Monday, March 30, 2015

Casa de apoio

(Just for the record, I´ve decided to write before reading everything that you guys email to me for the sake of saving time, so sorry if I address things I´ve already said!)

Carta Semanal:

First of all, Happy Easter everyone! :) or better, Feliz Páscoa! XD

I forgot to mention a few things that happened two weeks ago. I still can´t believe I forgot. One day a few weeks ago, Élder Costa e Silva and I tagged along with Zeak early in the morning to a ´´Casa de apoio´´ (house of support?) where many sick people are, to give his Uncle a blessing. He has throat cancer and has a tumor the size of a tennis ball sticking out the side of his neck. It was an interesting story. We showed up there and the lady that manages the place was like, ´´oh! Are you guys going to pray for us?´´ and Zeak was like ´´Yeah, we can do that,´´ and she went and grabbed literally everyone there. It wasn´t too many, maybe 20-25 people or so, almost all women, and we proceeded to give the prayer, offered by me. Afterwards, Zeak stood up and explained that we would be giving a blessing of health to his uncle and explained that blessings are given to those who ask and if anyone would like one, they could feel free. Elder Costa e Silva and I stood next to a chair, and one by one gave a blessing to every last person in the room with us. I did almost all the annointings with one exception of giving one blessing to one of the ladies there. We stood on our feet for 2 hours, annointed, laying our hands on their heads, and giving blessings, each one different than the last with similar wordings but every one unique. I still have no idea how Costa e Silva managed to tirelessly do almost every one. I was dying by the time we were done and when they served us some lunch to eat before we left on our way, I almost prefered to sleep. We were both a little sore after that. It was a very spiritual experience though. Of everyone we blessed, there was one child who must´ve been passing through chemo because she didn´t have hair and was missing an arm. (kind of a side note, but i´ve noticed that a lot about people here in Brazil. There are a lot of afflicted people here. A lot of people missing limbs, people that have vitiligo and other skin infirmities, it´s very sad.) Anyway, during the blessing of the child, Elder Costa e Silva began to cry and it was the only one of all of the blessings that he felt the Spirit so strongly. Some of the women there felt the Spirit as the blessings were given, but that particular one was different.

Another day, we had a youth activity with some of the Young Men/Young Women where we went to another location, some little community that treats children with autism, cancer, and other sicknesses. We spent some of our time playing around with the children there, sharing treats that we brought with them, and just doing fun things with them.

This week, Costa e Silva and I have had a few breakdowns and have had to talk many things through.  The first time, we spent our day finding people in an area called ´´Vila Mar´´, where a majority of our investigators are, and almost every doorstep we arrived to, we couldn´t enter for some reason or another. As we were walking and walking, we arrived to our last doorstep in a blazing Bahian sun and noticed that the front gate was locked, the door was shut, and the windows were shut as well. We clapped our hands, but as expected, no response. So, we turned around, found some shade on the curb, sat down, and vented a little. That week, I was so frustrated at the lack of work that we´ve been doing as a companionship and also due to the lack of responsiblity and motivation on part of our investigators and a little of the members here too. I vented with Costa e Silva at how frustrated I was that I´ve been having difficulties still with understanding people and a few other things here and there. We talked it out, and it ended up well and we finished our day. I realized that sometimes no matter what you do, you can´t change what others do with their agency to accept or reject you sometimes.  I´ve been happy with how I´ve treated things though, because everytime I express what´s disgruntled me, I always start with an apology for my behavior and express my love for him as a companion, missionary, and friend, and then proceed to explain my frustrations. Anyway, I think that´s all that needs to be said about that. I still love this guy. He´s a really good friend and we´re still ´´bros´´ and everything, but sometimes I can´t handle it.
Alright, so another sleep story happened this week. This time, we had two of the Assistants to the President in our house who were going to do a division the following day. One is Elder Zoccorato and the other is Elder Muse, an American from Kentucky. Anyway, how it worked out is we grabbed a spare mattress from the service area and put it on the floor in our room along with many blankets and a pillow for him and I slepted on the top bunk and Costa e Silva on the bottom bunk. In the middle of the night, I woke up to my own rambling in Portuguese. Part of it I was dreaming, but I woke up and I was continuing. I was praying. All I remember was me praying for our investigators and along with a few other things, closing in the name of Jesus Christ. The funny thing is, though, is that as soon as I said ´´Amém´´, Elder Muse ALSO said, ´´Amém´´. He was completely passed out and when I brought it up the next morning, he said he didn´t remember a thing. True story.

Elder Costa e Silva and I continue to enjoy trolling with people on the busses here by switching up languages to blow peoples minds. The other night, we were standing in a bus packed tighter than a can of sardines in a car compactor, and where the middle of the bus is was an opening where stood a guy listening to Costa e Silva and I constantly switch back and forth. I would talk in English and Costa e Silva would respond in Portuguese but more often, it was vice-versa. Anyway, it caught the attention of MANY in the bus because when you´re in a bus like that, everyone is tired, disgruntled, bored, and wants to get out. So imagine two clowns in missionary dress babbling back in forth with them understanding some parts when Portuguese was spoken but completely lost when English was spoken. This guy at the middle of the bus turned to another lady and was like ´´Olha só! Não são brasileiros, não são brasileiros!´´ and many others at the back saying that too, not believing that we´re Brazilian. As if that couldn´t be obvious enough. So he stopped me and starting asking questions to me and he marvelled that I was speaking well with only 6 months in Brazil. It was pretty awesome. That day, we also went to teach a 19 year old girl that we had met when I was looking to buy some brown church shoes at a store that she worked at. She did the whole ´´´ll go to your church if you go to mine´´ kind of deal, but on both ends, something came up and neither one has gone to the other until now. Anyway, we did some looking around to find where they lived and they live at the ground floor of a rather old apartment complex. We showed up to a locked gate and their window was down and another girl poked her head out the window and asked who we were looking for, along with 5-6 other girls. We said we were looking for Victoria, and she was one of them. We came in to her apartment and met her Mom, Uncle, and the other girls there. We tried to teach a lesson about the Restoration, but it was basically useless for two reasons. One, Victoria is a Bible-basher who tried to use scripture to explain to us that Jesus was crucified, went to Hell to take the keys of conquering death from Satan, and returned to the Earth to teach his disciples but didn´t taste death. Because that makes sense. And the other was because all the girls in the room wouldn´t pay attention to Costa e Silva teaching some parts here and there because they were all focused on me. Very rarely, they looked at him, but when they found out that I´m American, they wouldn´t take their eyes off of me. Here on the mission, we call girls like that ´´Snakes´´, because they´re girls who take discussions from the missionaries because they have crushes on them. As we walked to the bus stop afterwards, Costa e Silva made sure to tell me how jealous he was of me, it was pretty funny.

Anyways, I think that´s all I got for this week. I´m sure there´s things I´ve missed, but I´ll be sure to compile anything I missed for next week. Love you guys! :)

-Elder Skinner

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