Hello from Paragominas!
First off, thanks everyone for the birthday wishes! [We sent him screen shots of all his FB and blog birthday wishes] Thanks for all the support and thought for me – I hope that things have been going great for all of you also!
My birthday was actually very exciting! Found out the night before that I would be leaving Bragança and taking a 6 hour bus ride to Paragominas, a large, newer city farther south. And it has been quite the experience ever since I got here! Here in Paragominas there are only 3 families of members, who formed a group here about a year ago, and have been working to become a branch sometime soon. In the past 2 years, missionaries have only visited here 4 times, so the members here are very excited that Presidente Campos let another duo of missionaries come down here to help out. And usually the missionaries only stay for a few days, but we got permission to stay here one more week, until Sunday. So we’re definitely working our hardest to take advantage of these days we have here! It definitely helps to have missionaries here, to show people in the streets that the Church has finally arrived! We’ve already found one family of members from São Paulo who moved here 6 months ago and were very sad because there wasn’t a church here. They were so excited to see us in the street! Also, 2 separate men have stopped us in the street and told us that before they moved to Paragominas, they met the missionaries and also got baptized but they had to leave, and now they want to be baptized! So many miracles; the field is certainly white and ready to harvest here in Paragominas.
My companion here is Elder O from Porto Alegre, and he is really awesome. He’s actually going home the end of this month, and so needless to say, he’s super experienced. I’ve also been trying to take advantage of these days that I have with him, to learn as much from him as I can. And I feel like I’ve been learning a lot from him so far! At first I was a little bit overwhelmed/confused about why I was coming here with him, because there are definitely tons of missionaries way more qualified to come work here. But I felt much better after my first day, when the Lord really showed me a tender mercy. Walking down the street, we were stopped by a man on a motorcycle. He told me that he had seen me before, but I told him that I had just arrived in town a few hours before. He then showed me a picture that he took of his girlfriend at Ver-O-Peso in Belém. Clearly standing in the background were Elder C and me! Coincidence? I think not! I’m so glad the Lord knows who I am, and that he loves me.
Paragominas is super beautiful city. It’s also a relatively rich city, compared to the rest of Pará. It’s only 45 years old, but it’s been growing very rapidly, with people moving in from all over Brazil. Hardly anyone here is actually from Pará, so it’s really interesting to see all the different accents here. This actually makes me feel better about my Portuguese also, because just about every other accent is way easier to understand that the accent of people from Pará haha. We’re staying in a small house on the property of one of the families here, and they are super super nice to us. They give us breakfast and dinner everyday, and they keep giving me foods (mostly fruit) to try that I’ve never eaten before. I’m not complaining! So far haven’t found anything yet I don’t like! This family even washes our clothes (thankfully, considering I thought I’d only be staying the weekend so I didn’t exactly bring too much) and give us rides to appointments sometimes. They are a really awesome family!
There’s no chapel here or anything, but one of the members here bought a lot and built a small church to gather in, which is really neat. I took a picture or two, but realized that I forgot my camera cord in Bragança, so I’ll try to send a few next week. I’ll try to take some more during the week to show how beautiful Paragominas is also!
Well I hope everyone has a fantastic week. Happy Birthday, Craig! Miss you all, love you all! Até mais!