Monday, December 28, 2015

This Brazilian Party‏

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may this letter find you all well and happy!

This Christmas and New Years in a few words was fattening. We have received two boxes full of food that we have received from the branch and members. So that was loads of fun; we weren't expecting it at least.

As far as my Christmas stories go, we were quite happy when on Christmas day we were able to find a few people with skype and talk with them. But we had some more good experiences that need to be told. We found that many, many people that travel. Including the people we least expected. So we're looking for new people to teach and baptize. That's an adventure and a problem for us for now. But we have had a few fun things happen. We sang at the branch Christmas party, which we sang, I got to play the Violin (endless happy faces) and then we had to run, but don't worry, the members brought us half a cow after. 

And then the work part of everything. We got to work with a cool Christmas video that I hope everyone got to see! We actually used it to teach a few people. But in the course of the week, we got our faces painted with green mud, a bird came into our apartment and Elder Verissimo got to hold it a bit, we got rained on... twice and Elder Ibarra (our other companionship in the apartment) Cried. We think he was feeling the after effects of the call home, but were all happy to be on the mission, and I hope you all are well and having a Happy New Year.

Elder Joel A. Smith

PS I would have sent pictures too, but the computer is having issues this week!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Brasil, Continued From LAST Week‏

Hello, hello, and CHRISTMAS!!!!

We had an eventful week, we ate and went to a conference and found more interesting things. So, I tell stories.

In the last couple of weeks we've been working with marriages and people that are rather interesting. We've entered a few homes and are teaching a few families that are quite caught up in the culture of Street fighter, a few gold investigators. and STAR WARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (my current companion is a little crazy about that) In the end I have some fun stories to tell.

We were warned about it, but one of our investigators Salete, IS TRYING TO FATTEN US!!! In our last two visits we've eaten cake like gluttons. In the last visit, almost against my will, I ate more. She is very excited about learning and will likely be baptized here soon.

We have that other family that let us in almost without explanation of who we were. The father works like a machine, but he's very receptive and I hope we'll get to go back and talk more. We'll likely be talking about them quite a bit here soon.

Street fighter and old cars is another fun topic. The Bird on the chest of my comp. is the pet of the dad of two investigators (His daughter and his son-in-law.). And they play Street Fighter together. Along with that, they have an old bug and a Chevette hanging around in working condition. They aren't new, but they sure are sweet.

Christmas is coming, AND SO... Missionaries go caroling, did you know that? I DIDN'T! and they had a violin so it wasn't so bad.

And after a conference where we got up at 4:30 in the morning, drive for about 3 hours, and then return after 5 hours of conference, I WAS TIRED. But all's well that ends well, and I learned a lot.
Star Wars... We're hearing about it, we want to know more, BUT DON'T SPOIL WATCHING IT FOR US!!! We actually have a lot of nerds around that are all over it now. If you guys are putting light sabers on your wall in that Face book thingy, be wise on the colors you choose! 

In the end, it's been a great week, Thanks everyone for the letters, E-mails and best wishes! Merry Christmas!!

Elder Joel A. Smith

Mission Conference

Elder Verissimo with Angry Bird

Happy Elders with Food from Ward Members

Sunset in Guarapuava

Brasil, Ultimate Street Fighter, and V for Verissimo‏

[From December 14, 2015]

Olá e bem vindo Semana 2 de transferência numero... sabe, não me lembro mais...[Hello and welcome to week 2 transfer number ... you know, I do not remember ...]

I'm glad to have had another cool week of adventures and oddities that I'm sure you'll all enjoy. But first, before the stories, I want to wish you all Happy Birthday Guarapuava!!!!

Shout out to Jason (Watson) Thanks for continuing to write, you're helping me keep up the animo of the work! Half way around the world and I'm working with a Brother named Akihiko Udagaua. Blake, Jason, he has an accent so thick you'd think he left Japan 3 years ago! And he still reads and speaks.

Along the lines of stories, contacts and very excited people. We were looking through some of the richer parts of the area, and we knocked a door and the contact went like this: Asked the boy in the front to get his mom, "Hello, I'm called Elder A. Smith and this is my friend Elder Verissimo and we're missionaries, and what's your name?" Ciro "Hey Ciro, how old are you?" 10 "Already grown up, is your mom or dad home?" yeah, let me go get them "Pleasure to meet you, my name is Elder A. Smith..." mom of Ciro: "Janaina, would you like to come in?" AND that's what happens when you are praying for people to teach.

I would include more, but in the week to come I will add more stories, the Lan House is closing TCHAU!!!

Elder Joel A. Smith

Elder Smith and Elder Verissimo

Monday, December 14, 2015

Brasil, and Grabski (Grab-skee)

From December 7, 2015

Family, friends, Other relations, I made it through the week.

I'm glad to say I didn't drown, that would have been a surprise to you all, but it rained all week, and then some. I'm surprised no one got pneumonia! But that said, we are all still in one piece. We had a transfer, but only one missionary left, a new one arrived, and the two companionships changed. Elder Grabski is now my district leader, and I have a new assistant on our side. I've been here a while, it's likely in the next transfer I'll be heading out. But that's to be expected.

Last P-day we went to a museum. And we got to see some cool stuff (see pictures below). I also got to work out some little details about the marriage we're trying to do. Unfortunately, it's going to be a little more difficult than we thought. That means a lot of work from the missionaries
A few of the stories of the week:  We were happily walking along when we found a river that was not where a river should be. It was too large to jump, too long to walk around and just too close to our apartment. We needed to get into our apartment, so we thought it would be a good idea to just walk through it. Yep, so we got wet really fast. Fortunately, the phone was one of the few things that stayed dry.

The other story is one of humor. We were teaching a new family, they both are 19 years old, so in my book newlyweds still. But they have this big Pitbull mix. It's partially blind, but it's still huge, and it wanted to meat us (no, that wasn't a spelling-error!!) the lesson went well, but the dog wanted in, and the family was a little reluctant to shut the door as it was muggy. In the end, there was a small wrestling match between the young man and the dog the whole lesson to protect the missionaries from becoming doggy-treats.

Have a good, week enjoy the photos!

Elder Joel A. Smith

An American (US) dollar in a Brazilian museum

It's raining, men, Hallelujah

Old television set in museum

Pinkie and the Brain firing a cannon

Smallest sewing machine I've ever seen

Monday, November 30, 2015

Brasil, Gaúcho, and That Thing ...

So, after one more week of being on the mission I've come to a rather sad conclusion: I'm not in the USA. The events of the last week have rather shaken me. I'm still happy at work and all, but we have a really humbling circumstance we're working with [related to the impoverished circumstances of the people], and it's rather throwing me. But, all in all, it's been a good week.

For starters, we had a few days of sun, a few of rain and a few that I'm not sure what Mother Earth was planning, but it was rather scary [see picture of storm below]. 

My friend, Elder Grabski, has been a ball of fun this week. We taught one lesson that could have gone very bad, but he managed to save it. And he can't sleep unless he reads for 30 minutes before he lies down. I'll put more in about him next Monday, IF I don't end up getting transferred. 

That was my week, Until the next one!

Elder Joel A. Smith

The Bottomed-Out Bike

Sandstorm Guarapuava, the last photo I took before we had to dive for cover!