Monday, November 30, 2015

Samambaia - Week 9

Sorry I don't have a lot of time today, President had an emergency meeting at 9 in the office this morning, so we got back kinda late. But, for lunch, we ate SUBWAY! Which made everything so much better. I had a subway melt, it was...incredible. Just so good. And also a really good milkshake. So yeah, that was my day today :)

My Thanksgiving was kinda simpler...we bought two tapiocas* from this place close to our house. With pineapple and chocolate, which was pretty good. So we pigged out on that, and that was pretty much it :) Kinda sad, but it was really tasty at least. So yeah, Brazilian Thanksgiving. :)

My Thanksgiving dinner
I had a pretty good week though, not too much happened. We're finding a lot of new people and working hard to train the other missionaries on how to do all the important new stuff. 

But yeah, that's pretty much it!

Me and Elder Hesselgesser, with our matching ties, in front of the church

* like...I'm not sure. They come salty or sweet, so some have chicken or whatever (I got a cheese one the other day), but also with fruits, condensed milk, etc. It's kinda like...a quesadilla...except that it's got a different texture, sorta rubbery almost because it sticks together and it's...I don't know, it's hard to explain. What, Dad didn't know? :) It's good though. I looked it up, and it's a starch extracted from cassava root, whatever that is. So yeah, it's kinda starchy now that I think about it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Samambaia - Week 8

An adventure this week... let's see... probably just this new way of doing things/new companion who works a lot harder. I feel a lot better and we're getting a lot more done. So that has been both an adventure and a blessing.

Elder Hesselgesser is half Brazilian. His mom is from São Paulo. So that's pretty cool, he pulls off a much better Brazilian look than I do. Although it was super funny, last night we were walking down a street and some teenagers stopped us and started asking us questions. And we both convinced them that we were Brazilians! :D It was so awesome! Definitely a milestone, as far as the language goes. So until today, a small group of teenage girls thinks that I am from the south of Brazil :D Hahahaha, it was great.

Yeah, the Goodmans spoiled me...goodness. I am not doing that well with opening things slowly...hahahaha :) Is that a surprise? The Slim Jims went quick, as did...let's see what else...lifesaver gummies, the skittles are about done, the candy canes (sour, SUPER GOOD btw), and saltwater taffy (which has an excuse because the humidity absolutely slaughters it here). Also, I opened the tie that they sent me, which is AWESOME!!! I wore it to church on Sunday, but forgot to get a picture of it. It's sooo cool though. Really Brazilian Christmasy kinda :) 

Sorry to be kinda short on time. Anyways, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope we have some good lunches this week to make up for it, hahaha. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Samambaia - Week 7

Well to start off, I don't have a lot of time. Yesterday was a leadership council, so we didn't get a P-day. Meeting from 9-6:30 at night...goodness. So we didn't get a chance to do anything yesterday, except that I got Grandma Goodman's package. Your guys' package didn't get here yet, but I think that Sister Cabral will actually hide it when it gets here, because she keeps them all until Natal. Er Christmas.

The most important thing I learned at the council was to focus more on the people. It's super easy to get focused in on the little things we do each day and to forget why we do them.

Elder Hesselgesser is from Utah, and I'm loving being his companion! It was super hard for the last 6 months or something to be around missionaries that didn't have super good standards, and so this transfer is a breath of fresh air. We're going to accomplish a lot as zone leaders here, and in general I'm super excited and happy for once :) He's a great Elder. But yeah, in general it's just been awesome. They're changing a lot of stuff in the mission, which will be good também [also]

 But anyways, until next week! I love you guys!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Samambaia - Week 6

First of all, the didn't come through until this morning, which was kinda strange. And it was weird being a leader this time, and having to report it to all the other missionaries. But, all the sisters in the zone stayed in their areas. Since Élder Gouveia went home today (what?!), Élder Santos de Oliveira will come over here to be the companion of Élder Chagas. He's from Brasília, from what I remember. And Élder Carlos got transferred! Which is pretty sad. He's going to Parque das Bandeiras, super close to where I was in Samaritá/Rio Branco. I don't know his companion, so I don't have anything to say about that. He seems pretty...sad for leaving. And Élder Hesselgesser is coming over here to be my fellow LZ! He's obviously an American, which will be a nice change. This transfer should bring lots of changes, anyways! So yeah, that's the transfer! I'm super happy that I'll be in this awesome area for at least my 11-month mark, AND my 1 year mark!! And maybe Christmas too, who knows?? So that'll be awesome, there's so many cool members here.

It was Élder Chagas' birthday yesterday, and so one of the members here, Murilo and his wife Joyce, put together an awesome little party thing for him. So we went over to their house and ate...PANCAKES WITH MAPLE SYRUP!!! It was super awesome, super tasty. Senti muitas saudades :) [I've missed pancakes a lot]

Murilo is a giant, see for yourself. He's huge. Especially for Brazilians. He's so cool though. 

I'm not sure if I've already said this, but all us missionaries are participating in the choir, getting ready for the Christmas presentation or whatever. So I'm playing piano obviously. And yesterday I played piano in the ward. Shall the Youth of Zion Falter? is such a hard song, hahaha :) Or whatever the name is, I'm not sure. Deve Sião Fugir a Luta, hahaha :) But yeah, Jake...get ready...haha :)

This whole week was rainy, and I think it probably rained for about a week and a half probably, but I can't even remember the last sunny day we had here. Today, it's not raining, but still cloudy, so I dunno what'll happen. It's nice though, because it's not scorching hot.

So some cool things that happened this week...first, Layssa got baptized yesterday!!! It was super cool, she was nervous before but then she said afterward that she had just the best feeling in the world, like she was super light and didn't have any weights at all. How cool is that? I got to baptize her, which was super cool. So yeah, it was an awesome experience!

Also, last Wednesday we did a service project with Murilo, the giant. We basically went there to break a bunch of stuff in his house, because he's re-doing it. So I spent the whole morning using a hammer and chisel-thing to break a bunch of tiles from his kitchen and outside area, it was super fun! Kinda nice to have a break and do some physical labor for once. I got cut up in the legs pretty bad from all the flying tiles, but it was awesome! :) Not pretty bad, just minorly actually :)

What else...a lot of this week was just getting Layssa ready for the baptism, and then all the festivities with Élder Gouveia's departure and Élder Chagas'/Sister Anderson's birthdays! Lots of members here had little parties and stuff to celebrate, we had a hard time getting to all of them :) One of them was a surprise party from the seminary kids at the church, there was a huge chocolate cake that was super good, and I challenged Élder Carlos to an eating contest. I managed to eat 6 pieces I think, before I had to stop, and he ate 4, I think. It was super hard to go work after that, I almost died, but it was awesome! :)

Hahaha, I'm not sure if I've gained weight since I got here in paradise :) but I'll try to find out soon. I probably have, we hardly ever go hungry here. And by that, I mean never. There's always something to eat, that the members give us. Super awesome.

And besides from that, I'm not really sure what else happened. This next week should bring lots of exciting stuff. So yeah, thank you guys for everything! Have a great week!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Samambaia - Week 5

My Halloween was...very fanfare-less. They don't celebrate Halloween here. The only thing is Day of the Dead, which was yesterday, which is why I didn't e-mail yesterday. We had a zone meeting in Vila Sônia and then we spent the whole day at the cemetery there, talking to people about the Plan of Salvation. It was super intimidating, because almost ALL the other churches were there too (giving blessings to people, expulsing demons, etc. normal Igreja Universal stuff), including macumba [black magic]. There was this super big guy from the macumba, with their super sweet white outfits. Pretty freaky, but awesome at the same time. So yeah, it was kind of an interesting day. Just a bunch of churches fighting to have the attention of all the poor people coming to see their loved ones... And then us, trying to leave a message of comfort and teaching the REAL plan of God.  Most of the people were so sick of all the other churches that they didn't give us any attention, but that's how it is here.

We're teaching a pesquisadora [researcher/investigator], Layssa, who's changing a ton of stuff in her life because of what we've taught her, although she's a little afraid of getting baptized. But, she's super cool. Other than that, it's been kinda rough.

And on a side note, I've been speaking a lot of English with Elder Carlos, because he understands super well (he went on an exchange program in the States), and I am having a TON of trouble switching fully to English, I keep adding in a bunch of Portuguese. Which will be pretty funny when I get back/in the Christmas call I think. :)

So yeah, that was pretty much my week! Beijos e abraços! :) [Kisses and hugs!]

Editor's note:  Here is a video that was posted on Facebook - they are saying how great it is to be a missionary.