Don't you like how I title my emails with something written in my assigned mission language, like what Josh does, so that the only way you can decode is by using google translate?
I give you my sincerest apology for not sending you an email yesterday, Preparation Day. If you guessed that it wasn't sent yesterday because it was Veteran's Day and the Albany Public Library was closed, you were 100% correct.
For those of you wondering, there hasn't been any snowfall here in Albany lately, but I'm 85% sure that the blustering winds of winter are soon to come. All we need is a little precipitation. Just walking here, these winds blowing on my cheeks felt as if Jack Frost was biting my face, not just nipping at my nose.
Jeff Ramos gave me permission to pet one of his dove. I named it Teancum.
This week has been by far the busiest I've had in the mission. The lord has blessed Elder Menlove and I with plenty of individuals to teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have had some very spiritual experiences and several experiences where I've had to self-reflect on how I can become a better representative of our Savior.
This past week I went on my first exchange with Elder Gleue (Gloy-yay), a Zone Leader, here in downtown Albany. He and I are good pals. Since I had recently watched the Mormon Message for Brandon Flowers, and since I was excited to work with him, I sang the song "Enterlude" by the Killers to him since I deemed it was appropriate. We worked great together and taught quite a few lessons that day to some of our recent converts and less active members. I taught him a few Portuguese phrases in addition.
My eyes aren't bigger than my stomach anymore! Elder Mernlove and I ate at a small Italian Pizzeria between a couple lessons on Wednesday and the owner, who looks like the Italian chef from Lady and the Tramp, cooked up for me a giant calzone about the size of my head. I ate it all. Then I thought of all those times when Jacob and Dad tormented me for being skinny. I may come home chubby.
We had the chance to teach our investigators Justin and Christian and Maritza and their family. We taught Justin about baptism and invited him to be baptized. He agreed, but was hesitant about setting a date. He told us that he would give it some thought about when he wants to set that up. We are excited for him. Elder Gleue and I taught Christian and Maritza, our Peruvian invetigators on Friday about Tithes and Offerings. It went really really well. They committed to pay tithing after baptism. They are the sweetest people and they have to young children who are hilarious. The boy has a bull-cut, kind of like Jacob's when he was a toddler.
The other day Elder Menlove rolled his ankle playing basketball, and now it's the size of a softball. I don't know what it is, but my companions always seem to get injured. I promise I don't hurt them. Luckily President Wirthlin is sending us a car so his ankle doesn't inhibit our ability to work.
On Saturday night after teaching a recent convert family, we experienced a miracle at the bus stop going back to the apartment. We struck up a conversation with a man named Ceequan about life, just a normal conversation. He looks like Michael Vick. He was wearing a hat backwards with a buddha on it. Eventually, he asked us who we where and what we do. He asked us what made our church any different from other christian churches, so we went into living prophets, the priesthood, etc. He was extremely interested and told us that he studies all kinds of religions, but never heard of ours. Getting on the bus, he sat next to us and wanted to know more. We basically taught him briefly the entire restoration through Joseph Smith on the bus ride. I gave pulled out a Livro de Mormon I kept in my sachel with my testimony written inside and gave it to him. I told him that he can know for himself if the things we teach him are true by reading it. He gave us his number and we are meeting with him this week.
At meal with my good friend Jenaro who has taught me quite a bit of Espanol these past weeks.
Incredible things are happening here. Even though the work is very difficult here, we somehow have enough people to teach to keep us occupied. The lord shows us where to harvest his souls. I love it here.
I might be informed this week whether or not I got my visa, since the transfer is ending in 2 weeks. I would love to get it to begin really working on my Portuguese, but I love it here, and I would understand if the lord doesn't give it to me quite yet. He has a need for me here. Everything is on his time, it is just my job to accept his will.
Brother Fredette of the Albany Stake presidency spoke in our branch on Sunday. This is Jimmer Fredette's father. He is an INCREDIBLE speaker. He talked about his conversion story and taught about the importance of being spiritually nourished as much as being temporally nourished. The way he spoke just made sense. I spoke to him briefly afterwards and told him that my friends, family and I were the only poeple in the Rose Garden to cheer for his son. He chuckled.
In Alma 32 it is perfectly explained how this spiritual nourishment can develop our faith. As we continue to feed our faith with scripture study, prayer, and church attendance, our faith can become a blossoming tree that produces a sweet fruit that others can enjoy. I know this is true. As we do these things, I promise that we can increase our faith in the gospel.