Wednesday, November 16, 2016



First lunch: cream soda

(The decorated porch was a surprise from the Dublin 1st Ward.)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Parque das Bandeiras - Week 6

Lunch with Marcia and Iara

"Açaí do Pai"

My last haircut

Baptism of Jonathas

Alessandra's house

Guilherme, the neighboring cuber

Elder and Sister Hammond, Elder Baptista, and Elder Glover

A square in Santos

I figure it'll be more fun to give you the update in person. :D  We already had lunch with [the Obatas], I already had my last interview... man...CRAZY. What's going, we're pretty much just going to sit around and wait for tomorrow, I guess, hahaha. Our bus leaves Santos at like 3 or 4 tomorrow (afternoon), and know the rest :)  It's just hard to believe that it's happening. Anyways, I just wanted to send this short little update from the office. I'll see if I call you guys when I get to NY, from a pay phone or something. Although I only know how to do a collect call in Brazil, hahahahaha. Anyways, love you guys :)  Até muito muito muito logo :D [See you very very very soon]

Monday, November 7, 2016

Parque das Bandeiras - Week 5

Hello! Sorry in advance... I've been a little bit sick-ish this week, although I'm pretty much better by now. I still have a weird nose, stuffy/runny... that sounds weird in English, a stuffy nose... stuffy? It's not stuffy is it? Hold on, that sounds strange. In Portuguese, it's a clogged nose. I don't know. Anyways, that's been happening. And it seems that all the vitamin C supplements in the world did nothing to stop the onslaught. Who knows, maybe it was dengue again. Just kidding, I don't think it was, but it's a possibility. :)

Let's see what happened this week... Last Tuesday we had a district meeting here in Parque das Bandeiras. And I did a division with Elder Nascimento, who lived with me in Caragua, so it was fun reminiscing a bit. That was the day I started with sore throat I think.

On Wednesday, it was Dia dos Finados (Day of the Dead), and we were going to do an activity at a cemetery in Cubatão, but it got cancelled. I was going to play a little keyboard and they were going to sing hymns. I remember that last year on the same day, it was my first activity as a zone leader and it was very stressful and very disheartening, because it was kind of a mess... ah, whatever, it went fine. :)

Thursday, weekly planning, surprise surprise. We had lunch with Isis and her mom, which was good. We visited Bianca's house, they made brigadeiro de colher. It's awesome, obviously. I played a bit of guitar at her house, so that was fun for a little bit.

On Friday, we went back to Bianca's house so we could teach Layssa's dad. My companion bought cake mix and ice cream, so they made that. (I just noticed a typo in my journal, that's super embarrassing.) :) Layssa's dad is the sort of drunk guy, although I can never tell if he's drunk or not because he's always just kind of crazy. Someone was talking about how they drink tea and then he said, "Que tomar chá? Que tem que tomar cachaça." Basically, "You don't need to drink tea, you have to drink cachaça." Cachaça is the cheapest alchohol that exists, it's dirt cheap. That was funny. It'd be funnier if you guys spoke Portuguese, but I guess only Dad got the real meaning of it. :)

On Saturday, we had lunch with Mikael and Michele, they're super cool. They made fish which was awesome. We had English class with the youth in the ward, that was good, we just translated phrases and stuff. Then we had a family night with Alesandra, and Elder Barbosa made cake. Alesandra made torta salgada, which is like pie with sausage in it, it's good. I gave a message about the sacrament and showed them this painting:

Sunday, I actually played piano in church because Isis wasn't there, so that was fun. I'm used to it now so whenever I don't play piano in church it's weird. Lunch was stroganoff, with two older ladies who are on diets because they have diabetes and stuff like that, but they bought soda for us, so that was sweet. We visited Cleonice, she said she would send you pictures. We met up with the Elders in Samaritá, it was fun visiting a house I had lived in a year ago. It hadn't changed much. While we were there, I tried to visit Christina that I baptized there, but she wasn't home, so that was a bit disappointing.    

Today, we're going to the bank to take out money. I have a self-sufficiency course in São Vicente tomorrow at 9:00, so that should be good. Learn how to manage money, stuff like that. Wednesday there's zone meeting (which is apparently going to be my farewell, from the zone anyways), and Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday, I don't know. I guess I'll probably slowly be packing during this's all very weird. Monday, I will have lunch and interview with President. Tuesday, I don't know what's going to happen, I'll probably leave the office at 5:00 to go to São Paulo. I don't know anything, I don't know what's going on. :)

I'm trying to control myself, but it's hard to not get SUPER excited. Last week wasn't bad, but I guess this week being the last the excitement has hit home. I had a dream last night that Dad helped me build this sweet home studio with a MIDI keyboard and everything hahahaha. It was fun. I don't's just so weird. Such weird feels. I don't actually know if I'm going to e-mail next Monday, I'm pretty sure that I'll be chilling in the office, meeting up with Magda and Joel, stuff like that. So I don't know. And also, when will I do you say that...released? Desobrigado? Help. Is that the day I get home? 'Cause I would like it to be. Like get home, unpack, and sleep, and at night go get released? Is that how that works? Ha, mentira [lie], I won't sleep hahaha. I will be too excited. I'm thinking that I won't even be able to sleep on the plane, I'll be like a kid on Christmas. Love you lots :) I think that's it! I'll probably end up checking my e-mail before Tuesday next week, so just in case you guys feel like replying to something. Gosh, I'm so excited. Don't worry, I'm going to make this week count though :) I love you guys! :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Monday, October 31, 2016

Parque das Bandeiras - Week 4

Hello Pessoal! [People] Happy Halloween. Guess who I am??? :) Yep, you got it! An American! It's sad, it does scare some people though... :D

In the sewage water, there weren't any "floaters," but there's always little land mines on all the roads, laid by dogs. So maybe we just couldn't see them and we were stepping on them, or maybe they had already dissolved in the sewage water. That's another thing that's going to be strange about the States, the lack of dogs on the roads, strays. Also the lack of speed bumps, because here, unless it's a major highway, there are speed bumps on every single road about every 100 feet, it's super annoying!

This week, let me see what happened....

Last p-day, it was normal. Elder Hoskisson, our district leader, asked me to give the training on Tuesday. We taught Alesandra, and her daughter Alexia wanted to know if I could help her with some math questions. I was like, "Yeah, I got this." Then it was about logarithms and I did not remember anything. So that didn't happen... pretty bad. I hope that's not the first thing they talk about in my college math class. It kinda made me not super excited for the whole college thing.

On Tuesday we had the district meeting in Rio Branco, so we walked there. We went back and had lunch and we taught Bianca. At night when we went to talk to Alesandra, her other daughter, Lohana, she wanted me to help her with her math. Her math question was much easier, it was about adding money. I was fine with that, I have not fallen that far. :) Oh, one funny thing that happened at the meeting... To start every meeting there's a hymn and a prayer and we say our purpose and then we say Doctrine & Covenants 20:37. Then it's acompanhamento: we put the names of all our investigators on the chalkboard, the ones that have a date, and the ones that need help. Under the column of the ones with a date, I put "Michael, 11/15." Even though during the meeting I laughed and erased it and said I was kidding, Elder Hoskisson continued thinking it was a real investigator, and when he called me to see how our day was, he asked how "Michael" was doing. That was pretty funny. :) I had to explain the joke.

On Wednesday, we had lunch with a less-active lady, she was cool. Her son had a Kawasaki Z1000 in the garage, which was very cool. I don't know if I had ever seen one before. I left my 5x5 with Bianca because she wanted to see if she could solve it, so on Wednesday we went to her house and got it back. Layssa's dad was there and he kept saying funny stuff like, "Don't mess with those things, you'll just get headaches" and then I solved it and he was like "What?" So that was pretty funny. We taught Camila, she speaks English pretty well. At night, there was the Family Night of the ward. There was lots of pizza, I traded some ties with one of the rapazes. It was cool. We had Jonathan, Bianca, and Jessica there.

Thursday, was planning, and our neighbor cuber/cubing neighbor stopped by because he had some questions, so I helped him and we cubed for awhile. That was fun. Our lunch was take-out, which was chill. I also taught Elder Barbosa to do the cube, he's getting it, slowly but surely. I found a different beginners method - no offense Dad, nothing against your '70s book, 'cause that will always be near and dear to my heart, obviously. :) But I found a shorter version that you don't have to memorize as much stuff and it fits on one page. It's nice and neat, I can teach you when I get back. :) We visited Alesandra and Jonathan was there, he's reading and liking the Book of Mormon. He asked me why did Nephi kill Laban if Laban was of the same lineage. That was a pretty impressive question, it shows that he really read.

Friday, Bianca had her baby, Diego. That's pretty crazy. Lunch was also take-out. It felt cold, seriously cold. It felt like a Florida winter to me. But then I looked at my thermometer and it had 74 degrees. So yeah.... :) No lie though, it felt like winter. I guess it's been too long. Coat shopping will be a necessity. :) We got a call from the Samaritá elders that they were going to have a baptism on Saturday and they wanted us to figure out the water heater thing, because it was going to be an old guy, so cold water doesn't work. We figured out the heater hadn't worked in the past because there was no gas, so we talked to the Bishop and he called a guy and we let him into the church to put in more gas or however you say it... gás. Not much else interesting happened.

Saturday, we had take-out again, three days in row. We ate in the church and we got ready for English class. Some people actually showed up, so that was good, a bunch of youth really. Then we stayed to fill up the font and heat it up. We stayed to help with the baptism as well, because we had to be the witnesses. It took the two elders and their bishop to baptize him, because they sat him in a chair and lowered him very gently into the water. So that was good.

Today, it was nice because I actually got to sing hymns, because we had a hymnbook and I wasn't playing piano or anything, so that was fun. Lunch was awesome, stroganoff. The irmão, Samuel, that gave us lunch, served in Salvador, but it was like 10 years ago, so he didn't meet Austin [Michael's cousin]. Bianca came back from the hospital with her newborn baby, so we visited her. And that was very strange, seeing her transition to motherhood. It's interesting what having a kid will do for your maturity level. That was pretty strange. I was watching Diego, one of those strange/reflective moments, and because babies are fun to watch. We taught some people, but nothing special. And tomorrow is p-day, thank goodness. Not much else. It's the penúltima [second-to-last] week. It's crazy stuff.

That is it for me. I hope you guys have a great week! I love you guys. Até mais!

12-sided, dodecahedron

The mirror cube is not hard, it's just a variant of the 3x3, same algorithms

Monday, October 24, 2016

Parque das Bandeiras - Week 3

Hello Family! So last Monday, since it was my one-year-ten-months anniversary, we were going to buy açaí but the good açaí place was closed for some reason, so that was sad. But from the bakery in front of our house, we just got little pots of açaí and condensed milk, so that was great.

What else happened on Monday? We visited Alesandra, who got back from the hospital with her baby who had the beginning of pneumonia and bronchitis, so that's better.

Tuesday, we had a district meeting in Humaitá, in the city, and because there's not a bus that goes directly from here to there, and we also wanted to save money, we just walked. It probably took an hour-ish and it was super hot. Lunch was on us, so Elder Barbosa made pasta, which was really good actually. We visited Bianca, and then we found that the açaí place that we were going to go to on Monday was open, so we went there. It was really good. You could add a bunch of fruits and a bunch of toppings, so I added powdered milk and paçoca, which is the peanut-based powder. Powdered milk probably doesn't sound that good to you guys, but it's good. And we ordered bacon pizza as well, making up for the anniversary of Monday.

It was really hot those two days, and also on Wednesday, which we walked to Rio Branco. We contacted a bunch of people, a bunch a bunch a bunch. We had two lessons, one was with Ana, she seemed pretty elect. The other one was with Alison (who is a guy) who had already been to church as a boy to play soccer. So that was cool.

Thursday, was a terrible sun, so I put on sunscreen. When it's direct sun, it's awful, but that's usually in the morning. Then by early afternoon, the cloud cover comes in, so either it just stays there and makes everything humid as all heck, or it rains. It's good when it rains because it's not hot, but on this case, on Thursday, it didn't rain, so I sweated the whole day. We visited Alesandra, and I somewhat reluctantly left them my rubik's 3x3, because the youngest daughter was interested in it, but she gave it back today. :) Isis bought a cake and some other snack stuff for us, so we went over to her house and talked to her for awhile and ate. It was great. She's 30 years old and hasn't married yet and she's a returned missionary. She's cool. (She doesn't like how there's insane pressure for a returned missionary to get married and all that jazz.)

Friday, lunch was good, the family was funny. Their son talked about all the times he had done pranks at acampamento (youth camp). Elder Barbosa had promised to the family of Bianca and Layssa that he would make pizza for them. So that was our Friday. He fulfilled his promise. He made enough dough for 20 pizzas, but we only had time to make 7 of them. It was tasty.

Saturday, lunch was cool because the guy is cool. He talked about Masons, since he has a Mason friend. Then we had English class prep with a member who helps the missionaries with English class, preparing it, because I know English but I'm not good at teaching English. So she helps with the teaching part. There was only one rapaz that went because it was raining so we didn't have it, but we'll save it for next week. Then the other ward, Samaritá, was going to have a baptism that night, so we cleaned and filled up the font for them, practiced a bit of piano. Then we had a family night with Alesandra. Elder Barbosa made banana bread and she made mousse, and I gave a message about 1 Nephi 8. She gave me a tea cup of her favorite soccer team, Corinthians, which is the only team that I don't have some paraphernalia from. I was pretty shocked about that, because it's a pretty serious souvenir.

There was a rapaz there that we've been teaching as well, Jonathan, he said that he's already gone three weeks without coffee. #baptism. I'm feeling like he's going to be my last. He's been to church the last two times. He's good.

The bishop asked me to give a talk for today (Sunday). I was the speaker... I just about said talker, that's embarrassing. :) We had lunch with the family of Laura and Louisa. It was awesome, it was stroganoff. Super good. I took a video of Lívia so you could see how adorable she is:

Then this afternoon, a couple of the young men from the ward, they left with us... that doesn't make sense... they went out with us... that's worse... they accompanied us in our missionary work, I don't remember how to say that. They walked with us and stuff. :) So that was fun. We visited Marcos, a guy from two weeks ago. We contacted a few people, and then we visited Alesandra and taught her and Jonathan again.

I think that's about it for this week. I hope everybody is doing alright over there. Everything over here is going great. I love you guys. Have a great week. And tch-tchau!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Parque das Bandeiras - Week 2

Hello Family!

Last p-day we went over to a member's house and we played War, a board game.  I don't know if they have it in the States, I think it's a little bit like Risk. It was cool, they had cake, so it was good.  Then we went to Laura and Louisa's house and taught them about the Word of Wisdom. 

On Tuesday, we had a district meeting in Rio Branco. So we walked. It took about 45 minutes to get there, and it was better than spending 6 reais on bus fare. Luckily it wasn't super hot that day. Speaking of hot, right now it is 86 degrees in here, which is disgusting. Usually our house is significantly cooler than outside, so I don't even want to know what temperature it is outside. The sky is gray, so it'll rain today. That's how the weather works here. It's blazing hot in the morning, and then in the afternoon, it floods, literally. I will probably come back pretty tan and/or burned, but I will try to be better about using sunscreen. :)  After the district meeting, which was fine, our lunch was from a sister that works at a school, so she had it delivered to the school. So while we were waiting at the school, we found that they had a foosball table, slightly broken, but it was fine. So we had a good time playing foosball, us two. Then we went to Bianca's house, taught her. They also had lemon cake and neapolitan ice cream, which was awesome. Then we went over to Laura and Louisa's, taught them about tithing. Oh, at the district meeting, Elder Moreira told me that Ivanilde passed away. When I was in Samaritá, he was a recent convert, and whenever we went over to his house, he gave us smoothies. Sad.

On Wednesday, it was Dia das Crianças [Day of the Children]. It's ridiculous how many holidays they have in Brazil. I started to get a cold sore on Wednesday which has continued until today, which stinks. Not much else.

On Thursday, planning. There were two pots of ice cream. Not pots... um... how do you guys call the containers of ice cream? Here it's in 2-liter pots. During planning I did a big clean out, there were 51 repeated referrals (I wrote references in my journal... I think I've been calling them references for about one year and ten months). :) Same person twice. It was pretty organized besides that. Then after planning, we did the pre-interview with Laura and Louisa, which went fine.

Friday, it was the mesata [allowance], so we walked again, because there's not a bank in our area, there's only a bank in Rio Branco. So we walked all the way over there to get our money. It was pretty rough, it was sunny, and I didn't use sunscreen, sorry Mom. It was an hour there and an hour back. It was so hot. Lunch was good, then it started the Noah-like flood. She lent us an umbrella. (Lent? What is the past tense of lend? I'm not sure...) She did lend us an umbrella. :) It was a flood/storm. Probably up to the middle of our shins. And you guys know how Brazilians floods are, all the water goes into the sewage systems, and then the sewage water comes back up. Yay! :) So that was fun. (I think my shoes are already dry, but I haven't dared to touch them since.) Because we got our money on Friday, and the barber man isn't open on Mondays, I got my hair cut on Friday. It was cool because a lady that was in the salon paid for it, I'm not sure why, just because she's super nice, so that was awesome. In my last week I'll get my hair cut again so I come home all nice and chique. :) Anyway, after the flood, after we came home and washed our legs off, we went to Bianca's house, taught her. They had cake and ice cream again. Then it was Laura and Louisa's interviews with Elder Hoskisson, our district leader. 

Saturday, the Elders from Samaritá had a baptism and we went and filled up the font for them. Because, I don't know if you remember, Rio Branco and Samaritá use the same rented building for church, so they don't have a baptismal font. The only chapel in the area is here, so all the baptisms are here. The baptism was cool. I played the Baptism hymn from Jon Schmidt. It was fun to see some of the members from Samaritá again. Elder Jensen [from Texas] asks me "How long does it take to get the language?" I say, "Three months to be comfortable, six months to be fluent." He's cool. There was really good cake for the baptism, I've been eating a lot of cake as I look back over the week, goodness. :) Then our daylight savings started which was lame because we lost an hour. 

Yesterday, it was my first Sunday in a long time, probably nine months, where I didn't have to play piano in sacrament meeting, because there was a lady that did, so that was nice. It was our testimony meeting, so I introduced myself. We had lunch with a couple that look like kids, even though they're 22, but they're short and skinny. Our neighbor (who is the ward mission leader) his sons were taught by Elder Carlos to do the rubik's cube, who was taught by me, so I guess they're kind of my cubing grandsons. :) I talked to him and showed off my cube collection, it's always fun talking to a fellow cuber.  On Sunday afternoon, we filled up the font again. I practiced piano while that was happening because we can't leave the chapel. Then some youth started to show up and I showed off my square one cube and also the pyraminx. Not very many know how to do it, but a lot of them are interested. Because of that and the piano, I'm quite the celebrity, haha. :)

Then it was Laura and Louisa's baptism! It went great, I don't think there were any hitches in the baptism for once. Elder Barbosa baptized Louisa, and then one of their relatives baptized Laura. Unfortunately, while they were in their white clothes, they took pictures, but I didn't know about it because I was practicing the musical number which was Oração de uma Criança (Child's Prayer), which all the youth organizations sang. I just got one picture after the fact. So Laura is the older one, Louisa is the middle child. The youngest daughter is Lívia, and she is super adorable. The faces she makes, it's really funny. After the baptism, we went over to their house where we had more cake and sandwiches and juice, which was awesome. 

And today, nothing has happened yet, but it is my one-year-and-ten-month anniversary. So today we're going to buy açaí because it's hot, and then at night we're going to buy pizza because there's no such thing as a mission anniversary without pizza. I think that's it for me. Tchau!

House tour of Parque das Bandeiras

Monday, October 10, 2016

Parque das Bandeiras - Week 1

Hey people! So this week, let me see what happened...

So on Tuesday, we had a lesson with Bianca and Alesandra. Alesandra is a single mom, she has three daughters who are baptized (and one that's a baby). She told us that she doesn't want to get baptized until she's absolutely sure that she won't go back to the worldly things again (she was already baptized in an evangelical church). Bianca is 17, and she is pregnant of 8 months. And Layssa was also there, but she's from the ward. So we taught them, they're very cool. Then we also visited some members Natane and Isis (which is a sick name, not in light of world events, but you know). :) Apparently Isis plays the piano in the ward, so I'm free at last! Now I just have to make sure that nobody finds out that I can play piano, for five weeks, and then I'll be free. (Not that I mind, but it would just be nice.) At their house they had Neil, he's from the Caribbean, so he really doesn't speak Portuguese at all, he only speaks English, and he has a super sick accent. Natane and Isis speak a bit of English as well, so that's how they communicate with him. Anyways...

On Wednesday, I finished Helaman in the Book of Mormon, so I'm probably beating you guys, just guessing. :) And we visited a nine-year-old girl, Louisa, that's going to get baptized this Saturday, along with her sister, Laura, who is a bit older than her. We taught her about the plan of salvation. It was fun. I've never really taught kids, but it was kinda fun 'cause you have to simplify it a lot, so it was kind of a good change, I guess, trying to teach it to a kid so that they could understand. Then we also had a lesson with other investigators, Marcia and Iara. They're pretty intellectual so they have good questions, so that's cool. We had lunch with them on Saturday, which was the bomb.

Thursday, we had another lesson with Laura and Louisa, we taught about the gospel. I did the activity where you have a tupperware thing of water and you put in a bunch of oregano. The oregano in the water is to demonstrate the bad stuff in the world. Then they put their finger in, because we live in the world, and when they take it out, it's all covered in oregano. Then you have another cup of water, which is baptism, so they baptize their finger and clean it off. But now what? You have to live in the world, just because you got baptized doesn't mean you get to live in a different world. But you have the Holy Ghost! You get detergente... dish soap... and you spread it on their finger, and then when they go to put their finger back in the water, all the oregano avoids their finger, their finger doesn't get dirty. So that's why baptism and the Holy Ghost are important. :)

The zone meeting we had on Friday, which was in Cubatão, was cool. It was a good meeting. It was fun to see everybody. So Elder Vasconselos, from my group, is our zone leader. There was also Elder Nascimento, I lived with him in Caragua. There was also Elder Gonzalez there, I lived with him in Enseada and he was also my companion in Itanhaém. Elder Moreria was there, I trained him in Rio Branco. So it was cool to see all of them. After that, we had lunch. Then we visited Bianca and Layssa again, at Layssa's house, because Bianca lives there (her boyfriend is Layssa's brother). We did the baptism object lesson again. They gave us ice cream. It's been raining a lot recently, a lot a lot a lot. Pretty much every day. Which is nice, at least it's not hot, well Saturday was hot. Then we visited Alesandra, did the object lesson with her. :)  I got a bunch of cards from the Dublin 1st Ward primary. How many wards are there in Dublin?

On Saturday, we had lunch with Marcia and Iara. It's fun talking with them. Marcia talked a lot about capoeira, the history of it and it's current deplorable state. We visited some new people. We talked to Alesandra. She talked a lot about how we're her family, we're all family. So that was cool. And she fed us buraco quente, it's like sloppy joes, not exactly the same flavor, but it's good.

Yesterday we had a stake conference, Serra do Mar Stake. I saw a bunch of people that I had seen a year and a bit ago in Rio Bronco, but I didn't really get to talk to anybody.

Then we had lunch with a member's mom, it was an awesome lunch. At the end, there was cake and fruit salad, which makes a great combo. After, the lady showed us her garden, that had a bunch of little crab things hanging out in holes, which was cool. And she paints really well, like professional legit paintings.

Then we taught Bianca at Layssa's house and they had a bunch of friends over, we talked about non-church stuff with them to try to show them that we're normal people. :) It was cool. Everybody was crackin' jokes about the other people. I was going to say making fun of the American, but they didn't, they just asked me questions. That's going to be something weird, when I come back and nobody asks me how the United States is. That's one thing that I've liked about Brazil, maybe it's a selfish reason, but you just feel like a bit of a celebrity, which is cool. I guess I better take advantage of it while it lasts because it'll probably be the first and last time that I feel like that. Dad knows what I'm talkin' about. :) Then we went to Alesandra's house. I just had a little bit of a stomach ache from how much I ate at lunch, but it was fine, I deserve it, and it was totally worth it. I think that's it from Parque das Bandeiras this week.

Happy Birthday Jacob! I didn't forget. I didn't send you anything and I'm not going to. But I'm sending you pensamentos bons de aniversário [good birthday thoughts].  I hope you have a good day Jake, I hope you are happy with your coming of age. Although, let's be honest, probably just in the sense that you're 18, not in the maturity department. :) Now you can start doing your mission papers, stuff like that. Maybe you can finally get a job, vagabondo [vagrant]! Stop being a fubeca [punk]! Bicho-preguiça, that's what you are. Bicho-preguiça is a sloth, it's the "laziness animal" as they say here. So that's what you are, a laziness animal. :)

I love you guys, have a good week! Tchau!    

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Registro - Week 12

Hello Family! I'm coming to you guys, not from Registro, but from Parque das Bandeiras. That's right, I was transferred. I guess I'll talk about that first. So everybody left the house - I came here to Parque das Bandeiras, which is in São Vicente. (If you guys remember, my second area was Rio Bronco, it's a neighboring area, it was in the same district, but I never went here or anything, so it's still new, so it's good.) So Monday morning, we packed up all our stuff, had lunch, and we got on a bus to Peruíbe first, which was about 3 hours, then from Peruíbe we got a bus to Santos, which was another 2.5 hours. Except we got off before getting to Santos proper.  We got off on the beach to get the little mini buses back to São Vicente. So it went alright, I only got a little bit lost on the way here. It was normal, you always get lost on transfers. At least now I can find my way around a lot more easily.

So the week... On p-day we played volleyball as usual. It was very sunny and hot so we played less, but I used sunscreen, don't worry, so I didn't get burned. So that was that. Then on Monday night we had a family night at a less-active family's house. It was a lady and her three daughters (she's like a grandma, so her daughters are fully grown). There was also another lady who showed up from the branch. So it was just a bunch of girls talking and catching up, which was an absolute nightmare. :) But there was carrot cake with chocolate covering, so that was good.

On Tuesday, lunch was with Fabrício, the lawyer, and we talked about American politics, gun laws, and stuff like that, so it was cool. We taught some new people, I made salad, not much happened.

Wednesday, Elizabete, a member, bought us stuff to make lunch, chicken and rice, Elder Martins made it. Then we had divisions with zone leaders, so I went with Elder Carlos. We only taught one lesson, it was the two siblings of a rapaz that we had already taught. At first they were not really wanting to hear the message, but then they were opening up and answering questions and reading, so it was good. Then their sister got there and started cursing and cussing us out. It was pretty bad, so we left. Then there was a branch activity. The game was that I played the first few notes of a hymn and they had to guess which one it was. It was good. Then we bought pizza, because of the division.

Thursday, Elder Carlos and I went and tried to help set up the projector for Conference. We only got the image to work, we couldn't get the audio, but it got figured out before Saturday so it was fine. Then for some reason, Subway had a buy one get one free promo, so that was awesome. I bought two 30 cm (footlong) melts for 22 reais, like 5 bucks. Thursday also we helped somebody move, which was cool. They were just moving stuff out of the truck and we asked if we could help, and they were like "Yeah why not" so we helped them. It was a mom and her daughter and the mom's brother. We were going to teach them this week, but then we got transferred, so the other Elders will teach them, I hope. They were cool.

On Friday, we helped another move, because the lady asked us to. We were walking by and she was like "Oh Mormons! Come help us move!" So we helped them, that was good. Lunch on Friday, a lady from the ward paid for a restaurant, so that was good as usual. We had kind of an emergency family night at Bibi's house. I had to buy the food for it, so I bought a bunch of little cakes and soda. Lincoln showed up, but couldn't stay.

On Saturday morning, I picked up my pants that I had taken to a costureira, to a... um... a lady that sews. I don't know the word for that. :) I took my blue suit pants to get a little bit elongated and one of my khaki pants, the hem had come unsewn. She does it for cheap so I figured I'd take advantage of it. So now all my pants are good size and the hem is not loose (I hope it's called the hem, the part at the bottom.) :) We had lunch with Irmã Zelia, it was good. Then we went to the church [for Conference]. We had asked a member to bring a laptop to get English, but it wasn't really working, so we just used the secretary PC. It worked out well even though we started a bit late. In the second session, I hope you recognized Elder Bassett, he's the one that came to our mission. So that was cool to watch him talk. I kept expecting and hoping that he would say something about Santos, but he didn't. :) Then after Conference, a rapaz, Gabriel, came for English class, so we stayed until 8:15 teaching him.

Conference was really good. I don't know if I have a favorite talk, I'll have to study all of them again. I think it was President Uchtdorf that essentially gave the plan of salvation lesson, he destroyed it, it was great! It was all really good. Lots of stuff about repenting and prayer at this Conference, I noticed. I liked Juan A. Uceda's about praying, and also J. Devn Cornish's about not comparing ourselves to others. Then Saturday afternoon, Elder Oak's talk was really good, as always. Also Kazuhiko Yamashita actually used the scripture that I had used at the lunch message, so that was cool, great minds think alike (just kidding). :)  Pretty much not anybody came on Saturday, just the branch president and a few other people. Then Sunday, a few more people came, but still not very many.

On Sunday, we had lunch with Cristina. There was also the election, so Sunday morning, the two Brazilian elders had to go justify their votes, like why they wouldn't be able to vote because they weren't in their home state, so we went with them to see how it was. They just vote at a high school. I can't remember, how is voting in the United States? Where do they set up the voting stations? They asked, but I couldn't remember. So there was the election of all the city officials, Cristina had a campaign but she lost. She was close-ish, there were 13 spaces, and she got in 25th place, but considering there were hundreds of candidates, 25 is not bad. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. :)  

On Sunday, the hymn that they sang at the end of Conference, Let us All Press On, was the bomb, that was so good:

I liked the talk about preparing for the sacrament, definitely something that everybody could work on. I also liked K. Brett Nattress' about reading the Book of Mormon every day to your kids. And also Evan A. Schmutz' about suffering and having an eternal perspective. Conference was really good, hope you guys liked it! After Conference, the zone leaders came over, and they begged me for ties. Apparently I had never given a tie to Elder Carlos since I trained him, so I gave him one, signed it and everything.

So Monday, transfer. Lots of rubik's cube on the bus. :) I got here at 8:30 at night and unpacked and stuff. My companion is Elder Barbosa, he is from Pernambuco, it's northeast. He speaks really good English because he lived in England and Scotland for six months. The house, it's just us two that live here in Parque das Bandeiras. I'm not a district leader which is amazing, that'll be really good, I'm looking forward to not having to call people. :) It's a little bit strange, I think Elder Hesselgesser and his group is going home tomorrow or today, not sure, so that's strange, and then I'm next. So I dunno, it's weird. I haven't really come to terms with it yet, that this is the last area, last companion, all that stuff. Anyways...

It's Tuesday morning. We're going to have lunch with the Bishop. So our area is really small, compared to Registro or other areas. It's about 8 roads tall and 12 roads wide. So it's pretty small, but the frequency of the ward... that's not how you say it... the attendance! there you go... attendance is 130, something around there, so I guess I'll see this Sunday. Apparently there's a bunch of members that live close to us. So everything's been going good. I think that's it for me. I hope you have a great week and I love you guys. Até mais!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Registro - Week 11

Hello parents and people! So... my week:

On Tuesday we visited the two rapazes that came to church last week, João and Mateus. We taught them the Restoration and set a baptism date for the 2nd of October. It was all great! Not too much else happened successfully.

On Wednesday, we did divisions, then we had lunch with Emerson's family (the possum family). It was not possum though, luckily, it was rice and beans with spicy bbq sauce. Heck yeah! It probably sounds like a weird combination but it was good. That was pretty much the only good part of the day because then everything that could fall through, fell through. Even João and Mateus' mom called us and said, "You can't visit them anymore because their dad doesn't want them to." We're not sure why. :( I cancelled the English class, because Wednesday night there was a Noite de Integração at the branch. They had cake and soda - so obviously it took high priority ... I'm mostly kidding about that, but not completely. :) Elder Carlos gave a message about the Good Shepherd. [Click here for the whole story.]

On Thursday, we had lunch with Irmão Rosete which was good as usual. There was brigadeiro de colher, so that was good. (Instead of forming it into little balls, you make it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon, a lot better than going to all that effort making it into neat little spheres.) We visited Viviane after planning. Then we visited two new people, Lincoln and Lydia. Then at night, Denelsa (who is the mom of the girl that's doing piano, they're the ones that got baptized last week) they gave us cake. She has a pharmacy, so all six missionaries went over there and she gave us cake and soda. It was great.

Friday, we started off the day thinking that we didn't have lunch, because there was no lunch on the calendar. So we went and bought pasta and sauce and soda, you know, all the necessities. Then we made lunch and it was good and everybody was full. Then at 1:00, Rosete called to tell us that Christina has got our lunch covered and she's making it so we're supposed to go over to her house. So that was crazy, we went to her house and ate second lunch, like hobbits. And for the first time in Registro, she had ice cream (the one day where we were too full to eat anything else) and so I had to have a lot. :) Then stuff fell through with our investigators, but it was alright.

At the start of this transfer, we had the challenge to read the Book of Mormon before the Christmas conference, or in my case, before November. So I started the first of September and I'm in Alma 27, so I'm a little more than halfway through, I think.

On Saturday, we had lunch with Ronei and Bibi. They're great, they have my kind of humor. :) Then everything fell through again. We had piano class which was fine, just used the church manual. (I don't even think I'd want to teach my kids piano, if they want to learn piano, I'd hire a piano teacher. That probably sounds ridiculous, but I don't think I can teach that well. It's hard for me to go back to basics and see stuff from their point of view.) After that, we did English class, which was good. We did vocab of getting around a city, and Elder Rodriguez drew a city on the chalkboard and we had them give directions to each other to get around the city. That was cool. We tried to visit some more people, but nobody was home. Consequently, nobody came to church today.

Today, church was fine. The hymns were pretty easy, so it was not bad. I'm probably going to have some sort of minor hymn shock when I get to the States and realize there are so many more hymns than in Portuguese and that we sing so many more of them percentage-wise. So even though now I feel I'm pretty good at playing just about any hymn, I'll be in for a big slap in the face from reality when I get to the English hymnbook. :)

Tomorrow we're going to play volleyball for Elder Martins' last p-day in Registro, he's definitely going this transfer, and maybe I'll leave, I don't know what will happen. It's transfer week, and it's General Conference. Big stuff going down. I'm super excited for General Conference, it'll be awesome. I think I'll be able to watch it in English with Elder Rodriguez, he said he wants to watch it in English.

So that is it for me. I hope you guys have a great week and I love you guys. Until next week! Tch-tchau!

This car was one we saw parked outside the civil police delegacy. With a bunch of bricks of drugs hahahahaha. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Registro - Week 10

Hi Parents and Jacob and people! So this week...

We played volleyball on Monday the 12th of September, it was pretty hot and I got a little bit sunburned but not bad. I don't stay sunburned at all anymore.  Maybe I'll get burned for like one day and then the next day I'm fine, which is probably a sign of advanced skin cancer or something like that so I probably shouldn't be bragging about that. :) I got a bunch of lettuce and cucumber and tomato and this one salad dressing that the market had, and I made salad. They didn't have ham and cheese at the grocery store, don't ask me how, they just didn't have it. I'm pretty sure the salad dressing is the rough equivalent of thousand island, which I've never liked, so it's sort of eh... I ate it anyways. I'm craving ranch super bad. Yeah... eating salad this past week has made me crave it like crazy! At the beginning of the week, it was really hot, like hot wind, which is awful, that has not been fun. I think we're into spring officially, maybe.

Wednesday we were walking on the road and saw a market, you know the feira, the market that I've told you guys about? I haven't been to one for awhile but we were walking through one the other day just to see what it had, and they had sushi, because there's a lot of Japanese people here. I thought that was pretty interesting that they had sushi in the market. I didn't get any, but I could have if I wanted to. On Wednesday is was a rapaz-from-the-branch's birthday, Emerson, so we bought some soda and made a cake for him and we took it to his house. Because his family is a bit more...humble, and so we thought it would be good to do that for him. And they have a special kid, he's super cool and funny. At Emerson's house, his dad has this fake pistol that shoots plastic bb's, so we had a little shooting contest. (It reminded me of the Goodman's house, shooting the guns at the little action figures.) We weren't outside or anything, we were in his house shooting at these medals that his kids had earned. Elder Rodriguez is a good shot, and so am I, two for two.

English class went better. I taught a big list of vocab and then we did this game where each person had five seconds to answer, like "Name three jobs." Then they'd have to name three jobs, in English, obviously. Or name three colors, stuff like that, simple stuff. They were all pretty bad at it but at least it got them participating so it was a lot more agreeable. :)

On Thursday, it was planning day. And Elder Rodriguez finished the little penguin sculptures he has made, he painted them. He made a little missionary district of penguins, they're pretty interesting:

I also had piano class on Thursday. I had downloaded the church manual as a PDF then bluetoothed it to her phone, so it was a lot better. The church manual is really good, by the way, if there's anybody that's wanting to learn piano. It's awesome. While we were there, there was this Argentinian gypsy guy, apparently just traveling around without money, so he showed up at the church, walked right in, asked if he could sleep there, so that was awkward. :) Then a bunch of rapazes showed up wanting to play soccer, so we let them. And that was our whole night, we just watched them playing soccer. And also Elder Rodriguez bought pizza because it was his three-month mark, woohoo!

On Friday, we ate a bunch because it was the self-service restaurant that one of the sisters here buys for us, it's all-you-can-eat, so that was great. And Elder Rodriguez made this other Colombian food called arepas, this corn flour thing that you fry, I'm not really sure what it is because apparently it didn't turn out perfect. Maybe he'll do them again sometime. Also on Friday I found out that I was going to talk on Sunday, so that was fun.

On Saturday, it was my one year and nine months mark, which is insane. I had a baptism interview to do at 7:30 in the morning, it's the mom of the girl that's doing piano lessons. It went well. Since we got there early, we sat around at the church and I practiced piano. Then we had a zone conference with President Obata. They had sandwiches and lots of fruit. It was a good conference. One strange thing that happened was that apparently there won't be another conference before the Christmas one I think, so it was technically my last zone conference I guess, so that was strange. So anyways, I had to stand up and give my testimony about the mission and all that stuff, it was crazy, it was a bizarre feeling.

Then we taught English class at the church, which was a lot better. We also did a game where we did a bunch of vocab for describing people, then one person would sit with their back to the chalkboard and then we'd write some sort of character or person on the chalkboard, then the whole class had to describe whatever we wrote on the chalkboard to the person in the chair, and then they had to guess who it was. It went well. Then I did the baptism interview for the girl that's doing piano (so on Sunday, the girl and her mom got baptized). I bought pizza because, you know, one year and nine months. :) And also, Irmão Rosete bought us yakisoba, which is a Japanese noodle thing. So we had yakisoba and pizza, so that was sick.

On Sunday I talked in church about The Music of the Gospel, the old Native American dude that said:
"I can teach you how to dance, but you have to learn to hear the music." 

I'm not sure why, but I still get nervous about talking in sacrament meeting, which is strange, but it is what it is. And finally, two rapazes came to church...finally! The first people that we've managed to bring to church in this area, which is crazy! Their names are João and Mateus - João is 13 and Mateus is 17 or 16. So they came to church and they also came to volleyball on Monday, so that was cool. Then after church, Denelsa and her daughter (which is the piano girl) they got baptized. It was really good. Then it rained a ton, the sky turned just about black at 4:00 in the afternoon, which was crazy.

So on Monday morning (yesterday) we had an old oven that we took to Emerson's family and gave it to them. Then we came back and we played volleyball, from 1:30 until 5:00. We played with an investigator of the other elders and her boyfriend, and then João and Mateus, and also Emerson. It was really fun. Elder Carlos is super competitive, so that was not so fun. :) And also the Assistants [to the President] are in town, so they did a surprise division with us Monday night. I don't like it when they're not surprises, let alone when they was alright though. I went with Elder Sharp, he is going home this transfer. We went to visit a bunch of people but nobody was at home, so we ended up just knocking on doors. We found a piano teacher actually which was cool. Then Monday night I was starving because I hadn't eaten anything since lunch and then we played volleyball and walked around a bunch, so I had a big salad for dinner.

I found some more piano songs to learn. One of them is a really good classical one, by Erik Satie - Gymnopédie No.1. Normally I didn't like classical music but I like this one, it's fun.

Anyways, that was my week! I love you guys, thanks for everything. Until next time!

The shirts got here! Pretty quick really, although I was lucky because there was the zone conference this weekend, which facilitated the delivery significantly :)  They're sweet. I just opened mine to take this picture and send it to you guys, but I won't use it.
[Editor's note: he's bringing 3 matching ones home for the rest of us! :)]