I hope that those of you in my immediate family are enjoying your trip to California. You guys look pretty happy in the pictures, so it seems like you are doing pretty well. I ate at that exact same Panda Express as you guys did when I went to Universal Studios on that Band trip so many years ago. How the times change! And yet, everything stays the exact same.
This week here in Valinhos it got cold. And I mean actually cold. Even for me! It hit 40 degrees this morning, and with the incredible humidity here, you really feel it. Luckily I have a good sweater and a good jacket, so I´m not too cold when all´s said and done. The Brazilians are hurting though. Especially those from the hotter parts of the country. Elder J. Nascimento has been sleeping with jeans on! The weather has been really weird!
To answer your questions, yes, I did get the package! Thanks for the candy! I´m teaching several families currently, one is the parents of the girl that we baptized a few weeks back. They are really closed to being baptized, they just need to get married first, and marriage costs a ton here and you have to wait one month after you mark the marriage date. We´re also teaching a single mother with 3 daughters and a son who died recently. Thankfully the Plan of Salvation holds a lot of hope for her. The mission has various themes, mottos, and other slogans, but the biggest one is really simple, but powerful. "Let´s baptize!". Our three values are hard work, obedience, and love. I have a t-shirt from my first zone, but I haven´t gotten a new one since that. I ate Mocotó recently at a members house. It´s a soup thing where they put in a bunch of fat and animal parts. It was really nasty. The Brazilians dress a lot like Americans, they just have several different stylistic choices. Almost nobody uses tie-dye though, sadly. I haven´t seen any amusement parks, but I think that they do exist. I know that they at least have a Zoo, close to here. For vacation, they usually go "out to the ranch" or to the beach, which is less that 3 hours from here. They go whenever they have a chance really, especially on Sundays (argh)!
This week we were visited by President Tad R Callister, President of the Sunday School for the church. He spoke a lot about the fall of Adam and Eve and then the need for us to be consecrated missionaries. We really have to give it all we have and leave everything else behind so that we can go forth with the right mindset. He said that he would rather have 20 consecrated missionaries than 100 mediocre missionaries. This makes a good point in our lives too. The Lord´s math isn´t always our math. Sometimes our small acts of service seem really small to us, compared with the big ones that people always imagine, but they do add up. I´ve really seen that in action. Every day I strive to be a consecrated missionary. Have a great week! I will succeed!