What a week! Oh my goodness. Things are so crazy here in Brazil. So different. But I love it more than I can explain. Things are great. I am so grateful to be here and to be serving the people of São Gabriel. It is such a blessing!
I am not going to lie, I had a pretty rough week at first. When I first got here, it was great. I was loving everything about it, but I think I was still kind of in shock at the differences. This week, it kind of all settled in. I realized that I had no idea how to speak Portuguese, how to teach in Portuguese, or why I was really here. We had hardly anyone to teach and things were falling through all over the place. This was probably the first time I REALLY struggled as a missionary. It was hard, and I was frustrated with myself and what we were doing here.
This lasted a few days. And I´m not one who likes to wait around for things to happen. I go out and I do. So on Wednesday, I realized there was a problem here. I wasn´t happy. I wasn´t loving the work like I used to. So I decided to change. I´ve been thinking a lot about change and about the person that I need to become. Honestly, I can be anyone I want to be, despite the circumstances. I no longer believe in the words, "It´s in my nature," because I have seen so much change in the people I have taught on my mission. You truly can become whoever you want to become. And I wanted to be someone who loves her mission, who has the desire to work hard and do exactly what the Lord expects of her. So I decided that I needed to get over this little hump and get to work. The more I worked, the more I began stretching myself and speaking in Portuguese, the more I loved and served my companion, the more joy I was able to find. I started to love my mission again. I started to love the work and desire the best for all those that we are teaching.
Miracles are happening here in São Gabriel. We lost a lot of the people that we started teaching, but we were able to meet so many more people with that. We have this boy named Anderson, who is 14, and has SO much faith. It is amazing to see so much faith in a boy this young. He came to church with us on Sunday and is doing so many great things. We are praying for his baptism next Saturday. He is ready. He loved church and he loves all that we are teaching him. I am very excited to see what will happen with him.
I discovered that they have the best chocolate ever here. Oh my lanta. I love it. Hahaha. Remember how I said I was going to be in super great shape when I get back...Maybe not. Haha. Just kidding. But it really is great. When we have bad days, Sister Ponce and I get chocolate. It makes it all better.
Also, I am currently experiencing the rain of Brazil. NOT OKAY. It rains SO much. Yesterday was like the ultimate downpour. ALL DAY LONG. I was swimming in my clothing and in my shoes. And to make things even better, hardly anyone was home. So we were out in the rain for pretty much a solid eight hours. Hahaha. Such a struggle. But Sister Ponce and I were singing and laughing the whole time. We have a blast together. She is seriously such an incredible companion. I love her.
I also experienced the extreme heat and got totally sunburned. I forgot that when you are outside all day long, you probably need sunscreen. I am glad it turned into a tan the next day, because all day people kept calling me "Americana vermelha" - the red American. Lovely. Hahaha it was great.
I love this work. This week, I realized how much I truly love it. It is such a blessing to be here. to be serving the people here. My Portuguese is coming along, but keep praying for me. I need all the help I can get. I am grateful to be a missionary, to be working hard, and to be dedicating this time to the Lord. He has done so much for me. This time I am giving is the least I can do. Life is great here in São Gabriel. I love it. I am excited to see what this week will bring. I am working hard to get over that "natural man." I want to give all my time, my heart, my mind and myself to the Lord because that´s why I am here.
I love you all. I hope that all is well. I am forgetting how to speak English sometimes and I find myself translating in my head from Portuguese to Englsih while I write in my journal at night. I´m going to be such a weirdo when I get home with no comprehension of how to speak normally. It will be great. Can´t wait. Life is great. I love you and miss you all and keep praying for you.