I hope you are all doing well! Let's jump straight to the fun news - after 7 months in Botafogo, I have been transferred to a new area called Arsenal! It is a "neighborhood" that is in the bigger city of São Gonçalo.
The new area is split down the middle by a highway-like road that takes you to everything. It can be walked, but I prefer to jump on one of the plethora of busses in the summer heat. This last week and a half since arriving has looked a little different than what I was expecting with my companion getting sick, a failed exchange in another area, and a trip back to the office for an audit; but we have high hopes going into this next week.
It was sad to leave the amazing ward in Botafogo after spending almost a third of my mission there. Not only will I miss the ward, but serving alongside some of the best Elders in the mission office will be hars to leave. It's a little hard to explain how I feel like I am restarting my mission in a way. The mission office is a lot different than the day-to-day life of the rest of the missionaries. The transition out of the office with definitely come with some challenges , but my goal is to take them in stride and remember to laugh because it's going to be an adventure and I really am excited to get back out into the field. I have heard some awesomes things about the recent success of my new area and the overall focus that the ward has on missionary work.
My new companion's name is Elder Helsley from Idaho Falls. He has the same amount of time out on the mission as I do, but he only arrived here in Brazil 2 months ago. His Portuguese is improving impressively well and at a rate that will be sure to help him reach fluency by the time he heads home. It's an interesting question to pose of why did he stay in his reassignment (Tampa) for so long? Time will tell, but for now I am excited to incorporate some of what he learned in the states to our area in Brazil.
Thank you for everyone who has kept me in your thoughts and prayers. For those of you who don't know, I have been having cronic problems with my sinuses since arriving to Brazil. I was able to consult with multiple doctors over the last couple of months and the medication I received has been working well. My companion tried to tell me yesterday that I am allergic to Brazil. Looks like I'll have to double-down on Allegra because I have a mission to finish here in Brazil.
The missionaries before me in my new area have been working very hard. This is evident from our teaching pool that is dwindling in the best way possible - baptisms. One inspiring story that I want to share with you all this week is from a family that found the church a little over 2 months ago. One of the best ways that we receive references (people interested in hearing a message from the missionaries / going to church) in missionary work now, is through social media. The Church has an amazing, far-reaching ad system that brings in a high number of new references every week.
Now taking that into account, a father of a family in our area came across one of these ads. He filled out the simple, little form and continued with his day. One of our jobs as missionaries is to reach out to these references and understand how we can help them. This particular father was really interested in having the missionaries come to his house to learn more about what he saw on the Church ad (which is a short 2 minute video about Jesus Christ, the Church / restored gospel, and families). The missionaries before me went and met with this man and his family. Through the initial interest of the father combined with the Spirit- filled lessons of the missionaries, the two kids (Gustavo and Sofia) and the cousin (Cleyton) have been baptized and confirmed members! We are working closely with the father and his fiancée as they work towards getting everything ready for their marriage. Through some genuine curiosity and faith, this man has been able to bless his family and bring them one step closer to being sealed for this life and all that is to come.
I still have moments on the mission of wondering how I ended up in a different continent speaking a completely different language than what I had spoken for 22 years of my life. But it is in these moments of pure faith, of baptism, of understanding more of God's perfect and eternal plan, and in learning more about my own purpose and our collective purpose here on earth, I know why I was meant to be where I am today.
God is real; He lives. God lives in each one if us and He loves us perfectly. Trust in Him.
My new P-days are on Wednesday's! This week we switched things up because of a holiday on Wednesday.
I hope you are all enjoying the nice, cool (maybe really cold) weather back in the states. Stay safe and make some awesome, good choices!
With love from Rio,
P.S. I will send all of the photos updates in another email!