Hello all of my beloved friends and family members! Another week has flown by down here in Brazil. It´s crazy how that happens. It was a week full of hard work, many lessons, a wonderful phone call home, and lots of walking!
1) The Hippy House- Well, this week we discovered where the hippies in Pedro Leopoldo hang out. We´d met a man last week just in his doorway, but he was very welcoming and invited us to return. When we came back this last Friday, we found him in his yard playing what looked like a toy accordion while a friend of his played a guitar. In fact, we already knew the friend as well from various different occasions and were very surprised to find him here. Small world, and also shows that I think I´ve met a majority of the people here already. Anyway, to the faint smell of marijuana they showed us their folk-ish song they´d been writing, chatted a little bit about the sad, frantic state of the world today and how people needed to relax along with various other hippy things, and then we slipped away to eat lunch after inviting them to church. Entertaining if less than fruitful visit.
2) Adorable Old People- Another lesson we taught was to an old couple who lived a little ways off in the outskirts of town. I´d put them in their early eighties, and they were extremely welcoming. Usually it is extremely difficult to help older people get through our accent and the nature of the lesson to really understand what we´re trying to say about the Church, but the husband here was very astute and kept up with us entirely, aside from a slight misunderstanding in which he believed we were Evangelical. There was a special spirit in the lesson and at the end they had clearly felt the power of our words, even if they didn´t directly understand everything exactly perfect. They promised to come to church in a week and to bring all of their friends and relations. We´ll see how that works out, they live a ways out there, but it was wonderful to see our words touch this old couple so strongly. The wife asked us for a priesthood blessing, telling us that she had no doubt that she´d be healed of her diabetes if it be God´s will. Her faith was incredible, and taught me a lot.
3) Eavesdropping-Quick story here. We taught a lesson to some of our recent converts, Delmir and Emílio, in their house. Their sisters, who have been avoiding us recently, again ran off before we could talk to them. Well, actually, one sat in for about five minutes before excusing herself to take a shower. The bathroom has a high-set window that was open to the place where we were teaching. Elder Wilson and I ended the lesson with strong testimonies about the Book of Mormon and the church, and immediately after Elder Wilson said "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen," the shower turned on. Seems like someone might still be a little interested!
4) Stupid Rich American- Yes, me. Well, at least according to a particularly friendly drunk I ran into this last week at the bus station. We had just arrived late one evening from one of the neighborhoods further out, and my companion had to use the bathroom. I stayed standing outside waiting. A man came out of the bathroom, walked over to a nearby row of benches, and began speaking to a woman there. I noticed because he was clearly a little tipsy, the woman didn´t seem to know him and looked a little uncomfortable, and he seemed to be gesturing in my direction. I thought nothing of it and my comp soon appeared and we left. We were looking at the bus times for the next day when the same man came over and began to talk to us. He asked who we were, if we were Christian...and then asked why we didn´t believe in helping others. Surprised, we said we did. He pointed furiously at me and asked why I hadn´t helped the drunk man lying on the ground next to me back by the bathroom. I was very confused, because no such man existed. Then he said that when he´d left the bathroom he told me to help but I didn´t listen. This also didn´t happen. At this point he accused me of being a rich American, while he was a poor Brazilian, but that for all I knew that drunk man had more money than me. I was getting a little flustered and insisted I hadn´t seen or heard anything. Than he began to go off on how I must not know Portuguese because I didn´t understand him, how if Americans were going to come here to Brazil they needed to learn the culture first and how people should help each other, and so on. My companion alleviated the situation and we escaped, but I was left a little confused and very happy that I will never touch an alcoholic beverage in my life.
Well, that about wraps it up. I love you all and pray for you regularly. I have no doubt that I´m doing the right thing in the right place. I love the people here and am doing my best to serve them. Keep up the good fight back home, and know that this Church is true. I know it without a doubt, and am so grateful for the gospel in my life. And I know that there are many many people here in the world who still need it. So let´s get on it!
Elder Alex Burt