Lots of fun stuff has been happening down here in good ol' Brazil this last week. Definitely another interesting week as financial secretary. As always. We had zone conferences this week, which I got to participate in, so that kind of dominated everything. There was also some frantic taxiing and calling related to some of the new houses and money situations. But hey, life would be a whole lot less exciting without problems to be solved!
1) Monica's Grand Adventures- Towards the beginning of the week we got back in contact with my recent convert, Monica, who had been in a different state in Brazil for the last month or so. And, wow, did she have some stories to tell. The visit was basically a 40 minute rendition of her adventures followed by a little commentary by us. It started when she went to Vitória to visit her sister and was unable to find the church. She was taking heavy anti-depressant medicine and, at the end of the first week, wasn't doing so well. She said a prayer and told God that he had abandoned her, left her sick and without friends, etc. She then had an overwhelming feeling of peace and love, and knew for a fact that she was not alone and needed to get up and have more faith.
So began Monica's mission. She would go the park every day near the house with the Book of Mormon, read on the bench, and talk about it with anyone who approached her. She did this daily, and sometimes had a considerable group of people listening to her speak. She told us to get the church organized down there (I'm pretty sure it already is, but it could certainly use strengthening), and I think she wants to go back to help it move along.
2) Are You Not Entertained Part II- Another couple of quick stories.
Cheese Threat- A rather embarrassing story. I was walking down the street in my suit going to zone conference, when I saw this guy who was clearly homeless walking towards us with like a half-pound of cheese in each hand. He saw me, and suddenly got a really angry look on his face. He lifted the cheese and violently made like he was going to throw it at me. I definitely flinched (the guy looked crazy. For all I knew he really would throw it). All the people around started chuckling and the guy walked past us, pretending to throw it another couple times. Weird. I'm just glad he didn't throw it. That would have hurt.
The Great Umbrella Robbery of 2013- On Wednesday we had a zone conference and it was absolutely pouring down rain. Kind of a rough day. So all of the missionaries came in and left their umbrellas in the parking garage to dry, but we left the gate open. We left a little later and all of the umbrellas were missing. Well except for one which was still leaning against the wall (yep. Definitely mine.) So the entire zone didn't have umbrellas anymore. Which would have been pretty rough the rest of the week.
3) Rebellion- This week I nearly had a rebellion on my hands when the missionaries' allowance fell through a day late. Nearly the entire mission called wondering where the money was, and if I could put money in their accounts to help out. To be clear, I do not have that kind of power and have nothing to do with when the allowance falls. That's all with the church headquarters. I just ask them to make the irregular payments when I need to. It was pretty ridiculous at the amount of calls, and I got to lay down the law in my training at zone conferences. Missionaries are awesome teachers, but are kind of dumb when it comes to money, I have to say. President jokingly said that he learned this week a number of people that he would never call as financial secretary.
Overall a solid week, and a little less stressful then those of the recent past. This week I didn't have a whole lot of study time, but I did learn a lot about the power of the Book of Mormon. It is the key to conversion. If you feel like your testimony isn't strong enough, if you feel like you don't have one, or if you just want to feel the Holy Ghost a little stronger in your life, read the Book of Mormon. Study it. Ponder on it. I can promise that it will bring you that feeling that you desire.
I was also pondering today on the spiritual experiences that I have had over the course of my life. How I have come to the knowledge I have today. And, in remembering some very specific circumstances, I came to a renewed conviction of the truth of this gospel. You all need to know that I know this work is true. Without a shadow of a doubt. I know that Christ is my Savior. That God lives. I have experienced things in my life that leave me unable to say otherwise.
I love being a missionary. I love all of you. Stay strong.