Letter from 9-22-08
Success is the ability to go from one failure to the next with no loss in enthusiasm-
Have I got a lot to tell - this week was jam packed with excitement and awesome adventure, which is almost always accompanied with super miracles. I guess miracle number one is that I was able to get through all of this week, with tons of blessings too.
Let me see, I guess I will start with Monday, last week:
We got home from the internet and grocery store, and to our great surprise, our tanque broke. (tanquinha is like a tiny washing machine, that really has the same function as a plastic box. In other words, it keeps the clothes wet!). Anyway it broke and all of the water fell on our neighbors downstairs (again- this isn’t the first time) well they were understandably ticked and so they were yelling at us for some time and then we had to clean it all up. Water EVERYWHERE, including our house. So that was fun. Then we left the house and looked all over the place to find someone to teach. We found a guy that let us in, but he was kind of crazy. At the end of the first vision, right where we asked him to pray to know if it was true, he asked what we knew about the hunch back of Norte Dame. He said the he saw the movie on tv and he wanted to know if it was real too. I was kind of stumped and my companion started laughing. The day had been so frustrating, and this guy was asking wacky questions. So we said a prayer and left his house. I think that we taught some other people too that night, which was good, because the Lord was blessing us by letting us get into more houses to at least teach. Then that night, right before closing time, 10:30(we have to be in bed and sleeping at 10:30 ), so maybe at 10:25, I got a call from the assistants telling me that I had to buy/prepare breakfast for 3 zones the next day for zone conference. He told me that it had to be ready at 8 AM and that I had a cap of 150$ to spend, and I would be reimbursed. I told him that I had no more that 80$ and my companion had 10. He told me good luck and good night. I called one of my district leaders at 10:28 and told him and his companion to meet me at the chapel the next day at 7 AM with all the money that they had. I went to sleep that night with a feeling that I would be running around like crazy the next day.
So the next day was ridiculous. I woke up an hour early and ran like crazy to buy breakfast for everyone. In the end we spent about 140$ on food and plates and stuff. We got it all ready about 8 AM, and the only complaint that Sister Bezerra had for me was that I didn’t bring any table cloths. :-) In the end we had a great conference. These days the zone leaders don’t do much at zone conference, so we don’t have to do trainings there anymore. We learned about the importance of knowledge and using the scriptures. I really learned a bunch about how I can teach more effectively. That night we went to work. We taught a few people and some other people threw beer on us. Once again, we were so tired that we started laughing afterward.
We did a division with some missionaries on the other side of the zone (realengo). We spent literally ALL of our money the day before, so we searched the house for change and got together enough for the bus ride out there. We got our there and I stayed there with elder thiago. I didn’t have any money, so he had to buy me lunch. We worked there the whole day and had a good time learning one from another. But we sure walked a lot that day. By the time to go home, I was exhausted.
That morning I woke up and studied with elder thiago. He is the DL there in realengo. About 10am one of the missionaries in his district called him saying that he and his companion were fighting and he wanted to go home. Elder thiago didn’t know what to do so he handed the phone to me. I ended up talking with the elder for an hour, calming him down and reading scriptures with him. Then I talked with his companion to see how I could help. When I was down with them it was 11:30 and we were behind our schedule already. We left, and I called my companion and he told me that they were going to lunch in my area and to eat with them in realengo. But we didn’t have any money. No money for a bus OR a lunch. Turns out that elder thiago spent all of his money on lunch the day before. Elder andre and the other missionary didn’t have money either to come and get us so we ended up walking back to my area. We walked for about 2 hours, about 7 miles to my area. When we got there we un-traded companions, and I went back to work in my area. We couldn’t go back to my house for a while because there was a little war going on close to our house with the police fighting the drug gangs. Another wild day. By the end of the day I was TOTALLY beat, and we went to sleep listening to the little wars going on in the favelas on the other side of the mountain. I found out later that they killed one policeman, and several gangsters. It was pretty scary actually. Luckily, it didn’t happen in MY area. In happened in the ward on the other side of my area.
Was awesome, we started bringing in the blessings. Found some new families to teach, and met a lot of really neat people. The weird part about Friday was that it was a “pee-day” in other words, I don’t think that I have ever seen so many people peeing in public in one day. Men, women, and children. In really public places too. The side walk, public squares, train station and bus stops. To top it off, we were in the bank at night getting our allowance, when the old man at the ATM next to me peed his pants. I don’t know if he was drunk or high or just plain old, but it sure was weird. After a day full of public pee-ers this guy got pee on my shoes.
Another great day. The only funny thing happened at night, when we ran into a crazy guy that I had taught one time. He is really big and strong, but because he has some kind of mental problem, he is really slow, and doesn’t know his own strength. (think about that guy from ‘of mice and men’) anyway, he sees me and comes up to say hi. He grabbed my hand in a friendly hand shake and, you know how some times people pat your hand? Well, he slapped it. HARD. Then he looked to my new companion and grabbed me and said, “this is a good man” and then, you know how sometimes when people give a half hug and pat the other on the chest? He POUNDED me in the chest several times. Literally knocked the air out of me. Elder andré thought it was funny, because it is plain to see that the guy didn’t want to hurt me, but show that he liked me. We talked with him a minute or two, and then said good bye. I, instinctively, went to shake his hand again. You know what he did? That same thing again. Slapped my hand really hard and then pounded me on the chest saying that I was a good man. He tried to grab elder andre but elder andre ducked out of the slaps on the chest. It was really funny.
Boy was I thankful for Sunday, church was good, but some of our investigators didn’t go, so I was kind of sad. Actually, it rained that day so almost NO one went to church. And to top it off, it was ward conference. The bishop was kind of sad too I think that no one went to church. There were only like 55 people there when it is normally about 80 to 90. Sunday night was really good. We found a new investigator that was so excited about the book of mormon.
Alyce- good luck with the tests. I sure am glad I don’t have very many of those these days.
Mom-sorry, I can’t answer all of the questions today, BUT know that the spirit guides us EVERYDAY. Let’s try THIS address, or look on THAT, street, and then we find people to teach in those places. When I teach, the words, scriptures and questions flow out of my mouth with a kind of clarity that doesn’t come in the practices. In study, I find awesome scripture that answer my questions, the questions of my investigators, or let me feel my Father’s love for me. It is a great time to me a missionary. A time of harvest.
Dad- love yuh, keep busy, that is best.
Well that is about it. NOW I am out of time, OK?
Love elder helland