Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 14

Alrighty. This week has been better. We´ve found a few new people to teach, and one of them appears to be looking for the Truth in her life and basically accepted baptism. We committed her to start preparing now, but she seemed a little hesitant to just jump into it. Anyway, we also have a baptism finally here. A guy in our ward who is a little less active is dating a lady who already has 2 kids and her daughter just turned 8. She´s been attending church with him for the last month or so, so we´ve been teaching her the lessons with her dad to get her all prepared. She´s got a lot of sassiness, and makes fun of my accent sometimes, but I´m pretty used to it since I have a sister like Kortney.

Anyway, today we had a zone Brasilian barbacue (churrasco) which is way better than hot dogs, hamburgers, and sometimes steak. It´s pretty much all meat, like 5 different kinds. My favorite is linguiça. It´s a big sausage of chewed up something. It´s so much better than brotwurste. I made some real good American brownies, but they weren´t done on time, so we´ll eat them tomorrow for our district meetings. I left them in the kitchen at the church and hope no one eats them over night. I left a note saying ``Não comam se vocês querem salvação.´´ That should do it. We also played lots of soccer. I´m pretty terrible, but at least I try. We have 4 Americanos and 6 Brasileiros, so we did a lot of US vs Brasil. We held up alright for a while, then the Brasileiros got all excited and destroyed us. They said until 5 gols, but after 5, they said ``Mais um´´ and we kept going until they finally had 10 and we had only 3. Regardless it´s pretty fun. We´re not allowed to be competative as missionaries, so without too much competition, I enjoyed running around in the sun for 3 hours trying to kick the ball.

Here´s our crazy story for this week. We were walking down the road (as missionaries do) and this motorcycle whipped past us through a turning lane of oncoming traffic. Then this car tried to follow him (thankfully there wasn´t any traffic) and drift through the lane after the motorcycle, but he didn´t know how, and almost skidded into us. As he reversed out, one of his friends came running after him yelling ``He´s getting away, go go go!´´ Then the car sped off again. I have no idea what the guy on the motorcycle did, but the guy in the car was ticked off.

Yes, the weather here is getting super hot. I´m dying during the afternoon. The other day it was the hottest I´ve had yet. It was about 40 degrees celsius. I was gonna die I´m pretty sure, but then during a lesson, it started raining, which first of all blocked out the sun, then the rain cooled off the pavement so I wasn´t burning from top and bottom. We walk from place to place, and there´s no wind here at all! Well, there´s no wind between the buildings, but above them there´s a lot apparently. Lots of kids sit on the roof with kites. I´ve seen about 15 kites the last week all tangled up in the power lines too. 

As for being homesick, I got past that in the MTC. I was studying in Preach My Gospel and there was a quote from an Apostle (I forget who), but it basically said that the cure for homesickness and friendsickness and so on is work. Just work and focus on the work and you´ll forget/be blessed.

I can´t believe it´s almost December either. 6 months has gone by really fast. Also, I had a completely normal day. I actually thought Friday was Thanksgiving all day, then we got home and I saw that it wasn´t Thursday, but already Friday. Then, on Sunday, I remembered Black Friday. I think I´d have forgotten all about Thanksgiving if I didn´t have my calendar.

Mexico sounds like it was pretty awesome. Sometims Brasil feels like a vacation not having to worry about homework or much at all. Just work and food. I actually had a nightmare I hadn´t done my homework for school. I also had a dream I went back to the MTC for some reason like they ran out of companions. I was so good at Português in comparison with the other Americans. I actually spoke with the Brasilian Elders in real Português in my dream. That was sweet. Oh ya, Mexico; no one here worries about copyright or anything. Lot´s of places sell copyrighted stuff. Especially movies and video games. Kids daycares and schools have Disney and Ben 10 stuff painted all over their walls to make the barbed wire or shards of glass on top look more friendly.

I´ve started trying to find out who´s house I can visit on Christmas to talk with you guys. 10am there should be about 4pm here. I think that should work. I hope so. It´s almost 7 o´clock here, so maybe you can figure out if the time difference is 100% correct by this email. Major bummer Stephanie can´t be there though. I still have 3 more holiday phone calls at least.

I still haven´t got the first package yet. I´m kind of nervous about Christmas. I finally got everything for your package and have been trying to send it for the last 4 days without success. Either we don´t have time, or it´s closed or something. It´s frustrating. If your packages are late, I´m sure mine will be too, so it´ll be even.

That´s just about it for this week. I´ll try and have some cooler stories next week. I´m also dying to know how Lars´s wrestling meet goes. Anyway, until next Monday.

Elder Candland

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week 13

It´s pretty crazy that in December I´ll already have 6 months on the mission. Speaking of December, I´m kind of worried about Christmas here. I´m pretty sure it´s not going to be so great. It´ll probably be about 95 degrees out too. I´m not sure if we´ll have lunch at a members house or not. At least I´ll probably be able to Skype with you guys. Usually holidays for you like Christmas are pretty crammed with family.

Sounds like everyone is super busy at home too. All of the kids seem to have way more extra curriculars than ever. And Lars, I can´t believe he´s enjoying wrestling. Speaking of which I had a wrestling meet at Tolt in my dreams last night. I wrestled the kid from Win Win and won... That was the inflight movie everyone was watching on my flight to São Paulo. I didn´t watch, promise. I just saw a little bit of the wrestling since it caught my eye. 

Anyway, this week has been pretty empty of success as well. We even had a big ward activity set up for Saturday. We announced it two Sundays ago, and the 2 days beforehand, we invited every member we could talk to, and we asked them to please invite a friend since the purpose was to try and introduce people to the missionaries and church in a more laid-back way. The night of it started at 6 pm, but at about 6:05 the first 2 people showed up. After about 25 minutes our bishop showed up and he helped us make some phone calls. At about 7:00 we had about 15 people there, but the people we had asked to bring certain things hadn´t brought them, so we waited about 30 minutes more for them to grab it and come back. Finally, we had a quick activity. It was that activity where we have someone hand out candy, and each time he asks if they want it, we had to do 5 pushups, regardless of whether they wanted the candy or not. Then we shared a quick message about the atonement and agency and that was it. The activity went well, but we were really sad that so few people showed up. 

One of our zone leaders is from the US, and he reminds me of a combination of Andrew Ashby and Brandon Howlett. He and I had a good conversation about the Book of Mormon animated movies today. We also visited the São Paulo futebol team stadium today. It had the same exact feel as any normal American football or baseball stadium. I picked a team a while ago, and it´s not São Paulo. I actually root for a team from Rio. Vasco da Gama. I get a lot of crap since I´m serving here in São Paulo and everyone loves the teams from here. That´s probably why I chose them.

Oh ya, happy Thanksgiving.I won´t be celebrating. It doesn´t exist here, but there is a holiday about once every 3 weeks here. They even have a Kid´s Day, just like Mother´s and Father´s Day. I´m pretty sure it´s just an excuse not to work and to ``focus on the kids´´ by sitting at home, watching some futebol, and drinking some beer.

My Português is pretty awesome now though. I´m able to listen to most people speak, and I´m reading O Livro de Mórmon every day and understanding just about everything. Now that my ability to understand is catching up, I´m trying really hard to work on proper grammar. I still have a hard time wording questions right during lessons. I find myself thinking in Português a lot too, so that´s pretty sweet.

I hadn´t read Jesus the Christ for a long time and picked it back up again about a 2 weeks ago. Right now I can´t put it down. I have a hard time not reading it my entire study time, so I had to set rules for myself. It´s pretty cool to read about the life of our Savior so detailed. I´m learning a lot about his example and his works that I hadn´t known. It´s a really good book.

Well, that´s it for now. Hopefully next week I´ll get email from everyone with a little more detail from Oregon State. 

Elder Candland

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 12

Pretty exciting email to NOT get last week. Here磗 November 9th (or what should be November 7th):

So my new area is called Mangalot (mahng-guh-LOH). It磗 a lot more like how I pictured Brasil. It doesn磘 really feel like S鉶 Paulo, but more like an isolated city right outside. It磗 a lot more calm here, and is mostly small houses instead of apartment buildings. There are lots of dirt soccer fields, more grass, and trees. My new companion is Elder da Rosa (dah Hozuh). He磗 black. It磗 his last transfer here, so President Martins told me to keep him focused. I don磘 think he磗 very trunky right now, but we磍l see with only 2 weeks left.

The ward here is pretty small in comparison to my last area, so we磖e trying to get to know the members well, and help lots of the inactives get reactivated. We met with on last night. He plays guitar really well and actually sings really well too. He磗 the first person here I磛e heard sing well. We played some songs with him, and he talked to us about how he was an alcoholic and is doing well now, but is trying to divorce his wife since she doesn磘 want family or anything to do with the church, and he seems to realize there磗 something missing in his life. He seemed to really enjoy having us over, so we磖e hoping to get him back in church every week.

It's so dang hot here. I finally burned the other day. Now I'm starting to look really tan, like I did right after Trek. It's still not even December yet, and I'm dying in this heat. I'm so glad It's not up further North.

My companion has an album from the same guy who wrote the Nashville Tribute to Joseph Smith, and it's about the pioneers. There's a song I heard called "Somewhere There's A Mountain" that I thought would be cool if Kortney and Rylee sang.

As for interesting stories this week, we were at another inactive members house and she lives with lots of her family that aren't members and don't really live very well. Her daughter's husband was super drunk and was talking to me for about 15 minutes about Eddie Murphy and a lot of other stuff that didn't make sense or I didn't understand because of his drunk speaking. I also saw a lady with a brand of jeans called "Goot." I thought they looked like a real goot pair of jeans. There was also these really cool guys driving down the road with their music blasting and the words "Check Noris" over their windshield. I thought maybe it was a funny joke in Portuguêse, but my companion told me it wasn't a joke, they were just not very smart.

There's a lot of people here that like to talk about Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama. I think I here just as much talk about our president here as I did there. There was an article in a magazine here about Mitt Romney and if the US is prepared for a Mormon President. They interviewed Elder Niel L. Anderson since he speaks Portuguêse. It was a good interview. He answered simply and honestly. A lot was about Mitt Romney, but the last question said "Will the churches standpoint on gay marriage be changed in the future? and he answered "The family is the central part of our doctrine. I don't see how this is possible." I thought it was pretty straight to the point.

So our missino conference was super good. Elder Godoy and his wife spoke briefly, and Elder Evans spoke for a good 2+ hours. He and his wife only speak English and Japanese, so we had a translator that spoke into another microphone after every phrase. His wife had a really good point. She said that the phrase "The mission was the best two years of my life" is wrong. It should be "The mission was the best two years for my life." She also said it's not just our lives that the mission is good for, but our family's lives; present and future, and that the blessings of the mission don't stop after the mission. Then Elder Evans spoke alot about the mission too. He talked about how the friendships we have on the mission are eternal because we're all served together, and how our relationship with our mission president is going to be one of our best even after the mission. I got a lot of good notes from this session. It was much better than the first.

Hope Mexico is awesome, that everything goes well at home, and that OSU is still sweet. Have a good week.

Elder Candland

Week 11

This last Monday, we had a Mission Conference with Elder Carlos Godoy and Elder David Evans of the Seventy, so P-day is today. Anyway, here's me email from last week October 31st:

Holloween is actually kind of normal here. It's called Halloween, and I've actually seen a few people walking around in costumes. I don't think trick-or-treating is very big though. It just looks like a bunch of youth parties, church activities, normal parties, and wierd single ladies. Dallin and lars have always wanted difficult costumes. Too bad Goku never worked out, it's a pretty simple actually. I enjoyed seeing the ward photos. Some of the costumes were pretty funny. Rylee's too. I was quite surprised that she wanted to be a warrior, but I can see how being a princess each year could get boring.

Sweet deal that everyone finally got their drivers licenses. Is there going to be much of a problem with 2 drivers and 1 car? I can't imagine Shaini will want to drive to many dates, usually girls like to be driven, though Stephanie liked to drive every now and then. I think it's because she thinks her car is cooler since it has a name.

I'm dying to know how Lars likes wrestling.

The Portuguêse is coming along a lot better now. I've had several dreams the last few weeks where I speak more Portuguêse. It definitely feels like it comes and goes sometimes. I still have a harder time understanding than actually speaking. Some lessons, I understand just about everything they say, and others I can barely understand. Lots of people seem surprised when I say I've only had about 3 months in Brasil, so that's good. The other Elders say that my accent is better than other Elders who have had a lot more time than I have. Portuguêse isn't my huge concern anymore. Now, it's just finding people who sincerely want the Gospel. We had all of our baptismal dates fall through since no one will go to church. Either they work, or they say they'll go, but when we show up to pick them up, they don't answer the door. It's really frustrating, but we have a few other investigators now that I think actually want something more in their lives. Though, we had an investigator who was progressing quite well, but had her member roommate call us to tell us she was feeling stressed about her baptism and didn't want it anymore. That was the worste thing to happen to us this week. It was really dissappointing.

This Wednesday we have transfers. It'll be my 3rd transfer (already). The last two I've had the same companion since he's training me. We have no idea what'll gonna happen now. I'm hoping my companion stays. He eats my food and never helps clean the house and has a lot to learn, but he does have a lot of strengths I don't, one of which is being able to be really personable with everyone. I'm pretty friendly, but right now, I don't know how to really talk very freindly with people. Also, a lot of my humor is getting thrown out the window. No one understands my sarcasm at all; they all take it so literally. My teacher at the MTC warned us that Brasilians don't really understand sarcasm. Anyway, he's the reason a lot of our investigators still like to have us over. When I've been there with other Elders, it's really hard to keep the conversation going for me.

Here are my funny stories this week:
I saw an old hobo sitting on the street trying to stand up, but couldn't so I thought "Let's be missionaries" and we helped him up. He said thank you a lot then kissed my on my right peck and hobbled off across the street. About 1 minute later, we spotted him passed out on the other side of the street. It was pretty obvious that he was drunk when we helped him up, but when we saw him back on the ground completely unconscious, that sealed it.
Today I had some chicken hearts at lunch. They're pretty dang good actually. They tasted like chicken. Funny how that always works out.
The last few days have been the hottest days of my life. It's been about 90 - 100 degrees out, but with the humidity, it's worse. I have some sick dirt lines from where my backpack straps are. We walk all over too. I think we probably walked about 7 miles the other day while it was super hot. I could hardly believe I didn't pass out. The best part though, is that it only gets hotter from here until about February.
I also saw a huge flock of pigeons on the street and so I decided to scare them all off for some fun, but what I didn't realize was there was a hobo in the shadows that apparently doesn't like it when you scare his birds off. He got really mad at me, and I was was worried he was going to try and attack me from the way he yelled.

Anyway, that's about it.

Woa, newsflash! We just got a call from the assistants and I'm getting transferred! Pretty random. I don't know anything about my new area or my companion, but I'm leaving. It's kind of sad, I like the ward a lot and have a few investigators I was hoping to see baptized. Exciting that I get to see Elder Larson at the mission office though.

Alright, that's it for this week. Talk to you guys next week.

Elder Candland