Saturday, June 21, 2014

16 June 2014

The cup has begun! You may wonder what it is like to be in the midst of the excitement. Well, I am near the excitement but not really in the midst. Not much is different, but some kind of cool stuff happened.

Yesterday was the first game here in Porto Alegre- France vs. Nigeria, I think. Our source of all World Cup information is Carlos, the taxi driver so if I get it wrong, send complaints to Carlos. It´s cool because I am serving here in the city, and while the stadium is not in my area, it is in the neighboring area and a bunch of stuff is close by, like the center of town so we pass by booths and fanatics and stuff but we aren´t in the super crazy part of town. So that is good. We met a cute French family the other day as they were wandering through a super sketchy part of town looking for their Hotel. They asked us for directions, which always makes me happy because that means that we look a)trustworthy and b)competent. Win! (And luckily Sister Kirk speaks a little bit of French.) I proudly said "Je ne parle pas français!" The only phrase I know in French besides "Je suis un croissant." Not helpful. 

Also having the world cup makes street contacting a little....challenging? Funny? I am not sure what to call it when everyone thinks you are a tourist because of your accent and gets super excited to help you find the soccer stadium but then finds out you just want to change their lives and get super busy all of a sudden and have an appointment. But its fun.

As for the world cup, that´s about it. We only have to stay home during days when Brazil plays, so things are pretty much normal. But yeah, when Brazil plays it gets kind of crazy. They won the last game, so that´s an excuse to party. Whenever they made a goal, whether you are watching or not, you know. Noisemakers, clapping, and millions of people yelling goooool!!!!! 

This area is a big challenge in getting people to church. And to make it even harder, the church building here is in reform so we have to meet really far away from the area. But we still invite everyone! And this Sunday we passed by the apartment of Dirceu, one of our new investigators. He is a recently widowed man who is super...grumpy isn´t the right word, hmmm, I think you could describe him as having a super dry humor, but really nice. He always has some sort of healthy/natural snack that he shares- baked sweet potato, pinhão (google it-it´s weird), or roasted peanuts. Anyway, so we pushed his apartment button and he came out on his balcony. We called up "Hey Dirceu! Wan´t to come to church with us?" And he responded "I just got here and I want to take a nap." He is an honest man. We added "Okay, you can take a nap but you should come to sacrament meeting at 4:15" And he said he would. And he came!!!!!! We didn´t see him until we were leaving, but we found him sitting with Irmão Todeschini (the member we brought to meet him last week- member missionary work win!). It turns out he knows a few people from the ward already and we introduced him to basically everyone else. He kept trying to sneak out, but we got the better of him. I think he finds us amusing. 

To quote a wise writer "You showed me dreams come to life, I don´t need wings to make me fly, Miracles happen once in a while, when you believe." Name that movie 10 points. 

But seriously, we have seen so many miracles here these past few weeks. I have to admit this is a challenging area. There are dangerous parts, there are parts that are just apartments with buttons with nobody home and nobody on the streets, but there are also people here, hungry for the truth, and although they sometimes hide, or run to the other side of the street, they are children of God. This week we even had someone we button contacted say we could come back for a visit! Win! 

One of the sweetest experiences we had this week was teaching Yasmím´s dad, Sandro. Yasmím is an 11 year old who got baptized near the beginning of the year. Her dad finally accepted to learn a little about the church, and when we taught him and he accepted what we were saying, she looked so happy. We taught him about how the gospel blesses families and we could tell that made an impact on him because he takes such good care of Yasmím and it is apparent that he loves her and wants to protect here. She asked me when the next ward activity would be and then pointed to her dad excitedly as if she were saying "Invite him!" We will definitely be inviting him to not just the ward activities, but to begin making plans to have an eternal family. There is no joy greater than that.

Theme for the week: Matthew 11:29-30. It´s true!

Sister Smith

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