Who knew? I certainly didn't. I knew there was a lot of beach... I just didn't know how much. You will find attached a photo of me and my companion, Sister Christensen. (You guys should maybe send some pictures it was really exciting to get a picture of Kevin... he looks older-ish.)Sister Christiensen has one year and one week more mission than I do. She is on her second to last transfer. She'll be going home August 2008, and I'm going home August 2009. She has 1 sister and 8 brothers, 2 moms and 2 dads. She's from Utah, but her mom moved to Wisconsin since she's been in Brazil... so she will go home to a new home.
This week has been awesomely wonderful. It's been a big challenge because Sister de Jesus left me in the lurch. I never had to plan who to visit or what to do or how to find people's houses or what we need to teach them or who all the member's are, because she knew everything and I just kind of followed. But all of the sudden I was in charge. I had to make Plan A, B, and C for every hour of every day (you need lots of plans because they always fall through). I had to call people on the phone (yikes!) because she hadn't met any of them. And I had to decide what we would teach people because she didn't know any of them. And she didn't know where anything was in our area. So I was a little bit stressed. However, I am so grateful now that I had this experience because I had to rely on the Lord and learn really fast and I got to experience miracles. All of the sudden, with no conscious effort on my part, I started recognizing roads and how to get from place to place, I lost all fear of the telephone, and Portuguese has gotten noticeably easier. I am so grateful for miracles and the support of the Lord in this work.
Sister Christensen is a wonderful example. She is completely different than Sister de Jesus. She is much more reserved and quiet... so it's a transition for the investigators... but she just emanates love and joy in the gospel. She's bears fervent, joyful testimony. I've learned a lot about how to interact with Brazilians without speaking perfect Portuguese. With Sister de Jesus I didn't know how to have casual conversations, because I never knew what to talk about... and they talked about things that I knew nothing about and didn't have enough vocabulary to talk about. But Sister Christensen just asks basic questions and we can talk to Brazilians!! Questions like "How has your week been?" "Can I look at your pictures? Can you explain them?" "What are you going to do today?" It works! It's great. Sister Christensen is also trying really hard to endure to the end. She's so close and sometimes she just wants to go home or take a day off, but she does not stop walking and working and loving and giving her all. I hope I can grow up to be like her.
Love and miss you all,
Hugs and kisses,