Well first of all I'm sorry I wasn't able to write last week. Elder Gailey was emergency transferred and I had to spend the whole day in the mission office while everything got sorted out and we ended up with no time to send e-mail. He wasn't in any trouble. Who WAS in trouble is my new companion. President Pizzirani had he and his companion taken out of the office and two new Elders put in. One of them being Elder Gailey. President had a brief interview with me, told me about the problem and explained that he isn't sending him home because he is a genuinely good person and a good missionary and doesn't deserve to lose his mission over this. He also told me that this would be a challenge for me, but that he trusts me a lot and that I am worthy for such a challenge. So, a man who was a Seventy told me I'm worthy. That's good enough for me. As a result, I have to say I've felt very close to the Spirit this week. My prayers have been long and meaningful and I feel full of the Holy Ghost as I lie down in bed. It' wonderful. My studies have been more clear as well. I'm learning a lot. Part of that learning has been tests in our teaching this week. We have had VERY little fruits. None, basically. Almost no one wants anything to do with us. And those who do only last a lesson or two and then they decide the Catholic church is better for them. I've come to know Satan very well in Brazil and I know when he's walking alongside me, and thus I know better how to defend myself. God wants to see if he can trust us or if we'll give up in the face of adversity. This whole week I've felt something very clear and peaceful telling me to hang on a little longer, don't give up, because the miracle is just around the corner. We have the ability to baptize an entire congregation if it's God's will. But you can never see a miracle like that unless you pay a price first.
I heard a story that in President Aidukaitis' mission (which was in Sao Paulo South) there was an area that was absolutely dead. No baptisms. Few lessons. The missionaries that had worked there were less than enthused about the work. President Cardon believed in it's potential, and decided to prove it. He sent his two best missionaries to that area. One was a zone leader and the other was an assistant, who was President Aidukaitis. When they arrived there the missionaries and members just smiled and told them "good luck", shaking their heads. After one whole month of no fruits, no success, but still working hard, they walked into a church (I don't know which) and sat down. After some time, Elder Aidukaitis was invited to come up and speak. I don't know what was said, but the entire congregation was converted and baptized. Including the Pastor. The sign was taken off the building and the name of the Church put up in it's place, as the newest Branch in the mission.
Thanks for all the happy birthdays. I'm not thinking very much about it but I'm glad people remember me. I got my present in the mail. I don't even know what to say. It's amazing! I was in awe! I was so happy. I look at it all the time. I love you guys so much and I'm so grateful for such a wonderful family. You are so much of my happiness. Thank you. And thank you to everyone that helped. Zach, Hajax, Tim, Chelsea, Annie and Alex & Aaron. AMAZING. Tell everyone that I said thank you and I love you.
I got two other packages as well. Thank you for those. I gave the Leandro Barbosa shirt to Elder de Sousa, who I live with. He is my good friend. He was so happy when I gave it to him he was jumping all over the apartment and acting like he was skateboarding in Sao Paulo again. So happy! That's where he's from, and so is Barbosa (known as Leandrinho in the Brazil). He saw him one time at a mall there and shook his hand. He said he was wearing HUGE pants.
The best thing from those other two packages was Dad's 2003 journal. It's so fun to read. I've nearly finished it already. I cringe when I read about the idiot that I used to be over Sara and all that business. There's plenty of good though. There are a lot of things that I hadn't remembered until I read about them again. Thank you, Dad. Come to think of it, the journal is tied with the bacon flavored chocolate and the birthday card from Lex of the singing cats. AMAZING!!!
Now, you know I don't like to do this but I have to ask for something. Only because I haven't been able to find it myself here. I'd like to ask for a Book of Mormon. In English. Nothing fancy, nothing big. Just new and in good condition. I'd also like to ask for a set of highlighters of a few different colors. Nice highlighters don't exist in Brazil unless you want to pay R$10 for each one. No good. I'd rather have American quality anyways. So that's what I'd like for my birthday.
I'm glad everyone had fun in California. I'm down for next summer. We should TOTALLY get a condo. That would be so much fun. I can get rid of my incredibly defined farmer's tan. Maybe lose some more hair in the sun. Michele and Lex, we go to DISNEYLAND! Mmmkay? All of us. Oh man. OK. Let's think about these things a little later on before I go insane right now.
I love you very very much family, and I miss you all the time. Have a good/happy week. Jordan