Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Valinhos (Sião) (July 29)

Hola, família!

Valinhos is straight up awesome sauce. I love everything about this city, my area and this Ward. The members here are INCREDIBLE! They made me feel at home from the first second, and even more, they are so excited about missionary work, and they have great ideas and plans and carry them out. It's awesome! They aren't scared to share the gospel with their friends! It's awesome! I've actually met some members here that I KNOW I've seen before. I'm definitely very blessed to be here in Valinhos :)

Anyways, Valinhos is part of the Campinas Zone, and about 20 minutes from the Temple in Campinas, so that's pretty sweet :) We were able to go today to the temple, and it was just awesome. There are 2 wards in this city - Bela Vista (where I'm serving) and Nova Suíça. There are 2 elders and 2 sisters in each Ward.

Sister Pennington and Sister Galarza at the temple

Sister Galarza is my new companion. She was in my zone in my first area, and so I'd already met her. She's awesome. She's from northern Argentina. She joined the church 2 years ago with her sister who is serving a mission as well in Fortaleza, Brazil. She has such a strong testimony of the gospel, and a profound understanding of the doctrines of the church. It doesn't even seem like she's a convert of only 2 years. It's going to be great working with her!
All of the sisters in Valinhos
We met a bunch of very interesting children of God this week...

We taught the first lesson to an older lady. We walked into her house and it smelled TERRIBLY of litter box. At first I only saw 2 cats, but the closer I looked, the more cats I found hiding in the shelves, in piles of clothes etc. They all had the crazy cat eyes that look like they're going to murder you and then eat you. There were 6 cats all together, and then the further we went into her house, we found 7 dogs and 2 bunnies....yep. That's real life :)

Probably the craziest experience of my mission so far...

We had a few minutes between appointments, so we decided to knock some doors (Always an interesting experience). Anyways, so we found this lady who let us in, and we talked with her for a while. She's a very dedicated and active member of her church. She asked a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon and other things, and as we talked with her, we came to find that she wasn't very interested and just wanted to debate, so we asked her if we could say a prayer with her, and we did. We were getting ready to leave, and she asked us if she could say a prayer with us, "in her own way". Of course we agreed. I already knew what was coming because she told us at the beginning of our visit the name of her church, and I had heard stories from other missionaries about their prayers, but we just went with it anyways. So this lady led us into her basement, shut all of the Windows and curtains and grabbed her veil (because in her church women can't pray without a veil). And she started to pray, and later invited us to kneel down for her to continue her prayer. Her prayer lasted half an hour, during which, she started shouting and crying and "speaking in tongues". It was bizarre to say the least. But of course we claim the privilege to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all people the same privilege .... but it was flippin' weird ...We didn't really know what to say at the end, so I just bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon and left her with a copy...what else can ya do :)

Anyways, It really was an awesome week and I'm so excited to share the gospel here in Valinhos. It's going to be a great transfer!

Love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Pennington

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