Monday, May 2, 2011

Austin - Kenosha Wisconsin - April 18, 2011

Hello,
Thinking back, nothing too out of the ordinary happened this week. There is this young man in the branch that was baptized recently and he is the only member of his family. We are trying to work with his Mom but she is very indepent thinker. This week her younger son had a birthday party and we were over there and they had a bunch of friends over there and they were all so surprised to see us there. Some of them would walk in and see us and say, "Oh boy, I didn't know I was going to church today." And another lady (who we found out was dating another lady at the party teehee) abruptly told us, "I'm athiest." When she walked in. They all assumed we were these stiff Jesus preachers. As the party went on and they saw how genuine we were I saw every single one of their hearts open up with time. One of the ladies, a Puerto Rican (who are usually very outspoken), even admitted that she had judged us but that she wanted to actually come to our church. She felt like we were different than other religious people. And the athiest (also lesbian) admitted that she was religious at one time but lost her faith when she grew up and kind of learned to hate the world and God. She even admitted that she woudln't mind spending more time trying to get to know God more. So it was way cool.
So Kelly is going home soon and all the members are gearing up and putting meal appointments together. Last Sunday we had more meal appointments than the entire transfer combined. We went to this Brazilian family's house and had some delicious Brazilian food and talked about Brazil forever. And that night we got an unexpected phone call from the Branch President's wife and she invited us over for a dinner (after we were already stuffed) but we didn't put down the offer. The branch Presidents Mom was in town and she is from Uruguay but she also lived in Brazil and spoke Portuguese, French Spanish and English. It was cool, so in the last week I have had 3 Portuguese conversations in the middle of my Spanish speaking mission in Wisconsin. My Portuguese is getting pretty decent.
I'll tell you, our members are dang bold. There was this random white guy that was at church because one of the Hispanic ladies works with him (note that he doesn't speak Spanish and she hardly speaks English) but he had expressed to her in some way that he had a bad experience at his old church and so she simply invited him to church. He was a way cool guy, real humble guy. A recovering drug and alcohol addict just trying to survive in this economy. I got to know him well because I interpreted the entire sacrament meeting for him while just sitting next to him.
It's pretty weird to think I'll be at a year soon. It just does NOT feel l ike I walked in to those MTC halls almost a year ago. I hear the second year goes even faster. What a shame. I pray for you all at home. And from what I hear about Brazil I'm sort of glad to be here. The father of that family was telling us how he was shot at and saw robberies and violence and all sorts of stuff. The favelas (ghettos) of Brazil are pretty bad, way worse than anything we have here in the US. I count my blessings every night, for such a tight family with all active members. Just about every companion I have had has one less active family member and half have had an immediate family member die. Gosh I'm so lucky.
With much love from Kenizzle Wiscizzle,
-Elder Papritz

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