Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cameras, Rats, and Subway!

Week of Fevereiro 22-28, 2016
(22) SEGUNDA (Monday):  Today I did an eye exam and then bought glasses.  I’ve been thinking about it for months now, but it wasn’t until last week I set it up, and then today did it.  They’ll be ready Friday or Saturday.  They’re pretty cool.  We’ll see.  I got 2 letters and one post card today.  My camera should come next week!  WOOT WOOT!  This week I’ll be better about writing about each day.
            So, we spent a majority of today going to different glasses stores, looking at what they have and comparing prices.  I found a pair and it was my favorite, and the favorite of the other missionaries, and when we asked the price total of the glasses, lenses, and with a fancy thing that makes the lenses a little darker in the sun, it was the cheapest of the day!  All in all with the exam and final cost of the glasses, it was 620 reais, about $150.00.  But in the exam, when he was having me look thorough the stuff, HOLY COW I’m BLIND!!
            Then, nobody answered their door, just slowly hid their body from view.  I almost said, “I can still see you!” But nope, we’ll just find someone else ot teach today.  But their day light savings jumped back, so it gets dark super fast now, so there’s less people in the streets and in front of their houses sitting like normal.  But we managed a few lessons, with investigators, very soft.
            Today was still great though.  I love talking with my family, and also restocking my bananas.  Today was day 230 of my mission.
(23) TERCA (Tuesday):  So, today I learned that air freshener is called “bom or”, which literally means ‘good air”, ha-ha, I thought it was funny.
            Today was good.  The other elders called us, saying a woman had stopped them in the street asking if they could visit her husband and give him a blessing.  We went and this poor old man was on the bed, couldn’t even move.  His sister was there so we explained ourselves and she let us give him a blessing.
            We also had a good lesson with Stefani.  We taught about the 10 commandments.  Then she said, “Juliano found a book and he’s been reading it.”  Juliano works for the garbage truck.  When she brought it, it was “teachings of Jesus and his Apostles.”  A book of the church.  Inside had the name of the 1st councilor to bishop, with the date of March 23, 1997.  Ha-ha, pretty cool that he found that book and is reading it.  Maybe because of that he will be converted.  I sure hope so!
            Something that I’m working on is being more humble, as much in thoughts as in actions.  I’ve already learned many times that here, nothing is done because of my own ability, but only when I’m trying to use the spirit.  I need to better in this, and always recognize God’s hand in my life.  Today was day 231 of my mission.
(24) QUARTA (Wednesday):  Today a lesson with Fabiano, we entered, it was the second lesson.  We talked a little bit at the start about prayer, and asked him if he asked with real intention.  He thought for a second and said, “Yes, I think so.”  Then we asked if he feels that he received an answer that the message of the restoration is true.  He didn’t’ hesitate, said, “Absolutely.”  Then we taught the gospel, and I was feeling the spirit so strong.  At the end, we invited him to say the closing prayer.  He thought, then said, “Ok, I’ll do it.”  Then bowed his head and we did too.  Then we sat and sat and sat.  5 MINUTES!  I was praying that Fabiano would feel the same spirit I was feeling.  We sat and sat and I prayed asking what I should do, and I felt this great peace, and I knew to just wait.  Then he started praying.  It was a very strong, heartfelt prayer.  Very simple, but sincere.  We left the lesson to return home for the day, and I didn’t say anything, I was trying to conserve the spirit that I was feeling. 
            Tomorrow I go to Santo Angelo for a division with the Zone Leaders.  We’ll be in trio, we’ll eat at Subway.  Life will be good.  Today was day 232 of my mission.
(25) QUINTA (Thursday):  Today I left the little town of Sao Luiz Gonzaga to do a division with the zone leaders in Santo Angela.  I got here at about 12:00, and we went to lunch.  AT SUBWAY!  AHHH!  I got so excited.  I bought 4-foot longs, and ate 2 of them. There was a sale thing where what ever you buy you get another the same for free.  It was the first time I’d seen subway in 8 months. And it was exactly the same as American. Maybe I got carried away, but I don’t regret anything.  So that was a great start to the day.  Then I went with elder Souza Santos and we visited people in his area.  We had some great lessons, and one inactive lady who tried to convince us that the bishop should be paid like we are.  We tried to explain that we aren’t paid, but actually pay to do this, but she refused to understand.  Also we tried to explain about the attitude of service, and how bispo receives his payment in blessings.  She didn’t want any of that either. 
            The teaching style of Elder Souza Santos was very different from what I am used to.  I learned a lot of things that I’m going to apply in my teaching.  We weren’t in a trio like I thought.  Elder Manaheim went with the other elders to teach them.
            But today was a very good day.  It was nice to not walk and walk and walk to knock doors. Their teaching group is closer and better established, whereas ours is being built still.
            Today was very good.  Subway for lunch.  I have more to eat for dinner, and I’ll give you one guess to what my breakfast will be tomorrow!  Today was day 233 of my mission.
(26) SEXTA (Friday):  When I got home today, there were 5 boxes on my bed.  The other elders needed to mail something, so they grabbed the mail also.  MY CAMERA CAME!  And without tax! And it’s awesome! I’d forgotten what its like to have a working camera. Now I can actually take pictures! I already took a ton of pictures.  Everyone opened their box, very excited. They loved them! Ha-ha Thanks so much!!  And then we opened the M&M’s. 

And 8 movies! AHHH!  Everyone FLIPPED!  Ha-ha, only that 2 of the films I got are the standard we have to give to people, but meet the Mormons, testaments, and the others I am very excited to watch.  I seriously, without a doubt, have the best mom and the best family.  What other missionary can say he got a YODA ENVELOPE, handmade, from his sister?  NONE!  Ha-ha, I love my family.

Old and new camera.  FINALLY!

            Also, I’ll have my glasses here in a few days. When they were making my lenses this last week the machine broke, which they said is normal. The new one should be here today or tomorrow, then it’s only a short time and they’ll call me and I’ll be able to see.
We had a good lesson with Vinivius today.  His brother is the president of the young men.  Vinivius is not a member.  We talked about the gospel with I'm, and what we need to do in this life to qualify for eternal life to come.  It’s always interesting at his house because his girlfriend is ‘Espirita’, a religion I don’t know how to say in English.  They believe in reincarnation, and not in the bible.  She’s really good about not bible bashing, or arguing doctrine.  She’ll just say what she believes sometimes, and leave me wondering how the original truth could become so twisted.  They believe in Jesus Christ, but not that he paid for our sins.  Really anyone who believes in reincarnation rejects the atonement.  It’s through the atonement we are made clean, not another try at life.  Crazy, 100% against what I know to be true.  But Vinivius is very firm in his belief of the bible.  He likes to study and likes the missionaries.  With college starting again, it’s hard to get him to church, but we are trying hard.
            Welerson also called me today to say he’ll still be traveling tomorrow, so our commitment to pass fell through and that he can’t go to church on Sunday.  This all made me happy and sad at the same time. Sad because our commitment fell though, but he remarked for Monday.  Also, that he won’t be at church.  But happy because it shows he’s actually remembering our commitments and he things to alert us when things change.  He’s a great young man, and I really, really want to see him on a mission some day.  Today was day 234 of my mission.
(27)SABADO (Saturday):  Today was AWESOME!  We had a great lesson with Rosalino and his wife, Berenice and their friend about the plan of salvation. Even though it had been 2 weeks since we last passed, because they’re only home Saturdays, they remembered everything of the restoration.  They are great!  They ask questions and they read what we left and prayed.  Berenice said that she prays to know if the church they belong to now is the church of God, or if she needs to keep searching.  And they have a lot of kids.  But everyone is home only on Saturdays after 5, so that’s when we pass.
            We ended the day with a lesson with Eduardo.  It was our second lesson with him, too.  He had a lot of questions.  Since our last visit, he had watched the film, The Restoration, read what we left, talked to his wife about it, and when she asked to read it he had accidently unmarked it, so they read a different part.  He said of al the churches he’s gone to, he can always find something that is wrong according to the Bible.  But ours is the first that he’s felt a connection with.  He said he related a lot with the film, when Joseph couldn’t find the true church.  We answered all of his questions, and then explained more of the Book of Mormon, reading the first title page and parts of the introduction to answer questions and explain more.  We marked 3 Nephi 11, because he had a lot of interest with Jesus Cristo visiting the Americas.
            I don’t know how many of our investigators will be at church because everyone is traveling, but lets pray for a lot!  Today was day 235 of my mission.
(28) DOMINGO (Sunday):  So church today, none of our investigators came.  They’re all traveling.  We called for some of them, but nobody was answering.  We finally went and entered the church. THEN!!, Vinivius walked in!  ha-ha, and he really liked it.  He’s the brother of Wilker, who is president of the young men.  Man I became so excited.
            Then we found some good new investigators today and one that would NOT STOP TALKING!!  If I were talking she would talk over me.  If we tried to talk she would just continue.  Man, I had been thinking I’ve come a long way with my patience, but I almost snapped.  “Just be quiet and let me teach you how to receive salvation!!”  She said she likes to listen to the priests and she believes in the bible.  So I thought, “She needs to then realize I have something to offer.  Right now she just things I’m a youth with little knowledge.”  So, I stated quoting the bible.  We taught the first part of the restoration using the bible a lot.  Sometimes I didn’t even open it, just told her the reference and what it said.  Finally she started to pay attention.  But, we had run out of time and so we taught only the first part and left her and her son with the pamphlet to read and we’ll go back. 
            This week went well.  We really need to better our lessons with members, but we’ll do that this week.  Today was day 236 of my mission.

I’m getting a ton of post cards! :) I love them. And I like the Jake head pictures too. They make me laugh. :) Also, we have a rat in our house. The punk ate my bananas. So I bought a huge nasty mousetrap, but it didn’t kill the guy! Just left a bunch of blood! We have no idea where he’s living, but we'll get him.

Now my time is up. :) Love you mom!!! Next week I’ll find a way to send the pictures. Tell everyone there I love them!! Thanks for all the support!! I hope all is well with everyone!! And I hope everyone is happy!!!  até mais!

Love, Elder McKee
Jake and Elder Martins
 Huge, beautiful flower!

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