Monday, October 25, 2010

10-25-10 Family of João Pedro, gecko, and a big green & blue lizard

Dear family,

Thanks for sending the package. Elder Wells has been waiting for a package for over 2 months from his dad, so I don't know about 3-5 days!  But it would be cool...

Elder Dallin H Oaks came to our mission Saturday and gave us a nice talk on revelation. It was much less interactive than with Elder Bednar, but it was still cool to hear from an Apostle. And something interesting is that a Brazilian was answering a question Elder Oaks asked using his (Portuguese) "Preach my Gospel", and Elder Oaks wanted an English one. So I brought mine up because there weren't many people who brought them, and gave it to him, and in my very own "Preach my Gospel",  an Apostle read his own quote. Haha so that was cool. Elder Scott Grow gave us a talk too, on repentance. He made sure we knew that it was not just for our investigators, but for us as well. I liked that because lots of missionaries here need that, including me. This mission in general needs to become way more obedient.

We weren't able to teach the 2 girls this week, which is frustrating. They are in a bad family situation but hopefully will soon move in with their uncle (the bishop).

We had some miracles with this other family that we found though, the fam of Cassia and João Pedro. Cassia's mom, Teresa, really loved our message and has had about 80 years of life as a strong Catholic. She doesn't go anymore to church because of health, but she used to teach Sunday school and stuff. So from the first time we arrived, she said she felt really good, spiritually, and surprisingly, physically too. So in the days after that, she healed a lot and is able to "practically play futbol again" better than she has in years. She saw this as a sign that she needed to act on it and go to church. So yesterday she came with João Pedro, and loved it! She literally said she's in love with this church now. And our investigator class was all about baptism, and the teacher, Leo (awesome guy-the bishops bro and counselor), had been baptized Catholic in his childhood, too, and was able to very plainly explain a true baptism for Teresa. She understood and said "Mauro (my husband) is going to be so surprised when he finds out I'm joining another church!" So all that lacks is a date for baptism. Oh and did I mention she's mostly blind. I guess that's not too important.

We are also teaching a 17-yr-old rapaz [youth], Adlan, who we tentatively committed to baptism next Sunday. We are all 3 going to fast and pray during this week, and if he feels a confirmation of the truth of these things he'll be baptized (he already received a pretty crazy answer to his prayers about it.) He's really smart though and has read bad stuff about our church and is the kinda guy who looks for proofs, not trust instinct. We have a lot in common and I think that has helped him a lot.

The companionship is going well. We joke around a lot and he's got a great sense of humor, and we also work hard. We spend time and will start spending more every day doing work just to help the ward grow stronger, not just baptize. The ward needs all the help and prayers it can get. I feel really sorry for the bishop and his family because they basically run the ward, and anything they delegate doesn't usually get done. And the bishop is only 28 with 2 little kids, and no money or car or anything.

So this morning we went to this place called the ceaza to buy tons of different fruits (we got 13 different kinds). The cool part of this story though is on the way to the ceaza we walked through this field and I saw a huge green lizard running through the bushes. We chased it around (in p-day clothes, don't worry) and I caught it! I need to send you the pictures because it is beautiful and huge--like between 2 and 3 feet long!  I think it is some kind of monitor, and it had bright
blue and green all over it, and a forked tongue that it flicked out. The most amazing animal I ever caught. And on our way back, I saw another one, even bigger, but it ran away somewhere. And then I caught another one. They are awesome. I bet they'd sell for a ton at the pet store in Ventura. I released them though already, because it says in the missionary handbook not to keep pets of any kind. It's a shame, cuz there's some really cute kittens here, and I caught a yellow bird the other day. And there's dogs all over the streets, and some we see every day. One is named Steve and one is named Tiger Woods.

Were hoping to have several baptisms in the coming 2 weeks! So keep praying for our investigators, and thanks for the prayers already! Have a good week!

Love, Elder Hooke (and friend :)   (See more pics below)

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