Monday, April 13, 2015

Raining Cats and Dogs

Carta semanal:

It´s been raining cats and dogs here in Salvador. I remember before the mission loving the rain but now that I look back, that was because I was always INSIDE when it rained. It´s kind of a ´´pro´s and con´s´´ kind of thing because even though it rained a bunch, it was also cloudy and therefore, I didn´t have to suffer walking through the sun. Words can´t describe how sucky it is to have to put up with that. But anyway, due to the rain soaking our power box, we went without power for a few days, getting eaten alive once again by mosquitos and dying of heat under our blankets because there is 0% ventilation in our room. Apparently the room where Costa e Silva and I sleep used to be a bathroom and so it only has one very small window. Want to know what our view is? A brick wall. Who´s the genius who thought that was a good idea? So a couple nights, we grabbed our mattresses and put them in the front study room because there´s bigger windows and more ventilation and slept a little more nicely.  Eventually though, I messed around with the little switch outside of our house and the other Elders were inside and they told me when I needed to stop for the power to return. So we managed to get power back for the time being. But despite all the rain we´ve been having here, the entire city of Salvador give or take is running through water shortages as well. Sometimes we have literally no water except in the toilet, and others it lets out a little stream. So as of now, I´ve offically experienced the pleasures of taking morning showers with a 2 liter bottle of coke filled with sink water. Also, the credits on our phone ran out. the way phones work here, we´re given credits every month. 100 credits give or take. Each one is worth a minute. If you talk for 59 seconds, takes one credit. if you talk for 5 seconds, still takes up one credit and they don´t stack up month to month. Luckily, calls to Mission President and other missionaries are free, but for the timebeing, we have no way of contacting investigators beforehand. 

Needless to say, it´s been a bit of a stressful week. Sometimes we´d wake up and nobody would have the motivation to do much because of no water or power. It´s bad enough that everyone in our house is a pig and doesn´t know how to clean up after themselves, imagine when we don´t have water to clean dishes. When we actually HAD water, Elder Graça left out a dish of pasta for at least a week and a half. Usually I cave in and clean up stuff, but this time I wasn´t having any of it. Elder Gaby and Elder Costa e Silva were cleaning dishes and I told them not to touch that cursed plate of pasta. He eventually cleaned it once almost 2 weeks hit. But all in all, I can´t complain. In the moment, I was frustrated because it´s hard enough as it is to have to deal with other people´s problems, let alone ours but I never cried about it or let it totally interrupt our mission schedule. We always had sufficient for our needs, and that´s really enough. For that, I have reason to thank the Lord. 

I had an interesting moment with Elder Graça´s companion, Elder Gaby, who was also Elder Rivera´s companion after Rivera left. He´s a pretty swell guy and likes to joke around with me a bunch. He only has 2 more months than I have but anyway, he came home one day and tried speaking with me in English, explaining to me that he was going through some tough times. So we went outside at around night time leaning over our little metal fence and I let him explain some of the things that were troubling his mind. He spoke in English when he could, surprisingly pretty well. Rather slow, and the pronunciation was a little butchered at times, but I understood. When he couldn´t remember a word, he´d just switch and speak Portuguese, which I miraculously understood even better than I did his English. He told me that he was starting to have doubts as to why God wants him here in Salvador. He´s from the city of João Pessoa, which is relatively close to Salvador and thus it´s a little similar to having to serve in your own country in a state that´s very close to you. I imagine it can be disappointing for some missionaries to have to do that when they´re expecting other places. He told me he feels alone sometimes and He told me about an investigator that he taught for quite a long time that wouldn´t ever accept a baptismal invitation but when Rivera arrived in his area, he accepted to be baptized almost immediately. He started to believe that maybe he hasn´t had any influence on that guy and others as well and is starting to question if the Lord is really pleased with the work that he´s strived to do until now. It was really sad to see a missionary and a friend close to tears relating these kinds of things to me. To sum it up, I said what I felt and I was able to help him. I was glad to have the opportunity to help him out because lately, I´ve been feeling a lack of charity for people. It seems that missionaries here just feel at home and just always take things from me, sometimes without asking,  whether it be my little music box, toothpaste, my bananas, my milk, my headphones at the LAN house, and it´s a little frustrating because these guys always blow money off on stupid things and can´t manage to afford the things that they need that i have. Right now, the post office isn´t accepting cards so I have to use money to send my package out. But I´m broke as dirt because Costa e Silva needs me to pay for the busses for him. Yeah, he´ll pay me back, but it doesn´t matter because times running out to send the package and I need money now. And with investigators and less-actives, I´ve been feeling a lack of charity because it seems all too often, they don´t value our testimonies or adhere to the committments that we give to them, and instead of feeling sad for them like the Savior would, I usually tell myself, ´´alright, that´s fine. You´re the one that´ll have some ´splainin´ to do at Judgement´´. But I know that´s not how I should feel, so I started to pray to have a more charitable countenance and then I had the opportunity to help someone in need. Gaby told me that he saw the same love God has for his children in me after I talked with him. That kind of blew me away a little bit because I sure didn´t feel like I had it after experiencing all of those things. 
I´m also kind of amazed that I´ve already met a few missionaries here that look up to me, even though I´m the ´´greenie´´. 

Anyway, that´s been my week up until now. By this Saturday/Sunday, I´ll know with a certainty if I´ll be transfered our not so stay tuned! It should be a week of miracles this week. Last sunday, a member from our ward, Alã, came up to us and told us his friend, Rodrigo, wants to be baptized. That was awesome because we had already given him some of the lessons but after a while, he waxed cold and didn´t want us for quite a while. Should be exciting. Love you guys!

-Elder Skinner

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