Monday, April 6, 2015

Learning and Growing

Carta Semanal:

Officially arrived at the 6 month mark. Crazy to see how fast time has flown by. Give it 2-4 months and I´ll be training another missionary. Crazy stuff right? What week number is this? I´m forgetting hahah.

Not a whole lot to report on my end. I´ll give you all the rundown on some things I´ve noticed lately or events that happened this week.

Elder Costa e Silva and I were walking to an appointment one night this week and found a drunk guy, probably in his 40´s or so, with a little cup of booze sitting on his side. He shouted out, ´´Boa noite, irmãos!´´ and as we turned around, I decided to give him a little Easter pass-along card. We got to talking and stuff and apparently, he´s had two children pass away, lives in practically a shack from what we´ve seen from the outside after trying to recontact him, and has clearly lost a lot from his drinking habits. We told him about how he can conquer this vice of his and after convincing him, he decided he wasn´t going to drink anymore and tossed the rest of his drink into the streets. Like I said, we only contacted him that time, tried again, but he didn´t answer. Perhaps, he forgot about us but at least we got him to stop that night.

Something funny that people do here in Brazil. They´re a little more shameless about nudity. Almost every time we go to the Bishop´s house, his little kid Pedro usually strips down to his birthday suit and the Bishop and his wife don´t blink about it. Took me some time getting used to. I haven´t seen it yet, but Costa e Silva has told me a few stories about women suddenly deciding to breastfeed their babies in the middle of discussions.

General Conference was really good this week. We had the priviledge of attending all sessions but because Cabula is located a little far from our bus station and the busses are infrequent, we usually ended up losing a sizeable portion of conference. Most of the sessions were watched in Portuguese, but a few I left with some of the Americans into a seperate room with President Lisonbee to watch in English when possible. What stood out to me was the talk from Elder Soares, who spoke in Portuguese. I understood literally almost every word he said, 95% or so. Which blows my mind because the translators who do it from English to Portuguese are so difficult to understand. It kind of made me grateful to be blessed to hear the words of our prophets in English, my native language. I got a kick out of Elder Pearsons talk when he mentioned in a very spirited talk about returned missionaries and how they can´t fall away from good practices once they come back home and slip away into video games, media, and getting caught up in the world. Made me set a personal goal that I will be a different person when I get home. Sometimes I remember the example of Blake Schumacher, who upon returning to home, was almost always the first one to raise his hand to volunteer to help people later that week during a brief priesthood meeting. Very inspiring for me.
An update on the language, I´m officially kicking butt. In my eyes at least. I still suck at the same time, but I´ve gained the courage to ask people to repeat when not understood instead of turn to Costa e Silva to say things slower. It´s funny, I understand him more than others so sometimes I have him translate redneck Portuguese to actual Portuguese. My speaking abilities are pretty dang good. I´ve had another lady tell me that I need to speak a little slower because I´m talking a little too fast. All in all, I guess I´m starting to see more and more results :) I have a habit of reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese earlyin the morning with my breakfast before getting ready. I´m starting to get to the end of Alma in it. Making progress!
I suppose that that´s it as far as events. Thanks for all the prayers that everyone has sent my way until now. They´ve been a huge blessing for me and I´ve been learning and growing a lot. Love you guys! Until next week!

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