This update is coming to you late (seven hours late!) from foz do IGUAÇU! I'm in Reggetone town, after eight hours in the car with President and Sister Genaro. They are resting nicely in the hotel and I get to sit and write to you for a bit. : ) It's nice!
I'm happy today. It was good to drive, sometimes in the rain, sometimes in the sun. It seems like the passing showers carried a bit of my weekend stress away. This weekend was a growing one for the mission. That's what I say when things go differently than planned. We have new parts in our missionary machine, good parts, and now they just need to be oiled up and set to work!
Tomorrow we'll have conference here in foz with the zones of foz and Cascavel, then we'll head back. Thankfully this last week between conferences in Londrina and Maringá we had plenty of time to get to work in our own area as well. There's nothing more satisfying than hitting the streets, running to talk with everyone in your way.
Conference in Londrina was very exciting, very "animated," as they say, even though it was smaller. Not much to add apart from that, though. Maringá went as well though due to arrangements with the restaurant we had to cut our training of almost two hours down to less than one hour. We got it done in time and I got to lunch with my dear CTM companion. He always answers the phone at night so excited it makes me smile and I get excited again. He's doing a good job with his zone in Morangueira, baptizing in his own area and also helping to baptize in other areas that require quit a bit of travel on his part. I'll get to see him again next week in leadership meeting.
I love attending conference more than once because each has a different flavor of revelation. I learn something different in each one and we leave something different behind as well. Lunch is different and the cakes too : )
This week, being general conference, I'm very excited not only to go but to able to bring lots of new investigators and also new converts to hear a prophet's voice. What a special place for us to receive personal direction for our lives in this sometimes weary world. Alright, so I don't have much news and I'm kind of just filling in here, but I did have one story to share.
This weekend, being that we traveled all week, we were kind of short on people to bring to church and the few that had appeared really, really firm on going, ended up disappearing on Saturday or being no shows. Saturday night, when everything fell through, we looked at one another and thought, "Well, we could go and give a "strengthening" visit to some eternal investigators or to some other recent converts." But we decided it would be better to just pull out all the leftover references that we had and see how many we could contact in the last 45 minutes of the night. Generally, the "good" references were already contacted so these were like the orange peel references. The leftover mashed potatoes that nobody really wants (except me). We went after those references with a passion! Just going, going going, in the last half hour with people who had never seen us before. We found six people who accepted to go to church the next day and you know what? They did go! and the family we found right before going home will most likely be baptized this weekend. They're already making plans to bring everyone to seminary!
I already learned the importance of diligence in the mission, of working until you can't and then working more, but the Lord is so loving that at times, like when we feel especially burdened down or when we really can't do it by ourselves (I had given my week to serve others and had little leftover for my own area) He reaches down and puts what Elder Bednar would call a tender mercy in our path. He magnifies our own efforts, because it's His work. That was a sweet experience for me this week.
To respond to some questions, we eat out quite a bit. Today in a chic (fancy) truck stop buffet. Maybe those words can't honestly go together in the U.S. but here they can because there are no McD's or other stops so the rest stops are generally quality. I ate tutu, which is beans mixed with farinha or a flavored flour made from a potato-like vegetable called mandioca. It was good. Maybe mom can make some tutú for you all this week to try. Also dad would like to get his hands on hot sauce made from the peppers malagueta and camburí. The malagueta is hot, though probably not as hot as an habanero. Good stuff!
I love you and hope you all have a good week. Get better! I have to have two parents ready to make contacts in the street with me when I get back : )
p.s. Did you get my changed itinerary? I told them to change my airport to WV instead of you having to drive to Columbus and back : )