Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Church is much different than in Sandy!

February 20th

Hello friends and family! It was a pretty good week. We did a lot of traveling again!

To start off the week, like I mentioned last time, we had a big zone party last P day, and it was super fun! We had a churrasco (brazilian barbeque) and played bball. I'm much worse at bball than i used to be. I'll need to start playing when i get home!

On Tuesday morning, we got up nice and early at 5 am and got ready to travel to Ribeirao for Zone Conference. We all got into a big van drove down there. It was super fun, I got to see a bunch of the other missionaries from my other area again. The first Zone Conference isn't that fun on the mission because you don't really know anyone. But, now they're super fun because I've met lots of the other missionaries. This Zone conference was about the new changes taking place in the world with missionary work, mainly with the schedule. For us now, we leave the house at 10 am and between 10 am and 6 pm we can choose when we want to do language study and companionship study. P day also starts at 8 am now and we don't have to plan for 30 mins at night which is nice. So really not that much changed for us here in our mission. But even though they're not huge changes they're good ones. We watched a training by the executive missionary board (or something like that) and it was awesome, it had Elder Oaks, Bednar, Anderson, and other general authorities. I love listening to the prophets, everything they say is so good!

This week we made lots of good progress with the family we're working with. Rafael is the dad, Lucilene is the mom, and Vitor and Eduardo are the 2 boys. We got the whole family to come to church with us yesterday and it was awesome! They are loving hearing our messages, and keep talking about how they're changing and receiving so many blessings because of it. We ate lunch with them after church which was fun too. The only issue with this family is they need to get married and overcome some addictions. But now that they have seen personally the blessings of the gospel, I think they will be able to do it!

We are also teaching two 14 year old boys in the other city, Marcos and Caio. They're awesome and want to be baptized and are liking our visits. We wanted to baptize them together next week, but the problem is when we asked Caio's mom for permission, she didn't give it. Her mom is super into another church and doesn't want Caio to be baptized, so we are a bit stuck. We're praying for the grandma and mom to open their hearts!

Church in Ituverava was a bit hectic this week. Normally we have it in a members house that has a nice open room, but because we didn't have a member come with us from Sao Joaquim, we had nobody to give rides to our investigators and so we did it at another members house that's closer but smaller. It was a last second thing and it was super unorganized. Lehi, the member that is always working with us and doing missionary stuff in Ituverava, has a cousin named Rodrigo that's a bit of a nut job. During the Gospel principles lesson, he is always shouting out random stuff and scriptures and cutting people off mid sentence to prove that he's smart or something. Also, during the 2nd hymn, the bed frame that people were sitting on broke and so that was fun. Between all this stuff, I just had to laugh. Church there is much different than it is in Sandy, I'll tell you that much!

 I have been really focused on faith this week. How can I grow my faith: Really studying that in the scriptures has really helped me get a better understanding of how through faith, we can actually do anything that the Lord tells us to. Sometimes it's intimidating to think about training, or being district leader someday, or any other thing, but if I can have faith and trust the Lord without fear, then everything will be okay. The Lord has already worked miracles out here for me, I have no reason to be nervous! But, it's something that I have to keep reminding myself everyday. Out here on the mission, you cant control what goes on around you very well, and that's what makes me nervous and frustrated at times. It's not super easy to always just trust the Lord but it's something that's necessary. Like President Monson says: "Remember that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind and the same time, for one will dispel the other. Cast out doubt. Cultivate faith." I really like this quote.

That's all for me. Until next week everyone!
-Elder Odom

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