it literally takes like ten years for photos to upload here...so i am typing this as i have photos uploading in another email. fingers crossed + prayers that they can send so you all can see how AWESOME brazil is!! (: but also...i will not be sending as many photos as i usually have in the past because it takes so long. lol. just a forewarning (:
OKAY! Gonna update you all on my week, first thing. and then i have a list that ive been making all week long about crazy things about brazil. so that will come after (: lol
MONDAY! The 28th. We did our emails and then went to lunch...and oh my gracious lunches here at thebomb.com. Our ward takes such good care of us and we have lunch EVERY SINGLE DAY here, no questions asked! Except pdays but thats because with travel slash eating time...its better for us not to have lunch so we have max time to do other things on our pday that is already short enough as is (: haha. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day here (and arguably...the only meal of the day here. Lol. Breakfast is a piece of fruit or whatever you want and dinner doesnt really exist. Haha). Lunch always always always consists of rice, beans (feijao or `fay-joo-ow´) which is delicious and usually chicken (gallinha) and fresh fruit juice and some kind of spaghetti. Sometimes we get pineapple (YUMMM!) and salad (mostly tomatoes and onions, lol. occasionally lettuce) and some other things here and there. but those are the staples (: After lunch we did weekly planning and contacted a bunch of people. it was fab!
TUESDAY we went to my fave place in the mission so far - Tracunhaém! Its this tiny little town and literally the most beautifullllll place in the whole wide world. The living there is crazy poor, for the most part. But that also = crazy humble people (like I think I mentioned in my last email home) so everyoneeeee is open to hearing about the Gospel! #loveit (: After that we did more contacting and then taught two real lessons to Claiton and Jonathan. Claiton is about 30 years old and this was our second lesson with him. The first thing he told us when he said he had read the pamphlet about the Restoration was ``When I got to the part about Joseph Smith seeing God and Jesus Christ...I got this really strong feeling in my chest, it was really neat.`` HELLOOOO, Holy Ghost testifying!! That was awesome! He has some issues with the Word of Wisdom but we are working through that on our next lesson (: Jonathan is a 14 year old boy who is super open to the gospel, most kids here are. Its awesome. He is really promising, we just want to get him to church! His dad works at a Sorveteria (ice cream shop, there are MILLIONS here!!) and always gives us free ice cream when we teach his son (: love it!
Wednesday was the best day ever ever everrrr because we got to go to the TEMPLE in RECIFE!!! AHHHH loved loved loved ittt. I love to see the temple and go inside and everything! We got up at 5am and took an Omnibus, the metro, and another Onmibus and then walked the rest of the way to the temple. SO WORTH IT. I felt like a total foreigner because i totally had headphones to hear the session in English...but part of the time I listened in Portuguese and next time I am going to do the whole thing in Portuguese (: love the temple. We ate in the cafeteria there and it was sooooo good! A member who works there offered to pay for us too, SO nice. The members here are amazing!!! On the way home from the temple, we were on a 3 hours Omnibus from Recife --> Carpina. And so the four of us sisters and a member who was with us (William) all sat in the very back. There are always 2 people in charge of each Omnibus - one driver and one person walking around on the bus collecting the fare. Well...long story short the guy collecting the fare totally came right up to us and asked us what made our church different and basically we got to give him a Book of Mormon and talk to him all about the church and he was totally into it! I had no idea what was going on half the time because of the language barrier, lol. But at the very end I just bore my testimony as powerfully as I could that I knew this was a true book and that he could find that truth out for himself if he reads it and prays about it (just like anyone can!). And he was super engaged and looking right at me the entire time and i am sitting there thinking oh my gosh he can totally feel the spirit and i must be speaking correct portuguese finally, wahoo! And then he says something and i am sitting there smiling because i think he said something about my testimony being strong or that he feels like this is true...and then my companion turns to me and says ```He says you have really pretty eyes.´´. #whattheheck hahahhaha. So that was hilarious. Honestly though, am sure he felt the spirit, too, though because my companion and other sisters slash William are awesome and taught mega well. I felt the spirit, anyway. (: Hes the guy in the photo I sent along (his name is Junior!).
Thursday we had a zone meeting and talked a lot about the Atonement. I love the Elder Holland quote - How can we expect living the Gospel to be easy, when Salvation was NEVER easy for Christ? The Atonement was the hardest thing anyone has ever had to do, ever. Fact. So we cannot expect living the Gospel to be easy, either! This work is hard work, I will say it a million times. Being a missionary is HARD. And keeping God´s commandments is even harder, that is for sure. But slow and steady and we will win the race. God never gives us commandments that are impossible to keep; He will never set us up to fail. That is a fact! Through God, ALL things are possible. No exceptions (: We went shopping for FRUITTTTT for the first time since i have been here and i got a bunch of apples and bananas and plums (i think...lol) and a pineapple. I AM ON CLOUD NINE with how good everything tastes and how cheap it all is too!!! #blessings
Friday we went back to Tracunhaém and taught Leticia (11 years old), Denis (13) and Joselia (14). Denis was baptized last week (!!! my first one!!!!) and Leticia and Joselia were going to be baptized this past Sunday. We also taught a lesson to Ayala, about 15 years old and totally into learning about the Gospel, love love love it!! We taught here right outside of her house (each house has like a cage slash gate like thing in the front....most people stand on one side and we stand on the other...aka there are no doorbells here because there are no doors, lol. no knocking either. we just clap. really really loud. lol. :) long story short we taught about the Book of Mormon and it was SUPPPPER stormy, hilarious. We were just standing there in our umbrellas and testifying as the wind was blowing our skirts up (we had to tuck them between our legs) and try to shield ourselves from the rain as we taught this girl. Hilarious. Satan, nice try. I LOVE THE RAIN (:
Saturday we went to Tracunhaém for interviews for baptism with our Elders for Joselia and Leticia...and lemme tell you what, we have to find Joselia (who was at her gmas house) like halfway through the favela (crazy poor ravine like area with houses stacked on top of and next to each other)...aka RUNNING through mud and streams and puddles and even crossing bridges...except not bridges. Literally I crossed over just a wooden plank that was about 6 inches thick. I thought I was going to die hahahhahah I was so scared to fall in the water, all the brazillian kids think that is just hilarious. So they all just skip right across it and I took like an hour to cross it, so great. Better safe than in the ravine with a soaking wet backpack, yeah? hahahaa. (:
Sunday I finally was able to go to CHURCH!! Wahooooo (: Since last Sunday I was dying in bed, hahaha. It was AWESOME. Joselia decided last minute not to get baptized...sad day. But Leticia was there and MEGA excited so it was awesome!! We start with Relief Society at 9am and then had Sunday School (Gospel Principles) and then have Sacrament Meeting last. I went up to bear my testimony and I was crazy nervous but even though I can´t say or understand much in Portuguese, I CAN bear my testimony. That much I can do. So I testified of all I know is true - I know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is God´s prophet on the earth today. I know that families can be together forever - which is my favorite part of the Gospel plan because I love love love my family and of COURSE i want to be with them forever!! (: Oh the most hilarious part of this day though was that the baptismal clothes they have for Leticia to be baptized in totally had stains all over it...but then I remembered I had my Tide to Go pen (that I have probably never used but had in my backpack since day 1 anyway)...and tooooooootally used my entire pen on just cleaning the stains off. But...totally got the job done! Hilarious. Everyone was mysticized by my tide to go pen...but now that its gone, I would love another in case that happens again (: haha. ah! right! LETICIA, adorable adorrrrrrable girl, she was baptized right after church! It was basically awesome and so cute because during that last hour in Sacrament Meeting she was sitting next to me and she leaned over to me and just said ``Estou pouco nervosa`` aka she was a little nervous...poor thing. Haha. SHE IS SO CUTE. I just hugged her and said ``Este é o Espirito Santo! É uma coisa muiiiiita boa!!`` and told her not to worry (: oh translation...that´s the Holy Ghost! And its a beautiful thing. Because it totally is (:
Letitcia was baptized and basically The Church is TRUE! Ladies + gents, I PROMISE you that it is!! Happiest happy happy happy dayyy. I love it! Its apparently tradition here to take a photo of whoever got baptized right after they walk out of the font....LOVE THOSE PHOTOS. Denis and Leticia...my first two baptisms! Love itttt. They are so sweet and bffs (they both live in Tracunhaém fairly close to one another) and will no doubt help each other out coming to church (with Denis´ mama) and staying active. Love it! We walked 20 mins to lunch at a members house after, Irmao Cicero. He is hilarious and has TWENTY (20!!) brothers and sisters!!! That is insanity. I cannot imagine having that many, lol. I love you Ruth, Anna, and DK. You three are good enough for me (: Families are huge here in Brazil, but mostly its because people are living with grandparents and other relatives. Still crazy though!
So that was yesterday...and today is P-day! We are going to the mercado after this to shop and then after that we are off to write and send letters (finally!!) and then we are playing volei (volleyball) at the church with a bunchhhhh of the youth from the ward, so excited! Then its back to the casa to change and eat something real quick + then off to do the Lord´s work here in Carpina!! (:
OKAY real quick - some coisas locas from brazil...ready? (:
-Our schedule here is pretty much the same as in the states. We get up at 630, work out til 7, get ready til 8, personal study til 9, comp study til 10, training til 11, and then go to lunch...because by foot slash by caravan (comvee) it takes about 30 minutes to get to and from places. Then we eat lunch slash have a lesson slash get back to our proselyting area by about 2pm. Lessons until 8pm. Then language study until 9pm, planning, and bed! The biggest difference from the states is defffffinitely that we never ride in cars here, ever. Haha. Its always on foot, all day every day. And we use umbrellas here almost every day...to shade us from the hot, hot sun. Haha (:
-A member (a MALE) was looking at my shoes and told me I have big feet. NEVER IN MY LIFE has anyone ever told me that, but here it is true. I wear a size 7 (just like running shoes, one size bigger) since your feet swell when you run slash walk a lot, right? Naturally. But its still hilaroius to me that anyone could ever think my little feet are big...when in Brazil, I guess. Haha. I fit right in here with how small I am (: love it!
-Everyone loves Jesus here. Lol. Aka on the back of a ton of Omnibuses slash Comvees (huuuuuuuge like, 15 passenger vans that they pack people in to travel to and fro places) they all have these like super imposed photos of Christ and things like `` eu vou voltar!´´ (I will return!) writen underneath. LOVE IT. another favorite - ´´O segredo do meu suceso e Deus´´ (the secret to my success is God). Hahhaa. I LOVE BRAZIL (:
Okay, just about out of time. So thats all for now but I have tons more to tell you in the emails to come - like next week! (: Thank you all SO SO much for your love and support, emails, letters, and prayers!! You are all the BEST!!! Also...a really awesome present for maybe birthday slash Christmas would be a nice (black) backpack, good quality. I bought one last week (all the missoinaries have backpacks here) and it is already ripping on one of the shoulders...its gonna be a long 18 months without a solid backpack, lol. If you could, that would be awesome. If not, no worries (: Just remember to always always send food with the packages...or itll be taxed slash take forever to get here. And I feel like Drew...but I totally miss reeses hardcore...so you can always send those please if you can (;
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Keep reading and studying and praying. Try to be like Nephi and live as righteously as you can. We can´t be perfect in this life, but we can try our best to improve every day (: that much we can do. LOVE YOU!! (:
enjoy the photos!!! til next week (:
love you all forever,
sister sarah elizabeth kron