week 73 . christmas in caicó

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Fam, it was so great to skype you!!! Sorry I was so tremendously awkward but thanks for laughing with (or at) me and making my Christmas so special. I'm so incredibly grateful for you people.

Sister Muria, Sister Gusmão, Megan
Megan and her brothers
The first picture you sent of Christmas = PERFECTION. Mom your jammies are the best with the Leia buns. I'm dying.

Can't believe the pictures from Grammy's house. LOVE. The family is crazy big. It's weird because nobody here has as many siblings, cousins, etc. I love our fam. Also shoutout to Owlex and Mary Ann for being adorable #trunky [mom note: "Owlex" or Alex is Megan's cousin that is getting married this week]

I love that you took care of the missionaries. You guys are the best. You're sending good karma my way because the members here are showering us with love.

So this week was super crazy and busy with Christmas-y things and of course our normal missionary work.

On Tuesday we had the ward Christmas party. It was great. We did a modern interpretation of the Good Samaritan that was way fun but also passed along a good message. We (Sister Muria, Sister Gusmão, and I) helped out by being the "good samaritan" (Sister Muria and I) and a snobby rich woman (Sister Gusmão). Sister Gusmão was born to be on stage and she stole the show. We also got to eat some wonderful food and interact with the members, I loved it. 

On Christmas Eve we were invited over to Irmã Regeane´s house for Christmas Eve dinner. Here in Brazil Christmas Eve is a way bigger deal than Christmas Day which I'm still not used to haha. But it was great. We listened to some MoTab Christmas music, shared mission experiences, and ate some fabulous food. (again) Then the next day . . . more food! If I didn't gain weight this week it's a Christmas miracle. We ate Christmas lunch at Irmão João's house with a bunch of his extended family and friends (including Sueneide and Alberto from the Seridó Ward!) After lunch the sisters and I sang a Christmas hymn (with the alto part courtesy of Sister Muria) and I really felt the Christmas spirit. 

I was overcome with gratitude this week for the birth of our Saviour. When I was reading in Luke about His birth I read about the heavens opening and a concourse of angels singing "glory to God in the highest" and I felt that we were all up there. We were all singing and praising God. We were all overcome with happiness at the thought that our Saviour had come to the earth. I loved talking with everyone about Jesus Christ this week and focusing on the real meaning of Christmas. 

As for investigators, most of our teaching pool is having a rough time. Almost nobody is going to church (it's pretty dang far away from our area). We were teaching a wonderful couple and as we taught the Restoration the husband said that he felt that what we were teaching is true, but that he didn't want to go to church. He would accept us as visitors in his home but he doesn't want to change anything in his life right now. Heartbreaking. It's one of the hardest moments as a missionary. But I'm grateful for my district leader who gave me some great advice and helped me accept this investigator's decision. 

But enough with the sad stuff, in spite of this week being challenging, it was all worth it in the end because we had a BAPTISM!!!! Marcos was baptized! He is such an elect investigator (and now recent-coonvert). This week as we talked about the commandments that he would need to live, he acknowledged that it wouldn't be easy but he said "nothing is impossible with God. I just have to have the desire to live the commandments and self control." I loved his "Nephi-like" attitude. "I will go and do the things the Lord commands!" His baptism was wonderful and I'm sure that he's going to be a wonderful addition to the ward here. The members are already taking him in and I'm so grateful for that.

#minhavida //
+ We were walking down a desert road, with literally just rocks and sand and in the distance we saw a boy with a bicycle and a washing machine on top of the bike. I was 90 percent sure it was a mirage. But it wasn't. The washing machine was almost falling off of the bike so we went to offer our help. The boy turned his back to us and kept walking away with the bike repeating the phrase "precisa não, precisa não . . ." (it's not necessary, or you don't need to help). And then he dissapeared on the horizon and it was one of the stranger experiences I've had haha. 

+ We were doing a contact and the man cut me off and started saying that he was a Baptist. Ok. We kept talking about Jesus Christ and what not and he starts saying that he's a Jew. ??? Then later he throws in that he is in fact a Messianic Jew ???? And then he started talking about Salt Lake City pronounced (sayylch lakey ceechy).

+ We came across a little bird dying in the street. We wantedf to help but a woman said that a cat had been playing with it and there was no way to save it. And then a strange man showed up and said "He won't escape. He can't escape. Only his relatives will escape but he can't" 

I'm wishing you all a very hppy new year from Brasil!!! 

Sister Baker

[mom note: The first bunch of pictures are from Megan's last area with her old district]

Megan and Sister Castilho

Sister Castilho

Sister Weatherford and Sister Castilho

Megan picking up her "daughter" Sister Gusmão

New companions Sister Muria, Sister Gusmão and Megan

getting a new tag
mom shout out

Sister Muria
Sister Gusmão 
Megan, Sister Gusmão and Sister Muria

Sister Muria and Megan
Sister Gusmão
Sister Muria

Sister Pace

google translate says..."my every atom promises to take care of your every atom"