Monday, August 24, 2015


Carta Semanal:

Alright, so I got quite a bit of news this week that I´m excited to share with everyone. 

First of all, this Saturday, we´ll be returning to Salvador for yet another conference but this one is pretty darn special. First of all, the Brazil Salvador mission and the Brazil Salvador South mission will be combining to hear Elder Neil L. Andersen speak, which I´m super excited for. I bet it will be interesting to hear him speak in Portuguese should he choose to do so. Either way, I´m totally looking forward to hear from him. 

Anyway, I´m sure some of you are awaiting to hear the results of the transfer. As Dad had guessed, Elder Cerna and I will be staying as companions and the area of Elder Cerna and Elder Santana was closed for just this transfer, as the Assistants had told us that we´d be receiving another companionship the next transfer (not that it really matters for me, because there´s an almost certainty that Petrolina and I will be parting ways in 6 weeks). The news didn´t come as a surprise to me, as 20-23 missionaries had finished their missions and returned home, which is a HUGE group, considering the fact that only 8-10 missionaries had shown up (which is actually pretty big. Normally we only get like 3-5. The last big group to show up was mine 10 1/2 months ago.) and  the majority of those who left were americans, including my trainer, Elder Rivera.

I´m greatly saddened to see my best friend go home. I remember after he had left and when Elder Costa e Silva had arrived, I kept thinking that I´d still have a long time to see him around the mission but time flies. Tuesday morning last week, he called me and we talked a little bit and he gave me some last minute advice and stuff that I appreciated. He also passed a note to one of the Sisters in my district that she had given to me, and it just made me reminisce about all the times we had spent in 7 de Abril together that seem so long ago. It blows my mind to think that when I arrived, he had 10 months in Brazil as well and just the thought that I could be training here soon leaves me excited as well. It´s also weird to think that in a year, a year and a month that I´ll be going home. It´s really left me in a wave of different emotions, mainly gratitude for what I´ve learned up till now, what I´ll be learning over the next year, and a little bit nervous to think that it all flies by so fast. 

Alright, so it´s been freakin´ hot this week and it´s only going to get worse as the spring kicks off here in Pernambuco and eventually leads to summer. It all gets worse when last week a bunch of guys from the Compesa, or the water mark here, disconnected our water. Turns out even before I arrived here, the four elders in our house neglected to pay a water bill for R$250. That´s a lot of bloody reais when you take into account that a normal water bill here is a good R$40-60 or so. Thanks, Elder Macalupú. So yeah, in our service area where we do laundry, there´s about 20-25 2L bottles of soda that had been emptied and filled with water that missionaries before us put as a water reserve, the majority of which had already gone bad with some nasty looking orange particles that didn´t look very trustworthy. We went to our Ward mission leader´s house, President Martins who´s a great guy, and he helped us fill a few bottles of water and we later went to Thifane´s house, a less-active, to fill our water too. We at one point had a District meeting and brought our dirty laundry with us to wash at the church. Not kidding. So yeah, I´ve been liking putting the water into a pot, heating it up, and taking a shower. It´s honestly not too bad. All these stories I tell you guys about us killing millions of roaches;spiders and suffering simple things are honestly not messing with me. We often make a joke about things and everything gets better. I´m still thankful we at least have electricity, a fridge, and nice beds and what not to at least sleep and make things nice.

We have 3 new sisters in our district as well. I totally forgot to take a picture at our last district meeting but next week I will have one for you guys. I learned something cool about being a leader this week, though. I said in the beginning of our meeting that I´m still really new and that I probably wouldn´t be the best district leader for our group, which Elder Cerna told me afterwards that saying stuff like that isn´t good because a leader needs to be someone that everyone looks up to and such. After he pulled me aside and said that, it kind of had me thinking. Would someone running for president of the USA or any leadership position say something like that? hahaha, it made me reflecting a little bit and it made me learn something new. It motivated me a little bit actually, and yesterday when I accompanied everyone from our district, I did some things a little differently, asking more questions about how the work is going with them and how they´re feeling about everything. All in all, I´m pumped to see some major improvements these next 6 weeks in my character as a leader and it made me feel more grateful to be trusted by the Lord to be a leader here, despite having less time compared to everyone else. 

That´s about a majority of our week. Some other little things happened here and there. Last Pday, Elder Ramirez and Elder Santana just decided on saying goodbye to everyone they had liked. We played our last few sessions of ´´Bang´´ that day. I downloaded some cowboy music that Pday just to add to some laughs. Imagine Elder Cerna, Elder Ramirez and I getting ready to play with Elder Santana lying down on the bed taking a nap. Us 3 walked into the bedroom and I just hit play on a cowboy music from ´´the good, the bad, and the ugly´´ for a few seconds. We all thought he was dead asleep and then out of nowhere, he sits up super fast and imitates shooting us like in the game.

 Last week, a new pizzaria opened up closeby and we went opening night after our day at work/planning and took a pizza home. The problem was, is that it was a little more expensive than the R$15 we´re used to. All in all, Elder Cerna and I had decided that our little pizza joint out front is better because it´s literally in the front of our house, cheaper, and tastes better. 

After visiting our Ward mission leader, we were walking home one night and passed out front of a little fruit store next to our house. As we were walking home, me behind Elder Cerna, we walked a little closeby a car that had the driver seat window rolled down and a German shepherd poked it´s head out the car and grazed Elder Cerna´s arm and then started barking. I kind of blinked and didn´t realized that he had gotten bitten until we looked at his shirt (which is a long-sleeved shirt) and saw blood marks. It wasn´t even a big bite, just one little tooth mark that had managed to penetrate skin. What was weird, though, is that even though he got bitten, there was no tears or anything in his shirt. Just the bit on his skin. We quickly threw some sanitizer and a band-aid on it, but we weren´t worried. You don´t ever see any German shepherds out on the streets, so there´s almost a certain chance that he was already vaccinated/shots and all. It kind of made me mad though. Pretty irresponsable. What if a kid had passed by instead of two missionaries?

Yep, so that´s been another week for me. Learning a lot each day and having a good time all in all. Love you guys!

-Elder Skinner

´´Eis que sou discípulo de Jesus Cristo, o Filho de Deus. Fui por ele chamado para anunciar sua palavra ao povo, a fim de que tenham vida eterna.´´ - 3 Néfi 5:13

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