I hope you are all enjoying the cold weather, cuddled around the campfire, because I would love to be enjoying that as well. I'll just have to wait another year though. This week was HOT. And it's only gonna get hotter until March when things start to cool down again. My tan line is outrageous.
You guys are going to get a kick out of it!
Anyway so this was a solid week. We had our Christmas Mission Conference. This the first time since I've been here that the entire mission got together for a meeting, so that was pretty awesome. I got to see so many old and new friends. Just good times!
So X is still coming along. One thing I've learned out here is that people have so many reasons that they do or don't do something with their lives. The motives are endless, and there's not always one solution to help someone make that decision. X has been loaded with trials that we've had to overcome, and we've come a long way since the beginning. He's ready for baptism. We even had him interviewed, he's just not ready to make the commitment. He's the type of guy that acts only with complete knowledge of the outcome, no risks. He knows baptism is essential, this guy knows the bible cover to cover, he's been attending churches for the past 20 years, and never made the commitment to join any of them. He's afraid of the responsibility that comes with the covenant made with God and not fulfilling his part. He doesn't feel ready to hold the priesthood, or have a calling in the ward. We talked about these concerns this week. We compared it to being a mother or father. I don't think anyone feels ready to have their first child and start their family, but it's the right thing to do, and sometimes we have to take that step and know that Heaven Father will qualify us when we take a risk, a step into the unknown.
But that wasn't even the highlight of this week. So let me backup about six weeks ago. I was leaving the chapel with Elder L when a short homeless man came to the church gate. He asked us if he could perform his "composition". With the stench of beer oozing from his mouth and holding our hands he sang to us "Ele Vem, Ele Vem, Ele Vem!!! Para nos buscar!" (He comes, He comes, He comes, to search for us") The masterpiece lasted for quite a while and we just joined in on the singing since the song was rather repetitive. Three weeks ago at the baptism of X2 he made another appearance. We were all just conversing outside the chapel and he sang for all of us once more and celebrated drinking guaraná with us. We invtied him to church just for the heck of it, why not? And he didn't think anything of us. So I guess we know where this is going.
So as the prelude music began last Sunday I was sitting in one of the pews with a AWESOME guy from Niterói (who saw the chapel while working here in Alcantara and wanted to make a visit.) So I wast sitting there and when I look at the doorway, our short little homeless man enters. A member points him in my direction and we sit down as the meeting begins. He reeked of beer and pee but that's ok. I was interested to see how he would act and more importantly how the other members would act. Things were calm until the first hymn. He sung like a drunken pirate, and each hymn was concluded by a victorious "HALLEUJAH JESUS!"
it. was. awesome.
It's good for members to recognize and respect the ways other people worship, and sometimes as members we get so accustomed to the rigid reverence. I for one was a fan. During the meeting he kept nudging me asking me if it was his turn to perform his composition" at the pulpit. I calmly treated him, and told him that his turn was coming, that it was the speaker's turn for now. He would wait and ask again until the end of the meeting came and I took a sigh of relief. At the end we had a number of things to plan and resolve with visitors and members, and I couldn't quite give him full attention. He asked me if I could "grab the pastor" so that he could preform. Finally he just went on his own and performed in the front of the chapel for the bishop and his family, and then left silently.
Who knows when well see our little friend again, but it was a great experience. He recieved an invite to the Ward Christmas dinner, and members talked and hugged him.
I love you guys so much! I received that EPIC packge this week,. You guys are too much! My personal favorite were the letters you wrote me, and I'm in the process of responding with handwritten letters. Hope to send them off this week! Madison wrote twenty pages, and I absolutely died laughing reading her stories. Thank you so much!
|The "epic" package- thank you Purser Family! (note the white neck)|
I'm so grateful to have such an incredible family. I was reflecting on the fact this week that if I were stranded on an island with you five, with no other human contact, I would be perfectly content.
I love you all so much!