Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Week 62: Ahora yo puedo hablar español

t's true. I don't know if any of you remember, but I did NOT want to speak Spanish for any reason at any point in my life. I had NO desire. But for some reason, being in Central Falls (and going to our favorite restaurant, Taco Loco) has given me the desire to learn. I don't know why, but it's weird haha. So this last week I finally really had the opportunity to look at Spanish and see the differences between Portuguese and Spanish (it's really super similar) and put the Spanish words in my head. Then I've been using it! Haha I went on exchanges to a Spanish area, we taught a Spanish lesson, and we contacted people in Spanish. It's pretty halting, but I'm actually really speaking some Spanish now.

Can anyone say "quadrolingual"? English, Portuguese, Kriolo, Spanish...

Maybe the Lord is just blessing me with some Spanish abilities because He wants to transfer me to somewhere like Lowell (where my ex-companion Sister Lima is, along with another ex-comp, Sister Roman!!) where the sisters cover the Portuguese members and the Spanish group.... we'll find out on Friday!

I haven't started reading El Libro de Mormón yet, but I pulled one off our bookshelf this morning. "Straaaaange things are happenin' to me..." (Toy Story anyone?)

Well, on to other news!
Last Monday was awesome. Because it was Labor Day, we got to go to the temple and do a session. Later we stayed up in Cambridge all day because who wouldn't? We emailed later that night because our appointments cancelled anyways.
Tuesday we finally had another correlation meeting with our group mission leader, and he bought us Dunkin' again. I still think I like Starbucks better. (for hot chocolate, duh!) A lot of the day was spent doing boring stuff for the baptism of Maria, Walter, and Paulinho Silveira! Maria has 13 kids, so we went through the process of getting the full names and birthdays of all of them. It took a while. That night President Miller came down to his *favorite* place to visit in the mission (he said it, so it's true) and gave Maria her interview. Elder Montes later did they boys'. And they all passed!! Wahoo!!
But the coolest thing that happened on Tuesday was our skype lesson with Julio. We had it set and we were trying to have Angelica, our group leader's wife, skype with us too, but we just could not get a hold of her. Right before we were going to skype though, the Bishop walked into the chapel and stopped in front of the open Clerk's office door. We said "Perfect! Hey Bishop, do you want to be in a skype with us? He speaks English, don't worry." He said "Sure." and he stayed with us as we talked to Julio more about the Book of Mormon. I can't explain to you exactly why, but it was so perfect. Everything the Bishop said helped so much in the lesson! We committed Julio to read the Book of Mormon, and he said he totally would.
The Digital Mission is just the coolest ever. Julio is one of my favorite people.
Wednesday we had exchanges! I went to Providence Spanish with Sister Lira. She's super funny and I've actually served with her a lot. That was the day I learned Spanish, my friends. Our other STL, Hermana Buttars, had a Spanish for Missionaries book, so I used that during language study and I'm basically fluent now. Just kidding, but I can talk! We ate a lot of delicious hispanic food and I heard a lot of Spanish that day.
That night we had an adventure trying to fit a twin mattress into our Toyota Corolla to take home to Sister Watts, whose mattress now hurts her back. In case you weren't aware, it is VERY difficult to get a mattress in a car that small. It didn't work, so we carried it back into the STL's house and drove home hahaha.
Thursday we weekly planned for daysss but that night we went out with Maria Silva, who took us to her friend Blanca's house! This was the Spanish lesson we taught. We explained our purpose and talked about the Book of Mormon alllll in Spanish! Well, Sister Couto mostly spoke Portuñol. I like to think mine was more Spanish, but she did talk a lot more than me. Blanca and her husband are so great. They are Catholic, but were super interested to read the Book of Mormon! We passed them off to the Spanish elders though, because I know they speak better Spanish than me.
Friday was Zone Conference! I was asked to play the piano (again). We learned a lot, mostly about physical preparedness types of things, like eating well and working with the ward and keeping our apartments safe and nice. But President Miller did give a really good talk about the Light of Christ--everyone in the world has it! That means everyone has potential. I'll talk about that more later. Also, the elders got a modesty talk, so that was good :) They talked to us too, but we've already heard it a billion times, so we knew all about it.
After Zone Conference, we were driving back to Rhode Island and we stopped at 99 (the restaurant) with our district to celebrate Elder Montes', Sister Watts' and my "99 days left on the mission!" (Hence the pictures in front of the restaurant) It's not my favorite restaurant, but it is tradition.

I feel so old. I'm dying...
Friday was the day we contacted someone for a while in Spanish. I'm telling you, I can almost speak it now!
Saturday was CRAZYYYY. We had a solid game of Ultimate Frisbee and correlation and studies, and then we took a less-active, Antonia, to visit Elizabeth, our new investigator. We taught the Restoration, and it was so good!! Elizabeth is progressing so well. We're going to try to give her a baptismal date this week. But Antonia really truly answered the phone twice during the lesson... not by walking into another room, but by sort of ducking under the table. What? We're going to need to talk to her about that....
Then we cleaned Antonia's house because that was payment for her coming out with us. Whatever it takes. We ran around trying to settle things for the BAPTISMMM!! And we also skyped Julio again (he read the BoM but just  the chapter headings haha. At least he read!), when he said he wants to go to church!! So we called up the missionaries in Brazil, who told us they had stake conference this past weekend. Bummer. We'll get them there. We also skyped another guy, Allan, who also lives in São Paulo, and he is really interested in the Book of Mormon! We're going to send the missionaries down there to him this week. He's super cool!
Then we had the baptism! It was crazy because we forgot some really important things like to remind them to bring dry underwear and towels, but it doesn't matter now because Maria and Walter and Paulinho got baptized!! They were so happy.

One thing I just love about baptisms is that I feel pure joy every time I watch these people that I love go under the water. It just doesn't get better than that (so far). There are lots of pics on the drive, but I'll add one here... One of the best parts is that Anselmo, our recent convert, baptized Paulinho, his youngest brother. It really just can't get better than that on this earth.
Sunday was cool because those 3 got confirmed!! And we had 49 people in Sacrament Meeting! Crazy!! Almost 50. We're getting there. I can smell that branch...
We ate lunch at the Machado's and we taught Liz and Zaniah that night about the Plan of Salvation. They are only 12 but boy, they look 16. Why does everyone here look so old?
And there you have it. A full and crazy and low-numbers kind of week! But numbers aren't the most important. The most important thing is that 3 of our beloved investigators joined the Lord's Kingdom this weekend, and they are SO. HAPPY. Please pray for Maria that she can stay strong and find a new job that gives her every Sunday off. She loves church and wants to come so badly.
I love you all. Sorry I write a novel every week.
One thing I've been thinking about is this idea of the Light of Christ--what has been striking me is that every person has it. We see a LOT of people who have a lot of darkness in their lives. I mean a lot. But darkness can never ever overcome light. It just isn't possible. think about it--light will only fade if the electricity or candle or match no longer has fuel. But darkness can never overcome light.
Every person has the light of Christ. Every person has a chance. Every person has potential. Every person can use the Atonement, and every person has "hope in the redemption of Christ"! (Alma 5:15 I believe).
Our challenge and the one I give to you this week is to look at EVERYONE you talk with this week and find that light of Christ. It can be very very very hard, trust me. There is a lot of darkness in the world and in some people's lives. But look for the light, no matter what.
I love you! Have a fantabulous week with school and seminary and missionary work and work and stuff. 

Oh wait I forgot the funniest thing ever.
After church on Sunday there was an 8-yo baptism scheduled for the Bishop's son. Church ended, and someone asked "is the font filled?" We looked at each other in horror. The font here literally takes at least 1 1/2 hours to fill. The baptism was literally about to start. What did we do you may ask?
Well, we (all of the missionaries and the YM president) got to work. The font was going--slowly but surely--and we had both kitchen sinks filling up pots and bowls, plus the sinks in the men's and women's bathrooms. I even tried using the water fountain to fill a bowl, but everyone pretty much just laughed at me. It took us about a half hour or so, but we successfully filled that font using bowls, pots, and the measly little baptismal font. Miracles are real, my friends. I'm sure of it, because that font is a big one, and the Lord was definitely providing more water than what we were able to carry over to the font.
And it wasn't even a missionary baptism!
Anything for the Kingdom.

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