Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Survived Carnaval...

Can you say "exhausted?"

So, Monday the 15th at district meeting, Elder Hair asked me if I had a special day yesterday (14th). It took me a while to realize it was Valentines Day. Wow, didn’t have a clue. That’s right ladies, I got that many letters. haha. He also told me the Olympics are going on right now. I had no idea about that, either!

We all survived “Carnival” otherwise known as “Brazilian Sin Week” (see notes below). All of the partying is in the big cites, so it was tranquilo here. Four days of partying -- for everyone but us. In some areas of Brazil, the elders are asked to stay inside their apartments and not go out. I don’t know the purpose of the celebration, but it happens every year. All of the church youth go on a campout every year, to get out of the city. That’s cool. Consequently we had like no one in church on Sunday. All of our investigators were drunk.

We taught a lady who has been inactive for more than 30 years, and she came back to church! Her husband did not want to go to church, but he passed away. She has a daughter, Luana, (19) that will probably get baptized on the 6th.

On Thursday, we taught 8 lessons. That’s good. The next 4 days (Carnaval), we taught 8 lessons combined. That sucks. Everyone was traveling.

I think we might have found the breakthrough for less active members. Usually we teach the 1st lesson for them to re-ignite their testimony, but it never works. So this time, we tried teaching lesson 3, instead (the gospel of Jesus Christ), which teaches faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. This lesson helps them feel some responsibility for their choices, emphasizing repentance and enduring to the end. Quite often there is a sense of guilt, too, which is good. Guilt leads to action.

A Brazilian burger, good -- but definitely not from McDonalds!

On Monday, I went on a division with Elder Hair, our district leader, and at night we ate this burger. It was good, but lacked traditional patties. Interesting food down here.

No one scheduled for baptism this week, but ya just never know.

My companion ironing his sheets. Not kidding!

Photo is of my companion, Elder Villela, ironing his sheets. Yes, that is correct. He ironed his bed sheets. First, he attempted to iron them while still on the bed. That wasn’t too successful, so he hauled them over to the ironing board and proceeded to iron the sheets one section at a time. Insane! (Gotta love ‘im though!)

Until next week!
Elder Titus

(From mom: Curious about what Carnival is, I looked it up. Oh, my gosh. Read on: The origins of carnival (or Carnaval in Portuguese) dates back to the ancient Greek spring festival in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine. The Romans adopted the celebration with Bacchanalia (feasts in honor of Bacchus, the Roman equivalent to Dionysus), and Saturnalia, where slaves and their masters would exchange clothes in a day of drunken revelry. Saturnalia was later modified by the Roman Catholic Church into a festival leading up to Ash Wednesday. It quickly evolved into a massive celebration of indulgences - one last gasp of music, food, alcohol, and sex before Lent - before the 40 days of personal reflection, abstinence, and fasting, which lead up to Easter (not exactly what the Catholic Church probably had in mind). 40 days of purging sins, preceded by a week filled with virtually every known sin. The word itself comes from Latin, "Carne Vale" or "Farewell to the Flesh". Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become an event of massive proportions. The country stops completely as businesses shut down for almost a week and festivities are intense, day and night. The consumption of beer accounts for 80% of annual consumption and tourism receives 70% of annual visitors.

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