Elder Soares da Silva and I walking
Fatima´s home for Almoço
Wow!! haha, I finally get a second to sit down and relax! The past week has been insane! I will briefly go through what happened in this email.
Brazil is amazing! The city I am in is Sâo Borja in the Passo Ramo (branch) we have like 60 members in our Ramo. The Brazilina people are so nice here. They aren't scared of us and they actually will talk to us and stuff -haha. It is so hot and humid here. I sweat like a gallon of sweat a day! The food is AMAZING, the drinks are good, and the fruit is great; best mangos e bananas! The language is really stressful and I try to not overwhelm myself. My companion, Elder Soares da Silva and I live with 4 other missionaries in a house, which is a nicer house compared to the others. Elder Johansen, from the MTC, is with us and sometimes the other elders really push us to learn the language, which is good, but gets stressful at times. The whole experience is very humbling. Mom, I am sorry I didn´t get to call. I will explain why in the rest of this email.
Alright, so Monday President Toombs picked me up and drove me to DIA. I flew out of Denver at about 1:30 PM, by myself, which was very different. I should have called home while I was waiting for the plane, but I thought I would have time in Atlanta, so I talked to some people waiting at the terminal. The plane left late and I got to Atlanta and had to figure out where to go, which was kinda fun to do by myself. At the terminal I found 2 elders from the same MTC district as I and a few other missionaries. On the plane I ran into Elder Melendez. The plane was suppose to leave at 6:58, but it ended up leaving at like 8:00 PM. The flight was so long! Elder Hinkel and I sat by one another and talked about our missions and what not.
The next morning we landed in São Paulo at about 9:00 (over an hour late) and missed our flight from there to Porto Alegra. São Paulo is huge!! When we flew in you just see buildings everywhere! I took some cool pictures. Some people from church travel were there and they helped redirect us. We arrived in Porto Alegra at about 5:00 PM and got on a bus to Santa Maria. We arrived in Santa Maria at about 9:30 or so and I got to meet President Parrela. He is super nice and we could all tell he had a strong spirit about him. He is also super funny! The time here is 5 hours ahead of Utah, I think. That night we stayed in a hotel next to a church building.
Wednesday, we had a great Café da Minha and then met in the chapel and found our new companions. Elder Soares da Silva is from São Paulo and has been out 6 months. We then were taken out to eat at a restaurant, which was pretty good! The mission office is right in the middle of the city and is super nice! I guess a member donated it to the church. Santa Maria isn´t a huge city, but it's still pretty big. We then had to do some visa work and get our pictures taken. In the streets there are stray dogs running around and people wearing very little clothes. Stayed another night in the hotel.
Thursday, breakfast was great again and we then went and did some more visa work and got our finger prints. Presdente Parrela talked to us and gave us these 6 scrolls to success, that is on paper and he told us to read them. We then finally got on a bus and headed out to São Borja. When we got there we took a taxi to our home. Looking out the window I saw a ton of people that are very poor, dogs that area messed up and the drivers are crazy here! Sorry, my mind is so tired -haha. But ya, I have seen some very humbling things already! The people are so nice here, though! It frustrates me that I can't speak well cause I wanna say things to them. The language is coming, though.. just slow. That night we went and talked to the branch mission leader. I understood like 3% -haha. My companion doesn´t speak any English, so it´s lonely sometimes -haha.
Friday, I woke up and ate some bread. I didn´t get much sleep because of how hot it was in our room! I am getting more sleep now though. The mornings are hard cause my mind is working a lot slower, but at night I can understand and speak Portuguese a lot better! Today we had a zone meeting and I understood like nothing. Elder Lapray is in our zone so I got to chat with him for a bit the meeting lasted about 5 hours and we then walked home. We walk a ton each day because our area is huge. We then talked to a bunch of members that night. One family was super cool! The mother's name is Fatima. I got to share a bit on the Atonement and they said I spoke good and that they could understand me.. That night I slept a lot better.
Saturday, today was super hot! We walked a ton and saw a lot of people. I got to say somethings in the lessons but I talk like I'm 4 so I think it gets old for some people -haha. Almoço with Fatima and her family was very good! The beans and meat here are so good! They also have a potato salad with egg which is great as well. The rest of the day we taught and walked. Bruno and Bruna are a married couple and are super cool! Bruno helped me a lot with the language and was very nice to us. That night I felt like the Portuguese was coming much better. I could understand a lot more and could speak better. Slept great too!
Sunday, Church was great! Walking there and back home I almost died of heat though! -haha. Elders quorum was first and then Sunday School and then sacramental. We had a great lunch with some members and then got to teach some more! That night we went to the Christmas devotional, which relaxed me a lot. I am finally staring to not feel so stressed.
Overall I love it here! It is definitely going to be hard, but I know I am suppose to be here. Pray for me to learn the language. I feel that once I learn it I will feel a lot better.
Mai, I did receive both packages and I will open the envelope one on Christmas Day! We need to figure out when I am going to Skype you guys! Hopefully it works out!
I love all of you so much!!