I´m grateful for the chance to write you all again. This week was a super weird one, so we´ll jump right in.
Last week was Christmas. I had a chance to speak with my family, it was great. They´re all doing well and alive, so that´s good to hear. I also got to go to several Christmas parties, and watch 1 animated movie with members, authorized by the President. We watched Hotel Transylvania, and all the Brazilians laughed when the name of the mummy was Murray. I got a lot of crap for that one. Then I opened up all my gifts. Thanks for the chess set Grandma Gentry! Unfortunately, I destroyed my companion pretty bad a couple of times and now he won´t play with me. Oh well!
Then came this week, and it was pretty rough to be honest. We got to see the power of Brazilian plumbing when our sink got clogged, and then it started filling up with water. We went in and dismantled the pipes underneath, only to find that the problem was with the building, and water was gushing up from the wall, and it basically flooded the kitchen. It also came up with a bunch of rotten food sludge that looked like poop. So we spent the whole first half of the week fighting the kitchen until, 3 days after we called the mission office for help, a guy came in from another branch to fix it. He fixed the wall, but left the sludge, so we spent a while cleaning. It also stunk, but they left this super powerful stink killer, so it worked out alright. Then, that same day we fixed the sink, our toilet clogged super badly. So we tried for a while to fix it with plungers and such, but it didn´t work. So we left it for two days. We prayed for a way to fix the toilet, and in a dream, my companion received the revelation that he should pour dish soap in there. So we did, and guess what, it worked! It somehow dissolved the block. It also left the toilet really clean. For New Years day, we had dinner planned with a member, but they canceled 20 minutes before. So we went to the store, bought a bunch of burgers, and did a really crappy "churrasco" or Brazilian barbecue, on the stove in our apartment. We also ate a kilo jar of olives, and drank some Guarana Black. It was sweet. Then Itajubá had a super weak-sauce fireworks show that we watched from our window. Then the new year came. Woo hoo!
Yesterday, 0 of our investigators came to church, which is sad, and we had 28 people in Sacrament meeting. So that was rough. Then we went to knock some doors and make some contacts on the road, and got caught in a downpour, so we found a members house to weather the storm. Only bad part is that this member has a huge dog who thinks he´s a puppy. So we played around with him, but he left dog smell on us, and when we left to knock more doors, all of the dogs in the area attacked us. Like, trying to bite us. Cruz and I booked it out of there before he had to use his Taekwondo to fight them off. It was pretty great.
As for the spiritual thought this week, we´ve been setting a lot of goals for the new year. We watched a motivational video a while back, and the guy in it quoted Luke 17. "The kingdom of God is within you!" This hit me pretty hard this week. The kingdom of God is within you, within man, and with it, you can do great things. We have been given power and the Spirit of God, and with this we can do anything we put our minds to. I know this, and I plan to make it a great year! I will succeed!
Élder Benjamin Murray
I love you guys!