ANYways. Sister Funes is awesome. She is a super strong member, half her family is inactive and the other half is antimormon. She worked really hard to pay for her whole mission and supplies herself. We have some really amazing missionaries here, recent converts of a few years, missionaries who come from very very rough home situations and serve faithfully, missionaries whose whole family is against them. Many people here are very impressed by my pioneer ancestry but really I think these amazing first generation missionaries are where the real power is. I cant imagine serving a mission without so much support from home.
Nova Lima, if I hadnt already explained is a city on the right side of the capital Belo Horizonte that is made up of entirely HILLS. Our mission is notorious for being full of hills, (like San Fransicso) but Nova Lima doesnt have ONE street that is not a hill. (I attached a picture of a few of the streets). I dont think I should have put hiking on the interest section of my mission papers because the Lord surely gives you what you want. I am positive Mount Timp will be a BREEZE after serving here. But Nova Lima is one of the most Catholic cities in the world. So imagine a very green beautiful city full of european like style chapels with mountains and hills. I surely enjoyed it.Brasil is a really neat mixture of South American culture and European architecture. Belo Horizonte is full of huge chapels you would imagine to find in France and lots of super modern buildings. Its a really neat city.
But beyond the sights, the people are why we are here. Our beloved Lindoval and Irene are getting married next week and baptized! We are working a lot with Rosemeire and her smoking addictions. We made goals for her to quit in the next 15 days, before her next Sunday off work. And while she is quitting smoking, I am going to give up bread(for anybody who knows me, its going to be a long 15 days) and Sister Fairbanks is going to give up sweets of all forms so we can understand a little better what she is going through and give her more strength to overcome!
And, we are working with the beautiful Gilda. Her husband was one of the drunk men who approached us for spiritual guidance. She has AIDS, and is in a very advanced stage of the disease. She is very weak and has difiiculty walking and reading. Her husband is absolutely desperate for a miracle and doesnt handle stress the way God would like him too, but she has one of the purest and most humble sweet spirits I have ever met. She came to church yesterday with her little daughter and the members loved her. She is going to be baptized along with Lindoval and Irene, and we are hoping Jorge(her husband) will shortly overcome his alcoholism and join her. All he talks about is how he just wants Jesus, but never does anything about it and we all know what faith is without works.
When we asked her if she ever felt she had had an answer to prayers, she said one time she asked God how much longer she would have to endure this battle and He answered that the end was not far away. I feel really blessed to have gotten to know her, that her husband lead us to her and that she will have the opportunity to find and enjoy the blessings of the gospel, before she finally can rest.
I have learned a lot about prayer this week, and well, its much more effective when we are attentive to answers. The answers always come, but its so often that we blindly walk past them complaining that things didnt go our way. God answers, we just have to find the answers and follow them.