Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Charity Never Faileth

Dear Family,

Hello. This has been a pretty good week--and a very hot one. The electricity, of course, was out on Sunday and we had a very toasty, dim Sacrament Meeting. I found it interesting that it is possible to create a slight air flow when everyone in the room is fanning a Restoration, Gospel, or Plan of Salvation pamphlet (with a few Word of Wisdom pamphlets and pass-along cards thrown in). But it wasn't the most lively meeting I've ever been in. Everyone left the meeting a bit damp and drowsy.

Oh! But I forget to tell you all the best story from last week. Helder came to church! We passed by an investigator near their house who couldn't come to church, so Sister Gomes and I decided that we were going to get Helder (Fernanda's less active son) to church if it took all morning! So we went there and waited until he ate breakfast, tomou um banho, and then we, Fernanda, and her two younger boys marched Helder to church. Yes, it felt a bit like a prison guard.

Note: we don't usually force people to come to church--not that we forced him, I just figure we, as missionaries...annoy people until they decide to do what's right.

But anyway, we walked to church and Fernanda kept looking over at me or nudging me and giving me a sly thumbs up. Gosh! I love her. She was so happy to have him at church. It's been months since he's come. And then, after getting there, everyone was super excited and immediately invited him to the young single adult conference that happened Thursday through Saturday. And he went! And then to top off my happiness, he came to church again yesterday! I was so happy! It was a great Sunday. Mayisa and Andre came (I'll tell you more about them in a minute), Edelweis finally made it and then! Milenyo's (recent convert) mom came to church with him. That was awesome. I love that woman. Her name's Olga and she runs a salon named 'Salon Olga.' Makes sense.

But Mayisa and Andre. My favorite investigators of all time. Let's back up. When I first got to Vila Nova, an Elder asked me to check up on a recent convert of his named Paula. I met her and she's amazing! She helps us teach and is very active in her callings. And every time I looked at her teaching record, I saw her 10 year old daughter's name on it and thought--'Man, I bet she wants to be baptized.' But Paula's daughters have been at their dad's house for the holidays, so we didn't meet them until this last week. And I was talking to Sister Gomes and told her I thought we should ask Paula if she wants us to teach Mayisa. So Tuesday, we walk over to Paula's house, knock, go in and Sister Gomes looks at Mayisa and the first thing she says was, 'Do you want to be baptized on Saturday?' And of course, I'd been planning to beat around the bush a little bit but, Mayisa lets out this squeak and got so excited! She told us her heart was beating super fast. And Paula got excited and then grabbed her nephew Andre to study with us and now they're going to be baptized this week. I love teaching them. It really helps us see just how simple the gospel is and totally reminds me why the scriptures always compare the righteous to little children. I love these two so much. And I've been able to make some book marks and other things to use as object lessons. It's been great.

Oh, and another great thing about Mayisa and Andre. We had a neighbor of theirs teach with us--she was baptized about the same time as Paula and after the lesson, Mana (the neighbor) told us that she was very happy that Andre was going to be baptized because she's his godmother and baptized him in the Catholic Church when he was a baby! Goodness. I'm not sure if it's ironic or what, but I burst out laughing.

Let's see...we started teaching Denilson's younger brother and the other day we were talking about the Book of Mormon and when Christ visited the Americas and Denilson's head popped up and said, 'Really?! I've got to read that!' It was fun to see how excited he was. And then his brother had a lot of good questions which made for one of those really good lessons that I always look forward to.

I learned a good idiom (?) the other day. There was a wedding announcement in the church and said that the ceremony would be simple followed by a 'cup of water' at the house of the bride's parents. I thought this was really funny (and that someone had finally beat mom in terms of simplicity) but then Sister Lords told me that 'um copo d'agua' is what they call their parties. But it's still funny.

By the way, when I get home, everyone's invited over for a cup of water.

Sister Gomes had a great day of charity on...Friday, I think. We left the house to teach and found two TEENY TINY kitties that must have just barely been born--they still had their umbilical cords. And they were all alone and meowing like crazy and it looked like someone had just dumped them on the road. But they could really walk and one of them tried to stand up and just ended up rolling down a small incline. I didn't actually want to touch them because they looked disgusting, but we couldn't make ourselves leave them! And then out of nowhere a member came and she offered to take them home and save them! I was happy about that too. Not that Cabo Verde needs more animals, but it's all right.

Then later, that same day, we had another charitable event happened--to us. We were walking down the same road and this crazy/drunk/old man came up to us with a couple of coins in his hand and I started to tell him we couldn't give him any money, but then he came closer saying 'Here! Take it! Here!' and shoved thirty escudos into my hand. I was completely speechless because then he just staggered off down the road and no one else seemed to think it was strange, but Sister Gomes and I looked at each other and about died laughing. I put the escudos in my journal, even though the Elders said it was probably stolen money and now I've entered a very low-stake cloak and dagger game.

Oh, Cabo Verde.

I think that's about all I had to tell you. We had liver and onions on Saturday....I'm afraid I won't be taking a shine to Angolan cuisine anytime soon.

I was glad to hear about Miranda and Sam's talks and Ben's tooth!

I love you all, hope everything's going well and Mom and Dad aren't worn out with all their Sunday duties just yet.

-Sister Brooks

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