Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Proselytizing in Downtown Sao Paulo!

My district in front of the beautiful Sao Paulo Temple

Leaning out our window to check out the world around us...

such as this beautiful sunset...

or this gentleman pulling his cart full of treasures to the market.

Okay, I finally got some action!!

Last friday was “Proselytizing, Round 2.” This time in the middle of downtown Sao Paulo. It was nuts! We were dropped off near a “carnival” or a big parade in the streets, with crazy drunk college kids, complete with hundreds of riot police. Great...

Elder Burt and I decided to go into a little plaza/park area to try and give away our 2 Books of Mormon, away from all the commotion. It took us awhile to get a good conversation going. We approached a guy sitting down, but he wasn’t interested. While talking to him, 2 drunken bums came up to us. One was not coherent at all and I didn’t understand a word he said. The other talked about American basketball the whole time. We would ask him questions about it and he would think for a few seconds and talk about something else. That lasted for 30 minutes. While walking we were stopped by a young lady with a guy. Earlier her boyfriend had been given a Book of Mormon by Elders Castellanos and Ingram, and she came to us and was interested and wanted her own copy. We taught her about it, and she took one of our books with a smile. Elder Burt did most of the talking.

Then we just walked around for a while. I was searching for a family to teach. Finally I spotted one. A dad, a mom and a 2-year-old, sitting down. We approached, and things started flowing nicely. They were very interested. Brazilians love to hear about the Book of Mormon, because it’s a record of their ancestors and they have an immediate natural tie to it. I didn’t really understand a question they asked; something to do with sagrada, which means sacred. They talked of a Biblia sagrada, and even Elder Burt didn’t understand. It was awkward for a second, but then I just went on talking for another 10 minutes or so. At the end, we gave them a card with the chapel address on it and Elder Burt finalized our conversation with his testimony about eternal families and we said tchau.

Later, we were approached by a big, really dark-skinned guy. He was from England. He had just been released from prison the day before, for smuggling a kilo of cocaine from Brazil to Holland. He had been in prison for four years. His English wasn’t the best. He wanted Elder Burt’s bible so he could read and pray in peace, even though he was of Islamic faith. It was weird, he talked for a while too, about how we could make $500,000 in 4 days trafficking cocaine. Hmmm... most definitely not!

We were also stopped by a really excited lady, who just joined the church 5 years ago and recently went through the temple. That was a fantastic conversation!

At 3 15 PM, we started the head back. At the intersection before we were at the car, Elder Burt was stopped by a really drunken bum. He wanted to know God’s phone number. Elder Burt responded, “Prayer.” But the guy wasn’t content. Elder Burt then proceeded to write down some random numbers and the guy was thrilled and couldn’t stop hugging Elder Burt. It was hilarious.

Many more things happened, but those are the highlights. A quick preview of what I get to do everyday, starting October 30th, which is the new departure date. All the other districts are leaving this Friday, 10/23, but those of us headed to Londrina have been delayed a week. WooHoo! An extra week to study and become more familiar with the language. I’m lovin’ it!

And, because we aren’t leaving, we will still be here when Elder Richard G. Scott arrives. He is one of the General Authorities of the Church, and is coming to speak to the missionaries who are still here at the MTC. I’m really excited to hear him speak, and consider it a great blessing to be allowed to stay for another week.

Until next week, take care everyone!
--Elder Derek Titus

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