Monday, September 9, 2013

Santo Antônio do Descoberto - Goiás, Brazil

(This email is from Friday 9.6)


I’m allowed to email today since I couldn´t when I first got here!!
This is a totally different world down here!! That’s for sure! Ha It isn’t the United States.
So the flights to get to Brasil were super long and I started feeling sick after landing in Sao Paulo and I have felt super sick until last night. I started feeling better and today I feel good!

Once we landed in Brasilia, we went down to grab our bags. One of my bags never showed up.. haha I was thinking, this would happen to me on the first day. My bag ended up showing up about 20 minutes later on a moving belt from a different flight. It was super weird. ha. Elder Brown spotted it.
Elder Brown served for 4 months in New Mexico before receiving his visa. We met up with him on the flight to Sao Paulo. In Sao Paulo I had to say goodbye to a great friend, Elder Robb who was going to Teresinna. Its hard saying goodbye to these guys that you bond with. Me, Elder Kesler, and Elder Robb were all on the plane together in the middle section so we had an awesome time!!
After we got our bags, the President and his wife, and the Assistants were there to pick us up. So me, Elder Kesler, and Elder Brown got into a van with the Assistants and we took a tour around the city before meeting back with the President for lunch at the Mission home. My stomach was killing me and I had a bad headache. Lunch was awesome, but made me feel worse haha. Sister Gaertner started giving me medicine. She’s awesome!!! She was so worried ha. 
I was expecting to relax and stuff but we had our interviews and then headed off to the local ward building where we would meet our new companions and head off to our area.
My companion is Elder D. Call from Arkansas. He is almost 21 and has been in the field for a year and five months. Kesler and Brown got native Brasilians who know little English so I got kinda lucky with that ha. We then hopped back in the van with a bunch of missionaries and drove like 3 hours dropping people off. I was the last stop of course. Ha. At this point I was feeling so sick!! It was hard saying goodbye to Elder Kesler at his apartment. He’s a stud and will do great!!
Our mission area is about 2 hours by bus from Brasilia, and in one of the poorest areas in our mission. Our apartment is pretty small, dirty, and old but its got a refrigerator and running water :) haha
It’s taken a lot of time to get use to this lifestyle. Its totally different than I expected. The area that we are serving in is really dirty and poor but the people are so humble. They are great!! Mostly everyone is catholic and there is a huge cathedral across the street from our apartment, and for the next week or so they are having a fair and fireworks every night and blasting music so it gets kinda loud ha. 
My first two days in the field weren’t ´normal´ days. Wednesday we had District meeting so we had to wake up at about 5 (after already being exhausted from traveling) and take two buses for about an hour and a half for our district meeting with 4 other guys. The buses are super packed and you stand most of the time. The other guys in the district are way cool!! That afternoon I was feeling super bad so my companion called Sister Gaertner who demanded I lie down and get some rest. haha. 
The next day we had an emergency zone meeting, so we woke up at 5 again and took an hour bus to the area where the meeting would be. It went good, and our zone is awesome. About half of the missionaries are from Brasil and the other half are from America. 
I realize now my Portuguese wasn’t all that great. haha. I’m so lost here but trying my hardest. I understand more everyday. Some people look at me funny when I speak ha. 
I taught my first lesson yesterday!!! My companion at one point went to the bathroom and left me to fend for myself..haha. It went good though. Talked about the World cup. The lesson was about Jesus visiting the Americas and recognizing the Holy Ghost witness to you that the words are true!
At the bus stop one guy said, ´have you ever seen the devil, cause you have now.´
I had no idea what he said so I just smiled liked a dork and said ´bom dia´haha. My companion later told me what the guy said. haha.
The people are awesome though! We met with Arthur (Art-Tor] who is in his 20s and the rest of his family beside one of his brothers are members. His stepmom and her three kids (Bruno age 16, Marianna age 11 and I forgot the other brothers name but age 15 ha) Marianna reminds me of Olivia. haha. She teased me about my Portuguese and she was pretty funny. Even though it is really hard here, I know this work is important and I will get the language eventually. Just takes patience and diligence.
I love you all so much and think of yall constantly. I miss you like crazy but I know this work is important and yall will be blessed for it. Thanks for everything yall do for me!!
I am starting to understand why I am here and growing to love the people! The language will come! I love you!!!


Elder Bean

(This email is from today, his PDAYs will be on Mondays now.)

Bom Dia,

Brazil is a whole new world, especially where I live in Santo Antonio (spanish translation is San Antonio).
I’ve been having a really rough time but I think I’m starting to adjust. It is so hard. This is not easy. Being away from family, comforts of home, and the way of life. I have been having a hard time with the language. I feel so lost and confused most of the time. This isn’t the language they taught me in the MTC`haha. Last night I broke down. I couldn’t handle it I thought anymore. I want to just share the gospel and let people know how I feel about how important it is, but I can't explain how I feel and what I know since I can't speak it. I use to laugh or just shrug it off when people would laugh at the way I speak or not understand even though I am trying, but now I’m just getting tired of not being able to make any sense and say what is really on my mind. I keep struggling with the fact that I keep feeling I would be so much better stateside, speaking English. Where the members and the ward support you and you can say how you feel. In this area, the bishopric doesn’t seem to care. We ask to do ward council and they say no they don’t want to have it. It's pointless they said.. there are some awesome families in the ward but others that just don’t seem to care. We brought 3 investigators to church on Sunday and members hardly fellowshipped with them. During the talks, the bishopric and members would just stand up and walk around talking and making noise and saying bye to people. In the middle of the talk.. it was hard to feel the spirit.
It’s totally different here.
I survive off peanut butter and nutella sandwiches since they sell nutella here.. haha.
I know that this period of time of struggle will pass. Its just hard going through it and questioning myself why I am here. But I know I can’t quit.. it just isn’t my personality and it wouldn’t be a good example.
I just want these people to feel in the happiness that I have from this gospel. I love you all so much and pray for yall everyday!! I miss yall like crazy. Its so hard growing up at home and then just leaving. I’m the first high school graduate in this mission. I question at times if I am really ready and mature for this yet.
I know I am meant to be here at this time in my life, and that it is just Satan putting thoughts in my head but it is so hard.
People here refer to me as Mr. Bean, the comedian. haha. I also get called Senhor Increvite (Mr. incredible) or Dolph Lundgren. I have never heard that one before but everyone here has seen this guy in some movie, don’t even know who it is, ha.
I know this church is true, and that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He answers my prayers and is watching out for me and all of you. I know he is. Last night after I was done crying...ha I felt we should go visit Michael. Michael is someone I just found on the street and I gave him a Book of Mormon. I love just saying como esta or tudo bem or como vai to everyone I see. And then my companion will do most of the talking about church stuff since I can only bear my testimony really. But for Michael I did majority of the talking and he understood.
So we went over to Michael’s and sure enough he had read some of the Book of Mormon. We taught him about it, then I went over and sat by him and had him read the last two paragraphs of the introduction and showed him the restoration pamphlet talking about Joseph Smith and God and Jesus restoring the church. He believed God and Jesus were one person, but after I explained to him and had him read it he knew, he said that they are separate. He understood everything I taught him. The spirit was so strong.
After the lesson on our way home, my companion told me he witnessed a miracle, that I was speaking with the gift of tongues and that the spirit was so strong.
It made me realize that through God´s will, Michael was able to understand what I was saying. He could feel the power of the spirit, testifying to him that the words were true.
It was amazing.
I pray for yall and miss yall so much, but I know this work is true.
I love you!!! 


Elder Bean

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