On March 10, 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
It´s really been a great week! But man, it´s exhausting. I found that I´m picking up Portuguese a lot faster now, but it´s still difficult when I want to communicate something but I just don´t exactly know how. But all is well here in Valentina! And those landmarks you described sound right. The church building here is right next to Mercado São José, if you happened to see that at any time. Of course, there a ton of evangelical churches everywhere, haha. I don´t know how it was for Matt in São Paulo exactly, but here it seems that evangelical churches dominate. Of course, almost everyone we talk to was born/baptized Catholic, but as far as activity goes it´s much more towards the evangelical denominations.
I had a very strong spiritual experience the other night in one of our lessons when we were teaching Mayara, one of our investigators. Towards the end of the lesson, we were going to leave a chapter in the Book of Mormon for her to read, but before we did, we had to ask her if she knew how to read (unfortunately, a large percentage of the population is illiterate, so we always have to make sure). The father of the member-family we were with seemed to really make a big deal out of it, and it got to the point where I could tell that Mayara was starting to be uncomfortable. Suddenly, I just felt such a strong force of the Spirit moving through me, and I opened my mouth to talk. I told her that it doesn´t matter whether she knows how to read or not. The feelings that come through the Spirit are much more important. The Gospel is a message of happiness, and we want her to feel good when we have discussions. And then I asked her, "Mayara, how
do you feel right now?" She managed to crack a smile and she replied, "good." Then I smiled and asked, "are ya happy?" She said, "of course!" And then I bore my testimony that that is exactly what the Gospel does for us. We learn much more from our feelings through the Spirit than by what we read.
It was in the very moment following that I realized everyone had their eyes fixed on me, and it seemed that the noise of the world seemed to be silenced. We had truly entered into a spiritual state, and I can´t describe exactly how it was, but it was real.
Sounds like the Springdale Zone is on fire right now! That´s awesome. My comp and I are working super hard right now, and I´m loving the area and the people. We seem to do a lot more work with members here,
and the unity of the membership is just wonderful. And to answer your question, "white-washing" is what they call "shotgunning" in the OTM. It´s when both Elders are new to the area, exactly how you said.
Also, funny thing. You said that we should´ve set our clocks back in February, but to be honest, I forgot about daylight savings. I don´t think they actually do it here. At least, I haven´t heard anything, haha. The cool thing (and I forgot until yesterday) is that here, we´re the first people on American soil to see the sun! I think that´s pretty awesome. Sunrise is about 5 AM here, haha. It was hard to get used to after Utah, where sunrise was about 8:30 due to the mountains and what not.
Anyway, sounds like it´s been a great week! I look forward to the adventures of this week to follow!