It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere I go. Conquista understands this beautiful season much more than the tropical, beachy city of Salvador. Everyone has Christmas trees and twinkling lights are appearing everywhere on everything. I love it! My roomies/companions and I have plans to go Christmas caroling in our apartment complex to invite our neighbors to come to church. Sister J. Santos LOVES to sing and is making me teach her the words to "Jingle Bell Rock". It's so funny.
I promised Sister J. Santos that I would talk about her in my email home, so here goes: She is a character. She ought to lead the ABC, because the way she walks the streets and preaches the gospel could just as easily be a song about the blood of angry men. She wears her Book of Mormon on her belly, tucked into her waist strap and says, pointing at it defiantly, "Oh, isso aí!" (which is to see, "That's what I'm talkin' about!") But this valiant revolutionary quickly slips into the roll of a Broadway damsel when a catchy tune reaches her ears. The other night she danced in our living room with her blue polka-dot umbrella, making princess-worthy smiles and surprised faces at the mirror. When she learned that I can hold the alto part of music, she went crazy and wants to sing Christmas songs to the members after lunch appointments, to the ward during sacrament meeting, to President Andrezzo when he gives us rides home after interviews, and to anything else with ears willing to listen. She loves a good joke and takes pride in how well she catches people in her pranks. On Sunday the city shook with the sound of honking car horns and victorious yells-- a common occurrence during futebol games. Sister Soares, our new Cabo Verdiana, asked "What's all the ruckus for? Is it a wedding?"
Sister Quispe, the Peruvian, said, "No, I think it's for futebol."
"It's most likely for a funeral," Sister J. Santos said solemnly.
No one believed her until the member in whose house we were eating said, "No, it's tradition in Brasil. The more tragic the death, the louder the ruckus."
I was in shock, thinking of all the billions of times I'd heard this ruckus throughout my mission. We were all fooled until Sister J. Santos burst out laughing and wrote a mental note in her daily planner to remember to write the moment in her journal.
Remember that time I wrote about the drama we experienced the first time we thought our recent converts to walk to church? Well, I'm pleased to say that they get excited to walk nowadays. They think it's fun! They like to bring snacks and cookies to munch on the way. Yesterday as we walked, the friendly neighborhood dog (who all the children claim as their own, though he lives on the street) followed us all the way to the church and then sat in front of the door waiting for us to come out. I felt like I was leading the Little Rascals. It was one of those picturesque moments that I wish I could bottle up forever and keep on my shelf.
I love you all and I love being a missionary! Be obedient, be faithful, be happy, and seek opportunities to serve one another.