The past week has been a difficult one, but one well worth it. I prayed really hard Christmas night that I´d be able to focus fully on the 26th and I definitely felt some divine help when I woke up the next day. Our strongest investigators are still by far Lena and Reob. We took them to the temple on Saturday to visit the temple grounds. We got permission to show them the waiting room inside the temple which was a really neat experience for them. They were so taken back by the beauty of it all. Reob, who is not one to express his emotions all that often, mentioned to me afterwards that when he walked inside he felt something change, something "diferente." Of course, as a missionary, that was music to my ears. I explained why he felt that way and, as of today, everything is lined up for them to be married on February 9, baptized on the 10th, and sealed in the temple on February 10, 2014. I´m beyond excited for them. Next week, when things are a little less rushed, I´ll try to send some photos of the 4 of us at the temple.
Sunday morning was a trial of my patience followed by a rather immediate, merciful blessing. Aside from Lena, all of our pesquisadores who promised to come to church didn´t come. It´s pretty complicated, being the end of the year and all. I was pretty upset but before I could really complain Elder Alcântara got a phone call from a 25 year old named Douglas who was trying to find the chapel. He has a friend who invited him to another ward last week. He went, felt completely at home there and wanted to attend church this week in his own area (our area--Vila União). He showed up just in time to catch Sunday School. He´s already living the Word of Wisdom and knows bunches about the Church. He told us he´s anxious to know "everything." More music to my ears. We´ll be visiting him this weekend after his schedule calms down a little bit and I´m really optimistic about the possibility to baptize him. I´ll be praying that he´ll have that desire.
To summarize my Christmas/New Year´s really quickly: Christmas morning I woke up, read Luke 2 along with the blessing my dad gave me just before leaving for São Paulo. I´m so glad I did. There is some counsel in there, especially about hope and optimism, that I really needed to hear this time of year. I open the package my family had sent and it has already been put to good use! Especially bananagrams. Elder Alcântara has fallen in love with it. He wants to play every day for our Language Study--I´m not sure it´s the best way to learn the language but I´ve allowed it for 10-15 minutes every day. No complaints there! We went to Cristiane´s house afterwards and had lunch with her family.Christmas lunch is a huge deal down here. Her grandma, Valdenoura, took me by the hand and sat me down in my seat to make sure I got to eat. She kept serving more and more until I was about to explode. It was delicious, and only took an hour or two afterwards to recover from the amount of food I stuffed into my stomach...
After lunch and skype with my family (by far the best present I could have asked for), we went to Elder Johnson and Santana´s house to not spend Christmas night alone. We talked and talked and slept well.
Tomorrow our only plans are to eat well and work well. Should be a good start to the New Year.
Gotta go, but I love you all. I´ll try to respond in full to each of you next week when I have more than 10 minutes! HAPPY NEW YEAR!! FELIZ ANO NOVO!
Much love, Elder Sears