Great to hear from you people living “normal” lives. It already feels weird to have our schedule changed on us, like yesterday´s ward council, or tomorrow´s district meeting.
So, first thing about letters. Turns out, our district leaders (just the ones for novo osasco) go every two weeks to the mission home and bring back all the letters. So, keep writing!
So much good stuff this week. We met a man named Rogerio who is a deep searcher of the gospel. He has quite a story, unfortunately; I won´t share it at the present time publicly. However, the story and its subsequent updates will appear in personal letters. We also spent much of yesterday walking, talking, and leaving short messages with less actives. We are being fed well, except on the days where members forget (or have to work) and give us money to go buy lunch. We REALLY hate that, though my PBJ´s in the mornings are a highlight. Elder Dattilo doesn´t wash his fruits or vegtables, or keeps much food in the house, so I buy loaves of bread and fruits whenever we get close to a store. I also buy snacks for our long days. Sugar waffers (strawberry/ morango) are my friends.
I´m slowly, but surely understanding more and more of the language. Our studies in the morning (of which language is the last) are usually getting cut off, so I haven´t had as much time as I would like with verbs. But, I listen a lot and try to participate. Elder Dattlio usually lets me testisfy, or if he feels really bold, lets me deliver the thought or make the contact. We hate doing contacts. I don´t like them because of low success rates and because I haven´t gotten into a grove with them yet, and Elder Dattilo´s problem is just that he has done too many.
We had a long conversation this morning involving the natural wonders of Washington. Since he is from Puyallp, he is right next to Rainer and many rivers. Ticks me off a bit, but then again, I have quite a few family members, friends (including the girl from Rexburg), and stories to brag about. 🙂
The highlight yesterday were some thoughts delievered much later in the day. I delievered a “broken” sermon based on Mosiah 3:19. However, the Spirit did something, as the less active family (4 women and a dad asleep in the next room) began to sob and one girl went to bathroom and cried. I don´t know what happened, but Elder Dattilo was beaming by the time we walked out. He tends to do that quite a bit. We have 7 baptismal dates, some of which happen next week, which gets us really excited. The other great experience happened to us will we were out with a member named Lucas. We just stopped somewhere when a man walks up to us and asks to meet with us later.
We stop by his place (place, since this is a favela) and started teaching just him. We invited him to bring in his family, which consisted of just his wife and 20ish year old daughter, give or take a few. As we taught (this was one of Elder Dattilo´s bolder days, so I lead for the first three or four points of the restoration), the mother and daughter were very accepting and very excited about the Book of Mormon. The father was not so sure, but he consented to reading and praying about it. We felt prompted to extend a goal for baptism, and the mother and daughter accepted, provided they receive an answer about the Book and our message. Nos somos muitos animados!
As we continue to walk, talk, and proclaim the gospel, we see the small tender mercies of the Lord. We´ve seen remarkable sights, nonetheless. For example, Juliana, a 21 year old mom, received a priesthood blessing from us to be able to quit smoking. She just went to church and she WILL be baptized by the middle of August. Which is a miracle, as she has been one member who has given past missionaries’ trouble.
I´m not convinced that there are not angels preparing the way before us, or guiding our steps. Elder Dattilo just couldn´t be happier with the success, and I´m still an infant in these matters. I wouldn´t know about the hard work behind these people´s conversion. They seem to present themselves before us and I´m coming in right at the point where many are hearing the voice of their One True Shepherd. As always, I love you all and hope you are doing well.
Eu amo vocês!
Stephen (Elder Jarvis)