I love when your email is full of questions to answer. It helps me tothink of stuff to write. And with so much going on this past week, I´m certainly going to need all the help I can get remembering everything. First of all, my new area is called Ramos!!!! It´s part of the city of Rio and has a wonderful view of the Christ statue from just about
every párt of the area. That´s something I didn´t get in Alcãntara. You can probably do a google search to see some pictures of the area. It´s HUGE, and it was divided between my companion and two other elders.
Moving all my stuff was craaazy. I had all my bags with me on the buses that took me to a big bus station where we have transfers, then I took them on another bus that took me to a chapel in Rio where I met my new
companion, THEN we went to our area with both of our bags. An area I didn´t even know where it was, and with a brand new missionary, but all went well and we made it without trouble.
Okay, I´ll stop beating around the bush. My companions name is Elder Acevedo, and he´s from Peru! There aren´t too many Hispanics that serve here in Rio, so I was pretty surprised to have the first elder I train be Hispanic. He speaks Portuguese pretty well, though. He just has a strong accent. He was in the MTC for 6 weeks like I was, but he showed up here in Brazil all ready to teach, so that´s awesome. Sorry I don´t have any pictures of us both yet. I´ll get on to that and send you some next week.
So our area is suuuuuuper different that Alcãntara, especially since it´s a lot closer to Rio. There´s a lot more people in this area, both members and people in general. A member told us that roughly 3 million people live in the limits of the wards boundaries. Yeah. 3 million people for Elder Acevedo and I to teach, that´s like.... at least 25 people every second of so. We can totes do it. The area also has a much bigger difference between wealthy people and, well, people of more humble circumstances. In the center of the city, there are nice apartments where wealthy people live, and there´s lots of favelas too. There´s just about any store we´d need to buy anything in our area, so that´s cool on p-days.
Our house isn´t too bad, but it´s super tiny. The other two elders serving in the ward (Elder Bendoski from Florida and Elder Xavier from Brazil), both of which are also new to the area. There´s one bathroom, one shower (which is much more normal than the one in Alcãntara), a kitchen, and two little bedrooms. It´s pretty crammed, but I think President said we´re going to plan on finding a different house to live in.
Elder Leite stayed in Alcãntara and has a brazillian companion now. In our new area, we spent the first week doing toooooons of street contacts, trying to find someone, anyone to teach, and we had some pretty good success. There´s one guy named Valdir who the past missionaries had been teaching who said he wanted to get baptized the first time we showed up last tuesday. He has been to church 2 times already and loved the members instantly. We´ve been teaching about commandments, the importance and significance of baptism and helping
him understand the gospel of Christ. We marked for his baptismal date and he´s super excited about it. Valdir lives by himself, is 65 years old and retired, but has been recently taking classes so he can return back to work. What a great miracle for Elder Acevedo and I.
Lots of running around this past week, trying to get to know the members and whatnot. There were over 150 members who attended sacrament meeting, which is pretty big for Brazil´s standards, but this ward is also a lot older than Alcantara. The chaple in Ramos was the second one build in Rio.
So that´s about all I have time to cram in this letter. I love you all, the Lord has been blessing me with such a great desire to share his gospel. Even when at times I feel stressed with the responsibility that comes with being trainer and opening an area, he has blessed me with many people to start teaching. I love and miss you!