Much of this week was spent establishing our new home (my fourth apartment in 5 weeks. My oh my is the beginning of my mission strange). The apartment is quite ancient, yet luckily hasn´t been used by missionaries for a few months, thus all the furniture was removed. This means all our furniture is brand new! If you close the bathroom doors, it looks like a pretty decent place! The bathrooms are quite nightmarish, with permanently blackened toilets that don´t flush, a shower that has enough space for you to stand in one position and not move, a bathtub maybe 3 feet long..
I do my best to make our house a home. I don´t want to live in an office for the next two years, which has been the pattern of all the missionary houses I´ve seen thus far. I refuse! I work hard to clean, organize, clean and organize again, and then some more. In a house with a bunch of 19 year old boys, cleanliness isn´t a high priority. I think I´m the only one who puts in enough effort to flush the toilets. Also probably the only one to actually wash dishes with soap. They don´t understand my efforts to make the house a home, yet regardless of what they thing, I am proud of the kitchen table with no books on it, of the clock hung on the wall, and the plant on the shelf. Ah the beauty of being a perfectionist.
The Elders living with me are going to be quite spoiled. I coupon and grocery shop smartly, buying lots of produce (not the typical eggs, bread, Tang, and cookies that seem to be the only things Elders know how to buy). I also bought a dessert cook book. Sister Kern, wife of the mission president, loves the idea of an Elder baking, and was more than happy to add some baking supplies to the list of things to buy to furnish our house. At least SOMEONE appreciates my efforts!
As for the work, this week didn´t see much success. My companion has a cold and moved a little slowly this week, and with all the work to set up our new house, we didn´t have much time out in the field. We are having much success with the youth, however. They love us, and are eager and willng to help us in our efforts. One of them just opened his mission call this week, and has nothing else to do, so we will use him a lot.
Yesterday we had the blessed opportunity to hear the words of two prophets: President Ballard and Elder Soares. All the missionaries from the Rio de Janeiro North and South missions were invited (200+), thus there was a lot of hugging and joyful reunions before the prophets arrived. Not many people in the CTM during my time were assigned to Rio de Janeiro, so I knew very few people. However, those I did know were excited to see me. It probably isn´t normal for the first words of an old friend to be, "You´re still alive!", but hey, I´m used to things being not normal. Finally, the madness was calmed and our guests arrived. I was to lead the choir, and as the backs of the choir were to the apostles, their eyes were on me instead. No pressure! The devotional was quite inspirational, giving me and I assume many other missionaries much needed peace. Elder Soares spoke (obviously) in Portuguese, happy to be standing at the pulpit of the chapel he met in when he was a missionary (he served in Rio de Janeiro). He sounds much better in Portuguese, and I will miss that in future general conferences. President Ballard was full of love for all of us, and hearing English again was comforting - even more so when it´s from the mouth of a loving man, a grandfather, a prophet.
This computer is quite slow, so I have no idea how the photos are or what order they´ll show up in. Most are photos of our new, lovely home. The pictures of the broken floor are from our old house. The tile, randomly, started rising, separating from the comcrete. I was the first to see this, and called everyone in to the kitchen. As we were all dumbfounded over the strange occurence, something fell in a different room. Most likely, the house is haunted. I´m happy to be changing houses.