Saturday, December 24, 2011

Building Up Zion

1- Some of the Christmas decorations in Downtown Santa Maria. All made of painted and cut up soda bottles. Cool huh?
2- All of the baptisms of last Saturday. Elder Black is up in the corner on the left.
3- Us and Alexandre and Luciana, and Bishop Safuan
4- This is my shirt from Thursday

5-Here's the map I have of my area in the back of my planner. We work from that big street Venancio Aires to the south, and Elder Carlos works to the north. We live at the intersection of Venancio Aires and Borges de Medeiros. The chapel is in the bottom right hand corner on Appel and Tuiti. If you look at the bottom, you can see Patronato.

So on friday night was Alexandre and Luciana´s wedding. It was really good. We just had a little ceremony in the church. It was really good. I don't have pictures right now, but´i´ll get some.

Saturday was a marvelous day.
During the afternoon there was a ward activity. It was a blood drive, so I donated my golden blood. Also, there was this cotton candy machine there, but the guy making the cotton candy disapeared, so I learned how to make cotton candy and made it for everyone.
Then after was the baptismal meeting. It was really good. We got our Zone together for the baptism. Ten of the five baptisms of the Zone were men. So that is really good. Quite awesome. We need more men baptisms. The church needs Priesthood.
I baptized Alexandre and Elder Menk baptized Luciana.
Afterward, in the baptismal meeting, Alexandre got up and bore his testimony. It was so good.
It was cool having the baptismal meeting with Elder Black there too. It was cool to see how we started the mission together, and now we are making a difference in the church together here in Santa Maria.

Our bishop, Bishop Safuan has been really happy with the converts in the ward latelly. He has said on many ocasions lately how the recent baptisms of the ward have all been really good people.
One really cool thing-
One of the neighborhoods (note on neighborhood, here a neighborhood (bairro) is not really what we call it there, like an area built by the same company, here neighborhood just means a certain area) of our area is called Patronato, and it has been very very little worked by missionaries in the past, because it is kind of a tough area. It is in the southern part of our area. Anyway, a few months ago, when we were having a really hard time, Elder Albrechtesn and I decided that perhaps we were having such a tough time where we were working because the Lord wanted us to work in Patronato. So we started working there from scratch. Literally from scratch. There is only one active member in the neighborhood. So yea, Alexandre and Luciana are from that neighborhood, which is awesome. And Bishop really wants us to work there too. Because we want to be able to create another ward, splitting our ward with the ward to the north of us, Salgado Filho, which is where Elder Black is. So we need to baptize people in that area. There is a lot of potential there.

On monday we had 2 really good visits.
First we visited Peterson, Jefferson, and Leda. They are a really cool family (they also live in Patronato) Leda´s brother just moved into our ward a few months ago, and he is now in the bishopric. Jefferson and Leda are interesting because they are both Deaf. Peterson, their son, is not. So we have been teaching the family, and Peterson translates for his parents, and meanwhile, we have also been learning lots of sign language from the visits, and both of us can teach a bit in Sign language. It's amazing. Peterson has been reading the Book of Mormon, and has already decided to be baptized. His dad Jefferson is really smart, Director of the School for deaf people, and we believe they will be baptized too.

Then after that, last week President Ribeiro invited Laura and Isabel to family night with his family, so we went too. It was really good. Laura already has plans to go visit salt lake next summer!
This morning (12:30am) I just got back from doing a division with the Zone Leaders in Santo Angelo. A city up in the north of the mission by Cruz Alta and Ijui. I told you a lot about this city in my last email, about how it needs to become a stake there and stuff. It was a cool division. It is a big city (80,000 people) and only has 2 branches. that is pretty weak compared to Cruz Alta (60,000 people) which has 4 wards. The area of those guys there is huge. There is tons of room to grow there. I did the division there with Elder Nunes. He arrived on the mission with me. It was cool. Though on Thursday, it was some crazy weather. In the afternoon there was this crazy wind and dust storm, and then at night it absolutely POURED. So yea, we got soaked. You can look at the picture of my shirt from that day. Good stuff.
Anyway. It has been a good week of building up Zion.

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