Monday, September 7, 2015

Dropped pen caps and family history

Food and photo courtesy Emanuelle and Rogerio Pereira.

Hello! So this week was also filled with some really good missionary experiences and cool things we’re seeing start to happen! 

First off, though, there are mattress stores all over the place. There are also trucks that drive around here with mattresses stacked on them really really high with horns that blast the prices and deals for mattresses. Who needs so many mattresses? Does Brazil have an oddly deep love for them? Are they special mattresses? What’s the best deal I can get for a mattress here? I have so many questions. And why can’t I rip off the tags from a mattress without committing a crime? 

We drink a lot of soda here, which was hard at first ’cause at home I didn’t drink any soda. Everyone loves coke (understandable) and Guaraná. Guaraná comes from some kind of a small red berry that is delicious. My bubble tolerance is awfully weak--embarrassingly so--and I often get the hiccups when I drink the stuff. It’s a little odd, but my tolerance is building. 

We have two-ish investigators here! We’ve taught them just a few times, and we have dates to teach them again. People are well educated here and know a good bit of the history of the Bible, and the various councils and changes of its doctrine that took place over the years. This only reinforces our need for the Book of Mormon because through its single translation it restores truths that were lost from the multiple changes and translations of the Bible, though in no way is the Bible not necessary. We need the two books of scripture to have the fullness of Christ’s gospel.

This week I was walking down the street to escape the rain that was drenching us when I dropped my pen cap on the ground. A kind woman picked it up for me, I thanked her, and we started to walk away when she asked if we were "the people who do all that family history?" We said yes, and she said she knew a Mormon who loved family history and she thanked us for the answer and walked away. I then shouted that we could teach her why family history is important, and BAM! She accepted the lesson! When we taught her, she said that something had tapped her on the shoulder to talk with us that day when I dropped my pen cap. In our lesson we talked about the importance of temple work and the Heavenly Father’s plan for His children. She’s going to family history classes at the chapel now! 

To answer some questions: There is a chapel here that is home to two wards that meet each Sunday. We have a small apartment about 5 minutes away walking, which is pretty groovy for missionaries that walk all day, everywhere they need to go essentially. We eat small breakfasts, huge lunches, and really late, small dinners. We never go hungry and generally we eat too much. For example: 

Yesterday we made Françesinha at a member’s house, which is this sandwich with ham, linguiça, beef, bacon, sauce, bread of course, and is covered in cheese, then is melted in an oven, and more sauce is put on it. Its like a huge grilled cheese with tomato soup and it is absolutely heavenly. I was full after one, but ate two. Never hungry. 

So for a spiritual thought, missionary work isn’t what you expect it to be. It’s kind of like listening to David Tolks rendition of ‘”Amazing Grace”–it’s not the song you expect to hear; his version of Amazing Grace is kinda thoughtful and maybe melancholy, not the simple, more uplifting version we know. However, missionary work is fun! But when it comes right down to it, it’s not what you expect. Learning to manage with things we don’t expect is to "put our shoulder to the wheel and push along." With the gospel of Christ, this becomes easier because we can pray for guidance and seek personal revelation, because Heavenly Father wants us to be happy; we are literally His children. 

Well that is it for this week! I had a breakthrough in understanding the various subjunctive tenses of Portuguese this week, which was really nifty! What a blessing! I love you all and hope you’re doing well! 

Elder Hughes 

Gekko in our chapel

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