|This is what I see everyday. Between the "nieghborhoods" here is just huge chunks of desert. And always people playing futbol.|
Hey, you know how you always said, "You know you're fluent when you think/dream in that language?" Well thats totally not true... Sorry... :)
This has been an interesting few weeks. I'm still trying to adjust (although it is definitely coming along) and the language is still struggling. Some days are better than others. Right now I feel like if I was fluent, this whole thing would be WAY easier. And I can't see how it wouldn't, so hopefully that happens fast.
It never ever rains here. only little sprinkles once every few weeks. It did rain big for a couple minutes last week, but that was the most rain this place has seen in years. My clothes are getting dirty fast. Thats fun. My shoes are holding out though, but Ive been told that won't last long. All my shirts are 100% cotton which means they're thick and always wrinkly. But no one cares here :)
As far as homesickness goes, its definitely a lot worse here than in the MTC. But its not as much as "I want to go home" but more of, "I want to see a movie/watch Phineas and Ferb/eat In-n-out/get Baskin Robbins...." Stuff like that. Yesterday I wrote in my journal that I don't want to (And wont) go home early. But I do want these 2 years to go by fast. But then last night I had a dream that I feel like helped me. I dreamed that I had just gotten home and everything was good. I went to look through my journal for old-times-sake and found that the entries stopped at Jan 18, 2015. I then quickly tried to remember everything, anything from my mission after that, but couldn't I was so devastated I woke up this morning so grateful that my mission had still just started.
The last 2 weeks have been pretty rough, and good at the same time. I hit the 6 week mark yesterday, and I can definitly see time going faster. I totally understand what dad meant when he said he hated his trainer's guts. I don't hate his guts everyday (some days I quite like them) but there are difinitly some days where his guts make me want to kill him or myself. One or the other :)
Today actually, we had a very good companionship inventory where he told me about his thoughts and told me a little more about Trinidade and this Branch. (he told me in English so I could understand him). Apparently, this branch wasn't just just started like I thought, but has been around for 15 years. Apparently a member moved here and started teaching people and having church meetings on his own. Then he found the missionaries from a near town and had them baptize everyone. Then Trinidade became an area and missionaries were baptizing tons of people. But an arguement inssued between this guy who had been teaching everyone and some other guy becuase the 1st guy had been wronged in some way, and it ended in a fist fight. Right smack in the middle of sacrament meeting. Anyways, since then Trinidade has been the worst area in Brazil. Its been through 4-5 missions and hasn't retained a new member in at least 4 years. And Elder Young is the Branch President. So here I am, not understanding anything, thinking this "new area" is doing great, when in fact, its the exact opposite.
SO! My first thoughts on this were literally, "Oh boy, this is going to be fun!" (not sarcastically) Now that I know what is going on, I am actually really excited to help Elder Young is fixing this branch. And I told him this and we're now on the same page. And all this was just today but I can already feel a purpose to being here. Up until this point my purpose has been, 1) Follow Elder Young around all day while walking 5-10miles +/- and 2) bare my testimony in broken Portuguese every lesson. So you can see why I might have been having kind of a hard time thus far. But how the next 6 weeks might be way way better :)
One thing I relized this week, is that missions are just like making movies. Seriously! You plan like crazy for something, then work crazy hard. The plan almost always falls apart, and things never work out the way you want. You're almost always disapointed. Also, when teaching lessons, 1) they need to be no longer than 15 minutes (mission rule) and 2) they need to be outragously simple, becuase the people here live very simple lives and don't have much capacity for new religious ideas. So when you teach, you need to "trim the fat" off your lessons (Neal will understand that phrase). Its like in movies if you have a 5 minutes scene that all edited and done. You try to make it 3 minutes, and when you do you find that the scene is way better. Also after organizing big events and talking to people and directing people in movies, this is a lot easier for me. For example, we had our 2nd investigator fail the interveiw, making this the 6th week in a row not baptizing Both of us were dissapointed, but Elder Young was devestated, while I was fine because I was already used to dissapointment. I duno, Its always cool to see how the lord has prepared me for my mission.
As for other stuff, Carnival was this weekend, and "Rio" does not show an accurate discription. Carnival is a pit of iniquity and an awful thing. The church has come out and told members to stay away from carnival no matter what. And Trinidade is apparently the center of Carnval for Pernambuco for some reason. So crazy busy, crazy loud, crazy bad. It is kinda funny to see all the people passed out sleeping in funny ways on the sidewalks and streets the next morning though :)
Oh, I made Ice Cream, and its awesome! And I made a milkshake out of that Ice cream, and guess what, it was awesome! Also, because the Chocolate milk isnt very good, I actually found a temporary substitute. Yogurt. Like the kind that you drink. It took a couple weeks to get used to it, but now I love it. Not as good as chocolate milk, but will suffice.
This is our bathroom. Everyother week we dont have water, so showers consists of filling buckets with water in our reserve and dumping it on our heads! Its actually way nicer than I expected.
Anyways, Its always so great to hear from you guys, things are really strating to come along. Sorry for my bad grammar, I have to type really fast. I love you guys and I'll hear from you next week! Chão!
The most notable thing about this week has definitley got to be this Saturday. I had been told by lots of missionaries not to ask for water unless you KNEW that they had the purified water jugs. Because a lot of people here just use the water that has parasites and gross stuff in it. Anyways, E Young doesn't do this, he just asks for water and doesn't look in it, and said that hes never gotten really sick from it. ANYWAYS... Friday he drank some water that I saw was some little swimmy things in it and told him, but he drank it anyway. Saturday we had Baptismal interveiws (1 fail and other pass, but we couldn't get her parents to sign on the dotted line so, still no baptisms) and Elder Young got SICK! But being the big tough jock that he is, he tried to muscle through it. At lunch he spent the whole thing in the bathroom (which gave me good practice with talking to people). Then we headed home and were going to have a member drive us around town to make last minute invatations to church. Then I started feeling a lot of pain in my stomach too and threw up a couple times. But after about an hour I felt fine, so I mustve thrown it up, or maybe I just ate too much at almoço. THEN when the member came by, E Young was in so much pain that he wasnt able to stand, as well as had a pretty good fever. Pres Fusco told us that we needed to go to the hospital. So the members that were going to take us visiting frantically got their beloved Branch President (seriously, they really like him, and me, its pretty cool) to the hospital. When we made the 45 minute drive, Pres Fusco said he wanted me to get checked out too in case one or both of us had dengue, a very serious desiese that Americans get from mosquitos. So they checked us both out (i felt fine) and put an IV in E Young and pumped some mysterious liquid in my hand that made me smell an indoor pool... Anyways, after waiting until about 1 am they let us go home and we went to bed and started the next day at 6:30 am and started to work like always.
Elder Young is still pretty sick, but refuses to stop working. We haven't been teaching nearly as much as we should but we are finding tons of families with 38 new investigators this week!
Dad, I'm glad you guilt triped me, because it taught me how to guilt trip couples into getting married and getting people to church! Thats fun :)
I don't think I told you guys yet, but I gave my first blessing on my second day in the field in Portuguese and have given probably 10-15 more since. Pretty crazy!
Anyways, Elder Young and I are getting along pretty good. Getting in the flow of things. The hardest thing is still the language. Without a doubt, but even that is improving. So we'll see. I love the food at this point. Beans and Rice are my life, and it is good!
Alright! I love you guys! Thanks for the letters, they really do make my week!
This Tuesday we got a call from President Fusco to come to Fortaleza because Fortaleza has the best hospital in the area. So we made the 2 day trip to the coast and went to the hospital a couple times. I was fine and never needed to do anything, so I just waited. We went to the hospital on 2 different days and stayed in the mission office. Pres Fusco told both of us to rest and sleep, pretty much all day... AWESOME! And... boring after the first hour or so... Also, there wasn't any food at the office so that was lame. Pres Fusco also told us to eat 2 bananas every day. Yuck! Lunches were fun though. We went to this all-you-can-eat restaurant everyday, which was SUPER good! Oh, and remember how I said that before I could eat 2 boxes of Mac and Cheese back to back, but because my metabolism was slowing down I had to wait for a couple minutes? Well my metabolism must've reared back up because I am starving ALL the time! Holy cow! I better be taller than dad after this or I'm gonna be ticked!
One thing that was cool is I got to see a lot of people from my first week in the field, as well as see how my Portuguese had progressed. And it was very encouraging to see how before I could understand a few words here and there, and I could (after like 5 minutes) get my point accross, and now have fluent conversations with people! On Friday, I got to work with the assistants which was super fun. I definitley like big cities more than small towns. Elder Jota Souza (one of the assistants) and I started talking about the Walking Dead and how awesome of a show it was! Then he said that I looked exactly like Carl. I told him that my cousin looks way more like Carl and that was the first time I had ever been told that. Anyways, super cool.
I've had a lot of time to study and decided to study the life of Jesus and how he taught people. One perk of chilling in the mission office all day is you get to use the computers. So I watched all the bible videos and also had been reading James E Talmage's "Jesus the Christ." I'm about halfway done with it. Pretty sweet.
Anyways, we headed home on Saturday and got back yesterday at 6, had time to teach 3 lessons, and eat some ice (because I don't have any more food, will buy some right after emailing). So a pretty fun week, not a lot of work, but fun. Thanks for all the emails and pictures. Did you get my pictures from last week? I'm not sure if they sent. Oh, and Dad, it is against the rules to recieve mail directly to our houses, it has to go through the mission. Anyways, I love you guys, talk to you next week!
one of our investigators who commited to stop smoking
This is my district from the MTC with our 2 instructors. The guy on the left is Elder Wiltbank and was pretty much my best friend in the MTC, and Elder Downs (the guy looking off in some other direction in the middle) lives on Recker and Baseline! How bout that!? Oh and the super ginger in the back makes movies, so that was fun.
Because normal pictures are for chumps! This is the last day in the MTC with Elder Wedekind. I remember the first 2 weeks we totally hated eachother, but now I totally hope we are companions again. Super cool!