One thing that I can’t get over here is that Christmas is in the middle of the summer. The Santa Claus decorations with him all dressed up in winter clothes is a sight to see when I’m sweating like a horse.
So, I’ve mentioned the lady we’re teaching named Maria who has this ice cream machine. We’ve gotten to know her well enough that I have a line of credit of sorts with her. We stop by, talk with her some, mark a time to stop by her house to teach her, snag an ice cream cone, and leave. Every few days I pay my ice cream bill. Sad, I know. But I’m STILL losing weight. I guess missions really do bring blessings!
This week, we started to stop by the açai shop (because I’m an addict) and the two ladies there that sell the açai said they’d like to hear our message. I’m starting to like this pattern!!
This week we went to the Temple in São Paulo again. It was AWESOME. I love being able to go and take some time to just think and not have to worry about anything. There’s also the added bonus of air conditioning to consider. Afterwards, we went to this store that sells American stuff. I found a thing of marshmallow fluff. It was R$10…but I bought it anyway. This whole week I’ve been eating fluffer nutters for breakfast. WOOOHOO!
Outside the temple with his district.
When we go to the temple, we pass through 4 missions including ours. I just thought that was interesting. The city is humongous enough to warrant 6 missions (including the two on the outskirts). There are LOTS of people here!
When we first got into the temple, I went to the bathroom real quick. As I was leaving I ran into my instructor from the MTC! It was SO awesome to get to see and talk to him again. He commented on how well my Portuguese was coming along. Halelujah!
Chapman and is MTC teacher
We had a Ward Fireside this past Friday. I was able to sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and play two other songs for some members that sang. It was all scripted with scripture passages about the birth of the Savior and the Church’s Christmas videos. I was able to feel the Spirit strongly there and loved it.
In route to the mission Christmas party
This Monday (yesterday) was the Mission Christmas Party. All 160+ elders and sisters in my mission congregated in a chapel outside of our mission boundaries in Ipiranga to spend the day together. I got to see Elder Raulino again! He’s loving his new area and doing great. The day was filled with an awesome talent show, followed by a churrasco (barbeque) lunch, and concluded with a series of short videos about Christmas and talks from the Mission President and his counselors. I really enjoyed the Spirit that was felt there with all the missionaries.
Reunited and it feels so good!
This year, Christmas will be a little different for me! The Brazillians celebrate starting the evening of the 24th through midnight/early morning the 25th. So, we’ll be spending most of the evening in a member’s house eating and enjoying their company! I’m really excited! President also told us that, just this once, we are allowed to sleep in a little past the normal hour of 6:30. When he announced that, his words were met by loud cheers of excitement and joy.
Even thousands of miles away, the boy can still think of his Momma with his Holly socks!
While in church on Sunday, I noticed something about the architecture that I hadn’t thought about before. Directly behind the pulpit, there’s an exterior wall that has windows on each side. In the space in between the windows is a wooden inlay in the shape of an archway. If you sit in the middle of the chapel, it looks like the person speaking is standing in a doorway with two beams of light eminating from the sides. I had a personal realization of sorts when I noticed this for the first time. The person that we listen to every week giving a message is preaching the Lord’s word, directing us and our actions towards preparing for what comes after this short life. Our goal is the figurative doorway into the Celestial Kingdom where we can live with God and our families forever. In order to make it, we have to pass through the door which we find through the things that we learn through the Gospel.
I wish everyone at home and on missions a Merry Christmas and hope that it’s filled with love and happiness!
Elder Chapman Tew
Mom’s Note: For those of you who don’t know, Fluffer Nutters are peanut butter and marshmallow creme sandwiches. Chapman received some peanut butter in his birthday package and found a way to enjoy a childhood fave!