Tudo bem com vocês? Well my first Christmas away from home came and went like a trunky snowball. But let´s talk about the week first.
I´m still getting used to my new area Parelheiros and my new companion Elder Alves de Oliveira. Parelheiros is literally the last area before you leave the city. It is huge (bummer) and green (which I like). We live right next to a health post and the train station so we move around pretty well. We spend a ton of time on the bus getting from one place to another so the style of work is way different than it was back in Grajaú. Elder Alves de Oliveira is pretty interesting. He has almost a year and a half and he turned senior this transfer so we´re still trying to figure out how our companionship is going to work.
Here in Parelheiros we have no one close to baptism and our group of investigators is really small so we are working really hard to get into peoples houses and start teaching them. We are knocking a lot of doors right now. We started teaching a man named Antionio last week and when we went to follow up with him he had already read 80 pages in the Book of Mormon (say wha!?!) and was asking questions about temple marraige so let´s hope he keeps it up! We´re finding good people so we just need time to cultivate our garden of seedlings.
Christmas here was way wierd! Down here the concept of the family doesn´t really exist outside the Church so Natal (Christmas) is pretty much another excuse to set off fireworks and get drunk. We spent a big chunk of Christmas eve caroling to find new people and spread some Christmas cheer. It was way successful! The secretaties called and said my package arrived too! At night I taught Elder Alves de Oliveira "Jingle Bell Rock". Unfortunatley he hasn´t stopped singing it since! haha!
Pres. Jackson gave us an extra P-day on Christmas day so we took things slow. We had a big churrasco with a member family in their dirt house and it was a blast! Then we went to another member´s house to call our families. It was awesome to talk to my family and hear their voices after six months. Doesn´t seem like much has changed back there. The best part was when mom answered the phone and screamed when I said, "Hi mom!" haha I almost cried!
Sunday was way interesting too. First, one of my favorite irmas from my old area showed up in our ward so I got to talk to her for a bit. Then during Principles of the Gospel two young men walked in and Elder Oliveira got way nervous. He whispered to me, "I can´t belive my brothers are here." His brothers! They tracted him down! After church they gave him a huge Christmas package full of candy. It was way weird and way against the rules, but Elder Oliveira didn´t solite it so I´m not holding him at fault.
Right now I´m on a division in Embu-Guaçu with Elder Mello. This is the interior (country) and it feels completely different than the city. I really like it.
Anyway, that´s that. I hope everything is going well for my friends and family back in the United States and abroad. I love you all! Don´t forget to write me! haha!
Elder MacLane Taggart