Well, this past week has been pretty interesting. I spent more time out of the office than in. Monday we had our normal meetings, but then afterwards I had to leave and run a few errands. Tuesday, I spent most of the day out helping a group of 9 foreigners (7 Americans, 1 Finn and 1 Colombian) get their CPF thing taken care of in the city center. Wednesday I was in the office working. Thursday I left again and spent all morning at the Federal Police helping three missionaries renew their visas. Every minute I spend in a Brazilian government building makes me frustrated. The lack of efficiency is so evident that it drives me nuts! I thought that America was rough, but it’s 10x worse here. For instance, to make an authenticated copy of a document I have to take a number and wait. Then, after I wait for 30 minutes and get helped for two minutes, I have to wait another 20 minutes for my number to be called so I can pay. Can you say waste of time?? The Federal Police is way worse and loaded with refugees and immigrants.
Yesterday (P-Day) we went to a little tiny village called Paranapiacaba on the edge of our mission. It has 1500 inhabitants. It was constructed by the Portuguese and English as they were building a railroad from the coast of São Paulo to the interior to haul back and forth goods to be shipped off by boat for other parts of the world–principally England. It’s nestled in between a group of mountains with a great big winding valley leading off to the coast. On one side of the valley is the older portion of the town which was constructed by the Portuguese. The houses are all made of cement and painted in bright colors. The streets are narrow and paved with cobblestones. The other side of the valley has all the houses and buildings constructed by the English. They’re made mostly of wood with great big wide wrap-around porches on the larger houses. In the middle of that side of the valley stands a large hill with one house on top which was the house of the Head Engineer of the whole project. It was interesting to see the history that was there and how that small town helped Brazil grow so much.
They also have this weird little famous fruit there called cambuci. It looks kind of like a lime, but is muffin shaped. It has a weird taste that’s difficult to describe. Kind of like a weird child of cashew (the fruit), passion fruit, and lemon. But I thought it was pretty good!
So, on the normal missionary side…We’ve got a pretty good teaching pool at the moment. We’re working a lot with references from members and such and we’re doing great. We started to teach a family that we met through a lunch appointment last week. The mom’s name is Jacqueline, and the dad’s name is Jefferson. She’s a member of the church but he isn’t. We started our lesson with them the other day having previously decided to talk about our potential as children of God. As we started teaching, that led into how our families can be eternal, and how that’s something that we want for them too. That turned into one of the moments when I felt the spirit super strong. I’ve started to realize on my mission how powerful words are. As a missionary, I have the opportunity to speak a lot being guided by the Spirit in my words. When I’m really speaking with the Spirit I can tell that my words have this kind of power to them. I don’t know exactly how to describe it.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. This whole mission thing I’m doing here isn’t easy, but I know that I’m learning a lot that will help me in my life to come. I’m gaining a testimony that if we allow Heavenly Father to enter into our lives he’ll guide us to become what He needs us to become.
Elder Chapman Tew