Dear Family and Friends,
Well, the news of this week is definitely........EMERGENCY TRANSFER!!!!!
On Thursday I had to make the three hour trip into Vitoria, to register at the Federal Police Station there. On Wednesday night, I talked with Pres. Young for about an hour, and he prayed, called back, and said he had a strong impression that a transfer needed to happen. So we packed that night, and were gone at 6 a.m. the next morning to conduct business in Vitoria, and after I was picked up by my new companion, Elder Costa. So my companion, and one of the other missionaries in our house were transferred, and I´m in Serra!!
The last couple weeks have been really hard, and I didn´t realize how hard until I left. Elder Costa is fantastic, he´s from Recife. Our first day, we were talking, and as he kept talking, his words were exactly what I and the President had talked about, basically what I had been praying my companion would believe. So I asked him if Pres. Young had told him everything, and he said no. He just asked how obedient I was on a scale of 1-10. So, everything's so much better. Like I said, I didnt realize how tough it was on me. I feel like I´ve died and gone to heaven. We get along great, and I´m learning everyday. I just feel peace. And the Spirit is with us, so expect miracles. He´s been out 11 months, and this is his second area, and this is already my fourth. I´d love to stay here a while.
Serra has about 1/2 million people, and is close to Vitoria. And it's totally different than Cacheiro. No hills. A strong, almost constant wind, and much lower temperatures, maybe 10 degrees. We are living with two other missionaries, Elder Garcia from the northeast of Brazil, and Elder Carvalho from Sao Paulo. Their area is right on the beach, and we´re usually about 2-3 miles away. It's so great here!
We had our ward Christmas dinner on Saturday which was fun. The ward is really strong. I´ve been asked what was the best food I ate this week, and I have to say it was on Saturday. We had vaca atolada (basically a roast) and aipim (which is a root, and my first time having it, it was really good) with the customary rice and beans. Afterwards we had ice cream. I also had the best hamburger ever. It had banana, meat, bacon, and potatoes, I can´t even explain, but it was really good. and the equivalent of $2.
Have you heard of the Zika virus? [It's a mosquito-borne disease which causes in general a mild febrile illness with a rash. Aedes mosquitoes are considered as the main vectors. Before 2007, viral circulation and a few outbreaks were documented in tropical Africa and in some areas in Southeast Asia. Since 2007, several islands of the Pacific region have experienced outbreaks. In 2015, ZIKV disease outbreaks were reported in South America for the first time, and is now considered as an emerging infectious disease.An unusual increase of congenital microcephaly was observed in some regions in north eastern Brazil in 2015. Causal relationships are currently under investigation.] In Caheiro there were a couple mosquitoes, here there aren't any.
The ward mission leader served in Londrina. He said he recognized my name, but was coming home right when Tanner got there. His name is Elder Lima.
The three Brazilians in the house are trying to learn English, so it's been nice being able to help others with the language. My companion actually knows it really well, and I can´help him much. He taught himself. He´s smart, and wants to be a lawyer. I´m very lucky to be companions with him.
Tomorrow we have a special missionary Christmas conference with our zone that I´m excited for. Right now, we dont have many people too teach, so we´re working on finding more.
On Sunday, I taught the young men/young women about missionary work and challenged them to invite two friends this week to learn more about the church. But I did it all by myself, probably a 10-15 speech, and they understood, so I was super happy. Portuguese is coming along. I make sure to speak Portuguese to my companion still, even though sometimes he could understand my English better.
Quote of the week goes to Pres. Uchtdorf. "Now is part of eternity. It doesn't only begin after we die."
I´m looking forward to a great week.