Hola familia! I have some big news! But first, I just wanted to say that Tucker is a cute baby! I have yet to see him in person, but he looks a lot like Andrew as a baby with that dark hair.
I´m completely jealous that you all got to see the temple dedication for THE Gila Valley Temple! I want to go back to the temple so bad, so look forward to it in 2 years! I didn´t know that there was so much history behind it and everything. Que legal!
Oh yeah, we had the Musical Fireside Saturday night. I thought it was going to be a disaster, but it turned out great. We didn´t plan for things very well, but it all came together. We sang lots of hymns: I Know That My Redeemer Lives (I did a solo on that with verses in Portuguese and English), I Believe In Christ (all the elders), Master the Tempest Is Raging (I played organ), I Am A Child of God, the Army of Helaman song, and another song that wasn´t a hymn. I either played the organ or sang for all of them and it felt good to play the piano/organ again! We used the organ from the other branch because ours is really ugly. Thank goodness none of the songs were very hard to play, or I would have made a fool of myself. It turned out really cool though. While we sang we had a slideshow of pictures of Christ going on a projector. The members all liked it and all said that we sang muito lindo (very gorgeous). I´m was glad that they thought that, hahaha.
Ok, here´s the news. I am leaving in one hour for a new area/city called Ji-Paraná! Completely unexpected and also kind of crappy for the other elders because Elder Magdo left yesterday and now I´m leaving the area... weird. But, Elder Aquino and Onken (the other Vilhena elders) are being split up to be in the two Vilhena areas with new companions. I´m going to Ji-Paraná to be with Elder Abreu. We´ll still be in the same district with Vilhena, so that´s good because I really like the other two elders. I´m also really excited to be with Elder Abreu. From the time I´ve spent with him at district meetings and stuff, he´s quiet but I like him. I think we´re gonna work really well together. Ji-Paraná is supposed to be a lot bigger than Vilhena, and there´s only one companionship there because the work has been kind of bad. Apparently Vilhena and Ji-Paraná were both cities that got closed about a year ago because there was not much success. Then they got opened back up in January and February of this year, and they´ve been doing awesome! One thing that I´ve learned from the other elders is that it is all about attitude. The missionaries that think, say, and act like they are going to baptize actually do. That´s something we´ve really been trying to do here, and so far we´ve had baptisms almost every week. We baptized Edilson, a 12 year old friend of the other two boys that we baptized, this Sunday. He used to smoke (gasp! He´s 12! I´ve begun to learn that ANYTHING is possible in Brazil. It´s a magical place) and drink coffee but he stopped. There´s times when he messes around and stuff during lessons and I´m just like,´´You really want to get baptized?´´ and he was. I hope that they all keep going to Church and staying strong. They´ve all not had much of a home life, education, that kind of thing, and the gospel is what they need. Vamos orar!
Oh yeah, Ji-Paraná is the farthest north that you can get in the mission. Elder Onken was there for 3 months and he said that it is literally on the edge of the rain forest. And I will be eating lizard and weird things! He also said that it is really hot there (gag me...), but not as hot as Cuiabá. So I am gearing up for sweat! And it´s totally gonna be one of those experiences that I look back on and have all the good stories and things. I´m way excited. It kinda of stinks to have to learn a new area all over again and become friends with all the members, but I´m up for it. Oh! And they make really nice hammocks there for $30. I´m totally getting one.
Also, here´s something that I learned during the week. We were singing I Am A Child of God during the week, and it really just hit me EVERYONE in the world is a child of God. Back at home, it was just like, ´Well, duh!´, but here in Brazil you see the other side of the world. Not all of the people have very much and some of them have ruined their lives and the lives of their families with drugs and drinking and such. It is just amazing to know that Christ knows each of us INDIVIDUALLY and personally. He knows everything that we´re going through and just wants to help us. But most people never ask, and never receive the help that they need. That´s one thing that everyone has to realize, is that they can´t make it on their own and they need help from a higher power. I hope that we can all humble ourselves and realize this. I know that I am trying. Well, have a good week! Take a deep breath because piano and school are over (for those involved), but remember not to be lazy. Laziness is bad. Well, I love you all and look forward to hearing all the good news about your activities, goals, and achievements next week!
Com Amor, Elder Carpenter