Wow that was very nice of Pam's family and Dirk to come to Ben's farewell!
About the food-we avoid the breads, we only have rice sometimes & we rarely have desserts. We have half our plate with salad then meat & fruit. No dressing, just lemon juice, cilantro & a little olive oil. I don't have cheese ever casue I'm allergic. The best purchase I've ever made since being here was the 8 dollar peanut butter I splurged on. Now for breakfast, we have an apple & banana with peanut butter.
It's been pretty chilly here plus the boys love the room at 17c so it's a constant battle for the AC box.
I DID get my camera and debit card. THANK YOU!! The pictures on the camera were great. It was just like I was driving down the street! Thanks for doing that Ben! The Brazilians are amazed at how calm our roads are. Loved the note too & the awesome story. And I actually will (i have faith he'll come) be able to hug Ben. This CTM is very small and everyone knows everyone. Most people know I'm waiting for him and I asked the President, so yeah! :)
I truly feel so overwhelmed with gratitude for the family I have been blessed with. Kris, you hot pregnant mama!! I hope you are feeling better this time around! It killed me the stories of Anya. I love them. And she still remembers me!! YAY!!!! Is she asking for Ben? Say hi to Blaine. Love you. Angie, you are so brilliant. Why didn't I think of that before since there are no high fives here? I think the first person I'll try it on is the President. "President....Butt five!" He'll love that. His wife too I bet. Maybe I should get them both at once while they are walking next to each other. Jersey shore spinoff? Yuck. Team Delemona.... wrong. But you get it :) I have the same comp the whole time, but we get along so well, so it's okay :) Love the Anya sneak sneak sneak. I can just see it. I bet Jason loves that. Love you. Jani, I love you and thanks for the letter. I'm glad you are learning things and feeling the spirit. Dad, that is crazy about the storms! Probably from hurricane Sandy. I'm sorry it's your busy time. About the gang wars-I hadn't heard but about five or six a.m. one morning it's rumored that there was a gang shooting outside of the CTM. I heard 3 shots and a car screech. Yes, Keep track of movies, but no R rated ones :) I actually don't miss facebook or phone except for being able to see pics & talk to my friends. The language is slowly coming. Love you Ma. I can just imagine Ben playing the drums with all the little kids around him. I miss him. Prayin he comes. Dad-Look up the Brazil national anthem. Sweet. Kris-One elder has gained 30 pounds here. Crazy.
Now for the Main course.
Okay, I can't hold it in any longer! Sister Caldwell & I have kept it a secret for days! We talk to one of the Old missionaries here cause he's awesome & works at the MTC and it's his 3rd mission in Brazil. He might try to sneak us in some pizza because I guess outside of the CTM Sao Paulo is known to have better pizza than Italy of anywhere else. The pizza in the CTM is poo poo. But the pizza places open at 7 p.m.! Anyway, that's our secret :):)
I heard 20 states petitioned to succeed form the Union? Only to send a message to the Federal Government, but still kinda big. Our Brazillian roommates left this week :( We all cried. Sister Caldwell & I only a little. It was mostly one Brazillian....We took them in the stairwell (it has nice acoustics) and sang the portugese "God be with you til we meet again" and harmonized. I must say it was a beautiful and very sad experience. We did another English fast & it was easier.
I've been sick & it's something that's been going around. I'm better now, but it was bad so I snuffed (like a druggie, aren't you proud ma?) some salt water. The directions say "for a moment you will feel like you are drowning but that will pass" It felt like I had breathed in the ocean ha. It worked though! Also Sister Caldwell gags every time she brushes her teeth. It's hilarious. She wrote to her man and challenged him to read the Book of Mormon. I'm so proud of her!
Our instructor Armazon told us that some Elders in his district sang a hymn once for an investigator who wasn't progressing or keeping commitments. They started to sing & she began to weep. When they were finished she said she had a dream that angels were singing to her (a while ago). She said it was so real and beautiful. She couldn't remember the words, only the melody and that was the hymn the Elders had sung.
Sister Caldwell and I have a new record. We have had our own room for 24 hours! We got new Brazillians. They're cool but they talk much faster. Also one of them smells. Like gasoline perfume. Every time we walk in the room it's really bad. Really.
Steven, Tressa and Ben will understand this. I made my frog throat noise for Sister Caldwell and she had me do it in class. It was a good one. Everybody was laughing really hard and my instructor dropped his board marker and leaned on the white board he was laughing so hard. Oh my many talents. I literally spill on myself every meal. I have a little pile of food on my lap when I'm done. It's wierd. Good thing I have Tide-to-go! Sister Caldwell and I like to visit the bathroom often to char and we also like singing in there. Our Elders call it "the portal" because they are sure that it transports us somewhere magical.
Okay so there's this kid. Skinny White ginger kid named Elder Whittaker who Sister Caldwell and I love. I'd even venture to say he's my favorite American Elder. he bunny hops up the stairs, sings to himself constantly, does little dance moves randomly and it's just......amazing. I took a volleyball to the face yesterday. Nice. Still love it. Still suck at it.
Now for dessert.
Our area President, Elder Costa came and gave a devotional on wed. He was converted when he was 28 years old. Since he was 18 his family were members but he didn't want it. He moved home for a while waiting to move somewhere for school & his father was the ward mission leader. So he had missionaries in his house all the time. he said lots of missionaries tried to convert him but he said no. He said one day two sisters werre in his home teaching a woman about the first vision. Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. he was in the next room eating dinner and heard what they said. The sisters had left a Book of Mormon on the table so he went in his room, locked the door, and all night would read a paragraph, kneel and pray to know if it was true. Repeated for 14 hours until he had finished. He went to the sisters house and sat on the porch for hours until they returned home form lunch. They approached & he said "I read the book, I KNOW it is true and I want to baptized today. The sisters said "you can't today. We have 7 lessons to teach you and you have to go to church." Is was saturday. He said, "let's go to church now, you can teach me all the lessons today and I will be baptized. I can't wait another moment. I must be baptized TODAY" The sisters said "you can't for at least a week, there is too much to do!" He said long story short, I was baptized the next day. He siad, the first day I stepped into a Church was the same day I was baptized. Elder Costa talked about the importance of opening our mouths. The Lord needs missionaries to open their mouths. Use the 3 hours of church to connect with members, gain trust, build relationships and get referrals. Don't just "go to church".
Elder Costa shared that he opened the Manaus misison and was a president there. There was a missionary that had at LEAST a baptism a week. He was excellent and nobody knew how. (before preach my gospel and cell phones) President Costa got a call from a man in his stake. he said "my brother lives in a small village in the area of Manaus mission. You haven't opened the mission area yet, but my brother really wants to be baptized. He has every manual and literature of the Church there is and for the last 3 years he has waited to be baptized. president called the area 70 and they got permission to send 2 missionaries there to baptize that man only & then return to the mission. They hadn't opened that area yet. So the excellent missionary was sent. he wasn't too happy becasue he was preparing 20 people for a baptism meeting. But he went. The president didn't hear from them for 2 weeks. he thought they had been eaten by a Croc on the boat ride. Finally one of the missionaries borrowed a phoen and called the President. The man they went down to baptize had been going door to door for the last 3 years preaching the gospel every day. He said, "President, tonight we are teaching a group of over 140 people and we are baptizing 38 tomorrow." That's a branch. The President went down to the area. On the boat ride he made friends with the man he sat next to. When he arrived he decided they needed to build a meeting house. So the President was taken to the nearest lumber store and it was his friend from the boat that was the owner! He drew up a chapel and the man said he could get all the wood he needed for this for 5,000.00. The President called the area president and explained the situation. They were given 10,000.00 for the project. The missionaries president and the new members worked together to build a big beautiful meeting house. The Lord needs missionaries and members who open their mouths. that same day, Sister Caldwell and I were fasting for her boyfriend & we watched the first vision. The spirit was SO strong all day!
HaHa today the Branch President met with us and shared with us the report of the week form the teachers. He said "it says here everyone needs to take more notes....execpt Sister Green. She just needs to de-stress" LOL I don't want to miss anything, so I take a ton of notes! It was said in a very nice way. :)
If Ben comes, send Peanut Butter! Sister Caldwell is almost out & requests it. It's real pricey here.
To end on a good note, Elder Whittaker. In this weeks TRC his group were "Investigators" again & we watched the video. Everyone in his group took their shoes off except for him. One companion asked "Elder Whittaker, why don't you take your shoes off?" E. Whittaker pauses for a moment...then says, "because if a man came through that window (points) I'd be the only one that could defend us & kick him". We laughed so hard!
All of our roomies are reading the Portugese Book of Mormon every night. (erica draws stick figures of all the girls in the room then says) Wow... I'm so good at drawing, I can't even take it.....NOT.
I'm still selfishly praying Ben will come. It's holiday again today so most stores are closed. Brazil sure loves their holidays!
I was talking to one of our Brazilian roommates and was talking about how I had to fight not to cry when Anya was blowing me kisses at the airport. She just said, that I left little Anya so that other little Anya's can go to primary & the temple & know God loves them. She was crying. It warmed me up inside. I was asked to translate a conversion story in R.S. on sunday. It's so amazing, most of the Brazilians are converts, or their parents were. People with so much faith.
Love you all and a HUGE thanks for the emails/letters! They really are like GOLD!
P.S. This thanksgiving I am thankful for my family and friends. I have never felt so loved being so far away. I am grateful for the gospel & the peace & love it brings into people's hearts. I'm grateful for my friends, new & old who can make me laugh. Some from this far away! I feel so blessed to have the people in my life that I do. I love the gospel, my Father in Heaven, and you all!
NOW I'm done :)