This week was super louco crazy.
Monday: Singing in the city center! It was a miracle. We got together in the downtown chapel and worked the hymns. We hadn´t been able to get ahold of the city events coordinator the whole week so we went on faith. We got to this great frountain in the middle of the Praça Osório which had dancing water and lights show and we thought, hey this is a great place! Lots of people, great local, let´s get started. Just as we were getting organized Bam! LA DA DA DA DINGA DONG WHOOSH BANG! The loudspeakers all over the plaza started blasting exciting orchestral christmas music and the fountain water danced along.
Oookay. We aren´t really equipped to compete with that....But we had said lots of prayers that this would go well, so we started brainstorming. Pres. Juliano (our awesome stake presidente that is SUPER involved in the missionary work in the stake) and one of our Zone leaders went over to a glass booth and found the sound guy. They asked if he could turn off the music for like 15 minutes for us to sing and... miracle! He said yes! So on his signal, the music went off and we sang. Wow. It was a lovely moment. Afterward we handed out those new "Ele é o presente" pass along cards and a bunch of people loved it!
We figured out that in the front of our house there is a lovely track and nice foresty park area. I don´t know how we missed it because it basically goes along the entire avenue, but we decided to start using it for exercise! So Pelótas is a pretty big city but we live in a part that has a very small town feel, evidenced by the fact that after the first day we went running, everyone in the ward knew about it by the time evening fell. A brother in the ward passed by us on his bike on the way to work and a sister in the ward saw us from her bus stop. We feel very important or at least interesting because we always make the ward gossip circle even with the simplest things.
Oh, and I had a wonderful birthday! It was funny because when we went to visit one of our investigators, she had a bunch of people over, and we found out it was her birthday party! So we sang a hymn for her. We didn´t mention it was my birthday but I kind of felt like it was my party too. Just pretend. But we didn´t stay long and made some other visits and then all of a sudden the Ward Mission Leader called and asked if we could stop by before our stake mission meeting. We were like sure, and when we got there, SURPRISE! It was a party. There was a giant chocolate cake and homemade bread and juice. Heaven. Then suddenly, the doorbuzzer rang. Surprise! Another cake! This was was round and had two layers! Then suddenly there is a knock on the door. Surprise! Another cake! This was was an orange cake, hot and fresh from the oven. Then suddenly someone just walked in. Surprise! Another cake! Well, this was was more like a breakfast casserole type thing. Then suddenly another family came in. Suprise! Another cake! This one was a yellow cake with chocolate sprinkles. She also brought a cuca goiabada (bread with doce de goiaba and crumbly sugar stuff on top). We had to leave for a meeting but we found out today that another irmã brought... surprise! Another cake! Chocolate. I love this ward. I was struggling there at the end but I ate at least a little bit of everything.
To top it all off, at our stake missionary meeting there was ice cream! And they sent me home with an extra tub!
So, dear friends and family, if you were wondering, I was very well cared for on this my special day.
Random fun fact. Pres. Juliano, who is a member of our ward, is like this super inpiring, energetic, motivating leader. We had lunch with him and his wife, Michele, and kids, Sophia and Rafaella when suddenly his phone, which is normally on silent, rang. 50 points to guess the ringtone.
Imagine helium-style high pitched voice and funky high pitched percussion"she´s got the applebottom jeans and the boots with the fur, with the furr..." haha I think I have decided my future ringtone.
Friday we made the cookies for the ward party for a Young Women´s activity. SO. Many. sugarcookies. And one of the Young Women brought her friend who is starting to investigate the church!
On a serious note, the councilor to our mission presidency, Pres. Ricardo Alves, passed away unexpectedly Saturday morning. We were able to go to his viewing. It was a very solemn experience for all involved and if you guys could pray for his family they are having a really hard time. He has a lovely wife, daughter, and two young sons.
Due to the occurence, our ward activity was cancelled on Saturday, so we were stuck with enough cookies to feed the ward. We had the idea to decorate a bunch superfast and then we delivered them to less active and investigator families. It actually went pretty well! Even though it decided to rain, the cookies were double-plated--that old crafty trick where you put one upside down plate on top of the other. The contents were all protected. Win.
Pres. Juliano shared a talk at ward conference. He talked about how a while back the ward was going to the temple. There were several people driving, and one had to lead. One of the brothers in the ward volunteered to take the lead. Unfortunately, they ended up getting super lost and stuck in a super sketchy part of Porto Alegre. However, they ended up eventually making it. The next time there was to be a temple trip, they were again deciding who would take the lead. This same brother raised his hand and said, I will! He said, you? No, Irmão, remember what happened? But the brother insisted and said. "President, this time I am prepared." He led the way confidently and safely to the temple. He related this to repentance. Even if the people around you don´t believe that you can change, even if they base the opinion of you on the past, it is up to you, using faith, diligence, and careful attention (1 Ne-Liahona) to follow the way outlined by the scriptures that you can change, be better, and lead the way to the temple. Let us listen to the voice of the prophets, both in past times and in our days, and be able to say, like th people of King Benjamin, "we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." Mosiah 5:2
Love you guys!