On Wednesday we had a Zone Conference where 4 of the 11 zones came to a chapel in Porto Alegre and listened to talks and presentations by the Mission President, his wife, and the assistents to the President. It was very good, we learned techniques on teaching, how to better use our time, and how to find people to teach. One of the biggest things talked about was trusting in the Spirit. The Spirit is the most important part in conversion, so we as missionaries, and others teaching the gospel, need to create the environment, be worthy of His presense, and trust that He will do the rest. It`s very hard to do because many times you want to teach your way, but trust me when I say that the Spirit knows what the investigator needs much more than we do.
After the conference it was like Christmas came early because missionaries received letters, tons of packages, and more teaching materials. Apparently there is one address here for packages, and another one for letters, something I didn`t know before. My companion received a huge package from his family containing things you can`t get here including jars of peanut butter, a new bag for his stuff, more socks, peanuts and cashews, and a gigantive thing of nutella. Let`s just say all the sisters suddenly became his best friends!
On Thursday we came back to our apartment after having a really successful day and decided to celebreate. Being missionaries and having limited funds posed a problem. However, we got inventive and threw together whatever we could find. Some sugar, lots of chocolate cereal powder, oil, popcorn seeds, and 10 minutes later, we had ourselves a party! While we were chowing down on this concoction, my companion commented that we should tell our mom`s how we were learning to be such good cooks haha.
Two things that are unique here that I failed to mention earlier are that instead of knocking on doors we clap at the gate. It looked really ridiculous when I first arrived but I`m used to it now. The other is that every city in this state is the national city of something. For instance there are cities where they are supposedly the best in the nation for grapes, leather, or shoes, and are known for their experise in their respective things. Ivoti is the national city of flowers, but if no one had told me that I would not have known haha.
I was also reflecting on my experience in the MTC compared to the actual field. To those who will be going to the MTC soon, just remember that the MTC is nothing compared to the field. You will learn a lot about a new language and a little about teaching (which is why Mission Prep is essential!), but you really learn how to be a misisonary, a representative of Jesus Christ, in the mission field. I still have a lot to learn, but I have learned so much more in the last 3 weeks than I did in the 6 weeks at the MTC.
To end I will share something funny I heard from a member this week. So there was this barber, and one day he was cutting the hair of a Catholic priest. When he stood up and searched for his wallet to pay, the barber said, "Oh don`t worry about it, I respect those who spread the love of Christ and think what you do is beautiful. Free of charge." To that the priest replied that he was very grateful and the next morning the barber found a really nice necklace with a cross on it at his door. Later he was giving a rabbi a haircut and as he stood up and searched for his wallet he said, "It`s free of charge, what you do is great, I have much respect for people that spend all their time teaching about Jesus." To that the rabnbi expressed his gratitude and the next morning the barber found a beautifully decorated gold Star of David at his door. Sometime later he gave a pair of LDS missionaries haircuts. Being very satisfied with the short cut, they reached for their wallets but the barber said, "No worries, I love seeing the gospel of Christ being preached, I think it`s awesome that you dedicate this time to do that. It`s free of charge." The missionaries thanked him for his service and went on their way. The next morning at his door the barber found 12 more missionaries!
Well it`s been a great week and I loved hearing from those that emailed me or sent me a letter. Have a great week!
Elder Joseph Andrew
Porto Alegre North Mission
Caixa Postal 13008
Read my blog at elderandrewinbrazil.blogspot.com