Well, I will start this e-mail off with the things that I learned from this week...
So this area is SUPER blessed! We have a member in this ward who, just one year and eight months ago, was a pastor of another church that he started in this area. I think I already mentioned this to you guys, but this guy is unreal! He has so many ideas to do for this area and here pretty soon, we will be baptizing all of his former members! So we have been working our butts off with his references every night, but during the day we have been finding a lot of other people to teach as well. We had three baptisms marked for this last Sunday, but at the last second their moms wouldn´t let them be baptized because they were raised Catholic and would die Catholic (I get this a lot down here). The thing that really got to me was that these girls had really received an answer from Heavenly Father that this is the true Church and they really wanted to be baptized; nevertheless, their moms still wouldn´t let them. Then we had more people to teach who were progressing SO well and they had promised to go to Church with us and everything, but when we got to their house on Sunday morning, they had gathered up a few excuses for why they couldn´t go. I got so sad and confused as to what we were doing wrong. We had taught everyone as well as we could and they had all said that they would go, but still no results. I started to doubt that my skills were good enough and that I couldn´t speak this language very well, and guess what happened? I was right. I let myself think that way, and so I went in that very direction. I was tripping over myself with Portuguese and teaching really poorly. Then I remembered what Preach My Gospel says about the Christlike Attributes; especially Patience. When we don´t have patience, we are basically saying that what we think is more important that what God thinks; that His judgement isn´t as important as ours. Maybe things weren´t going well for us this week, but I know that God definitely has a plan for everything and I definitely have enough faith to know that when things get bad, there´s only one direction that they can go... up!
But anyway, I am so happy with this area. For those of you who want to look up my area on Google maps, the name is Jardim Presidente Dutra, Cumbica-São Paulo. It´s really nice here, even though it is extremely hot right now, because I get to see trees, cows, and horses! It kinda feels like home. This pastor that we have in this area is named Laércio, but everyone just calls him pastor here. He told me that he and his wife are building a bigger home right now, which will be finished probably by the time I leave this area, but whenever I come back to visit, they will build a room specially made for the missionaries whom they knew a came back to say "hi."
This morning we just barely got done doing another service project for this less-active member who is building a new house. He started from scratch, completely alone, and now he is about ready to finish. The only people who have been helping are the missionaries. He´s quite the goofball, but really loves the missionaries. He always calls us "oí missionários!" never Elder or anything, just missionaries. He is kind of stubborn and said that he won´t come back to Church until the house is finished; so you can see why we are trying to help him. We have been loading up wheelbarrows full of dirt and hauling it to the back of his house, hammering nails and hanging up shelves, setting up the tv and everything. I sure do miss doing all that hard work stuff.
I hope this week goes well for everyone! I love you all and am so happy that everyone is doing great and getting excited for Christmas!