I was blessed with a nice big package from Dad this week full of American goodies and I couldn't be happier! I even shared some Reece's (who am I?) and the Brazilians loved it.
On a sadder note, an Elder in my zone got his foot run over by a bus this week. Not a joke. Needless to say he broke his foot and got sent home. Please pray for Elder Dew from Ohio that he will have a quick recovery and be able to return to the mission field, wherever that may be...soon. We're thinking he probably won't return to Brazil because of visa issues.
On a good note, I finally am feeling Brazilian! I've noticed how cultural things that were weird to me when I got here are just second nature now and I love it. Mostly in regard to food...obviously. Like mashed potatoes on hot dogs...always and I have to eat rice and beans every day. If not, it's a bad day. I'm loving this country minus the insanely strong sun right now. I'm getting so dark despite the fact that I'm using lots of sunblock! eh...normal for me. The one thing I have not become accustomed to is corn popsicles...eckk..so gross. Tried that and never again will I eat it.
As for last week, I didn't really celebrate Thanksgiving, but my companion made me tortas fritas which were great. It's basically fried dough with sugar and jam or you can eat it plain and they're a little salty. They were yummy. I didn't do anything big for the 1/2 birthday this year. Nothing tops last year with a homemade dinner from the besties.
We, as a zone, discovered that I have the most time here in Santo André than anyone else..it's like an accomplishment; out of 16 people I've been here the longest. I do love it here buuuttt...transfers are the 31st if you catch my drift. New year, new area I'm thinking. But I will definitely miss Utinga. Not a doubt in my mind.
This week I was working on recognizing answers to my prayers and something really cool happened. At first I literally couldn't remember the last time I felt that God had truly answered a prayer of mine but it wasn't because he wasn't trying, it was because I wasn't listening. So I prayed to be more aware of answers to my prayers and this is what happened...this requires a little bit of background. In the states when I was serving in Nauvoo I started having some weird health issues, things that had never happened to me before so I asked for a blessing from someone in the ward there. In this blessing he said that everything will be fine and that when I get to Brazil the people will love me like family. At the time it didn't mean much because I didn't know anyone in Brazil so it seemed like an empty promise. But this week we had lunch with Irmã Claudia...Fabio's wife and she was telling us how she thinks of us like her own daughters and that's why they do so much for us and are always asking us if we need something. This was when the light bulb went off. I have been here for 5 months and just realized that this was an answer to the blessing I got back in July. There are so many people here that help us every day and truly love us and that was an answer to my prayers. God is listening! Are we?
That's all for this week. Love you all and am counting down the days ‘til Christmas!!!