Monday, April 29, 2013

Close Encounters

Howdy folks! Another week has flashed by in the blink of an eye. And despite six months in Brazil speaking Portuguese, my rhyming skills are still on par.

So this week has been a relatively exciting one, with a few good stories. I laughed, I cried, I loved. Welcome to life as a missionary.

1) Robson- One of our newest investigators that we found this week is a man named Robson (a proof to missionaries everywhere that street contacts actually can yield results.) He is extremely humble and open, with a great desire to serve God and learn the gospel. This desire is shared by his wife, Claudialane. I think that´s how you spell it, sometimes names in Brazil can be a bit tough.  So anyway, we taught him the first time early in the week and it went well. When we visited them again, the wife began to cry as she shared with us that the timing of our first visit had been a gift from God. They´d been in the middle of a crisis, and she said our visit brought a peace that they needed more than anything else. They insisted on giving us the little food they could, invited us back any time we wanted, and left me feeling a great love for people like these.

2) Close Encounters of a Strange Kind- Saturday was marked by a large amount of encounters with rather interesting people on the street, a hodge-podge of all of the people we´ve met in the past all in the same day. A voodoo man who considers us his adopted boys, the only two Americans we´ve ever met in Pedro Leopoldo, a clown/sound technician/furniture maker/very helpful ride-giver, a Mason, and various other people.

The voodoo man is named Pai Xiquin, and we´ve run into him various times while here in Pedro Leopoldo. He wears various strange necklaces and is well-known here as a leader in the voodoo community. He´s pretty odd, and always a little drunk. He always greets us with a hug and a kiss on the forehead, followed by an offer to buy us a soda. On Saturday he also told us that he had the gift of revelation, and could see pillars of lights above our heads, that we´re chosen by God, something he doesn´t see around many other people holding the Bible. He also took my hand to shake, and ended up holding onto it for a while, stroking it, and telling me I had hands as beautiful as his mother´s.

We´ve already met the two Americans, and the circumstances were separate. It was odd to have two different conversations in English. One has a wife who abandoned him, went back to the States, and is receiving/spending his pension money (he´s a retired cop.) We tried to calm him down and help him out a little bit. The other is a very stereotypical American living in a foreign country: loud, brazen, speaking in English around Brazilians, a little racist, and a little above everyone. But I like him, he´s a good guy.

Wow, so it looks like I´m already out of time. Before I sign off I want to give a big congrats to Grace Miller on her marriage. It´s a little crazy to me that one of my best friends from childhood just got married. Many well wishes to the happy couple, the lucky groom, the lovely bride, and the entire Miller family! I´m very excited for you.

I woke up a few nights ago in the middle of a dream, in which I was singing one of my favorite hymns. I´ll close with some of the lyrics, encouraging everyone to lift up their heads, share the gospel, fight the good fight, and know I love you!

"Hope of Israel, rise in might
With the sound of truth and right!
Sound the warcry, 'watch and pray',
Vanquish every foe today!"

Much love,
Elder Alex Burt

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