What it is, my favorite people?!
It's Saturday, November 23rd. 1:30 PM. Recently returned from an epic ping pong tournament in which, you guessed it, I did not win, I have decided to bless you all with another update from my life as an LDS Brazilian missionary.
1) Good Conversation- This week we visited a less active that the Bishop asked us to help out. He is one of the most intelligent people I have taught/conversed with here in Brazil, especially due to his quick wit and scathing sarcasm. It's the kind of conversation in English that I loved, the quick back and forth, seemingly light banter about deep subjects, etc. I admit, it was a struggle to keep up in Portuguese: he jumped from liberalism and politics in the US to Brazil to economics to soccer to geography...my vocabulary was expanding just talking to him. So I admit the "back" was a bit heftier than the "forth."
But in any case, I did notice something interesting from the dialogue. While it is a very satisfying thing to be intelligent in a number of subjects, there is still a kind of emptiness to it when you don't see any kind of purpose behind the subjects. The gospel, an understanding of God, gives substance to what would otherwise be a flimsy, purposeless life.
2) Serra Adventures- This week we began our first adventures into a neighborhood of Belo Horizonte called "The Serra." I don't know how many of you are aware of the term "favela," but that about sums up the place. Imagine this: you're walking down a street, which promptly ends and you just see a stairway leading into a narrow alleyway. You enter the alley, which continues winding along and doesn't end, just splits off into other alleyways just barely wide enough for motorcycles to pass through, which they frequently do forcing you to back up into any nearby doorway. The place is essentially a maze of these narrow passages, leading you up and around and through hundreds of small, humble houses built into the side of the hill/on top of each other/in any place possible.
It's pretty exciting. And also an opportunity for a ton of lessons, as nearly everyone is willing to let you in. A very humble and accepting part of our area.
3) Visitors- We had a number of visiting missionaries pass through the office this week. The most notable (or at least story-worthy) came from the small city of Pirapora, which just recently opened as an area. They told the story of how over the course of six weeks the group has gone from six people (including the 4 missionaries) to fifty members, with baptisms happening nearly daily. They started off baptizing in the river, though have recently moved to a baptismal font. It is exciting to see the work of the Lord growing here in the mission. These kinds of things really happen. The world is ready to hear our message. It has me even more excited to go out and teach. The field is white, all ready to harvest.
It's been a good week. Hard work pays off. I love being a missionary. Happy birthday to my beloved grandmother, MorMor. I love you, thank you for all the things you've taught me throughout my life!
Fight the good fight, endure to the end, and never give up.