As I mentioned in my last letter, a lot has happened this past week. So we went to downtown Sao Paulo on Friday to go place some Books of Mormon. Wow!! What a spiritual experience. We met some excellent people who were prepared to receive it. Our first contact was a middle aged man. We walked up and exchanged pleasantries and then he said "I am an English Professor at the college across the street". Wow...Crazy right?! So we talked to the man in broken Portuguese and mostly english. He shared his views about how the world needs Christ. We testified that, that is why we are here! Then he asked us, "I have a specific question about your church. What is your beliefs on gay marriage?" HOLY COW!!! BIG question! Well I stepped up to answer him and explained the churches view. Then Elder Rex filled in with extra details. The man then graciously accepted a Book of Mormon and seemed quite interested.
The second man we talked to was a rocker guy. He actually called us over to him and guess what, he spoke English! So okay, it wasn't the best English but we could communicate using both languages. He said he already had a Book of Mormon and he enjoyed reading it. He also said that he thought the Nephites and Lamanites were excellent examples. He then proceeds to tell us about his beliefs on sin and that sinners aren't evil, but foolish and lost. We then talked to him about repentance. He said that it all just requires faith and BAM, I pulled out Alma 32 and the story of faith. We then committed him to read it and we bore our testimonies. It was great! The spirit was really there.
We then spoke with two black gentlemen who were on break from their first day of work for Citibank. They were COOL! No English this time, but we still got our message across. They seemed interested in something that could bring them more happiness. We gave them each a book and went went on our way. Keep in mind, these books have phone numbers in them for other local missionaries.
The next people we found were two older gentlemen. They were amazing! As soon as we came up to them, they opened up, joked with us and were inviting. And yes, they spoke excellent English!! One of them was Italian and the other Lebanese (like Klinger from MASH - haha). I can only remember one of their names. The Lebanese man was Michael. The other man called him "Michael the Archangel". They spoke with us about how when they were 7 they both moved to Sao Paulo and met at a school down the street from the park we were at. They had been friends since then and every Friday they meet at the park to catch up. Way cool! Then all of the sudden the Italian man asked me this question (very randomly), "what is the difference between knowledge and wisdom"? I was thrown back but an answer I had read before in the scriptures, came to mind (through the spirit I'm sure). I responded with "knowledge is things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come (D&C 93:24), and wisdom is how you apply that knowledge to yourself." He seemed impressed by that answer and they both agreed (way to go spirit!). I think at that point they knew we were different. We introduced the Book of Mormon to them and they liked the idea of more to read. Then the Italian asked another big question, this time to all of us in our group. He asked, "what is the most important thing in life?" BAM!! Another biggie!! Elders Wadsworth and Rex replied in testimony of Christ and following him and then about the Book of Mormon. They asked a few questions but they still waited for my answer. Again, a scripture came to mind. This time I shared it out of the Book of Mormon, in Portuguese. Alma 34:32 - For behold this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." I then bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon. Michael, the Lebanese, then shared a personal story about the labors we talked about. He said he once had a very nice, leather, handmade Bible in Portuguese at his house. He bought it years ago but didn't use it because he felt the impression that he had to give the Bible to someone else. WOW, amazing!! That was when we gave them both a Book of Mormon and said that is why we were there. To share a special book. The Italian saw the picture of Christ in the Americas and was fascinated. We told him about ancient prophets in America and marked his Book of Mormon where to read about that (3Nephi 11). Michael then gave us another story. He said he once saw a picture of Christ that was burned into his mind. He said that Christ was the smallest person the picture and everyone else was looking away from him. But he said he couldn't help but look at Christ, like the picture in the Book of Mormon. We bore testimony again and they asked for our names. I hope they go to church.
Just as we were getting done and we had 2 Books of Mormon left, our instructor found us and said we had to hand them out. Just as he said that a girl came up to us and said "Hey Missionaries!". She came up to us and said "hey guys, how are you?" We talked with her and it turns out she lived in Washington for a year as a foreign exchange student!! She lived with a mormon family and she used to go to church and seminary! HOLY COW! She couldn't be more prepared! We gave her a book and by then we only had 5 minutes left. So we found a young man who was extremely interested and started ready right in front of us! So amazing! This whole experience was amazing!
But that's not all. My friends at the MTC left this week. Yep, there was another district that was pretty cool and they left this week. It was Elder Zack Reeves week. So it was disappointing that I could not leave with them because I wanted to so bad!! But I will get to leave soon enough. I am so excited for Manaus!!