I think everyone is accustomed to working in our family. Everyone has or has had jobs and has helped with Church responsibilities and callings. However, I have to say that there is a difference between working as a full-time missionary and being someone who works hard for a good part of the day and then comes home to their own house and takes their shoes off and watches TV and eats a healthy, home-cooked meal and can relax, read a book, listen to music, and most of all--can enjoy the family they have so near to them.
Therefore, let there be no mistake, I am planning on fully taking advantage of being home when I am no longer a full-time missionary. I love my mission and I know exactly what it means to me. I plan on using my new work ethic at jobs, at school, and in doing many things to help the Church, and I'm looking forward to these things. However, you can be sure there will be plenty of sleeping (at least in the first week home), and plenty of late nights full of conversations with those I love, getting caught up on movies, music, books and whatever else has been going on since I've left. Maybe even video games, who know? Those things cool your mind off.
This last week has been wonderful. We brought so many people to church it was amazing. I don't say that to boast of anything I and my companion have done, but, like Alma, to boast of the glory of God. We were truly blessed because we worked hard this week and didn't leave a single house without leaving a strong commitment with each and every person to go to church. We were blessed to have the help of the members to give investigators rides to the chapel. On one of the trips we had so many investigators in the car I had to ride in the trunk! It was great. The branch president was really happy,so I'm happy.
There is a man named Jesiel we're working with to get baptized this week. He was someone we talked to on the street who accepted our invitation to go (like everybody in Brazil does) and then ACTUALLY WENT. He went to church all by himself, by foot! It was amazing, particularly considering he lives at least two miles from the church. We taught him all about the Restoration yesterday. He accepted everything really well and was excited about reading the Book of Mormon.
There were a few others who went to church who have shown some interest in being baptized so we'll see how this week goes. Should be crazy.
There is a really great family we've been working with this whole transfer (I sent a picture of me and Elder Brown with them last week). Joao (John) is the dad's name. He's a really good husband and father. He's a carpenter. His job is stressful and that made him pick up smoking several years ago. Before he met us he was smoking two packs a day, now he's down to just two cigarettes per day. It's been amazing to see his progress, and his family's as well. His wife is a great person, and his kids are adorable and hilarious. I love their home. We've taught a lot to them and helped them in many ways, and they've agreed to be baptized as soon as Joao and his wife are officially married (which is a little bit complicated in Brazil, as I've explained). They have a date for the 22nd of this month. Hopefully things are all taken care of by then. The challenges and encouragement from us and from the members, and especially from the family, have helped Joao to slow down his smoking a lot. We call him in the morning to make sure he doesn't bring his cigarettes to work. His ten year-old son keeps a record of how many cigarettes per day and at what time, and everyone in his family is sure to give him plenty of hugs and say I love you. I've gained a true testimony that when someone has faith in you and expects things of you, you can do anything. That's what families are for I suppose. That's increased my love for you guys even more.
Have a great week. I miss you.
ps: I got the package with the pancake batter and syrup this week. Elder Brown and I had a huge, fattening American breakfast this morning! AMAZING! Thanks from him and from me. And thanks to Dad for the amazing picture book of your trip with Grandpa to Pennsylvania. I love it. More pictures, please!