Other cool experiences this week...Thursday night. Ricardo and Sheila hosted what basically wound up being a ward family night. Their family was there, Igor and Daniela (who came to church with their family of 5 yesterday--that family that we randomly knocked on their door and invited us in), Gilbert and his family, Lucianno (assistant to the ward mission leader) and his wife, and us 4 missionaries. Quite the party. Ricardo and Sheila have been going through a lot of difficulties and they asked us to talk about patience. So we started out like this: "tonight we´ve got a really cool message prepared. We´re convinced you´ll be able to get something out of it, so pay attention!" .........................................silence for 90 seconds (literally).........................................................
They lasted about 10 seconds before asking what we were going to talk about and what they wanted to do and why we weren´t responding to their questions and such. Until finally Igor said, "got it! You´re going to talk about patience." So that was pretty funny. We showed the mormon message video with the 4 year-olds and the marshmallows and President Uchtdorf narrating (if you haven´t seen it, I recommend it). Then we had them write out 10 of their biggest blessings, only 2 of which could be material ones. Then they had to write down how long it took for them to receive those blessings--it varied from 5 to 14 to 68 years. So everyone was like "ohhh, the bigger blessings take longer to come." Then it kind of spontaneously turned into a testimony meeting which was really special because lots of people talked about the difference we´ve made as missionaries in their life. I came home that night really happy.
Saturday we had the annual Christmas cantata at the temple. Super stressful but the music was incredible. We got to help coordinate reception and the display of a bunch of mission materials. The secretaries collected tons of referrals for all the nearby areas. They were expecting 700 there at the temple that night but we got up to over 1,000 members and visitors. Several of which were members and recent converts and former investigators from all the areas I´ve passed through (that´s one benefit of serving in the same city for over a year).
Sunday after church and Daniel´s baptism we ate lunch with the Machado family who spent 9 years living in Utah. They had 2 Chinese friends over, 1 of which spoke no Portuguese but pretty good English--so everything was in English! Which was nice but weird for a change. I´d definitely say Portuguese is more comfortable for me, at least as far as gospel language goes. It was a cool experience though--a Brazilian family, 3 American missionaries, and 2 Chinese investigators all speaking the same language about the same person and the same gospel, independent of culture or race or religion. That´s what the gospel does for people.
Gotta go...16 days left till Christmas!!
Love, Elder Sears