Monday, April 11, 2011

Iras a Casa de Oracao

Tudo cool? Well, it's just another day in Africa! And the sun is getting hot!

I hope everyone's doing well. Looks like I have a couple 'shout-outs' to do:

Happy Birthday to Grandpa, Charlotte and Dan!

Congrats Joseph and Olivia!

Happy Anniversary Charlotte and Randers!

Good luck, Andy!

Whoo. April is a busy month! Sister Turnbow's birthday is on Friday, too.

Anyway, let's see what we've been up to this week:

Marcia had her baby! I think Lucas David might have a little African twin. He's a cute healthy boy, but here they don't give them a name until they're one week old. But, he's very sweet and Marcia seems pretty exhausted but happy. I can't really imagine how's she's feeling, but I think all this has been part of her preparation to receive and accept the gospel. She hasn't been able to come to church because of the whole giving birth thing, but she's still as great as ever.

We had a great Zone Conference this week. We got to provide the intermediate snack (which was more like a lunch--we sit and then we eat and then we sit and then we eat again - a lot). It was a great Conference--and President Neves' last! Isn't that crazy? I don't know if you've all heard about our new mission president. I've only got bits and pieces, but we know he's Brazilian who's been living in Bountiful. Cool!

President Neves is great. We talked a lot about finding new people and how much we need the Lord's help in this work. We also heard from the mission doctor who lives in Germany but served his mission in Brazil and speaks very good Portuguese.

We 'cleaned' up the beach this week. They have little 'Helping Hands' projects every once in a while so a bunch of missionaries and our zone went to one of the beaches and spent several hours picking up all sorts of garbage and dried fish. (We found blow fish!) I have to admit it was pretty unsatisfying. I hate to say it, but the praias here in Praia are kind of...dirty. But it was still fun and Evandro (one of our investigators) came and got interviewed by reporters twice! Now let me tell you a little story about why that's actually quite funny....

The other day we were finishing up for the night and walking home. On our way we happened to pass a church called the Casa de Oracao (House of Prayer--see D&C 59:9 for a little bit of irony related to the Day of the Lord) and I noticed a girl I recognized in the congregation. It was Lolita's (another investigator) daughter who actually happens to be a member (of the true church) and I was a little bit surprised. We looked a little closer and what do you know? Lolita and the whole family and Evandro were enjoying some loud-speaker preaching in the Casa de Oracao! Little Nadinha ran out and waved to us ('Elder!') and we just kept walking. I think we were in shock.

Anyway. You have to understand that Evandro hasn't missed a day at (our) church in four weeks. So we might have to be a little clearer in our teaching.

And we're just hoping when he got interviewed he talked about the right church. :)

We started teaching a new family--a brother and a sister and their elderly mother. Cheryl was wondering a bit how the older generation is treated here. I think they're treated pretty well and most of them are super nice. They're also pretty healthy--which is only slightly surprising.

But anyway, Dominga is great. She is a sweet little lady who cracks corn during our lessons (they pound giant sticks into little wooden buckets to smash the kernals to bits) and uses her crutches to get around because she only has one leg! The people here are amazing.*

We saw a woman carrying a big ol' bucket on her head the other day (which isn't really that extraordinary to me anymore) but in her bucket were a bunch of squealing baby pigs! I can honestly say I have never carried pigs on my head.

I played piano in Sacrament meeting again and as I was sitting at the bench during the opening prayer, I noticed I had a little visitor. I peeked and saw a little boy, standing next to me at the piano. He then proceeded to climb up next to me on the bench and prepare himself for a little performance. I wasn't exactly sure what to do, but luckily he only got in a few notes (despite my attempts to stop him) before being scooped up by his older sister.

Life in Africa is good. We seem to have tcheio** investigators and recent-converts with giant life problems that I've never had to deal with in my life. Here are just a few:

Sons rejected by parents for going to church, brothers beating sisters (with a belt--I don't have any experience with that), no work, no food, no water, wife won't get married, teenagers with babies and no money and people who don't have enough schooling to read or understand what we're saying.

But luckily for us, the gospel has/is the solution to everything. The trick is getting people to see that!

I love this work. I love these people. I love this country! And I love all you!


Sister Brooks

*Joke from Elder Brown: Where does Dominga like to eat breakfast?


**Tcheio (Chay-oh) - lots/muito (Creole)

Other Kriolu word I learned: gossali (go-suh--lee) - now (I think)

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