I realize that this is a little like starting to name names in a Thank-amony, and I hope nobody who I don't mention is offended, because this list is not comprehensive - just has a few of my heros!
I will start with the missionaries. The Sisters here really do have some tricky living conditions - well, the Elders do too, but they are used to roughing it a little more! Most of our sisters never live in a house with warm water, and the sidewalks they walk on are so treacherous (yes, I know I have mentioned them a few times, but they are on them ALL day.) None of their houses have A/C. Some of their neighborhoods are scary, and some have been accosted. I can't get a picture of all of them, but this one represents all of them, and happens to be a decent picture of us, so I will use it, even though it is a few months old.
|We Love you Sister Jackson - good luck on|
your Homecoming talk tomorrow!!!
The Elders can be in scarier areas, and when they walk on these hot streets they are in TIES and long dark pants, as opposed to light dresses or skirts for the sisters. Of course, they aren't in wool suits like Craig had to wear when he was here, but their conditions are hard as well. I think the hardest thing for me on this mission is that I cannot hug them. I love them so much, and am so proud of the ones who work so hard and are so obedient and diligent.
|We miss you, Elder Goff. And we hope you|
bought some new shoes before starting back
at BYU! :)
Some of our missionaries are the only members of their families. I cannot comprehend the faith it would take to go on a mission against the support of your family. I have an incredible amount of respect for those in our mission who have done this. Elder Lemos is not the only one, but he is our new Office Elder, so he was the easiest to get a picture of!
|Elder Lemos is Brazilian - we are anxious to get to know him better.|
Other missionaries have sacrificed more than they thought they would when they signed up for a mission. Elder Bradley was on a Wrestling Scholarship at the University of Iowa, and was third in the Country in his division, and is a potential Olympic contender. (I got this info from a former companion - he doesn't talk about it.) In his last area he lost at least 20 lbs which I hope he can gain back, as his scholarship is ONLY in Heavy Weight.
|I wish I had a before and after... The Elders in this city go |
WEEKS without water in their houses during the dry season!!!
Then there are the locals. These are the Maias. They have gone on six missions together; even one or two missions is rare for couples here in this part of Brazil. They are faithful, awesome examples who feed the missionaries once a month an INCREDIBLE spread!
|Such an adorable couple! And the Maias are great too!|
(Sorry, couldn't resist...)
Our Bishop and his wife moved to Fortaleza to go to some kind of Graduate School. He was called to be the Bishop, and even though he has finished school and they want to return to their home in the South, they stay here to serve. He and his wife are such thoughtful, concerned, Christlike people. I just love to watch how they care for everyone.
|True disciples of Christ!|
And, of course, my biggest hero here is my awesome companion. We have encountered trickier things here than we anticipated, but I have been so blessed to have him be consistently patient, wise, faithful, generous and amazing. Hopefully some day soon he won't be in constant pain...
|One colorful swollen arm - trust me when|
I say this ins't his only bruising...