Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!!!

As the clock stroke midnight here in Manaus, I was reading the last pages of The Book of Mormon in Portuguese, and we opened our patio door to see the fireworks.

I started reading The Portuguese Book of Mormon in the MTC. I would read out loud, just to work on pronounciation with my companion and we would correct each other. We didn’t understand a thing we were reading. Our mission President challenged us a few months ago to finish the Book of Mormon before the end of the year. I didn’t know if it would be possible, but I made it my goal. With a few miracles and a little persistance, I couldn’t believe I was finally reading Moroni’s promise in the last chapter of the book of mormon. I understood everything. Here and there I don’t understand a word or a phrase, but I understand well enough to get the meaning…like reading a a college text that has lots of big words, if you focus you can get the gist of it. It was a incredible feeling.

The days when I skimp on my study and go out to teach, I feel vulnerable, but the days I focus and am diligent I feel like I’ve got this power behind me, pushing me to be brave, to be audacious and to teach and invite without a trace of fear or hesitation. We were stuck indoors for four hours last week because my companion had a stomach ache and I read the entire book of Ether. I will never forget how confident I felt bearing testimony to people as we finally headed for the streets and started making contacts. There are some testimonies that can only be earned with the test of time. Pick something you want to have a testimony of and dedicate your time to it. The testimony earned through decication is one of the most powerful. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know it is the word of God and I have a solid testimony that if you go to the Book of Mormon, you will find answers to things that nobody else can answer.

Now back to the fireworks…it was so crazy awesome!!!! There were tons of little kids in the streets making water bottle bombs and playing with roman candles. The fireworks peaked at midnight, but kept going alllll night long! I have to admit, I was a little jelous of all the kids and crazy people in the street with roman candles. There are no restrictions on fireworks here so instead of seeing them only from a stadium, there were lights going off from every corner of the city (like a gun fight)

I have thoroughly enjoyed the holiday foods here. Panitoni is like a special sweet bread with little fruits in it (the Brazilian version of fruit cake) You buy it in a box pre-made and it’s like a mix between bread and cake. The other that I really liked is called Rabanada. It’s like fried french toast with cinnamon and sugar.

The most different thing about the holidays here is that Christmas and new years are almost like a repetition of the same holiday. People have santa claus decorations and christmas trees but don’t make a big deal about gifts or stockings. Christmas and New Years are like two days to stay up all night, eat a lot and light off fireworks.

I got the Christmas Package you sent!!!! Thankyou bunches. You guys know me too well, it had just the things I was hoping for, and a few surprises! 🙂

I love you all! Thankyou for the emails. 🙂

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