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Monday, April 26, 2010
Life is great!
Hello Happy Family!
Mom!! I got your 2nd Easter package, the one you sent around April 16, so no worries! If the first one doesn´t arrive, and if it was stolen, I hope whoever stole it enjoyed the big Brazilian chocolate Easter eggs. I guess I can´t get mad at the person, at least he/she´s got good tastes!
Well this week went great, despite some frustrating things. Fábio is great, he already seems to know everything (he´s been semi-taught by his member friends for around 3 years) and has been coming along great. Unfortunately he didn´t make it to church yesterday because of family visiting, and them not being supportive at all on top of that, but we´ll work that out in our next lesson. Sadly, Benvindo dropped himself. In our last visit with him this past week, he was still completely polite, and even said how he knew the church was true and that accepting baptism is what God wants him to do, but he wants to choose the path he´s on, knowing it is the wrong path. My prayers are still with him.
We got a lot of references (14) passed to us from the executive secretaries, and were able to contact 6 of them. Whether they were a build-up count over several weeks before the execs gave them to us, or a blitz of references, it´s great stuff! One we taught Saturday night, named José Pedro, and his wife, brother, and (oldest daughter) listened to us, and asked good questions later. The brother (unique name that I can´t remember right now) asked a lot, and it was great to see some people who were really studying the gospel themselves. When I mentioned and started turning to James 1:5 they all whipped out their own Bibles and turned to it on their own - that´s never happened before on my mission! So finding interested people, and a family on top of that, is great stuff!
Now the things to laugh about. Two Cape Verdian Elders stayed with us for two or three nights, because they had to renew their visas before going to the Azores (lucky ducks). One of them, Elder Duarte, is really funny with the bit of English he knows, and aside from that he´ll just say lots of funny things with his Cape Verdian accent. After he had already seen how stressful the office can be, Elder Bennett told him we were going to put his name on the list for President to consider as office elders, and he said, `Oh, if you do that, I´ll find your address [after the mission], write it on a big envelope and send a bomb to your house!´ Anyways, we practiced driving again at that abandonded parking lot this week, twice, and we went with the execs both times. The first time went fine. The second time when we pulled into the lot, we noticed further up the road a big police checkpoint was being set up. After about 5 minutes or less of me practicing around we saw a group of 6 to 8 police officers signaling us with their flashlights and whistles to stop. They come over and ask for license and registration, and we give them the car insurance and other stuff necessary, and explain that I did not yet have my Portuguese driver´s license, and I was practicing around to learn stickshift. They told us to get out of the car, and even to ´keep our hands visible´, and asked more questions which just led us to explain further that Elders Bennett and Craig had their licenses and had driven here, not unlicensed me. So after a few minutes of silly lecturing, they said Elder Bennett and I would wait with them while Elders Craig and Bryant would go to the office and get my Texas driver´s license (which they had taken from me so they could get it ready to exchange for a Portuguese one). The other police officers seemed to not be worried at all after finding out we were missionaries, which was good since some of them had big shotguns. (Smile and wave boys, cute and cuddly...) So Elder Bennett and I walk over with them to their checkpoint spot and keep talking to two of the officers, which turned into more of a contact than any kind of ´detainment´. Haha, one of them had eyed our nametags and said ´Hey, I have a question...´ and I guessed right ´... why are we all named Elder?´ (Helder is actually a name in Portuguese and sounds exactly the same.) He smiled and asked ´Yeah, why is that?` (I guessed because that has to be one of, if not the most frequently asked secular questions for Portuguese speaking missionaries.) Anyways, we talked with them about how we´re here for two years straight to talk to people about how families can be together forever because of Jesus Christ´s sacrifice for us, and left them with pass-along cards. I think I´ll like police officers a lot more if I contact them from now on! Not that I intend to get pulled over or anything, but hey, it´s a good way to get their attention, right? Muahaha...
Well, that´s about it for this week. I love all of you! Have a great week! Tchau,
--Elder Spencer Ellis