It was a good but crazy week, since Sister Coelho got transferred to Natal. So now I am with my second companion, Sister Ochoa! She´s from Argentina and is super sweet. The day before Sister Coelho left, Tuesday, we went to the cartório (I don´t even know that word in English) to register Cilene and Daniel for their wedding on . We also had Maryanna´s (I was spelling her name wrong before) baptism on Tuesday night. All of the youth in the branch were there, and we had cake and played soccer afterwards. It was an exciting last day for Sister Coelho :) I miss her a lot, and I realized that transfers are going to be a hard part of the mission. You grow really close to a person and get used to doing everything together, and then they leave and you have little contact with them and you have to get used to a new companion. The other hard thing is that since Sister Ochoa is new to the area, I basically have to be the senior companion and take charge of who we visit and when. It´s a lot of responsibility for a poor little American whose Portuguese is still rudimentary and whose sense of direction is completely hopeless. ;) It´s good though, and I feel blessed to have Sister Ochoa as a companion because she is awesome. Our district also got another American elder, a Brazilian sister, and a brand-new-out-of-the-MTC elder from Mozambique, who speaks Portuguese but with a super different, strong accent. Sometimes the people here don´t even realize that he´s speaking the same language as them. :)
Cilene and Daniel are super excited and planning everything for their wedding next week. They´ll get baptized within a few days after getting married and they´re really looking forward to it. Maryanna is doing really well also. In Young Women´s on Sunday, she shared her baptism experience and said she felt so much joy afterwards. She is an astounding young woman and I love her to pieces. Fábio is also doing awesome. We showed up at his house one day and he had read 13 chapters of Mosiah in two days! And not only that, but he summarized those 13 chapters perfectly. He loves the Book of Mormon and told us that he´s been understanding the Book of Mormon a lot more easily since his baptism. I´m just so darn proud of him. :)
We also have a super sweet couple of recent converts in our branch, Francisco and Maria, who basically adopt all of the missionaries who pass through the branch. They are so loving, as are all of the people here. When we visited Cilene and Maryanna one night, they were whispering and acting really suspicious, and then Maryanna showed up with plates full of food for us. And another night, we met a woman named Luzia who sent us home with crackers and cookies. I´m still in awe at how giving these people are and always feel humbled by their examples.
It rained a lot this week, which I very much enjoyed. I not only love rain, it´s a nice break from the incessant heat. Sister Ochoa often gets cold though, which I don´t even know how that´s possible. I spend every second of every day sweating, it seems. :)
Also, HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! Though I am in Brazil right now and love this country, I really am grateful to live in the United States. It´s a wonderful place.
I attached pictures of us at the cartório and of Maryanna´s baptism. And the last picture is of Cilene and Daniel´s 2 year old daughter, Andressa -- how precious is she? And finally, a picture of me with my new companion...and a dinosaur :)
Sister Amy Weatherford