Monday, January 11, 2016

Jan 11 - Wind, Fire, Air, Water, and Cockroaches

Ben writes about another week in the Brazil Campinas mission. In my previous letter to him, after he had kind of a bad week, I told him to remember what my friend Cathy always said "It's either a good time or a good story." I love this piece of advice!

Oi familia e amigos,

Cathy Emmelkamp is a wise woman. I've found myself repeating that phrase quite a lot during the mission. It´s some good stuff though. Good luck with the mice, but hey, at least you don´t have cockroaches! They´re obnoxious buggers, super fast, annoyingly resilient, and they found a way to move the wood block we have blocking the drain so that they could come up through the hole. They´re honestly like an element here. Wind, water, fire, air, and roaches. It´s fun though. 

This week was pretty solid, although probably not as interesting as last week was. We taught a record number of lessons, and I got to go on a 2 day exchange with the Zone Leader. It was pretty good. He also brought over this drink called Tereré. It´s like a cold version of chimarrão with a mint and lime flavor attached. It was really good. We´re teaching a bunch of families here. It´s weird, because half of the family always really likes church, and the other half is usually super anti-mormon, so it´s weird to see how these things turn out. Hopefully we can baptize some more people here soon though. We've got a lot of people really enjoying church and getting answers to their prayers, they just have little things stopping them. We had a pretty great moment this week knocking doors. This woman came out, and we said, "Hey, we´re the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ. Could we enter and leave a message about Jesus Christ with you and your family (in Português)". So she goes, "Yes! Come on in." Then, as she went to open the gate, "Wait a minute, you´re trying to trick me! You guys are the Mormons!!! Go away!!" and she made that Catholic cross symbol to ward off evil. So the mission´s going good.

I've got some pics this week. Here is our sink filled with gross stuff last week. 

Here is the Christmas dinner we had here in Itajuba. 

Here is our zone at the pizza rodisio.

The epic moment in which Ben is seen with a tan! Truly, missions are full of miracles.

For the spiritual thought this week, I have been reading the Old Testament. This week I came across a verse in Genesis where Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, is naming his second son. The verse, Genesis 41:52, reads "And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction." 

Oftentimes, the parts of our life that are the most difficult are the parts where we learn the most. I am thankful for all of the challenges I face here on the mission, because I know that in the end I will grow, and it will all be worth it. I will succeed!

P.S. This is not to say that Brazil is the land of affliction. It´s closer to paradise here, but the point still stands.

Some additional pictures of paradise that Ben sent:

This is a capybara and best thing he has seen in Brazil in my opinion! Here's the definition:
  1. a South American mammal that resembles a giant, long-legged guinea pig. It lives in groups near water and is the largest living rodent.

So now you learned something new. The next picture is Ben's area.

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