Thursday, September 17, 2009

Week 12

The Manaus Opera House

Sou Eu! We have 3 more baptism dates and some new investigators. Two dates are for a couple that's been wanting to get baptised for 6 months, but like most couples in Brasil, they aren't married. No joke, nobody here is married. It costs R$350 to be married, with the church it's only R$80. This couple went through a bunch of missionaries and they finally want to get married (we had to do some encouraging/throwing down). We've marked a day for their wedding and baptism. It's right after the transfer, so we'll see if I'm still here.

In some areas you baptize a family every week, and if you don't, the members ask why there wasn't a baptism that week. Our area isn't like that, but we are working really hard and seeing some successes. We taught more than 20 lessons this week, so there's potential.

I'll share a story with you guys. There are tons of churches in Manaus. Everywhere! We pass one that's pretty intense- every night on the way to our house. They yell and scream and cast out devils. They can get pretty crazy. Every night we see a girl in the church. Elder Christensen says she has been giving the missionaries the death glare forever. So, I decided to start staring back. why not right? So every night it was like a staring contest between me and this 16 year old girl. We thought she wanted to kill us. But, we show up to church on Sunday and guess who's there, 20 minutes early, sitting next to Bishop's wife? The girl! She said she might be looking for a new church (her mom and fam too). She sees us every night and knows a bunch of yw. She really enjoyed church and asked if we could teach her. We met up to teach her yesterday, and this girl is smart. She knows the scriptures like none other and asked some really hard questions. Luckily, we answered all of them (as well as we could...) I thought I knew the Bible, but I think she's got me beat. Luckily, Elder Christensen knew what to say and how to answer everything. By the end of the lesson it was an in depth, rapid fire question answer session. She had read some in the Livro de Mórmon and was asking good questions. Finally though, after a long time of Elder Christensen and her going back and forth, I asked if I could say something. She agreed, I told her I wanted to bear my testimony. I told her I know the things we teach are true and we weren't there to convince her, but to invite her to know for herself. I promised her if she prayed with an open heart (I emphasized that) she would know if it's true. We closed up our lesson and took her to seminary (it's at night here, and she wanted to go). We'll see what happens when we visit her later this week, I'm hoping for good things...

We are going to Pizza Hut for Elder Christensens b-day! President isn't able to go with us, which is unfortunate. He said if he were in town he'd have gone with us. They have pepperoni!!!! I'm so stoked!

Some of the poor parts of our area have wooden bridge walkways and wood houses up on sticks. When it floods, the water goes all the way up to the houses. When I'm in those areas it really reminds me I'm in the Amazon.

Portuguese- some days are better than others. Some people here are so hard to understand! I have no clue what the older people are saying. Just when I start feeling good about the language, I meet someone I can't understand and get humbled. Elder Christensen is helping me with my accent. I'll be honest, it's hard. Elder Christensen speaks so well that some people think he's brasilian. I'm hoping one day people will ask me if I'm brasilian!

Brasilian girls really like american guys. It's awkward. Well, not to them. NOTHING is awkward to them. They don't even have a word for awkward! So, they tell us as we walk by (so we can hear) that they like us. Yeah...sometimes I wish that things were awkward....

We had a zone conference on Monday. 80 missionaries met up and had trainings from President. I met some of Irmão Ramóns old companions who wanted to meet me. The bus ride to the conference was 2 hours, on a crowded, crowded bus. It was insane. The conference was really fun and definately a booster.

Thanks for the updates. Hope all is going well back home, love you guys.

-Elder Eric Stapley

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