A chilly week here in Southern Brazil. Elder Thomazinho is my new companion. He is from Riberão Preto, in the state of São Paulo. He is 24 years old and is adjusting to life on the mission great. He has a strong desire to be obedient and learn more about the Gospel while helping others too. We are getting along great. He worked as a DJ before coming to the mission for a while. Also in a factory making dental parts. He was baptized with 10 years of age and was sealed in the temple with his family. After being inactive for 10 years he came back to church 8 months ago and is now serving the Lord full time. It is nice having a Brasilian around all the time to help with the language.
The lady in the picture is Tania. She was waiting for a bus a while back and we stopped to converse with her. We invited her to our English class. Come to find out she is already a member of the church. She was baptized 40 years ago. After marrying a Catholic man she decided to step away from the church. She came to our English class the last 3 weeks and on Saturday she said she would leaving for Germany to visit her son there and wouldn´t return for a couple months. (hence the present - which was a box of chocolates). Before she left on Saturday, she said the morning before finding us she was praying for a way to learn English again and we were the first people she saw after leaving her apartment. She also mentioned that when she returns from Germany, she always wants to return to activity in the church as she felt a strong spirit of love around us and in the chapel. She made sure to send a thank you to my parents for raising me and giving me the opportunities to bless her life. She was very sweet and a tender mercy from the Lord to get to know.
The other picture is of our new district.
The castle in the photo is in the city of Flores da Cunha. This city is in our area, but is 30 minutes by bus. We don´t work there, but the bishop lives there. We went there for Pday last week for a couple hours. A man built this castle, along with a garage for 20 cars, a chapel behind, a huge garden, etc. It covers a city block. After, a different man built a house above his on the hill, and the people said house was more beautiful. After, the first man decided to build an apartment complex in front of the house of the other man, blocking the view. The next decision was for the second man to purchase an entire city block on top of the hill to build a castle even bigger which is now in construction... Pride...
I am very grateful for the convesion I have to the Gospel and the peace which comes from knowing the truths we have in the Church. Meeting so many people that could benefit from the message of the Restoration is an interesting thing. Most simply don´t want to slow down the pace of their life to change, even knowing the change would bring all the blessings and feeling they are searching for. I pray to be humble and recognize the whisperings of the Spirit tell me where to go to be an instrument for the Lord. Thanks to all for the continued love, support and prayers on my behalf.
With love and charity,