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

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 15

 Dear Family & Friends,

Before I start, I need to answer some questions that my Mom has asked:

  • We walk everywhere unless we need to go to the mission office or somewhere downtown. We've ended up on the bus once or twice a week.  At first sight, everyone thinks I'm Brazilian. I'm still pretty amazed by that, but that's what people think!
  • The apartment is pretty small, not too big of a deal. It's nicer than a lot of the houses I've been in here.  I'll send some pictures next week.
  • I don't recall any weird bugs, I mostly see flies, ants and mosquito's. I saw an iguana once, though!  There are horses and donkeys that people use, and I saw a sheep one time. 
  • For future reference, an American in the ward that used to serve here told me its a good idea to put the value of the package as less than it actually is, because if the value is high, they'll tax it out the wazoo and I'll have to pay a whole bunch of money just to pick it  up. He told me once he had to pay 82 reais (about 40 bucks) to get a package from the post office. 
  • The ward (congregation) meets in a church building.  It's kind of weird because there is no carpet at all.   There is an electric piano in the chapel. There's only one set of missionaries in the ward, but there are three wards in the building (our church starts at 4 and ends at 7) so we see other missionaries once in a while.
  • Most houses have just concrete on the floor with rugs. The nicer ones have tile floors, no carpet. The most modest home I've been in was about  15 feet by 15 feet with dirt floors and put together with whatever they could find. 
  • On prep day we study until 10, then we'll shop, email, nap, in whatever order we feel like, and then we sometimes go to members houses and visit. We played a Brazilian version of Risk a couple weeks ago with some members.
  • I feel safe!!!  There was one time when we went up a street looking for someone to invite to church and there was this guy up there that really gave both of us a bad feeling, so we just got out of there.  That has been the worst thing, and its not even bad.  The people are usually really nice here.  Kids are really funny, they'll run up to Elder Etchichury and yell "Fala Inglês!!!" because they think he's American (he's from Rio) and then he'll tell them he doesn't speak English, but that I do because I'm American and they don't believe him. It's really funny.
  • Grocery stores aren't that different, there's just Brazilian brands of food, and different fruit.
  •  Oh so mom, whenever I show people my pictures of the family, they're always like ohhh they're so beautiful! You have a beautiful family! Your mom is beautiful!  Yesterday, a family was looking at them, and the mom said that you look like an actress....a Mexican actress hahaha I'm pretty sure that's a compliment....anyway, I thought it was funny.
This week was definitely the best one so far in Brazil!
We had so much success with our work this week!  I'm at the point now where I can understand the conversation during our lessons (not really any other time....the Gift of Tongues at work) and so that means I have been able to take more of a role in the teaching, which has been awesome! Scary, but awesome! We taught so many good lessons and we had a lot of new investigators. We had nine investigators come to church yesterday!!! What we do is that about two hours before church, we go around to the houses of everyone who said they would come and we all walk to church together. We had a huge group yesterday! A miracle we saw yesterday was that this couple we started teaching this week, Marisio and Silvia came to church by themselves! When we stopped by their house, they said they would be there at about five, and they were! A lot of people will say "oh yeah, I'll come to church" just because they don't want to offend us, and then they won't show up or won't be home or say they can't go when we stop by their house.  But, Marisio and Silvia came, and I think they enjoyed it. I sat by them in Sacrament meeting, and Elder Etchichury sat by some other investigators. I tried to explain the stuff in the chapel to them in my limited Portuguese, but I think their questions were answered. It was funny because Marisio was just belting out the hymns, at his first time in church! I was loving it!

So we have a baptism next week! It will be my first one in Brazil! Her name is Melione, but she goes by Mel. She's been awesome, she has quit coffee, smoking, and alcohol all at once!  So impressive.  She has some friends and relatives that have been in the house when we teach her, and a few of them are showing interest in the church as well, so hopefully we'll be able to baptize her family too.
So on a more secular note, I discovered a few new things here. One, is this weird Brazilian dessert which I think is called canjica.  It's kind of like pudding, but a little thicker, and the main ingredient is corn. So we were in this member's house, and she brings it out in these little bowls. I looked over at my companion, and he was digging in, so I took a bite....and almost spit it back out across the room. Not what I was expecting at all!!  I think if I was to eat a yellow kitchen sponge, it would be similar. All of the sudden, that little bowl was looking like Bryant Denny Stadium. I struggled through a few more bites, but I didn't know if I was going to make it. Apparently, I was a little more obvious than I thought I was with how I liked it, and the sister said, "Elder, if you don't like it, don't eat it." Music to my ears!  She was very gracious about it, which I appreciated. 

Not much else to report, but I hope you have a great week! A scripture I read this week and really liked is in Alma 32:21, look it up if you get a chance! 

Elder Poulson
A Capri sun...unique, i thought it was cool. Didn't taste any better but still, haha

 An awesome bug killer. I call it the racquet of death. its electric, so when it touches the bugs, ZAP and they're dead! best 14 R$ I have ever spent. 
This is pretty typical for a member lunch. Rice beans spaghetti and some meat, usually chicken. not whatever this was. I think it was a pork chop. and there's usually some kind of juice as well.

A kid from one of the families in the ward who wanted to try on my jacket. his name is Eduardo, but his nickname is do-do hahaha

We had to go to the doctor for my athletes foot last Friday, and he told me to wear flip flops for a few days. so I wore flip flops to church yesterday! I actually wasn't too out of place, haha

The tapioca car...the speaker on top blares this recording over and over again for tapioca for fifty centavos. Elder Etchichury knows the whole thing. it will do the advertisement, and then it plays this song with this woman singing about Jesus. completely random hahaha but that sums up Brazil....

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