Dear Family and Friends,
All the conferences went well this week, starting with the zone conference that took place on Friday. The training we gave the zone should help a lot with the lack of baptisms and whatnot. Also, General Conference on Saturday and Sunday went well. I had some difficulty staying awake during parts, but that's to be expected when you watch 10 hours of it, in addition to being sleep deprived from recent flights back and forth. Fortunately, we were able to watch it in English...not that I wouldn't understand it in Portuguese, but it is nice to hear the words of authorities in your native language. I enjoyed all of the talks but seemed to get the most out of those who listed a number of things we can follow to improve our lives in certain aspects. Once again, Elder Holland had a sweet talk that was right up there in intensity with his talk from last conference on the Book of Mormon. I really feel bad for the guy that has to talk after him because you just can't compete with Elder Holland...he's in a class all of his own.
Our zone is rocking along this week with some pretty awesome possibilities, including a family of seven people and two other women. If we manage, as a zone, to make this week happen and keep searching for new families each day, I have no doubt that Boa Vista will have a strong Stake well before year-end.
We had a nice zone activity today where we played volleyball. It went well, but the weather wasn't as sunny as I would have liked it to be. As for our missionary progress, we had the opportunity to do service projects twice this week. There is a member in the ward who has a little food vending booth on one of the main streets. To visually bring it up to date, together with Elder and Sister Francisco and the assistants: Elder Dodge and Elder Brito, we gave it a quality painting of yellow on the outside and white on the inside.
We are still working with two couples preparing them for their wedding and baptism. I'm most excited about Giselle and João Paulo, who are essentially my age and are really pumped up about their wedding. He is from Guiana Ingles and she's from here. They have been together quite some time and out of nowhere gave us a call wanting our help. They are super receptive. The only downfall is now that Giselle is on vacation from work, they will be traveling a ton. Rather than get frustrated, we have been giving them homework assignments to accomplish during their travels, such as watching films and reading. Alcides and Walquiria went to conference on Saturday and enjoyed the talks. We passed by their place yesterday and the only thing they are now waiting for is money to get the paperwork rolling at the cartório.
Another interesting story is that we are working with a jovem (youth), named Ítalo, who plays basketball. His coach just so happens to be one of the best coaches in Roraima and is a returned missionary. It was funny talking to him yesterday because he didn't go to conference on Sunday. Ídio, the coach, was like, "I hope you have a good excuse because next time you ditch out you're going to pay for it during practice." It might not be the most spiritual way to get people to go to church, but after talking with Ítalo, it was pretty effective. I guess it's one more example of lack of separation between church and state.
To finish this week's letter, I thought I would share an experience we have had with a woman we met through a recent convert. Her name is Geovanna. When we started teaching her, she was lacking a lot of faith and wasn't even sure God existed. After 4-5 visits, she has made a complete 180 and is preparing for her baptism, which should take place on the 23rd. Miracles do happen!