I've included a couple of pictures.
I'm becoming a Brazilian, I think.
It's been a crazy and really good week. Our house now has Elder K. Oliveira and Elder Mattos (the zone leaders), and me and Elder Guimarães. Everyone is Brazilian except for me, and they're all crazy and awesome. We've had an excellent week. The work was really tough. We knocked a lot of doors and not very many people let us in. I'm also realizing that I don't know a lot about how to teach, how to speak Portuguese, or generally how to do missionary stuff yet. I started feeling abandoned by God and really frustrated. Why? Because I've been preparing for my mission for years, I'm here for the right reasons, trying my best to be obedient and do everything right, studying and striving faithfully, and my righteous desire is to be made an effective instrument in the Lord's hands and what did I get for that? You know what I mean? But I prayed about it (and cried a little bit) and I had the thought that I'm learning what the Lord would have me learn, and that's what's important. The other stuff will come in the Lord's time. That was comforting to me. So that's been the drama this week, haha.
Our principal investigator, Marco, was hospitalized this week. Poor dude. He was having stomach problems, took a bunch of over-the-counter medicine, and got sick.
By the way... I LOVE my new companion. He's crazy and awesome, and a really good teacher. I'm learning a lot with him. He only has 5 months on the mission but he's great, and he has a lot of energy which sometimes stresses me out honestly but it's much better than if he had no energy or desire to do anything. I'm really liking him a lot and still getting to know him.
I love you guys. It sounds like things are well at home. I loved the pictures you guys sent me. I've passed through very severe feelings of discouragement this week, mostly related to feelings of discouragement and inadequacy in terms of fulfilling my calling. Man, no one told me it would be so hard to be a faithful missionary! People make it sound like the choice is whether or not to be exactly obedient, hardworking and so on. Obviously it's true, but what no one told me is that once you decide to try to do those things, the mission will start to systematically kick your butt and make you feel like a terrible person. This is what I've been struggling with from the beginning.
I love you guys. Sometimes I want to go home but I think I've reached the point where I feel like I'd rather be a bad missionary and stay than go home. Most of my desires to go home are related to the fact that I feel like I'm falling very far short and shouldn't even try. I think it's always better to try. Maybe the Lord will make my effort worth something. Maybe that's what I need to learn from this experience. I have always believed that the Lord's grace is sufficient. Now I need to be willing to wait to see the fruits of that principle in my own life.
This is hard, guys. But I know everything is going to be ok. I love you. Thanks for the letters and pictures as always.