So, MERRY CHRISTMAS. I know I am a day late but I still wanted to say it.
I have to say that finally being able to call home was AWESOME!!!!! For those of you who did not know, missionaries can call home only 4 times in their whole mission (2 years); once each Christmas and once on each Mothers Day. Well I missed the last Mothers Day (I was not allowed to call because I was in the missionary training center) so I only get to call three times. So almost 9 months after I started the mission, I was finally able to call! IT WAS THE BEST!!!!! Thank you to my family for being so beautiful and patient with my stories. Also, a quick shout out to REED PERKINS and AARON DAVIS for the visit. It is always nice to see "almost family" on Christmas too!
Então, let us move on to the week!
So we started off this week with a mission Christmas trip... TO THE ZOO!! But this zoo was not any ordinary zoo. It is called CIGS. It is a zoo that is managed by the jungle warfare department of the Brazilian Army! The zoo sits on a military base and everyone that works there is in uniform. We actually had a pretty sweet tour with the Colonel who runs the base and he explained all about their military operations, how they train, and all sorts of really amazingly cool stuff! I had a blast!! I took a bunch of pictures. They taught us about certain foods and techniques that you can use to survive in the rain forest, and showed us the history of the program. I have to admit, I was geekin' out!
THEN!! They decided to teach us about how to capture snakes!! YES! They showed us some sweet techniques with sticks and other tools, and then they said " But in reality, if you have to catch a snake, you are probably going to have to do it with your bare hands." SO they showed us how. They had a 2-man team catch it where one man distracted the snake and the other grabbed its head Then they had a guy do it alone!!! It was RIDICULOUS! This guy had no fear. He just shook his hat in one hand and grabbed a 10 foot anaconda by the head!!!! I was freaking out! The whole time you could see the face of the mission presidents wife! She was not happy that they were doing this. THEN, to her horror, they pulled out other gigantic snakes, divided us into groups and let the missionaries catch the snakes with the techniques they showed us!! That is right, they let missionaries catch 10 foot anacondas with their bear hands! Even the president of the mission tried it. I got in line to do it BUT..... before I could go another missionary in front of me was bit!!!! He hesitated just enough that the snake turned and got his hand!!! After that I did not get a chance to try. But I want to go back next year to try it! However, with that Elder being bit, I doubt we will be able to. Dang!
I also happened to conduct the music for the Christmas program we had there. It was beautiful, despite the bad planning and HORRIBLE PLASTIC ORGAN that they had for us to use. I even sang a solo, O HOLY NIGHT! However, I definitely cracked the last high note. It was cool. I loved it.
On the way home, we had a private bus and I was left in charge to direct him to our chapel. So I asked him if he would take us to our houses and he said YES!! So he took all the Missionaries to their houses which is just south of my area and we just walked home. It was great!! I did not have to pay extra for another bus or anything! I felt like Mr. Norfleet on all those band trips when he sat up front and talked to the bus driver. Definitely a power trip. Haha!
So me and my companion are not getting along very well. We had a "fight" this week and basically all our work just came to a halt. We had 3 baptisms planned, which all fell through. We taught almost nobody. It was horrible. I do not think there is a week of my life that I have prayed more than this week. The situation is really complicated and I do not really care to talk about it now. "Well Elder Laws, why did you mention it if you aren't going to talk about it?" Good question. Because I want you all to know that I do not butter up these letters. I just tell it how it is. Lots of good stuff and a little bit of bad. That is just how it works. Anyway, this next week will be much better and I hope and pray all will be well. However, I have learned a valuable lesson. Anger cannot exist in the presence of the spirit. Anger forces one to leave the guiding light of Christ and take a more personally chosen path of pride and loathing.
For Christmas Eve we spent dinner with a family in another ward and with Elder Earl and Elder Reis. They prepared a TON of food and it was great!! Almost like being home. I even turned on Andy Williams Christmas music in the background to create the proper Christmas atmosphere. We even made Brownies that Elder Earl had!!! I LOVE BROWNIES!!!!!!!! Then, on Christmas Day another member invited us over because he knew how to make Brownies from scratch, using Brazilian products!!!! Sooooo last night I had brownies AGAIN!!!! It was blisselation (THAT IS RIGHT! I USED THAT WORD!). If you do not know this word "blisselation", it is a combo of bliss and elation. I give thanks to Rachel Stenberg for the creation of such a marvelous word. Anyways, Brownies... they do good things.
This week I also out that ant colony had been born within my laundry pile. However in their choice of locale, they forget to account for the fact that I am the proud owner of RAID as well as the owner of the laundry pile in question. NEVER has an ant colony been so utterly eradicated in such a short period of time. The ant community must have scrambled afterwards to comprehend the full scale of the attack. I did indeed lay waste, leaving none in my path. Ant and larvae alike; they all were given the same fate. If you cannot tell yet I am not a big fan of bugs. So when I find them living in my clothes I do not take the situation lightly. I once heard the phrase "if you are going to punch your enemy, make sure you knock him out." I would politely like to adapt this phrase to my situation. "If you are going to step on an ant hill, make sure you step on it with a bulldozer... or a large washing machine with a lot of soap!!
I hope all is well with all of you!
Eu amo voçês ( or eu vos amo)
Elder Asa Laws