Here are a couple of pics he sent. He's been sending a few every week and we finally got some from his first area.
Here is his apartment in Centro:
Nathanael and his companion have been doing origami (which is awesome by the way). Here's Nathanael's fist attempt:
Hey guys. It's been a good week for me. Miss and love you guys. I've really been working on putting into practice the advice you have been giving me. This week has been great for that. Every day has significant challenges like always but I have really been working on seeing the positive. Every day I've been praying that the Lord will help me see things with gratitude and not with worry or pessimism, that He'll help me see myself and the people around me like He sees us, and I've been trying to express extra gratitude and ask a little less. The difference has been astounding. I'm starting to really, really love certain things about my mission a lot. The work is incredible. Almost every day, I reach a point where I don't want to ever talk to a Brazillian again or knock a single door, and then we'll find someone who's amazing, or we'll have a spiritual experience, or at the very least we'll get home and eat dinner -- it's always something. It's hard to love the people and the work sometimes but there are some things that are incredible. We had three people at church this week (the most for us so far!!), and we are working with them for baptism. Our baptism fell through this week with Marcello because he has some things he still needs to work on but he wants to be baptized still.
So that's really good. So far this has been my best and happiest week. That's been true of every week so far, but this week has really been blessed. I think I'm figuring out some strategies to be happy and have a happy experience. I had two days of divisions today and that provided me with some unique and crazy opportunities (for me so far, haha). On Thursday I went with Elder Gomes and Arias (who live with us) to their area. It was fun to see how they teach and knock doors, and I felt my Portuguese really improving. People are starting to understand me more and more!! Yay! This is good. On Friday, my companion (who is the District leader here) went to another area to do a baptismal interview and he switched with one of the missionaries there, Elder Pina. This was scary for me because we stayed in our area, which meant I had to know where to go, how to communicate with our investigators, plan out a route, and so on. I was really freaked out honestly but it was a huge blessing for me. We found where we were supposed to be, we made our appointments and taught, found new investigators, and everything went well. Elder Pina is dying next week so his opinion means a lot, and he said that he thought I did a really good job. That built my confidence and was good.
We were knocking doors on Saturday and found this mom and her middle aged daughter and taught them. We taught really simply using scriptures from the New Testament about the atonement and how the Lord loves us so he restored His church and so on. It was different from our usual first lessons (and we actually need to go back and re-teach it because we didn't cover everything) but it was really good. There was a really sweet spirit in the room and I think it was a really good example of following the Spirit (on the part of my companion -- I just kinda followed his lead, obviously, but still). Plus they gave us cake afterward. So I liked that lesson a lot. And that was after one of my hardest and most tired days.
Guys I'm worn out but doing good. My confidence is growing a little bit that I can do this misison and do a good job. I'm so painfully aware of all my weaknesses and failures here but I have the strongest feeling from time to time that the Lord is so proud of me. His spirit is with me, He's blessing me, and He loves me. So I'm not perfect, but if I'm good enough to receive the Lord's approval, I think that's good enough for now. I'll keep working at it. I miss you guys. Just want you to know that after we chatted last week I wrote down a summary of what you said and it really saved me this week. I actively applied every step, and I saw my days improve dramatically. So thanks for that!
Anyway I think that's everything. I'm doing my best to let the work become predominant. I love reading your guys' letters. They help me feel so much better and are always full of great ideas and things I can do. Honestly it just helps me to feel your support, and to know I can do it. It's easy to feel like I'm a failure out here, even though I know I'm not. Your perspective and smartness really helps.
Pet Tabby for me! Love you guys.