Wow what a week.... for you guys!! That sounds like a super awesome trip and Jackson and Katie went too? Wow that sounds like a blast. So my area is really poor. It is zona leste which is the east part of Manaus. But it is great. There are also TONS OF HILLS! I will have to take a picture of some of them, it is crazy. You know in that movie RIO in brasil, when they are riding on the motorcycle through the houses. That is what this places looks like. I think at least.
Elder W is great. He loves to sing and bursts into song randomly.... usually in the shower:) I like it. So I can´t send any pics because the computer won´t read my card.
So I´ll just skip the cheese and get to the meat. I’ll just talk about this week. On Tuesday we had district meeting and our new district leader is great.... kinda. For his training he drew a triangle on the board and put faith, repentance and baptism each at a corner. He asked us where we think an investigator needs to start, with faith, repentance or baptism. We ALL said faith. He said that they can start at any point because if you baptize them first they will develop faith and repentance later. Me and Elder W were really confused so we started asking questions because that is so WRONG>
I asked about the 3 Sundays and he said that if someone is ready you just baptize them because if you take them to 3 churches they might lose their interest in being baptized..... wait a second, isn´t taking them to church supposed to INCREASE their desire to be baptized. That makes no sense at all.
On our long walk back to our area me and Elder W got talking about this nonsense. So before I explain our conversation I have to explain this. Last week, Elder Costas (pres of Brazil area) and Elder Evans (member of 70) came to Manaus and spoke to all the missionaries in Manaus. Because I was in Candeias I didn’t get to hear it. So now I can tell you about our conversation. Elder W is totally with me. He believes that a person needs to be prepared and a baptism isn’t just a number. He said that Elder Evans of he 70 talked about this. He said that when we teach people, we need to teach towards eternal life, not towards baptism..... That is exactly opposite of what people here are saying. It just chaps my hide.
. . . . . . he is talking to all the missionaries like me and Elder W who see baptism as a serious thing and not as just a number. That is all it is to them..... a number. I was even in that mind set when I was with Elder O number 1. We baptized a lot. Weekly. Every week. And I liked it because I got to write a number down on my planner. Then the next week I wanted to write another number down. So we went and found someone that said they would be baptized, and we baptized them. We baptized people who were not ready! When I told Elder H about that he said it was fine. As long as someone says that they want to be baptized, you baptize them regardless of anything (unless if they aren´t married).
So even Elder Evans of the 70 is saying we need to teach towards eternal life. I feel like me and Elder W are doing that. He is an amazing missionary! His language is incredible and he has been out 6 weeks! I am in awe! Just like Saydi said, the new missionaries are coming out more and more prepared! He has no fear of anything! Not to talk to people or anything . . . he is just great.
He thinks the same way I do about baptism. Before we baptize anyone they will be prepared. . . . it is just hard because when you don´t baptize you get looked as the missionary who doesn't work..... example....
Saturday we walked past our chapel. We share our chapel with elders from a different zone. The zone leaders from their zone were there waiting for the elders who go to our church to do interviews. So, these were not our zone leaders but they were zone leaders none the less. We said hi and fun stuff like that. They asked us if we already had a baptism today. We said no. They asked if we had a baptism for tomorrow. We said no. They couldn´t believe it! That we didn’t have a baptism for that week! They told us we needed to baptize some one. They don´t understand what they are doing. For them, it is just a number.
Now for some gooder funner stuff:)
So my first day here we were walking down the side walk in front of the church (pause story! here in Manaus there is constantly water running down the side of the streets, like next to the curb when there is a curb. where the water is running down, moss grows, and it is slick, resume story) There was a permanent puddle like thing in the road and when cars drove by it threw water up on top of the side walk. On the side walk where the water was there was moss growing,. It was slick. We were walking along that part and right as the word "cuidado" was coming out of my mouth, my legs slipped out from underneath me and I landed Flat on my back! It didn´t hurt at all though because I landed on my bag..... which has my camera in it.... which broke:( But just the screen. The screen is completely white. But it still takes pictures though.
It is Carnival!!! But nothing is really happening in our area. There was a massive party last night that we past when we were walking home and the night before when we were walking home we past a soccer field and there were a bunch of guys playing soccer in dresses! kakak. I stopped to try to snap a pic but right when I stopped, these cross dressers looked over at us and where like "hey, hi". So I decided to just walk away:)
The other day we were walking down the street and there was a drunk guy that called us over. In short, he pulled out a guitar and started playing the bee gees! It was great. He played "I started a joke" you know that one dad?
So there is this rapaz in our ward. He is amazing! He came back to activity in the church about 3 weeks ago and he gave us his cousin as a reference. When we teach her I feel like one of the missionaries from the district because we are actually teaching her, and not just a lesson! She has troubles accepting the bible and doesn't really know who God is. She is just great! I love teaching her because I really have to rely on the spirit because she is not just like a regular Brazilian who believes in God and the bible and believes that church is good but it doesn´t really matter what church because they all worship God.
So I´m winding down. I´m trying to type super fast and on this key board the letters are faded and yeah. I love you all, I know this email is really scattered and sorry I don’t have any pics for you... it is hard to take pics when you can’t see what you are taking a picture of.
O yeah! I forgot to say! Our house is a MESS! LIKE a 100 percent pigsty. The bathroom was so filthy, I don´t even think the grinch would use it! The floor was covered in hair and gunch, so this morning we took 3 hours and cleaned the house... and we still aren´t done!! I must say, I´m a pretty good Brazilian house cleaner:) I'm especially good at cleaning bathrooms. You use a broom, a squeegee, steel wool, bleach and powdered laundry soap. Jefferson may be good at Basketball, but I'm a pro at cleaning Brazilian bathrooms:)
Speaking of the chubs, I think you are awesome and such an example to everyone around you. Jackson, thanks so much for that email! I love it. And I will definitely be using some of that stuff when talking to my comps dls zls aps and pres Klein. I love you all but I got to go! Have a great week at state Jefferson! Go Bombers! Love you all so so so so so so so so so so so much and thanks for all you are doing to help my situation here. I really appreciate it!
Love Elder Ostler