Week´s been pretty normal for the most part. Last pday, we walked around Centro a little bit but I didn´t manage to find any of the things that I would need for Chimirrão that I´ve been wanting to get because the one store that I heard that has him ran out and they don´t know when they´re going to get a new shipment. So that pretty much ruined my day. I´m not really too surprised though because chimirrão is an extremely hot herbal tea that´s very common in the Southern states of Brazil, like Rio Grande do Sul, and it´s bad enough that we as missionaries are walking on the surface of the sun sometimes, so it´s not too much of a surprise to not find it here in the Northwest.
Elder Cerna and Elder Santana are just a companionship of clowns, always messing around with Elder Ramirez and I (mostly Elder Santana). Sometimes when we start our trail from our house to the church, which is a good 20 minutes or so walking, they like to kick rocks, trash, or anything in their path to try and cross through our legs while we´re walking as if we were walking soccer goal posts. One time, I was trying to call the Sisters to ask them to bring the keys of the church and while we were walking, Elder Santana was kicking an old coconut towards my direction and out of nowhere, I leaned down to pick it up with my hands and I chucked it to the side in a bunch of tall grass just to mess around with him, to which he replied ´´osh, osh osh!´´ I think you guys already remember when we did our Mother´s day call, but a lot of people (including me) now say this..phrase..? It sounds a lot like you´re about to say a curse word in English, but it doesn´t really mean anything. Just a mix of surprise and disgust I guess. Anyway, it´s super funny. These guys I swear are addicted to pizza. There´s a running joke amongst a lot of people that all Americans are rich, so they keep trying to do a bunch of nonesense to try and get me to buy them a pizza. The other day we were walking to João´s house to participate in a Family Home Evening, and Elder Santana kept trying to say that if he found my stuff for chimirrão if I would get him a pizza.
We had a bit of a disappointment this week. So we arrived the other day to Edson´s house a good 10 minutes earlier than he did or so to his brother, Ivanderson, who has major issues with smoking. Anyway, we sat down and just waited for Edson to appear when we decided to ask Ivanderson if he had seen Edson smoking a lot. Our goal is for him to just smoke 1 cigarette each day when he told us that Edson had already smoked 10 that day. I took it a little with a grain of salt, though, because it´s clear Ivanderson doesn´t exactly like us. It´s funny because when we first met him, he loved us and always loved to hear ´´the word of God´´ and stuff like that. But I think after a while, he started to get fed up with us after he realized that we weren´t some whack evangelical church that shows up and preaches Psalms in the Bible and leaves and instead we´re a church of repentance, change, love, and the like. Normally this Ivanderson starts puffing on a cigarette as soon as we show up to his house and immediately afterwards chucks the butt of the cigarette on the floor and proceeds to pour himself a cup of coffee. He even had the nerve to offer a smoke to Edson one day in our faces when we were teaching Edson and encouraging him to continue living the Word of Wisdom. Anyway, continuing on a little. Edson shows up that day we asked Ivanderson about Edson´s progress, clearly a little shaken up. He tells us that that day was really bad, that he drank a bunch of alcohol, got in a bar fight, and smoked a couple of cigarettes. We gave him some words of encouragement a little, and quickly left. I was super upset after leaving and didn´t want to talk to anyone, so Elder Ramirez and I walked home mostly in silence. I wasn´t upset or angry with him because we wouldn´t be having a baptism or anything stupid like that. I was mostly just discouraged of having to deal with so much nonsense here in Brazil sometimes. So many churches that don´t make sense, people that don´t care about our message, just stuff like that. We´ve had a lot of investigators lately that we show up to their houses, leave a message about the restoration, invite them to pray, and then we return to follow up on what they understood and if they prayed, and it´s literally always the same: no matter how simple we teach our lessons, nobody understands, let alone ask God if our message is true and so we just end up cutting them and moving on to others who are literally the same way because we ask them if they want to hear more and they respond no. How is it that other missionaries manage to find people like Zeak/Christine, João, and so many other people and we just end up teaching dead ends? That night, though, we returned home, grabbed some money, and went to go have a pizza with João to relax a little and just spend some time with him. It helped me feel a lot better and I´m not feeling down in the dumps anymore. I always knew the mission would be full of good moments and a LOT of discouragement, but I never expected these kinds of things here. But whatever, it´s all part of the mission. I´m still feeling pretty upbeat about things so don´t worry :)
Today as I sat down at the computer, there was a motorcycle helmet on the chair that I was about to sit on. I looked at the guy sitting next to me: a guy probably in his late 40´s or 50´s or so and assumed it was his. I was a little nervous at first because he appeared the type of guy that would be annoyed if I bothered him, but proceeded to ask him anyway. He said it was his helmet, grabbed it, and let me sit down. Immediately, he looked at me and asked me in English (a little to my surprise) ´´Are you American?´´, looking at my hairstyle. I replied yes and we started chatting a little in English and he asked me where I was from and stuff. It was pretty neat. He told me that for him (like me), the biggest problem for him is understanding when people speak. He spoke really well though. I forgot to ask him how it was that he learned, but it was really neat to talk with a Brazilian in English a little. After we talked a little, he told me that he enjoyed talking with me a little, went to shake my hand and looked at my nametag to speak my name. In the conversation, he also said he´d try and make a visit at our church one day, so who knows? It was pretty neat to talk with him. Earlier that week, we did another visit with Valéria and she had a song in English that her cousin had sent her and asked if I could translate it for her. I managed to do it, but my understanding of music is REALLY bad, even in English, so it was pretty funny to have to try and understand what was being said. My Portuguese is going pretty well. Sometimes I still have no idea how it is that I can improve my understanding of what people say. I guess it´s just a matter of time before the lightbulb goes off in my head and I understand but other than that, my speaking is the same. I can say/communicate whatever it is that I want without any serious difficulty and a lot of people are starting to say that the way I speak is as if I was from Southern Brazil, where a lot of clear-skinned people live so that made me feel pretty good.
I already know I probably missed some things to report, but this is really all I have for this week. All is well and I´m still enjoying myself here in Brazil. Love every one of you guys and miss you all!