Wednesday:Today we were supposed to have district meeting but we didnt. i dont know whats up with that. we had only like 2 or 3 in these 6 weeks when we are supposed to have one every week. On the long walk to Patricia´s house we passed a strange dressed man. As usual we said, ´´Boa Noite´´ and passed him, but after Elder Brito freaked out a bit and looked back at him a few more times. It was kind of strange when we passed him because he was glaring at us and didnt look happy to see us. Then after he rubbernecked us a bit longer he kept looking back at us. It was weird until i learned more about what he was. Elder Brito tried to explain but i didnt understand the words he was using. So we looked it up on Patricia´s phone and i read about it on Wikepedia. it is called Candomble. After that i was creeped out and was more scared walking back home at night in the dark. That religion is close to Macumba which is defined as: a black religious cult practiced in Brazil, using sorcery, ritual dance, and fetishes. so pretty close to worshipping Satan. Candumble is a Brazilian sect of the macumba cult. They believe in a different god and stuff. People dance and do weird ritual things and people get possessed as ´´therapy´´. They wear all white its a weird outfit. So that man that we saw was dressed like this and thats why elder brito got scared. He explained to me that every church of that religion, like the building, flies a white flag above their church to identify themselves. and the member fly white flags too. Elder Brito says there are lots and lots of this is Salvador. there are only 2 that we know of that is in our area. One is a lot worse than the other according to elder brito. today we also did a little service project, helping Alexandre move a bunch of bricks. then we watched Olympics, then went on a run, then i exercised more when we went home because Elder Brito doesnt like running and didnt hold up very long.
Saturday: Today i woke up having the weirdest dream. Dad got a different job within Plexus, but it meant he wouldnt see some co-workers ever again. So 2 of his co-workers and our family went skiing to celebrate dad´s promotion. But the funny thing was that dad has a big 5 o clock shadow/ beard, which he never has, and his two co-workers were super tall and one of them was MR. NUXOLL! what the heck!? Mr. Nuxoll!! i have no idea why my brain dreamed of him, but it did. We walked to Campinhos and one of the ladies we were looking for ( i call her the janella lady because we knocked on her door and she answered through the window ( janella), wasnt home so we visited her neighbors. one lady let us in and we shared a quick message about the plan of salvation. when we asked if we could end with a closing prayer we asked if there was anything specific she wanted us to pray for and then she explained how she has been sick. then we talked about priesthood blessings and she wanted one so we gave her one after the prayer. It was really special. Also today Elder Brito´s package came today. we picked it up at a member´s house. Today elder Brito ripped his pants from getting too excited when brazil won gold in mens soccer in the olympics. It was hilarious. i got their reactions on video when brazil won. and let me tell ya, they go crazy! hahaha
In the end what i learned this week and what i have realized as ive moved into my last week of this 6 week transfer is the importance of obedience. Im going to be honest as i describe what ive learned about obedience. In all honesty Elder Brito and i have not been as obedient as we should this transfer. It has bugged me a lot. We didnt do anything wrong or bad, but we werent exactly obedient to all the rules. It has frustrated me because i know that its possible to be 100% obedient and i know that i can do it, but we havent. Me being the trainee, and the ´´stupid american´´ who ´´doesnt know anything´´ in the eyes of others, doesnt have much influence in what we do day to day. My senior companion makes all the plans and i feel as if im just there going with whatever because i have to. We spend more time than we should in some houses doing unproductive things when we could be out working more and blessing other people lives. For example, on saturday we walked all the way to Campinhos where we found that lady who we shared a message with and gave a priesthood blesssing to help her with her current health issues. and that was awesome! i felt the Spirit and i felt productive, but then we went to Nattalya´s house where we practically ´´hung out´´ for a long while. I try to convey that i want to work, but it doesnt seem to be effective. During the time at Nattalya´s family´s house i passed a note to Elder Brito that said, ´´Vamos nao gastar muito tempo aqui. Eu quero trabalhar mais hoje. Mais que normal. Vamos compartilhar um mensagem e sair :) translation: lets not waste a lot of time here . i want to work more today. more than normal. lets share a message and leave :) So we did just that, we shared a message and left. We walked 30 minutes to Alexandre´s house and ended up watching the men´s olympic final soccer match brazil vs. Germany. It was fun, but it wasnt what i wanted to be doing. I had just passed Elder Brito that note and he completely disreguarded it by finishing off the day with watching 2 hours of soccer. Elder Brito has been on this mission for 23 months, which means he only has 1 more month and i think this is why he slacks a bit. He´s also the zone leader and probably doesnt want to listen to a new american missionary.
But in the end i dont want to just talk about what we are doing wrong or sound like i am complaining. I want to express the power of obedience. An analogy i like is comparing water to obedience. Water doesnt boil at 205 degrees F, or not even at 211 degrees F. Only at 212 degrees will it boil. the same with freezing. only at 32 degrees F will water freeze. Obediences behaves the same way. when we are obedient we are blessed. and while im on my mission, blessings and miracles depend on obedience. If i am 95 % obedient BLESSINGS will occur. . The same will happen if i am 99% obedient, but 100% obedience brings MIRACLES. For short obedience brings blessings, but perfect obedience brings miracles. For me, as a missionary, this means i need to follow all the mission rules and work hard. But this same prinicple applies to everyone. We need to be obedient to God´s commandments to recieve blessings and miracles from Him. He want more than anything to bless us and help us throughout our lives, but he only can with our obedience to his commandments. ( D&C 130: 20-21) . I have a testimony of obedience. i know that when we are obedient our lives will be more fulfilling, less complicated, and our challeges and problems with be easier to bear. I also know that when we follow the Savior and are obedient He will provide a way for you and will bless you.
I also have a testimony of priesthood blessings. On many occasions i have recieved priesthood blessings for comfort peace, and also for healing when i have needed it. I could tell you about these experiences but there is one specific experience told to me by a sister missionary in the CTM that i would like to recount that has strengthened my testimony of the power of priesthood blessings. One week before i entered the CTM in Sao Paulo there was an Elder who broke his leg playing volleyball. You could see where his bone broke because it was poking against his skin; it was a clean break. The whole volleyball court witnessed it as he lay on the floor in pain. He recieved a priesthood blessing, got his leg wrapped up, and Bro. Mello drove him to a hospital. Meanwhile the Elder´s entire district was praying for him. When he arrived and the doctor unwrapped his leg and took a look at it, he asked, ´´What are you doing here?´´ The Elder´s leg was perfectly fine. He wasnt in pain either. He had been healed and they returned back to the CTM. Now i would have to think you were crazy if you think it was just a coincidence or something that the Elder was healed. I know that because the entire district of that Elder was praying for him in faith, and that because the Melchizedek priesthood holder who gave the blessing of healing was worthy, the Elder was healed. I have a testimony that the priesthood authority we have in this church is the same priesthood authority that Jesus Christ had and used to perform the miracles he did when he was on the Earth. I have no doubts that this gospel blesses families and that God established families to bring us happiness and prepare us for eternal life. And most importantly, I know that we CAN be happy and have HAPPY families, and shine as lights in the world on our journey to eternal life. IT IS POSSIBLE! :) Philippians 2: 14-15 is a scripture that goes with this.
Have a great week everybody and good luck to all of my family and friends as school is starting! I LOVE YALLS!!
a house of candomblé (white flag)
elder britos ripped pants after the Brasil soccer game
Élder britos box from his girlfriend
Zone conference pictures