Hey Family and Everyone! This week has been crazy!!!! The highlight was definently the Manaus Temple Dedication, I'm not sure how much you all back in the states heard or know about it but its incredible! And the story behind the growth of the church in Manaus and the temple there is incredible! Manaus is in the amazon, so northern Brasil. 30 years ago there weren't even missionaries!!! The members of the church in Manaus asked the mission president in Rio de Janiero to send missionaries but they were told no, and then they asked again, the mission president talked to the area authorities and they decided no, again and again they asked until they were given a deal. That two missionaries would be sent to Manaus if: 1. the people found investigators, the missionaries would not be tracting 2. they would need free airfare to Manaus and 3. the missionaries would only stay for 4 months. The members accepted and paid for the missionaries to travel to Manaus. After being there for four months, they had such success that more missionaries have been sent ever since.
Another amazing story about the people of Manaus is that they would have to travel a week by boat and then by bus to Sao Paulo, Recife to attend the temple. attending the temple would literrally take a month! its incredible to see the faith, the dedication of Brazillians! Many of the missionaries here are the only members of their families. They have such incredible faith and love of the gospel. Even though Manaus if about as faraway from my mission as you can get and still be in Brasil they are amazing people!
The celebration for the temple was beautiful, very different from Sacramento's or Rexburg's. Manaus is the 6th temple in Brasil (and Forteleza where our districts elders are going will be the 7th)
The dedication was beautiful, even though most of it was in portugues i understood a fair amount. and when it was in ingles it was great! During the celebration President Ucktdorf spoke, but they were having some problems with the translator so he had the translator come and stand at the pulpit with him. President Ucktdorf put is arm around the translator while he translated. it was so sweet...but I think the translator was slightly intimidated. Not only are you translating for a general authority he's a big guy with his arm around you haha.
This week has also been hilarious!!! I love the mannerisms of Brazillians!!! Our new teacher Irmao israel says the funniest things! One day we were learning about pronunciations and when to use accent marks. We had word endings written on the board: a e em and then for all other letters it could end with he wrote "Other freaking letters" and everytime he said it it was the funniest thing EVER! Irmao Teixeira used to say something similar when he would try to say a difficult english word "freaking english word" it definetlly has a different connotation here in Brasil but it makes our district die of laughter!
So some other random things that happened this week, my companion Sister Matiaco was called to be the coordinating sister, which means we're in charge of all the sisters. On Saturday, we had a meeting and squashed all 34 (we think) sisters into our little room! It was really fun! This week has also been pretty stormy. One storm the thunder/lightning would shake the entire building!!
Every tuesday we have a fireside, and last nights was really special. For choir we sang faith in every footstep (because one of the sister missionaries that left loved that song and they sang it a lot during the celebration for Templo de Manaus) One of our Sr. Missionary couples will be leaving this week and their replacements came this week. So they each bore their testimonies. Afterwards President Degn invited 16 missionaries to come up and share their testimonies. The funny part was right before he stood up I had this thought that he would ask us to bare our testimonies. I was sitting in the middle of my row and had all my scriptures/notes on my lap and I remember thinking I should put those down. But I didn't listen to the promting :( oh well, it was incredible to hear testimonies born in 3 different languages. The spirit was so strong.
Anyways class has been good, learning lots and lots and still working on speaking portugues. i really like teaching our "investigators" we have so much fun! just getting to talk in portuguese
Oh happy valentines day!!! yesterday was valentines day here in Brasil!!! ...not that that effected things much here in the CTM but it was fun, we made little cards, notes for our teachers!
I have learned so much this week about what it means to become a missionary. Before your mission everyone tells you to lose yourself in the work, but they don't tell you what that means. It has taken on a whole new meaning for me to completely give up who you are. its something your told but until you are required to do it you don't realize how much of a sacrifice that is. Giving up those things that make you, you to become the representative of the Lord that he has called you to be. It really is a sacrifice, and I don't know how else to describe it. But it is definently the hardest and the best thing that has been asked of me.
Well I love you guys! Hope your summer vacation (although winter here) is fabulous!!! And i'm so jealous y'all got to go watch wicked, and am not surprised by matthew in a suit. classy classy! You are all in my prayers, and thank you so much for your support. We did a really neat excercise where we talked about the tree of life. and how on our missions we will go through darkness but there are people to lift us up (like the fruit) and you all are that for me!
Lots and lots of love!!!!
Sister Carissa Bradley!
p.s sorry for how disjointed my letters are, I'll try and be better!