It was SOOO great to talk to you all! I must say it was pretty hard. I LOVE it here; I love the culture and the people, but the mission is HARD and I really needed to hear all of your encouragement. Thanks for the emails too - I just loved getting recharged and ready to go!
Huevos Barratos!!!! Ok, so Hna Kjar and I were studying and planning and we had NO food in the apartment. We were famished! And often men in autos (cars) drive by with speakers that yell out, ¨Huevos Barratos¨ (cheap eggs) o ¨Verduras y frutas¨ or sell different kinds of foods out of the cars. SO, we heard a man say over the loudspeaker, ¨Huevos Barratos Huevos Barratos¨ (really rapidly, more like ¨HuevBaraHueBaratHuevoBaratooooosssss...¨haha) Hna Kjar and I jumped up , our hair undone and flying everywhere and started running towards the street. But when we unlocked our gate to go out to the street, we saw him turning the corner onto the other street! We started booking it down the road yelling, ¨HUEVOS!!!!¨A few of our vecinos (neighbors) saw us and tried to yell at the man in the auto too. One man with a booming voice came onto his patio and screamed, ¨HUEVOOSSSS!!!!!!¨ And that´s when the auto stopped. We laughed and laughed as we got to him and paid for the eggs. As we were walking back one of the neighbors laughed at us. Needless to say, we got our breakfast and a great start to the day!
So, some funny culture and mission life stuff that doesn´t HAVE to be shared with everyone (haha) is that 1. I had my first experience with diahrrea here. We ate at a member´s house and the food had SO much fat and grease... it was just nasty! They made me eat 3 bowls of it too!!! But good thing I´ve practiced packing food down, but boy it wasn´t pretty! 2. I saw a video of how Argentine´s dance and it´s CRAZY FUN! They have the salsa, tango, merengue, etc. I´d love to learn! 3. Driving in Bahia is CRAZY! THere are NO rules except for don´t get in an accident! I´ve only seen 1 stop sign and maybe 2 stop lights in all of my area. And we had a CRAZY taxi driver the other day who was FLYING down the dirt roads- Hna Kjar and I were holding on for our lives! haha oh and 4. Argentines LOVE to talk and talk and talk and talk. They don´t stop!!
It was Hna Kjar´s birthday! So we celebrated...and celebrated... and will probably celebrate more tomorrow with our district! I told lots of people it was her birthday and we had 3 cakes and lots of hugs and everything. I think she felt very loved!
Ok, so the work is going well. We had our Baile de Recuerdos for our Barrio and it went SO well! We had about 6 really inactive members come and we had over 50 people at the Baile- more than our usual attendance of 30-40 or so on Sunday´s! But we were very excited because we need unidad and amor in this barrio (ward) and we worked HARD to get people there! Now, Hna Kjar and I are trying to come up with ways to unify the ward better through missionary work! We feel like we´ve gained the Bishop´s trust back (there had been problems with missionaries and the obispo in the past) and a lot of the members and especially these inactive members have really opened up to us. We feel much more love at least for US and we´re trying to channel that love to the rest of the ward, to each other.
We had a really special experience with a man named Nicolas. He´s 23 years old (i think) and VERY active in his Catholic church. But, we gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he´s been reading! We planned a tour of the capilla (church building) with a member who had previously been a Catholic monk! Guillermo is the previous-monk who was baptized 4 years ago and went through with his wife a year later. Nicolas came and we showed him the building- all the rooms, explaining the Santa Cena (Sacrament), temples, Joseph Smith again, etc. He enjoyed talking about our similarities of religions. Guillermo bore a powerful testimony of how this church is true and he loves how everyone in the church has a calling and works together and how much of emphasis we put on family and eternal families and strengthening families. Guillermo is incredible! Anyway, we´re not sure how interested Nicolas is, but we have faith and we´re going to keep working on him.
A lot of our nuevos investigadores have recently showed their disinterest. We have seen a lot of family and social pressure on them and they have declined talking to us and renewing our visits. Florencia is a woman we taught a couple times and she was progressing, but she wanted to give us her Bookof Mormon back. Enrique won´t answer our calls. Santiago and Natalia missed their appointments. BUT, I´ve been studying a LOT about faith in Jesus Christ and how faith leads to action. Faith is power, we can accomplish SO much through faith in Jesus Christ! So, though it´s been tough, I have been trying to show the Lord how much faith I have in people and in his obra (work). I have also tried to utilize the activity to try to see if we can teach the family of the less active members and so forth. I am trying to do the best I can - and Hna Kjar too. We have a few appointments lined up that I´m excited about. Lucrecia is a great older lady we met who seems like she´s interested. Mirta is the woman that came to church on Sunday! But she refuses to get married - we´re trying our best to work with her and love her and hope she changes her heart. Nelly is an older woman who´s very Catholic, but she keeps letting us come back and teach her and she´s been very nice. I think she´s actually considering the church, so we´re hopeful. We´re visting on Saturday a less active father of a strong family who is recently gone inactive because of the leadership in the stake, supposedly. He´s wonderful! He was one of the first members I met here in Bahia on my first day! We are prayerful and hope to get him praying and reading his scriptures again.
Prayer Roll Thanks for suggesting this Dad!
Mirta - to feel the power of the Book of Mormon and have a change of heart
Florencia - to ignore familial and social pressures and feel of the Lord´s Spirit
Nicolas and Santiago to read and pray about the Book of Mormon
Nelly - to open her heart to the LDS Church and Libro de Mormon
Natalia and the Family Buenisima, and Ana and her Family - to open their home and hearts to us and our message
Lucrecia - to be open to change and to add to her knowledge
Father Francani - to repent and come back to church
For Hna Tingey and Hna Kjar to be guided to FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL PROGRESS!!!! We are praying and working diligently and hope for at least one to progress to baptism!
Ohh, really quickly before I have to go- I made a ¨contract¨ of sorts with Heavenly Father the other day. In the morning and I wrote down everything I would do that day and prayed for help. I tried ALL day to do my very best with the things I wrote down. One of them was that I would speak only Spanish and another that I would have faith in every situation and every person. IT WORKED! We worked so hard and so well and I only spoke Spanish! I felt like we did wonderfully and I want to keep doing this to try to help me throughout the day. I feel like that will help me track my progress and that way the Lord knows how hard I am trying and I know how hard I am trying.
Anyways, I have to go. I love you all SOOO much! THIS CHURCH IS SOOO TRUE!!! I encouter people who are lost, people who are VERY Catholic or Evangelical of Jehovah´s Witnesses (TONS of them here), and they have part of the truth, but I know in my heart that we have so much more to add. That we have a living prophet today, that the Book of Mormon is true, that our temple covenants and baptism through the correct authority are the way we return to our Heavenly Father. So many people say, ¨Why do I need a church? I worship God in my heart!¨But the church is SO important! I have a FIRM testimony of this! My testimony has grown SO much here!!!
I LOVE YOU Mommy, Daddy, Ben, Jackie, Biffy, Abbs, Snacky, and FAM!!! ABRAZOS Y BESITOS!!!!