This week is officially my first week, as well as the first week of many others. The Rio de Janeiro Norte mission now has about 20 more Americans, 5 Hispanics, and 1 Brazilian. Lots of fresh meat. I count as one of them, kind of. My companion and I, along with the APs, secretaries, and Presidente, waited in the mission home for them to arrive. What a gorgeous place the mission home is! The flight from the CTM to Rio was delayed about 4 hours, so "lunch with Presidente" was changed to "dinner with Presidente". I, however, ate both. Ha! When the younglings finally arrived and were fed, it was time for them to receive their trainers. There was a fun "game of fortune" that appeared to randomly match companionships, and was projected in front of everyone one at a time. It was silly for my companion and I, because there was really no surprise with us. After a short orientation, the work began!
With many new missionaries, it became necessary for my companion and I to change houses. Our old house was just barely within the limits of our area, making it always a long walk to get to anywhere. Now our house isn´t even in our area, for we are still waiting for the Tijuca house to be ready - it should be done within a week or two. Our new home has 6 Elders. A bit cramped, and quite fun. We also have two more Elders working with us in our ward, meaning every lunch with members has 4 missionaries. One of them, Elder Barnum, is an American with about 9 months in the mission. The other, Elder Sanchez, is fresh out of Mexico City.
Today I had a unique opportunity to lead a choir of missionaries. In 2 weeks, Elder Soares and President Ballard will come to our area for a devotional, and so we need to prepare a special musical number. It´s great to stand in front of a choir again, actually hearing harmonies again. A nice little blessing for me! It´s srtange trying to communicate choir lingo to people who aren´t accustomed to choir. Even more so when I´m trying to speak in another language. With the help of much charades and guessing words, I was amble to communicate what I wanted to say. We sang powerfully and brought the Spirit, so what more matters?
The amount I eat hear baffles me. I don´t know what has happened to me, but I´ve become a ravenous beast. Trying not to gain weight, but I have a fear... We´ll see!
One thing we do a lot here as missionaries is pray. With almost everyone in Brazil being some form of Christian, just about everyone recognizes us as disciples of Jesus Christ, and acknowledges we have some sort of authority. We are often stopped on the street to say a prayer for people, or when going door to door, are often asked to pray for a certain person or for that family. Churches are on every corner, it seems. Makes it a bit difficult to tell people they need to be baptized again, but also makes it easier to share messages about Jesus Christ. I love being recognized as His servant. I try every day to become one who is recognized as a servant of the Lord without having to wear a badge on my chest.