A Good Week

Sister Faulconer in Escada, Pernambuco, Brazil

We’ve had a good week!  Jeniffer* went to church yesterday!!!  Last week we finally met the old goal we had of # of investigators at church all last transfer.  She is keeping all the commandments and we are excited for her!  An eight-year-old we were teaching (with her mother) went to church as well–Carla.  Hopefully her mom will want to go to church in the future as well.  She is very cute.  I asked her what her favorite thing to do was and she said “pray.” “Do you feel like God answers your prayer?” “Yes, I asked him if he was real and He said he was!” We gave her a Book of Mormon yesterday and she said she would read it!  A member from a different ward took her whole family and her non-member friend to our ward yesterday as well.  That young woman gets 2000 awesome member points. Taking him to the ward where he lives was a great idea. 

Juliana and Joao Pedro went to the marriage office!  The office said they had to redo their documents before getting married (expensive) but we are hoping they’ll find a different route.  After the spiritual experience we had with them last week, we were hoping they would progress more and they really have!  We called them a few times this past week but weren’t able to visit them until this Sunday.  We went to teach the Word of Wisdom and Joao Pedro said he hadn’t drank in a week (i.e., since the last lesson we taught them!)  That means that after getting married they’ll be keeping all the commandments already!  Eight years ago, when they first heard about the Church they lived very different lives.  They were owners of a bar! This is a great example 1 Corinthians 3:5-8.  Other missionaries planted the seed in their lives, many many other missionaries watered that seed for months and years, and God is giving the increase!  What a blessing to be “ministers whom ( Juliana and Joao Pedro) believed.”

We’ve only seen Wesley once since the transfer started, so that was too bad.  But the other day a less-active member stopped us in the street!  She hasn’t been to church in years, but missionaries visited her and her family a year ago and she loved their visits.  I actually met those sisters because a year ago they were at my Christmas zone conference. It’s funny to think that was a year ago already!  Her three children (and a boyfriend who lives in a different area) accepted baptismal dates when we went to visit them. We aren’t sure if any of them will be able to go to church next Sunday, but we are excited.  

Escada

The ward Christmas party happened this week and we met a few non-members there.  We’re excited to visit them!  We also went on splits with the sisters in Escada.  I had never gone on splits with a sister in training before.  It was different, but great!  Also, I was slightly sick and spent an entire day not working in order to do a urine test at the hospital.  It was a production!  But I am grateful to have the missionary health plan–I really feel for the many people we meet who do not have that blessing.  

Sister Faulconer and her companion, Sister Nogueira

Presidente, Proselyting, Pdays and Pig Fat

On Sunday, during devotional, the CTM president told us the speakers at the devotional were the new CTM president and his wife!  We had no idea this would happen. Apparently President Martins-Silva´s wife has been quite sick for a while, so the general authorities decided to release him.  I don’t know much about the new president, but I love him and his wife´s speaking styles. They are Brazilian, but they spoke slowly about simple subjects and repeated themselves, so I understood most of their talks!

For proselyting on Saturday we stopped people on the street, introduced ourselves, talked about their beliefs, and asked for addresses so missionaries could give them a message about Christ or families. Unsurprising fact: stopping random people is not one of my innate skills. But it was fine. We found some people who were excited to learn more about the gospel.  I’m excited to go to Recife and teach people! But I suspect I will prefer knocking on doors. Doors are great — they never use headphones, don’t have to board buses, and they stay put instead of walking mach speed down the sidewalk.

Hannah and Sister Hale at Mr Cheneys--improved
Blurry yet beloved photo courtesy of Mr. Cheney’s (treat provider to the CTM) & Missionties.com

Anyway, I am great, but if you want to pray for me, pray that I don’t get lice (and that I learn Portuguese). A sister in my hall has lice and I really don’t want any. Unsurprising fact #2: the CTM is sickness central. All eight people in my district have been sick! I had a painful sore throat/cold my second week here which lasted 1 ½ weeks. I mostly recovered . . . then this week I got the same virus + eye inflammation. People keep asking if I’m crying because I´m sniffing and my eyes are red.  Mom, I feel a little misled; sleeping eight hours every night and constant handwashing ought to prevent this! I was healthier with less sleep at BYU! 😉

This week I wanted to tell you more about P-days.  They are great! It takes an hour+ to see everything in our boundaries, so I don’t feel too confined.  It’s mostly residential streets, but they’re residential streets IN BRAZIL!! So they’re exciting. There are huge, vibrantly-colored red, pink, orange, and yellow flowers blooming everywhere: the gardens, the parks, the trees. It’s super green (“verdant” describes Brazil perfectly). There are several types of palm trees and lots of flowering trees — but instead of cherry-tree-sized buds they have green leaves and lily-sized flowers that cover the sidewalks! I love it.

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capuacu fruit [stock photo]

On P-day I tried some Açai, which is sorbet-ish with ice cream consistency. I also tried a strongly-flavored melon-y sorbet-ish thing from a capuaçu fruit (google for pics). Delicious and exciting, because both tasted so unrecognizable that eating them is like what I imagine discovering a new color would be like.

We’ve also been to a bakery several times. My companion loves their banana bread. First I got a “cinnamon sugar” roll, (turned out to be savory fennel? seed roll) then a roll I thought had nuts (actually chunks of pig fat & skin! – not what I wanted!) and then finally correctly identified a coconut-shred-filled sticky roll, which was good. Hopefully knowing more Portuguese will improve my success rate in the future!

I love Brazil, Portuguese, and the CTM! I´ll be sad to leave in two weeks.

That´s the novel for this week,

Sister Faulconer