Hi Mom and Dad! And wonderful family of mine!
Its true, I'm turning 22 this week. What!? Its the same age I will be when I come home from my mission. Strange. One of the sisters in our new ward offered to bake me a cake when my companion told her it was my birthday.
The week before I left the greatest area in our mission, Campos Eliseos, we started making a video with our Ward Mission Leader and the other missionaries in our ward because we had 8 in total. We got transferred one week before the fireside where they watched the finished product. The office Elders let us know it was a hit and that our recent convert (whose refuses to speak in public) bore her testimony at the fireside and it was great. The fireside was called `missionarios sem plaquetas` [Missionaries without name badges]. We were promised a copy of the video before we left; I can't wait to see how it turned out.
White-washing-ish is very strange. [FYI: "White-washing" is when both missionaries are transferred out of an area and two new missionaries are transferred in, so there is no transition or hand-off. The new missionaries start with a clean slate as they serve in the area.] The sisters who were here before us left us one investigator who they had taught once. We marked with her twice, once she flaked and the other we were super late. So we´ve been trying to talk to everyone and trying to teach wherever possible. The office elders make contacts in our area too, which means we get extra references. They really are the best. We have two areas that we work in. The other sisters have the area that divides our area in two, I don't understand the logic behind it but that's OK. We have to take the bus to arrive in either one of our areas, and also to come home. We don't live in our area. I think I mentioned that our area includes downtown Riberão. As you imagine downtown would be, there is a large amount of apartment complexes. It doesn't bother me too much except it takes away a lot of face to face conversations. The door man always asks you who you came to visit, why, and the ages that family. Then he asks them if they want to let you in. If they don't respond, don't recognize you, or don't know who you area, he won't let you in. So...they are pretty hard to enter. We also have the really nice houses out in the middle of nowhere. The other sisters that work here have a similar area. There are at least 2 malls in our area. We passed by one on the way home the other day to try and grab a bite to eat... Anyone who thinks Brazil is a 3rd world country (including the Brazilians who say that) has not been through this city. Maybe its just because this city is special, but there is a fair amount of rich people here.
I was thinking about how to convert the rich and intelligent, because we have been asked to focus a bit on them...But they are fairly hard to come in contact with, they live pretty cut off from street life, and are in areas you can't enter. Once we find them, they need time to listen to us, and then to believe that this can truly improve their lives. Somehow, we´ll make it work.
The mission field is amazing, in our house it seems to be like living with 3 Americans. The ward here is incredible. All the organizations have complete leadership, the Bishop served a mission in Provo, Utah (so did his brother), and is pretty excited and so is our Ward Mission Leader. All is well, all is well. I´ll fill you in on more miracles next week. God is great, and so is the gospel.
Love you tons,