Monday, May 18, 2015

Ah, Skinner! Você é o cara!

Carta Semanal:

The start of this week was rather rough. The day after we called on Mother´s Day was also a P-day and once again, we didn´t have much plans. Just ate lunch in our home after emails and then went to Petrolina central to do some walking around and looking for some things to buy. The bus that comes to pick us up to take us to the central takes some time, so as we were sitting around waiting, I started having some strong feelings of homesickness from that moment until around Wednesday or so, which is funny because I wasn´t feeling anything the night I talked to you guys. I find myself feeling like that when we aren´t occupied with much, and because P-days are so empty, I often find myself daydreaming of home on these days. Monday early in the morning, I woke up with what must have been the flu or food poisoning or something because I had an upset stomach and had to use the bathroom quite a bit. It was still enough to at least try and work, so we went to a lunch appointment, but I was still feeling under the weather, so we returned to our appointment, and Elder Macalupú let me take a nap and rest for some time. We managed to visit a less-active that day too, so I wasn´t completely bed-ridden or anything serious. Luckily, all these bad things passed by the time Thursday came around or so. 

Thursday, we did another companionship exchange with the same woman here in our area, but once again, I moved areas. This time, I was with an Elder Keller, an American who, believe it or not, has less time on the mission than I do. Imagine how fun that day was. We actually managed pretty well. Even though it´s a bit evident that he doesn´t have much time here, Elder Keller has more confidence than I do and isn´t afraid to talk. Not much happened on the division. I got to talk some more with an Elder Konig, an Elder from Argentina who is actually from my group in the MTC, and Elder Mochaki and I ended up being pretty good friends with him. He´s always saying, ´´Ah, Skinner! Você é o cara!´´, which is pretty much, ´´Ah! Skinner! You da man!´´ and we´re always celebrating each time we make another month on the mission. Super good guy. Funny story though, as Elder Keller and I were dropping off a few copies of the Book of Mormon with some girls that Elder Keller and his companion met the day before, we came across some dude, only in his mid 20´s or so, with a 2 liter bottle of what looked like chocolate milk with a thin, colorful ribbon inside that had a cross of Jesus along with the Star of David if I remember correctly. Neither of us understood exactly what he was rambling about, but I caught more than Elder Keller did. Basically what this guy did was he took the ribbon out of a ´´Macumba´´, which is basically a black magic offering or something that a cult does here in Bahia/Pernambuco, and proceeded to do some sort of exorcism out of respect for the sacred symbols on the ribbon. He unscrewed the cap and proceeded to do some chants in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and poured the contents into the street and retrieved the ribbon. This dude didn´t appear to be on drugs or alcohol or anything strange, but yeah, it was rather strange. 

It´s also been getting chillier here in Pernambuco. I imagine it´s starting to get rather hot there in Arizona. The afternoons still have a blazing sun, but by sunset, it gets windy and starts to feel very nice after a hot day. Not that it´s worth mentioning, but kind of a funny little story. In Petro Oeste almost every day, there are a small group of guys that ride spread out through the area on motorcycles with a very small cart on the back of their bikes and loud sound systems that blast advertisements of them selling creamed corn for like R$2. They drive about jogging speed so if you´re walking, they outrun you so you have to be lucky to stop them in a way. When I first saw them, I thought it was just one annoying guy that sold corn instead of like 5 guys throughout the area, so as he passed more and more throughout the weeks here, I got more and more curious about the corn. So this past week, we´ve been keeping an eye out for him as we move from appointment to appointment. A couple times, he would turn out of a neighborhood right in front of us, and continue onward parallel to the direction we´re going. It´s almost useless to scream for him to stop because his sound system is too loud. One time though, after many attempts throughout the week, we nailed him because he saw us in his mirrors late at night. It was just a small cup so I probably won´t be getting anymore, but it was some pretty good creamed corn. Even had cinnamon. ;P Oh yeah, have you guys ever had avocoado juice before? Yeah. That´s a thing apparently. I was rather skeptical (just like I was skeptical about Green Corn ice cream), but a Francisca, a recent-convert here, made us some. (she´s It was super rich and creamy. It was almost like eating a strange type of ice cream. Really weird, but it was pretty good stuff.

Francisca is the aunt of a boy around 17 years of age that we baptized recently, who´s name is João (portuguese for John :) ) I have some pictures, but anyway, the story is.. rather interesting. Maria dos Anjos, his mom, got interviewed during our division with Elder Keller, and she´s the type of person that gets uncomfortable with the invites we do as missionaries, and instead of explaining WHY she´s nervous, she just laughs and says ´´ohhh, I don´t knowwwwww..´´. It was a miracle to even get her to do the interview and the first time we invited her, she actually DID tell us no. But anyway, she passed and everything. Remember Elder Gish, the Elder who came with me on the bus to Petrolina? Yeah, he´s in Juaziero, which is a stone´s throw across the bridge of Petrolina, and he taught this family. So because Maria dos Anjos was taught by them, Elder Gish was going to baptize her and I was going to baptize João. But we got there, and she was ´´sleeping´´ and the truth was is that she didn´t want to get baptized. So Elder Gish came from Juazeiro just to hear that. Because Gish knew João more than I did, when the baptism came, I let Elder Gish baptize João. I decided that a good experience for João was more important than adding another tally to how many baptisms Elder Skinner gets on his mission. To be honest, when I hear other missionaries boasting about their baptisms just for the sake of bragging, I get bothered by it. 

We´re approaching the end of the transfer already because this one is only 5 weeks instead of  weeks. I asked why and apparently, President Lisonbee has to go to some kind of meeting at the end of the transfer. The big question is whether or not Elder Macalupú will leave or stay because he will make 3 transfers at the end of this one. There´s a good chance I could get a new companion but I hope that doesn´t happen. Elder Macalupú is a pretty swell guy and I would like to stay with him for at least one extra transfer. I feel like I could survive in this area but I still feel super new here. 

I suppose that´s it for this week. Had some moments and some bad ones, but this week should be better. I don´t know what we´re going to do for P-day because we have to pay a freakin´ water bill of R$240 but we´ll figure out something to do. Love you guys!

-Elder Skinner

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