Dear Family and Friends,
It would appear that all my brothers are in the words of Tanner ´´Ridiculously cool.´´ Congrats to Porter for the intramural success and stud moments. The letters have been humorous. Sometimes I simply don´t understand the Brasilian humor so it’s nice to have a return to the good old stuff. You are taking what classes? Are you going on dates? I need more information! And Tanner and AnneMarie are just living the life. And, to quote the counsel of an inspired man, ´´Life is short. Eat the black pudding.´´
The highlight of the week was yesterday with a spirit-filled conference and the long awaited for baptism of Igor. I think it was Elder Ballard who commented once how as a church in general, sometimes we focus more on having the knowledge, and we don´t have enough experiences. The baptism was a wonderful spiritual experience. I won´t share everything here, but it left me reflecting and meditating and filled with joy to be a part of this wonderful work of the Lord.
Saturday, I woke up for the first time on the mission not feeling well. My stomach was hurting. I knew I wasn´t sick, but that it was caused from food the day before as several of us were hurting. And it was the day we had lunch with an investigator. The family of Manoel had invited us over for lunch and I really had no appetite, but with a lot of prayer, we managed to work our way through. That day made it on to my list of toughest lunches. The food was honestly wonderful, and they put a lot of effort to make everything perfect, but my insides weren´t cooperating.
Yesterday, elections were held here. Let´s just sum it up by saying our electoral system is way better than here. Here, everyone has to vote. Elder Cordeiro lost a document permitting him to vote so we scrambled over to some government offices but to no avail. I think he´ll have to pay a fee. And, the day before, no one is arrested because everyone has to vote. The streets were filled with hooligans committing minor crimes, i.e. riding in the back of pick-ups, graffiti, obscene music rocking the houses, etc. And yesterday was just a party, with all the winning politicians holding street parties and everyone just looking for an excuse to go crazy. After conference, we ended up escorting some people to their houses for safety and went back to our apartment a little early. And finally, to vote, you have to be in your city. The missionaries here had to fill out some forms explaining why they don’t have to vote, which wasn’t a problem, but we had various investigators leaving to go to other towns for the day to vote. All in all, I´m glad that the elections here are over.
Thursday, we made our own trip down to Campos for interviews with Pres. Young. Like always, it was a wonderful time, and another spiritual experience.
I bought a quad in Portuguese. Yes, it is wonderful. The scriptures are literally manna from heaven. I love reading them. The Bible was translated into Portuguese by João Ferreira Almeida in about 1650. And the general authorities have commented how it was inspired. The church put out their first edition earlier this year, with the footnotes and correlation, and it’s been a delight to study it. Old passages have new meanings. And amazingly, the Portuguese edition has some 2500 less footnotes than the King James version in English because Almeida was inspired and translated many passages and words more correctly than in the KJV.
That´s the news here. Transfers are next week and while I think I´ll be staying there´s a chance this will be it for me in Itaperuna. I´ll wait and see.