Tuesday, March 29, 2016

He Lives! Happy Easter

Week of March 21-27, 2016
(21) SEGUNDA (Monday):  So today was a very good P-day.  We ate at a Churrascaria (steak house), so lunch was very good, and then emails which is always a good time.  Then everyone slept and I wrote a few letters.

Elder Alveranga, Elder Martins, Elder Passao de Silva, Jake 

            Then, the lesson with Daley.  He loves Gaucho music, and he wanted to show us.  His house is FULL of giant sound boxes.  (I can’t believe I wrote sound boxes in place of speakers).  Anyways, he put in a CD and turned the music to the MAX!  Then tried to talk to us.  We acted like we couldn’t hear anything so he would get the hint and turn down the music.  He didn’t get the hint.  Finally, in between one of the songs there was a slight pause, and we said, “Can we share a message with you?”  He said, “After these few songs.”  And then that 78-year-old man started dancing.  But the message was good.  He accepted the baptism date of the 9th, so we are going to help him with that, through a lot of prayer and trying to get him to focus on the scriptures just as much as he does the music.  Today was day 258 of my mission.
(22) TERCA (Tuesday):  Today I ate all three meals for the first time in a LONG time.  Everyone in the house was making fun of me because I was making eggs for breakfast.  I guess that’s not normal here.
            Today we met a lot of new people.  One in particular that was very good is a young man of 16 years named Diego.  He held onto every word of the message of the restoration.  When we told him about the Book of Mormon, he went to write it down so he could order one online, because he didn’t realize we were giving him one.  When we marked a passage form him, he wrote the page number on his hand in case it came unmarked.  He was baptized in the Assembly TWO WEEKS AGO.  His dad is preparing to be baptized. That means his parents are married!  Woot Woot!  We only met Diego and his 3 brothers today, but we marked Saturday to return and talk with the whole family.  A family of married parents with 4 kids.  I believe they are the people I’ve been praying for God to guide me to.  We’ll see Saturday.
            We also had a young man in the ward today tell us that when he was 14 (2 years ago) he always went with the missionaries to knock doors and loved it.  He wants to start doing it again to prepare for his mission.  So, we marked Quinta when we have a commitment with Daley, and then will knock some doors, which is the solution to our lesson with a member we’ve been praying for.  Today was very good.  Today was day 259 of my mission.
(23) QUARTA (Wednesday):  Here’s what I learned today, drunk people never spill their drink.  Here’s how I learned it.  We passed by a less active named Setembrino, which is a very strange name, yes?  2 of his friends came over, with beer.  They started asking us for a part of God’s word.  So, we shared a quick scripture to get out of there, and one of the drunks started telling a very elaborate story about he moon blessing his 6 month old daughter.  I don’t have Joseph’s gift, or David’s.  But, he was using a lot of hand motions to show his story, and his arms were dancing in every place, with a full cup of beer in his hand.  I was sure I was in the splash zone, and I was ready to jump to either side.  But with all his dancing, not a drop was spilt.  While he was talking, the other guy said he had 10 kids.  A few minutes later the dancer said, “Hey Prophet, tell me how many kids he has.”  I said, “I’m not a prophet, just a missionary, but he has 10.”  Ha-ha, his mouth dropped open!  He hadn’t heard the guy talk about his kids a few minutes ago.  He grabbed the guys arm and said, “Hey!  Listen to God’s word!”
            Anyways, we soon left, because I don’t like those kinds of situations.  We found a new family today that met with the missionaries 4 years ago, but when one of them returned home they stopped passing by their house.  They aren’t baptized in any church, but are searching for one.  It seemed like she had a lot more interest then him.
            We also passed by Juliano and Stefani’s.  Juliano had some guy over who was helping him with his car, so he didn’t join us.  We read the Book of Mormon with her and gave her our copy of how to do a free marriage and the papers they need to fill out.  She said they were already saving up the money, but now they’ll go to the place tomorrow and talk to them.  Saturday when we pass by again we are going to fill out baptism records.  Woot Woot!
            Here’s a thought that came to mind today.  Why do ants travel so far from their little ant hill to get grass to haul it back, when there is grass right next to their hill?  I don’t know.  Also, what part do the dinosaurs play in God’s plan?  I don’t know.  Today was day 260 of my mission.
(24) QUINTA (Thursday):  Today was a great day,  a very good day.  We found 2 new families and the two of them have a lot of potential. The first family that we found is Jefferson and Angelica, who have 3 kids under the age of 8.  The lesson with them was awesome.  They both understood very well, and at the end Jefferson said, “If I get an answer that this message really is true, then yes, with all my faith, I’ll be baptized.”  Then he offered to make us dinner.
            The other family is very rich, I think.  About 2 weeks ago we were walking, and I looked at their really nice house, and felt like I should knock.  Anytime I feel any hint of an urge to knock a house, I always do.  So, we knocked the rich house.  The man came out, looked at us, said, “wait a second”, returned to the house and opened the gate for us.  We entered, and he said, “I'm leaving right now, but I would really like to hear you guys.  Can you return Friday at 7?”  So we returned Friday at 7, but he was leaving again.  He works driving a taxi, so it’s when he’s called he has to go, (but I’m 88% sure he owns the taxi company.)  They, the man and his wife, came out, talked with us for a while about when they would maybe both be in the house.  We went back today.  He wasn’t home, but his wife and 17-year-old daughter were.  They let us in and we talked with them.  They understood the restoration very well, and I could tell that a lot of the things we said made them think.  The mother told us about how she baptized her children when they were babies in her house.  Put water on their foreheads and crossed them, or something.  Ha-ha, I’d never heard of people doing that.  We explained baptism and read Hebrews 5:4.  They also accepted baptism, if they receive an answer.  Ha-ha, and at the end we asked for their phone number so we could call ahead of time to mark another visit, and the mother turned to her 17 year old daughter and said, “don’t you want to give your number to them?”  She got embarrassed, so the mom just gave us hers.
            We also passed by Delay, and taught the plan of salvation.  He said, at one point, that he remembers when he was born.  He remembers the room, bed, house, and people.  
            Today I had several moments when I felt the Spirit very strong and I just hope the people with which I was talking felt it, too.  (13th pen just ran out!)
            Then a drunk stopped us in the street, hugged us, and told us about how he’s a member but fell to drinking and drugs.  He doesn’t live in Sao Luiz, but is just passing.  When he noticed that I’m American, he said, “What is the capital of Nebraska?”  My mind went blank and I couldn’t remember.  I still can’t.  He got upset, looked at me with a look of disgust, and left.  Ha-ha, then Elder Martins said, “The American doesn’t even know his own country.”  I said, “The US has 50 states, at one point I had all the capital’s memorized.  How many states does Brazil have?”  He didn’t know.  Ha.
            But, I think the capital is Connecticut?  Or New Hampshire?  I really don’t remember anything!  Today was day 261 of my mission.
(25) SEXTA (Friday):  Today was a day of walking, failing commitments, and rain.  Rain that didn’t stop all day long.  So, because nobody wanted to let us in and out of the rain, we visited more less actives and recent converts, people who know the missionaries well. 
            Also, we went to Welerson’s house and his cousin was over, so we got his address and marked a day to visit.  

            All in all, with everyone on his or her holiday from work, Easter weekend, and rain, it was a slower day. But, I still felt super happy all day long.  I love the rain; I just don’t like the rate of the missionary work in it.  Today was day 262 of my mission.
(26) SABADO (Saturday):  I think we’re losing Juliano and I'm super, super sad about it.  He doesn’t want to study with us anymore.  Today Stefani showed us why.  He found the part of Revelations where John says not to add to these things.  Many people understand this to mean the whole bible, but if you actually read the whole chapter it clear he’s talking about the Book of Revelations only.  We showed her this because she had some doubts, too.  The last verse in the Book of John also, with Eziquele 37.  We wrote it all down also, and left it for Juliano because he likes to study.  We filled out the baptism record with Stefani.  They went to the place, and they’ll return Monday to finish.  Woot Woot!  I’m really praying super hard for them.
            Then, with Daley.  He doesn’t have a single problem with the Word of Wisdom, the 10 commandments, and law of tithing.  All went smooth with him and he wants to go tomorrow.  I think that for him the 9th will stay firm.
            Remember that rapaz (boy) I mentioned, who baptized 2 weeks ago?  We passed by today at the hour we had marked, and his parents came out, holding the Book of Mormon we’d given him.  They handed it to us, and said they had talked with him. He’s 16 and they said he had to choose one religion and not just jump around.  He’d chosen to stay in the one he’s in.  They said that they admire our work but asked us not to come back.  They seemed like really good people.  We handed them the Book of Mormon back and said they could keep it, then we put their names and address in the area book for future missionaries, because they seem VERY good. 
            Then we hid the Easter eggs.   I made the most perfect rice I’ve ever seen, and beautiful fried eggs.  And now I’m in bed, about to sleep. Today was harder, because of Juliano and that family.  I can’t help but think of my own imperfections that may be the reason they don’t recognize the truth or how important what we have is.  I realized more of the scope of the atonement, because nothing imperfect can be in God’s Kingdom.  I believe this doesn’t just include sin, but any fault we have or anything we don’t do perfect.  It’s hard to imagine what Christ had to go through so we would all become perfect.  I’m reading ‘Jesus the Christ’, almost finished, and it really opened my eyes to things I’d never thought about before.  Today was day 263 of my mission.
(27) DOMINGO (Sunday):  Today, nobody wanted to go to church with us Daley was feeling sick, Welerson was too tired, Stefani and Juliano had some other commitment, Vinicius didn’t answer his phone nor his door.  We left at 8 to wake people up and came to church alone.  BUT!!  TODAY IS EASTER!  JESUS LIVES AND ONE DAY I”LL TOO, RESURRECT, SO IT’S ALL GOOD!! 
            We did the egg hunt, which was awesome.  I realized after, that I had hid the eggs for Elder Martins TOO well, so during the hunt I switched them, when no one was looking. They don’t do egg hunts here, so when I tell people about the Salem egg hunt, or how our families do it, they all get confused and think its super funny. We had our egg hunt, which was good, then opened our presents.

            Church today went very well. Man, I love Easter.  Everything is focused on the atonement and resurrection of Christ, the two most important and significant events in all of history.  One, the victory over spiritual death, the other, physical death.
            This week, all in all, went very good.  I’m learning a little bit more very day.  Today, at the end of the lesson when I said I was American, the guy said, “What?!  I thought you were from Sao Paulo!”  That’s a good feeling.  I’m coming to know my Savior more and more.  I sometimes feel like He is walking by my side or sitting with me in the lesson, helping me to do His work.  That’s also a good feeling.  Today was day 264 of my mission.
            I love you mom!!! I’m doing great! And I can feel my testimony and my knowledge of the gospel increasing every day. I know that He lives and that He loves us. Sometimes I get frustrated with all the things I do wrong. I leave an unsuccessful street or door contact thinking of what I said wrong or didn’t say that could have helped them understand better the importance of our message. But then I stop thinking that, because I know I’m doing my best. I’m not perfect, but Christ will accept my best, and then fill in for the rest that my best didn’t cover. My best is my best, even if it’s little. I love my mission and I’m working my hardest, trying every day to better what I’m doing. I love my friends and family and all the prayers that help push me on everyday. Thanks for everything!!
Today i got a package from Emily! I am so rottenly spoiled!

I love you all!  Elder McKee
See the resemblance?
 Our Handsome Missionary!
 Pizza, again!
 Sao Luiz Gonzaga
 Elder Martins needed a hair cut!
 Remembering how to do the Rubix Cube

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