Holy cow these past few days have been INSANE! Where do I even begin?
I think I was traveling for about 36 hours....On my flight to Atlanta from Ohio, I prayed that Heavenly Father would bless me with a seat companion on my flight to Brazil with whom I could share the Gospel with. The flight over to Brazil was just about 9 hours long... They fed us, and my prayer was answered! I sat next to a SUPER lady from America (thank goodness!) and she was GOLDEN. She said, "I don't know a lot about the Mormon Church.. .could you tell me about it?" UM... YES! We talked for a few HOURS about the Gospel, and it was a special experience to learn about her faith, share my testimony, and give a Book of Mormon away. It was like a story out of the Ensign! Haha I never thought it could actually happen. Who knows what will happen, but she was very excited about the Book of Mormon and the church.
Next stop: BRAZIL.... in Atlanta I met up with about 10 other visa-waiters, which was fun :) we were all TOTALLY drained and obviously very confused because we do NOT speak Portuguese (yet!). Thank goodness for guides from the Church at the airport. We received a few trainings from the Assistants, and the President, then took our stuff to the Assistant's apartment where we stayed for a few nights. Haha my first night, the Secretaries took us new missionaries out to "street contact".... I had to go up to strangers and ask for an address so we could "pass by" another time.... That would NEVER work in America, but literally EVERY SINGLE PERSON was so nice and gave out their address and said we could come by.... #crazy!
The work here is 100% opposite of America. In America, my mission president forbade us from tracting... here? That is ALL we do because strangely... it is wildly successful! We call it "Batendo portas" (beating doors, haha) and you stand outside a gate of a house, and clap your hands really loud, and the people come out! Basically we clap, they come out, we ask to come in, they say yes, we share a message, invite them to church (and they come! we had 20 investigators at church Sunday between the three companionship in our ward!), and the second Sunday they come, they are baptized. YES. BAPTIZED. The culture is so opposite of America because people are SO humble, faithful, and willing. They already trust you, and despite being taught as few as 10 days, they stay! I think I'm going to like it here!
For example, Friday, we were batendo portas, and came across a man named José. He is an ELECT!! Unbeknown to us, he had attended church for a year, but didn't get baptized because his mom didn't want him to... now she's dead, and he told us that the day before we knocked him, he was praying to God to send the missionaries. WHAT?! So we re-capped the lessons, got him interviewed, and José got baptized yesterday! And I got to perform the ordinance! It was so special!
Woooo sorry for writing a novel... I'm so grateful to be a missionary. It has been so frustrating not being able to speak what's on my mind in Portuguese, but I know the language will come. I would send you pictures of my apartment, but... it is FILTHY. There are 6 of us in it, and apparently the week before I got here there were maggots in the kitchen because NO ONE cleans.... Oh boy.... Anyhow... I really like the Elders I live with though, and my companion, Elder Astudillo from Chile is really funny, and a wonderful missionary.
The Gospel is TRUE! I love that it is the same wherever you are on the Earth... I know that Heavenly Father is preparing His elect EVERYWHERE to receive the gospel. I KNOW it. I'm so grateful to have served in America, and to now be serving in Brazil. Looking forward to many more miracles! :)
Com MUITO amor,
Elder Jason Allred
My travel group arriving in Brazil!
José before he got baptized!
View of part of "Ponta Grossa" (area where I'm serving - poorish/farms/wonderful!) from our balcony