A selfie for mom!

A selfie for mom!

Monday, November 24, 2014

What a blessing it is to be alive!

Bom dia, minha família bem querida! I´ve got so much to tell you guys! First of all: PARABENS! I´m still in shock over your family history explosion (como assim?!) I feel really bad now because I thought there was no more work to be done. You guys sure showed me! Wow, I am so proud of my wonderful family! You guys are so great! And thanks so much for the wonderful package. I know that it was intended to be a Christmas package, but it arrived last Thursday. We thought it was Thanksgiving (I´m not positive when exactly IS Thanksgiving), so we opened it after the ward barbecue. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I needed new socks so badly! And the ties are awesome! And I LOVED the t-shirt! So great! I loved everything! So, this week was so eventful, that I have to start at the beginning: Monday: When we left the lanhouse to go home, we stopped by the market and I bought ingredients to made chicken parmesan (the poor missionary version). We returned home, ate lunch, cleaned, and relaxed. I boiled 4 gallons of water because we didn´t want to buy mineral water. So glad we did! Saved R$15! We didn´t get to do visits with William because he forgot. We marked visits for the next day, but it fell through again. This continued until today (he´s determined to at least say good-bye to us tonight). But he went to church! Woo! Tuesday: Nothing much happened on Tuesday, except that in District Meeting we got esfihas (mini-pizzas) and going home, a member pulled us aside and gave us a ton of espetinhos (barbeque). Wednesday: Service Project! WOOOO YEAH! FINALLY! It was construction! So awesome! So great! And we got more free food! Lunch was in the form of money, so we ate at a member´s restaurant. He refused to let us pay the full price. Later that night was English class (did I mention that I teach weekly English classes?). Thursday: Interviews with President Dalton! It was an awesome interview! Sister Dalton made chocolate chip cookies for everyone! They tasted just like Mom´s! After the interviews, we had the ward barbeque (there was also karioke, but we didn´t stick around for that). The zone leaders arrived at the barbeque with my package! Awesome surprise! Elder Sá and I went home and opened it (there is a video), and then we studied and worked normally. Friday: Lunch with an awesome elderly couple in the ward! He´s from Fortaleza, and she´s from Madrid (SPAIN!). They are really cool! And the food was soooooo good! Ice cream for dessert! At night, we missionaries were in charge of mutual for the youth. So, in Brasil, there is a candy called "Bis". It´s our district´s "official" candy, "bis" meaning "baptism, endowment, and sealing". So, we started by having all the youth look for "bis" that we said was hidden outside of the church. In reality, we missionaries had the "bis", and we gave it out secretly. Some got bis and some didn´t. But no one was allowed to eat this bis until they paid for it by doing push-ups. But told them that they couldn´t do it themselves. They needed someone to pay for them. Just as we planned, one of them volunteered. His name is João. I wasn´t really sure if he could handle it. But he insisted, so we let him. Most of the youth watched in reverent silence as João did more than 120 push-ups. I had him do them one by one (two for Rayane, three for Sidney, five for Marcos, three for Ana Paula, etc.) As I did this, I felt such an appreciation for Heavenly Father. I nearly began to cry as João begged me for mercy, asking if he could stop, if it could end. I could only hold back tears as I told him that he had to finish. In the end, he stood before the group and testified of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And, as one of the youth publicly pointed out, there were some young people who didn´t even pay attention to João, nor what he did. I hope you can see the analogy here. What a great experience. Many of these youth sent pictures to their friends, inviting them to next week´s mutual. When Sunday came, our mutual was the talk of the entire ward! Saturday: Lunch with Rosilma. Isn´t she an angel! I love that little couple! Her husband makes wooden furniture! They´ve got family living in the U.S.! And they gave us ice cream, so they get double blessings. Today, we had two really great visits (among others). The first was with Ivanete and Vinicius. They were baptized just days before I arrived. We are helping them to stay firm, bringing members of ward council to meet them. They have overcome so much. It´s amazing to see what the gospel can do. The same can be seen with the second visit, Cristina. Cris and her mother and son were baptized last transfer. She has another son, Tiago, who is 13 and is a special needs child. He can´t walk, nor can he talk more than a few words, but he is so great! I love this kid! He understands so much and I feel the spirit so strong around him! Cris has also overcome so many trials! Her transformation is amazing. She is much happier, healthier, and has a wonderful spirit about her. She got a new job that allows her to attend church, and she´s so eager to pay tithing. Being a missionary is so great. Saturday night, we got our transfer calls. Elders Maynard and Hernandez (the zone leaders) and Elder Sá and I are all being transferred. I´ll be staying close to home, because Elder Dean (mission secretary) told me to pack my bags but leave them in the house. I´m so sad to leave this place! I love Interlagos so much! But I trust in the Lord, and I know that things can only get better! Sunday, Reynaldo and William and Caio (another less-active) all come to church thanks to our efforts and a lot of prayers offered this week. Reynaldo is coming to church completely on his own, William also. I guess we´ve left our marks on this ward. We gave parting hugs to bishop and we went to lunch (feijoada! Yum! look it up!). So now, I´m feeling great! We have a great last day planned! I finished Doctrine and Covenants Section 48 and also 1 Nephi. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this gospel! How blessed are we to have the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Ensign, New Era, Friend, Liahona, General Conference, Gospel Principles, Preach My Gospel, patriarchal blessings, Mormon Messages, Hymns, and so much more! I´m so grateful that our Heavenly Father has so many ways to talk to us! We are about to go eat lunch with a part-member family that invited us last minute to eat lunch. I love Brasil so much! (I´m not getting fatter, don´t worry!) Mom, Dad, the desire of my heart right now is to send a package home! I do not want another package until I send one home! Please? Can I? I´m trying to do better with not using my personal card so much, but I might need to rely on it a little more to save up. I really want to send you guys some stuff! I love you all so much! I know that this Church is true! What a blessing it is to be alive! -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala ? Estaca ? Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

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