Okay, so we finally were able to bring people to church today! Even though the car broke down after 50 feet and the battery died. We ended up waiting for the bishop to pick up his car and take the two to the chapel. It almost didnt happen, but we hung in there and it worked out! The bishop only had room for the investigators, so Lavosieux got his other car (a glorified, street legal go-kart. Actually its a dune buggy) and we went to church in that! It was a bit scary, cause there is zero accident protection, and the entire car weighs about 700 pouds. Just a guess.
Funny story time! by the way, this letter is going to be a monster.
So we have this canal that runs by our area, and it always has 4 or 5 inches of water passing in it, and it smells awful. This week it rained pretty good, and we took cover on the edge of said canal. It rained pretty good, and the river got pretty high, and all kinds of small garbage floated by. We talked about grabbing something to raft the river and rapids that appeared a hundred yards down. Suddenly, Elder Lessa calls my attention upriver, to a bright orange thing floating in the water. (no dead bodies Dad, sorry) The thing was a tattered broken capsized sofa floating down the river! It didnt drag on the ground or anything, just bobbed downriver. We got a good laugh out of that, but the best is yet to come! 10 or so minutes later, we see yet ANOTHER sofa! But this one is even better, right side up, and almost brand new! We laughed pretty hard, but I think you had to have been there to understand the complete irony.
The conference with Elder Andersen was absolutely spectacular!!! They combined the missions Fortaleza and Fortaleza East, and we took pictures with Elder Andersen. Hes been an Apostle for 5 years, and he talked a lot about sharing the Atonement with our investigators. He didnt outright say it, but I learned that the key to real conversion is in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He also touched on and confirmed various ideas that Ive had throughout the mission on how to do the work, and this was one of them. He also said that we shouldnt baptize too soon, wait a bit to baptize. There has to be a change of heart to be baptized. Not complete, but it has to start for the time to be right.
During his talk/training, he invited the presidents of both missions to offer a 3 minute comment on Elder Bednar's talk from last conference about Loads and Progression. When President Souza talked, the Spirit went through the roof!
The entire atmosphere was amazing. Right when Elder Andersen walked in, a peace filled the room, and just looking at him, you know that he represents the Lord. Theres just a big feeling of calm.
Mom, you would absolutely love talking with his wife. She participated too, sharing testimonies and experiences. I dont know who she reminds me of, but I know you would really like chatting with her. :)
Elder Andersen talked mostly in Portuguese, a bit broken with a few words in spanish and french, and a noticable french pronunciation on the Rs. But I think everybody understood, the Spirit speaks only one language.
Dad, the idolatry pictures are quite hilarious! I got a good kick out of them. I actually do have a bit of an interest how the garden is coming along. Thanks for sending pictures, its looking very nice!
Pablo conveniently forgot to mention the Semi truck. I think he thought I would worry too much, but if everything is okay, then Im not worried. The gouge in the car looks pretty knarly!
In answer to your question, I miss Mexican food quite terribly. Almost, in the beginning I did, but Ive gotten used to not having it. I will most definitely love having it back. :D
Thanks for your uplifting words Dad. Only 8 more weeks! :P I cant believe its ending already! It kind of eats my soul knowing that soon I have to leave all this behind. Im pretty sure Im going to cry when my nametag comes off. Did you cry when you were released?
Dad, I sent Pablos documents to be translated to you guys. He gave me money to put in my account, which you will take out to pay for the translation, but I dont know how to make a deposit in Brasil. Im pretty sure I remember my account number (not a good idea to say it here) Theres a Citibank in Aldeota that might work.
Mom, Im sorry I didnt write hardly anything to you. :( But know that I love and miss you very much! :D Just one month and 20 days! (says Elder Gonçalves)
Love you all! Enjoy the monster letter and the stories! :) I'll be home for Christmas....kinda! :) Tchauuuuuuuuu!