What a crazy two weeks it has been! I´M IN BRAZIL!!!! Hahaha I love being able to say that. I truly am so blessed to be here and for haviong the luck of receiving my visa so early. One other elder arrived the same day as us who has been serving in Virginia. He had to wait 5 months before he received his! He even went through the same consolate as me! Crazy stuff, I tell ya. Im sorry to hear about being jobless, mom. You can join me in that department. Some people might say that I do have a job, but I wouldnt say so, because Im having to much fun out here! Also, because brazilian keyboards are stupid, I dont think I will be able to write apostrophes for the next 22 months. It drives me nuts, and if it does the same to you, Im sorry :( I will do my best to find a way to type them when I have more time.
So... to answer a few questions. We did fly from são paulo to Rio in the group of us from the CTM there. I think there was about 8 of us, 6 elders and 2 sisters total. I guess theres around 30 missionaries from our mission who are set apart and either at the mtc in Provo or somewhere else in their reassigned field. Again, estou muito abençoado. I mean, I am super blessed. The mission home is FANTASTIC!!!! There's a beautiful view of the Christ statue outside on President and Sister Limas balcony. Their apartment was way nice and they fed us an awesome lunch with yummy delectable drinks. My trainer is Elder Grow, who is a dude from Hollister, California. He has been serving since January of 2012. and only has 3 transfers left of his mission, or about 4 and a half months. I will be his companion for two of those teransfers for sure, and since President Lima likes to have companions with eachother, he will probably be my companion until he leaves. He has such a california surfer guy personality, and he and I get along really well! He has trained one other missionary before, and he really knows his stuff. I am always fascinated at how well he knows his church doctrine and the powerful spirit he has when teaching.
Our area we are serving is called Alcântara. It takes two buses to get there from Rio, and roughly 3 and a half hours. I think our zone is the farthest east in our mission, but Im not sure on that. Alcântara is... well I´m not sure how to put it, but it is pretty stinking ghetto. According to Elder Grow, it is even less developed compared to most of the mission. Our apartment is small, but sufficient. Most of the lights don´t work, so at night we rely on weird lightbulbs that you plug into the electrical outlet. Or flashlights. Also, our toilet can´t be used less than 30 minutes after another missionary uses it, unless you flush it y dumping a bunch of water in the bowl. It´s tough to explain. I´ll have to do that next week if you´re really curious. Our shower is pretty stinking weird too. We have to plug it into an outlet and the water pipe thing. The electricity heats it up, but because it doesn´t work as well as it should, we can only turn the water up to a trickle or else the water is too cold. Also, I figured out how to type apostropes!!! High five, or as they say here, bate aquí. We also share the apartment with one other companionship in our district. They take the area west of our apartment, and we have the area east. The other two elders are both brazilian, which helps me with portuguese a lot. And our apartment is on the 6TH FLOOR. No elevators. It blows after walking all day.
Okay, what else to say... Our area is pretty big, I think. One of our investigators takes about an hour and a half to walk to, and that´s only about a third of the distance of our area. We do a lot of contacts on the streets with people. In fact, that´s pretty much our only way of finding people to teach. We can´t really go tracting here because most people´s houses are in a smallish community called a loge, with anywhere from 4 to maybe 20 houses all surrounded by a wallish gate thing. The streets here are really narrow and everywhere smells funny. Elder Grow says that after a few weeks, I´ll get used to it. We see dogs everywhere too. It´s actually really kind of sad. Most are digging through garbage to find food or shade. Which reminds me, it´s winter here, right? IT sure don´t feel like it though. The temperature is perfect in the morning, at around 20C, but by midday, its up to 34 at times, with humidity. Another cool thing, I saw weird animals. We saw chickens crossing a highway. HAHAHAHA get it? and a horse just chilling, doing it´s thang. And some goats. I hear there´s monkeys here too. I can´t wait to see them.
There´s really so much to say that I´d like to add, but I only have about 10 minutes left and ought to tell you about the most important part: teaching. I was so afraid to be out in the field teaching real people how to develop real faith and testimonies, but I´ve felt the guidance and comfort of the Holy Ghost guide me a lot in my teaching. People here have a really harsh accent compared to other parts of Brazil, so I feel like I´m learning a totally different language at times, making it a bit tougher to teach and understand people. Elder Grow and I have a couple that is already committed to being baptized, but first needs to be married in order to do so. Leonardo and Alexandra have great faith and we´ve taught them nearly all of the lessons (they were Elder Grow´s and his old companions investigator before he I arrived). Also, there is a woman named Isolda who is pretty devotely catholic. Who here isn´t though? And she has had a hard time being willing to be baptized because she also loves the people in her church. But she knows that what we have taught her is true. We gave her the dateto prepare to receive and answer and be baptized. I hope she will listen closefully to the Light of Christ through prayer.
Okay I´m about out of time even though I have much more to say. I´m sure you ahve tons of questions, so I´ll try to answer them next week. Tell Natalie good luck with Mr. Akins! Tell him I say hi and miss him. I love this Gospel, I love Missionary work, and I love the joy others receive in our message of the gospel og Jesus Christ and the truthfulness it contains. I love and Miss you all!!!