Another week has come and gone here in the beautiful land of Sergipe. So I guess I'll start off with what we did for Pday today. Today we went to....
Yeah, THE ZOO!!!!!! A few weeks ago we asked a member what were some cool things to do down here in Aracaju and he said there was this zoo here that was pretty cool. We were a little taken a back because we didn't even know that they had zoos down here in the north east, and guess what the best part is.... it’s free!!!! There is one catch to the zoo though, it's open every day of the week except one, can you guess which day it isn't open?
Missionaries have always tried to go to the zoo, but alas it is always closed for maintenance on Mondays, BUT, today is Tiradentes, a holiday for the Brazilian patriot Tiradentes, who helped lead a rebellion against the Portuguese in the state of Minas Gerais and was hanged to death, but because of what he did Brazil eventually gained its independence (one of the members of our ward is a history teacher.) So what does that all mean to me? That the zoo is open for only one Monday a year and it just so happens to be on Tiradentes (thank you Tiradentes) so we took our opportunity and went. The zoo was pretty cool. It ain’t no Hogle Zoo, but it'll do.
They did have some pretty interesting looking animals that you just don't have in the states. They also had this pretty neat chairlift that you could ride over the top of the mountain but it was 14 Reais, so we decided not to.
So we had the baptism for our good friend João this week. He's been going to church for about six years and nobody knew he wasn’t baptized. Well he was baptized on Saturday, so now everything is all good. He wanted me to baptize him, which I was honored to do and now he's like our best friend.
We also got a golden referral this past week. This lady has a son on a mission and at first didn't like anything about the church. Now she said she just felt like she should start reading the Book of Mormon and now will be getting baptized this Saturday. She said it was probably because of her son's prayers. Needless to say he's very happy, she's very happy, and we're very happy. #hapyness4dayz The only people who probably aren't too happy are the missionary Elders we got the referral from. They were teaching her, but then she moved into our ward, which is about two houses out of their area. That's pretty rough man.
Also this week was "A Semana Santa" which included "Sexta-feira do paixão", "A Pascóa", "Domingo de Ramos", "Sabado de Aleiluia", and "Quinta-Feira da Ceia", or just to put it a lot simpler, Easter. Since Brazil is mainly a Catholic nation, there are quite a bit of Catholic Easter traditions. Traditions like little parades the Catholic Church puts on throughout the week and nobody can eat meat, only fish. Apparently that's kind of an unforgivable thing to do. We asked for meat at this restaurant the other day and the waitress just kind of gave us this unbelieving kind of look. The holiday basically starts on Thursday and that's when all other businesses shut down and everyone gets out of school. Which means just a lot of loud music in the road, drinking, and partying, like usual.
I did take the time this week to study a lot about the Atonement. I reread the Atonement chapters in the book “Jesus the Christ”, and I took a lot of time to ponder the Atonement. It's amazing to really think about what Jesus went through. I think we really get an appreciation for the Atonement when we really feel it working in our lives, to feel that the Atonement has actually made me a better person. And that "Starting Today" we can rewrite who we are, become a better person, and not have to continue being what we once were. We all have an eternal potential and "Because of Him" we can become something much greater than what me think we are right now. That even though this life will be filled with imperfection, pain, disappointment, that people may fail us, human and mortal weakness may prevail every now and then, and we of course will fall short from time to time, but because Jesus conquered death and took upon every pain and dreadful thing anyone has ever done, we can become something more. We can one day be forever with those we love. We can one day become something absolutely amazing because of what Jesus did for us. I highly doubt that there's a more beautiful idea out there than the true meaning of Atonement. I'm thankful for what Jesus did for me and I've seen this gift work miracles in other people and in myself. He's done so much for me and for that I will be forever thankful.
Well that's it for this week. Easter was great down here and all is well. Hope you all have a great week!!
-Élder Johnson e Johnson's