Just to start off, GOO PAYSON FOOTBALL!!! Brady gave me a perfect description of the game and I was sitting here in my seat sweating and full of goose-bumbs! What an awesome game! His description made me a little homesick for football haha. It´s so great to see that everyone is starting school again and super happy. I hope that this year you all can reach your goals that you set and that you can all have a blast because "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have JOY!"
This week I received the compliment that I have been waiting for so long on the mission. I was interviewing a young man that the Sister missionaries had been teaching when I had the chance to meet the entire family. The mom and dad were baptized in 2006 but unfortunately had fallen away since then, and their two children that they had at that time weren´t old enough to be baptized, so the Sisters went after them and reactivated the entire family! I was talking with the dad and we were just chatting about the Church and about soccer (the two main topics here in Brazil), and out of nowhere he asked me where I was from. I said, "Utah." He then gave me a wierd stare and said, "Wait... you´re an American?!" He told me that I didn´t have an accent and that I was talking exactly like a Brazilian so much that he thought I was from the southern part of Brazil where there are a lot of whites. I got all red and embarrassed, but I felt really good that the Holy Ghost has helped me so much with the gift of tongues. I thought back to when I was in the MTC, depressed and pessimistic to whether I would be able to learn the language, and I recognized one of the biggest blessings that the Lord has given me in my life so far. One of the hardest things I have had to overcome was the language barrier and now it is not even a question. This goes to show that the Lord really does help us in our weaknesses, so much that they can become strengths. (Ether 12:27)
I have also developed a talent here on the mission. I am now the barber of the house. I bought clippers last year for like 12 dollars and they are still going strong! It´s almost been a year that I haven´t paid for a hair cut and I am not half-ugly! But one of the other Elders asked me to cut his hair and so I did. The only problem was that I didn´t have my glasses on and I was tired. We left the house and I saw that I had completely butchered his hair! But I tried being the nice Elder and kept telling him that the people were only laughing because I am American and super white. Then that night I suggested that I make a few touch-ups lol. Now his hair is good!
I have yet another thing to credit to my wonderful and loving parents. My house here is one of the WORST in the mission. It is small, the sewage blocks ups constantly, one room doesn´t have a light socket nor light bulb, and the bathroom always wreeks of... four men. I dedicated last Monday to a super fixer-upper day. I started with the sewage. I went out to the front of the house and opened up the sewage to see what was causing the cloggage. I stuck my hand in the pipe and guess what I found... a sock! Some smart Elder had put a sock down the drain and forgot to tell anyone. I took it out and the clogging stopped. Problem number one solved. Then I went to the store and bought a light socket and lightbulb to fix the lack of light we have in our study room. I had to tear down a chandelier that the other Elders had broken one day from playing soccer in the house, and then I messed around with the wires and found the right ones to install the new socket. Then I put in the light bulb and turned on the lights and, "Let there be light!" Problem number two solved. Then I bought all sorts of cleaner and whatnot to get rid of that smell in the bathroom. I spent the entire afternoon scrubbing and now we have a bathroom clean enough to eat in. The other Elders in the house just sat there and looked at me while I went to town on all this stuff. They asked me, "Why do you clean and fix stuff when it wasn´t even you who made the mess?" I love these Elders who live with me, but this is one part of responsibility that they haven´t learned yet. Sometimes we pay for the ignorance of others, but that doesn´t mean that we have to live with the mess they left behind. I felt good afterwards and now the house is pretty respectable.
We had another baptism yesterday! The man´s name is Sílvio. Here´s a little bit about Sílvio´s story. We met him about two months ago when we were at Church. He showed up out of nowhere and asked for some help from the bishop. He lives in a very poor house with no running water, very little food, not very many clothes, and five dogs. The bishop gave him a basket of food and other necessary items and he kept coming to Church every Sunday. We taught him a few times, but he had a horrible problem with smoking so he didn´t really progress very well, so we had to stop teaching for a while, but he never missed Church on Sunday. One day, he stopped me and told me that he had quit smoking and that he wanted to be baptized. We got super happy and organized everything for him. This past week, the life of this man changed. The bishop got him a good, steady job, and bought him a suit and tie to go to Church. Sílvio was MORE than ecstatic for his baptism and the bishop was able to baptize him. The members showed so much love and respect for him and I was extremely impressed by the bishop and all the care and love he showed for this poor man. He may be poor financially, but once he left the Church yesterday, he was the richest person spiritually. I love this Church and I know that God calls His servants to work in this great work. I am so honored to be His missionary and for all the opportunities that I have to see lives be changed. I love you all so much and hope everyone has an amazing week once again!