New Area – Capao Redonao

CapaoRedonao

Guess what I’ve been transferred! Due to complications I only slightly understand (because President Dalton and my companion were speaking very fast Portuguese when we were talking on the phone) the area where I was previously serving has been closed to missionaries until further notice. I am now in Capao Redonao am and opening a new area. This is quite intense. Whereas last area there was another set of elders to help us cover the area we are currently the only companionship in the area (which is twice the size of our last area) and we don’t live in the area currently. We live the next ward over with the Assistants. Yes they moved me in with the Assistants (who have taught me the importance of why elders should keep a clean apartment) and it is a little cramped. We think we found a house in our new area two days ago, and we’re looking at all the red tape to clear it with the mission office, I’ll let elder Neeves deal with that. Yes dad is he quite hard on me and makes sure that we work as much as possible, which is good. I do not think there has been a day yet where we’ve been home before 9:30 when we absolutely need to be inside our home.
The area book we scavenged from the old missionary home in our area is so out of date that we’re starting from scratch. It would appear that it has been almost 2 years since missionaries have been here, so we are starting from scratch. The ward here was so happy to receive us and actually has been doing a great job of keeping up the work. The members brought 7 investigators to church with them yesterday!!!!
Just heard from Elder Neerings he’s doing well. Also on that note Jacob Hawker is now a set apart Missionary of the Church! Woooooo!
It sounds like you guys had quite the snow storm, no such thing here. Still can’t send pictures have not been able to look for an adaptar yet. Will do today, maybe. We keep busy, really busy.
This area is interesting. There is much closer lines between rich and poor, and I notice that the police are more present around the rich areas of town. I think they primarily protect the wealthy.
We have a couple families to teach now, and they are really receptive to the gospel. We actually have a family of 4 working towards baptism as of yesterday. Since the area is so large we see potential to split the ward and it is very possible to do. I’ll probably be here for a while anyways….

Greetings from São Marcos

Most of the people here do not know how to read, the roads are mud, and there are enough stray dogs to revolt against the human population. I have not taken any pictures of my area since I do not think it wise to take my camera (or anything of value) outside of the house.

Let me explain some funny things about the area. The village is São Marcos, but the city I’m in is called Embu das Artes. My goodness the politicians here would make Congress look on them with disgust. Every corner I turn there is the same face smiling at me, a candidate’s picture. When I first asked Elder Neeves who’s that guy, he simply replied “a robber”. What’s more there is a fleet of cars that drive around the city with giant speakers delivering messages about the “Gentleman of Gentlemen” the “Person of the City” advertising this person. I asked if it was an election year. Apparently they just had it and he just won, but the signs are all new and fresh. It made me think of a scripture 2 Timothy 3:1-7.

They also alternate their churches here. There’s the big Catholic Church at the top of the hill, São Marcos, but there are tons of churches all throughout the village. It goes something like this: you have an evangelical church, then a bar, then an Adventist church, then a bar, and then another bar. Some people we’ve talked to have even explicitly claimed the bar as their church.

We spend a lot of time in the fuvellas. They always smell like a sewer. There are rats running in the street and waste is thrown into the street. When I say street I mean the passageway between the “structures” which is really only wide enough for an Elder Neeves sized person to fit through. Good thing I have been losing weight. Actually when I was in the supermarket today a sister commented that my cheeks are getting a little thinner.

We get fed lunch everyday by members, which is usually rice and beans. Otherwise food is up to us.

I can’t send pictures I have taken yet, there is no sd card slot in this computer, I will have to borrow Elder Herbert’s adapter next week. I can send you these pictures though.

My Captors are Treating Me Kindly

President and Sister DaltonOkay so I am given a short time here to inform you that I have safely departed the CTM and am currently at the mission office of Sao Paulo Interlagos, safe and sound. President Dalton also wanted me to inform you that “my captors are treating me kindly“. I have way too many books but I imagine I can get rid of some of the language study books in a year. My new companion is Elder Neves, this is his last transfer so I only get him for 6 weeks, he was a Zone Leader before but he wanted to train an American his last transfer. I am the only new American in this mission. My P-Day is now Monday. Now I have to go to work, and make it to my area. Hope all’s well at home, will email again, this time hopefully with pictures, on Monday.

Last Week in the MTC

Dear Family,
Jesus the ChristWhile here Sister Ashford who drew a picture of our district and gave us all a copy of ourselves. It’s become the bookmark in my copy of Jesus the Christ, which is a really good book.
Elder Neerings and I played Cockroach Hockey yesterday. And our lessons are going really well (of course they are as we now have only 3 lessons left before we leave each other). All of our friends from other districts left this week and now we are the oldest American District. We are planning great things for our last P-Day as a District. We found the address of one of our instructors who lives within our P-Day boundaries. He said we’d never find it. Today’s his birthday and we’ll surprise him.
My Mission Office address is as follows, I can receive small envelope packages there, but nothing bigger.
Elder Andrew Limpin Done
Brazil Sao Paulo Interlagos Mission
Rua Comendador Elias Zarzur 365
Santo Amaro, 04736-000 Sao Paulo-SP, Brazil
The language is coming along nicely, I held a nice conversation with a brother in the temple today and didn’t pause or have to look for words. And our new roommates also going to interlagos, dont speak a lick of english so its good practice. These emails are essentially my english practice as my english is more and more getting worse. I try to use flowery language in the evenings with neerings, but he lets me know that nobody, not even english speakers understand me when I try to sound like the Son of Isaiah.
Hope all’s well at home. My hands are so unused to typing, its so slow moving.
Eu se Meu Salvador vive. Eu se isso porque Ele morreu por nos, nos podemos vive com Ele e Deus depois esta vida. Eu estou na Brasil ensinar todos os filhos de Deus sobre este messagem feliz, isso A Igreja de Jesus Cristo e na terra denovu, resturando por Joseph Smith.
Love you guys,
Elder Done

Learning the Ropes

Brazil Sao Paulo TempleLong week lots to say. Just got back from the Sao Paulo Temple, so beautiful. The interior has a lot of dark wood panelings and it was a great experience. I can now keep up with Elder Neerings on our morning runs around the track, I sometimes feel like he is letting me keep up with him, but I am proud of my accomplishment anyways. Been reading a lot in the Pearl of Great Price as I prepare for the temple each week. Getting so much more out of every session it is incredible the things you learn.
This week Elders Bastos and Santana left for the field so we got new roommates, one of them is Brazillian and the other is Portuguese so they argue about the language a lot. Listening to them speak is certainly a very different language. The portuguese elder will teach us words that are common to use in portugal that end up being exceptionally rude here in Brazil and vice versa. I guess that is why they keep us quarantined here in training.
Elder Neerings and I are also getting much better at the language. When we teach lessons now we are completely speaking normally, meaning we do not have our words written out in front of us. The Spirit is really strong in our lessons and it is incredible the progress we are making. Despite the occasional language mishap we are pretty good. Last lesson we taught our investigator was about the word of wisdom and he got really confused so a few minutes and we could not tell what his problem was, we eventually figured out that I have mixed up the words for alcohol and water… oops.
It can be really scary sometimes being a missionary. We are in a different place far away from home where we only have a basic grasp of the language. Although a scripture that has given me hope this past week is in 2 Timothy I believe the first chapter where it says that God has not given us the Spirit of Fear, but rather the Spirit of Love. I felt that a lot today as we were travelling back from the temple. I got my first look at real fuevella. The dwellings were blowing in the wind like they were made of cardboard and built just in a row on the side of the highway. They were covered in grafitti and the clothes that were hung out to dry were dirty because of the dust thrown up by the highway. These are the people I am going to be teaching, and I cannot wait to meet them.
Before I forget, on Christmas we are not going to be able to Skype from the CTM because of the internet connection. However I will be able to call for 30 minutes. My time slot is 1500 hours to 1530 my time. If you guys are three hours behindd Sao Paulo that means I will be calling noontime your time on Christmas. Hope all is well on your end, and I hope Tim enjoys the movie tonight, I am kind of in a sort of mourning right now…. but I will be over it. Thank Audrey for packing Boba Fett and Darth Bane along for the ride. They will certainly be featured in pictures.

P-Day #1

Sorry I have not written recently, since we got in in the middle of the week last week they figured we did not need a P-Day, so this is our first P-Day.
Sao Paulo MTC
Centro de Treinamento Missionario de Sao Paulo

Where to begin. The language is difficult but somewhat familiar. My companion, Elder Neerings as it turns out is a workout fanatic, so he has been making me run laps each morning… love it…. The food is exactly as expected, rice and beans with some really good fruits. They feed us so often here at the CTM, like once every two hours it feels like, apparently we need to fatten up because some missionaries tell us we only really get one meal once we are in the field.

I wish I could send pictures but I cannot right now, CTM rules, I will have to wait until I am in the field. I am the District Leader for my District and it has been a humbling experience. At first I thought I was the cool guy on the block, but then I realized how many mistakes I was making. The first week I was responsible for our District being late to most of our meetings since they are always closing down hallways for renovations here and we were getting lost quite a bit, but I think we got it down now.
I have also made quite a few language mistakes with our “Investigators” in which I accidentally admitting fault for the death of our Investigator’s wife by saying “Desculpe” instead of the phrase “Sinto Muito”. Because of all these mistakes I was rather discouraged the first week but recently I was reading in Isaiah in personal study and I came across Isaiah 6:5-8 which gave me some comfort. My P-Days are Fridays and we go to the temple in the mornings on P-Day. Campinas Brazil LDS TempleWe took a trip into the countryside to the Campinas Brazil Temple. Everything is so cheap out here, we’ll be heading into the city today after I write this email, really just as far as two blocks away from the CTM but it’ll be cool to get outside these gates with my District. I got to go out when Elder Neerings needed shots and then spent a while in the waiting room trying to translate some pamphlets on how to not get malaria. I got most of it. I think.
Cooper Brothers Premium Handmade Neckties
Cooper Brothers

It takes about 2-3 weeks to receive mail here however I cannot get packages. Please don’t try sending packages it’s like with Elder Cooper. Speaking of which my Cooper Brothers Tie has gotten some attention here, some Elders are apparently writing home to have their parents order them some. President Swensen, the CTM President likes it even. I also met my Mission President when we went to the Federal Police to finish our Processing into the country, he was there reviewing his visa, but his assistant had told him I would be there so he found me and introduced himself. Super cool guy.

I’m rooming with Elders Bastos and Santana, native Brazillians, but Elder Bastos is half German. He was sharing his life story with us last night. His great-grandmother came to Brazil, and he was born when his dad was 21. Such a cool guy. I also met a Brazillian on my floor about my age, Elder Silva, who’s been supporting himself for the past 5 years. Crazy, made me think of what President Dionne said when I was getting set apart.
You’ve never heard such loud typing than a computer lab full of missionaries.
Hope all’s well at home, no group email this week. Can’t get wordpress in the CTM. Love you all!

Safely Gathered In

Made it safely to Brazil. In the MTC right now. Not much time to write, lunch coming up in 10 minutes. Met up with other missionaries wandering around Atlanta, most going to Durban South Africa. Met my current companion, Elder Neering there at Atlanta. Cannot send pictures right now, will be able to send picture after I leave the MTC. It is beautiful here and I already love the people and the place never thought I could instantly love a place so chaotic and, frankly, dirty. But I love it, even the graffiti. Okay will write more P-Day. Mom do not worry. It is great. The MTC is looking like a prison with many guards and high walls with barbed wire. So I am safe. Love you all! Be well.

Opening the Call(s)

The moment when a future LDS missionary opens their mission call is special. For the family it is also special. A lot of work, training (including patience and love) go in to preparing a missionary. A lifetime of preparation comes down to the best possible two years to date for the missionary. Most young men apply for a mission and await their call not knowing beforehand where they will be called to serve. Young men apply for a mission between 18 and 19 years of age, young women as early as 19 years. Andrew’s family thought the moment was so special his sister and father prepared a pretend mission call the night before his real one arrived.

O momento em que um futuro missionário LDS abre seu chamado para a missão é especial. Para a família que também é especial . Um monte de trabalho , formação (incluindo paciência e amor ) ir para a preparação de um missionário. Uma vida inteira de preparação vem para baixo as melhores possíveis dois anos até à data para o missionário. A maioria dos homens jovens se candidatar a uma missão e aguardam a sua chamada não sabendo de antemão onde serão chamados a servir. Os homens jovens se candidatar a uma missão entre 18 e 19 anos de idade , as mulheres jovens tão cedo quanto 19 anos . A família de Andrew pensou que o momento era tão especial sua irmã e pai preparou um chamado para a missão fingir a noite antes de sua real chegou.