It is a constant war out here. I was almost done doing relays of numbers when the power cut off and all was lost. Now with power we're back and having completed the mundane I move on to the celestial, namely this letter.
What a week we've had! It has been atypical in every sense and quiet interesting. Since the zone conference was going to be held in our city, we were in charge of lots of things to get ready, like cleaning chapels, buying bread and pizzas in large quantities and afterwards cleaning, etc. Well, we pulled it off. It was a different conference than all the others I've had due I think to the fact that the Genaros have moved in to their own style of how to work. It's different but the spirit is the same. Truly we were instructed from above throughout the oracle of President Genaro.
Tuesday we had a division and I stayed with Elders Doan and Barton in a triple. We had a lot of fun doing lots of contacts and then we had to pick up people from the rodoviaria (bus station). Elder Doan from Georgia is one of my favorite elders here in our zone. He is a worker and never complains. Maybe if you could get into contact with his parents and tell them that he's an example for me and all of us that would be special. Elder Barton is a funny guy too.
In the conference I was asked to direct the meeting, a first for me and I thought it went well, though the finites of directing were lost somewhat in my Portuguese. It was nice to sit in close proximity with the President and share a chuckle or two. Sister Genaro led us in stretching and I've since taken to stretching every day to be more flexible and healthy. It's going well : ) Lunch was superb, stroganoff and grilled chicken. The couple that does all the food here for the conferences is in my ward and they are superb too. I´m sure I'll have more on them later. After we had cake and recited the Thirteenth Article of Faith in our own languages with some national pride. I was just prideful that I could still recite the 13th Article of Faith without too much hesitation.
President's training focused on increasing our faith and relying more on the Lord which is something I've pondered frequently here the last couple of months. We must learn to rely not so much on what we know and know to do but what has been promised and what may at first seem like the less productive road. Then he had some question-answer session time about baptism and scenarios with members or leaders. I now have reached the point where I really have written a book on how to do member missionary work from a missionary's standpoint. I think I will publish it. The conference filled up our spiritual gas tanks after a long week, we're ready to go.
Saturday I headed to Assis, and Ourinhos, two cities that are a part of our zone and have three sets there, in Aassis two sets of sisters. They had an interview marked but called us as we were boarding the bus and said that it had fallen through and don't bother to come. I said we´re coming, get her to that interview. So they did and she entered the room saying "I will not make any commitments," and left praying for thankfulness to have found the truth and that she would be able to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. E. Haws, my traveling companion, baptized her directly after the interview. The ward even supported her and it was a very nice afternoon. The sisters also felt rejuvenated and excited after they thought their hopes were dashed. I love, love, love interviews. They are some of the most spiritual moments in my mission.
Then I headed to Ourinhos where my companion was handling the investigators there. We caught a bus and went home, getting back at 9 p.m. I rode the bus eight hours on Saturday, and the picture I sent you of the truck was one of the many filled to the brim with burnt sugar cane from the many sugar cane fields we passed. It wa nice to just sit and enjoy Brasilian countryside, benefits of being zone leader.
Sunday we ran out and got some investigators and I spent a lot of calories making an effort to be really happy and excited to meet the members. I felt like it really made a difference, complementing everyone and asking them about themselves, their families, they got palpably more excited. Hopefully I can turn over a new page here with members again. Patience. It felt good though to love the people, because I do love them, deeply, and I just want them to do what is best. I'm sure that's what our Father in Heaven often feels with us.
Sunday we also headed out to another ward to train the two companionships that work there and have not baptized in the last 10+ weeks. They have two new missionaries that have also never baptized in their mission yet and we really wanted to help them. We each trained one set and for me it was a very rewarding experience helping them learn how to work more effectively. I left with a teacher's high and smiling : )
This week we just want to baptize every day of the week and I think we will. There's no better feeling! I love my companion. He brings joy to my days and gets me excited to work. We're changing the zone here slowly but surely and I feel sure that great things are to come. My personal study this week was slim due to the traveling but I did of course find sometime to dig into the Book of Mormon and I'm also completing my second reading of the New Testament. It's been fantastic to identify the simple principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ as they relate to my life and to the lives of all those around me. The study of the atonement and the gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and perseverance) has really increased my ability as a missionary and as a priesthood holder.
I love all of you and pray for your missionary efforts. Find people to teach and teach them in your home! and then baptize then : )
p.s. Good birthday gifts would be Dr. Scholls, some more deody, or whatever things you like. I always feel loved : ).