Surprise! President decided to give us our normal Pday on saturday! So we'll get to email today and Skype on Christmas!
This week was pretty cool. We're starting a new transfer, and this time it's without my old comp Elder Vilas Boas. We were comps for 6 months and never had a single problem! I'll for sure miss him a bit but I'm glad we got the chance to learn and grow together for the last 6 months. he left as a zone leader in a city called Birigui. Now it's just Elder Dantas and I, but it should be a great transfer! Not sure if I've already mentioned it or not, but he was in the first group of missionaries that got to the mission when I got to the mission office. It's already been 7 months! Time really does fly.
Today we woke up, cleaned the apartment, went and played volleyball, and then we were blessed with another super super good brunch that Sister Scholz made. 2 of their kids are here for Christmas and so Sister Scholz wanted to have us over again to eat. I love her, she's so awesome! I'm positive that you can't have a cooler mission president and sister than I have. We had french toast, bacon, scrambled eggs, cantaloupe (I've only seen it at the mission home!), banana bread, blueberry muffins, all kinda stuff.
I'm also looking forward to this transfer with work in the field. We had a bunch of changes moving around areas in between districts, new leaders, etc and in my district I got Vila Virgina, my last area! Now I'll be able to do splits there and see the members and old investigators that I knew. Also, in the the ward/area I'm serving in (Ribeirão Preto Ala 1) we share the area with sisters, and this transfer I'm going to have 2 sister training leaders in my district! Usually President separates them, but this time he put 2 together. They are Sister Magleby from California and Sister Zêni from Rio de Janeiro. They're both really cool and work hard, so it should be a good transfer!
This week, we had a great experience with the Spirit that really strengthened my testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost. We have an investigator named Leila, and she found the church because of one of the invites we passed out for Ward Conference. She wrote down her information and gave it to a member and asked to let the missionaries pass by her house. Pretty cool! So after a few times of trying to find her at home, we were able to talk to her last Tuesday. She has lots of problems in her family. She has 2 kids, ages 10 and 12, and a husband. But her husband has been drinking since he's been 8 years old and this has really taken a huge toll on his health, both physically and mentally. He was in the hospital being treated, but snuck out on his own and now the hospital can't let him back in unless he has someone in his family to keep an eye on him there 24/7. And, the only one that would be able to do that is Leila, but she can't because she has to watch her kids. So at this point, she doesn't really know what to to do, and we didn't either as she was explaining this to us. We were trying our best to listen to her and to the Spirit to know what to say, but there were kids walking in and out of the room the whole time and her husband kept shouting random stuff. We were about to get up and leave, thinking "this isn't working. We'll come back another day" But then we started to talk about church and the Savior and the blessings it would bring if she and her family would start trying to follow Him, and as we did she started to cry. Then, everyone stopped and started to pay really close attention to what we were saying. I can't remember exactly what I said and neither can Elder Dantas, but what most impressed on me was the feeling that came into the room. It was thick with the Spirit! As I was speaking, I got an idea that popped into my head, "say a kneeling prayer with everyone right now". So, that's what we did. As I said the prayer, Leila,her husband Luciano, and her kids (who had been joking around before) were all crying. The Spirit touched the hearts of each one, and they were all able to feel that what we said was true. I've never had an experience quite like that on my mission, and I'm extremely grateful for the chance that the Lord gave me to be a part of it.
We will continue to work with her and her family in the best way we can. We still don't know exactly what we will be able to do to help her, but all we can do is rely on the Lord and He will provide a way!
Well, there you have it for this past week.
Love, Elder Odom