Merry Christmas from Brazil! Man, it has been a very busy but very good week here. Tuesday we received 43 new missionaries! It was so awesome!!
President and Sister Souza, the two Assistants, and Elder Muniz and I arrived at the airport to welcome the first group of 29 missionaries that were all from the Missionary Training Center in São Paulo. We were waiting there for a while because their flight was delayed and President bought us some little chocolates that were really good. Then, out walked the army of 29 missionaries! It was super cool and we welcomed them and then we loaded them all up into 3 big vans. My van had 13 new missionaries, 12 Brazilians and 1 American. It was a lot of fun and they were all so excited and asking a ton of questions. We drove to the mission house for lunch and then to the chapel for the training. I did my training which consists of explaining about mail, packages, internet use, ordering materials, health insurance and health cards, and then getting all the needed documents from all he foreigners (passports, visas, visa applications, etc.). I went back to the Mission Office to do some paperwork for the new missionaries and then returned to the chapel for the announcing of trainers and new companions, and I had to hand out all the material for the new missionaries. After I got all of them loaded up in taxis and members' cars to head to their new areas, I returned to the Mission Office to give my training and get all the needed documents from all the new missionaries that arrived that were visa waiting in the United States. It all made for a long day, but a very AWESOME day!
With a lot of new missionaries comes a lot of work here in the office. A lot of paperwork for the new foreigners and scheduling them to go to the Polícia Federal with me. Lots of other things for all the missionaries such as updating info in the church´s program and updating all our documents here in the mission. Also, 37 out of the 43 missionaries that arrived here arrived without health cards so I have to order those and get all their health numbers but right now the church is in the process of switching insurance companies here in Brazil so I have spent some time on the phone this week with people in São Paulo and Salt Lake trying to figure it all out.
Anyways, enough about all that. All that stuff isn´t too exciting. What is exciting is it´s CHRISTMAS! The Bishop of our ward here in Aldeota called me Saturday night and asked if I would give a talk the next day in Sacrament Meeting. So I talked yesterday in Sacrament Meeting. I was grateful for the opportunity to speak on the Sunday right before Christmas and to focus on the Savior and his teachings and how we can all become better as we use His Atonement in our lives, and as we become happier through Christ we will want to share this great gospel with everyone! It was a great opportunity and I was a little nervous when he first asked me but I am glad he did. It went really well.
Last night the Fortaleza Stake had a huge Christmas Devotional at our chapel and it was so awesome. It was just a ton of singing Christmas songs. Throughout the whole thing I kept on having to leave and go in a classroom because all the Zone Leaders were calling in to report numbers for their zone and order materials. But what I did get to see of the devotional was really awesome! They even sang some Christmas songs in English which was fun!
Also, we have been teaching this 19 year-old girl named Angelica. She truly loves the gospel and she is going to be baptized! And guess what day she is going to be baptized? CHRISTMAS DAY!!! It is going to be way awesome and we are super excited! There is no better way to celebrate Christmas on a mission than this!!
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy being with loved ones as we all celebrate the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Until next week.
This is a present that Sister Souza gave everyone in the mission for Christmas. It´s super sweet!
You can move it around and each time the sand makes a different design.
It has become quite distracting to have at my desk while I am trying to get work done...
My good friend from my district at the MTC and also served in New York New York North, Elder Larkin, arrived this week! He stayed his first night in our apartment because his new area is about 2 hours away so it was great to see him again and spend some time with him.