Monday, June 15, 2015

Why would I be crying?

Carta Semanal:

This week´s been a bit tiring but ended pretty well. The weeks prior, we´ve been seriously lacking people to teach but this week, some miracles have been happening. Before I get into it though, I´ll talk about our last Pday. 

Last week, we got together with the Sisters in our District just to hang out a little. We decided to cross the bridge that links Petrolina and Juazeiro and when we arrived, had some lunch at a little Subway in Juazeiro. We made sure to take plenty of pictures, joke around a little, and just get to know everyone in our district. It was pretty chill, but I´m not going to lie. There´s NOTHING to do here on Pdays. We´ve been asking around some members here and there without much luck but I´ll gather our district together sometime this week to see if we can come up with something dumb but fun. :P There´s a brand of stores here called, ´´Lojas Americanas´´ that sell a wide array of things that you won´t find in very many stores, such as legit DVD´s (not pirated copies that everyone sells on the side of the road), music, toys, american treats, and things like that. We grabbed a few things here and there to make cookies to bring to our district meeting the following day (because the Sisters in our district thought it would be cool to do a calendar of who brings treats each district meeting, and of course.. we were the first ones. :/ ). The whole time, Sister Amorim was messing with me, saying if I bought certain things for her that I´d be her best friend. I kind of shook it off, joking with her about why she thinks all Americans are filthy rich, until she came across a CD of Led Zeppelin playing a concert live and told me it was her favorite band. Not even kidding. Nobody in my district until that moment knew that I love Zep until then. She told me she also listens to various other bands of that genre, and now we´re pretty much best friends. We call each other ´´best friends´´ in English, it´s pretty funny XD I bought the CD for like R$15 (the equivalent of like $5) ]and told her that I´m going to listen to it during personal scripture studies (of course, I was kidding) and told her that it´s for me and not for her. I decided that when the day arrives where either her or I get transfered, I´m going to give it to her as a little present :) 

Only a couple of little random stories have happened this week. Elder Ramírez is pretty deadset on learning English, so as we walk through the streets, I´ve been helping him learn words here and there. We were walking around our area a little, and I was explaining the difference between how you say the words ´´heart´´ and ´´hurt´´ when a group of around 6-7 boys around the age of 8-10 heard me talking with him, imitating the sounds I was making in English, almost in a mocking sort of way trying to communicate with me if you will. I replied to them, in a snappy playful sort of me, ´´não entendi NADA´´, to which they all gave some good laughs. They followed behind us, asking how it is that you say certain things from Portuguese to English, to which we answered their questions and stuff like that. They asked all sorts of questions, and it seemed to blow their minds that in the United States, EVERYONE speaks English and that nobody would understand them if they went there speaking Portuguese. They messed around with my companion in Spanish as well, asking a few things here and there. Anyway, we grabbed their addresses and promissed to joke with them some more in English another day and to talk with their families a little bit about us. We visited two of the boys´ families, and they turned out pretty solid, accepting other visits and enjoying our presence. One boy, named Eduardo who only has 11 years old, is a pretty smart cookie. We asked questions to his Mom, mainly focusing on her, and when she responded to some of our questions not quite answering what we asked, he´d but in and say, ´´No, Mom. They asked this, this, and that´´ and he proceeded to give his own 2 cents on the matter. He and his mother had Bibles, and the boy was more eager to open to scriptures that we taught as part of our lesson. I´m a little fearful though, because as we left, he gave us a little booklet and a small leaflet that appear to be endorsed by the Adventist Church of the 7th Day. There´s also an Adventist Church on the corner of his street, so it´ll be interesting to see. They´re both very eager to do a visit to our Church and committed to pray about our message, so it´ll be interesting to visit them again. 

More on the boys from the church that call me ´´Vampiro´´. I´m going to try and snap a photo with them this week, because I seriously love these boys. Their names are ´´Young´´ and ´´Jonatus´´. Recently, they got hooked on a computer demo of Minecraft and now every time they see me, they proceed to tell me stories of things they built, the treasures they´ve gotten, and stories about slaying zombies, spiders, skeletons, and you name it. One night, we had a family home evening with them really fast before visiting an investigator, and afterwards, they hopped on the computer and struggled a little bit with the interface that was all in English, so I managed to help them figure out how to navigate around the Minecraft menu. It was pretty funny. When we bid them farewell that night, they said, ´´Tchau, tradutor vampiro!´´

We also managed to put a baptismal date on a mother and son her in our area. We initially found them on a street contact, and they´re super friendly with us. They´re a little bit slow in understanding things, and I honestly fear that perhaps they don´t fully comprehend the type of invitation that we left with them but we´re going to spend plenty of time with them and helping them understand the gospel. 

The other day after a day of work, I sat down to write in my journal and eat a small snack before going to bed when suddenly our companionship cell phone gets a call from ´´os Assistentes´´, which kind of took me back a little bit. I answered the phone to an Elder who claimed to be an ´´Elder Gomes´´. He called to inform me that I would be emergency transfered to ´´Luís Eduardo´´, which is an area 15 hours or so away to a companion with serious problems. As he was explaining the situation, I noticed that this ´´Elder Gomes´´ had neither a Brazilian accent nor a hispanic accent. As he broke the news to me, he ended the sentence asking, ´´já está chorando?´´, to which I replied ´´No, why would I be crying?´´ and then I realized it was a joke. Wasn´t Elder Gomes, it was Elder Rivera. Scumbag. He was doing a division with the Assistants and decided to give me a prank call. It was pretty awesome talking with him on the phone though. He ends his mission here in 2 months and then he leaves with a BUNCH of other missionaries. At the same time, we´re receiving almost none, so our mission is going to be like Elvis Presley. Caught in a trap and can´t walk out. (angry grandpa reference). President Lisonbee is holding a meeting in Salvador the 24th of June for all District Leaders on the mission, something that the Sisters told me that has never happened before. So on that day, I´ll be taking another 10 hour bus ride to Salvador with Elder Pavlovski, and Elder Ramírez will be staying with his companion. 

We also had a Zone meeting pretty recent. I was super excited because I discovered that Elder Costa e Silva is now in my zone and the companion of Elder Konig! Upon meeting my old friend, we had a great embrace and got to talking about how things have been and such. I miss my good ol´ buddy, Costa e Silva. At the time, I started to get eager for a transfer and got rather annoyed with him at times but now that i look back, I cherish the memories we shared as companions. 

Elder Ramirez has been pretty swell these days too. I´ve realized more and more that he´s super shy, but a good guy. During our companionship inventories, I´ve made sure to tell him to relax and play a little with the people in the ward and our investigators. Even though I have great difficulty understanding kids like Jonatus and Young, I don´t let it stop me from playing a little bit with them. For example, their sisters (or cousins? Not entirely sure) named Bruna and Estephanie (the girls who call me Superman on the Bus), I like to mess with them too. The other day we sat outside waiting for their grandma to come and visit a less active with us, and the girls pretended to be inside a TV and I had the remote. I would announce what I would be watching and pretended to change the channel and they would have to act out what I was watching. it was really fun :) but Elder Ramirez is a bit shyer than even me, so sometimes it´s a bit much. It´s helped me out plenty though. I´ve gotten better at having a more jolly personality, coming out of my shell and talking more, and overall taking the lead in our companionship. I´ve been working at always being upbeat even in the face of rejection or frustration with a big ol´ smile and I´ve found that it´s helped my morale :) 

I´ve been baking cookies like nuts here after learning how to make them for the Sisters. I plan on giving some to some more members here that have either made us lunches or have gone out to teach people with us. I don´t know what it is, but i always feel happy whenever I see the look on their faces after giving them cookies and seeing them happy that we went out of our way and thought of them. 

Anyway, I suppose that´s it for this week! I think until now, this week passed by the fastest XP Hope the next pday arrives just as fast.

Love you guys as always!

-Elder Skinner

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