Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Pretty Solid Week

February 25, 2013

This week was pretty sweet. As you know I got a new companion which was definitely a good thing. He talks A LOT, almost too much at times but, I'm learning that this is a good thing because it forces me to talk back in Portuguese.  When a new missionary arrives in the area, we have this guy in the ward, we call him Painho, who always plays a joke on them. He did it to me when I first arrived.  When a new elder arrives, the Bishop (the leader of the congregation) comes and meets him and tells him about this family in the area who has been going to church for 6 months, the ward loves them, they believe in church is true but they just won't get baptized. So my companion gets really excited and says well let's go teach them! They always serve dinner to the elders the night the new one arrives so that night we went over and sat down in their house and started talking. There's a dad, mom and a daughter.  They invite my companion, Barbosa to share a message.  He shares a brief message in the Book of Mormon and thinks he's off the hook but the dad, Painho starts slamming him with these super hard questions.  My companion answers them with flying colors but I could tell he was really stressed out..hahahha and then Painho goes into the other room and pulls out a photo of a him and his family standing in front of the temple after their sealing.  My companion's face was awesome when he realized what happened. We all laughed so hard. Just think of them doing this to me my first week when I knew nothing of Portuguese...I about cried!  l hahaha funny stuff.
I can tell that just this week my Portuguse has improved a lot.  I've also learned that my language skills go down when the sun goes down.  I can't even help it.  I think my brain fries itself from thinking in 2 languages all day.  I need to stop thinking in English.  I was talking with my roommate and the Elder who trained him was an American and he said he spoke like a Brazilian.  I want that!  He said the best thing that he did was to just stop thinking and let it flow.  So that's my goal this week because I feel like I think way too much and I need to just let it flow.  Also, I'm learning that Brazilians are really touchy, feely kind of people. It's weird because I'm kind of not. Even my roommates are all touchy, feely.  I literally have to push them off and yell at them sometimes.  They're all sweaty and what not.  Another cultural thing I learned yesterday is you don't joke about people's moms. I learned this the hard way with one of my roommates Elder Soaza. He got super offended. Elder Bordes told me that if you insult someone's mom on the street they will get physical and try to fight you so I won't be doing that again. Oh, and nobody can say Carroll or Dallin.
On Saturday we had two baptisms, Mariana and Fabiana. I baptized both of them. It was awesome and The Spirit was super strong. I could tell that they were really happy afterwards and really felt welcome into the ward (congregation). I was pretty worried that I was gonna mess up the prayer but I said it perfectly in Portuguese twice. Their whole family came and I think it was a really good missionary experience for them. The ward here is awesome and the people are so welcoming and loving and make you feel like part of the family.  For the baptism I made a ton of cookies, the chocolate chip ones.  I made them with crystallized brown raw sugar instead of just brown sugar so they were a little different but still way good.  All of the women in the ward flipped out and wanted the recipe so now I have to translate it and give it to them.  I really feel like I'm getting closer to the members now that my Portuguese is semi-decent.  It's really hard to have a conversation with a lot of people though, because they yell and talk really fast.  It's kind of like Carroll family gatherings!  The kids of the ward are awesome. They'll just come up and give me a hug out of nowhere.  There's this one kid names Emanuel who is the only member of the church in his family who gets so excited when he sees me. He's 12 years old and he always yells "my brother!!!" in English.  We always talk about WWE wrestling and Ray Mysterio is his favorite. 
Elder Souza (one of my roommates) has become one of my best friends on the mission so far. We always have each other's backs when the other two elders are being fubecas (slackers) and just giving us grief because we're new.  We always have good conversations which really helps my Portuguese a lot. Whenever we go to the market to buy weird fruits he teaches me tons of useful words and doesn't flip when I ask him 100 times what something is.  Everyone thinks I'm weird for buying granola and healthy food but, whatever. I feel like I have to buy healthy stuff for the times I can actually choose what I eat because the members just serve us carbs. Fattening but very tasty.  I've gained some weight for sure.  My definition is going away no matter what I do in the morning to exercise.  It's quite sad but I'm thinking I'll just work out and run super hard when I get back and burn it off in about a month.
All in all this week was pretty solid. Presidente Lanius called this morning and wants me and Elder Barbosa to go to the mission office. We don't know why! Borbosa is on his last transfer so we were joking that he is gonna leave the mission but probably not.  He's so trunky (wants to leave) it's not even funny. I just have to ignore everything he says about leaving because it gets into my head!  I know I'm here to save souls, including mine so I'm really glad to be here even though its hard.
Love you and pray for you every day.
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll

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