Well this was definitely an interesting and exciting week, full of new experiences and lots of fireworks!
On Tuesday we got to meet our trainees. Mine is named Elder Monteiro! He is from the interior of São Paulo so is serving basically at home, it´s a 4 hour drive to his house from here. He is really cool. I was worried about who I would be training because if it was an american he would not understand anything, but if he was brasilian he would probably be proud and hard to teach. Luckily Elder Monteiro speaks portuguese and is super humble. He almost couldn´t serve a mission because of an intestinal problem he has, but he did everything he could to get it under control and he is so grateful to be on the mission. So now all I have to do is help him have spiritual experiences that will mold him into the best missionary ever!
We got to the area and the whole week we pretty much just ran around trying to get to know all the investigators which was a little difficult considering the fact that my companion was so wide-eyed at district meeting that he forgot the Area Book in the other area and we won´t get it till tomorrow. It seems like most of the people they were teaching are way long term investigators that really can´t be baptized at the moment.
The old elders did leave us a christmas/new year´s present though! Nayara! Nayara is a young woman who was completely prepared for baptism when we got here and this Saturday on new year´s ever she was baptized! Her entire non-member family went and loved the baptism. She has a little brother that has already been to church and her mom said she wants to be baptized too but the parents need to get married.
So let me explain a little bit about my area Itapecerica I. My area is the outskirts of 3 cities. We live on a three way border with the city of São Paulo, Embu das Artes (where I stayed last week) and the city of Itapecerica da Serra. From what I can tell the area has really good members because after we both spoke on Sunday we were attacked and marked a ton of family home evenings to get to know a bunch of referrals that all the members have for us. It´s kind of lower class mixed with middle class so it doesn´t seem too dangerous. There are parts of the area that are just green but the parts were we work are just concrete and brick.
New Year´s was a blast, literally. Our house here has an enormous window that looks out on the ghetto and it really felt like I was in Iraq. It was impossible to sleep because of all the fireworks. They started around 6 and went the whole night long! We just sat in bed watching it all from our house as a bunch of little punks tried throwing bombs into our window. Midnight was insane! The whole city just lit up and it was non-stop for 10 minutes! Their was so much smoke in the air by the end that you couldn´t even see the other side of the street, just the multi-colored burts going on overhead.
So I´m still a little dazed and confused with the whole opening the area thing but things are under pretty good control and I am pumped to have an amazing week. This morning I had to teach Elder Monteiro how to wash his clothes and how to us a gas stove... patience is definitely a virtue.
Peace and Love,