Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More fotos

Here's some pictures from the latest batch (in no particular order).

Flying at Provo MTC (on the ironing board...)

Crazy Elders at Brazil CTM



Mini track at CTM (they aren't really into exercising)

Pres. and Sis. Clark Brazil CTM

Back to the mission home

Oi familia! Sounds like everything is going well, in Mesa Land. Yep, it looks like you found Vilhena, hahahaha (we looked on Google Earth). From the moment that we pulled up there I thought it would be like Thatcher, because it totally has that small town vibe. But, it´s actually quite big. The stores are pretty ghetto, but there are a LOT of houses. I like it here. Oh, and one of the clothing stores that Elder Magdo was looking for a white shirt in, had some TY beanie babies. Some of them were some of the rare ones that are going to be worth $1 billion dollars in a few years! Too bad I didn´t buy one. And it´s crazy how the houses change in the area. Some are really nice and then 5 minutes of walking gets you in to the less fancy ones. The people are really cool though, and one thing that I´m always suprised with is their cleanliness. They are ALWAYS cleaning or already have a clean house. Lots of the people don´t have as many material possessions like we do in the States, but what they do have, they take good care of. I like that about Brazilians.

1. Does your mission president speak English? Yes! Although, he speaks Portuguese mainly. I really like it.

2. How often will you get stuff (letters, etc.) from the mission home? We get stuff during Zone Conferences and transfers. We have everything get sent to the mission home (which you have) and then you get them at Zone Conferences and things.

3. Do you have a frig, stove, etc. in kitchen? We have all of those. They´re all small, but it´s no biggie.

4. Do you have hot water? Our shower head has a thing that makes the water hot. Fancy.

5. Are you four elders the only ones in the city? Yep. We split the city in half and there are 2 branches.

6. How big is your branch? It´s really small, because there are lots of less-actives (we have work to do). I think we had about 50 people at church on Sunday.

7. Have you had any rain? Once, but thankfully I had my umbrella. It´s hot in Vilhena, but thankfully there is usually wind.

Anways, I´m currently in Cuiaba for my first Zone Conference! It´s been a blast so far. Today is our P-Day and we´re staying in some other missionaries´ apartment. We had lunch at a Rodizio, and I don´t think I´ve eaten so much meat in my whole life... It was flippin good though! It tasted like Ruth´s Chris and was amazing. They had some grilled pineapple with cinnamon that was also quite delish. Cuiaba is so much bigger than Vilhena! They have stores and things with technology and paper and stuff, that is not so common in Vilhena. Conference is tomorrow, so I´ll write about that next week. We took a bus and slept the whole time to get here.

Que mais... I just got the little box package, because I´m emailing in the Mission Office. I had my interview with the president already which was good. I have goals to learn Portuguese! I can usually understand people well, but it´s hard to keep a conversation going. Other than that, It´s all going good! I love you and pray for you every night!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fotos from Vilhena

Rat found in closet--GROSS!!!

Service project pouring cement

Before the first day of work

After the first day of work
Walking the entire day!

Lunch time!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vilhena, Brazil and Yes, its HOT!!

Hello family and mother! I finally get to email you, ha. We have our P-Days on Mondays, and we usually go and do emails at 8 in the morning, our time. So that should help. Well, I am currently in Vilhena. It is somewhere in the wetlands (I kind of have no idea where) and it is HOT. According to the other companionship in our apartment (Elder Onken from Idaho and Elder Aquino from Somewhere, Brazil) this is one of the coolest areas, temperature wise. You are pretty much constantly sweating. They say it´s something that you adjust, too, so I´m just waiting for that, haha. The mornings are usually fine, but the afternoons get pretty hot. Outside is better than inside most of the people´s houses though. Most of them don´t even have fans (thank goodness we have a small one in our apartment room), so you just have to hope that a breeze comes in the windows or door. Other than that, Vilhena is actually a cool place. At first, it reminded me of Thatcher, because it kind of has that small town-feel, but it´s pretty big. I´m sure you can look it up.

Oh, and I didn´t tell you about the plane trip. We got off the plane at this tiny warehouse thing where we got our luggage, and it was like a slap in the face of hot. But we had the best lunch of my mission at President Oliveira´s house and a testimony meeting and such. Pres. Oliveira is really cool and I like him. He´s goofy like me and tall and skinny. Ha, so then we went to the office and had training and whatnot. Then, I got rushed to the bus station at like 7 that night, because I was going to miss my bus. We were running with my luggage and I got on at the last minute. Miracle! Anyways, I was all alone and kind of freaking out, because it was an all night bus ride. And there was a super drunk guy in the back of the bus that started smoking during the trip... weird. I got there in the morning (thankfully I got some sleep on the bus) and then got right into working.

And HOLY CRAP! I was so tired the first few days. We were literally walking the entire day, it was super hot, and I can´t speak Portuguese. So, I kind of felt like a bodyguard for my companion, Elder Magdo. He is a native and we talk, but I don´t understand too much, hahaha. This might be his last area, so he knows what he´s doing. I usually bear testimony and teach little parts in the lessons, but he´s got it all down. So yeah, he´s cool and obeys all the rules. However, kind of weird since communication is a slight problem.

I got two gigantic blisters on my feet after the 3rd day, so I stabbed them and it´s been a lot betters. The Elders say that it will get calloused soon, so that is good. And also, I´ll just adjust to the walking and heat. We eat lunch with a member every day, because lunch is their big meal in Brazil. Then, we kind of just don´t eat dinner. Hahaha. We eat stuff when we get home or if we visit a member at night, they like to feed us, but yeah. The people here are really cool too. I don´t really know what they´re saying, but you can walk up to anyone and ask if we can come by and teach them, and they say yes. It´s weird. But so far, we´ve only taught the first lesson to people during my 5 or 6 days in Vilhena. Also, they have two districts here and 2 branches. The Church is teeny small, but the people that come are awesome. Small in numbers, but they all love each other. Like we ate with a bunch of youth and older people at a part-member family´s house yesterday, and it was just really fun. They walked us home and it was cool. Also, the food has been good. A little weird at times (I had duck on Saturday), but good.

Oh, and there was a rat that we killed the other night. Somehow it got in my closet, and it was a group event. Thankfully we killed it but it peed and pooped on my clothes, so I washed them. Flippin rat. Apparently none of the other elders have had a problem with rats during their missions, til that night. Good...

Time flies on the mission! This past almost-week in Vilhena seemed like an eternity for the first few days, but now I kind of know the investigators and people and I´m not freaking out anymore. I was so lost for the first few days... All is well though! Thank goodness for prayer. Now I just need to learn how to teach people and speak Portuguese, ha. Elder Onken said that it just kind of came to him, once he stopped thinking about learning the language and focused on the work. So that is what I´m trying to do. Let me know of any other news! I don´t have time to comment on your announcements, but I love to hear them. I love you!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Conference was Awesome!!

Oh goodness! I want a baby so bad right now! Tucker is cutest baby that I have ever seen! I might steal him when I get home, but by then he probably won´t be as cute. Just joshin! So what day was he born exactly? Thursday? In you next letter could you maybe send a list of all of the families birthdays? I want to be sure that I have them right in my book. I´ve been looking for a birthday card to send to Caleb for his birthday, because he drew me a picture and sent me a letter a few weeks ago, but I don´t think that the Brazilians believe in birthday cards. I think I will just make my own. But tell the Cleveland Carpenters thank you for the letter! My district was all quite jealous.

Conference was awesome! I absolutely loved it. I took notes on every talk (even the ones about raising children and such) and it was great. I really, really liked Uchtdorf´s talks. He was my favorite speaker. Boyd K. Packer gave a really good one in Priesthood, and Pres. Monson was great as well. Lots of talks about the Atonement. Our whole district made it a goal to study more about the Atonement. I was also very suprised at the hope that I felt leaving Conference. Many talks spoke about how wicked that the world is and how tough that the times are that we live in, yet they are always optimistic. That is something I have always tried to emulate in my life, but it´s hard. Even as I´m typing, I can just feel the love that all of the Brethren have for the youth and others who are struggling in the world. It is amazing. Also, we went proselyting in O Centro of São Paulo, last Friday. This is supposed to be the busiest place in the whole city, but... it was Good Friday. Hahahahaha, EVERYTHING was closed. It was weird because most of the people on the street were either going to or leaving the Catholic Church in the middle of the place that we got dropped off. Most people wouldn´t say hi back to us, and it was kind of funny. Then, we had a really funny experience. This woman walks up to Elder Syndergaard and I, and asks us for money or food. She was probably homeless and she said that she lost her job at the bank. So she keeps asking for money and food, and we´re like Não temos comido ou dinero! We kept offering a BofM, and she kept saying that if we helped her out with what we needed, then we would be helping Jesus. It was quite awkward and she wouldn´t leave. So then, she wanted my nice Zebra pen , so that she could ´write a letter to her kids´´ Finally, I was like ´´You can have the pen but only if you read the Book of Mormon, pray, and call the missionaries´ number. So we gave her a BofM and my pen (I still have 2 left though, and that one barely had ink in it). Yeah... not doing that again. The other people that we talked to and gave BofM´s to, were all really cool and receptive. We´re leaving next Tuesday! I´m so excited. We´re all sick of the CTM, so I´m excited to get out. I´m fluent in Portuguese or anything, but... it´s time. That´s about it though. I´m not sure when I´ll email next, but hopefully soon. I got the pictures and you guys looks like you had an awesome Easter. Have a good week! I love you all! Don´t be afraid to share the gospel. It´s really just a matter of opening your mouth. Love you!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm a carnivore!!

Ho ho ho, that was a good letter! I lost track of how many times that I started laughing (and I´m not the only one here). Before I forget, the São Paulo Temple is about 40 minutes away and we always take a bus. Today was our 4th trip there, and next week will probably be my last temple trip for the next two years We always leave at 6:30 in the morning and usually sleep or write letters on the bus. Oh, and the Brazilian drivers are still crazy. Every is right next to each other! Literally! You´d have to be crazy to drive here, but the people who ride motorcycles have a death wish or something. They zoom between cars with like 1 and a half half feet of space. Crazy! Oh, and the enter button doesn´t work, so this´ll just be one paragraph. I am sad to hear that Diana still hasn´t had the little guy!! I pray for everything to go alright with the baby and her at night, but I thought that she´d have had it by now. Promise her a dozen maple doughnuts after she has the baby. Ha ha. That is crazy that Aaron is going to Brazil, too! It is quite the popular place. I´m sad that I´m missing Seth´s fancy feast, but tell him that I wish I could have some. We have eaten like 500 chickens by now and all sorts of meat. I´ve become a carnivore!! I try to eat lots of fruits because they taste amazing here, but I need some more greens in my diet. We had some Doritos at lunch a couple of days ago and it was like the highlight of my day. And we spoke with the Brazilians who just left on Tuesday (I miss them already. They are really funny and sarcastic) and they said that there are Burger Kings, Mickey D´s, pizza, and all sorts of good things in Cuiaba. I´m quite excited. Oh, and Elder Syndergaard found a piece of pork with hair on it last week. Gross. Everything is going well though! The language is coming and we´re all kind of anxious to get out in the field. But, we´re being hardworking and obedient! Two more weeks! Love you! Oh, and name the baby Franklin.