So I only have three p days left. It's winding down and I'm getting crazier as the time goes by. Poor Elder Brown. He's full of envy of Japan trip. A simple, begrudged "thanks" is all he has to say. I spent most of the morning sitting at my desk eating Japanese chocolate with a big smile on my face, spouting off spiratic Portuguese phrases that just naturally come out these days when I'm overjoyed.
I'm particularly excited about going to Japan because our best friend in the branch the last few weeks has been this fat guy named Carlos who speaks perfect English and served his mission in Japan. He had a few black companions who taught him a lot of the gems of the English language. He's showed us a lot of pictures from his mission. Japan looks simply AMAZING. I cannot wait. I'm so excited. You got my other email, right? OK.
Dad, to answer the two questions you had (about the stories and about a Japan itinerary). First, thank you very much for the stories. They're wonderful. I particularly liked the testimonies others gave of the Prophet Joseph. I enjoyed very much the story about Thomas Kent. I didn't know anything about that before. I love that kind of stuff, it's so interesting to me. I'm bummed because I probably won't use it here because of the amount of background with the Civil War and all, Brazilians just don't know anything about that and I would have to explain a bunch of other details for them to get it. But you can be sure that story will come in handy for future talks and lessons when I go out with the mission at home. I'm currently in the process of translating what I can into Portuguese and I'll be able to use some of that soon with the members and investigators. Thank you so much!
As for Japan, I'm going to talk to Carlos and I'll get you a list of things next week. Of what I know right now, I think I'll probably want to see the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Apparently the biggest roller coaster in the world is in Osaka. Kyoto would be cool for seeing shrines and learning about history and culture. Tokyo just sounds amazing overall. I don't even know where to begin. Let me just talk to Carlos first and then I'll be a little more sure. Plus I'm sure I'll want to look up a few things once I'm home, and Michelle and Jonny will plan all kinds of tight stuff. I say spending at least one night in the little pod hotel thing is a must.
This week has been great. We had a wonderful family night last night with Joao and his family at a member's house. We taught about the restoration with this kid named Wanderson who is preparing to go on a mission. I love Wanderson. He's kind of a butthead, but he says that it's because of our visits with him and his family that now he's decided he wants to serve a mission. When I got here three months ago he was inactive. We're also working with his friend Wesley who has also become even more decisive about going on a mission. He too was inactive when I got here. These two guys are the best.
I'm pretty sure I won't see Joao and his family get baptized, as much as I want to. The marriage thing just takes too long here. It makes me really upset at Brazil. They could have been baptized two months ago if the government were to have just made things simple with marriage in this country. Awful. But I'm happy as can be for them because they're progressing and they will get baptized. It's just a matter of when. I'll see the pictures.
We had a great experience yesterday after our district meeting--we saw Stella!!! It was so wonderful to see her. It made me so happy. I hope it didn't show but I was a little emotional. I don't think she noticed at all, I do a decent job of controlling myself. We have been praying since we found her that she might understand and accept the gospel. Since it had been a few weeks we got worried, we prayed that we might find her again, and yesterday we did. I was touched at God's kindness with us. She probably doesn't realize it, but she is an elect of the Lord.
Everything else is going great. I had a great last zone conference this week. I gave a talk on Sunday that was probably my last talk in Portuguese. Scary. Be sure to let me know soon how long Bishop wants me to talk the Sunday I get back. I'll start preparing now.
I love you. Have a wonderful week.
ps: here's a picture of me with Japanese candy this morning!!!!!