As I had said last week, we traveled to Salvador to hear Elder Andersen talk. It was a pretty neat experience for plenty of reasons. The entire mission was there, so I got to see many of my good buddies there. Turns out that Elder Nickerson also became a district leader so now Elder Sterling, Elder Nickerson, and I are all district leaders. Every time we see each other, we keep reminscing about our times in the MTC and marvelling about how fast time has flown by. I saw pretty much everyone there, including Elder Costa e Silva, Elder Ramirez, Elder Santana, Elder Konig, Elder Medina, and several others, it´s was neat. It was also pretty cool to hear Elder Andersen speak. Although he´s one of the newer apostles in the quorum, I actually always enjoyed hearing him speak and you could say he´s one of my favorites. I had the chance to shake his hand, so I thought that was pretty cool. He managed to speak Portuguese with a very thick american accent and a lot of Spanish thrown in here and there, but it was a great experience to hear an apostle speak on your mission. I didn´t learn anything mindblowing or different, but the words of Elder Andersen helped me to relax a little bit about a few things, mainly those who choose not to hear our message. The bus ride was long both ways. This time, the bus went to take the Zones of Petrolina, Juazeiro, and Senhor do Bonfim. It was rented by the church, so it was full of just missionaries. It was rather embarassing in a few ways, just a bunch of teenagers in nametags horsing around and being rather childish at times. At night, Elder Cerna, a few other missionaries, and I were trying to sleep getting there but there was just a lot of laughter and all kinds of nonsense. The bus ride back was rather fun though. Elder Cerna took with him ´´Bang!´´, so we played that on top of my pillow that I had brought for a few hours. We played with Elder Cerna, Elder Berg Souza (Brazilian, super funny guy), Elder Gutierrez (another Peruvian), and Elder Chastain (that one american that I had told you about at Feira de Santana). It was really fun, and we managed to kill our boredom and a few hours riding back.
A neat little story, but the other day, we went to the pizzaria at the front of our house to grab another pizza. The guy at the front that takes our orders recognizes us and is pretty much used to two teenaged missionaries showing up almost every other day to grab a pizza. Anyway, I told him that we just wanted our usual and was ready to hand him the credit card, he told us that that night that there would be a little surprise for us. Normally a pizza of R$15 is pretty simple, just pepperoni, cheese, and chicken like I had sent in the other emails, divided into 3 sections. We sat down at a table outside waiting for a bit, and when he called us up to pay, it turns out that he gave us a different pizza with a bunch of other delicious and more expensive toppings. There was no explanation other than just an act of kindness. I believe it´s just them wanting to keep their normal customers around, due to the opening up of another pizza joint relatively close by. Either way, it worked. They can expect us returning. Elder Cerna and I were joking about it, though. Elder Cerna said that due to having bought so many pizzas, we payed the college tuition of the guys son, and as a thank-you, he gave us a better pizza that night, being the least that guy could´ve done, hahahaha.
Last week,we´ve also been visiting a really great guy named Clayton, in his 35´s-40´s or so, who was a referall from our Ward mission leader. I don´t remember if I mentioned him since last week, but anyway.. he´s a swell guy and Elder Cerna and I think that he will be baptized here soon. He´s been going to church pretty actively, has a wife who´s a less-active returning to church, really eager to learn from the Book of Mormon, and all-in-all, an answer to our prayers, after having dealt with so many lukewarm investigators. Everytime we have a day that didn´t end the best, Elder Cerna often tells me, ´´doesn´t matter, we still have Clayton´´. We even made a joke that one day during an appointment, he´s randomly going to say, ´´oh, yeah, Surprise! I´m actually a Stake President´´. Hahaha, in short, we´re happy to have Clayton in our teaching group. A funny little story about him though, he likes to often give us snacks after an appointment, and one day gave us guava juice. Guavas here are pretty cheap, so we end up drinking it a lot. I´ve gotten to the point where I pretty much despise guava juice. It´s thick, has a lot of blended up seeds in it, really thick, and let´s not forget the MTC maggot. That night, his wife had already given us guava juice that I stomached down, so when he attempted to offer us more, I said, ´´no thanks! I just want some water´´ and he´s all ´´Nah, mannn! Have some juice! Gotta have some fruit too!´´ and poured me a big frosty glass of guava juice. I couldn´t handle it, and just took a few sips, looked at my watch, and lied a bit saying that we got to get home that night due to a curfew and left pretty much all of it in the glass without drinking it. The day after, on Sunday, he joked with me saying that there wouldn´t be any more guava juice. I felt a little bad, but at the end of everything, I´m glad. I still think Passionfruit juice is the best here.
Oh! and we finally got our water back. I think we passed a week total taking showers in water bottles and refilling them at people´s house throughout the week, but we managed to survive. Our financial secretary for the mission, Elder Belo, payed off our bill and we called the guys back to come fill up our water, so now we´re living a 1st world lifestyle again, hahaha. Just kidding.
All in all, our week was super short and not much happened. Tomorrow, I hit 11 months! Not too long until I hit a year!
Love you all!
-Elder Skinner (Elder Skimmer according to some of the little girls at church, and other days Elder Esquilo [Squirrel])