Monday, June 11, 2012

Blessings In Brazil

Manaus Brazil Temple

(A few photos of the "Cultural Celebration".)
Dear family!!!

Hey guys!!  Glad to hear from you all!!

My week was good, but I want to start talking about the temple dedication.  It was sooo cool!!!!!  First off … the cultural celebration.  It was pretty awesome.  I just felt bad for the translator.  At first I thought he just didn’t know how to translate very well, because he was butchering the talk by President Uchtdorf.  I found out afterwards that he’s one of the guys that does the translating for conference, and translating like that is hard!!!  I try every now and then for fun and for practice.  During the conference translations, the people don’t stop, they keep going so you have to keep up with them.  Once you start falling behind you start missing stuff and then you get lost.  So these guys are good.  In President Uchtdorf’s talk he would say a bit and then stop and the translator would translate what he said and then keep going and that way is easier.  I was hearing both English and Portuguêse and the translation was so wrong!!!  I think he was just having problems hearing President Uchtdorf.  After a bit, President Uchtdorf said, “Alright.  We'll fix this.”  He had him grab his microphone in his hand (it was in a stand before), he put his arm around him so they were really close, and then started talking and then it was a bit easier for the translator.  I bet Elder Costa and Elder Lago were really trunky during the cultural part.  Elder Costa’s girlfriend was dancing in it and I bet he saw her.  Elder Lago’s mom was the director of the choir so he saw her a bunch cause I saw her lots.  I also saw one of his brothers a couple of times that was dancing in it.

The dedication itself was really cool.  It was really really neat!  The talks were so good.  I missed the second session because of our lunch.  They made chili for me because it’s been cold lately and they know that I like it.  (I ate so much I felt sick but it was sooo good.)  Even though the talks were amazing, the part I liked the most with the dedication and especially the cultural part was how happy everyone there was.  Before the temple, the members in Manaus had to come down here to the São Paulo temple.  Just look where Manaus is on the map … it’s in the middle of the Amazon … look how far it is from São Paulo.  In Manaus there’s no freeway going in or out of the city so to get in or out you have to go by boat.  In order to go on the temple trip, they had to save up a long time and sacrifice a lot to go.  Elder Costa told me how hard it is when I was with him.  You first get a boat, then after a while on the river you get to another city where everyone crams into either a rented van or bus.  That’s how they drive the next long while down to São Paulo.  The trip down there takes a week, and there’s many parts where the roads are dirt roads so it’s a bumpy ride.  People have gotten really sick on the trip and get problems in their legs and backs sometimes because of the trip.  Yet they take it because the temple blessings are well worth it.

President Uchtdorf, in one of his talks during the dedication, talked about the first missionaries that went there.  One of the Mission Presidents in a mission pretty far away kept getting letters from members in Manaus asking for missionaries.  He in turn asked the Area Presidency who said, “It’s too remote, too weak, too isolated, and in the middle of the Amazon forest so no.”  The members kept insisting and the Mission President asked again and received the same response.  The third time, after more requests and the president asking again, they said, “If the members ask again, he can send two Elders there for two months.  However, the members have to pay for their plane tickets, they have to get them a house, and they have to have people for them to teach so they won’t have to tract.  If the requirements weren’t met they'd pull the missionaries back out.”  Well, the Elders got there, didn’t have to tract, and baptized tons.  The President sent a lot more Elders there and the church grew.  Now there’s a temple!  I thought it was way cool.

As for me, we’re still working hard and doing lots of tracting.  We were able to find some new people to teach so hopefully we'll keep this up and keep finding more.  Yesterday, we just did contacts all night.  President said that during a temple dedication the veil opens (hence the part in the hymn "the veil over the earth is beginning to burst") and that we'll have extra help in our work.  We were able to find lots of really good people that were interested.  Some weren’t interested at first, but something touched their hearts and they opened up and listened.  It was really really neat.

Well I’m all outta time so I have to get going.  I love you guys tons!!!  I hope you’re all doing great!  I miss you guys!


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