Thank you so very much for your letter! Please don´t appologize for it being long because I love long letters! It sounds like everything is going really great back at home for the holidays! There is only one thing I would like to correct about your e-mail. Yes it WOULD be fun to watch BYU win all the time! haha! Tell Grandpa I said that. So, this week I have some really exciting news, but I think I will build the suspense by answering your questions first and possible annexing several chapters of War and Peace for you to read first. That way you can appreciate it more ;)
As for the orthotics, I don’t know why they started having problems, but they just stopped fitting. They were fine before and in Nebraska, but I definitely walk more here and perhaps I have changed weight or my feet have grown a little bit more. Não sei. I did call Sister Tavares about my orthotics. we have to authorize all medical things with her before and she is the one who lined up the foot doctor. It was a nice hospital and had no problems. I think things are in general pretty nice here in Londrina. The doctor says that he has never seen a hard orthotic like the one I have and that here in Brazil they are all covered in foam. I am going today to get a mold to make a new one. Foam sounds really nice actually.
Since you saw Cambé on Google Earth you know how big it is. We cover the entire city, hence = building character and calluses. It’s all good though. Missionary work it totally worth it. Sorry if I sounded miffed or anything in the last letter. We were just in a bit of a hurry that is all. Yeah, it’s getting really hot and rainy, but hey, it’s brazil! What can you expect? I actually like the rain a lot because it cools things down. It gets really windy here too! Woo! It’s really exciting to be running down the roads trying to find cover with torrential rain and huge gusts of wind (like yesterday). Seriously, it’s really fun! Yes, they have tons of Guaraná here. tons. Hits awesome. Que pena que eles não vendem mais a Guaraná em Utah. That’s way cool that Cambé is named for Cambridge. It doesn’t seem like there are many English roots here... and everybody thinks I´m German. haha!
That’s sweet that Harry Potter turned out good. I do actually miss movies. Not movies for movies sake, but mainly just sitting and enjoying the company of family and friends. Snow would be awesome too! Tell Sharon we can switch weather if she wants! So, as for Thanksgiving, claro não existe aqui, mas estou muito feliz lembrando o alimento de Kevin! Family dinners are the best. The members here are pretty good about feeding us though. I actually like the food here a lot. Rice and beans haven’t gotten old yet! Yum. Food. That is so exciting to hear about Abbey and Jessica and Liz! When the baby is born you will have to send me some pictures! That is one thing I really like is pictures. The people here really like to see photos of family and friends and life in Utah.
Also, everybody (including Elder De Souza) wants to write letters to Sharon. Haha! Seriously, they all say she is really cute. The only problem is the whole Portguês thing... Thanks for the update on BYU sports. All I can say is: go cougs. I know nothing about soccer which is obviously VERY popular here. All of the Brasileiro Élderes estçao extrememente chatiado que nos não podemos jogar futebal durante a missão! One things is could you send me how to make Alfredo sauce? That´d be super swell. Everyone here is getting extremely excited for Christmas! We are having a conference with a general authority and also with our Zone on two different days for Christmas. We are excited because at the Zone conference we will be playing Amigo da Onca, which is exactly like the white elephant game we play at Markham’s house. It’s going to be sweet. We are also having a secret Santa in our ward here in Cambé. It’s really cool because I drew the name of a young man who is not baptized but always comes to young men’s. We have been working with him and he has lots of potencial! Maybe I´ll give him the gift of baptism for Christmas. Or maybe socks. hmm... (I actually think I´ll give him a hacky sack. All the Brazilians think I´m crazy and they love the hacky sack.)
So: Here is my awesome story for this week: With lots of colons: : :
: ::: ;...:: : ¨¨ ¨¨¨,, <----(Braile)
So we have been working with an awesome man named Antonio for a while now. His wife is a member and he has been going to church for 21 YEARS and never baptized. He has had 3 different baptismal interviews and then backs out at the last minute every time. He recently moved here to Cambé and he has been having some really difficult times lately. One afternoon we visited him and he was having a really hard time. We talked about adversity with him and gave him a blessing. After we left, we felt like we needed to talk to the Bishop about helping him. The only problem is that Antonio told us not to tell anyone about the details of his problems. As luck (yeah right) had it we ran into the Bishop that very night and talked to him about the situation, being only very general, like this e-mail, to respect Antonio and suggested he talk with him. Two days later we passed his house again and nobody was there. We were kind of bummed, but it happens a lot on the mission. That night we got a phone call from his daughter who said that we needed to come talk with Antonio right now. Our initial reaction was: Oh no. Bishop talked to him and now he is really mad that we told somebody and he is calling us over to chew us out big time. The whole walk over there was really nervous and we were praying about what we could say to him to not lose an investigator. We finally got there and knocked on this fence. The seconds seemed to stretch forever as we waited for him to answer. We heard footsteps approaching and then someone opening the latch. Ever so slowly the large metal door slides opens to reveal Antonio standing there in the twilight. (good description eh?) When he answered there was something different about him. He was smiling really big and waved us in, more animated than we had seen him in weeks. inside his wife and daughter and wife’s sister were all there having a great time. We went in and talked with him and he said that after the blessing he felt a lot better and started to think about the blessings God had given him, and that the day after his wife had fasted to help their family. The moment she ended her fast she was offered a job, which was part of the problem and a huge relief for them! Then his wife´s sister came in unexpectedly from São Paulo and said, I´ve arrived for your baptism Antonio! Antonio thought about this and decided, yes, it is time! He called us over that night to ask “can I be baptized this Sunday, or do I need to wait a week”? We were stunned and so happy and everybody was crying and pretty much it was just really awesome beyond description. We had the baptism at 8 AM Sunday morning and I got to perform my first baptism in Português! He wanted me to do it because he was afraid Elder De Souza wasn´t tall enough to lift him out of the water again! This was a really great week and I have gained a huge testimony about the power of faith, fasting and good influences. I know God has a plan for each and every one of us and all things will work together for our good. The gospel is just really great. It truly was a miracle and everybody was so happy afterwards AND they gave us some candy bars. Yes! Other than that, things are going pretty well. We are a little low on investigators, but that is partially because we´ve had three baptisms already! No complaints here!
One more piece of news that is crazy and sort of scary is that we had interviews with President and he told Elder De Souza that the mission will be losing lots of experienced Elders and gaining even more brand new Elders. This means they will need lots of trainers and younger people will get called as leaders. President said “I want to train Elder Markham how to be senior companion.” Elder De Souza said it is very probable that he will be called trainer for someone else and I will get bumped up to senior after only 2 months in Brazil. Yikes demais!!!! If this actually happens I will need you to pray for me probably about 46789 times per day. I still only understand probably like 70% of what is said to me, but whatever the Lord wants will happen I suppose.
I love you so very much! Please give Sharon a hug for me too! Brother Merrell wrote me a really nice letter, and if you see him tell him thank you! I know that this Church is true and that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that we have a living prophet to guide us in these latter days. I love brazil and my mission and I know the Lord is watching over us always. Thank you so much for you prays and support. I will be praying for you every night! I love you so much mom. Happy Thanks giving and have a super great holiday break!