Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Busy Week...........

This week, as usual, was good. There are always up times, and down times, and usually they both happen in the same day, but overall it feels good to be here. I had my zone conference last week, where all the elders and sisters from a certain area gather to be trained and hear speakers. My mission president was leaving, so he said his goodbyes and gave his last words of advice. The funny thing is that I couldn’t understand almost ANY of it, because he speaks so fast and mumbles in Portuguese! But, I am sure it was great! It was a long day, and by the end, I didn’t want to have to hear any more Portuguese for the rest of the night! I´m sure they will be better as I begin to understand the language. At least I understood the other speaker for the whole morning, that made me feel better. I met a missionary from Sammamish, Elder Millet. He is from the Issaquah stake, has about 4 months left, and knows so many people I know. He lives so close! It was kinda crazy! I’m sure some people know him, he was really nice. Other than that, it was just a good, uplifting (except for the Portuguese) day.

This week a had a fun opportunity to teach in English! My companion pretty much does most of the teaching, because people can’t understand me- but we met a less active family who has a teenage daughter who knows English. The father was really high up in the church, but fell away when his family didn’t go. So my job was to help the daughter gain a testimony of the gospel. It was so wonderful to finally teach in my language and help someone. Most definitely a blessing from the lord, in perfect timing. The father was at church (the daughter was sick) and I hope they come back to the church!

I was able to have my first bowl of Açai this week, and let me tell you.... It was GREAT!! I wish they had it in the US for ya´ll to try, because it was so good! I uploaded pictures on flickr, I hope you can all see them. I will try to have pictures every week. I feel a bit silly because I look so greasy and gross in every picture, but after walking and sweating all day, It is pretty hard to avoid. I ACTUALLY wore my bangs back in a headband for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE this week. It was raining and I didn’t want to deal with my bangs, so I wore them back. It felt weird.... That is my big first sign of giving up looking good here! So don’t make fun!
We taught a wonderful 25 yr old girl this week, named Lorena;. She truly is prepared by the lord. She said she felt power when we taught her. We arrived one night, and she was so upset with family problems. I (through my companion translating, because late at night my Portuguese fails) was able to use stories from the BOM to help her feel better. Her cousin and aunt are learning too, and hopefully we can baptize all three of them. They are so wonderful! Lorena came to church and yesterday accepted our invitation to be baptized this Sunday!!!! She is really excited, and I can already see the change that the gospel has made in her life. It´s such a beautiful thing to help people through the gospel. And help them and feel the Lord’s spirit so strong. I hope to have baptism pictures next week for you!!

Solange and Francisca (the dream people) are continuing with the lessons. They LOVE us coming over and keep saying that we are family. They cook for us, and say that they will be our moms here! Solange´s leg problem still hasn’t been discovered, but they ran into an old family friend who’s a doctor and will do anything to help them, so we hope it’ll be okay. The lord is truly blessing their lives. We are just trying to have them commit to baptism. I think Francisca (the older lady) is having a difficult time getting the courage to take this step. The funny thing , is that whenever my companion talks to her, she listens halfway. But as soon as I open my mouth and speak, her attention is completely on me. My companion feels that I am the only one who can invite her and help her to be baptized. I hope we can help! Marcilio is Francisca´s son (solange’s brother) and he is all for our church. He has been quitting smoking, taking our discussions, and trying to encourage his mother and sister to be baptized. He would be baptized in a heartbeat, but he needs to get married, and he lives in another town that doesn’t have a chapel or missionaries. It´s sad, because he would be a really strong addition to the church. I just love visiting them though! They take good care of us. :)

It is so interesting being here in Brazil sometimes. People stare at me because I am sooo white! So many people love touching my hair and skin, and comment on how white I am! HAHA They ALWAYS then ask if I am wearing sunscreen, which of course I do. The funny thing is that they talk to my companion and ask her questions about me, because apparently I am mute and don’t understand anything! ha-ha. I think it’s funny. Everyone in the ward wants me to sing for them, or braid their hair, so I just tell them to give me references and I will grant their wishes. I hope I don’t have to sing in church... On Sunday, the bishop last minute asked me to give a talk in Portuguese, for 5 minutes. I was freaking out and quickly wrote a talk to give. It wasn’t too scary, and I hope everyone understood me. At the end, I bore my testimony in English, and everyone loved it! I am sure I just made a fool of myself up there, but everyone is too nice to say it.

The Cupo do Mundo is still going on. I cannot describe how crazy it is here to you! During the games, when Brazil gets a goal, EVERYONE cheers, and there are fireworks going off louder than the fourth of July! It is so crazy. We have to be in our houses during this time, but you can always know the score even if you aren’t watching the game. United States lost out, which isn’t a huge surprise, but right now I have to root for Brazil or I will be killed! :)
Today I was able to go to a nice restaurant overlooking the beach with a family from my ward. The husband is a chef, and he took us on a tour of the restaurant, and gave us a wonderful free meal. It was the BEST food I have eaten since I’ve been here! It sure beats cereal and who knows what that I eat at home. We got to see the beach, which was absolutely beautiful. I took pictures. Bummer though, so close, yet so far!

I have to say that I am soooo tired of ants. Be grateful EVERYONE that ants aren’t a huge problem in your life. We have tiny ones here, that are EVERYWHERE! Seriously- They have been in my bed, laundry, shower, floor, food, and everywhere in between. Goodness- those little `formigas` as they are called in Portuguese. But oh well, it could be worse! We have another little lizard friend in our drain, who just hangs out in there. I think it is funny. He doesn’t come out or bother us, so its fine. I need to baptize all the little creatures in my house, and I will be a successful missionary!

The Portuguese is coming, more and more each day. I have to keep reminding myself that it takes time. I have only been on the field for 2 weeks, so I think I’m doing okay. Other missionaries say that it took them 3 months to understand everything and speak, so I just need to be patient! It is so hard to be though, when you want to help people and cant because of a language barrier. O well- That’s why my first goal is to have the spirit. That is all I care about and He will do the work.

One other cultural thing about brazil- there is always noise. Always. People listen to music so loud and it just reverberates in the streets and in our house. Vendors walk down the street blaring Brazilian music, or cars drive by with speakers on the top playing advertisements. Our neighbors love to listen to this awful Brazilian band, and its pretty interesting. I need to get used to it, but its so difficult sometimes! So different from the US. But, one great thing. The other day a vendor walked by slowly playing Lady Gaga really loud, and I had a few minutes of some actual good music. It was wonderful!!
Well- I love you all and am working so hard. Please keep me in your prayers. Write me and be safe! I miss you all, and love your support. Hopefully I will be able to tell you about a baptism next week! Tchau!

-Seester Steph

Coolest phone booth or what?!

IMG_0288[1] OOOO the beach is soo close! but thats okay, i'm a missionary of the Lord! haha

Isn't it beautiful?!

The gospel needs to be preached to all!

The BEST dessert since I've been here... MMM

Lunch at the Nice restaurant with the family from my ward, whose dad is a chef there. An AMAZING or ULTIMO (portugese) lunch.

A man in one of our wards gave us a tour of one of the nice restaurants he works at- it was really neat! The restaurant was soo nice and we looved wearing the GORGEOUS hair nets you see here. Arent they just beautiful?? Haha

My first bowl of Açai! Mmmm- Soo good. I think everyone in this world needs to try it.

In a bus FULL to the brim of Elders! The only girls in a bus with about 30 elders, soo fun!

At the mission conference with another sister. I hope someday I can be as tan as them!

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