This past week passed by in a whirlwind. Monday afternoon after we finished sending emails we went back home and I left almost immediately for my new area. I got an Uber rather than lugging my 150 pounds of baggage on the trains and busses. I arrived at the bus terminal where the rest of the zone was congregated, and waited on everyone to arrive. As soon as the missionaries that were new to the zone arrived, they all left with their compaions for their respective areas. We were fortunate enough to run into some members that offered to give us a ride home. We are whitewashing the area, so at that point we had no idea where we were going. We made it home that night, left our stuff at home, and went out to try and get to know our area a bit. We managed to get lost on the way home, but ran into more members that helped us out with directions!
My new area is called Baeta Neves, in the São Bernardo Stake. My companion(s) are Elder Capello, from Londrina, Paraná, and Elder Pulley, from Pleasant Grove, Utah. I was supposed to end up with one companion, but things didn’t exactly work out like they were supposed to!
On Tuesday, we went to São Judas in São Paulo for a meeting for new zone leaders, and to take Elder Pulley to get his new companion. He was supposed to train a greenie, whom he would pick up at this same meeting that we had to go to. We were notified once we got there that Elder Pulley’s new companion had not made it to the mission, and had to wait for further instructions. We stuck around at the meeting most of the day and found out that night that Elder Pulley would have to stay with us for the time being until a new companion could be arranged for him.
That same day, while at this meeting, one of the sisters that arrived with me in the mission, Sister Caylee Hubert, came back with her parents to visit! Her dad is a pilot, so they get free plane tickets. I had been in contact with them several times during my service in the Mission Office, so it was cool to put a face to the names. I also had the opportunity to translate part of the meeting for them so they could understand what was going on. Cool experience!
On our second day in the area, we taught an atheist. It was interesting to hear his take on things. I guess there’s not much more that can be said about that!
The same day we taught the atheist dude, we ended up walking around and street contacting people to try and find some new people to teach. While doing so, we ran into two men from the ward that were doing their home teaching. It was so amazing that it was almost startling! Throughout the week we were able to meet a few of the members during lunch, and as we passed by the church at night. We were able to meet the rest of them at church on Sunday. From what we’ve seen so far, they’re all super nice and helpful! They seem to be really good people. We’re excited to work with them.
This area is significantly different than my last one. It’s situated in the center of São Bernardo do Campo, and has lots of richer parts as well as a few poorer ones. The previous missionaries left several awesome people for us to teach, about four of which we’re supposed to baptize next week! The ward is what I would consider to be exemplary. Things seem to function just as they should, which is super helpful for us. We’re working throughout the whole area which was meant for two different compaionships to work in. We’ve walked a TON every day. I’ve lost seven pounds over the last seven days. I can’t complain!
We had a cool spiritual experince while at church this week. We’re teaching a girl named Eliane, who is 32 years-old. While sitting next to her at church on Sunday, Elder Capello leaned over to talk to her just as the Sacrament was about to be blessed and passed. He said, “this is the most spiritual, important, and reverent part of the meeting. If you’d like, you could use this time to pray and ask God if all the things that we’ve taught you and the things that you’ve heard today are true.” She nodded her head and sat back up again. A few moments later she bowed her head, closed her eyes, and began to pray. She remained that way for several minutes. I felt prompted to do the same. I prayed asking that the Lord would give her the response that she needed, and asked that she would be able to feel the Spirit. I felt the warmth brought on by the presence of the Holy Ghost as I finished my prayer, and knew that I had done the right thing. During the rest of the meeting she prayed several more times, each time wiping the tears from her eyes as she finished. While talking to her afterwards, she indicated that she had, indeed, received her response.
This experience helped strengthen my testimony, and confirmed to me once again that prayers really can be answered if we have an open heart and real intent to follow the promptings that we receive.
I’m so thankful for the privilege that I have to serve the Lord during these two years. It’s been an immensely rewarding experience!
I thank you all for your support, and send my love to you from Brazil!
Élder Chapman Tew