WEEK 1 in Brazil:
Well talk about a reality check. Life here is insane. I feel like I´m in some sort of movie. Like Bourne Identity mixed in with Best Two Years. Brazil is different.
First, I´ll tell you about my companion. He´s great. He´s an American, from Preston, Idaho (Yes where Napoleon Dynamite was filmed, that was his high school.) He´s a great missionary. He says he likes to go for the ´hard´baptisms - like the ones that others can´t get. He´s super blunt with investigators and I like it. But, because he´s an American he likes to speak to me in English. I´m living with two Brazilians though; one speaks very good English and the other speaks none. I´ll get to the language soon.
We work only with referrals. We have a great ward with so many people excited to work hard. We have a lot of referrals. The people have so much faith. Everyone here goes to one church or another. Usually Universal, Evangelic o, or Catholic. It´s like a family thing which church you go to. But, because we´re so successful, it feels like a lot of elders don´t want to work as much. They figure they´re going to get baptisms because it´s so dang easy. I don´t want to just get baptsims though. I want to help as many people as possible join the church and recieve the blessings of the gospel. I need to learn the language though.
Which brings me to Portuguese. It is hard. The people here have such a bad accent too. I think I´ve told you before but it´s like the southern accent of Brazil (like hoe people in Texas or Alabama talk ya know.) It is so hard to understand and they speak SO fast. I can understand my companion but mostly because he is American. It´s hard not to get super discouraged because I feel like I can´t do anything. It´s so frustrating. Most of the time I just want to sit around and say nothing but I know I gotta bust through this phase and talk to people. The other Americans were pretty impressed with my Portuguese though. They assure me that it´s way better than theirs when they got to the field. I feel like an idiot though. Oh well, soon I´ll be able to speak. I´m trying to have faith but this has got to be one of the hardest things right now.
While I´m on the topic of hard things I´ll mention a few things about Brazil. The traffic here is nuts. Like you would not believe it. I remember looking out the airplane window when we were flying in to Fortaleza and thinking ´´Hey, they´re going pretty fast.`` But then I just disregarded it as my angle or view or something. Anyway, when my mission President picked us up he drove us to his house. I thought I was going to die. They don´t follow traffic laws here. Like at all. Nobody does. We almost ran over a guy trying to cross the street and i thought we crashed like 3 times. Once we arrived at his house I was reassured that we didn´t crash but I almost didn´t believe them. I totally understand why this is a no biking mission. But walking everywhere is dangerous too. The cars usually stop but it´s the buses that need to be watched out for. They stop for nothing and no one. I´m kinda scared of them.
The weather isn´t bad at all though. It´s actually perfect. I love the heat and it is hot and humid here. I think long summer football practices in the stadium, where all the heat is reflected by the steel benches and aimed like right at the field which is made of burning rubber turf, prepared me pretty well for Brazil. It actually has a breeze here too because we´re close to the ocean.
But, even though it´s different here, and a little nuts, I love it. The people here are super friendly and full of faith. I appreciate everything I had at home a lot more now. The people here have nothing. It´s really incredible. The members take good care of us. Their food I awesome and we get fed everyday. I just looked at the schedule for the month and we will keep getting it everyday. Which is good because all I have in my apartment is crackers, water, some bread and Guaraná (which is awesome!!!) Oh the fruit here is amazing too.
So even, though I have nothing I love it. The work I´m doing makes it all worth it. I saw a few people get baptized this weekend and they were so happy. We got a husband to come to General Conference whose family is members but he´s never wanted to come to church. His family was beaming. What we´re doing is the greatest work ever to be done and I love it.
P.S. I saw Conference in English
WEEK 2 in Brazil:
How are you? Thank you for writing me, I love it! Did you get my address and put it up? Mail takes a couple weeks to get here (and the post office is on strike right now, like everything else.) . Also, my companion just told me -Christmas packages need to be sent like this week if there gonna get here by Christmas. So keep that in mind.
So, it´s pretty cool out here. Like I said before Brazil is way different. IT´s a little dirty and smelly all the time everywhere. The people are super faithful though. My ward is sweet. They ´re all super pumped about missionary work. I was looking at their ward history and it doesn´t look like the last missionaries baptized much. But that´s gonna change. We´re working super hard. Our days are full of lessons. We got so many referrals that we haven´t been able to contact like half of them yet. Oh, and for testimony meeting they had a line going down into the aisles! It was nuts! It´s a huge ward. Not only that, but I´m beginning to be able to really talk to them. It´s cool.
So I think I mentioned last time ho w there are a lot of churches here. Hah there´s one corner with 3 churches. Like there´s ALOT. They all say they worship Jesus Christ but I know Christ and they don´t worship Him. They believe in some wacky stuff. We live above a church called `God is Love`our something like that. They hav meetings like every night and just yell and scream the whole time. There´s a lot of blatant sin here.
Marriage almost doesn´t exist. People just live tigether and have kids. We see groups of men drinking at like 9 in the morning until we head in at 9 at night. They really are in the chains of the Devil and don´t even realize it. They´re slowly being lead away from God everyday -and He´s the person they claim to be closest too. The people here need the gospel. It´s awesome to help them make righteouss decisions. They trust us so much. We saw one of our investigtors at a bar right before we went in to teach him. Everyone in his family was baptized last month except for him. We decided to teach him the word of wisdom. He said he wouldn´t drink or smoke any more! It´s so cool to see the change it´s made in his life already.
We´re also teaching an 11 year old deaf girl. She´s loves church and wants to be baptized. We´re working on helping here mom too.
I think we´re going to be moving this week. We found a nice place pretty close to the chapel. The girl that lives below us came to church and wan ts to be baptized. Her friend was going to come to but her child got sick. Some of the moms here are really young, and have no husband cuz he takes off. It´s super sad. Sin is the worst and never was happiness. I feel like a freakin super hero with the gospel. It really does bless lives.
Ha we´re teaching a guy named João Batista (Jonh the Baptist.) He´s a super good guy and wants to get baptized but wants tio wait for his family, who isn´t excited at all.
So today, we went to my companions old area. It was the Favelas!!! So cool! I felt like I was in CAll Of Duty or Fast 5 or something. The houses were tiny though and this crazy gut shot at me. Don´t worry he didn´t have a real gun, just imaginary. My companion said HE´s been shot by him like 50 times. i really hope he never finds a real gun. People don´t really have them here, just cops.
I really need a new bed. Right now it´s just a bench with two mattresses. IT kills my shoulder because there´s no support. I station it against the wall so I don´t fall of but my companion swears that I fell off a couple nights ago.
The fruit here is amazing! Goiaba is so bomb! Ha all we cook our hamburgers, pancakes, tapioca, and bread that we eat with goiaba. The bananas here rock and the mangoes too. Oh, marancuja tambem! Alot of the fruits here don´t even exist in other parts of Brazil. This is quite literally the best place in the world for fruit (and baptisms.)
Always rmember that the church is true and that Jesus Christ lives and is our Savior. Through Him we can find real lasting happiness. That´s all that really matters. Love you a ton.