This past little while has been pretty rushed and very busy, but I feel that I am nearing the end of my "office missionary" experience! I'll either start training the new Secretary here at the very beginning of December, or the middle of January. Crazy to think that there's only about a month and a half until the year is over and it's 2013! I don't feel like I should be this old!
Well, once again we had some weird situations that happened here in the mission and a missionary actually ended up getting transferred from out mission to another mission in Brasil because of it! I can't give names or locations, but I can tell you that it was really scary and confusing for a couple days! Good thing we have a great Presidente and a great Area Presidency that helped us out a ton.
Happy birthday to Tommy (10th) Dad (13th) Elder Venâncio!!!!! (13th and only 2 years younger than tommy :P) Bailey (17th - I can NOT believe that she'll be 3 already!!!!!!!!), and David (20th)!!!!!!!!!!! I love and miss you all so much! Yes, my comps birthday is the same as Dads! So when I celebrate with him, I'll think of you, Dad! :) Love you! But a happy happy birthday to everyone and if you're lucky I'll get you presents next year when I'm home :P.
Today at church we (my comp and I) had the opportunity to be invited by the primary (a total of about 5 kids) to talk a little bit about missionary work and what they can do now to become future missionaries :). It made me think about my days in the primary and how much I actually learned there. I remember in dallas where i spent most of my primary days and I remember learning things that I've carried with me throughout my entire life (including some pictures and the quad that I still use today). The Church is perfect and I'm so grateful that we have the chance to learn this when we are young. There are many things that we can teach out children when they are young that will not just help them more reverent in church, but much more successful in life itself. Through completing the "Faith in Christ" (I don't know if they still have that) they will learn valuable skills in memorization and learn how to study and work hard. All of which are wonderful things that will greatly benefit them throughout their lives.
We are working very hard here and I am really feeling, as I start the downward slope of my mission, that my Heavenly Father is pleased with me as His servant. I still have much more to do, but I'm so very proud of this mission and I take great pride in being called to serve here in the Brazil Recife Mission. The best mission in the world. I see missionaries come home and look lost at first, and then always start a story with "well, when I was on my mission....." I am so grateful to have had these experiences that I will share with people about my personal growth for the rest of forever (even though I do fine the "when i was on my mission" part a tad annoying and will be limiting those quotes). I have grown in more ways than I thought possible here and have made a home away from home that I plan on keeping. The people here really are the best, and one of the hardest things for me here on the mission in the hugging rule. It's just part of the culture here for women to great each other with a hug and a kiss on the cheek and men the same (with women.... men don't greet each other in this manner unless they are a little limp in the wrist....). More frequently than not, when making a contact, if it be a women she will usually go in for the hug when leaving and then we have to go through the routine of saying "no I'm a missionary I can't blah blah blah..", but it's really hard with the members because in my ward right now I love all of them so much! The older women look at us like their sons and just love the missionaries so much! It's hard not to hug them after a wonderful lunch and bonding with their family, but it's part of the job I guess!
Well, to finish up, I love you all so very much. I am doing well. Very well. I am loving life and am just now beginning to realize how big of a blessing it is to serve a mission. You learn things that you never could by just going to college. It's amazing to have these two years to take yourself out of the world, because when you are with family and friends, it's just that much harder to take yourself away from everything and lose yourself..... in the service of the Lord.
With much love,