It’s finally a new year. The last one seemed to be a really long one for me. This first week of the New Year went really well. The week started off with actually playing basketball!!! It’s been about 4 months since I last played basketball. I ended up just playing one on one with a guy in our ward. His name is Helder, pronounced Elder – so there really are people out there named Elder. He is about 6’4” and can actually play! It was a challenge for me, but I did end up winning one game.
The next day was New Year’s Eve, which is HUGE here in Brazil. Basically all of our meetings fell through, and we just ended up walking. There were 27 tons of fireworks sold in Fortaleza, seriously. We were pretty pumped to see the fireworks at night. Of course, knowing my luck, we had a perfect view of the fireworks except for ONE building that blocked exactly where the show was happening. So we only saw all of the colors in the sky and the occasional firework that went extra high. Also we had to stay in for New years, so that was pretty depressing with the 4 of us sitting around. Some idiot blasted music until 4:30 in the morning. It was literally impossible to sleep. Needless to say, everyone was grouchy the next day.
Nothing outside of missionary work was really all that interesting this week. It was my birthday, but we basically worked like a normal day. I am a little excited not to be 18 anymore. Now people won't look at me so strangely.
As far as missionary work goes, this week was really rough because basically no one was awake or they were all getting ready to party. We did have a couple of cool experiences though. One was that we finally found a referral and managed to catch him at just the right time. He is from Ferreira. He is an older wealthy gentleman with probably the nicest house that I have seen since I have been here in Brazil. We sat down and talked for a while and just became friends. It is interesting because he has basically believes all of the doctrines of the church without having any formal religious training or background. We hope that we can talk with him some more and teach him about the restoration and the importance of baptism as taught in John 3:5. Another cool experience was when we knocked on a door of a REALLY big house. We were talking with one of the guys who lives there and he said that we could come back, and that 30 other guys lived there while they were working for a construction company. My favorite part of the week was when we had 7 investigators show up for church. Some of the investigators are very close to committing to baptism.
The relationship in the house with all of the elders is getting a lot better. I had the chance to talk to the other companionship and help them to figure out a way to work better together. Basically it was just listening to them talk and them helping them to compromise and understand each other. I hope that it helps them because they are really struggling to get along. Anyways, in my companionship, things are really going great. We are working a ton and we are planning to start classes in music, English, and studying the scriptures next week. We get along really well and we are having some success. I am really lucky to have a companion who is willing to work and willing to be my friend, which is more than a lot of missionaries, can say about their companions.
This year is yet another chance that we have to do better than we did during the last. One of my resolutions this year is to put down my pride. A lot of times I find myself thinking rather selfishly and always thinking that I'm right and that everything I do is the right thing to do. The problem is that most of the time, I'm wrong! Haha, my goal is to always think about how other people are feeling or thinking, and what influence my actions have on them. It's incredible how one word or one simple action can influence someone. I've experienced that firsthand. Sometimes when you are at your lowest, a simple, kind word can lift you up. On the contrary, our words can also put people down. I don't want that. Whenever I find out that I have offended someone, or hurt them in any way, I get this huge feeling of guilt. It's one of the worst feelings in the world. So something I've been focusing on is thinking about what other people think, feel, or desire. I'm trying to figure out the best way to make everyone happy. I know that I'm imperfect, and that it's probably an unrealistic goal to do it ALL the time, but I'm going to try. We never know the impact that we can have on someone, so I'm going to try my hardest to think before I act. It's a problem that I've always had, and if I can master it, I will be a lot better of a person. Anyways, I hope that everyone has an awesome new year and that you all can accomplish your goals!