Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 17th letter--from Gravataí Brasil

Elder Henry (grey sweater in left of choir director) singing with the choir in Gravataí, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil
Dear Mom,
I'm glad that you are getting pictures from other sources, because I'll have just that many more when I come home. Cameras are a LOT harder to find in Rio Pardo. When I took out my camera during the Baptismal service, all of the kids from the branch came up and wanted to take a picture with it. I don't know if they've ever seen or used a digital camera before, probably only the ones that the American missionaries bring with them.
It's been a crazy transfer, I really wasn't happy the first couple days here in Gravataí. My companion Elder Roman is Brasilian, from Curitiba and I really missed Rio Pardo. My other areas that I've really loved I've had two transfers in, and I was super sad that I didn't get more time in Rio Pardo. The other part that threw me for a loop is the change in wealth. Rio pardo is out in the interior, and pretty much dirt poor, and here in Gravataí people are much better off. We have very very few shacks in our area, and most of the people here have cars, which is incredible for Brasil.
So far as Portuguese goes, I'm one transfer better than I was last transfer. What I mean by that is I've improved a lot from where I was, but I'm still far from fluent. I don't know that I'll ever get to a level in Portuguese where I think, "Now I speak fluently". It can be pretty hard some days, and especially with a native companion that doesn't speak any English, but its the challenge that I need right now to really better my Portuguese and get up and running.
That's super cool that you have bats in the wetlands now, all the better to kill all the mosquitoes! That's one thing I love about winter is I don't have to worry about freaking mosquitoes. Let me tell you I'm very grateful to have brought some "Off" with me, because I haven't seen any anywhere here in Brasil. I guess people here just live with it.
In the picture of the choir, my companion is on my left just so you know. We haven't taken any pictures yet this transfer, but I will repent of that soon enough!
So Gravataí is has about 20x as many problems as Rio Pardo, of course Rio Pardo was practically a walk in the park so I figured I'd be in for some tougher times in the mission. It always works out that way, pass through trials, receive blessings, pass through trials again. One of the biggest problems on our plate right now is where we live. We live with an older couple in the ward in their back house, which is pretty sweet. The only problem is it takes us about an hour to walk from our house to our area which cuts our proselyting time down by two hours. So the Assistants, Elder Allred and Persinger ;), gave us a call last week and said, "We have good news! You are moving!"
The LAN House is closing on us an hour early today for some reason. I'll come back later to finish up.
After a short intermission I'm back. Trust me, I keep my eye out for boys for Sherry. I already told Elder Black that I'd be more than happy to have him as a brother in law. He loves basketball, tall, handsome, a lot like dad, oh, and I forgot to mention, he has a Tesla ;), how's that for perfect match in families?
Anyways, other than the problems with our Dona, we have a lot of investigators progressing, VERY slowly which can be hard as a missionary. We also have been doing a lot of walking, and more knocking doors than I've ever done on my mission. The good news is, the whole ward is behind us in missionary work. The Sunday before I arrived, the whole Elder's Quorum each gave us at least one reference per person, and we've been working our way through the list. I figure things will pick back up after I have the area running the way I like it. I had the same struggles when I arrived in Rio Pardo, and its just a matter of time before everything is put back together.
I'm kind of excited to move this Friday to our new apartment. We will be living in a 4 man pad with our District leader and companion. Here in Brasil the only way you can get together with other missionaries for P-day is if you live together, unlike the states. So P-days are going to be a lot more crowded with activities to do.
The other really nice thing about Gravataí is there are no hills. It's very flat, which makes walking for an hour and a half not nearly as bad. We also have a lot of buses here because its a bigger city. In all, life is pretty good. We are hoping to have 3 baptisms next weekend.
One thing I wanted to put in my E-mail is why when you read Missionary E-mails we are always so excited for Baptisms. Baptisms are the physical manifestation of Faith in Jesus Christ and Repentance. What we do every day, what we work so hard to do, what we sacrifice our lives for is to help people to come to Christ, and receive the happiness that comes from his gospel. When we have baptisms on the mission, we know that our sacrifice of our lives really brought a change in people's lives. In order to be baptised in the Church of Jesus Christ, you have to be following the commandments of God, and so when someone is baptised into the church, we know as missionaries that that person is living the commandments, and thus receiving the blessings that comes from living the commandments of God. It is the most rewarding work I have ever participated in.
Anyways I need to E-mail President Wright,
I love you, and thanks for the support,
Elder Henry
P.S. Since packages can sometimes take months to get here, I have a couple of things that I'll be running out of in about November that I can't find here. Gillete Fusion Razor blades, Mapleine (artificial maple flavoring), actually that's about all I can think of at the moment. There's no rush on getting a package down here for me, but one thing that the office staff told me about packages is don't mail them in USPS boxes. Those are checked/taxed the most and sometimes they take 3 weeks to get here, other times 3-4 months. Just depends on your luck. You can try putting pass along cards taped to the box, especially those with Maria and Jesus at the tomb after the resurrection.

1 comment:

  1. I love you, Mike. I think of you many times every day. I don't want to take up your time with trivia, but want you to know how important you are to your Granny. Love, Granny


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