December 10, 2014
It´s been a crazy week here in Brasil. Waking up early, lots of meetings, temple trips, and miracles. I´m honestly exhausted, but it´s all worth it. I´ll try to let you all into the highlights.
There are moments on the mission when you feel like you are being dropped into a Novela (brasilian soap opera. they are kind of huge down here, and a horrible influence on society if you ask me) and one of those was yesterday. Looking back it really feels like I walked into a set. I say that joking, but honestly its really sad because it involves real people with real problems. But the way everything played out it felt surreal
It started out yesterday. We dropped by at Neide´s store to say hi. It´s always fun to go by there. I always leave more excited for the work. She is getting ready to get her Patriarchal Blessing which is way cool. After talking for a bit, she helped us set up an appointment at a government office in Campinas for one of our investigators (Luis Fernando) to renew he outdated ID so that he can get married and baptized. We had planned with Fernando to mark on Saturday, but realized the office was closed Saturday, so we tried giving him a call, but no answer. We then called his girlfriend/wife (Luciclea) to set things up with her, and when we called I could tell she was in a bar. Lot´s of noise, music in the background, and to top things off she was almost crying. As a friend and a missionary, I naturally got worried. First that she was crying, second that she was in the bar, and third because she kept saying over and over again, I need you guys to come by tonight. I told her we would drop by and continued on with the day, putting the events in the back of my mind.
Fast foward a couple hours. We grab a bus to go back to the neighborhood where we live, with plans to stop by Luciclea before going home. Pretty normal bus ride until this lady sits next to me. Like always, I start talking to her and ask her how she is going.
`Mais ou Menos` she responds. I could tell she had been to the hospital because she had that cottonball and bandage that they always stick on you after drawing blood or giving medicine, so I asked her if she was sick. And then she replies,
´Look, I´m the next door neighbor of that lady you have been teaching. We were actually really good friends until today.`
"Well good to meet you," I said with a smile.
"You wanna know what happened today?" she asked.
At that point I was thinking, "well, the way she is asking me, I really don't think I want to know." but I asked anyways.
"I was at a doctors appointment," she says, "and my husband didn't know I was coming home early. And as I was walking home I walked passed the bar, and who was there drinking and kissing, Luciclea and my husband."
She continued, "So of course I marched in to figure out what was going on, fought with my husband, and he beat me up pretty bad so I had to go the hospital again."
Pretty shocked I replied, "Wow, that makes me really sad," Praying that what she told me wasn't true.
I talked with my companion and we prayed and prayed to know what to do when we went over to Luciclea, and when we get there she is out of control crying. Through sobs, we here her side of the story, which is completely different then her friends and ends up with her friend hitting her across the face harder then she has ever been hit before. Luciclea has a pretty bad temper, and told us that she fought and fought not to fight back, but was more angry then she has ever been before. We talked with her, listened to her, prayed with her, and gave her a blessing. We left the Spirit there. And that's where we end our little drama, at least for today. We have to go back to see how things will run out, but if I learned anything, it's that the love of Christ can heal the deeepest wounds. I truly felt that with Luciclea as we left her house last night.
Other highlights of the week include Ana and her family. We taught them all Sunday, and there are excited for her to get baptized. They haven't accepted baptism, but have at least accepted having us over and really felt the Spirit as we taught. I'm really excited for Fabiano, her older brother. Sadly he smokes, which will probably be his biggest challenge, but he loved the lesson.
We also met a sweet couple, Rai e Micaela. They are 21 and 19, and usually when we find young couples like that they are just living together to see how things play out, which makes things difficult, but to are surprise, they are legally married and accepted baptism. Now comes the teaching process.
We had the opportunity to go to the temple today. I have to tell you that it is really nice to have a little piece of heaven on earth. There is so much wickedness. Just riding the buses here in brasil I am pretty much constantly singing hymns in my head to keep my thoughts pure. There is literally pornography everywhere you look. I've already memorized when I can look out the window, and when I have to look out the other window, and when I need to close my eyes as we take the bus around down. I'm not even kidding, it's horrible. But the Lord has protected me and it was so nice to be in the house of the Lord today and feel his presence. And even nicer to feel worthy to be in his presence.
Love you all and hope you have a wonderful week.