UM ANO! (One Year.)

Some day in this past week was my year mark. Some missions have traditions of burning a shirt for the year mark. The tradition here is much better. Pizza. With a chocolate-filled crust. In our area we have the privilege of having the best pizza in São Paulo (according to missionaries): Donatello´s. I´m not sure I can ever eat pizza without a chocolate crust again. It is just so good. We order pizza at least once a week. It is bom de mais (the best). So to answer your question, Mom, I´m eating pizza once a week. And rice and beans every single day for lunch. The food here, while repetitive, really is delicious. I need to learn the names of the foods here so I can (hopefully) find them in the United States later. The juice is fantastic. I have not yet had food here that I don´t like. As for fruit, I haven´t really had any fruit other than oranges. Perhaps if I get transferred to a wealthier area (which we don´t have many in our mission) I will eat more fruit. For dessert, we often have one of two things: something kind of like a really fluffy pudding or jello. At home, we only drink bottled water that is delivered to our house every week. Outside of our house, I only drink filtered water. Thankfully the churches here all have filtered water. We have a washer for our clothes, but we hang dry them, so we have had a few awkward moments when someone realizes they are wearing someone else´s underwear.

Our transfer ends today, and we found out this morning that Elder Hoffmann is being transferred. It also means I am going to be starting my 10th transfer of my mission. I realized this when I was creating a new planner and I couldn´t believe it…. but I went back and checked in my journal… and sure enough, this will be transfer number 10. Crazy. That means I´m going to be taking over our area after three weeks. I have been focusing on learning the language more in the past few weeks than learning the area, so it will be interesting with my new companion to see how much of our area I can remember. I haven´t even been to several parts of our area, and the streets here go crazy every. If I can remember how to get to the church from our house and back I will be in good shape.

Also, Elder Da Cruz (the one with glasses in the picture with the bag of cheetos from last week) finished his mission and is returning home to the interior of São Paulo. I will miss him. He is super sincere and humble and loving and funny and bold… the perfect mold for Christlike Leadership.

Marcia and Fernando STILL haven´t marked a date for marriage. We will visit them tonight with the Bishop. Marcia has some concern that she is keeping concealed that is preventing her from progressing, but I think having the Bishop with us tonight will help us resolve her concern. We also had a lesson with their son, Michael, who already missed his first baptismal date. The lesson was really powerful, but he said he just doesn´t have the desire to be baptized or help his family. Really sad, but hopefully someday he will figure out what he needs to do.

The family of 8 (The Silva Family) moved to the Northeast in Brasil (oh no!!!) but we will send a referral to whatever mission they live in and hopefully the missionaries there will baptize them. They are super prepared.

We contacted a girl this week (Elem) that is super prepared for the gospel. Her and her Mom (Maria, of course) love meeting with us, already received answers to their prayers that what we are teaching is true, read The Book of Mormon every night (and actually remember what it teaches) and were super excited for church all week. Unfortunately, Satan threw a curveball (not really a curveball, he always tries to mess things up) and Maria woke up Sunday morning with a seriously upset stomach and Elem stayed home to help her. Sigh. Next week for sure.

Elder Hoffmann and I have been working incredibly hard these past three weeks, but somehow everything seems to be falling apart. I think it has been hard for Elder Hoffmann because we haven´t baptized in three weeks. For me, I am more accustomed to a different mission with a different pace, so it hasn´t affected me in the same way. Our mission has a goal that every companionship baptizes every week, and it can be hard when that doesn´t happen. But we have in all sincerity been giving our all in the past three weeks, finding many people, teaching a lot, contacting like crazy… but we can only invite and teach by the spirit. The people we teach have to make the decisions to come unto Christ on their own. We have sifted through a lot of wheat these past few weeks and eliminated a LOT of tares. But, we will continue working. The Lord is going to bless us because we are working diligently and doing what he asks. I did the same thing in Long Beach and went a lot longer than three weeks without baptizing. I think sometimes God wants us to recognize the real blessings of our work.

I say this pretty much every week, but I can´t believe how much happens every week in our family. Lacey, good luck with the terrible twos. I´m sure these past few months have taught a lot about the validity of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Dad, I think I have seen that movie. It is always interesting to see Hollywood´s interpretation of Gospel Principles. I have learned a lot on my mission about recognizing and acting on promptings of the spirit.

I love everyone! It sounds like the northwest is having some apocalyptic weather. Stay safe!

Also, Mom, if you ever send a package (which might not be until Christmas), could you send:
~Peanut Butter
~Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils (18 Pack)
Before I left California, I sent home a package with some things I didn´t need to take with me. Did you ever get it? Most importantly it has my old set of scriptures, which I really want to save.

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