Dear family and friends,
No, we aren't allowed to watch the games and we have to stay inside during the craziness that goes on outside. Brasil won their first game against Croatia 3-1 and everytime we hear a huge group of fire works and Brasilians screaming on the street yelling GOOOOOOOOOOOOOL, we know that Brasil has kicked another into the goal. We have just been chilling at home listening to church music and writing letters. I've been getting back to speed with my letter writing. I hope to write a bunch more during the upcoming games.
For the PA crowd
I got really sad when I heard the news of Ron LaMar's passing.(middle school music director) I remember all of the funny jokes and the passion he had for musical education. Not just for performing but for teaching others to be better in their art. He had a big heart and made jazz music cool. He was the band teacher that accompanied the band when we played a mo-town hit, on the bass or drum set. A true musician. I know where he is, and I know that he helped many teenage kids become better performers and citizens.
The New Elders
Oh yeah, we also got another set of missionaries in our ward that'll be living with us. Woo! só festa during the games. Their names are Elder Tavares and Elder Lee. Both are Brasilians so that´ll help out Elder Gale with his Português. It should be an awesome support for him and the ward, too. The ward is really needing some missionary work excitement. A lot of people were baptized 8-12 months ago and the majority of them have fallen away, so we have been on a hunt to bring them back. Last Sunday the Lord recognized our effort to bring the lost sheep back to the fold and we were blessed to bring 5 members back to the chapel to feel the spirit of the Lord. Many of them said that they needed the reinforcement and spirit of the Lord to overcome their challenges throughout the week. Well, that is exactly what the sacrament does folks:) The grace of God is given to those who humble themselves and hope for a better world. They hope by changing their old ways . Hope and Faith are action words that many people only see as nouns. I wish the word faith could be a verb. Like -- "I´m faithing it right now." Or, "He seriously faithed that choice." Hope already is a verb but the word faith needs some more. When I make up words like "he faithed it," I always imagine saying it with a super beach-like tone. and then saying the word "righteous" just like Crush does in Finding Nemo.
When I went to go pick up the new missionaries at the mission office I noticed that there are some strange (and loud) social norms here. 1st -- it's not okay to talk to anyone on the bus. It's kinda like an elevator situation. 2nd -- there is always a loud girl that talks to much about her personal life. She must think we have no idea what she is saying. 3rd -- if you look into someone's eyes on the bus they look away and turn their backs. Welcome to Curitiba, folks.
I feel so grateful to work with such driven missionaries. Missionaries that know how to joke, laugh, but most importantly work. And I mean work hard. As time goes on I feel the urge to bring myself to new levels. As a missionaries speaking another language its easy to plateau by saying to myself, "well, everyone understands me and gets what I am trying to say, so I'm going to stop studying and examining the português language." Or "well, I can work pretty well and I meet the goals that I made so I'm doing pretty well." No way José. I've been blessed with many difficulties on the mission. My mission hasn´t been the easiest or even what I thought it was going to be. I could surely say that I have had my fair share of tough areas or companions but I actually want more. I want to reach my potential. I don't want to reach what I feel is good, comfortable or acceptable. I want to prepare myself for life. Like I always say to my comps, the mission is like a life course. And you can completely fail it if you don't pay attention and if you let the time fly by. The time flies and it is so easy to zone out and relax, forgetting all that I have promised in the pre-earth life. I promised to be a representative of Christ. What does that word mean to you? Representative? For me it signifies that we must to do everything in our reach to make our lives equal to that of our supporter, the Savior. Many people don't receive answers to their wanted prayers because they don't search with all their might and energy. This also is related to our lives. We usually don't accomplish our goals if we don't get in there and try. Our biggest enemy is us. Our time will always be fixed. The deciding factor is what we do to the make the most with our time. I´ll share a little bit from the letter I recently wrote my mom:
"I am so grateful that I had the privilege to be born into a family with goodly parents. In the pre-earth life we lived and spoke to each other. We wanted to help each other progress. In D&C 138 it says we received our first lessons before we were born so that we could fulfill our potential here on earth. Isn't it good to know we weren't the classroom clowns that disrupted the class? I think if we had been we wouldn't be together here on the earth."
I honestly think that way. We can chose to fulfill our missions here on the earth or not. We all studied. It's just that we forget to re-study and put into practice what we learned.
Lots and lots of love is coming your way.
p.s. When you feel frustrated, get on your knees and ask God what can be done to be happy. He´ll give you the answer you need. And if you're frustrated look back at your prior choices and think, "how could I have chosen better?" There is always a right and wrong choice. Never a best-better- bad spectrum.