Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Como vai? I love you all and miss you very much, especially this
holiday season. But I am having a good time here. I have about a week
now in Vila de Abrantes and it has been great. I am starting to get
over the culture shock. The houses have been the biggest shock for me.
Home is a palace compared to these places.
Sister Kalamafoni is my trainer and she is from Portland. We get along
really well and she is teaching me a lot of things. She is also very
encouraging and keeps telling me how great I am doing with the
language. Tomorrow we start speaking all portugues. It will be quite a
change. It's nice to hear her encouragement, especially after people
comment or laugh because they can't understand me. Though I can't
understand much of the language yet, that's one thing I can
understand, unfortunately. But I feel good about it. I am studying
only in my portuguese scriptures and manuals now, and it's awesome!
I'm still translating in my head but one day I will get to the point
where I won't have to do that.
The people of Abrantes are very humble and welcoming, especially the
children. Even though they don't know me, the children will run up and
hug me. Aww, so cute. The members are really nice here. When we eat
lunch with the members, they are always so happy to feed us. So far
it's been really good. We usually have feijoada (spelling?). But it's
a mixture of beans and meat and is served over rice. The fruit is also
really good here and so is the juice (members often serve juice or
guaraná because we can't drink the water). Family, I feel you would
really like the feijoada.
We've taught quite a bit of lessons already. I love that through the
gift of tongues I am always able to bear my testimony and to ask the
questions that the Spirit puts into my head. It's wonderful. One
person we teach is a recent convert. He actually owns a bar but is
trying to close it and open a bicycle shop. So when we teach him, we
are usually sitting outside on the sidewalk right outside the bar. A
little ironic. But the church is very young here.
So, yesterday was my first Sunday in the field. The branch is small
but everyone is nice. We meet at a site location under a tent outside.
And yup, I was asked to give a five minute talk in sacrament meeting
yesterday. I had an hours notice. Awesome. In the CTM, we are supposed
to have talks in portuguese ready every Sunday because they call on
people at the beginning of the meeting to give talks. The purpose is
to practice and to have talks prepared for the field. My last week, I
spoke on the atonement. Well, yesterday I forgot my book. So, I had to
prepare one within that hour. I spoke on faith. I used several
scriptures and talked about putting our faith into action. Because
this gospel is a gospel of action, and this church is a church of
That's one thing we need to focus on in this area. Helping people keep
commitments. People here live life and are really laid back. That's
good but not always good for commitments. So mostly, our focus is
getting people to come to church so we can get consistent numbers to
qualify for a chapel.
In addition to teaching lessons, we are focusing on contacts. In our
contacts we mostly just invite people to church and get their address
if they seem really interested. We haven't handed out Books of Mormon
because a lot of people either can't read or don't read.
Well, I am doing really great. It's hot, but I'm loving it. I'm a missionary!