HELLO FAMILY AND EVERYONE,
THE NEW AREA IS VERY GOOD. BRIDGE OF THE CARVALHOS [Ponte Dos Carvalhos] (A NAME IN THIS CASE) IS A MUCH BIGGER AREA THAN SAN MARTIN, AND A VERY NEW WARD. THE CHAPEL WAS BUILT AND THE WARD ESTABLISHED 1 YEAR AGO. THE LEADERSHIP IS VERY GOOD, ALTHOUGH WE NEED TO WORK WITH THEM MORE. MY COMP IS GOOD. I WILL HAVE TO LEARN A LOT OF THINGS WITH HIM, I CAN TELL ALREADY. THIS AREA HAS A LOT OF GOOD INVESTIGATORS. WE HAVE A COUPLE, LUCIANO AND ANTONIA, WHO WE ARE HELPING PLAN A MARRIAGE AND BAPTISM FOR FEBRUARY 12TH, ALTHOUGH THERE ARE STILL SOME OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME. THEY BOTH HAVE TESTIMONIES ALREADY (THEY ARE EVEN PAYING TITHING ALREADY). WE ALSO FOUND A FEW NEW INVESTIGATORS THIS WEEK THAT WE HAVE MARKED BAPTISMAL DATES WITH.
ON TUESDAY WE WENT TO TRY TO FIND AN INVESTIGATOR, EDNA, WHO ELDER NAGASE OR I HAD NEVER MET (ELDER NAGASE ARRIVED ONLY ONE WEEK BEFORE ME). WE WERE LOOKING FOR HER ADDRESS WHEN SHE PASSED US IN THE STREET AND CALLED US OVER. WE WENT TO HER FRONT PORCH AND SAT TO TEACH HER, AND BEFORE WE EVEN SAID ANYTHING, SHE TOLD US "BEFORE YOU TEACH ME A LESSON, MARK IN YOUR CALENDARS THAT I WANNA BE BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!" WE WERE VERY SURPRISED TO FIND OUT THAT SHE KNOWS EVERYONE IN THE WARD, WAS ALREADY TAUGHT BY MISSIONARIES FOR MONTHS, AND ATTENDED CHURCH AND EVEN SEMINARY SOMETIMES LAST YEAR. SHE HAD BEEN TRAVELING, BUT SHE TOLD US “I TURN 18 ON SUNDAY, AND NOW I WILL FINALLY BE ABLE TO SIGN MY OWN BAPTISMAL FORM.” TURNS OUT SHE WAS ALREADY GONNA BE BAPTIZED BEFORE BUT HER MOM DID NOT WANT TO SIGN THE FORM. SO WE REVIEWED ALL THE COMMANDMENTS AND EVERYTHING WITH HER, SHE WAS INTERVIEWED BY ELDER WELLS (MY LZ, WHICH IS COOL) AND EVERYTHING SEEMED TO BE GOING SMOOTHLY FOR HER BAPTISM YESTERDAY. WE TURNED ON THE FONT ON SATURDAY TO FILL IT UP, BUT AFTER IT FILLED ABOUT 6 INCHES, ALL THE WATER IN THE WHOLE CHURCH RAN OUT. IT WAS KINDA A DISASTER TOO, BECAUSE THERE WAS A BIG ACTIVITY GOING ON AND EVERYONE WAS THIRSTY...BUT ANYWAYS WE PLANNED ON JUST HOPING THE WATER WOULD RETURN TO THE CHURCH AND WE COULD BAPTIZE HER SUNDAY MORNING AND SHE’D BE CONFIRMED DURING SACRAMENT MEETING, BUT AT 6:30AM WE RAN OVER TO THE CHAPEL, AND STILL... NOTHING. SO SHE ARRIVED TO BE BAPTIZED ALONG WITH HER FRIENDS IN THE WARD, INCLUDING A PRIEST, WILL, WHO WOULD BAPTIZE HER, BUT THE FONT WAS STILL ALMOST EMPTY.
THIS NEXT WEEK WE WILL HAVE A BAPTISM OF A GIRL IN THE WARD, ALANA. IT’S BEEN YEARS THAT SHE GOES TO CHURCH EVERY WEEK WITH HER GRAMMA AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY SHE WASN’T BAPTIZED BEFORE (SHE'S 10), BUT THAT WILL BE A GOOD EXPERIENCE. SHE WILL BE BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY AT THE CHURCH (IF THE WATER TURNS ON) BY HER UNCLE, WHO IS ALSO AN ACTIVE MEMBER.
WE'VE BEEN TEACHING A LOT THIS WEEK TOO. I THINK WE TAUGHT MORE LESSONS THAN I HAVE SINCE I WAS IN ALABAMA, SO IT IS GOOD TO BE WORKING HARD AND STAYING BUSY DOING THE LORD’S WORK.
IT IS REALLY GOOD TO HEAR THAT EVERYTHING WENT WELL [with Grampa's funeral in Provo]. AND I WILL KEEP GRAMMA IN MY PRAYERS.
ELDER NAGASE IS FROM SÃO PAULO ALSO, HES 1/4 JAPANESE, HAS GLASSES, AND LOST 17 KG ALREADY ON THE MISSION. HE HAS THE SAME TIME ON THE MISSION AS I DO, AND ELDER PRIETO. (ALMOST 8 MONTHS). HE’S GOT A MOM, AND, YUP, HE’S GOT A DAD TOO. HE’S EVEN GOT A SISTER WHO’S 20. HE’S 23 AND DECIDED TO COME ON A MISSION BECAUSE OF HIS PATRIARCHAL BLESSING, WHICH CHANGED MANY THINGS IN HIS LIFE. HE'S NOT TOO TALKATIVE, WE WALK SILENTLY A LOT, BUT AT LEAST IT’S NOT CUZ WE'RE ANGRY AT EACH OTHER OR ANYTHING. HE TEACHES WELL. HE SPEAKS ENGLISH FLUENTLY, BUT FOR SOME REASON WE NEVER SPEAK ENGLISH. I WOULDN’T EVEN KNOW HE IS FLUENT EXCEPT THAT WHEN I TALK ON THE PHONE WITH THE LD [district leader] OR LZ [zone leader] (AMERICANS), HE UNDERSTANDS EVERYTHING AND STARTS SPEAKING ENGLISH TO ME. HE WENT TO FLORIDA ONCE TO GIVE TRAINING FOR A BUSINESS THAT MAKES AIRPLANE PARTS. HE WAS SENIOR COMP AND DL BEFORE, SO IT’S NOT MUCH DIFFERENCE FOR ME BEING SENIOR, BECAUSE HE IS GOOD AT INITIATING CONVERSATION AND TEACHING TOGETHER AND STUFF TOO, BUT IT IS NICE TO KNOW THAT WHEN I WANT TO DO SOMETHING LIKE LEAVE THE HOUSE AT 10:30AM, WHICH IS A RULE THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE MISSION DOES NOT FOLLOW, I CAN TELL HIM “LET’S GO” AND THERE’S A LITTLE MORE AUTHORITY THERE. HAHA THAT SOUNDS WEIRD, BUT I THINK YOU GET WHAT I MEAN.
Cath wants to tell you that she loves and misses you, she sent you a letter awhile back, and she's also waiting for the letter you wrote to her around Christmas time. TELL [Cath] THAT I LOVE HER A LITTLE TOO, AND LOOK FORWARD ALWAYS TO RECEIVING MAIL FROM HER AND EVERYONE!
Lib also wants to tell you that she loves and misses you, but she hasn't sent you a letter...yet :) She prays for you every day, thinks about you a lot, and hopes you're doing well. AWWW, THANKS. SEND A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE TO HER FROM ME TOO.
Can't get Em's attention right now because she is reading a story about dinosaurs to Cameron [cousin's little boy], but I know she loves you and misses you and prays for you, too:) HAHA BY NOW CAMERON MUST BE CATCHING UP TO EMILY'S AGE RIGHT? SEEING AS SHE REMAINS 9 YEARS OLD AND HE'S LIKE 6 OR SOMETHING NOW. [family joke that Jon always refers to Emily as a 9-year-old]
I KNOW [I have a good family]. I THINK I ALREADY TOLD YOU, BUT SEEING SOME HORRIBLE FAMILY SITUATIONS HERE REALLY MAKES ME GRATEFUL. THANKS DAD, FOR NOT DRINKING. AND FOR ONLY SPANKING ME WHEN YOU HAD A GOOD REASON TO HIT ME HAHA. ONE THING THAT I'VE LEARNED AND KNOW NOW, FOR SURE, IS THAT LIVING THE COMMANDMENTS BRINGS REAL HAPPINESS.
THANK YOU AND I LOVE YOU ALL TOO. PEACE,