Monday, September 28, 2015

Transfer Day...

Sorry, this will be kind of a short e-mail. Basically, what happened with the transfer...I got transferred to Samambaia, which is in Praia Grande (the zone where I started my mission). I will be a zone leader, and I will ALSO be training. Again. And in my district, I'm also the district leader. So that was kind of a lot of responsibility, all of a sudden. I don't feel prepared at all, but I know that it will be a great learning experience. I got a little bit of unofficial training from the Assistants, so I'm feeling a bit better. Élder Moreira got moved to Ala 1, (1st Ward), which is close to Rio Branco, and he'll serve with Elder Vasconcelos! Which is super awesome. So I'll get a new companion tomorrow, and you'll see photos and all that good stuff. So I really just wanted to let you know that I'm okay, and that I'm sorry for the short e-mail. I'll do better next week, but it'll be a lot of responsibility and I'm kinda scared :) Hahaha, no I'll be okay. The move was a little stressful, but I'm staying here in the office house overnight until tomorrow to get my companion. And then we'll get taxied to our area, which'll be nice. I got some mail too, which I loved :)

The dollar is at 4 reais right now, which is sweet. I'm rich here! :) Just kidding. But it is very nice for us Americans.

I see the ocean every time that I come into Santos. It's nice.

I will go to my normal (Samambaia) chapel to watch GC. Which'll be slick. Hopefully, I will be able to get an English room. Not sure, but I really hope. It's not the same. So, yeah! I will write a better e-mail next week. Just a teensy bit busy right about now. So I love you! And until next week! Have a good Conference!

[Editor's note:  These were found in the mission "News de Semana."]

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 17

So, this time next week, I'll know about the transfer! Maybe I'll be in another place! Which is nerve-wracking, as usual. I'll probably be in another place, so wish me luck on the move! :)

It's kinda fun to play the mission hymn, except the missionary who wrote it did some things that are kinda frustrating in the music. Why can't everyone be a perfectionist??

And I've started making smoothies for breakfast! Banana and apple and chocolate, obviously. They're turning out pretty good. This week, I'm going to try something...different. They have this thing here called paçoca, which is like a...peanut candy sorta thing. Don't really know how to describe it. It's good. So I am going to try blending that up with some banana and chocolate powder. I don't have a lot of faith in the peanut butter part, but it's worth a try!

Also this week, we stopped by Bob's Sorveteria and got milkshakes. I got chocomenta, which is chocolate and mint. It was pretty awesome, it helped with the heat.

It's funny that you talked about 9 months in the womb, that's a thing that the missionaries say here. I think I have grown a lot though. It's probably comparable to my first 9 months of life. :)

Also, I am getting a little bit tired of my umbrella. It's really awesome, but it's already got some holes and one of the arms has been broken for a long time, and it's getting stuck constantly when I deploy(?) it, so I might have to buy another one before long. Luckily, they're like 7 American dollars for a pretty good one, so that's not a problem. It fought the good fight, though :) 9 months of solid use is a long time. I'm surprised that I'M not more beaten up, after this long.

I just noticed right now that I haven't coughed in a while. I'm probably a TON healthier than I was back home...all this walking and such.

Yeah, Jake's a spoiled brat [with his new bike]. All the kids would go CRAZY here to have a bike like that.

I had another Saturday miracle this week! I was behind in my contacts again, and somehow (I don't even remember it very well) I managed to talk to 70 people in the day! Which was pretty cool.

Oh, we did splits with our District Leader. I went with him, and Elder Moreira stayed in our area with his annoying companion :) Pretty funny. But I stayed in the house with Elder Jenson, the other American. He's super awesome, it's sad he's leaving a week from now. But we're going to do another exchange this week, so that'll be great!
Anyways...that was pretty much my week!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 16

So, I've got some news for you guys...this Thursday, I will have 9 months here in Brazil! What?! And so, next transfer is the transfer of General Conference already, which is crazy. And then the transfer after that, I'll have 1 YEAR! And then the week after, it's Christmas! What the heck! It's going by super fast. Only two weeks left with Elder Moreira I'm pretty sure, so I'll try and make the most of it :) I've really liked him. So anyways, that's pretty weird to think about. Weird stuff.

Looks like I'm the official mission pianist from now on, so I'm preparing more for the mission hymn, and also the Baptism children's song that President Cabral loves.

Some interesting stuff from this week...I had a beijinho [little kiss] for the first time! Which is NOT what the translation will probably say. It's pretty much a brigadeiro, but instead of regular chocolate it's with coconut! I think it might have white chocolate too, but I'm not sure. It's pretty good with the coconut, although regular brigadeiro is still better.

Also, yesterday was the birthday of Elder Dias, and we had lunch with the best family in the ward! We let them know that it would be his birthday, and so she made an AWESOME pineapple cake. Super super super good.

Also, I think that I saw a dog with rabies for the first time in my life. Chasing after me and getting way too close to my legs for my liking. Rabies here is called "raiva" I guess, which is the same word for anger. So, I thought that my companion just told me that the dog going after me was angry. But it actually had rabies. Didn't bite me though, so it's all good :)

The hardest thing this week was...the rain, it made doing our contacts a lot harder. So on Saturday we were behind on our lessons and contacts. But, some sort of miracle happened, and we were able to teach 16 lessons! All of them on the road, to people we'd never met, but we got some good addresses! Well actually, it was 17 lessons including English class. So that was pretty cool.

Until next week!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Rio Branco - Week 15

So this week...first awesome thing was the baptism of Cristina! It went really well. She couldn't decide who she wanted to baptize her, all that she wanted was that we two had the opportunity to participate. And Elder Moreira didn't want to do the confirmation, so he baptized her! It went really well. When they were in the font and Elder Moreira was saying the prayer, she was just kinda quietly crying. She's super awesome, she'll stay in the Church forever. Her sister from Campinas came down to visit her (who is the member that gave us the reference), so that was really cool also. One small crisis was that we got to the other chapel (because Rio Branco doesn't have a font), and the bishop there said that they didn't have any more baptismal clothes. Which was a...well, crisis, as I said before. Luckily, my district leader is amazing and he got a ride from a member to bring us baptismal clothes from Rio Branco. So that was another blessing. Everything else went well though, I didn't play the piano because we just stayed in the room with the font. Unfortunately, there were only like 5 members there, which was a bit of a bummer. But all of the important people went. And then on Sunday, I confirmed her. It went well also, and so now I just hope that the members integrate her and don't forget about her.

Another cool experience was that we had a mission conference on Friday, with the President of the São Paulo Temple and his wife, Presidente Puerta. Weird name, but oh well haha. [puerta = door] He knows a TON of stuff about the scriptures, so it was really cool because he talked about the Book of Mormon. Also, the night before, one of the secretaries called me. Never a good thing. And he asked me if I could play the piano the next day in the conference. Ack! Which is apparently because all the sisters who could play piano left, and so I'm the next best :) The 2 hymns were easy enough, but then he also asked me to play the mission hymn, the march. Which...I'm a slacker and have never learned. So that was a little panic attack too. I spent until midnight cutting up my copy of the mission hymn so that it could all fit on 4 pages, without being front and back. And then when I got there, Elder Maughan and Elder Clark said that they were going to sing a duet of I Love to See the Temple, and they needed a pianist. Awesome! So I had about 10-15 minutes to practice that duet before we took the mission picture. Luckily, the daughter of Sister Cabral was able to play the mission hymn, so I didn't need to worry about that. The duet went pretty well too, considering that we didn't practice once together. But that just goes to show you the importance of being able to sightread! That, or just never tell anybody that you know how to play the piano. That works too. But it went really well!

Our weather was a lot rainier this week (almost put rainer, haha), which is kinda a bummer because everyone goes inside and there's nobody on the roads to teach. But oh well, it was cooler. Which was a nice change, honestly.

Anyways, I've also started reading the Institute Manual of Doctrine and Covenants, which is almost cooler than the Book of Mormon one. So much cool stuff, I can't wait until I get back and I can study all this kinda stuff with an application instead of a 3,000 pound book. (which belongs to the house, by the way)

A blessing that I received this week...I think it was something that I read in the manual. About one of the later sections where it talked about how little children are automatically saved. I don't know why exactly, but I just felt the Spirit super strongly while I read something that one of the Twelve said on the subject, how it's one of the sweetest doctrines of the gospel and stuff like that, and how the mom will be able to raise her kid to adulthood after this life, so she will never miss out on that joy. So that was really cool.

Oh, also an unrelated thing, but this P-day I fixed the second button on my gray suit jacket, that was threatening to come off. Not sure why the blue suit hasn't done this, but whatever. Also I bought black and white thread RIDICULOUSLY cheap (like 80 centavos or 22ish of your guys' cents, for 100 yards. Not sure if that's actually cheap, I've never bought thread before in my life. But now I'm all stocked up), but it all went well and now those two buttons will never come off. So yeah!

So I think that was pretty much my week. One other awesome thing is that right now is strawberry season, so I bought some strawberries and some condensed milk, which is awesome :) But...yeah! I think that's pretty much it. Thank you so much for everything!

So this photo of a lamp in our ceiling is kinda a funny story. Elder Moreira was bouncing a bouncy ball in our room, and bounced it once, really hard. We didn't see it come back down and it made a really loud breaking noise in the ceiling. When we looked up, he had managed to lodge the bouncy ball in the lightbulb! Which is pretty impressive. Lame though, because we are now without light in our bedroom, except for the bathroom.