I Survived Easter Week in Brazil!

It really wasn’t that intense… the worst that happened is no one was home all week. So we had along week of walking in streets deprived of anyone sober and with a family. Lots of people invited us to revisit them. Follow ups yet to bring much results.

We met one guy that was really cool, name is Sebastian. He told us he doesn’t really like religion because none of the pastors are straightforward and only talk about what makes people feel light and happy. Never something that makes people want to change and be better. So during our first lesson with him we watched a talk by Elder Holland. He invited us back for Tuesday just before (someone, him or a friend of his?) goes in for Chemotherapy.

I was worried Antonio died this week! I didn’t see him all week, but ran into him Sunday morning as he was preparing to leave again. It is quite worrying when you are an older gentleman who lives about 500 miles away from any family.

Speaking Portuguese easily now. It comes naturally.

The buses continue to make me sick. I threw up this morning on the bus. I hate them; back to losing weight. I need to somehow acquire a leather punch and start punching  holes in my belt.

How are things at home? I keep hearing hearsay about terrorist attacks in Belgium, one of our investigators told us she heard about a football field in the US that was bombed.  Please tell me!

Love you all hope you are all safe, please write me!

Stinky Feet and Pomegranates

So my foot is not completely healed, but it is well enough (and honestly I am sick of not wearing shoes) that I have put back on my Dr. Martens. We figured out why I scratched my feet, I am allergic to crocs. Didn’t know that was even possible, now I have a nice cream to apply to my feet about 3 times each day. A nice side effect is everything is healing incredibly quickly now, a bad side effect is the main ingredient is sulfur. So I smell sulfur all the time. I finally broke and bought a blanket this morning. We eat oranges and bananas here, cheap stuff that helps our stomach hold everything together. Pomegranate trees are quite common in the streets and while I predict we are still a few months away from when we can harvest, I look forward with much anticipation to eating pomegranates. The Brazilians don’t believe me when I tell them they are quite expensive in the USA.

I was going to write Tim back, but I ran out of time writing to President Dalton. I will write him this week.

Oh my,  it was another rough week. Not as bad as last week, or at least I think so, or I’m just getting used to it. Finally talked with Antonio, so we sat down with him and helped him make a plan. We follow up as often as we can, and he does seem to be making strides. I think it is good he recognizes such things in his life and wants to be baptized, I think it will help him immensely as he prepares for the Temple.

Speaking of temple, we have a lot of new investigators, really cool and accept really well. We just need to marry them before they can be baptized so we don’t have a date for baptism yet.

In regards to the snippets of Brazilian news I get. These feelings towards the President have been brewing ever since the election. Her opponent died in a plane crash that has yet to be investigated, and many other things. There were riots all across Brazil, in fact there was a rather large demonstration in Riveria, which is about 10 streets away from my area. I just try not to mention the Olympics because that is a subject most Brazilians get quite mad about, they hate it.

Easter Week has started. Funny thing is all the churches around here are using pictures of the Church, our pictures. One banner has a picture of a prophet preaching to the people; only thing is I know that picture. It is a painting of Lehi preaching to Jerusalem from the primary kids’ Book of Mormon Stories Book. I pointed this out to Elder Santos, he said that isn’t the biggest thing they take as they also take away some of the ordinances we do, including temple ones, etc.

Palm Sunday was yesterday. Passed a parade of people waving Palm branches and singing on the way to meet Antonio yesterday.

Not much else I can think of right now. Hope all is well with you guys!

Rough Weeks are Harbringers to Great Weeks

First the Questions:

Where do you use computers? What is it like? (Tim)

Well young grasshopper that depends. As this week I have to visit the foot doctor for a follow up visit there is a library where I can use the internet for free. Now you get what you pay for as these machines in the library don’t have a way for me to send pictures. The keyboards have quite a lag on typing, and the machines run on Linux….

But other weeks, normal weeks we visit the LAN House. Normalish computers, but still slower than the computer I set up in the garage.

How did your operation go? What did they actually have to do? How does it feel now?

It stopped hurting after the anesthesia kicked in. But the needle going in was the worst. After that I felt nothing. So the foot doctor cut a chunk out of my toe. It is healing quite quickly. She may possibly be a little disappointed with me this week though, as I casually scratched off a bit of skin on my foot last night…nowhere near the toe. The toe itself doesn’t hurt, unless I kick something with it, which I do all the time. Roads here suck and are broken up all over the place where you least expect it.

What are you eating now? 

Beans and rice still. But in the house I have been making grilled cheese sandwiches.

Did you get a blanket? How do you keep your house warm?

Still no. Umm… there is nothing in the way of climate control in our house, except the fans. We still keep those running at night though because when we close the door to the veranda and the window the humidity in the house can be a little suffocating. We just curl into a ball and eventually fall asleep.

So this week was hard. Not going to lie. Most of our appointments fell this week. Antonio was going to be baptized yesterday, and he was excited, until he saw the water. He suddenly got very nervous and booked it out of the building quite rapidly. We’re still trying to follow up with him to find out what happened.

Elder R. Santos and I are getting along great. We are on great friendly terms, He shared the story of his conversion, which is quite cool. And we talked about a lot of other things this week, mainly practicing my grammar which is steadily improving. My vocabulary is great, but the grammar was awful. The big push this week is to get me to speak simply in words normal people understand. Elder R. Santos also is trying to get me to use a little bit of a rougher tone so I don’t sound “gay” when I speak.

Still hate wearing crocs.

We celebrated the birthday of Sister Thomas last P-Day. Yes the same set of Sisters from Parque Luiza followed me here. Never mind the fact that they were here 5 weeks before me, they followed me here. It has given me some perspective though, as they are testament to my improving Portuguese.

Elder Burnside established a rule yesterday that we only speak English in the house every other day. Speaking English is a little weird now.

Found a family really receptive to our message this week, just 4 doors down from Antonio. It is exciting for next week.

I found out last night that Capão Redonão (I really have given up on trying to spell it right) is notoriously the most dangerous barrio in the region. That explains the police presence now…. How did I find out? I am starting to understand a little the music that blasts out of peoples’ cars. Also that is another thing I find truly as annoying as my crocs, speakers that fill the backseat and trunk area of a car. I am not exaggerating that the asphalt shakes at the noise.

Ponderizing Acts 5:40-42 this week with Elder R. Santos this week. I am also making Peter the apostle a subject of my study this week.

Hope all is well with everyone there.  Love you all

This Week in Figuiera Grande

EldersDone&SantosSo I survived surgery but am confined to Crocs for the foreseeable future. I have not played soccer any P-Day because none of my companions like soccer, and soccer quads aren’t the best of places. Here the local soccer quad, which I pass every day, reeks of marijuana. Actually public marijuana usage and such is common, unfortunately, but before I rant, I press forward. Did not send my ballot because I only now have a post office nearby, but I will vote for the General.

No big changes on the daily happening teaching. Got one baptism this week, Dildazil, although everyone calls him Bobo (translated it means “Stupid”). I was at first surprised when Elder Santos called him such, but I guess it is normal? I let Elder Santos do the talking on that one.
I have a cool experience about Priesthood blessings to send next week.
Teaching Elder R. Santos English is fun. I got to unload a lot of my Portuguese learning books on him. They don’t help me anymore, but they can sure help him. The push during language study has been to make me sound less like a book when I talk. I think it is working, although I’m also picking up a bit of words from up north, where Elder Santos is from, which is like a Texan dilalect.
Passed 3 months in the mission this past week. Woo do the days fly.
I really wish I had more to say this week, but not really much has happened except my croc since I wrote last week.
Editor’s Note: Back and forth between Father and Son
Today we left the house late. We had to do some serious cleaning. And we had to install our new stove. The kitchen is now finally dry, the refrigerator started leaking this week and the sink got backed up the stench was awful. The refrigerator stopped leaking and we think we’ve fixed the kitchen sink. We’re still using the veranda sink though, just to be safe.
Jucatiba is the farthest area away. It is the largest area; it has a branch of about 10 members. It is out in the farmland.
QUESTION: Do you have to wear a jacket?
We are required to wear jackets to Sunday meetings, meetings with Mission President, and other church leaders. Mission rules. Also it is beginning to get cold here. It is almost like October in Virginia. I might break down and buy a blanket next P-Day. No one knows farenheit here. So I am forced to learn the metric system. Now it is about 15 C, Apparently it gets into the 40s  (4 degrees C) by July.
Just so you know though there is nothing in the way of tourism attractions anywhere here. Only the racetrack but that is far and outside my current zone.
Oh we have a dog! Sort of. Moroni lives at the church building and feeds off of leftovers of mutual activities and barbecue from the barbecue place across the road. He eats more barbecue than me. Bishop allows him to stay, because he always comes back no matter how often he gets chased off, and he chases other strays away. He not only smells like Winston, but acts like him too. He can walk around the church building when people are there, but he is not allowed on the benches. But he does so anyways when no one is looking. He growls a little when you push him off, but otherwise he is quite docile. Loves belly rubs.
About Cousin Eph. Congrats!!!!! My Portuguese is pretty good. My accent is disappearing, it is less than some americans with a year under their belt. My only problem is grammar. But we have an hour each day to work on that.