Another awesome email from Elder Olivier! Here it is:
Falaaaaa todo mundo!!!!
This week was super awesome, as usual. Lots of stuff happened this week.
First of all, week started this week off pretty strongly. We are teaching a couple of awesome families and are trying to help two young couples get married before Elder Figueiredo leaves para casa. They´re super excited and we´re super excited and everyone in the ward is super excited, I think. We just have to work a ton to make it all happen. We also are teaching a lot of other people who are super awesome too. The only problem with this week at the beginning was that we didn´t have anyone that could be baptized this week (Elder Figueiredo always says, "é uma regra na missão pra batizar semanalmente, Elder!!" Quick side note!----> he´s super funny because he always talks about how he´s super trunky and how he can´t wait to go home in december and ask his girlfriend to marry him on his first day home. But at the same time he always says, "eu vou morrer trabalhando! Vou trabalhar até o freaking pó!"----> and yes, all of the brazilian missionaries always say "freaking." They repeat a lot of stuff americans say, haha). But anyway, we didn´t have batismo for this week......until.......BOOM! Miracle! One night after an appointment fell through we decided to go visit a girl who is going to be baptized at the end of the month. We decided to go to the church building because she is always there. Well, she wasn´t there, but there were a ton of the young men and young women from church and from the neighborhood there playing soccer and hanging out after seminary, like usual (because seminary is at night here, not at 3 in the morning, like it should be). Anyway, the seminary teacher was there, and she introduced us to these two kids (one is ten, the other is eleven) who I already knew, who I thought were our neighbors´ kids the whole time. They are actually the kids from the house next to our neighbors´ house, which is crucial information, because that means that they weren´t members! They have been coming to church and to activities for a pretty long time and everyone except the seminary teacher thought they were members! So, kind of longish-medium and very unorganized story made into a shortish-medium-ish kind of story, we baptized them yesterday! They were both super excited and happy, because they hadn´t been baptized all this time! It was awesome. We got their mom to come to church and the baptism too, and we started teaching her too! It was way awesome!
This week we had a zone conference, so our zone and a bunch of other zones went to the "Staff" (pronounced: "staffy," and also known as the mission office). The "staff" is right next to the Amazonas soccer stadium, which is cool. The zone conference was super cool. It took all day, and we had training with the assistentes and President and Sister Castro. The best part was talking with all of the missionaries. I always love talking with the americans because I can relate with them a lot more, but I also love talking with the brazilians. A lot of them think I´m "doido." My companion says (in english) "You crazy guy!" On the bus ride back from the zone conference our entire zone sang christmas songs the whole time. It was cool. Everyone either tried to ignore us or looked at us funny, probably because they are all super lame and aren´t into the christmas spirit yet!
This week we encountered the rare guaraná fruit! My companion has a list of stuff he still wants to do before he leaves Manaus, and one of them was to see the guaraná fruit. They look like eyeballs. One sister in the ward told me that here there is indian folklore that says that when someone in an indian tribe dies, their eyes become the seeds of a guaraná plant. My first indian folklore story! Yes! But to be honest, we were super excited and we forgot to try the fruit, and it´s starting to go bad. Whoops.
One last story! Yesterday, my companion demonstrated his great faith in my ability to kind of sort of speak in the language that most people refer to as portuguese. My companion, in the very hour of sacrament meeting, told me that I would be the one to confirm one of our recent baptisms a member of the church. So, I got to do some really fast/frantic portuguese memorization, then I got to struggle to give a blessing in front of the entire congregation. My companion said that I had to do it for the first time sometime. Haha.
Anyway, this week was awesome, as usual. This week I´ve been studying a lot about the plan of salvation. I really like 2 Nephi :
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
This scripture is super simple. God has a plan for us, and our purpose in this plan is to have joy, both in this life and the life to come. We are here on earth so that we can have joy. It´s as simple as that. And the way we can have joy is by following the example of Jesus Christ, who is perfect and therefore is the perfect example. There are a lot of people here that say they believe in Christ, but know almost nothing about him. To me, this is really sad. Jesus Christ is important to us in so many ways: He organized His church here on the earth, which was restored exactly to its original form by way of a prophet and ministerings of angels (both of which we still 100% have today, just like in biblical times), he atoned for all of our sins, and he taught how we can return to the presence of our Heavenly Father and receive a fulness of joy: through having faith, repenting and working to constantly change ourselves to be better, being baptized by the same authority that John the Baptist, Christ, and the original twelve apostles and all of the original prophets had, since Adam and Eve, and through receiving the gift of the holy ghost. I know, now more than ever, that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ, that through this gospel we can have a fulness of joy. I know, now more than ever, that this is the only church with the same authority that Jesus Christ himself gave to His prophets. I know that Jesus Christ lives, and that he leads this church. And I know that anyone else can know this too, by way of reading the Book of Mormon and praying. It´s as simple as that. If you haven´t read the Book of Mormon, read it. If you have read the Book of Mormon, read it again. It changed the world, and it will change your life.
Anyway, I hope all of you guys have a super freaking awesome week! I love all of you guys so much!
Até a próxima segunda-feira! Falou, abraço!
P.S. I forgot to say in this letter that it is really really hot here