Monday, February 23, 2015

My Life and Times Here in Brasil

E ai e [And then]!!!
So I'm finally understanding enough of the language to speak and teach these people here without the annoying "and what my companion said …" routine of my companion. So I'm glad that he's with me to help me out, but sometimes it's really hard to have a tiny vocabulary and an even smaller window of words I can actually pronounce!

The week has been great, and I'm still learning a lot everyday about the language but I'm really trying hard to just teach simply for now. I have a lot of fun experiences but I think I'll share one that missionaries take for granted here in Brasil. Walking in the streets of one or our Vilas we "knocked" a house and found out that one of the Irmãs [sisters] in our ward is actually really integrated with the people in the area, too. While we taught [the woman], she kept asking questions like "what does that word mean" and "Who's the prophet today." We got really excited about this, but then the next time we tried to pass by the house she was busy with a family reunion, which, by the way, is every Sunday here, in case you didn't know. You who are in Brasil already know... Or at least I'd think you would have encountered some families like that already. But one good thing about the whole family reunion thing is that you can talk and invite them to a member’s house for "Family night," and they'll be more than happy to accept.

So I've sent off two companions in the same number of transfers. Horrible things, I'm kind of sad my companions aren't sticking around long enough to watch the fruits of their labors. But what can you do? President Fernandes is pretty straight forward with us on transfers: go and do as the Lord commands.  ATÉ PRÓXIMO [UP NEXT]!!!
Elders Lima and Smith - last visit with Thamires

With new companion, Elder Matos

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Week of Elder Joel Smith

Carnaval happened and I got bumped until today to write due to many splits with other missionaries. Don't look up Carnaval! Simply, Mardis Gras in America is Carnaval here.

I am now almost fluent at this language with a huge gap in my vocabulary. I can speak fluently about simple things, church wise, experiences in the field and so on. But if I want to talk about just about anything outside of that, good luck.  

Lojas [stores] americano we have, more common are the [Chinese?] shops, yes we have hamburgers and fries, but I personally would rather eat with the members.

And POR FIM [finally]!!! my feet are alright.   

We found some awesome investigators that we can visit next week. We made a contact really special and it went like a normal conversation. We stopped in the road and just talked and made out that the couple is planning to get married in the year to come, and a friend of the young lady was on a mission in Argentina. They accepted an opportunity that we offered to pass by this coming week and teach. Really simply they were really open and willing to listen.
Zone Leader with Celebratory Pizza

Celebratory Pizza

Family of Isalino

The Zone


Monday, February 9, 2015

Meu Amados Irmãos, tenho algum mais para dizer [My Dear Brothers, I have some more to say]

Hello, and welcome to another episode of "Joel gets lost in this Freaking country!!!"

Last time... I actually don't remember what I wrote last time. Desculpe! [Excuse me]. This week we had a great experience with Gabriel, Bruno, and Chris who all came to church this week. WOOO HOO!! And just a story of my companion and today for you guys this week as I'm really quite sad on time. Quantas vezes Élder, quantas vezes? [How often Elder , how often ?]

My dear companion, Élder R. Lima, and I are now used to each other and almost dying of laughter every week. This week we had a good laugh. District meeting, we managed to buy a package of cookies, a one-kilo bar of chocolate, and some dangerous taffy. So, Elder Peay, my Zone leader, is in the district with us, and he was with the taffy and cookies, I was with a knife and the 1 kilo bar of chocolate (THAT THING WAS THICK OKAY?) on the other side of the room. So we were quite focused on weekly planning, due to the fact that my companion is the district leader, I was doing individual study. Elder Peay called my name and when I looked up, I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a black eraser flying at my head. I caught it (with one hand) only to discover that it was a cookie from Élder Peay. After that he continued calling names at random and chucking cookies. My poor companion, his eyes aren't the best, he got nailed in the head by a speeding cookie. He now has a phobia of any small-flying objects.

Today, food at a pizzeria!!! So here the photos and the story: Every 5th week of the transfer, zone gets together at the pizzeria and eats, well, everything. We're missionaries, what did you expect? This week was special, the assistant to the president is going home to Utah, the cousin of my trainer is going home too. So this was more of a funeral party than anything for them. So we sat around the table and told hilarious stories of the mission and went back to our areas. But Do Not Eat the Fruit Pizzas Here!!!

Zone Party at Pizzeria

Half-shot of Joel

Monday, February 2, 2015

Meu Semana de trabalho (My Work Week)

This week was really hard for us, our contacts are really low due to the amount of time it takes us to get to our arias of teaching and people here are a little intimidated of the missionaries, so always the story of the good Samaritan comes to mind. Especially the part where the people pass by on the other side of the road.

But we did have an awesome experience this week with the Baptism of Thamires!!!! WOO HOO!!! Thamires did get baptized this Sabado [Saturday]. She was really ready all the way from the start, with a grandma that was a member and was a really good example to her, her aunt and uncle, and already a missionary inviting people that weren't members to her baptism! So we taught her the remaining lessons and the day of the baptism we literally sat and watched the one spout in the fonte de batismal fill the pool. For three hours. But that wasn't the only problem, we literally couldn't figure out why the heater for the font wouldn't work, so she was baptized in warm water until about knee height, below that was bitter cold. Her cousin was happy about that. Her uncle baptized her, and she cried (I'm pretty sure that's normal, if you other missionaries notice anything different let me know). The day after I gave the Confirmation blessing... and my legs wouldn't stop shaking. A first time for everything, and that was my first confirmation.

As hard as it is to learn this new tongue, I'm now getting it and having trouble at times remembering all the words for my e-mails.

So my feet... finally they're getting better. After almost 4 "freaking" weeks! And no one knows ainda oque este problema é! (yet what the problem is). I have a theory that it is some kind of fungus that got in my sweat and started wrecking my feet, but, we still don't know.

I probably will have to pay up a milkshake this week for my companion. I'm on six and that's darn close to the line, but I'll likely stay there for a while. I've been practicing!

So cool story special for you guys this week: My companion and I were walking down a street to visit a family were visiting who in the words of my companion are "fubecando" and not keeping the invitations. As we passed one group of houses he got the impression to stop and turn back (which I was absolutely fine with as I totally agree with his description of the family) and we "knocked" and found two very ready women and taught them the first lesson. At least the mom was very involved. We'll likely baptize them in the coming weeks, if I stick around in the area long enough. 
There you go, Meu e-mail especial por Vocês, ATÉ PROXIMA SEMANA!!! [My special email for you, UNTIL next week!!!]

Élder A. Smith
Elders Smith and Lima with "Pringoooools"

Elders Smith and Lima with Tamires

Elders Lima and Smith with Tamires and unknown (family?)