Training is great! This week I received my new companion, Elder V. Silva (they put the V in front to not get him confused the other 12 Silvas in the mission) from Paraíba which is a state in northeast corner of Brasíl... a very hot and sunny corner I might add :) He passed 12 days in the CTM, and other than that, he has 6 days in the field. Fresher missionaries are hard to find. But he is great to have as a companion. His father served in Curitiba many years ago, so he heard all about the missionary work here. He was a little worried about how the people would accept the gospel, because everyone says that the people of Paraná are as cold as the climate, but after one week on the street, he loves the people here. Jardim Ipê is a great area to start off his mission.
This past week, we got off to a very slow start with monday and tuesday spent out of the area, but we hustled the rest of the week to make up our lost time. We worked very diligently to achieve all that we could, but still came up short in a few of the goals we had set. This week, an inactive family came to church with us (third time for the mother Rosi, second for a son Andruw, and first time for the husband Paulo) but they were missing their 12 year old son, Tiago, who is set to be baptized in the coming weeks. However, Paulo did not make it too long... after priesthood, the bishop sent him off to the Gospel Principles class (calling it the `aula de membros novos`) but Paulo chose to be offended by this and see it as an insult to his testimony and, rather than just explain that he was a member for several years already, he ran home. Rosi was embarrassed by her husband, but the bishop spent some time talking with her apologizing. Hopefully we can talk with Paulo and help him build up the courage to return again, but it will require a lot of patience if he is going to be so easily offended.
Also this week, Bruno almost missed church because he was feeling sick. But I was determined that no sickness was going to get in the way of his confirmation, so we ran to his house with a member to get him and give a ride. It all went well, and in the confirmation blessing, the bishop also blessed him to recover from his illness. When we visited him later on, he was back to full health.
I really like Elder V. Silva and the way he works. I was a bit nervous to receive a new missionary to train, but I was very blessed in the companion I was selected to train. This week, I tried to serve more than I had in the past, making breakfast each morning and preparing things in the house for the day of work. It really made a difference in our relationship, and helped this transfer get off to a great start.
This weekend we were teaching a very spiritual lesson to a man named Darlan as we were seated at a bus stop at night, but out of the shadows came a man who, despite being very drunken, was speaking very quickly and did not understand the idea of personal space. Instantly the Spirit left us as this man began talking and talking, and spiting just a little on my face. We apologized to Darlan, and left, but the drunken man followed us. We tried EVERYTHING to ditch him but nothing worked. We walked quickly. We ran. We walked down a dark alleyway a little ways and ran in the other direction, but he stuck with us step for step. Until, I said a quick prayer asking that we could be freed from this burden to do something productive in the work, and almost the very second I finished, the man stopped, turned, and walked in the other direction. Why we didn´t pray for help sooner, I have no idea. But it was certainly a journal worthy experience :)
Another rather humorous moment was almoço a few days ago. My companion doesn´t like fish which I had discovered the day before, but as missionaries, when people invite you to eat, you just eat, and there is no room to be picky at all. So when the family put almoço on the table and revealed an enormous platter of fried fish with skin, head, and all, I looked quickly at Elder V. Silva to see his reaction. There was a moment of fear but he quickly recovered... But not quick enough to evade the notice of the family! Everybody laughed, and they didn´t make him eat fish. I rather enjoyed the meal myself, and ate his portion of the fresh tilapia.
This coming week the forecast is set to get cold... As in 5 degrees Celsius, but with humidity it will feel much colder than that. I hope that my heat loving companion doesn´t freeze! (He´s never felt cold in his life because in his part of the country it NEVER gets cold).