WOW!!! Thank you all! =) You guys are all great. I really appreciate a Happy Birthday from every one of you. =) Ha, I had a feeling yesterday that I was going to have a good surprise on my email for my Birthday. It (my b-day) definitely was different and was a little adventure but it was all good. I definitely gave the whole big 2-0 a big thinkin’ over. I’m done with my wild and crazy teenage years that really formed me into who I am, and now I am starting the most influential decade of my life. Where I will finish off my service to the Lord, pick a major and finish school, find my eternal companion, and probably start a family.
AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Scary but thrilling right?! Well I know time is only going faster, but when I hit double digits at age 10 it definitely seems like NOT yesterday (a lifetime ago!). So I will take it as it goes. I am thoroughly convinced though that life ONLY gets better. You just need to find the thrill in each season of life. I love the snow, I love the heat, and I love everything in between. So I am chill with the great adventures in front of me.
Anyways I’ll tell ya about my day. I am writing ya’ll a day late for a reason. So the highlight of my day was definitely the first hour. I woke up and read the letter from David and Laura’s Family that they told me to wait to open until my birthday. I really enjoyed it, tell them thank you. I thought the “Stand a Little Taller” thought was perfect for a missionary birthday =). President and Sister called and wished me a happy birthday, and I made some DELICIOUS açaí and busted out some letters! WOO!
A member family that we have been working with to baptize their 23-year-old nephew, who moved to live with them, invited us over for a lunch FHE. WOW, it was Chinese noodles awesomeness. Probably the only Chinese food I’ll have on the mission. It was good. But during all of this, my Comp was dying. He started to have some intense pain in his kidneys. Sunday and on my birthday it was killing him. So Sister called up a taxi and we spent the rest of the day until 9:30 at night, just to confirm that he really did have a kidney stone.
I think here on the mission one of the greatest lessons we have to learn is that we are here in this life, especially as a priesthood holder, to serve and not to be served. We have Jesus, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Kings of all Kings, who showed us His life of doing exactly that. On a B-day, naturally we assume to be served because it is OUR day. I think Heavenly Father gave me a special birthday that showed me the spirit of the missionary service on my B-day as a gift. Also He gave me an opportunity to exercise charity, one of the biggest goals I am trying to develop here on the mission.
At the beginning, we just sat and waited, I wrote letters and read the BofM. It came to a time where my Comp was put on a bed and injected with medicine to ease the pain. For some reason during the first IV/injection hour, the pain only got worse. We were awfully confused, being two Americans in a Brazilian Hospital, and the whole process and examination wasn’t very well explained to us. My Comp was tossing and turning and I felt like I should put down the letter and help some how. I really felt helpless because I didn’t know what I could do to help. I wasn’t no Mom. What can a man do to help? I really didn’t know what was going on, neither did he. So I felt like I should give him a priesthood blessing and then aid him with getting water, and just standing there, being there for him and communicating with the nurses and doctors and such for him. Shortly after the blessing and me talking with a nurse, a different medicine/IV was put in, and he zonked out. He’s been doing good since then. This morning after reading some thoughts from a year ago I felt inspired to make a good breakfast for him, and clean up a big mess that he has been putting off for some time. Ha, so that was my birthday experience this year.
Besides that the week was pretty good. We are getting better at getting more lessons in and keeping up on the many contacts. This week was a GREAT one. WOW and do I have some great news for all of you! So this week we had Zone Conference and there were some announcements that blew my socks off! So first, the AP, Elder Araújo, who has been the AP since I arrived here, is leaving early for college this week. So my good friend Elder Reynolds (the tall American Zone leader from Juazeiro that I lived with) got called to be the new AP, and he is the first American AP since President Souza has been here in the last 2 years, big news for us. My old comp, Elder Hodson, then got called to be Zone Leader there in Juazeiro, something I KNOW he will be very proud of. All this made me very happy, but now for the BIG NEWS. President Souza was in conference this last week with some other Presidents here in Brazil, and it was decided that my Mission is going to be SPLIT!! HA, that’s right, there is going to be a Mission Fortaleza, and a new Mission Fortaleza Leste. So here in March we will be getting another Mission President for the other half of the mission, and July we will do the official split. HA, which means it will be possible for me to serve in 2 different missions! Ha cool huh? Our groups were made to sustain one mission, and now we will be split to cover two missions, which will be receiving many new missionaries to lead. Ha, I just know here soon things are going to step up for me and I know that I will see a lot of God’s hand in this transition process. It is He who planned this all, and it is just cool that I will have part in helping with this new big change in the new age of missionary work. So you guys will be hearing a lot more about that here in the near future.
This week we had a baptism of a really good kid, Jurandy. A friend brought him to church last week and we prepared him to be baptized this week. He did everything we asked and so in the space of one week everything happened for him to be baptized. Read, pray, receive an answer, learn and obey the commandments. Sad thing is though we received news yesterday that he will be moving this week. I thought it was a little funny since my first baptism in Juazeiro moved and I never saw him get confirmed (he did though), and now my first baptism here is moving too (he WILL be confirmed).
Besides that I also did a division with Elder Flores, a Gaucho Elder who only has been 1 month in the mission. He LOVED it and said he learned a lot. I gave him a tie and introduced him to Guacamole (they eat Avocado sweet down here). I felt pretty well with being the Senior and basically training, but at the same time I felt pretty humbled because I will need divine help for sure.
So yeah. There is a nice big Birthday email for you all. Parabéns Riley on the Eagle. That is awesome, Mom must be really proud. And yeah, I love you all and I am doing great down hereLove you all, and good luck with everything! =)