These past couple of weeks have, once again, been super busy! I would love to be able to push a “pause” button to stop and catch my breath. I’m currently sitting in the Mission Office awaiting my turn to be interviewed by President Broadbent. Since I’ll be leaving two weeks into the transfer, I’ll be participating in all of the end-of-mission events with the others that’ll be leaving on Tuesday. Tomorrow, we’ll spend the day in a training that the church gives that’s focused on self-sufficiency, followed by dinner at the President’s apartment. On Tuesday, there will be a meeting with the whole mission where we’ll meet the arriving missionaries and bear our testimonies about our missions for them. I don’t think it’s really sunken in yet that I’ll be leaving in two weeks. I feel so strange! I feel excited and ready for the next phase of my life to start, but at the same time I’m not really ready for this phase to end. I suppose that all plays a part! My mind is racing and wandering around as I write this, so I apologize if it lacks coherence.
I found out at 8:15 this morning that I would be transferred this afternoon. President Broadbent called and told me that for the last two weeks I’d be in trio with Elder Westenhaver (American) and Elder W. Souza (Brazilian). We went to church, ate lunch, and ran home so I could pack all my stuff up in 90 minutes and then leave for the Mission Office. I was grateful to have known before church got over so that I could say goodbye to some of the members. I’d been there four months and had been able to develop some pretty great relationships with lots of the members and youth. I was sad to have to say goodbye, but I feel better knowing that technology will allow me to maintain contact with them all once I’ve made it home!
This week we were able to attend the wedding of Renata and her now husband, whose name is Alírio. It was the second time I’d participated in a Brazilian wedding, and this time I was one of the witnesses! From start to finish, the wedding took three hours. Afterwards, we went to her mother’s apartment complex and had a lunch with her family there. Elder Foote and I made brownies with hot fudge sauce and a chocolate mousse pie to take. Both were a hit!
The following day (Saturday) we had an big stake-wide service project. We spent almost the whole day cleaning up, painting, and otherwise bettering a big park. After it was over, we went home and showered and got dressed to go back to the church for Renata’s baptism. Both she and her son, Gustavo, were baptized. Her family was in attendance. They’re all fairly devout Catholics so it was nice that they were there to support her. We Skyped her daughter, Ana Paula, that’s living in Utah. We had invited her to give a talk and it turned out to be really cool! The Spirit was really strong throughout the whole meeting. We made two different types of cupcakes for treats: red velvet with cream cheese frosting, and chocolate with Nutella frosting. I got the recipies from one of the ward members, Melissa, who has a small baking business that she runs with her family out of their home. We bought the ingredients (which are SUPER expensive here… like $60 US) and stayed up late to make everything. It turned out well and all were happy so I guess it was a success!
Other than that, I can’t really think of any other really exciting events to relate. Elder Foote and I worked hard these past couple of weeks trying to find new people to teach, and trying to help out those that we were already teaching.
I can say that I love missionary work and my role in it. My mission has been one of the most wonderful experiences that I’ve had thus far in my life. I’ve learned so much, and have gained a much stronger testimony. I feel much more prepared to take on life now than I ever did before. I know my Father in Heaven loves each one of us individually, and that he wants our best. I know that He has a plan for all of us, and that Christ’s Atonement plays a crucial role in that plan. I love my Savior, and am eternally grateful for all that He has done on my behalf. I’m going to use the next two weeks to give Him all I’ve got! I guess it’s the least I could do.
I love you all, and thank you for your support. I’m excited to re-encounter everyone in a few short days!
Élder Chapman Tew