Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
Well this week was probably one of the hardest weeks of my mission. I know I sound like a baby but there were so many times that I felt alone, frustrated, or just homesick. I know that I´m not alone but this week I really missed you all a lot. I am so grateful for your prayers. I pray for you all everyday, multiple times a day, and I need all your prayers. I´m thankful to be a missionary but it definitely is a lot of work and a lot of tears but everything is good.
To answer Mom´s questions and everyone else´s questions:
Does queimadas mean fire or do you know what the connection would be? Quemar means to burn, I think, so maybe it has something to do with that but I don´t know. It´s not a very big town.
What is the area like? Is it more rural - is there a town/city here that would be about the same size? Queimadas is pretty small. It has a small urban area but around that it´s a lot of dirt roads and small shacks/houses. I definitely have never seen anything like this before. We were walking to an appointment and we had to walk on this bumpy, muddy road and people were riding horses and stuff.Pretty different. I would say that the city is just like a small town but other than that it´s pretty rural.
My apartment: Well the first few days was pretty interesting. It used to be just the apartment of Sister Marschall and Sister Fernandes. But now there´s four of us so we got another dresser and two more beds but we only have three mattresses. So this week we put two beds together and slept horizontally, Sister Johnson, Sister Marschall and myself and Sister Fernandes slept on the other bed because she´s a little taller.I don´t know when we´ll get a mattress. Also, another thing, the toilet. You can´t put toilet paper in the toilet so we have a trash can where we have to put all the paper products. Also, our toilet doesn´t flush very well so sometimes we have to use a bucket and pour water down it. This entire week I kept saying, if only my mom could see me right now. I think the whole germ/bathroom thing has been the hardest for me. But, I´m a missionary and we have to make sacrifices. We have a area to study, a room with our dressers, our bedroom, and then the kitchen with the bathroom. It´s also gross because there´s ants all over the kitchen counter where the sink is but it´s getting a little better. What an adventure!
How is the weather? The weather isn´t horrible. It´s probably about 80 something. It´s not too hot. But I don´t know what I will do when it´s summer because I´m already sweating now! haha, it will be interesting.
Is there anything I can send you? I don´t really know if I need anything but I´ll get back to you. I know my companion wants those post-it note flags that you can mark books with that are small transparent flags.She likes mine and they don´t have them here. Thanks Mom, and I´ll get back to you.
So...the big news:
Sister Marschall and I had a baptism yesterday! It was really awesome! His name is Paulo and he´s such a great guy. We taught him everyday this week.I don´t know exactly how Sis Marschall and Sis Fernandes met him but I know it´s been pretty fast. He´s so great, every committment every commandment he was so willing to accept. I´ll attach a picture.
Sister Johnson is from Olympia, Washington. She is having a hard time to, especially since she went to the Provo MTC and then 3 months in Rochester and now she´s here. I´m really thankful to have her.
Sister Marschall is from Santa Catarina which is in the south. She´s so great. She speaks a little english which is helpful.
Sister Fernandes is from Sao Paulo and she has been out for 8 months. She knows very little English so it can be hard for Sister Johnson.
The food isn´t too bad. I haven´t eaten at a member´s house yet because normally we eat out somewhere but since it´s a branch we don´t always get lunch. Here, the members serve us lunch because that´s the big meal and we don´t normally eat that much for dinner.
If only you could see me mom, for lunch on Saturday we only had rice and eggs to eat so I just heated up the rice on the stove and scrambled some eggs and there´s lunch! haha
Fast Sunday was really great.The testimonies that were borne were so powerful and exactly what I needed to hear. Our Branch president, Presidente Jorge is really great too! He gave Sister Johnson a blessing because she´s really struggling.But, I think she´s a little better now.
Mom:That´s cool about Austin! Elder Lee in my district in the CTM went to Porto Alegre North.
what was wrong with Brenton? I didn´t remember that he was sick...
I´ve heard about the Errand of Angels but I haven´t seen it. Also, the District is really great too!
I´m glad that Taylor and Dad are going to Spain, fun! I´ll definitely miss you guys when you´re at the beach too! I´ll be thinking of you!
Bryan and Lindsey: The circus sounds like it was a lot of fun. And I´m so proud of my lil Norah! What a good girl! Give her a big hug from me! And Alice too! How exciting! And yes, Joao Pessoa is the capital of Paraíba. It´s pretty big area but not so big now that Joao Pessoa and Natal are two different missions.
Kimball and Kelsey: I´m so glad to hear that things are going well. I´m sure the Sisters will love coming to your house. How fun that you guys are going to the gym and dog park and going downtown! Fun! Church was definitely different, there wasn´t a teacher for the primary so we stepped in.
Other stuff I remembered:
We don´t knock, well really clap, doors...yes you clap at the door. We usually have appointments with investigators or we try and make contacts. We commit people to go to church and be baptized with every contact. It´s the mission rule.
Well, everything is going well.Today we had a meeting with the stake president and the other missionaries in our stake. It definitely gives me hope to talk to other Americans that are out here and have learned Portuguese.It definitely is not easy to be a missionary but I´m trying my best and I know that prayer works.I definitely have a testimony of that.
I love and miss you all so much. I will send another email with pictures!