January 28, 2013
It's time to write the weekly email. It seems like I've been waiting for this moment for my whole life. Haha, Just kidding! This week was better. Hopefully I didn't sound like a baby in the last email. I'm growing accustomed to the culture here. I'm getting used to being sweaty and hot and taking like 3 showers a day.
We got two new families to listen to the first discussion and come to church all in the same week. It seems like these people have been prepared to hear the message of the Gospel. Even though I couldn't really understand them and when they asked me questions about myself I usually couldn't answer back, I know the spirit was felt and that it entered into their hearts. We had 12 of them come to church, six over the age of 8! It was really cool. I feel like they really trust us and consider us to be friends. My companion abandoned me after Sacrament meeting so I was stuck talking to them and telling them what happens after the 1st meeting in church. Surprisingly, it went alright. Their kids really like me. The extent of our communication is a thumbs up and that's about it. The girls we teach always laugh when I talk and just stare at me. It's quite distracting. I stand out like a sore thumb here. What better way to advertise the gospel than to be a super pastey white kid in a white shirt, walking through a field of native Brazilian dark people?!
My language is getting better. I still get pretty frustrated with myself... a lot and I find myself to be wrong whenever I ask my companion, îsso faz sentido? That just leads me to study even more. I study more here than I ever have in school. It's ridiculous. Every time I look at one of my grammar books I feel like there is an endless amount of knowledge to learn. It's pretty overwhelming at times but I'm trying to take everything one step at a time. My companion said it would take about 6 months to be very confident with the language. I can't wait! It seems unreachable at times, but other times I find myself communicating with people just fine. My roommates say my Portuguese is really good for only being in the field for 2 weeks so that's good.
For Family Home Evening here the Ward members just gather together. It's awesome. There's so much food and shouting and just friendship. I can't understand what they're saying but it seems like fun, haha. I've never drunk more Coke in my life than I've drunk here. It's pretty much like drinking tap water here, probably more than tap water because the water is dirty. It's alright because I still work out every morning. Also, the Suco here is so awesome. I tried Acerola and it's my favorite so far. It's orange. I don't know what the actual fruit looks like but it tastes awesome. One of our investigators gave us this fruit called Jaca. It's a freaking huge spiny melon. The inside is filled with these white sluglike golfball sized fruit segments with seeds in each individual one. They are so slimy. At first I didn't like it but I kept eating it and I learned to love it. We put the contents in a bowl in the fridge for like a week. Eventually everything in the fridge smelled and tasted like Jaca. We made Suco out of it. Freaking bomb! It tasted like banana mixed with vanilla.
Things with my companion are a little, to no better. He's frustrated perpetually and never tells me anything about our investigators, whether they're members or not, never tells me where were going, when we're going, what we're doing, what things mean in Portuguese, etc... Im gonna have to sit him down and talk to him in the best Portuguese I can muster up. Sometimes I feel like the people here think I'm stupid because I don't speak Portuguese. I WENT TO COLLEGE. It's funny, though. When people say, quero, which means I want, it sounds like they're saying my name. I try to respond and we just laugh because they weren't saying my name.
So apparently this is the hilliest area in the mission. I guess that's cool. We sweat a lot. If you've seen Hulk,or Fast Five, or The Bourne Ultimatum, some of the places we walk around look exactly like those villas. It's like Favela in COD, Landon. The people here all love the show Walking Dead and How I Met Your Mother. They always flip out whenever I tell them the Walking Dead was filmed in my city. It's awesome. All-in-all I'm still having a hard time adjusting and speaking the language but, whatever. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. I just make sure to read my Book of Mormon and pray everyday and study my butt off with the language. I know it's not going to happen instantly so I'm trying to be patient. One of the things I learned this week while reading was that if we are faithful and worthy and are doing everything God wants us to do, he will deliver us from hard times. He will bless us when we obey. If we are living unworthily, it is foolish to expect anything from him. He gave us everything and just expects us to try our best to be like Christ. I love you all and hope everything is going alright and that ya'll are being blessed! I pray for our family every day! Keep me updated with everything! Love you!
-Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll