Christ is God’s church on earth — and they don’t want to follow those answers, or they won’t pray or go to church because they don’t want to have to follow the answer they might get! It’s really sad to see people choosing to live beneath their privileges, but it’s their choice.
We still have a ton of people to teach, and this week is going to be pretty difficult because we have a zone conference (one day of zero proselyting) and a division with the Sister Training leaders (one day of proselyting lost in favor of eight hours of riding the bus to and from Guaranhuns). I don’t know how we will do it but I’m working on having the faith that it can be done!
We walk on this path every day. In these photos we are walking on the train tracks to keep out of the mud. We have been doing that a lot recently. I am deliriously happy about all the rain. I love rain. It is rather inconvenient for keeping all our paper proselyting stuff dry, keeping my shoes clean, and if I am wearing a long skirt (Have you ever tried walking through mud in a soaking wet long skirt? It is hard.) But wearing a long skirt and walking through mud all day makes me feel a little like Elizabeth Bennet (but not hoping to find any Mr. Darcy’s at the moment — my heart is locked, thank you very much). I am excited for the real rainy season to start!
I finally got a grilled corn. There is a lot of grilled corn. Apparently the Northeast is known for it’s corn — vendedor de milho (corn vendor) is a well-known occupation. The corn is strangely chewy here, like a potato. It’s weird how corn can be different — I did not expect that. There are also lots of different kinds of corn (and bananas). I liked the grilled corn but was reminded of when I made grilled corn back home. This corn was grilled a bit better, but was lacking the sriracha/Just Mayo/lime/cashew sauce I made.
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.
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.
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.
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.