Monday, October 5, 2015

Samambaia - Week 1

It's been quite a week. I feel very much older now. Interestingly, a much bigger difference than I felt when I actually turned 19 :) I realized that there's nothing else that I could do in the mission, unless I was an assistant. I'm a zone leader, district leader (because my district is only 3 companionships, including mine and so there's not another one), trainer, and I'm opening an area! Good grief. Something hard that I've had to do in my new roles...probably the interviews. They're only hard depending on the person really. A blessing that I've received is just in general, the ability to actually do all this stuff :)

The move went pretty well with the luggage. I did a little bit better of a job packing/discarding stuff, so with the connector thingy it was pretty easy to move around. And the taxi helped, too :) It was a pretty long way to Samambaia though.

Samambaia has the reputation of one of the best areas of the mission. It has good food, and a really awesome ward. Which is all coming true so far!

The church building in Samambaia

It's been raining lightly/heavily, with a few breaks in between, since I got in this area. Which is pretty nice. I haven't seen the sun in about a week, which is just right for me :) Another thing that I've gotten used to this week was...being without power! Apparently, past Elders hadn't paid a bill from April, and so our electricity got cut on Wednesday. And we have been unsuccessfully trying to get the power company to come and turn it back on, since the mission office paid the bill. But they don't seem to want to do it. Maybe because we have to be home for them to do it, but I don't know. So yeah. There's a lot of things you can't do without power. Can't iron your clothes (luckily my shirts are awesome and No Iron), can't make smoothies, can't reasonably do any planning/writing in diary since it gets dark at 6ish, can't have a hot shower (probably one of the saddest/hardest things about the whole thing, especially since even the sun isn't here to heat the water even the teeniest bit), can't charge the all-important cellphone, and lots of other important things that you don't really think about. So it's probably been about 5 days that we've been without power. I've pretty much figured out the technique to making a cold shower more bearable, which involves a sort of series of small hops and shimmies :D So I'm learning a lot here!

Me in the dark with a candle, to record our epic week-long power outage

So...Monday night, I spent at the office house, with probably like 15 other elders. A bit of a nightmare, especially since my suitcases stayed at the office, and so I had to borrow some pajamas and I did most of my getting-ready in the office bathroom :) Kinda a funny experience.

And then Tuesday was the normal training experience at President's house and at the office. The desserts at President Cabral's house were flippin' sweet. She even gave us another one to take home with us. And then there were chocolate/cookiecrumb-covered grapes on the table too...goodness. I do love training for that reason. :)  So Elder Carlos is from Maceió, which is pretty cool. I'm not sure what ward he's from or anything. But he says that an Elder Bratsman passed close to his ward or something, so maybe he's seen Chris before.

New companion: Elder Carlos

"Mom, I saw this and thought of you."

The view from the mission home

We took a taxi to Samambaia and got there about 6:30, so we put our luggage in the house and went out to work.

So then Wednesday was the mission conference. I had to play 2 normal hymns, the baptism hymn (which made me mad because everyone sang it inappropriately fast and wrongly, which made it sound like I didn't know what I was doing), the mission hymn, which went pretty well actually, and then a special musical number about the Holy Ghost. Which all went pretty well except for Baptism. So yeah, I don't know what Jake's plan is, but if he's going to fess up to being able to play piano on his mission he'd better do some serious practice sight-reading. Like, for real. And that was a really cool mission conference, with an awesome lunch.

"I wasn't bored at the conference, I was concentrating!"

Also, I got Grandma and Grandpa Goodman's box on Wednesday, which was super awesome! I had completely forgotten about circus peanuts! So needless to say, they didn't last long :) I was super happy when I saw the pickles! I have only eaten one so far, I'm trying to ration it out as best I can. It was...breathtaking :)  I tried to even drink a little of the juice, but it was actually too powerful for my unaccustomed taste buds :/ Super salty, hahaha. So good. All the Brazilians almost died from eating little parts :)

Then on Thursday it was planning, which was interesting because we don't know anybody here. And a meeting with the ward mission leader, whose name is Lohan. Kinda like Riders of Rohan, but Lohan :) He's pretty cool.

And then on Friday, it was a normal day. Except for at about 6, the Sisters in my district needed 2 interviews with baptismal candidates. So the first was actually 2 little boys, 9 and 11. Their family is going to get baptized too, but it will be them first. They were super cute, already reading the Book of Mormon and everything. And then the second was a guy named João Batista, or...John the Baptist. Kinda funny. So then after that there was a ward activity where we watched the Testaments with popcorn.

And then on Saturday, Conference! We were able to watch pretty much all of Conference. When we first got to the chapel Saturday afternoon (the sessions are 1-3, 5-7 here), the power was out as well. Which was kind of cruel, considering we left our house hoping to be able to use the chapel to charge our cellphones. But it came back on a little less than an hour in, and so I think I only missed the 1st two talks. And I was able to watch all of it in English, which was really good. There's one American sister in my district, Sister Anderson, from Kentucky. And we're the only Americans in our zone. Luckily, another American Elder from a nearby area came over to our chapel to watch conference, so we were able to do English. I love English! And I love singing with a congregation in English! Haven't gotten to watch the priesthood session yet, because it started at 9 at night, and so I'm not sure when I will. And of COURSE I'm going to start ponderizing! Would you guys want to share the scripture? As in we all do the same one for the week? I think that'd be cool.

And then after the two sessions, I had ANOTHER interview with another guy, Sérgio. And this was the difficult part of my week. He has an incredible love for his own voice, unmatched in any other person that I have ever met in my entire life. If you don't forcefully interrupt him and stop him from talking, he will talk over you and talk until the Second Coming, at that. And you know that I'm super good at pushing my way in and interrupting other people. So the first time I did his interview, I only got up until the 2nd question in an hour and 15 minutes. And then Sunday, he came back and I did another interview with him in between the sessions. Luckily, I was a little more prepared this time, so I did the whole interview in just 45 minutes or something like that.

And then Sunday in the break, we had the baptism of Sérgio, and Rómulo, who was the guy that came up to us and wanted to be baptized. So that was pretty cool.

 So anyways, that was my week! 

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