Happy Birthday to little Mister Andrew! Big 2! Man that's crazy that they're all growing up, cause the pictures that I have of them aren't changing! Haha He´ll be a chunk when I get back, can't wait to see him. HAPPY BIRTHDAY:)
That's so cool that you got to go to the 5th Avenue Theater for free! I went there once with PBD to "watch burn the floor" (a dance group). What did you see?
That's awesome that Samuel is playing volleyball in school! I love volleyball! Keep it up Samuel! We´ll play when I get back. :) I heard about New York and New Jersey probably sooner than you think, everyone told me about it cause when I say I'm from Washington they think the capitol, Washington DC. so I heard about that pretty quick and it caused quite a worry the first few days, but honestly I forgot about it until I saw that you mentioned it in your e-mail.
This week while I was on a division with another Elder, I had the opportunity to teach a Buddhist lady, but she believed in god... And I taught her in English. Well kind of English, she wanted me to speak English but it was seriously hard to speak English. Words are starting to come faster in Portuguese than in English! Haha. But she asked me some really good questions and some that I wasn't prepared for, like... do you believe in aliens.... HUH? Haha. But one question that she asked me was, "how do you know that there is a god?", "How do you know it wasn't an accident?" "Big boom. Ooooo"... She lived in an apartment building next to the ocean and her floor was pretty high up so I decided to take her to the window that was opened behind me on the other side of the room. I had the idea to show her the ocean all the people, trees, plants, the gorgeous scenery, everything! right... but when I got to the window, it was facing away from the ocean and showed absolutely nothing, Bahaha, That would happen.. But I explained everything and she understood. Woot Woot. We also visited a man who was preparing to be baptized. My temp companion said the prayer, looked at me and said, Elder Ralph, can you explain the importance of going to church? Uhh sure, haha thanks for the warning haha, but I did it and he understood. :) Yeeeaaah haha it was kinda cool to be able to explain something without practicing it or knowing before-hand what to say. Awesome.
We have a new District Leader, an American from Cali who´s really cool and he´s been helping me grow a bunch, both spiritually and with the language.
This week... this week was honestly pretty hard... We had a baptism this week and the only time our investigators could be interviewed by the district leader was 8ish at night. So we did a division. I went to stay at the LD´s house with his companion and he stayed with mine. So I stayed there for two days and we hardly did anything, didn't really teach, didn't find anyone, no one wanted to hear our message. It was difficult. but what was even more difficult was when I got back with my companion it was like everything changed, suddenly we had a bunch more people we were teaching, I was confused, asking questions, there was definitely a big gap between us... which was hard, then we had another division with the second counselor and an RM on Saturday and Sunday, which caused even more separation! So it was difficult I was super confused about everything, I felt like I didn't know anything about our investigators and....ugh it was bad. But with companionship inventory and a lot of pray everything is settling back down to normal. Prayer really does have the power to cast out all your bad thoughts, and give the patience that is required to have the Holy Ghost with you again. Even when the answer is obvious, the power to complete or do what is necessary comes from the Holy Ghost.
One thing, that I'm starting to see more and more, is how amazing these people are underneath. They may be smoking, drinking, tattoos, the whole nine yards, but they really do love God, know God, and really on God. And we're here to rely on him in the right way and to help them realize what he has done for us. We visited an in-active man who´s younger brothers were being baptized and we invited him to the baptism and the confirmation, Saturday and Sunday. He couldn't make it to the baptism but he came to the Sacrament meeting to watch them receive the Holy Ghost. It was such an amazing feeling to see him walk through that door, YES!!! And the members really reached out to him and I think he really enjoyed it. We´ll work more with him this week to get him active again.
Thank you all for your prayers on my behalf. I really do need them. I miss you all so so much. Thank you for taking the time to write me and encourage me, you're amazing.
With Love Unfailing,