Thanks to all of you for all of the continued support during these last two years. I have felt your love and your prayers. I would especially like to thank my Mom for keeping up my blog all this time and doing so much behind the scenes work so that my life will be in gear next week.
As this is my last week sending email to you all, I wanted to do a big ole wrap up email and talk about my mission as a whole. I think it'll be something cool to cap off the blog with. So let's go.
All in all, I served in 6 areas spread out across 5 different cities, from start to finish being Itajubá, Valinhos, Barão Geraldo, Itatiba, Colônia, and Parque da Represa. The last two areas are within Jundiaí, so I basically came here 7 months back and never left. It's a good place though, so I'm good. My favorite area was Colônia.
I had 13 companions in total. In order, they were, Elder Miranda, Elder Cruz, Elder Mancilla, Elder Azambuja, Elder Costa, Elder Mauricio, Elder Leandro, Elder Oliveira, Elder Larkins, Elder Moraes, Elder Azcarate, Elder Tavares, and Elder Bezerra. I trained 2 (Mauricio and Oliveira) and killed 2 (Moraes and Tavares).
I served as a new missionary for 2 transfers, Junior for 2 transfers, District Leader for 2 transfers, Senior for 1 transfer, Trainer for 2 transfers, Senior for 1 transfer, Trainer for 1 transfer, and then Zone Leader for 5 transfers.
I got 4 zone t-shirts after all is said and done. And they are almost all blue. Yay blue! The color of baptism!
I started the mission off at about 250. I'm now weighing in at 213. So that's some pretty crazy weight loss. I lost a lot of muscle, I'm sure, but I'm still pretty swole, so we'll see where that goes in the gym later this week.
I don't like to say the number of people I baptized, so let's just say that I baptized all of them. All of the people that the Lord prepared for me.
The worst food I ate was sarapatel, or maybe caldo de mocotó. Sarapatel is chunks of intestine with blood still stuck to them. Ewww. And Caldo de Mocotó is a soop made out of cow ankles. Also eww. Both of these gave me really bad diareaha too. Good times.
The best food was the churrasco, or Brazilian BBQ. I also enjoyed the many varieties of fruits that they have here.
My favorite member of all is Fabio Monteiro, our ward mission leader here in Parque da Represa. He's an awesome guy. Honorable mention goes to Marinho in Barão Geraldo, and Gabriel in Itajubá. They were both really helpful too.
As Paul said in his letter to Timothy "For I am now ready to be offered, the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
Here in Brazil I have had the chance to come to know the culture and the history of this great people. Before coming here, I knew just about nothing about Brazil. Now I know a whole lot. I have really come to love this people. They are quick to laugh, and slow to anger, and they have a deep-seated love for God. I have had the opportunity to teach them in their homes, in their churches, at their bus stops, on their busses, in their squares, in their supermarkets, and in many other places throughout these 2 years. I have truly come to love this land and this people. They are a part of my life now.
I am very grateful for this chance that I have had to pass 2 years in the Lord's service. I have seen many miracles and huge blessings come to me because of my service here. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I feel that now, I have come to fully understand and support my beliefs. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I know that He guides his church today. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God lives. He loves us. He cares for each one of us. I know that the Gospel changes lives. I know that if we persevere until the end, we can become even as He is. I am so thankful for the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the chance we have to be better each day. We may not always understand God's reasons, but there is a plan for us. I leave this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ.