I've been here at the CTM for just over three weeks, and I have just over two weeks left! This week went by pretty quickly. I'm excited to get out into the field, but I'm not tired of being here at all. There's a district of 9 (6 elders, 3 sisters) that are going to the Natal mission the same day as me. They're from all over South and Central America- 7 different countries! I've made pretty good friends with them and we see them a lot. Our district is doing a musical number with their district in an upcoming devotional. I love being around missionaries from all over the world (mainly just all over South America). Most of the other missionaries I talk to are converts to the church. Some have only been members for a year or two. And I've met a couple that are the only members in their family. I really admire their desire to serve even though their families probably aren't the most supportive. We have a few new Americans come in every week, but the numbers usually even out because of the departing missionaries. It's strange that there were 5 sisters that came in on my week. Most of the other districts are only elders. I told Elder Chamberlain about the connection that Grandpa made. And yes, the President Caldwell dad knew is Elder Caldwell's grandpa. Also, Sister Breithaupt says she knows Austin and Brennan Shaffer. I'm so surprised we found all those connections with the others in my district!
I like President Swensen a lot. He's a very powerful teacher and speaker. I love Sister Swensen just as much too. They are a great team.
On Sunday's, we meet with an American branch in one of the rooms here. All of the 6-week americans, as well as two or three senior couples, make up one branch. The Branch President and one of his counselors live nearby. They are both Japanese. They say that Sao Paulo has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan! I love when President Sugiyama or Brother Kuwai teach lessons. They'll teach about things like how the ying-yang symbol relates to 2nd Nephi because there is opposition in all things. Or they'll talk about scientific things, like how it's good to sing hymns frequently because a japanese scientist discovered that music changes the shape of water crystals, and our bodies are made up of 70% water. Haha, I just thought i'd include that.
My time's running out quick, so I should tell you about proselyting! This wednesday our instructor took our district on us on a busride for about 30 minutes. He dropped us off at a public square where people were getting on and off buses. We each had two Livros de Mormon. It took my trio companionship about an hour and a half to give them all out. It was an awesome experience! I was blown away by how kind and accepting the Brazilian people are. All the people we talked to were very willing to listen. There was one lady who we weren't sure about at first, but she opened up a lot and loved talking to us. She was a professor at a university. She said she was catholic, but only went to church on Christmas. She said she would read the Book of Mormon for sure. Another lady we talked to said that she lives near the Sao Paulo temple. She had lots of questions about it and wanted to go in. She was very interested in the church and the book of mormon. I told her to read it and pray about it and she said she had no doubts that she would do it. There was a phone number in the front of the book to contact the missionaries. She said she would do that for sure too. I also asked her when in her life she had felt God helping her. She said that right at that moment she knew that God was helping her. Several minutes after we said tchau, she saw us again and ran up to ask our names and where we were from. And she thanked us again. Such a cool experience! We also talked to four other people for a while. All of them were very accepting too. I wish I had more time to write about it. I'm thinking now about other cool things I wish I had time to write about. Maybe next week! Thanks for your letters! I loved reading them all. I'm looking forward to having more time for emailing/writing letters once i'm out in the field.
Have a great week!