Today I´m going to try to write a more detailed email for ya´ll! As I speak Portuguese every day, it´s becoming a little more difficult to properly write and speak in English so I´m sorry for any mistakes in this email. haha!
As I said in my last email, Sister Gomes and I are serving in Vitória! It´s very inland and rural. I´ve seen just about every breed of cat, dog, cow, horse, pig, goat, chicken, and roosters there are wandering the streets! So interesting!! But the people here- OH! They are excellent! They are so friendly and receptive to our gospel message, even if they´re Catholic or Baptist or what have you! We have so far marked 4 baptisms: Lorenzo, Erotilde, Taciano (Baptist missionary), and Julio Cesar (haha). They are all super amazing and have lots of faith in Jesus Christ, we are just helping them build that faith through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
This past week we also had Christmas conference with all the missionaries in the Brasil Recife mission at this HUGE chapel in Recife. We received a shirt with our mission theme on it: Nesta missão, nós não damos desculpes, nós planejamos e trabalhamos! (In this mission, we don´t give excuses, we plan and work!) It´s so true and it was a nice gift!
The next day, we had training for new missionaries (me)! And for 20 #blessed minutes, all the Americans got to sit and talk about our feelings and questions in ENGLISH with President Bigelow. Turns out we are all experiencing the same difficulties with the language and culture, but we aren´t giving up!
The next day was CHRISTMAS! I got to see my family! Including my Grammie G. and cousin, Kyle! It was awesome to get to talk to them and SEE them! I shared my experiences and bore my testimony to them in Portuguese, it was really nice to hear their comforting words and encouragement! I was also able to sing with my sister over Skype. Legal!! Later that night, Sister Gomes, Aguiar, Iglsias, and I ordered some pizza and had ourselves a little party to celebrate Christmas! My mom also sent me some candy canes in a package and I gave some to these sisters and they were so happy cause they had only seen these candies in movies! Haha! It was so fun to spend Christmas with them.
Yesterday, we had a Christmas/New Years social with our branch at our church building. We brought Julio Cesar with us. Two members of the branch presidency spoke and to my surprise I was singing a solo! Darn language barriers! Haha! But, Sister Gomes played piano and this lady in our ward and I sang "Away in a Manger." She sang the first verse in Spanish, I sang the 2nd in English, and we both sang the 3rd in Portuguese! It was pretty neat! Afterwards, we ate cake and listened to Christmas hymns. :)
But, this was my week! I know this church is true. I would not stay here in Brasil if it wasn´t because this is beyond difficult. But, because I want others to be able to live with their families forever, I need to leave mine for a short 18 months so they can have the same opportunity. I know this gospel is true and can testify that God lives because I live and love this gospel. There is no grater work then bringing God´s children unto Salvation. I hope you all had a merry Christmas, and during this Christmas and New Years Season I challenge all of you to actually reflect on your purpose here on earth. Our purpose is to return to the presence of our loving Heavenly Father. He knows you. He loves you. HE loves you so much that he sent his ONLY begotten son to Atone for your sins. Set some goals for the new year on how you can more fully become like Christ because that´s what I´m doing!
I love you all and am so thankful for your prayers!
Sister Garrick :)