So here's the beef about emailing packages here. AVOID IT. Letters are awesome, but packages are bad news. Everything that I need I can get down here, but if you do want to send something sentimental, like a letter or card, that's perfect. The mailing system down here is kind of nuts. If you send a package you have to declare what is in it and what it costs, which is shouldn't exceed 40 dollars. If it does, or they think you are lying, the mailing system will hold you package and you will have to pay a fine to retrieve it. Elder Rock and I have to go pick up a Christmas package that his mom sent him today, and he has to pay $150 dollars just to retrieve it. So just avoid it. If it comes down to me having to pay a fine, I probably won't, and it will just become the new birthday present for someone working in the mailing office. But if you do decide to send a package for some crazy reason, but sunscreen or contact solution in it.
We have had a really good week this week. It was super great to talk to all of you on Christmas and here your voices. Willy, the black teenager that introduced himself to you, said that we speak really fast and it was hard for him to understand most of what we were saying, which was kind of cool. Score one for the American. But Christmas was definitely different down here. It´s pretty funny to see how TV shows and malls here try to mimic American Christmas, with snow and Santa in all of his getup, but it's just not the same. We ate rice and beans just like any other day. But no big deal, it's going to make Christmas that much better when I get home.
We had an interesting experience this week with one of our investigators Marcelo. He has a pretty epic story. I met him after about one or two weeks of being here, and when I met him he was super down. Elder Rock had been teaching him and the woman that he was living with, but sadly Marcelo was falling back into drugs, and his conjugate Elaine had just about had it. Marcelo's job at a pharmacy required him to work some crazy hours, and his manager was actually offering medicine to his employees to help them stay awake. Because of this, Marcelo fell off the wagon again.
Elaine didn't want to marry him anymore and ending up leaving him. Immediately after that he lost his job. Because of all this he slipped into some serious depression. One lesson with him when he was particularly down, we read Alma 36 with him, talking about how when Alma relied on Jesus Christ, everything turned around, but Marcelo took it another way. There is a verse in there that talks about becoming extinct both body and soul, and Marcelo seemed to latch on to that scripture. From what he was telling us he was contemplating suicide. We spoke pretty strongly to him that that was not the solution in any way, but when we left he was just as distraught as when we arrived.
A little while later, after several failed attempts to visit with him, we found out that Marcelo had attempted to commit suicide by overdosing. One of the members in our ward that knows him told us, and that made us worry even more. We still couldn't get in contact with him, because apparently he had gone of to stay in the countryside to try to clear his head.
Finally, one day, out of the blue, we heard from him. We had left a card there before, and he called us up and asked that we come back to talk to him again. When we went over there, he told us a super legit story, proof that Disney is inspired by God. Marcelo bought the movie Procurando Nemo (Finding Nemo) and watched it after all of this drama went down. He was super touched when Dory says to all of the other fish that they need to just keep swimming. That inspired Marcelo and he was thinking about it an awful lot. And then all of a sudden one day the Liahona magazine arrives at his door and the idea "Just Keep Swimming" was one of the main topics discussed in the magazine. Super cool! He made the decision to call us, and came to church the next day.
Super great story, and it really was a miracle that it all worked out that way.
Another cool thing about this week was that I gave my first talk in Portuguese to a combined group of our branch and the neighboring ward. It went super well and I'm really happy about it. The missionary work is really good here, and the members are very kind.
Well, that's what I've got for you this week. Thank you for the pictures and videos of Penny, and all of you kind thoughts.