The Brazil Fortaleza East Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
October 2, 2013-2015

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Week 14

Dear Family and Friends-
Another week has gone by. It seems like they're going faster and faster! A couple exciting things happened this week. One, I weighed myself on the 8th, and I've lost nine pounds since I got here! And probably more since then! I went a notch smaller on my belt today too, so that is pretty exciting for me. Also, I had exchanges (or a division as its called here) with one of my zone leaders this week.  Basically how a mission is organized, is there is the mission president who is in charge of all the missionaries.  He chooses two elders (missionaries) to be assistants, and they help him run the mission.  Companionship's of zone leaders who oversee at least two districts, which have usually about 6 or 8 missionaries each, help the assistants.  Then there is one district leader per district. The missionaries in leadership positions go into the areas of other missionaries every once in a while to see how the area is progressing and help the other missionaries improve. I hope that made sense.  Anyway, I went with Elder J. Souza, one of my zone leaders into his area to work for a day.  He is from a town near São Paulo, and he doesn't speak much English like my companion, so I really had to use my Portuguese that day. It went really well, there was a loooot of walking, but I was able to sleep well that night! 
Something else that happened - Elder Etchichury, my companion, broke his finger.  We were exercising one morning at a park near our apartment with a member, and we had my football and were running around and throwing the ball. The member threw a pass to Elder Etchichury, and his finger went KERBLAM!!! So the next day, we spent pretty much all day downtown waiting in a clinic and then the hospital for an assessment, x-rays, and then treatment.  He has a little brace thing he has to wear on his finger for 6 weeks.  It's kind of funny because it's his middle finger that's broken on his right hand, so whenever he writes he is flipping off everyone in the general area (that particular gesture is still offensive in Brazil haha). So he has to explain what happened to basically everyone we talk to.
I started sleeping in a hammock this week! It's been pretty awesome, because my mattress that was in the apartment was totally destroying my back.  Hammocks are just fun to sleep in and a lot of people here use them. 
My Portuguese is coming along well, I am able to understand conversations more. Not everything, but it's improving.  Towards the end of the day, I have to really focus if I want to know what's going on. It gets really easy to zone out.  Some days by about 6 or 7 o'clock, I'm just absolutely sick of Portuguese! But, its coming along well.
My testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel grows every day, especially at the end of a really difficult day. I know what I'm doing is the Lord's work!
Have a blessed week!

Elder Poulson
The view from the zone leader's apartment of the Fortaleza airport!

This is a picture of a Brazilian version of risk, that has the whole united states separated into California and New York hahaha pretty funny!

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