Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

     So I can speak alright.... it's just a matter of all the vocabulary now. And all the slang people use. It's tough when people are supposed to say (Como é que você está?) and what they really say is (Como é ke cê tá?) It's just shorter like saying what's up rather than what is up, but it's what I’m trying to get used to hearing right now. My trainer thinks I’ll have the language almost fluent in just two more months. That's what I am hoping and praying for.
   Basically, no matter what, I'm gonna be hot and I'm gonna sweat. I've accepted that. My face is starting to break out from all the sweat lol, even though I wash it twice every day. I have a rag I keep with me to wipe my face and head because I don't want to look completely gross for the investigators. But it's all good because most of them have fans and stuff that they turn on for me. Another good thing is summer here is the rainy season I hear, so the rain every week or so will give me some cool days to enjoy. Oh.... and when it rains it usually goes on for days! We haven't had a huge torrential down pour yet, but I can't wait until we do. But, for example, the past three or four days have been rainy and cloudy. And it all started on a day that was 38 degrees celsius! By the night time it was only 20! In one day!
  My companion got Gripe (Portuguese for a cold) but I haven't gotten anything yet. And I eat a lot, it's just all at lunch with the members ;) they make really good food I’ll have to make some of this Brazilian food for you when I get the chance. For breakfast we will just have some bread or cookies. Store bought cookies here are very cheap and common and easy for mornings. Most mornings we don't eat much. We have a big lunch, and we get home and eat some little stuff for dinner again.
   So when I first got here to my house in my area, I almost freaked out. I almost started hyperventilating thinking that I had to live in a place like this for the next 2 years. You may want to cut this paragraph out if you want to share it with everyone else, especially the women, but there are ants everywhere in our kitchen. Everything is dirty, only one elder really does dishes. The bathroom is always dirty because the shower leaks, and so it is always wet. My feet look like I have chicken pox because of all the mosquito bites, I’ve just come to accept them now lol. And, the most overwhelming thing of all was how small this tiny house was. So yes, that first week I was praying a lot for comfort to just be able to do this, to accept this and move forward with the work I have to do. For the most part I have. I've just kind of accepted that I’ll probably be dirty and covered in germs all the time. It's kind of life in Brasil. I've accepted the mosquitoes, though I still kill them. I've accepted that I will sweat all the time. So yes, the Lord has blessed me so much, and I find when I concentrate on scripture or the language and not on home I do much better. The homesickness is almost gone completely. I feel, from the spirit, like it will be completely gone once I learn the language.
   But yeah everything is going fine. The heat actually isn't too bad once you get used to the humidity. It's almost the same temperature as Concord in the Summer to be honest. I just sweat all the time cuz we are constantly walking up hills and so far. But almost everyone has a fan so it's all good. Yes we visit inactive members and recent converts. We try to get one every day, and often we get more than one. We are really good with that goal. We do some service but not necessarily every week, just whenever people ask us to. We do not do much tracting. Almost all our investigators are from references or street contacting. Thomas S. Monson taught how to ask for references without actually saying (do you have a reference for us) because most members will say no when they think like that. But if you ask (do you know anyone who recently had a baby or who had a family member pass away) then you get more. Anyways, yes I bought a hymn book in Portuguese and my companion loves singing to ALL of our investigators, so we sing a lot.
   District meetings are just the Elders that live with us. The District is 4 people, and I am the only American. The District meetings are every Tuesday at 2 and they are tough to do cuz we have to go to lunch first and then head back for the meeting, and then head to our area again. So, we have only had one district meeting. But the other reasons are also because we have had other stuff going on on Tuesdays like interviews with the president. Zone meetings have actually been taken out of the missionary program by the First Presidency I hear. They want to focus more on the districts. Every three months we will have a multi zone conference or something, and we almost always have something going on otherwise with our zones in those three months too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yesterday I had my first Baptism!!! It's the same lady I wrote about last week who didn't get baptized. We worked with her a lot this week and she got baptized yesterday! Here in our area we baptize on Sundays because it is the day that members are already here for church, so people can watch the baptism. Everyone has to pay for transportation to go to church every Sunday because the building is not in the Galeão area, so expecting them to come Saturday for baptism and Sunday for church is pretty much out of the question, cuz everyone is so poor.
   Count your blessings that it is getting cooler up there, cuz down here it's only getting hotter. Lately it's been raining so the real heat has been held off, but all the Brazilians I talk to say that it's not really summer until December, and then the heat lasts till February. Already I sweat all day every day, mostly because my area has a ton of hills and we walk all the time. I carry a little towel with me to wipe my face with, but it's bad.
   Don't worry, I always wear flip flops. I have two pairs with me just in case and I never go barefoot. Living conditions are... different than America lol. No one here has screens on the windows, even the rich people. I have no idea why. But it means mosquitoes and flies can have free reign of the house if they want. They are only really a problem if we don't clean the house (which no one does cuz I live with three Brazilians) but all is good. It was hard adjusting to living here but now that I have the hang of it I think I can make it ;). I hope Thanksgiving was good! Everyone is gearing up for Christmas though. It is weird seeing Christmas lights on houses, and it being like 90 degrees outside.
  Everyone in the wards here ask me for pictures of my family. It's funny, they all say I have hair of Gold and it's so pretty. I tell them they should see the rest of my family ;)
   If you send packages to the mission home it will get to me eventually. That's all I really know. Eventually is used for a reason. It sometimes takes 6 weeks to get to the mission home, and 6 weeks to get to me because the home will hold it until transfers or something. Don't feel like you need to speed it up to get to me. I will get it eventually. OH! And very very very important: do not use any other system to send stuff to me other than United States postal service. If you send a package by FedEx or something, customs will hold it until I pay them like 200 dollars or something.
   To be honest I'm not sure what the streets are called down here... we don't use the names too often. Or at least I don't. Signs are hard to find, they aren't like the signs in America. They are obscure and like stapled or something to the sides of buildings, rather than on the streets. So we kind of explore and look where to go. The church is not on the same street as us and it is an actual building, not an apartment.
   But we live in a house... sort of. It's ridiculously small. I'm taking pictures. We live behind the Bishop's house of the Ilha ward (the other ward we share a building with) so I'm not sure if you can even see where I live. It only takes about 30-45 min to get to my area. It just gets expensive after awhile, and if we have extra meetings to go to in the two weeks we get money then we often have to skimp on things. For example, in the past two weeks I have had to make three extra trips to places pretty far away, like when we had a conference with Elder Bednar. I won't get money until this Thursday, which means I won't be able to buy food to eat lol. I'll have to survive only on the lunches the members give me. But it's all good, and part of being a missionary, and I am starting to really love it.
   The ward is decently sized, but there a few that are inactive. As I said in a previous letter it is hard for them to go to church every week cuz it's so far and they don't have the money. When we eat lunch usually it's the wife and kids, but it all depends on if that dad works nights or days and stuff like that. Lately the people we have eaten with, the father's have been home. 
  Alright well have fun, and tell everyone I love them. Pray for me to get the language, it's coming slowly but surely. I love you all and pray for you every night.

Monday, November 21, 2011

  It's weird to think almost three months have passed since I left. A missionary who was coming home in the airport said he saw someone with a "big ipod." We assumed he meant an Ipad cuz he left before they had come out and had never seen them. It was pretty funny. I wonder what will come out while I am gone. 
 On Sundays we work. After church is over we go to our lunch appointment and after that, we proselyte for the rest of the day. I don't remember if I told you in the last letter but on Sundays we make the trip twice to our proselyting area. First to pick up our investigators and take them with us back to the church (because the church is not in our area either it is right next to our house) and again after church to proselyte. It is really taxing on our funds; even with the extra 60 reais they give us a month. It isn't enough to cover the trips we take every day. I haven't needed to delve into personal money yet though, for which I am thankful. 
   So every day we get up at 6:30 and we go to bed at 10:30 like normal. We work out a little, eat breakfast, and get ready. Then we have personal study at 8, companion study at 9, and language study at 10. At 11 we are supposed to go start proselyting, we go to our lunch appointment, and then we prosleyte to the end of the day. We are supposed to get home at 9 or 9:30 plan for the next day, update the area book, and go to bed.
   My trainer is a great missionary and knows how to teach. Also, he is very good at helping me learn different things in Portuguese. He is from Curitiba in Brasil but thankfully knows English pretty good. If nothing else he can help me learn Portuguese. He is also very good about making me teach parts of the lessons and sharing messages with the members. This lets me practice a lot. We also do a lot of practicing teaching the lessons and different situations. All is good we will learn everything together and do the things we have to.
   Well, I would have had an amazing spiritual experience this past week but no luck. We invited and committed one of our investigators to Baptism, an older woman. She was interviewed and we met with her everyday this past week and we were so excited, and she said she was too... but yesterday when we went to pick her up for church she wasn't home. She didn't come home all day. We are not sure what happened, we are going to go talk to her today. Well... I think that's about it for now. I love you all! Pray for me to have success.