Okay friends. This month we have been passing through a pioneer experience. In reality, I think some missions have to do this all the time, but I count my blessings that it has only been for a bit. When we arrived in this area, we received many surprises. One of which is that the washing machine was broken. A replacement was supposed to be sent in days but so far...nothing. So we have been learning how to wash clothes by hand. However, our house is not equipped for this, thus we have been using pails and containters. I have attached pictures. Washing by hand was made even harder when the water shut off. Twice. Somehow we managed not to be stinky using perfume and rationing the water we had in our various water bottles to wash our faces, etc. It was really fun and I felt pioneery. And it´s not even July.
Also! The busses went on strike, so when we want to get somewhere far, we have to take combes, which are basically little retired bus vans that once functioned daily but now only come out of the shadows during the strike. Our only other option is sketchy cars with bearded men and handwritten papers taped to the windshield "Centro- R$6,00".... We went with the combe.
Fun facts about our new place. The neighbors, normally around, start to blast the SAME PLAYLIST EVERY DAY, including the Party Rock anthem. twice. We Found Love in a Hopeless Place, a Brazilian Samba, and a music that says Blah Blah Blah probably more than 140 times. Is that a new top 10, or is it just something here? Really, people, I hope that someone has made something high quality while I have been here because if I get back and it is just stuff like this on the top 10 I will have to become a pop star.
The other day we saw a cat on our neighbor´s roof in the scorching heat. He was belly up with his arms open and one leg sticking up in the air. We thought he was dead. When we looked the next day, he was gone. But the next day was back. I decided he has a day on/day off tanning schedule. I attached pictures of the roof he tans on ( I think it was his day off when I took the pic, so he is absent, sorry). The roof is at the end of the line of clothes and to the left. BTW The backyard in the pictues is not ours, nor is the trampoline if anyone was wondering.
So yesterday we had the best meeting ever with our bishop. It was the activity planning meetine where we got our activities approved. So for Christmas we are wanting to have an integration activity where we decorate sugar cookies and make paper snowflakes. I didn´t know it would be so hard to explain that yes, the ratio of butter to flour is correct. It would have helped if I knew the word for stick of butter. I ended up calling them something like poles of butter because people here use exclusively margarine in tubs, so up to this point in the mission I haven´t ever had to talk about real butter.
No one was really getting the paper snowflakes idea either so I grabbed a paper, asked for scissors, and made a simple, but lovely snowflake. When the paper unfolded, it was like Christmas had already arrived.
"Whoooa! did you mean to put hearts in it?" Yes, yes I did
"So, you want to make, like...a HUNDRED of these?" Yes, it´s easier than it looks. And all the people can make their own. I will teach them.
"This must be an American thing" Yeah, I have studied snowflakes since childhood. It´s an integral part of the education system.
Bishop wanted me to name the snowflake.... so I came up with the name flaming starfire of love. We decided that snowflakes express personalities, kind of like Rorschach blotch tests. Sister Kirk and then the Elder´s quorum president each made a snowflake and then held them up for people to see their personalities. The snowlake activity got approved. Win.
This week we also had some awesome inspiring experiences. For example, one day on the bus I decided to talk to the lady by my side. Her name is Mara. She had on a kind of grumpy face, so I started chatting and asked her about Pelótas, what she likes about here, etc. Whenever the conversation died, I pumped it back up again and eventually it natulrally led to a gospel conversation and I gave her not one, but two pamphlets, because she said she likes to read. I didn´t think much of the conversation, but when I had to descend the bus, I gave her a hug (normal here) and she said, "you don´t know the good that you did for me today" and I felt so happy! Even not realizing it we can make a difference in people´s lives. I felt a re-kindling of that missionary fire. We can keep it burning constantly if we look outside ourselvess.
Also, we had kind of a miracle. In Doctrine and Convenants 75:27 it says "Let them ask and they shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto them, and be made known from on high, even by theComforter, whither they shall go." As I mentioned, I have been praying for guidance in the area. One day, we were walking along and talking about some investigators. We started to talk about Nestor, a referall that our WML had taken us to a few days earlier. Unfortunatly, both of us forgot to write down his address and telephone #! Don´t do that at home, kids. But we felt like we should pass by and talk to him. But how? We kept walking toward where we were going originally but for some reason we took a different route that we had never taken before. Suddenly, the road ended and when we looked up, BAM! There was Nestor´s Hap Ki Do studio!!!! (Side note: Hap Ki Do is one of the most complete forms of martial arts, teaching not only physical, but mental-emotional and spiritual harmony and control, according to Nestor) we were able to chat with him and even though he was unable to come to church this week, we conversed about future lessons, etc, and, most importatnly, wrote down his address and phone #.
2 NeWherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.
Satan and his followers are working 24/7 to entice to do wrong, so to give people their full agency, we have to at least equal that effort. Invite! Entice to do good! Doing good is fun! It´s what all the cool people do! It´s how you get eternal happiness!
Invite someone to do good today. Love you guys!