Monday, July 25, 2016

Registro - Week 2

[Editor's note: The transcript is below, click here for the full recording.]

Alright family, recording 5, I think. Sweet. So, I'm here in a room with my diary, with Elder Rodriguez, he made us ham and cheese sammiches, and now I'm going to do my recording for you guys.

So last p-day, we did have a family night with the familia Rosete. They're super cool. There was lots of food, there were little bite-sized churros, and lots of soda, because he knew that soda was liberated and he bought one two-liter of every kind of soda that there is so that we could try it. Not every kind of soda, but you know, the major ones like coke and guarana and fanta and sprite. I just had guarana because it's the best of all of them. So that was cool, that was a good family night.

Tuesday, we had lunch with Christina, she's a member here. We helped her take a bike to get... how do you say that... put together? We contacted a few people and everything fell through, which is cool. There was (and still is) a confusion about this baptism that was going to happen of this girl named Sara.

Wednesday we had district meeting, it was fine. Then we had another lunch with Christina because there's not that many people that give lunch here in this branch. But it was great because it was stroganoff. Super good. And she gave us acai, which was cool. Then I interviewed Sara and she was the best prepared that I've ever interviewed in my mission. She was super well prepared, she studied a lot.  She really really really really wants to get baptized. Really.

On Thursday, we did planning. I had four eggs for lunch, because we had dinner with Ivette. We contacted more people.

We've got cold weather here, almost this whole week. It was only today, Sunday, that it warmed up. The rest of the week it was cold, which was awesome, I love it.  

Friday, we had lunch at this super chique house, it looked like a log cabin inside, it was dope. We went to visit Sara's mom to get her to sign another baptismal form. We visited some recent converts that were super cool.

Saturday, the day scheduled for Sara's baptism, there was another huge confusion. So basically she didn't end up getting baptized, it'll probably have to wait for like two weeks or something like that.

Also on Saturday, lunch was insane, it was the craziest lunch I've ever been to in my life. The actual lunch was normal, it was pretty boring. But then after, they had this big back yard and there were lots of trees, trees that were sort of not quite in their backyard but almost. Basically I think there were two possums? I think they were possums? In Portuguese it's gambá, which I haven't bothered to look up. They looked like possums to me. They were really stinky. They were super ugly, ugly as junk, so I think they're possums. So they were hanging out in some trees, well actually, they were hanging out on the ground, but then the dog started chasing after them, so they climbed up into some trees. And then the kids saw them, which that's where it all went bad, because the kids started throwing rocks at the possums trying to kill them. It was like psychopath kids. There was this huge ruckus of them throwing rocks at these possums, mostly missing, but occasionally hitting them pretty good. This other kid from the neighborhood came over with a slingshot and started missing as well, he was really bad with the slingshot. Not that I can say anything because I'm probably not that good either, but c'mon, if you own one at least be good with it. But they started shooting at them, and then basically, huge ruckus, and then eventually they got the courage to just go into the bush with sticks and knock them down and kill them. So yeah they actually killed them. It was crazy. It was kinda sad, but also super funny. I didn't know whether to be sad or whether to laugh, and I laughed. If that makes me a bad person, sorry that I let you guys down. Anyways, they were super stinky. Apparently they killed them because they were going to eat them, don't know if that's true.  I hope it's not true, because that is disgusting. I think they might eat them, dunno. More news on that next week, if we talk to them. I didn't get a picture on my camera, because I didn't have it, but one of the other elders got a picture on his camera of the little kid that killed one of them holding it up, like you know those fishing pictures, exactly like that, it was disgusting:

We contacted more people on Saturday, we had a weird lesson that was funny but annoying and difficult with this lady who was pretty deaf and a little bit very blind in one eye (that's what I wrote in my journal, haha: fairly deaf and a little bit very blind in one eye). She didn't shout actually, we had to shout the whole time. I don't know if she understood a single thing we said.

Then Sunday, today, so I talked in church about Shiblon, that one kid of Alma's that he only talked about for one chapter. It was cool, I talked for 10 minutes, I took up my time but the meeting went under. Went under? Is that a phrase you guys use? I know that the meetings go over but do they also go under? Went short? It was short five minutes but I took up my time so whatever it wasn't my fault. :)

Then we had lunch, it was really good, she made this pudding (pudim). Is it flan? I don't know if that's what it translates to but it was really good 'cause it had some sort of caramel taste to it. Also she gave us pepsi which was crazy, it was the first lunch of my mission that I'm served pepsi. Well, actually not the first lunch that I'm served it, but it was the first lunch that I drank it because I could. So it was really good. Still very strange.

On Sunday in this area, nobody is home. It's crazy how nobody is home on Sunday. Maybe because of the futebol (I mean soccer) game, not sure why, everybody just disappears.

Yeah, so that was my week. One thing I forgot to tell you about this area is that there are a lot of hills, lots and lots and lots of hills. It's the first area of my mission, and I think the only area of the whole mission, that has hills, this area of Registro. Lots of hills which I was not used to. My mission did not prepare me for this, so I'm having a rough time, haha, I'm just kidding. Sometimes I have a rough time, at the end of the day, it's rough. Going down is fine, but going up is a real problem sometimes. So that's something new about this area:  hills. Which I'm glad that the rest of my mission did not have hills, because it's miserable.  :)

I think that was all that I wanted to tell you. I love you guys, have a great week!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Registro - Week 1

It was especially weird having a birthday the day that the new missionaries's like, "Happy Birthday, your present is...Élder Rodriguez!" Hahaha. That's what it felt like anyways. It was very cool though. So here's your recording, it's a doozey. Doozey? Doozie? Dunno how to spell anymore. Not that that's really a word it? But yeah, a bit more news this week. Have a great week!


[Click here]

[Editor's note:  At 16:48 he starts speaking Portuguese.  Below is the transcript.]

Hey Family! Week 4? I can’t remember what week we’re on. Anyways, my weekly podcast that I’m doing... so let’s get right off... let's get right... let's get started... how do you say that?  Can't remember. 

Anyways, so I’m doing this on p-day, the 18th of July, so I will go back to last p-day [July 11]. As you guys know, Joel and Magda and Isaque visited us, and it was super awesome! They took us to lunch at Habib’s, we took a lot of pictures, I baked my birthday cake (thank you mom) it was amazing.  Then they gave us a ride to the mission office, and so we stayed at the mission house. 

Then on Tuesday, my 20th birthday! Woooooooooo! It’s pretty weird that I’m 20. Dunno. I’m not a teenager anymore.  So we got up, we got all ready, then we went to the office and there were some trainings which was normal. Then we had lunch, we bought some sandwiches from this restaurant place. Then we waited a lot and then went to President’s house. The house itself hasn’t changed that much, a lot of the decorations are gone, which is kind of sad. Dunno, it made me miss the Cabrals. So my new companion is Elder Rodriguez, he’s from Colombia. He’s incredible. He’s super cool. We’re having a really good time.

We waited awhile in the office. They bought us our bus tickets to Registro, which was only going to leave on Wednesday at 1:00 in the afternoon so we were going to have to sleep there anyways. So at night we just contacted some references from the office area, so that was chill.

I got a Snickers bar from one of the missionaries. Everybody sang a lot to me. I actually got sung to in President’s house with all of the trainees and trainers, so that was cool. That probably doesn’t happen very often to anybody. I got a dessert from Sister Obata.

Next day, quarta-feira, I mean Wednesday, whoops. We did studies. We made pasta for lunch. We barely got to the bus station in time for the bus, the suitcases barely didn’t fit. But it was alright. It was a cool bus ride. It was normal, it was long. We left at 1:00 and got there at 5:30 or something like that. Then we had to climb lots of hills with our suitcases to get to the house. But it’s incredible here. The house is awesome, it’s on the 12th floor. It kinda feels like a hotel until you get to the apartment, and then it feels like a missionary apartment because that’s what it is. Then we pretty much unpacked and got groceries, and that was it for Wednesday.

Then Thursday. We planned. So before us, there used to only be two sets of missionaries in this area, and we’re the third. So we don’t actually have anything as far as our area book goes, so it’s just contacting references, but that’s all right.

Also on Thursday, I made the snickerdoodles that Grandma sent. I feel like I accidentally put a little too much butter, the dough turned out kind of liquidy. So you guys can have an idea, it was kind of like pancake mix, that’s kinda how it turned out. So we bought flour, and I put in a fair amount of flour, until I could actually roll it into balls and stuff. It was alright. It worked out well, the taste was the same. Also I had to put more sugar into the sugar and cinnamon mix to make it last more, because you know, you can never have too much sugar. So the snickerdoodles turned out good, I didn’t burn them.

Then we had dinner with a member, Christina, she’s pretty cool. It was weird eating with six elders in the same house. But that’s normal here, or it will be.

So me being a district leader, I have to follow up with all the missionaries. Luckily my district is just the two missionaries that live with us in this house and then one other set that live in this city but not in this house. So I just have to follow up with them, which I have discovered the secret to acompanhamento toleravel [tolerable reporting], which is tea, so I’ve been drinking a lot of tea, that’s my nightly ritual. We plan, then after we plan, I put some water on to boil, then I make cha matte, with sugar, so that’s how I survive following up. I just drink tea and I forget about how much I dislike talking on the phone. :)

So on Friday we spent pretty much the whole day just contacting a lot of wrong addresses. But the very first house we got into, we taught the Restoration and the guy, Tiago, accepted a baptism date. Literally the first house that Elder Rodriguez had ever stepped into in his life on the mission, which is sweet. Also, Elder Rodriguez’ first name is Luigi, which is sick. He’s from Colombia but his name is Luigi, how dope is that?

Also, I’m pretty sure for the first time ever in my mission, I saw pass-along cards work. So I had some pass-along cards from the office that had the office number stamped on them and I gave them to two ladies, and they gave me their addresses right then when I did a contact with them. But then like 20 minutes later, one of the secretaries called me and gave me their addresses again because they had actually called that number to get the DVD about finding faith in Christ. I had never seen that happen before. I’m sure, maybe, probably, someone has called a number from a pass-along card, and I just didn’t know about it, but dunno, this was the first time I’ve seen it.

We also found the chapel, which is a real chapel which surprised me since it’s a branch, but it makes sense because it’s gonna be like a district center? Does that make sense? I don’t know how to say it in English. It’s like a stake center, except it’s not a stake here, it’s a district, so it’s a district center.

And we finished off the snickerdoodles which lasted a short maybe 24 hours, probably less.

Saturday we had a zone conference with President and Sister Obata. We had to get up at 4:45 am to get a bus to Iguape at 6:30 because that was the only time it would get us there before 10:00 which is when the conference started. But it was alright. So this was the huge momentous day that everybody was waiting for. On Saturday, July 16, 2016, I’m not sure what time, sometime in the afternoon, President Obata liberated soda. WOW! We can drink soda. I’m still sort of reverently shocked about that. But I’ve decided as a personal rule, maybe just for the mission, don’t know if I’m going to keep with it after the mission, but I’m going to only drink soda once per week on p-day, if I can help it. I’ll try to help it. :)

Also for the conference they bought pizza for us, which was awesome. It was cool because it was just our zone, it wasn’t like the whole mission or anything, so we could actually talk to him and stuff, it was a little bit more personal, which was cool. I like him a lot, more than I thought I would in the first impression. He did interviews with us, he told me about what I’m supposed to do here in Registro. Then we got the bus back, which took super long, the bus over there was only like an hour and a half, but it does not leave frequently, if that makes sense. We went back and we taught Tiago and he prayed and he got an answer, which was awesome. And we taught him about repentance like we had practiced in the conference and it all went really well.

And then on Sunday, I made one year and seven months. What? How did that happen? When did that happen? I can’t really believe that, it’s really strange. So President and Sister Obata were there at church plus the assistants, the Obatas gave really good talks, pretty cool. The piano is a good one, it’s the same model that they had in Samambaia, which is a good one. At least it’s not like a really untuned piano, out of tune, I mean. Untuned? Is that a word? Sacrament meeting was last, which was strange, because I’m used to having it first in pretty much my whole mission. Then we had lunch with this awesome family, lots of juice and this chicken parmigiano (don’t know how to say that in English) stuff and ice cream and they joked around a lot. It was really cool, I like families that joke around a lot. And then we pretty much contacted more, Tiago wasn’t home.

Then today, we woke up, we did studies, and then we left the house. We went to go take some of Elder Rodriguez’ clothes to get fixed. He bought a water bottle, and I bought a Santos mug to drink all my tea in, ‘cause I think I might start doing that now actually, I kinda like tea, as much for the taste as for the act of drinking tea.

And then also we went to Subway to celebrate Elder Rodriguez’ first p-day on the mission – wooooooo! It’s awesome. And we bought soda with our Subway sandwiches, which was a really strange feeling, it was like… while I was drinking it, it felt like…. before it was liberated I felt like that was just going to be my life, like I wasn’t ever going to have soda again… so when I drank it, it felt like… dunno…. it kinda felt like I was home again, which does not make any sense.  I had guarana which is amazing. It felt like I wasn’t on a mission anymore, which is really strange because soda has nothing to do with being a missionary or not. It felt like it was a part of my life that I thought was never going to happen again, that’s the best job I can do to explain that. Which is probably the same thing that I’ll feel when I come home, like “Man I never thought this would happen actually and now it’s happening and I’m so scared out of my pants dunno what to do.”

Anyways, so that was my week. I don’t think there’s any other big news. Have a good week – I love you guys.

[Tour of the apartment in Registro]

Monday, July 11, 2016

Itanhaém - Week 6

Thanks for the B-day wishes :) I love you guys. 

On Tuesday, I'll have suitcases to open, hahaha. I will be transferred to Registro (far away in the south), so I'm kinda sad about that, I didn't really want to leave. But all that is explained in the recording. So yeah! 

Wow, is my e-mail really this short? Thanks Mum! (tribute to Elder Kagi) Have a great week!

Sabe o que é um dia espetacular???? Eu sei. GRATIDÃO ETERNA. MUITOOO FELIZ ESTAMOS.
Sei que a despedida é momentânea e Deus sabe de tudo, Ele coloca anjos em nossas vidas em forma de pessoas.

Editor's note:  Joel, Magda, and Isaque visited Michael for his birthday and sent the above photos.  Then they drove him and Elder Gonzalez to Santos to the mission home to meet the new missionary he'll be training in Registro!

with Elder Rodriguez

[Click here for interactive map]

Monday, July 4, 2016

Itanhaém - Week 5

President and Sister Obata

Oh yeah, Happy 4th! That's embarassing that I forgot until now...oops.
I'm really glad the voice recordings work! I've got two more right here :)

[Part 1]
[Part 2]

Apparently it stops recording after 6 minutes, which I didn't know, but what length would you guys prefer? I can do more if you guys would like. Also, you should send me recordings of yourselves! Because that's the whole point hahaha.

So, this LAN House is not great, I'm not sure if photos will work. BUT, we're going to a member's house this weekend, I think, and I will upload them from there, because it's just easier. Sorry about the delay until now! :/ Thanks so much for everything! Love you guys!