Monday, when I was still in Jardim do Sol, we were waiting for the bus to pass to return home. We saw the bus for Junção Cassino passing, which is the bus that goes to the beach, but first passes through our neighborhood, so we got on, not knowing what were were getting into. The minute we stepped on the bus, I looked around and realized this was not just a regular night on the bus. As missionaries we are basically always out of the loop, so we did not realize that it was Carnaval!! Woo!! Which means that the bus was jam packed with people going to the beach, and for us meant that we were completely unable to move because the bus was so packed and they continued pushing more and more people into the bus. I have no idea how so many people fit. There was definitely not a Book of Mormon´s distance between any of the people standing. The problem is that you get on in the front, pay in the middle, and exit out the back. And we were stuck in the front and had no way to get to the back but had to descend before all the beach-goers. But don´t worry, it all worked out. We sent our money through a sea of hands, and by some miracle it made it to the cobrador (person who takes your money) and the change made it back. We told the driver we would have to descend in the front and that we had payed and we got off without incident. It was quite the adventure.
So basically this area is super different from my first. Like complete opposites. Example: The first lunch with members we had here was at the Metrópolis, a super fancy restaurant. Bete and Paulo work as laywers so they had no way to make lunch at home, so they took us to their favorite restaurant that they eat at every day. We ascended an enormous staircase to be greeted by a waiter in a tuxedo, who led us to the table and made sure we were comfortable. The food was amazing, including a giant dessert buffet.
The ward is super great and supportive. One of our investigators, Jailson, had no way to get to church, so a nice couple that lived nearby gave him a ride, and after the meetings, our ward mission leader, Olimpio, sat with him and answered his questions, making sure he was comfortable.
The biggest challenge with this area is probably finding new people to teach. Our area consists of upscale apartments where there is either a doorman, or one of thos boxes that you have to press tha apartment number to get permission to enter, which makes it really easy for people to turn us off. This just demonstrates the importance of member referrals! If you are not giving referalls to the missionaries start now! We are always so grateful when we receive a referall.
We got to watch the CES fireside yesterday! This area is the Stake Headquarters, so all the events and broadcasts are at our building yessss. I loved when she compared learning a different language to learning the language of the Spirit. For me, this has a lot of significance because it took a while for me to understand exactly what everyone was saying, but even at the very beginning I could basically understand the gist of the conversation and was able to communicate basic ideas and feelings. I think I am still in the beginning phase of understanding the Spirit, but I can definitely understand bits and pieces, and that is enough to communicate effectively. The more I actively listen to people speak the language, the more I understand. The same goes with the language of the Spirit. It is a concept so basic but so important. D&C 8:2-3 teaches us that is is not a language that we just understand in our minds, but also in our hearts, so our heart and mind have to be in harmony one with the other, meaning we should let our spirit control our thoughts and feelings, and make them both virtuous and in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Have a wonderful week!