Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I Am Not Planning On Kissing You on the Mouth

Hey family,

Sorry about the no email last week.  We spent P-day making lunch and watching Ephraim´s Rescue with Sister Kemer and Sister Marzarella and Irmã Rosana who lives above us.  It was pasta salad, grilled veggies, mango juice, and zuchini bread for dessert.  All of the Brazilians just about died when they tried Sister Kemer´s z. bread.  We ate all of this and watched the movie bunched up on Irmã R´s bed because her room has air conditioning!!  In the end, we lost track of time and only had ten minutes to do email.

So, this week is... HOT.  Nothing new.  I´ve been forgetting a lot to use sunscreen, and while my face gets really red during the day, my body doesn´t burn anymore, but it also doesn´t get any tanner.. I don´t know if that´s a good thing, or a scary thing..

I love my comp.  Some times it´s hard to make contacts because we like talking so much.  Also, we have to repeat everything we say to one another like 5 times because our accents are so awful that we can´t understand one another.  I feel like Grandma Sally and Grandpa Del.  Ha, just kidding.  However, sometimes it´s a little hard to work with her because she is how I was- really straight forward and blunt.  Her words and facial expressions can be pretty painful even though I know she´s not trying to be that way.  Also, I´m getting used to a whole other culture now.  She pretty much sees me as a cold, ´´just go work´´ robot.  When I told her I can´t remember the last time I kissed my mother, she just about died.  When she told me she kisses her mother on the lips, I just about died.  Honestly, I´ve never been more lovey-dovey, touchy-feely in my life.  There´s huge differences in the ways we´ve been brought up, the ways we think, the way we like to work, but thankfully, I´ve been reading in the end of Alma/ beginning of Helaman.  The nefites are suffering huge losses a lot of times because of wars with the Lamanites, but civil wars as well.  I loved the part about the realists (I don´t know if it´s the same in English) and the freedom men(?).  One group wants kings, the other wants to preserve the reign of the judges as established by Mosiah.  So they fight.  And because of this war, Helaman and his 2000, as well as Moroni and Lehi suffer hunger, fatigue, and huge losses.  As I struggle to work better with my companion, I´ve realized that focusing on what is different about her is not going to help us win this battle against Satan.  I have to focus on what we have in common- our desire to serve God, our testimony, our love for others- or we´re going to end up with huge losses on both sides.  It´s really helped me in moments where I feel like I can´t do anything right with her.

One really special moment for me this week was when we taught Sinara (I had to call her cenoura (carrot) for like a week because I could not remember her name).  I had made contact with her like a week ago and marked to teach this week.  When we went back to her house and were talking with her, she told us that she´d been talking about us to her parents all week and they had told her they´d been a part of our church a long time ago.  She said, ´´ we even have a picture of them in these weird white clothes in front of your church!´´  WHAT?!  Turns out her parents were baptized like 15 years ago and her dad was even a member of the bishopbric for a while.  When we went back after a couple days, we got to talk with Sinara and her parents.  Turns out there was some drama with some members and her mom never actually had a testimony, just got baptized because her husband wanted to, so at the first sign of trouble, they went back to where the mom felt comfortable- their old church.  When we visited with them, SInara´s mom said, ´´I can´t believe you finally tracked us down.  I thought that after all this time, you´d forgotten about us.´´  She thought we´d been looking for them, when in actuality, we were just passing her daughter in the street and I turned around and said, ´´Hey!  Can we talk to you?´´  We had no idea!  My companion took the opportunity to explain this and show her that she may have forgotten about the church, but Heavenly Father clearly hasn´t forgotten about her.  Seriously, it was so random how we found them.  I can´t help but feel so happy that Heavenly Father still is working with them after all these years.  They even still keep in touch with one of the elders that baptized them.  Imagine how happy that Elder must have been when after years of inactivity, this family told him the church has found them again.  It makes me think of the people I´ve baptized that have already gone in activite.  I hope that one day, some missionary will randomly make contact with one of their kids and they´ll have the opportunity to remember why the were baptized.  Heavenly Father never forgets us, no matter how far and removed we make ourselves.

I love serving in this work!  There is really no better thing we can do with our lives than live in the service of Heavenly Father.  I´m so grateful to be here in Cidade Nova with Sister Torres, and I love you all!

Beijão, from your cold, unfriendly robot relative,
Sister Barkdull

P.S.  Mom, don´t get your hopes up.  I am not planning on kissing you on the mouth when I get home.

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