Monday, March 3, 2014

Hey there!!

WOOT YAYY!! What a great birthday present to me?!?!  I am very happy, but it looks like you are faaarrr more! Ha, just about all my friends from the mission are studying at BYU. Ha, it’s a party house for return missionaries. Well, I don’t know what to say, it really just seems like the right option to me for now, I am sure I will like it when I get back. (Zac just got the news he has been accepted to BYU)

Alright. My Birthday. HA!! Well I sure didn’t spend the whole day in a hospital again like last year, but the way we ate I am surprised I didn’t. I woke up.... and I was extra pumped to do some good work outs YES! That was good, then my comp made crepes and I felt like I was drowning in sugar... Nutella, Creme, Peanut Butter, Syrup..... and Chocolate milk to wash it all down. I felt like I was eating the 5 basic food groups in the movie, Elf! But I was very happy because I knew they were all doing it out of love. Then we planned for the week... and as you know I love weekly planning. Then lunch was AMAZING. I don’t know how that Irmã knew but she made my favorite... Brazilian Pancakes! Yuum! I ate sooo much and then out of nowhere she whipped out a giant cake as well... Oh my! Oh it was lovely. It had chocolate hair on it like me. Ha, I liked it. I thanked them in the Lunch Message. I began to talk about my love for the great people here and I really couldn’t... I had to fight back tears and finished. But I left there so grateful.

I feel SO LOVED. If there is an abundance of anything here on the mission it is Love for the missionaries. Sure maybe everybody isn’t perfect and they don’t do everything that we ask but I know they have love for us and it’s their imperfections that hold them back not their love.

The rest of the day was great, we spent the whole afternoon on a bus with our two investigator Love Birds, who we helped sign papers for their wedding. Then at night... we worked! The best lesson would have to be with a man named Junior who for the last 3 weeks it was hard to talk with him because he was drinking and there was a death in the family. It’s incredible how God prepared this man. Before he was a normal wishwashy man who accepted to do everything but didn’t do it. This time we talked a bit about the Plan of Salvation to comfort him, then we talked how we need to prepare ourselves to meet God and how drinking drags us off that path. He accepted to stop. We then invited him to a FHE on Friday.  As we were returning home Thursday night I wanted to hurry and swing by everyone to remind them about FHE. My comp didn’t really want to, but we went. Friday, when we took Junior to FHE (the theme of the FHE was recognizing how the Spirit works in our lives) he bore his testimony about how when we passed by the night before he said to us that for sure he would go and he felt good about this decision. After work before coming home he had many friends inviting him to drink and party it up on the first night of Carnaval with them but he turned them down and now he was there in the FHE. He felt very good with this decision and he said after the FHE he felt a great peace and relief in his heart. Sunday was testimony meeting, and his stepdaughter who is a member took him to church and he went up to bear his testimony in testimony meeting. He said how it’s his first time seeking to be in a church and how this is his first time visiting, and he knows that God is very happy with him spending Carnaval at church. All this he said choking up on tears. Wow, he is proof to me of how the Spirit can change anyone, and how good the Spirit is to us as we repent and make good choices. Junior is very happy with how the Spirit has helped him.

Anyways... rest of the week... a lot of things. Well, we baptized two more kids in Espírito Santo´s family. Riandra and Randerson. It is super funny because their Mom since the beginning has been a bit irreverent and it doesn’t help to have her around in the discussions. But recently we have started teaching her and it is crazy how slowly she is improving as well. Before she discouraged her family members from being baptized... then gave permission for her daughter to be, then she visited, during the visit she talked bad but she came back this week.  Before she said she would never be baptized but now she said she will in a couple years maybe. Ha so that’s progress... the Spirit it working very well with her. It’s great!

Oh and probably I should say something about Carnaval right? So I don’t know what you guys know but basically it is just Marti gras out of control. Fortunately here where I work it is just like a normal holiday with everyone in the streets blasting music and drinking beer. But now everyone painted their hair bright colors and are throwing flour and throwing eggs at one another. Ha, I think about the Festival of Colors I went to, so they aren’t as crazy. I did fun stuff like that too. 

Cool, and to finish off I will put what President said in my email this week. In the Conference he said he has seen the growth of many Elders here during the mission. I asked him what he has seen in me. He said "Sobre sua curiosidade acerca de seu crescimento na missão, digo-lhe que você já chegou amadurecido, porque você aprendeu muito bem disciplina antes da missão. Na verdade, eu não tenho qualquer registro de problemas relacionados a você durante todo nosso tempo. Seu crescimento foi mais no sentido espiritual e de liderança, por conta dos conhecimentos e habilidades adquiridos. Parabéns!" or 

"About your curiosity about your growth during the mission. I would say that you already arrived very mature here in the mission because you already learned discipline very well before the mission. Actually, I don’t have any records of having any problems with you during our time together. Your growth has been more in the spiritual and leadership sense due to acquired knowledge and abilities.. Congratulations!"

So parents!! Go ahead and pat yourselves on the back for President said that I came well prepared to the mission. Know that you raised a well disciplined son that didn’t cause any problems here on the mission!! (after many many times being kicked out of sunday school.) Ha awesome! I was suuuuuuuper happy to read that.

I am a dedicated missionary and one of the first things I said to President Souza in our first interview was that I am not here to be a slacker and I definitely don’t want to disappoint  him or the Lord in my service. After all this time I know I have been fulfilling my purpose and boy it feels good!
Love you all! Good week!

Elder Cetraro

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