Hello again from the city of São Paulo! This week flew by and was really interesting. São Paulo is going through a cold wave right now. It´s staying around 60 degrees everyday which is really odd for this time of year because it is still summer down here. It´s been raining a lot also and I haven´t had to use sunscreen because there hasn´t been blue sky in over a week. The chilly weather is prompting everyone to make us tea and I gotta say that I have really developed a liking for the herbal pick me up. They add a ton of sugar so it´s always sweet and there are a million different flavors. Today I had rose tea! It was bright pink and so good!
Anyway we started the week off with district meeting on Tuesday and after the meeting we did an exchange with the Elders of area Horizonte Azul (Blue Horizon). Elder Amauri da Silva is one of the district leaders that I follow up with as part of my zone leader responsibilities. I went to their area while Elder D. Silva stayed in Aracatí with Elder Mota. It was a great exchange. We didn´t have lunch so Elder Amauri made lunch but in the middle of cooking our propane ran out so we had to carry the empty tank to the nearest trade station and carry the full tank back to their house before we could finish cooking. We visited their baptisimal candidates and the visits were kind of crazy. We taught a woman about the word of wisdom and she said that if God himself appeared and told her to stop drinking coffee she wouldn´t! Sometimes you just want to yell at people (and some elders do), but that´s not the way I like to work.
We undid the exchange but went right into another with the Elders of Riviera Paulista. Elder D. Silva went with Elder Nunes to their area and I stayed with Elder Lima. It´s Elder Lima´s second transfer but he is already an awesome missionary. I almost got lost a few times in Aracatí but we managed to make a few good visits.
President Jackson had last minute zone trainings so we headed to Ferreira (mission headquarters) to undo the exchange and have the meeting. We had no idea what it was going to be but it basically turned into a movie day. We watched 'The District 2' again and then discussed what we learned from the film. It was great.
Friday and Saturday was our time to really buckle down and work in the area. We have an incredible woman marked for baptism this week. Her name is Neuçi and her daughter is Gabriella. She is elect, elect, elect! The first time we visited her she asked us to pray with her to get a job and the next day she was called to be a cleaning woman. The downside was that it was way difficult to find her at home because of her new job. We finally got a chance to visiter her Saturday night to teach her the word of wisdom and she was already living it! She doesn´t work on Sundays so she´ll be able to go to church every week. We miraculously made a contact with her sister Alice in the street and Neuçi had already invited her to church!
Sunday was pretty good. We had 9 people in the chapel! It was so close to our goal of 10! But what can you do? People have their agency to do what is right and go to church or to stay in bed and get some extra sleep. Honestly, both options sound great. haha! But seriously, GO TO CHURCH! In the afternoon we visited Neuçi, Gabriella, and Alice and they made us a cake and, of course, tea. This week we´re going to have to visit Neuçi really early in the morning before she goes to work to finish up all the lessons before baptism. At night, Pres. Jackson gave a fireside at one of the wards in our zone so we got most of the missionaries together to sing 'Faith In Every Footstep' for the closing hymn. Sis. Jackson played the piano and Pres. Jackson´s sister who´s visiting the mission played the violin. It turned out really good.
Today is P-day and this morning we got together with some of the Elders in our zone and played Uno for a few hours. They have a ton of crazy brasilian rules which make things a lot more interesting. For example, the person that loses has to drink a liter of water and you have to keep playing until someone throws up. Luckily we didn´t have time to go that long and I was pretty close to breaking. And now I´m here in the Lan House writing to all of you.
I hope this week brings lots of blessings and opportunities to learn and grow for you all. I know that God answers prayers and that no effort is vain. Please keep the prayers coming (and also a few letters).
Elder MacLane Taggart