Tommy: Things are going good here, probably better over there with winning sports teams. Wish I could be there to root them on too :) As far as busy-ness goes here in Brazil, I would say it´s a lot worse here. A few times, Elder Rivera and I got stuck in bus traffic and had to miss a few of our appointments. It kind of sucks. But, it´s just a part of the country I guess. ´´I had the fruit punch!´´ hahaha.
Love you, Tommy! Miss you tons.
Madison: Don´t stress too much about your finals. Just remember all the times you told me about how easy your classes have been! hahaha, I´ll be praying for you for sure. I don´t think you´ll have any problems with it though. As far as eating goes, it´s relatively been the same. I love the beans here because they have all kinds of beef and sausage in them too, so they´re very delicious. Love you, Maddy! Good luck on your finals! Oh yeah, and by the way I have seen that Christmas video you mentioned. We´ve been passing out passalong cards to people here that say ´´Ele é o presente´´. I´ve seen the video too, it´s amazing.
Hey Mom: That´s really neat that Dan and Marla stopped by. I still remember them for sure. I´m glad to hear that I´m leaving a good impact on the people there while I´m over here. For sure it helps motivate me to continue on and continue setting that example. Hahaha, I´m glad you guys got to meet Ezekiel. He´s a really cool guy. He´s Brazilian but moved to the states when he was 10 and met his wife there when he grew up and now they moved back. He´s more fluent in English than he is in Portuguese but obviously he speaks both well. I´ll be sure to take notes on all the good food I try so that you guys can try them when I get back, don´t worry about that! :) I sure do miss everyone at Matta´s. Be sure to give them my best and remind them to put the date on the calendar when I get back, because you best believe we´ll be eating there! ;) Hahaha, as far as soccer goes, I haven´t had anything else yet. Occasionally we´ll be walking in the streets and some kids will be playing and it´ll get kicked in our direction and I´ll punt it back to them. We´re not supposed to play real soccer because they´re very competitive apparently so that´s a bummer. As far as the package goes, I actually use my card reader plus my 8gb card for music. I haven´t put any Brazilian music on it, just hymns and good instrumentals to listen to on P-days.But if you send it here, I´ll put some stuff for you guys to listen to and re-mail it back if you want :) I will probably spend some of my own money to buy a cheap handheld radio to stick it in because sometimes Elder Rivera let´s me use his for now. The house certainly does look better by the looks of it! I´m kind of excited for the day I come back to see all the little things that appear different than from what I remembered, hahaha. I sure hope Lulu is okay. I know it seems dumb, but I kind of miss her too. Doesn´t mean she´s not a rat though, hahaha XD The same goes for me though. I miss you guys all the time still but it certainly has gotten better here. Love you lots, Mom! I can´t wait to talk to you guys on Christmas!
Rapaz! Não posso acreditar que ja chegou outro dia de preparação! Atualmente, não tenho muito para dizer porque esta semana passou bem rapido. Mas vou contar as coisas que me lembro.
Alright, back to English. haha. I actually don´t have a whole lot to talk about so I´ll just talk about the little things. First, the people. The age and maturity of some of the people here blows my mind sometimes. Like first of all, a majority of the girls here look way older than they are. We´re teaching a 14 year old girl named Diane who looks 18 or 19 and is dating a guy a little older than me. And that´s not uncommon here. We´re also teaching this girl named Anakaralina who´s like crazy mature for her age. She already has these profound religious questions and has this crazy desire to know about the things we´re teaching. She´s told us about the responses she´s had to her prayers about the book of mormon and its awesome some of the things she´s said. She´s already started testifying of her experiences to her friends and each lesson, she usually has a friend with her that we can teach. It´s awesome. There´s also this kid, João Pedro who´s about to get baptizeed. His family is already active in the church, but the kids like 8 years old and is able to talk to us like he´s our age and already has a desire to serve a mission. It´s cool. Elder Rivera and I will ask how somebody is doing and if we can help them in anyway and they´ll almost always respond, ´´ah! Tudo bem, graças a Deus! (Everythings good, thanks to God)´´ and ´´Não! Só orar!´´ (no! Just pray for us).
Like everyone says that, it´s funny. Also, if you want an idea on how the music is here in Brazil, look up an artist named ´´Pablo´´. He only has one album out as far as I´m aware, called ´´Só dizer que sim´´. I kind of like him, he has a distinct voice that you can tell, like really high pitched, but I want a legit album from him when I get back home to remind me of here, haha.
Oh yeah, in case you wanted to know, we do get monkeys here. Not very close to us and not like a typical monkey one would think about. They´re very tiny and lemur sized and like to walk on the powerlines and hang around in trees and stuff. They´re not very common but I have seen them. Unfortunately, no pictures yet but I´ll keep my eye out for them.
I feel like I´ve learned a lot this week. We had the chance to watch ´´The Testaments´´ during our companionship study. I don´t know what it is about that video but it´s always gotten me everytime. It´s pretty cheesy here and there for sure, but I remember this time after I watched it with the appreciation I have already for the Book of Mormon and being a missionary, it strengthened my testimony even more about the Savior. Like for me, it transformed from a thought or a statement to genuine love for a person you can physically hug or talk to. I love our Savior. I started carrying a photo around of Him that I really like and I´ll see if I can find it on LDS.org to show you guys. I´ve also learned a lot more about how to talk to your companion about things. We had our most recent companionship inventory where we talk about how things are going as a companionship, and it was good. So we got to talking about things and of course some of the flaws that I have as a missionary and person too. From a greater perspective, I also learned about how a mission makes people grow up. Out here, I´m learning things that will help me be a better person, father, husband, church member, and man when I get back. How to talk to people, how to manage money, how to manage time, how to be organized, how to resolve conflicts-everything. It´s been life changing and so far, it´s only been 2 and a half months or so. I don´t know. Overall, I´m just thankful for this opportunity to be out here and most of all, for the support you all have been giving me. It makes things a lot easier for me to be out here.