I’m in Brazil!!! Everything went well with the flight down to São Paulo. I sat next to a kid from… somewhere in Brasil I can’t remember now…. but he asked what I was doing down there and I gave a brief first lesson and gave him a Book of Mormon! I had an English copy with me and he said he liked to read English (he was in the states studying English) and he said he´d read it. I was definitely blessed that I was able to sleep a bit, I didn’t actually feel tired until the third day here and then it was like everything caught up to me and I was super exhausted. I thought that was funny Travis said he can quit lying now when he tells people his sister is in São Paulo, I’ve been telling people all week that I have a brother in Goiania and an older brother who served in Recife mostly because that’s all I know how to say but the members get really excited when they know that all the siblings have Brazil missions.
I’ve made a list of random things I wanted to make sure and tell you guys, random things on a list = random list = random e-mail :)
The language is coming along ok. I’m definitely lost and behind on the conversations most of the time. Every day it seems like I pick up more and more of the small talk though. Everyone here is super nice though and have been great with talking slower or translating through my companions. I do a lot of smiling and nodding :) I’m able to understand a whole lot more than I can respond to. It makes me think so much of my TESOL minor where we talked about needing to provide assessments for what students actually understand knowing that they understand more than they can generally demonstrate. I definitely can empathize with them now!
I´m serving with two Americans right now, Sister Steinbeigle and Sister Peck, both from Washington! What are the chances of that? Sister Steinbeigle is from the Issaquah 1st ward but we had never met. Sister Peck is the sister whose blog I found way back when I got my call. Turns out we actually knew each other before! (she remembered me… I didn’t so much of her…) We worked a few weeks of EFY together two summers ago. Small world! (Sister Peck remembered that we were actually in the same group interview that year…) We’re serving in two wards right now. It really is like church headquarters of Brazil. Which reminds me! When I first got here they took me to the office to fill out something with the visa, not really sure what was going on. But the guy I met is in charge of all missionaries visas and when I told him my brother was serving in Goiania right now he got up, looked through his files and pulled out Travis´ whole visa packet, pictures and all- you look good kid ;) That was kind of random.
I found out that Elder Dearborn is still yet to get his visa. President Cooley was showing me the transfer board and Elder Dearborn is off in the corner in the visa waiter spot. I´m excited for him to get here!
I’m told I´ll be here for another week before transfers on March 2nd and then I´ll go to an area where I’ll be for a while. Sisters in this mission usually stay in an area for 3-4 transfers so that´ll be the most stability I’ve had yet!
I passed the São Paulo temple on the way to our area, it´s so pretty! I can´t wait to be able to go some time.
It rains every day almost like clock work at 5pm. Well now it´s closer to 4 because they had their day light savings this Sunday. It actually didn´t rain on Saturday and I felt so cheated! I love the rain, it’s a highlight of my day. One because it’s raining and I love the rain, and two because it cools everything off. It’s not as hot as I was bracing myself for but it’s still a lot hotter than I’m used to ;) I’ve got the workings of a good tan/burn going on. I’m going to have the sweetest tan line from my shoes!!! I’m pretty stoked for that.
Oh Jeffrey, how did you serve in Brazil and not learn to love bananas? I had some for breakfast the first morning and they are the most amazing thing ever! Another food side note, people used to make fun of me at work for eating rice with sugar… Who knew I was just meant to come to Brazil? This week we had sweet rice for dessert and it was regular rice with a sweet sugary covering. Yummy :)
My companions keep telling me to not get used to how nice things are in this area. My meals have been varied a lot compared to other areas. Still rice and beans at every meal but we get a lot more in addition to that.
As far as the work goes. I’m told this is a slow area and that the people are really closed off. I haven’t found that though, EVERYONE will at least listen to us and often invite us back, no one is ever home when they go back but they’re at least friendly with us. The pace seems a lot more laid back. We plan the night before, a list of people we want to visit throughout the day and then we just play it by ear. Sister Peck said she’s tracted a total of three houses in her whole mission. A bit different from the states! I’m excited to be able to understand more of what people are saying. We went on splits yesterday (a member went with Sister Peck and I went with Sister Steinbeigle) and we ended up teaching a first lesson. As we were walking away she all but did a cartwheel because it went so well. That’s definitely not the impression I was left with (couldn’t understand a lot of his responses…) but she said that he had mentioned that if this message were true it’d really change his life!
The church is true wherever you go! Church is a fun experience this week. Not understanding a lot but still being able to feel the spirit and having the same services as you´ll find wherever you go. So neat!
Well that’s about all the time I’ve got. I love you all! I love Brazil! The church is true, there really is power in studying the Book of Mormon every day!
Have a great week!!!