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Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 39 - Struggling with the Brazilian heat.

It is so hot here and I struggle with the heat.   Sometimes I think about coming home.  The heat zaps my strength.  When you walk all day and no one wants to talk to you it is discouraging.  The heat makes it difficult to sleep.  I dream about being transferred to Alaska or Canada where it is cold.

Everyone just keeps telling me that summer hasn’t even started.  Even my companion struggles with the heat.   He comes from a state that is supposed to be hotter, but he says that this is the hottest place he has ever been.

I drink lots of water.  I can’t go an hour without water.  The only relief I have found is a cool shower. But, the second you walk out you become hot and sweaty again.

For our p-day, we went to a farm.  It rained so it wasn’t as hot.  There was a cabin in the woods and we were able to fish and eat churrasco.  We caught and released lots of tilapia.  We didn’t eat the fish.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 38 - Merry Christmas!

Feliz Natal! (Merry Christmas)

I probably will be on for only a few minutes. We are at a member’s house and they only have one computer.  My companion still needs to email but I’ll talk about this week and what all went on during our Christmas call

We will be working on our investigators house later today. I think some members of the church will help.  It’s to put up a roof. They actually were given much of what they lost and stuff like clothes and tools to start working again. Elder Farias and I are fixing them churrasco on Christmas eve.  That’s Brazilian BBQ.  If you ever have been to a Brazilian restaurant where they come around and carve you some meat that is churrasco. It literally just means BBQ but they do it different here. The cuts of meat are way different too. We will probably buy contrafilé, fraldinha, and linguiça.  They only season meat with salt. But its like huge chunks of salt and it falls off while your cooking. It is so good!

We have a Christmas conference tomorrow.  We are heading to the presidents house for Christmas lunch.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 37 - Cleanup and reconstruction

This week we helped our investigator clean up after his house burned down.  A part of the house survived so they are all sleeping in that section.   The community helped them out so much. They received a bunch of food and clothes and tools to try to get their business started again. This coming Saturday the elders quorum is going to help build their house. The church is buying wood and roof tiles.  They are getting smothered with help!

So transfers happened and I’m staying here with Elder Farias!  I didn’t want to leave or lose Elder Farias for Christmas.  Elder Farias has been here for four transfer cycles ( 6 months). Since he has been here longer, he is more likely to leave next.  This means I’ll probably be here for at least a couple more transfer cycles (three months).

I can play almost any hymn on the harmonica at this point!  I totally want to come home playing blues harmonica but I don’t know if I can learn how to with the one I have.

People have Christmas trees here, but most are only about two feet tall.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Week 36 update - Disaster and the charitable people of Brazil

The house of an investigator burned down to the ground Sunday night. They lost everything.  The family lives here with the husband’s sister, her family, and his dad.  Luckily the part of the house that the kids sleep in wasn’t totally destroyed.

The family does upholstery. They make couches and replace the fabric on furniture.   All their tools, couches, and everything was destroyed so I don’t know what they are going to do for support.

I can’t believe that this happened.  It’s such a terrible thing.  I couldn’t even imagine what I would do in their place.  The crazy thing is they have such a positive attitude about the situation.  It's a miracle the family wasn't hurt.  Another miracle is the father’s dad’s bible survived.  There wasn’t a page destroyed.  I’m hoping we can help get things like clothes and shoes and give them as early Christmas presents.

They are such good people and hold a really special place in my heart.  When we went to what was left of their house they offered us food and everything.  They barely have anything.  This is a cultural thing about Brazil that amazes me.  They help and care for others even when they don’t have anything.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 36 - Battle Kites and Chili

I’m feeling better!

Hey did you guys hear about the serial killer in Mogi this week?  There was some dude that just started cutting off peoples heads in the streets.  He killed five people near the church building and 20 minutes from where I live.  The members talk about it constantly.  I’m a missionary so I’m not worried.

What the kids and teenagers do for fun is battle "pipas" or kites.  They use string with a fine glass coating and try to cut each others kites.  It actually looks really fun.  I might try it today.  Kites are 50 cents.

Hey is it possible to make chili without a crockpot?  There is a hamburger restaurant in the front of our house that is owned by a member in another ward and they wanted me to make a hot dog American style.   I need to buy a pressure cooker because I don’t know if they sell beans in a can here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 35 - Joy and sickness

When I thought about a mission, I thought a mission would be like heaven on earth.   You would be surrounded by a ton of people with the same standards and desire to serve the Lord, help people, and share the gospel.   In reality, that’s not the case at all.  Some missionaries are disobedient.  Some have come to the mission unworthy or with different intentions.   Some missionaries are used to having cell phones, dating, etc.  Not all want to change.   You must truly have a desire to serve the Lord and each other to devote all your time and efforts to missionary work.

Our mission president is amazing!   President Andrews is very straight laced and strict, but he is also full of love.  We had a conference on Wednesday.  President Andrews spoke of the need to repent and change.   We must be obedient to have the spirit with us.  President Andrews isn’t concerned about numbers.   He said our mission could create a firm spiritual foundation for us.

There is a scripture that talks about when you do missionary work, that if you only covert one soul how great your joy will be (D&C 18:15-16).  That one soul is you!   Elder Holland talked about this in the MTC.   If you only get one thing from your mission it should be a testimony of the Savior and His church.   So that’s what I focus on, building myself up spiritually.

Dallen driving the VW?
We moved!  We are living in our area finally.  Our new house is way tiny, but everything is brand new.  It is nice.  The bathroom is way fancy for a bathroom here but it's so tiny.  It's very clean. Everything is new.  I like it a lot.  Now I don't have to walk an hour to my area every morning.

The bedroom
The kitchen
The bathroom
I've been sick these past three days.  Yesterday, I had a fever of 102 but today the fever is gone.  The good thing is I don’t stay sick long because being sick on the mission sucks.

[An email later that day]  Ugh!  I have a fever of 101.4.  It is the worst to be sick away from home.  I was fine this morning but I started feeling weird again during the afternoon.  It got way hot.  We took the train to go to the mall.  We ate at Burger King.  It's the only restaurant here that you get refills!