Dear Family and Friends,
This week was the best Christmas ever! To start of the week we had a Secret Santa with our entire zone and celebrated Christmas! Then 1 of the missionaries in my house went home. He wasn’t actually an Elder. He was just a member filing in for one, He lives here in Ceara, and my mission president sent him home to be with his family for Christmas and the new year and he won’t be coming back. So now I am in a Trio! Elder Rands is now with us! He is an American from Missouri. He has 1 year and 2 months on the mission. Christmas morning I made cookies! We baptized on Christmas!!!! I’m never going to be able to do that again! We baptized a boy named Gabriel and a woman named Marta! We have been working with her for a month now! She was literally a miracle! We met her 1 day walking down the road and we just felt prompted to talk with her. After the first lesson she told us that she felt really good about our visit, she said it brought her happiness she had never felt before. We found out the she had an addiction to drugs so she kept going to church but she wasn’t able to be baptized because she was addicted. Over time we were able to help her be free from this drug and she gave it up! Then to top it all off night before her baptism a bunch of people from another congregation showed up at her house telling her lies about Mormons, talking bad about us, putting pressure on her to not be baptized. Our branch president happened to be walking by the front of her house when this was happening (because they live on the same road) and he heard them talking bad about us, creating lies. afternoon at church he showed up to us and informed us of his discovery, and he explained his concern that he did not think she would be baptized today after all that he had heard. But sure enough, afternoon Marta showed up at church and was super excited for her baptism! This woman is powerful! She is an example to me! She has a daughter and 2 sons. She is divorced and cares for the family all by herself. She has a small humble 1 room house that they ALL 4 live in. she has a rent of $100 Reais (which is $35 dollars) for month because she can’t afford anything much expensive. She makes a living selling “doce de mamão”. It’s so sad sometimes to see how people are living here, but she doesn’t complain! She is happy with her life! It really opens up my eyes! I am so much more grateful for my life, I never would have known or understand the depth of the gratitude I need, if it weren’t for my mission here in Brasil! We all should be much more grateful for the blessing our heavenly father has given us! I hope that the focus of our Christmas this year was Jesus Christ and not Santa Clause! I thank you for all the love and support!
Impressions of Horizonte Brasil
-Christmas is not a really big deal here, it’s rare to find Christmas lights on houses, and I have never saw seen real Christmas tree here in Brasil. Basically people don’t have money to buy Christmas presents.