Monday, April 1, 2013

Feliz Páscoa

, todo mundo! Espero que foi ótimo.

Here in Brasil, I only knew Easter was coming because of all the "ovos de Páscoa" (Easter Eggs) in the grocery store. There were no fluffy bunny cartoons, no peeps, no jelly beans. Just big, chocolate eggs  with a prize inside, all wrapped up in shiny paper. They're expensive, too. On Friday night, we stopped at our favorite little mercedinho for bananas and the owner MADE us eat a feast of super expensive fish with him (he tried to offer us wine, too, but we escaped that one), and then he MADE us accept a little ovo de Páscoa. God bless that man. He's always giving us free food and water. We were super excited about the easter egg and took a picture with it. I realized that I'll only have one Páscoa in the mission! How strange....
   Sister Freitas, the one who was attacked by a dog last week, is from Porto Alegre. She wants to know if Ryan remembers Elders Wadsworth, Cocks, or Oliveira, because they taught and baptized her during Ryan's time in the mission.
My Português is coming along. Improving day by day. People tell me that I have an accent still, but the strange part is that they all think I'm from Argentina. After I speak, people always, always are confused about where I'm from. Sometimes they think I'm from Rio Grande do Sul (where Ryan served), and other times they think I'm from Argentina. It's rare now for people to assume I'm an American after hearing me speak. Strange, huh? I'll take it! I don't know how I developed such a warped accent-- I try so hard to speak like the Bahianos-- but it's better than an American accent! I was especially delighted this past week when Sister Freitas called me on the phone, sounded super confused about who she was talking to, and later in the day told me that I sounded like a Brasilian on the phone. Yes! Progress at last!

    As far as the work goes.... Well, I'm sure we're doing some good here. There are 5 people who were formerly inactive members who are now coming to church every Sunday. So that's good! Maybe if we can keep this up, the work will start to progress more rapidly.

    I was reading about the temple the other day in True to the Faith and I was very impressed by this statement: "Only the home compares to the temple in sacredness."
    Wow. What does that tell you about the importance of the home and family? This week's challenge for y'all is to ask yourself: How is your home like the temple?
I had a very powerful hour of study going off of that one thought. It sure clarifies why the leaders of the church are always stressing the importance of the family, and why the adversary is attacking it so ruthlessly. I'm surrounded every day here by broken families and let me tell you, it all begins with the choice to live together before you get married. You don't have to be religious to see that here. It's just a fact. All of Brasil's problems as a nation can be traced back to broken families, and broken families can be traced back to the fact that marriage is not important to these people. "It's expensive and unnecessary," they say. Then come children born out of wedlock, being raised by their grandparents, aunts, uncles, one parent, a sibling, or gangs, then having children themselves out of wedlock and the cycle goes on and on. Here in my area, about half (or more) of the people we teach are illiterate. When the people are illiterate, government is easily and quickly corrupted. It's a fast downward spiral in a nation when marriage, home, and family are not a priority.
   I have a testimony of the Family. I have a testimony that, truly, the only way to change the world is to preach the gospel of repentance. I love that I get to do this every day!

-Sister Railee

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