Kieren is doing fabulous in Brazil. The real question is how are we doing here in America without her? Terribly. I'm doing terribly I miss her so much this week. Everybody should email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and remind her how great she is doing and fill her in on your lives. Email is really an underrated form of communication and so many of us just go through the motions of skimming her letters and then forgetting about it but don't do that this week. Really read it and then write her back because you can do that with email in less than five minutes. Also, Mom, she asked you to watch Megamind so everybody should also email my mom (email@example.com) and ask her how she liked it. Now, without further ado, Kieren's letter:
Dearest Family and Friends,
Last week I met a whole bunch of people from Rio Grande do Sul (the state where Porto Alegre is) and this week I met a Sister who is from Porto Alegre itself and I might end up serving in her home ward! That would be fun. They were all really nice and funny. We had atividade física at the same time so we were all volleyball buddies. They made fun of the way I served because I would always raise my right hand really stiffly before serving. But I served alright so it was all in good fun.
I gave a talk on Sunday in Português! It was exciting (read with a Megamind style inflection. If you haven´t seen Megamind (MOM) you should. I won´t get to see it for another year and a half). At church, they just announce the speakers at the beginning without telling you beforehand, but we all had talks prepared just in case. I spoke about God´s love for all of us and the enabling power of the atonement. I talked about how weak things can become strong (Ether 12:27) and how God will strengthen us through trials (D&C 122:7-9 I think- the one with Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail).
Also on Sunday, I was asked to translate from Português to English when Sister Mio shared her testimony. Usually they have a portuguese speaker who knows english do it but I was really grateful to have the chance! It went pretty well and I was able to understand everything she said. It´s amazing how with the Lord´s help we can learn a new language in so short a time! I definitely feel blessed for the language preparation I had.
I have been blessed to be able to use my musical talents here too. I think almost every week I have been able to play in Devotional or for a musical number for someone or something during the week. This Sunday, we are having an area authority come and I get to play the piano and Elder Muse (friend from back home and fellow musician from before) will conduct. I am super excited
Yesterday we went to the Policía Federal and got registered to officially and legally live in Brazil! Woohoo! It was cool because we saw some people there who had left the CTM a couple weeks ago and were registering in their new areas. Also yesterday Sister Cummings and I got new roommates! One of them is from Cabo Verde (I can´t remember her name right now...) and Sister Rocha is from Mina Gerais (in Brazil). They are our first native companions and it has been fun to speak with them and learn new things like the name for fan (ventilador).
The temple was excellent as always! The São Paulo Temple is so beautiful and really stands out from the city. The cities here are filled with super steep hills! It is so lovely to look out from a building and see the city. Our new room has a great view. Vou tirar um foto hoje. Also, we are going to the chocolate shop today right after email, for which I am quite excited!
One of our investigators, "Carol" (my instructor Irmã Jardim) finally accepted baptism! (Even though I don´t have real investigators, the people that the instructors play are real people that they taught on their missions and you start to really care about them and their progress. I can see her faith growing and it is so wonderful!) We had talked about it a few times but she finally decided she needed to take that step of faith and set a date. We had a really good lesson about faith and about how we can be examples. Her family came to church with her and her daughter, who previously did not really like the church, said she had a really good feeling and wanted to come back. Her husband is still struggling with some drinking problems and that makes Carol really sad, but she has so much faith. She said all she wishes is that her faith could be enough to change Vilmar, but we shared with her that everyone has agency and even though we cannot change anyone else, we can be an example for good and stand strong. As we come to Christ, those we love will see our joy and it will affect them. That is what Christ did all his life. He did not force anyone to come to Him, but He invited all to take his yoke upon them because when you walk with Christ, your burden truly is light and easy to bear. I have felt that here on my mission. Things could be really hard but I don´t feel stressed out or weighed down. I am having such a good time and I have been surprised with how well I have been able to adapt.
I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week and thank you for all your love and support.