Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 9

So this week...we had a service project where we helped an irmão [brother] build a second floor onto his house. Really all we did was help him break little pathways in the already-done walls so that he could put the electric conduits in for the outlets. But it was really cool! I got a little bit of pedreiro [mason] experience!

Also today was a pretty awesome P-day. Started out running with the other Elders (6 of us, since the district leaders came and stayed the night) to the trains to take pictures again. And then we went exploring in the jungle! Weird to think that I was actually in a jungle in Brazil. Because it looked pretty similar to Florida, just a lot more mud and less sand.

And then we had a relaxing day, which was nice. Made another cake (Elder Vasconcelos is having chocolate cake cravings for some reason). And I'm sad because my sour candies and my Starbursts are almost gone :( But I'll ration very carefully. Or I'll try to, I make no promises.

Our golden family caiu (I can't really figure out a good translation for that. Fell I guess, but sounds weird in English), because the mom didn't think she'd be able to quit smoking on account of some personal problems that are distracting her efforts. But with Elvis it's going really good, he's progressing. We really need to find more people though, this area seems to be a little rougher for finding people. I don't know though, we'll keep trying.

We played SUDopoly again today with another dupla of missionaries. And there's one missionary, Elder Gomes, who has MUNCHKIN! We didn't have time to play it today, but I'm thinking it might have to be a P-day soon...I couldn't believe it when I saw he had the box. In Portuguese and everything. I can't help but feel like a lot of the witty puns would go over my head though. Unfortunately. Made me think of you guys though.

One thing that I've learned about myself since becoming a trainer...it'd have to be that I have a lot of stuff to work on, haha. Seriously, lots of stuff to improve. But also that I've progressed a lot since 7 months ago. It's ridiculous how much I've learned.

One interesting thought that Sister Cabral shared in a zone conference last week, is about temples. Missionaries talk a lot about how they can't go the temple on their mission, and moms with small children is the same thing. But Sister Cabral said that we don't have to worry about losing revelation or anything like that, because all the temple is is a house of learning, where the Lord teaches us. On the mission, our MISSION is the temple. And moms with small children were just sent a small little person straight from heaven, so that experience is the temple for them. Really cool. Sorry I can't explain better, it'd take too long and this keyboard is frustrating me. Because both are just as holy as the temple, if we allow them to be. Blew my mind a little. That's what my mission has been like, just a long series of mind explosions.

Um...I can't really remember what else happened this week. I got lazy and didn't bring my journal, again. So...yeah! I'd better get going, lots of stuff to do still and only 1 hour left. So, I think that's it! I hope you guys have an awesome week in the AWESOME U S of A!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 8

So, funny story actually...last P-Day they made ANOTHER cake, with actual proper candles (19, and a number 6 because Elder Vasconcelos made 6 months here), so we were able to eat that one too with the rest of the ice cream. Just thought you should know. They actually sang to me this time too, only one day late. But it felt much more like a proper birthday. I tried my hardest to find mint ice cream, but to no avail. Maybe next year, haha.

We go to the office by taking a bus from Rio Branco to Santos, just like normal. It's about...45 minutes by bus. Something like that. And usually we go in the mornings, so it's super crowded on the bus. Sardines. We go there fairly often, to pick up supplies and such. More pamphlets, Livros de Mórmon, letters from my dear mother, etc. All important missionary supplies.

I haven't had corn flavored ice cream yet. I don't think I'm that interested though. Ice cream is really expensive, remember? What we do have is chup-chup, there's this one lady here who is probably sick of us because we buy so much from her. She has this really good one of white chocolate, with bits of chocolate mixed in. That, and lime with milk is also really good.

So, for my week.... We're teaching a really cool family. Djielson is the dad, Silvaneide is the mom, and Merson and Mercon are the 16 and 14 year old kids. Except we found out that Djielson lives in Praia Grande, and only visits there weekends, because they're separated or something awkward. I don't know. So they all went to church yesterday, enjoyed it, and are planning on getting baptized! So we're working with Silvaneide to stop smoking, and they all need to stop drinking coffee. Also, we're teaching Elvis, who seems willing to give up a lot to get baptized. When we taught him the Word of Wisdom, we asked what he had problems with and he was like "Yeah, everything that you just talked about." Wow, okay! That's new. But he doesn't smoke cigarettes a lot, so that's easy, and he says the other stuff isn't addiction, just social or whatever.

Also in big news, I gave a talk in church yesterday! It went really well, no major problems. I overprepared so I got cut off a little, but that's fine. Better than the other way around.

Everyone in the house except for Elder Capeletti is going crazy about the Rubik's cube, which is funny because they try so hard to come close to my records :) Haha. Today, we went to Santos to get some supplies (and also we may have stopped in a "loja americana" to get a real Rubik's cube that doesn't frustrate everyone by getting stuck 24/7), and now we're e-mailing.

Then we'll go home, and I think play War the board game. As far as I can tell, it's Risk. Unless we have War over there in the States, and then it's War. More news on that next week, haha :)

I think that's pretty much it for this week. The one week I don't bring my journal to remind me of what to say and I actually need to use it. Of course...but yeah! I'm doing pretty well, excited for this family, and I'm enjoying life! Also, last Friday I made 7 MONTHS here in Brazil! Woo! Really bizarre, I'm already on my way to 1 year. What the heck? It's so weird to think about. At the end of this transfer I'll have completed 1/3 of my mission! Crazy stuff. Anyways, that's it for me!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 7

It doesn't feel any different to be 19...and I know I usually say that, but it was even less so this year. There was considerably less fanfare than usual, and you know how much fanfare there usually is on my birthdays. So there really was very little :) I think I got a handshake from Elder Moreira, my new companion. But I'll tell you more about him later. I'm not done talking about me :) We did make a cake (just from a box, well 2 boxes actually, called "Duo Paixão". Mmmm! :) And I also bought a 2L of ice cream for the occasion, so it turned out really nice), which served for after-lunch, dinner, and breakfast hahahaha :) Go big or go home.

For lunch on Sunday we went to the really far away place (remember last fast Sunday?) and they had pretty normal food, but with awesome suco de maracuja and really good neapolitan ice cream. Plus, you know, my cake.

Also, President and Sister Cabral called me this morning (because they were at a meeting late last night, couldn't call) to wish me happy birthday. It was really awesome :) Presidente started off saying that he was calling to wake me up (it was about 8:15 probably), and so I was really confused because I had already been up for a while. I had forgotten at that moment that he always calls the missionaries for their birthdays. But then, right when I was really genuinely worried that I had done something wrong, he and Sister Cabral broke out into singing happy birthday to me :) In Portuguese and his really adorable, slightly broken English. It was awesome, probably the best part about my birthday.

So for my exercises, I usually do planks, pushups, and then we have this DIY concrete dumbbell. Which is a perfect description of Jacob, now that I think about it :) Just kidding, Jake! :) But yeah, that's about it. I'm fairly wiped out after that.

So now I'll talk about the training experience, or how it started anyways. The day (Tuesday) started out with me having to be at the office at 8:30 I think. So when we got there, we waited for a long time and then they finally had a training on what we're supposed to do when we're training. It was pretty good. And then we had a lunch break, during which one of the other Elders from my group (Medrano) and I went to the nearby Extra Supermercado, super big, and bought bread and ham and cheese and made little sandwiches right there in the food court kinda thing. And then we got an ice cream cone from McDonald's to finish it off. Then, we went back to the office and waited for AGES, because the new missionaries were delayed in their departure from the CTM. But finally, they finished up their part at President's house, and so we walked over there (it's pretty close). And then we were put together with our new companions, and then we got a TAXI to Rio Branco with the 1 suitcase he has! It was an incredible, comfortable taxi ride. Thoroughly enjoyed, 10/10. Would pay 95 reais again. Even though the office paid, haha. But...yeah. That was the beginning of my training experience.

So I'll talk a little bit about Elder Moreira...he's awesome! I'm super relieved, he wants to keep all the rules and goals and stuff, so it's been a lot easier than it could have been. He teaches really well, and we've been practicing a lot to get better (both of us). In general, I love training! It's been super fun to have someone brand new, and just being able to teach everything that we're supposed to do. A really good opportunity to improve myself, as well, because if I don't do something right, then he will learn it the wrong way, and I'll create a fubeca. But I hope that's not what I'm doing! We get along really well, since he likes video games and some electronic music too. He is from Belo Horizonte! Crazy, right? I'll tell Redge more about him. But yeah, he's really cool! No complaints or anything, he does what he's supposed to.

But yeah, I've been loving it. The time has gone by pretty quickly, every day it seems like we wake up, and then it's lunch time, and then it's 6:00, and then we're getting ready for bed. Super quick. But this week kinda took forever for Monday to get around, kinda weird. I think that's pretty much it for me! Lots of e-mails to answer this week, sorry hehe. Can't help it if I'm popular. I loved the package and I loved thinking about you guys celebrating my birthday for me. I'm pretty content :)

Until next week!

Celebrating the two-year anniversary of the mission

Monday, July 6, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 6

I don't know what I'll do for my birthday...probably nothing, I'm not sure. Maybe I'll buy a cake mix or something, who knows :)

About the marijuana, I've been hanging out in Brazil! It's everywhere! There's usually little pockets of maconheiros (translate that!) [potheads] here and there, in the neighborhoods and such. But yeah, it's everywhere.

So I'll do a little explanation of the pictures this week first. On Wednesday, we had a district meeting where we invited all of the youth and we did a little mini CTM. We taught them how to teach, ask inspired questions and do contacts. And so, Tuesday night, we stayed up until...late...making 50 churros! A little while ago, Elder Lemes bought a little plastic churro maker that just squeezes out the dough/filling). So we stayed up late doing the dough and squeezing out all the little churros :) and then we got up early the next morning and fried them, and then took them over to the church and filled them with doce de leite and covered them in sugar and cinnamon. Pretty good:

Um...here's another picture of me and the Elders and Daniel (our ward mission leader) and Felipe (his...brother in law I think, somehow). We went to a RODÍZIO [buffet] of pizza! So that was pretty awesome. It was 20 reais per person, and we got to choose 30 flavors from a huge list, and they just brought out pizza after pizza with these flavors that we picked. Some pretty awesome ones. And there were doce [sweet] ones too, with chocolate syrup and bananas, or brigadeiros, or M&M...soooo good. I ended up eating 15 slices, hahaha :) Because we took the crusts off and only ate the pizza. 10 salgado [salty] and 5 doces. I felt (mostly) fine after. I got second place, Felipe ate 19, and Daniel ate 15 too. And they're big guys. Elder Vasconcelos ate 13 or something, and drank a lot of water, so he ended up...emptying his stomach hahaha. It was pretty funny. Just a fun night :) That was Wednesday too: 

Also there's us 4, celebrating Elder Evans' 1 year anniversary with a crazy cake: 

And also us 4 playing SUDopoly, which is a Mormon version of Monopoly :) Pretty funny, apparently the Deseret whatever it's called in São Paulo sells it. We borrowed it from a member. But instead of cities or whatever, you get temples and you add on chapels and stake centers :) And instead of trains, it's the 4 different standard works. Pretty funny :) And...I won! I got the Salt Lake Temple and the São Paulo temple (the last two, like times square) and wrecked everyone that landed there, hahaha. Pretty fun. Mostly when you win, but oh well :) Also very contentious, even though it's from the church: 

So...here's the news from the transfer! I will be staying here in Rio Branco (btw, there's a bairro called Rio Negro too). Elder Lemes is going to Registro (5 hours away), Elder Evans went to another ward closeish here in São Vicente. Elder Lemes will stay here until the huge birthday mission conference thing Wednesday, and then go to his area. Elder Vasconcelos got a new companion, Elder Cappelletti or something like that. And I...am training! It's crazy. So I'll get my companion tomorrow, I'll have to go to President's house and do that whole thing. It'll be cool :) I looked in the newsletter, and the only 3 Elders that got here this transfer are all Brazilians. I was kinda hoping that I'd get to train an American, but oh well :) It'll be good. But yeah, a pretty big change. I'm super happy that I get to stay here with my birthday packages, hahaha :) Other than that...not too much other news! I don't know how my companion is or anything, but Sister Cabral will put up pictures tomorrow and Wednesday, for sure. So yeah! I hope everything is awesome over there. Until next week!