Below is a picture from a long time ago! It is of Elders Cornwell, Clements and Sant when they were together at the Brazil MTC.
BEFORE I FORGET! Mom, if you could do me a favor, look on the internet for a ´book´called Day of Defense by A. Melvin McDonald. You should be able to find a copy or pdf for free. But if you could print it out, and give it to the Elder´s in our ward, I would really appreciate it. What it is is two elders who had a mock trial with some 10 preachers/ministers of other churches and they respond to questions about the truth of the church only using the bible. It is something that they have to have! Its cool enough to just read it, but it is of great value for missionaries! Also, whenever you send the next package, send shoe goo. I can make some good use of it!
ANYWAYS! This week was crazy! At the end of P-day, we got a call from the Exec. Secretary and he said that Elder Smith and I needed to go to Aldeota AFAP because there was something with our VISAS that needed to be taken care of immediately. So we went, and our whole group was there at the Secretary´s house and it was just a giant party. Anyways, we get up way early the next morning and go to Policia Federal. Turns out that our addresses didn´t get changed when we came here from São Paulo, so we had to do that pronto because each day over 30 days that we don´t, you have to pay R$8. We were already 55 days over and for all of us, it would´ve cost the Church R$7,000. The Secretary was really sweating bullets here. It turned out that he just showed our ID´s, talked to a guy and he just changed it without us having to do anything... or having to pay. He was so excited about that. So everything turned out good. Afterwards, Elder Smith and I did an exchange and went to Horizonte for lunch and some appointments. The member we had lunch with has a neighbor with some serious health issues (liver problems associated with drinking). He asked the neighbor for a blessing, so we went with him, blessed him and then started to just talk about the church since he wasn´t a member. Too bad it´s not my area!
Wednesday, we went and taught our two baptisms and just continued to prepare them. It was all pretty normal. After we taught a cousin of a member and that went smooth too. Nothing crazy happened that day.
Thursday we did the baptismal interviews and everything went well. Again, nothing I can remember happened.
Friday, we went to Aracatí to do an interview for the sisters. The interview was for a 19 year old girl who is dating a member. While she was being interviewed we talked with the member. He is 4 months away from 19, so of course we were talking about going on a mission. He said he still wasn´t sure, that he wanted to go through College, than go. He also said that he needed to help his mom out financially through working and what not. Now if there was ever an opportunity to bear testimony about the mission, that was it! I told him how I left on the mission and Dad was out the door at work, and had a bit of time without work, than he found new work that was significantly better. I told him things like that just happen, because the windows of heaven are opened to us. I asked him if he knew a lot of people who went on missions, to which he said he knew a few. I asked him if any of them had told them they regretted going on a mission, to which he said none. Then I asked if he knew anyone that regretted not going on a mission, or putting off a mission, to which he said yes. He really thought about that. After, the conversation went normal because the Dad of the girl came in and talked to us. After the interview was over, Elder Johnny came back and was talking to him, asked how old he was and all that business. He said ´oh, I´m turning 19 in 4 months´ and Elder Johnny asked if he was thinking about going on a mission. He said ´I have been thinking about it, and I wasn´t sure 15 minutes ago, but now, I know I´m going on a mission.´ Wow. That´s all I can say.
After that, we passed by a family that´s getting ready to be baptised, but they have to wait on getting married. I thought ´Her mom lives next door, can´t they just sleep in separate houses until March 16th?´ So we asked them if they were ready to do all that they needed to be baptised to which they said YES. So we told them and the husband liked the idea. He said ´I get a house all to myself and my own bed? I think I can handle this ´sacrifice´ thing´. So they are going to be baptised next week!
Saturday, we had our two baptisms. We got to watch a little bit of the worldwide training while we were filling up the font. It was pretty awesome. Then we had the baptism service which went smooth. Afterwards, we cleaned up and then taught an Uncle of one our more helpful members. AS we were talking to him he said he had a lot of problems and he really wanted to change. He already wants to be baptised just because he knows it will change everything. I was really impressed with him because he is really humble and has a real desire to turn his life around for the better.
Sunday, I got to give a talk on Commitments. I talked about how missionaries use commitments to help others build faith and get closer to Christ. Then I talked about how our most important commitment was the commitment we made with God in baptism. I talked about how we needed to be acting as representatives of Jesus Christ, because that is what we committed to do when we took his name upon us. I said if we do this, we will be numbered as the family of Christ himself in the Celestial Kingdom. I can promise that because that is God´s part, and he will complete all that he has said. I used the scriptures
Luke 14:16-18, 21-24
Luke 8:15, 21
The beauty of it was, I used for the most part Preach my Gospel and the thoughts that popped into my head as I studied the topic. I was really grateful for the opportunity.
That was my week! Pretty much normal for the life of a missionary! I love you all!
P.S. Mom, also send some Piano and guitar music, like that sonatina book and other classical stuff just so I have something I can play ;).
Answers to questions:
1. Have you received any DearElder.com letters since you have been in the mission?
Answer: I have, for the most part from you. I haven´t gotten any for about a month though... i think.
2. Are there sights to see on your P-day?
Answer: There are a few big Catholic churches, some other historical things, but so far, my companions just don´t want to do anything of that sort.
3. What kind of tourist-y things are there to do/see in the Fortaleza area?
Answer: There is the central market, the whole Center district and the beaches, but at the moment we aren´t allowed to walk on the beach (they used to be able to)
4. What do you do on your P-day, besides read my emails and answer my questions?
Answer:Sleep, watch a movie, eat. Just normal stuff.
5. What sports are banned in your mission (for example: full-court basketball is off limits in some missions)?
Answer: Right now, soccer is banned, which kind of sucks, but it was a smart thing. The president had to send home 6 Elders in one day because of injured knees playing soccer.