So this week was kind of just a normal week for us here in sunshine central. I have started to call this place the "closest city to heaven" because it is soo close to the sun! It has rained a bit and the world has become a giant steam cooker here. I actually just stuck my head in our freezer for a few minutes and thought to myself " This! This is what I want!" ( name that movie quote...) It was breath of fresh air in there.
Good news!!! We baptized another man this week! He is a great guy too. His name is Luiz and he had been to church for a while in another area 2 years ago, but he moved here and did not know where there was a church. So one sunday he drove past our chapel in Mauazinho and decided he would come that day. He already knew EVERYTHING about the church and helping him has been great. He really just wants to get his life back together and help his family. The ward here has accepted him so much and its great to see so much progress with the people here. They are so wonderful. Not perfect, but wonderful.
We also have a family in our ward that are 100% naitve brazilian tribe indians!!! They are way cool and in passing there house one day they showed us something incredible! A crocodile!! FROZEN!!! AND WE ARE GOING TO EAT IT THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have a picture of it too. I am soooo excited. HAHAHA
We also found a new area within Mauazinho that actually gives us access all the way down to the beach of the river. Normally it is flooded down there and all the houses are built up on legs but right now it is dry. We are going to hopefully go down there this week and talk to some new people!!!
Our chapel here is old and has always been..... not well kept. So finally our bishop decided to have a ward cleaning and we went too!!! EVERYTHING is clean now. The whole building just glows!!! I love clean. It is the best. Cleanliness is next to Godliness ( Yes, I was thinking Ratatouille when I thought of this.)
Life is great. My week was great.
Eu amo vocês,
Elder Asa Laws
So just as we left the LAN house last week (that is where we are on these computers), we were "cat called" again. But this girl had some guts! She stopped us and said that we were beautiful and it was a shame we were the "Mormons". She said we had to marry them and that she loved us! Oh Brazil, you are so good to my ego.
So this week was not that interesting except... We got our DVD player!! Also, a General Authority came and spoke with us. Oh, and we accidentaly stumbled into a preachers sermon. Anyways...
First the DVD Player. Yea, we have one now so that we can watch church DVDs and missionary preparation material to better plan for our lessons. I think it is very cool and so far we have used it to watch and plan for our lessons. But it also scares me. Some missionaries might really take advantage of this and get in serious trouble... not to mention it becomes a huge temptation! BUT, I will remain strong!
Also we had a conference with Elder Godoy, a member of the Quorum of the 70. He was a fantastic teacher and it was a very interesting meeting because he is a long time friend to our mission president. They grew up together! We had a mission choir that day and I was part of a trio singing " How Firm a Foundation." If you remember from way back when in the CTM (MTC), I had sung that song before. Another Elder who was in the CTM with me took notes on how I conducted that song because he liked it so much and when he was asked to conduct this choir here, he used MY version of the hymn. YEAP! And he asked me to sing as part of the trio ( It used to be a duet). It was great. He did a fantastic job with the song. The President even sent me an email about how well I sang. It was such a great and fulfilling experience to sing again.
On Saturday we had a very interesting experience with some new investigators. We decided to visit an man we had not seen in a while. He lives down a steep alley on the side of a hill. When we got to his house there was about 6 people there all excited to have us there and they were saying " you guys arrived just on time. We are about to start." Start what? We didn't know... Well, when the preacher showed up, we figured it out real fast. We had stumbled into a household sermon from a evangelical preacher. Crazy!! So, we ran with it. We listened to the preacher as he lead them in strange prayers and clapping and he even spoke a bit in the "language of angels" ( or rather, it sounded like gibberish.) Well I really was feeling good and we decided to stop the preacher and ask if we could share a message. We talked about Christ and his followers on the earth of his day. We talked about his church and how it was once again on the earth. The preacher had mentioned that Christ would come and his church would have a " Plaque with His name". We explained we were real representatives of Christ. With a plaque on our shirts with his name. We talked about the Book of Mormon. It was great!! Such a spirit was guiding me. I really cannot explain it. I felt great and so comfortable. That is the way of the Lord. We left with a challenge to read the Book of Mormon and we will return this week.
We also deep cleaned our house on Saturday and it is amazing how much a clean house makes you feel better.
Also: " I am no messenger boy. I´m a delivery boy." Okay, now that I have my wonderfully childish movie quotes out of the way....
What I great week! My companion is preparing for his soon to be return trip to the States and he is very excited to come back to such a sweet place!!! His flight home is rediculous though. He has to go through 3 airports in Brazil to get to São Paulo, then he finally goes to the States!
We also had a investigator baptized this week! His name is Brener and he is so cool! He is 14 years old and he pretty much already knew everything and his grandma is already a member too!!! He loves the young men program and he might do EFY next year. Yeah, you read right. They are going to have EFY in Manaus next year and that is going to help so many young people!! The pressure here that the kids have is INSANE and it is so hard to maintain focus on what is important. Seriously, all you rapazes and moças (young men and women) in the States, feel blessed for growing up in a place where people wear clothes. It is just so hot here that a lot of people do not dress properly and this perpetuates modesty and chastity issues.
So, I've been a bit sick. Nothing serious, just a chest cold I guess but we still go work. It is soooooooo hot!!! Man, I have a picture of my shirt after one day this week that has brown and yellow lines from the sweat on my back.... I cannot wait for the rainy season when it is slightly cooler!
Here in Manaus, video and music pirating is a huge industry. HUGE! Pretty much everyone owns at least 10 fake, pirated videos. Its kinda funny because they are definitely made in Russia or something because they have subtitles sometimes in Russian. Anyways, a member bought an original copy of Battle: Los Angeles and I told him I love that movie. So at church this week he gave me a copy of the film in portuguese! I will definitely be saving that for when I come home. Or rathar, when my companion flies home he is going to take a small box of my stuff home with him to send to you guys!!! Maybe some small gifts and my english scriptures.
So this week, after a horrible night of sleep me and my companion woke up to do morning study. I was lazily reading in my hammock; him in his chair. Suddenly, mama cat, a local stray cat, walks out from our kitchen and jumps out the window. We were confused... She just left our appt? Wait?! How did she get it in, in the first place and why do we still hear meowing! YES, it turns out that she gave birth to a litter of kittens, and in the night moved them into our kitchen. It was so terrible because I then had to move all the cats out of the house, even though I did not want to. Now they live in an abodoned house next door!
Sorry for not having really any crazy stories about muggings or stuff this week.
So this past week was a fantastic! It moved very very fast.
We started off the week with divisions (splits) with our zone leaders again and I went with Elder Dorneles. He is a Brazilian who is very close to the end of his mission. We were in his area and it was very interesting because he did not know it very well. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time lost. haha! We had to call the members who were going to feed us so they could come find us and save us!! It was really cool to spend the whole day speaking Portuguese with everyone and I felt that I did very well. I understood basically everyone. I also met a very cool member who found out that I love music so he said he is going to burn me a CD... too bad I have no CD player. AND..... While I was gone my companion met with two of our investigators and invited them to be baptized!!!! They agreed!! One will be baptized this week and the other next week!!!
We also met an in-active member who drives a taxi. HE stopped us and asked why we never ask him for free rides? He then decided that I look like Jim Carey. Now every time he sees us we hear: HEY JIM CAREY!!!
Scary story - Saturday was a very interesting day for us. We had lunch with the family of the ward mission leader, but he nor his wife were there because they were at a ward activity, so their four kids fed us. It was actually really fun and I really like that family. But the cool part happened afterwards. On our way back we had to pass through a industrial truck parking lot with a few large metal bars off the to side. We were walking pretty fast and just talking and joking around; not really paying attention to what was going on around us. Suddenly these three guys appear out of no-where. They were drunk as could be and the first guy grabbed my tie, pulled me in and said " Eu gostaria de sua gravata ( I would like your tie). He was really holding on tight and pulling on it. The second guy then grabbed my companions backpack and stuck a "finger gun" into his back ( I was not aware of this at the time.) The third guy started yelling " Don't fight, don't fight! These guys are cool. These guys are cool." He walked over, set my tie free, and told me it was all cool. My companion then pulled away and we went our way. WOAH!! My comp said his heart was pounding because the guy gave him the finger gun, but really, I did not even realize that we almost got mugged until after. During the experience I actually felt pretty chill, and I was gonna give him the tie. However, after..... wooooo I was blown away. We were protected there!!
Funny story - That same day was the day before our transfer announcements would be released and my companion decided he would make some calls with a members phone to some of his buddies to find out about it early. He put in the number and the other side answered. But my companion had no clue who was talking. It wasn't one of his buddies and they kept confusing each other until finally Elder Soelberg figured it out; he had called the president of our mission!!! Then the President asked " Well, what did you want to know.?" " Uh?... I want to know about transfers President." Pres said, " Haha, you are just going to have to find out tomorrow like everyone else." My comp said," Oh okay. bye!" I was blown away that he actually asked our President!!! But he was so shocked he just did not know what to do. We later found out in a email from the President to my comp that he would have told him, but Elder Soelberg hung up to fast!!!!
Cool story - I saw something I never expected to see out here: A Lightning Sunset. Last evening, on top of a big hill far away from our house I looked out to see the boiling sky of the amazon. It was wonderful; really stunning. Then out of no-where I saw lightning streak through the fiery furnace!!! There was a storm in the clouds that covered the sun!!!!!! I was stunned. I just sat and watched for several minutes. It is soooo beautiful here. I love my mission.
Another story - During church this week there was a lady visiting in one of the classes who really was not understanding what was going on. She asked a few questions but the teacher was just not clear enough for her. Why? Because see only spoke Spanish!!! So, the teacher switched over to Spanish and started going off with a great lesson. He taught the second half of the class in Spanish. It was crazy!!!!! And....... I understood it!! It was mind blowing! I understood what was going in on in a THIRD language!!! I want to learn a million languages now. It is sooo cool how someone can think and be so natural in communicating in a form I am not. It is hard for me to really comprehend. But I hope to finish reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese in my first year and read it in Spanish next!!! Tons of people here speak Spanish.
Anyways, transfer news: I AM STAYING IN MAUAZINHO FOR ANOTHER 6 WEEKS!!! (that will make it 18 weeks total in this area) I am really excited because my comp isn't leaving either!!! It is his last transfer and then he goes home!!!! We get along great!! We have 2 baptisms and a ton of great investigators. Life is actually really great here and I did not want to leave. SMILEYS
I heard a beautiful line from a song in Portuguese this week.
" Eu naõ sei por que Deus me deu você."
" I do not know why God gave you to me."
Poetry is hard enough in English... now I can see it in Portuguese and I am thrown for a loop!