May 12, 2009

Just a reminder first... don't forget to call President Gulbrandsen and make sure someone is around to release me when I get home. I assume that's already been taken care of, but one way or another just let me know so I can put my worries to rest.

Phone call was so great! I felt wonderful afterwards, as always. I swear I could talk on the phone every week with you guys. For some, it takes their focus off the work completely. For me it's therapeutic. It makes me feel more calm, more in control, and much happier. The mission is hard, even when you're two weeks from going home, and you need every chance you can get to smile and be happy. There's no greater joy to me than you guys.

After phone call we went downstairs from the little English School we were at and met an investigator named Marcone and his not-so-less-active sister Elda who started coming back to church when we started teaching her brother. She is 29 and he is 39, although he doesn't look it. We hopped in their car and they took us to the church they go to sometimes. The church is called "Sara Nossa Terra" or "Heal Our Earth", which is very a typical, empty Brazilian evangelical church name. Like all of them, they had a rock band and a pastor who yelled a little. He told this Mother's Day story about Abraham's wife. It was okay, but it also kind of reminded me of why there is no mention of our Heavenly Mother in the scriptures---exactly so that her sanctity isn't made a joke of the way Heavenly Father's so often is. Elda turned to me at one point and slipped me a note written on one of the little tithing envelopes that were sitting on our seats when we got there, it said: "they're weird, aren't they?" I looked at her and said "who"? and she pointed all around and said, "everyone".

They dropped us off afterward, we were very polite and very grateful. We marked to come by the next night. So, yesterday, we got to their house where they live with four or five other siblings and taught them about the plan of salvation. We bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. We told them, when we were asked, how we felt about the church we went to on Sunday night. We said it was very nice, but that we ought to be careful not to confuse the Spirit of the Lord with emotion. We invited Marcone to be baptized on May 24th. He accepted whole heartedly. He'll be baptized my last week! I'm so excited.

President Pizzirani is really upset because the mission is baptizing very few men and families lately. I understand where he's coming from, I really do. He sent a bulletin out to the whole mission burning everyone. Which is absolutely fine. Sometimes I need a little kick. Although I feel like he might have been speaking a little bit emotionally, I love President and I always appreciate his counsel. I want to make him happy and I seek to understand his vision more and more all the time. I know it's the right vision. The vision the mission had when I first got here made me want to go home.

Thanks for all the advice, Dad. I appreciate it all very much. I need to remember those things. And Momma, if you'd like to fly here to stalk me I suppose that's alright. My companion might be a little freaked out. Don't worry, two weeks is no time at all. I'll be home plenty soon. As for the airport, I don't mind who's there really. If Hajax wants to come hang that's fine with me. If anyone is afraid to let their emotions show, don't worry, because I'm not! So take peace in that. I don't know if I'll cry. Maybe. If anything I'll probably just be worried about people making fun of my hair loss. I'm gonna look like Uncle John one day. So anyways, yeah, bring whoever, fine by me.

OK don't forget to call right away, if you haven't already, and make sure someone is around to release me. I guess if they have to they can release me by phone? I don't know. Either way. Don't get me wrong, I love being a missionary. But really, I only love being set apart as a real missionary in Brazil. Once I'm home it's time to be a normal person.

One other detail about going home---I know I said that going to the Temple was more on the want list, but I've decided to move that up to the need list. Essential. I can't have going to the Temple on the same list with cowboy boots and an iphone.

Next week will be my last e-mail! If you have any last questions or concerns that need to be answered before I leave Brazil, next week is the time. I'm so excited to see you guys, and I'm so content with the feeling that I'm going to be near you again soon. I love the mission, I love Brazil, I love so many people here, but I really do love you guys more than any of that. You are the most important of all people or things or places in the world to me.

Have a good week!

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