What an adorable kid that Katie is! Oh, yes. I LOL´d at Brayden´s costume. Several kids here in the ward are quite mad that Brasil doesn´t have Halloween. Although, I think it´s better that they don´t. Imgaine us showing up at doors that night!
This week, we had a “special” conference with President Martins back in Sao Paulo. I can´t say details here, but I always look forward to meeting with President Martins. I think he is the only Brasilian who has jokes that are funny for everyone. He is always very fair. For instance: someone asked about P-Day and what else we could do. He preferenced his response with “Open up this wonderful thing called the Book of Mormon and READ IT!” I thought it was kind of funny. The only movies we are allowed to watch are “Intellectual Reserve” films, so in other words, the church films you find at Distribution centers next to the temples. After the conference, I went and bought Legacy, The Testaments, and Special Witnesses of Christ. (Wasn´t too impressed with Legacy, although Witnesses was a blast-and-a-half!) I´m really enjoing Elder Maxwell´s talks, any that I can find. The way he turns phrases and liberaly quotes from non-scriptual authors is just wonderful!
We lost a lot of worktime this week, due to P-Day, Special Conference, and two activities where we had to be at. However, the end of the week was way fun. We participated in a pass-along card activity for the ward, got made to sing at the stake center (some play about the plan of salvation and missionary work), and I got to play prelude for sacrament meeting. Fortunately, they didn´t ask for the main meeting; that would have been terrible. Oh, for the record, I was actually in a meeting with the Bishop talking about missionary work yesterday morning, so go figure.
As for the christmas box: candy, pictures, and a few Ensigns for sure. Maybe my biography about the Prophet or one of the apostles. I need something to read during P-Days. I´ve just about gone through the huge pile of Ensigns here. A letter from everyone in the box would be nice (friends from the ward and around would be wonderful). I´d love to read Mickey’s book, but I´m not that it´s approved. I could try to get it past President, but not knowing what it contains and it being farily new, it might be a bit of a hassle (Not that I´m not willing to try). I´m not sure I can´t say for the ward, we have two transfers between now and Christmas coming up, so 90% chance I won´t be in Osasco for Christmas. (Here´s hope I stay towards Center. Temple trip is coming up!) Besides, the members are pretty well-endowed here. Many live in the middle-class sections, and we only have a handful in favelas. One of the unfortunate things here is that one or more of most family members here work “direta” which means, Sunday to Sunday, daylight hours. It seems as if this is always the excuse here (talking about contacts here), which of course peeves me the wrong way. Thankfully, most of the brethern still attend church when their jobs permit.
An online thanks to the members of Thatcher. I have received letters from Papa-Dee and the Lowers in the past 2 weeks. Yeah! I´m loved!!! No, only kidding, although I definately wasn´t expecting them.
Here, things haven´t changed much. No baptisms, lost my memory card with music (Don´t worry, I still have the memory sticks), investigators avoiding us, and rumors of mob deaths are going around. Not joking, there is a bit of a scandle down here about a mafia shoot-out and the stake President had us returning to our homes before 7 last Friday night. Pretty ridiculous to be sure. Elder Ribeiro thought it was hilarious, but I didn´t know what to expect. We´ve also had some pretty wicked awesome thunderstorms in the last two days. So cool! We were also at the house of a member´s house Saturday for lunch, when the original Planet of the Apes came on, in English with Portuguese subtitles. A few wrong translations, but fairly accurate. (They translated “The Sacred Scrolls” to “Sciptures”) After lunch, Indiana Jones 4 came on, again in English with the subtitles.
This week, I don´t really know what to say. This world is getting worse and worse, despite what optimists say. Many apostles and prophets have talked about this. However, several weeks ago, with Elder Dattilo, I read a scripture in Ether 12. Verse 4: (paraphrased) Because of their belief in God, they can, with a surety, hope for a better world. The Portuguese rendering states “with safety”. I thought that was most interesting. Those with a belief in God can, with safety and security, hope for a better world. Ours is an active hope. This hope drives us to do something about the world. Unfortunately, very few of us are in a position where we can use our power to change groups of people. The best thing we can do is change the one person we have any power over: ourselves. Don´t fear the signs of the Second Coming or the calamities that will come. Use your belief in Heavenly Father to change your life and be a disciple of Christ. Those who do this will gain a knowledge that, after the seemingly end of the earth, there comes the Millenium. This is the unfortunate reality of most people; they think there is an end. There isn´t: Eternity is not our closing phrase to the story of us. Happily ever after does not occur in our lives because there is always more. Especially in the days to come, when Christ will reign personally upon the Earth after the destruction. (For a wonderful talk, see Neal A. Maxwell´s ‘Hope and the Atonement’ from the later half of the 90´s conference talks.)
Eu amo vocês!