Date: Feb 4, 2013 7:12 AM


Thanks for all the pictures and the letter. It means alot! I'm glad you are getting good use out of your new bike! Sounds like a lot of fun things happened this week. And ya there is a catholic priest statue at the top of this hillside here. His name is Frei Damião. I'm not really sure about the story behind him but i've seen quite a few statues of him. There are people that like to go paraglyding here and they take off where his statue is I think. It's fun to watch them sometimes! But Happy Birthday Dad! 

This week was great. We have been working a whole lot! We traveled quite a bit this week as well. On tuesday we went out to a members house who lives pretty far. He is a patriarch and him and his wife are awesome. On the way out there, I was riding with my companion on this old beat down bus. Suddenly I hear the sound of a lamb! I looked back and there were two of them at the back of the bus tied to poles in the bus with ropes. I could not stop laughing! It was pretty funny. Lots of people were getting a kick out of it. The best part was that one got loose and this little kid like 6 years old went chasing after it. Everyone was kind of laughing and watching, then the driver said,''pegou!'' which basically means he got it! Everyone was excited for the little boy. It was pretty hilarious. 

The next day we walked out to teach and investigator with a young man who came along with us. We walked for almost two hours in the hot sun. I saw a dead horse on the side of the road and it had been there so long almost all the meat was gone. It was pretty crazy. Luckily, one of the counselors of the branch saw us as we were about to head home and gave us a free ride back into town. It was a pretty fun experioence though. I don't think I have ever walked so much in my life!

Yesterday, we went to the branch meeting in the morning and then the sacrament meeting of the group in Belém in the afternoon. The group meets at a public school there in town. We take a van there with some other members of our branch. It was pretty interested meeting in a public school for sacrament meeting. But it was one of the most or maybe even the most spiritual sacrament meetings I have ever participated in in my life. It was fast and testimony meeting. There were 29 people there. The testimonies that were born were so strong. Many expressed their desire to do missionary work and help the group grow. Many told some stories about the sacrifices made in their lives to follow Christ and help build up His church. One brother who basically takes care of the group there, said when he got baptized, his mom said that if he got baptized, he would no longer be her son. But he pressed forward and served a mission. He was one of the original three people basically that started the church in Guarabira and now in Belém. When Belém didn't have a group (which was for about 10 years) he always had to find away to take himself and his family to Guarabira to go to church. They didn't have a car. Many times he said they didn't have money to pay for the trip into town. But he said the Lord always helped him find a way. He said he finally was able to get a car, and that it was a miracle for him. I don't know if I have ever met a family so humble. Him and his wife and his children are so strong and faithful. I really can't explain the love I feel for these faithful members. Many here in the branch walk about an hour to church every sunday and for meetings as well. It's crazy the sacrifices some make. I am very grateful for the chance I have to be serving here. I really can't explain all my feelings or exactly everything that I have experienced through words and such short time to write. But I really am loving the people here and have already had many great experiences here in this area.

Well I hope you all have a great week! I love you all so much! Wish me luck this week, this weekend is carnaval! Although I don't think it will be too crazy here in this small town. But we will need to work extra hard to be able to accomplish our goals and such. I will be sure to let you know how it goes. 

Happy Birthday Dad! You are the greatest example to me in my life of the man I want to be when I grow up. I don't know if I showed it well as a teenager but I always admired your example and now that I am having to make decisions for myself, I frequently think about you and Mom and the many great lessons you guys taught me through your examples  One thing I especially admired is the way you always treated mom with respect. (Even when she wanted to spend all your money!) I pray for you guys everyday!

Tchau for now, 

Elder Smith

Pic #1: Some of the crazy hills we climb here in Guarabira
Pic #2:Upon my arrival
Pic #3: Me and my companion walking home from a teaching appointment
Pic #4: The field of the chapel caught on fire! When we called the firefighters they said the unti that puts out fires was busy. We graped the fire extinguisher and got the work done.
Pic #5: A bridge we crossed when the Patriarch gave us a ride home.

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