Wow, what a jam packed week!!!!
First, a shout out to Travis Shriner!!! The dude sent me a letter in September and it finally made it here! Thanks brosef for the awesome letter!! Okay, so let us start with some of the craziness that happen to occur this week.
This was the last week of my companion, Elder Soelberg. In fact, as I speak (type) he is in his closing meetings before he goes home!!!! Crazy!!! I am with Elder Dorneles right now, and he is way legit.
This week it rained A LOT!!! First, it began to rain on Wednesday while me and my companion were walking to one of our appointments. So we pulled out the trusty umbrellas you sent (thanks mom) and continued on our journey. As we were walking up a hill on road 5 of Jardim Mauá, a LIGHTING BOLT struck about 200 feet in front of us!!!!! NO JOKE! It was the loudest thing I had ever heard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So bright and sooo loud. I may or may not have yelled because it was so ridiculously close! My companion just laughed for a long time because he was just taken aback. It was "shocking" (excellent pun!).
Then came crazy Friday. Friday we only really had one appointment scheduled on the far away road of João Tomé. So, while walking over there it began to rain... again. We walked almost all the way down this road (about a quarter mile down hill) and near the bottom Elder Soelberg began to walk about 10 steps ahead of me. Just as he got just far enough away someone grabbed my collar, stopping me dead and from behind began to whisper something. It was so quiet I had no idea what he said. I froze. My thoughts were " I do not know what is in his other hand that is not grabbing me. Knife? Gun? I froze and tried to listen, saying nothing to my companion as he kept walking farther (probably 5 or more steps before he noticed I was not there). Then I heard the man. " Cala boca. Eu só quero sua cámera." OR " Shut up. I just want your camera." The man then grabbed my camera and backed up. I pulled away as Elder Sopelberg returned and Soelberg walked up to me saying,
" Hey, who was he?" I said, " He stole my camera."
Elder Soelberg then became pretty mad and tried to CHASE this guy down but to no avail. I was just calm. Honestly I was not mad or sad. I lost my camera and all my pictures that I had not emailed home yet, but I just kept thinking I was alive and that was good enough for me. It is scary when you do not know what they are saying the first time.
After this, it began to rain. HARD. A TON!!! Forrest Gump style. We quickly trotted our way over to a members house but it was to late. We were soaked. Everything from the knee down was horribly wet. We stayed at the house for about 30 mintues but it seemed that the rain would never end and our house had a window open. We had a choice to make. Brave the storm or wait it out. Naturally, we chose wrong and went for "brave the storm". I will tell you I never knew that hilly streets could become waterfalls. Cascades of water pouring over your feet. We began our journey with evasion of the water in mind and ended with defeat in our hearts and water in our shoes mainly. It was incredible! Funny enough I needed that storm to distract me from the loss of the camera. BUT, all is well. We actually contacted that house on road João Tomé and will pass by this week again!
This week the president of the mission gave everyone a "word" to study. My companions' was "gratitude". Mine, was "retribuir". To retribute. To reciprocate. To repay. To recompense.
This was difficult. Never once in the scriptures is the word to reciprocate and only a few times was any of the other words used (in english. Retribuir never appears in portuguese.) I thought to myself " how can I study a word that is not in the books I am reading?" I did what I felt was the logical thing to do. Turn to the words of Christ himself. I cannot write to you how much I am grateful for the scriptures and for the studies I had. I have learned so much here on the mission and I am so glad to be able to have so many things to guide me.
So this week we were able to use the gravy packets I have. THAT IS RIGHT! I MADE GRAVY AND POTATOS. Really what happened is we went to a part member home on the military base (Clark and Helena) and they invited us over to have american food. I was to bring the gravy and we would have steaks, potatos, and gravy! So, we did just that. I made gravy, Elder Soelberg made potatos and the member made steak. IT WAS AMAZING. Gravy is possibley the greatest thing ever, period! I lovest every bite. I had photos but they were taken in my camera. But trust me that it was amazing.
KITTEN UPDATE!! Remember that week where we had kittens born in our house? Well they are doing great. I see them every once and a while. However, our neighbors dog did get one of them. Now, there are only 5 kittens. YET! a new cat has decided to live on our doorstep (literally). It is a little black kitten that I named francis. Very cute. And annoying since I cannot keep it.
Interesting Story! So we are teaching a wonderful family; Silvestre and Kat. They have really been making progress as of late and one day they brought up they wanted to mark a date for marriage and to be baptized. It was amazing!!! However my companion noticed a strange thing. "Your dog looks like he is going to die," he said. An odd comment in a great moment about marriage. They responded that he had been very sick and was doing poorly. I shrugged it off and then marked a day for their marriage. I did not know that as that was happening my companion watched as the dog had a short seizure, and then actually died!!! In the middle of our lesson!! I was shocked and horrified! Yet they shurgged it off, kind of laughed and then we moved on. My companion then discussed baptism and marked a date for that as well, but I was still so taken back by the dead dog. They were totally fine that he had died! What a different world.
The ward here also had a small lunch party for my companion to send him off. It was on saturday and they had great food there. However during the prayer on the food, instead of saying Elder Soelbergs name, and thanking Heavenly father for sending him here, she said my name and asked that I return home in safety. Just a funny moment. I love the people here. They are just fantastic.
I have news for you all though!! This week is transfers!!! I am receiving a Brazilian companion. I do not know his name, just that he is brazilian! AND................. I am now a district leader. That means that now I am now responsible for a group of missionaires in helping with theirs problems and issues with the area, etc. The ladder of missionaries is as follows: President, Assistants to the President and Staff, Zone leaders, District leader, Trainer, Senior companion, Junior Companion. So District leader is a great responisbility. Really I am scared out of my mind. But I know I will have the Lords help if I trully desire to serve him.
Well, I think thats it.
Eu amo voçês
Elder Asa Laws