I am calm this Monday morning, though I haven't decided if it is the calm before the storm or after. This past week we had 45 baptisms and 52 confirmations in the mission, a number extremely high for the second week of a transfer during the holidays, with half of the zone leaders new to the job. Needless to say we were ecstatic and today fully intend to take advantage of our first p-day in twenty days. I'm thinking Kraft macaroni and cheese and hot chocolate as it's kind of rainy and perfect for that but we'll see. : )
We didn't travel this week after Monday but spent Tuesday mostly in the office preparing training and updating numbers which is probably what we'll do tomorrow as well.
Then that night we had a wonderful dinner and family night with the President. Lots of food, great drinks, lots of laughs and a few Scooby Doo impressions, by whom I shall not insinuate. : ) We spent the night in the secretaries' house and then Christmas morning struggled to find a bus to bring us home! The city was absolutely deserted in the morning, like from I am Legend.
It was wonderful to talk with you. I loved every bit. And it was all that I needed for Christmas : )
We baptized a young man this week, the same I had commented on Christmas. He is fantastic and has really changed his life to enter in to the gospel. He stopped us in the middle of our first lesson on Christmas and said, "I heard a lot about a mission in the Church, how can I serve a mission because I really want to?" Wooo hooo! I obliged to explain : )
We also brought a family of Haitians to church and they loved it. And everyone in church loved them which is sometimes harder. . . but they're progressing well, with a sincerity of purpose I have rarely seen in the mission. As they speak mainly French it has been quite the new experience but very edifying. They came so well dressed to church that I was speechless : )
This week we will enter into a new year and begin several "restructurings" of the mission and prepare lots of things for the upcoming leaders counsel moved to next week. Maybe we'll travel a little too to help other zones!
(Last letter's football activity and baptism)
I have, it appears, little to share today, but I will share that I have no reason to be sad, or frustrated or worried. It is the peace the gospel brings, as the song says. Yesterday we were caught in a rainstorm on our way to a lesson and ENJOYED it. We then invited our teachees to come out into the rain and join us awhile and they did : ) No worries, lots of work, all optimism. Yesterday we also had the most productive meeting with the stake president here in Londrina and his counselors, and it was equally refreshing. Here was someone willing to do what we ought to, and how fortifying it was to finally not be alone in this cause.
Halfway through our meeting we received word of the passing of Elder Thomas. He was my beloved zone leader in Bauru, a fiery, testifying example of boldly declaring to all that the Church of Christ had been restored. He knew it was true, and worked so tirelessly so that all could know as well. In his mind, it was inconceivable that either member or especially missionary could for one minute forget this most important duty. He practiced what he preached. I loved him as a leader, and have often referred back to him as a personal example of diligence and focus. Surely the Lord, in this accelerated phase of the work, needed him to captain the heavenly hosts in the same manner. Send my love and condolences to his family. He will be deeply and sincerely missed.
I know this work is true and perfect. That we may each carry it forth this week in our own sphere. I love you and pray for you. Surely I feel your prayers for me.
Happy New Year!
p.s. Hunter, what are your plans for housing at BYU?