Happy New Year! You are probably freezing to death up there, but it is nice down here. We have had a really good week this week.
I did get a little sick earlier this week, and thought maybe that I had got the flu or something because I had a bit of a fever, but Elder Rock gave me a blessing and after a couple of days I was fine. I haven't contracted any gastric vermin yet, but we'll see what happens, I'm sure I will before my time is up in Brazil.
Probably one of my favorite things about Brazil is just picking fruit off of trees on the side of the road. In a little while the mangos will be ready, but for now there's plenty of acerola to eat, which tastes just like cherries. Super good.
New Year's Eve here was nuts! That was one of the days that I was feeling a little bit sick, but not too sick to eat delicious Brazilian barbecue. We went over to Sister Renata's that night and she made us chicken heart, which was super good. Brazilians really do know how to cook their meat.
Because I wasn't feeling very good on New Year's Eve, I didn't really feel like staying up until midnight. But when midnight hit, there was no way that I would have been able to sleep anyways. Elder Rock woke me up just a little bit beforehand before the mayhem was going to start. Let me paint this picture for you, because it's quintessential Brazilian culture. We walked out of our apartment and there were several groups of men going to town with their fireworks. I don't know if these were homemade fireworks or not, but I wouldn't be surprised. The fireworks that they were letting off were the kinds that you would only expect to see set off by professionals, except these only went up about half as high and thus were twice as loud. I don't think anyone even waited until midnight. As soon as they hit about 5 minutes before, somebody got a little antsy and started releasing all of their fireworks, and then everyone else just followed suit. Elder Rock and I just sat there and drank some Guaraná to celebrate.
The work has been a little bit slower since everyone is traveling, but other than that it has been a really good week. Marcelo is doing really well; we visited him with a member yesterday and he is really making some big changes. He has been investigating the church for roughly six months, and it's looking like he's finally going to be baptized. I'm super excited for him, and it's a blessing for me to see him make this big step after working for so long.
I don't know if I already told you, but I'm reading the New Testament and Doctrine & Covenants all the way through. I never have and really want to, and it' going to be especially helpful because I need to know the New Testament better. The Portuguese version of the Bible that the Church uses doesn't have footnotes, so I've been doing a lot of cross-referencing. My focus during personal study is always the Book of Mormon, but I've been trying to get ready a little bit quicker every day so that I can have some extra study time. I love it, I feel thirsty for more scripture.
That's the beef for this week. Hope y'all are having a good new year!