Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16th - Working hard and Walking hard

I was going to call this post "The Burger Miracle" but I decided to use Ben's title instead. He seems to be doing really well and we are so glad to hear it!

Hello My Beloved Friends and Family,

Thanks once again for all of your well wishes and prayers. I love you guys, I love reading your emails, and it´s definitely good to hear that everything´s going well back home. As for Dad´s question "Why do you have to spend so much on bus fares" We live really far away from our district center, 1.5 hours or 22 reals one way by bus. We can file reimbursements for Zone Meetings, Interviews with the President, etc, but the reimbursements take a while to activate and we can only file them at certain times each month. We also receive a huge additional amount of cash at the beginning of each transfer to help with bus fares, so in the end, it works out almost exactly and we get the same amount everyone else gets, but I´ve got a bunch of reals tied up in bus tickets that I have to file a reimbursement for. Thus, I don´t have a whole lot of liquid cash, but I´ve got everything figured out now and money is less tight. Also, in the picture last week, Gabriel is the local guy in the background with the Pizza, and my companion has the juice. Just for reference.

It´s also good to hear that you guys got some snow. It´s pretty quente (hot) here, but this week´s supposed to be rainier and colder, which is some darn good news in my book. I hope Dave get´s better fast, being sick sucks! I still haven´t got the package, but we have interviews with the President this week, so maybe we´ll get mail then? IDK. Also, yes, the relatives have to send everything to the mission home, it´s a rule here in Brazil, I´ve heard that they have really stringent customs policies. I will get the letters, and eventually I´ll have a night where I open them all at once or something similar. 

As for my life, things are going good. It was another long week, with an absolutely absurd amount of walking, but I´m getting pretty darn good at it. My companion walks really fast, but I´ve got longer legs, so pretty soon, I´ll overtake him. Last week Pday we climbed up a high mountain and I took a picture of all of Itajubá that I have included here.

I also tried the Açai berry thing that´s really popular here and it was awesome. We had a couple of crazy experiences this week, so I´ll share them. Basically every missionary here in Brazil works straight through the dinner hour, so we don´t eat dinner usually until really late, and even then, not a whole lot. We´ve been eating more this week because we´ve been working a lot with Rodrigo (pic included), a 20 year old local guy who´s preparing to go on a mission himself. This has upsides and downsides. He knows what seems like everyone around here, so he´s useful for finding people to teach, and his mother helps make sure that we have food here at nights, but at the same time, he lives in Cruzeiro, a location 30 minutes away from our house that´s probably 500+ feet higher than the rest of the town. As a result, I´ve been climbing hills a lot. He´s good to have around though, and a big help.

One day this week, I was way hungrier than normal for some reason, and was praying a bit that I´d find some help. Then Elder Gomes/Miranda started having really bad stomach pains. We took him to a member´s house, and while there, his pain got even worse. At this point, we were worried about his appendix. We called the Branch President to take us to the hospital, but when he got there, he said "I´ve got another idea I´d like to try first". Then he took us to a burger restaurant and bought us giant burgers with bacon, chicken, lettuce, tomato, and even corn on them. It was incredible. Within about 20 minutes after eating, my companion´s pain lessened, and then we went home and slept, and the next morning, things were right as rain. I also got to listen to "Human" in his car on the way home, and man, did I miss that song. 

Then, this Saturday, we went to help the branch mission leader place a new patio in front of his house. Since my companion knows how to make cement, among a bunch of other hidden talents, we did a solid job. I also moved a giant 5 foot high pile of sand with a shovel. It was fun, until I realized that, after diligently applying sunblock every day, I had forgotten to put any on on the worst day possible, and I was burnt to a crisp. It was rough. I have aloe gel though, so I´m healing quick. Afterwards the mission leader took us to a hidden waterfall in the mountains here, and I wish I had had my camera. It was beautiful. 

We´ve taught a lot of first lessons this week, trying to find more new investigators, and I´ve also left a spiritual thought at the house of a lot of members. As I studied this week, I found in 1 Nephi 4:1 this verse 1 And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands? While Nephi and his brothers were getting the brass plates from Laban, they began to fear Laban´s wrath, that he might send his armies after them to kill them. But Nephi, here, demonstrates the principle that I´ve been loving this week. The Lord is mightier than all men, so if we trust in him, we need not fear reproach or rejection. Our Branch President also shared his favorite scripture with us this week, and I´d like to share it too. It´s Matthew 10:16   16 ¶Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Good advice, huh? I´m working on developing these attributes, and I´ll tell you how it goes. I´m sure that with the Lord´s help, I will succeed!

Elder Murray

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