Monday, June 29, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 5

I have so much e-mailing to catch up on, it's unreal. Sooo much to do, and 2 hours is not enough. And yes, I got [Goodman's] package! It was great. Well, still is great. They put in 4 POUNDS of peanut butter (caraca! :) A brazilian exclamation that I like, emphasis on the second-to-last syllable. There's your mini Portuguese lesson for the week, even though I don't really know what it translates to. Hope it's not a palavrão. ... after a quick google translate, it means woah :) Even better). So the peanut butter has been my breakfast for the past week, I'm about 3/4 through the first one. And by that, I mean that ONLY the peanut butter has been my breakfast, that and some bananas that I bought at a market. But yeah, having a jar of peanut butter and a spoon during personal studies is AWESOME. And they sent a pack of Swedish Fish (also awesome!), and a pack of sour jelly bellies, and Warheads! Very nice stuff, I've been pretty happy because of that. And then a pack of Smore's Oreos (kinda surprising, in a nice way), and a bag of Fritos (which I plan to eat with salsa sometime soon, just that we haven't gotten our money yet, so it might have to wait until next week). It was a very awesome package :)

One day, we went running for our exercises, down about 10 minutesish to some abandoned train cars. All rusty and dewey and way taller than they look, it was a little bit uneasy standing on top of them hahaha. People probably live in some of them too, I'm not sure. We saw a couple of guys out there too. Homeless guys, I mean. But yeah, that was fun. I think it was the first time I'd used my sneakers since the CTM, good to give them some exercise too.

One thing we have found in the supermarket is guaraná syrup, which you mix in water to make juice of guaraná. Pretty much, anyways. And it's not soda, so I think we're allowed to drink it. It's pretty good. Also they have groselha syrup, which I think is gooseberry.

They put up a little theme park in our area. With a small ferris wheel and everything. Pretty funny looking. 

We can have a bad-smell competition if you guys want. The latest bad smell here has been marijuana. Lots and lots and lots of marijuana. 

I don't think I have any really big news from this last week...Elder Vasconcelos said something funny on Sunday, when I was in my suit and sunglasses and such: "Que bicho lindo!!!" [What a cute bug] Hahaha, pretty funny. Other than that...not much. Oh...I fell. Haha. We were walking on this super muddy road, and...yeah. Fell a little bit. I didn't get anything dirty really, just my arm a little and my bag a little. Luckily, I didn't fall INTO the mud, just because of the mud. So my companion had a good laugh about that. -.-  

That's pretty much it! Sorry for the shortish e-mail :( Just not too much to report I guess. Next week should be a good deal more exciting, for one reason or another. Thank you so much for the e-mails, and love, and support!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 4

E-mail-Monday again! (because that's the only thing I care about on P-days. That and food)

I loved your pictures, I feel like I don't even know you people anymore, in this unfamiliar place doing unfamiliar things. Only the clothes that you guys wear are the same :) Really weird though, and kinda sad, but not too much. Just weird. Like, "who are these people? Whose pictures am I looking at?" So what DO you do if a real earthquake hits? I have to study up! I'm super jealous that you guys have soft grass over there. We don't really have grass, just dog poo, as I've mentioned. Laying on grass in Florida is like laying in an iron maiden (be sure to Bing that if you don't know what it is, it's not the band).

I talked to Sister Cabral today about me using sunglasses, and she approved! YES! :) Because I told her about the surgery, and she said that President did it too, and so she understood how it made you more sensitive and stuff. Anyways, success! 

And AWESOME job on killing Jake in ping pong, he deserves it. I haven't said this before, but ping pong is pretty popular here. Lots of kids will just find a door, put it on some supports, and find some piece of who knows what for a net, and will play ping pong in the street. Pretty funny. 

As for my week, it was pretty cool. We had a baptism, with Thiago. He's the son of a member, a little younger than 30. His interview was a little interesting. Elder Lemes and I did a practice interview before, just to see if we would need to reteach something, and when we got to the questions about a serious crime, he basically said "Define serious..." haha. Not really, but yeah. Anyways, he was involved in a lot of stuff, and he was really high up (he had a house, car, everything that he wanted). This was more than a few years ago, obviously. We asked him if he had ever killed someone, and he said that he had been involved in situations where he had definitely shot someone a couple times, but that he didn't know if he had killed them, because he "never looked back". Which is sad and scary, but also really gangster. Literally, really gangster. Anyways, President authorized our District leader to do the interview, who said that during the interview, they had a prayer to ask for forgiveness, and Thiago started crying. So they both felt like he was forgiven. So that was really cool! 

And so he was baptized this Saturday, along with 5 other people (4 just from Elder Evans and Vasconcelos, the other dupla in the house). Which was a really interesting baptism, unfortunately I don't really have time to describe it. Really...drawn-out, with lots of problems baptizing the people (except for Thiago, his was the only normal one!). And I played the Baptism Hymn again, which went really well, and helped to end the night on a spiritual note. It was so drawn-out that we got back to the house at 10:30, and we're supposed to be SLEEPING at 10:30. So yeah. Anyways, that's the big news I think.

Can you spot Elder Bratsman?

Earlier today, we had a free vaccine for gripe (flu?) with the whole mission, which was fun. Also, I weigh 152 lbs! Which I hope is because of the exercises that I've been doing, but maybe not.
Until next week! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 3

This is the EGGNOG that I made, right after I got your recipe last week, haha :) It turned out pretty good, just a little thin or something. Which I don't know why. One thing, here they don't have quite the same things as over there, so I had to buy Creme de Leite, with I think 30% fat instead of the recommended 31%, and also the milk I used was this 3.2% that they sell here for kids to grow, hahaha :) So I'm blaming it on substandard ingredients. But it was really good, I made the full recipe (because I'm not a chicken that makes half-recipes of stuff) and I probably drank...a lot of it in two days, hahaha :) Didn't get sick though! I didn't end up sharing that much. It was 20 reais to get all the stuff for it though, which is pretty expensive. Anyways, that was a lot of typing about eggnog. 

Me and Elder Lemes in...McDonald's

I will hit 6 MONTHS on the mission this Wednesday, so I decided that we were going to go to McDonald's to celebrate. So I had a Quarter Pounder, large meal, with a frozen strawberry lemonade! I was so happy. It was a little smaller than in the States, but it was still nice. And I also got an Oreo McFlurry :) It was a pretty good P-day. Also kinda a funny story with that...we were in our district meeting last Tuesday, and all of a sudden Elder Lemes announced that we were going to go to McDonald's to celebrate 6 months, and that if the other (4) elders in our district wanted to come, they were invited. I thought, "Wow! Didn't know it was your celebration, or that I allowed you to announce it to everyone!" But only two of the elders came. Still would've been better to just have us two, though. And even better if it was just me :) Me and my McDonald's. So yeah, that's that. I was super happy about the lemonade, they took it away when I was in Florida. 

Also this P-day, I shrank my patriarchal blessing down to a wallet size and laminated it (plastifiquei, sounds a lot cooler in Portuguese), so now I can carry it around with me. I'm pretty impressed that I can read it, it's really really small :) 

And I also bought a new watch, which I kinda feel like I betrayed my other watch (which I still really like and will keep), but I wasn't sure if the old one was water-resistant or anything. I don't know, I just kinda feel bad for buying a new watch so soon. But I got a slick one, with analog and digital, and it's all metal, how I like.

And I got my hair cut by a gangster. So yeah, that was our P-Day. Pretty nice. 

Our weather was super hot this past week, except for today and one other day, that it was cool and rainy. Pretty awesome wind, knocking stuff down and such too. But yeah, it's been hot. Anyways, I think that's it for me.

Until next week!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 2

Nothing super big happened this week, just a conference where I got to see Elder Zenger and Elder Richards again, which was awesome, and lots of walking and not being able to find people.  Oh well.

That is so weird [to think of] getting into a car to go places...we walk everywhere. Including our lunch yesterday, was probably close to a 1 hour walk. Fast Sunday, of course, hahaha. It was killer. Anyways, you guys drive down the paved road, and we walk down the mud/dog poo/rocks/small pieces of construction material/trash roads. :) Oh, Brazil.

I'm going to ask President soon if I can use my sunglasses during the hot parts of the day, just because I'm starting to think it might mess up my eyes. And I can take them off to do contacts or whatever. I'm using my sunglasses on P-day, though :) It helps so much. 

I got my b-day package this last Tuesday. I'm saving it until my birthday, so don't worry about it. That's one thing I've learned a little bit better here, delayed gratification. 

Anyways, I think that's it for me. Until next week!

This is a huge church here in São Vicente, it's like 4 floors and stuff. We had a zone conference there.
But it's just a normal church building, all the nonmembers in the area call it a temple though.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 1

Well...Rio Branco is pretty interesting. First of all, the house is a fair bit nicer than Vila Sônia, it's a lot bigger (2 bathrooms!  What?!) and generally nicer. The area is poorer, though. Not very many paved roads. So that's fun.

The bus ride over was actually a miracle. Before, I had just kinda said a tiny prayer, asking for some help to know how to get there and stuff like that (because I was told to get off in front of a big market that I'd never heard of, and I didn't know what numbers of Ônibus I was supposed to catch. So I was pretty worried. And so I got on the right Ônibus, but the 3 luggages was a huge pain. They were hard to keep control of, so they kinda fell over a fair amount and stuff like that. I felt awful, because the bus was of course full of people and I was being a huge pain in the butt with my huge suitcases.  So yeah, up until then it was embarrassing and awful. But then, after the suitcases practically fell over onto somebody, one of the ladies sitting down said "Elder, put your suitcase right here". And guess who it was? A MEMBER OF RIO BRANCO. And her daughter. They were literally going to the exact same place, on the exact bus that I got on. It was a huge miracle to me. They were able to help me to get to the house, because they knew where it was, and they helped me with my luggage.  They even got off with me at a different stop that was WAY closer to the house than the stop I was going to get off at. So yeah, that just goes to show you, even when you really don't deserve it, Heavenly Father blesses you anyways. 

So the Elders I'm with are: Elder Lemes, my companion, a Brazilian from Rio Grande do Sul or something like that; Elder Evans, an American from Texas who's really cool; and Elder Vasconcelos, a Brazilian from the northeast, who is from my same group. So we both have the same time on the mission, and we're both the senior companions. Elder Evans has around a year on the mission, I think. It's interesting having a Brazilian companion. I think it will help me to get a better accent maybe. Other than that, I miss having an American companion to talk to in our secret language (just kidding, we didn't do that a lot). But it's good that Elder Evans is there, or I'd be a very lonely American. My companion is...not bad. He has one more transfer than me, so he's a junior companion because of some obedience issues. So that's what I'm here for. I have to try to get him (and me) to work hard and to get stuff done.  

The chapel is...different. It makes me miss Vila Sônia. The piano is...NONEXISTENT. They just have a small dumb organ. I was crushed when I saw that thing sitting on the side of the room. Apparently, there's a piano in another chapel kinda closeish to our area. Which we go to whenever we have baptisms I think. So I'll be baptizing a lot, just to play piano :) No, just kidding. Not just for that :) But yeah. There is a guitar in our house, which is cool. I guess I'll just be switching instruments for the time I'm here.

This LAN house is awful, so I'm kinda frustrated by now. I really only hate two things in this world, people and slow computers. :)  UGH.  I don't have that much time left, because the computer thought it would be better to freeze and then not do anything else.

But this week was alright. We didn't do many contacts at all, and we didn't teach many lessons at all. So not a lot is going right. The Brazilian Elders here haven't been very nice to Elder Evans, just cause he is still learning the language. So, yeah. I hope next week I have some happier news to tell. I see a huge difference from last transfer and now. None of the Elders in our house think that much of obeying the rules (schedule, etc.) and so it's really hard to keep focused on the work. So I hope I'll be able to change that. 

I have been sleeping really well (just not enough, of course), it's been pretty cool lately. I've never had a problem sleeping here. 

Sorry for the short e-mail, and the lack of pictures. P-day was a bit of a mess, we did a deep cleaning of the house. 

Until next week!