This week was a great one to say the least. Elder Bastos and I have had a great run here in Osternack...and it is not over. I forgot to inform you that we both stayed here in the beautiful area of Osternack during transfers. The work still continues with the same elders. The funny thing about it is, I am pretty sure we have stopped almost everyone who lives in Osternack on the street. It is starting to get really difficult finding people that don't say, "Dude, you've already talked to me twice...in this same spot." It is slightly embarrassing, but the good thing is we talk to a lot of people each week.
Speaking of talking to people, everyone that Elder Bastos talks to thinks he's an Americano. "What part of the United States are you from?" He gets that one a lot. They say he has an American sounding accent. I don't hear it. I have a perfect picture of his face when people say this to him. But the sad thing is I forgot my camera adapter for the computer. So next week you'll see his slightly annoyed Brasilian Face. You have to cut him a little slack, though because he has been living with Americans for about four months.
Translating from Portuguese to English.
My Journal these days is a little atrocious. There are so many words crossed out because I accidentally wrote in Portuguese or I forgot how to spell in English. I have to consult my dictionary a lot to find if certain words exist in English. I like it and I don't like it. It is a weird feeling when you can't speak your native tongue very well. But the good thing is, I don't need to speak English with anyone here. Except for our Bishop. He speaks English fluently so we have some fun in between sunday school.
Sad news. A lot of our dates for Baptism have fallen through for one reason or another. So a couple of people I wrote about aren't exactly keeping with the path to Baptism. But, really it is a part of missionary work. Honestly, missionary work is easy because of the blessings that you receive but the hardest part is respecting the free agency that Heavenly Father gave us a long, long time ago. Misha Tulek, photographer, debonair gentleman, and great friend of mine, gave me a great piece of advice before I left for the field. "Conserve your happiness. At times it may seem like there is none left, but find it." There is really no time to get down and out here in Osternack because we are constantly on the move from apartment to favela, but there are times when the enemy can get to you. Something that I learned that I will always keep with me for the rest of my life is to always remember my divine inheritance. For everyone who thinks that their potential is less than their fellow man, I'm sorry but you are terribly wrong. We are all children of our Heavenly Father and we all have the same objective: to live with Him again forever! In complete and eternal happiness. I see a lot of people living in boxes, with the dogs on the street and many of them seem like they have no chance. But how can we help them?Love them and love them some more. Be a good Samaritan and see others in their full potential. All in white with a wide smiling face. We have agency, too, you know! We have a knowledge that so few people have. So why not share it? You don't need to send the missionaries at first for every situation. Just share how your life is different because of the gospel. Even if it is a few sentences I know that it will touch their heart. They will recognize that you are sharing with them this divine knowledge only because you love them. Loooooove, love, love. The Beatles sang it well.
The mission forces you to leave your comfort zone. Especially if you are speaking a foreign language. Elder Bastos, the Ward Mission Leader and I hosted a ward fireside. It was legit. We shared a message of the Atonement of Christ. I shared an example that I learned from our District leader: placing food coloring in a water-filled transparent container and then placing água sanitário (i don't know what it is in English, sorry) and the water returns to its pure original state. Isaiah 1:18 was an awesome scripture to read while the experiment took place. But I was able to speak for a solid 10 minutes in Portuguese and have people understand me. Half the things I said I don't remember but I know they made sense. It took a lot of faith. But God only works through us by our faith. We can produce miracles great and small even when all we can muster is a desire to believe (Alma 32).
Next week I promise pictures. Fui minha mal. I am shooting my imaginary love gun to everyone at home. Feel it and stay sweet.