Friday, October 24, 2014

Week 3.5 :)

Alrighty, Friends and Family!
    So to all those who were worrying about my toe, it is currently fine, toenail still attached :) Funny story, when I went to go see the medic, my toe was legit purple, and white around the hangnail. It was absolutely a mess. Everyone in the MTC told me that it would definitely be coming off when I went to go see the doctor. Anyways, after I finished up my letter last week, we went to go see the doctor... he was closed on Fridays. So I hobbled around on my purple toe, in very much pain. (Never had one that bad) So Saturday morning, I explained to him on how it was very difficult to even sleep with my toe throbbing like that. I took my sock off to reveal my horrendous toe. All he said was "well, it looks like you have an ingrown toenail" I so wanted to say something like "oh, really? I just thought it was a bug bite" but I didn’t. He told me to just pull back the skin, lift up on the nail, and repeat, and when it was as far separated as it was going to be, just to jam regular paper in between. I had my suspicions, but I followed orders, and surely enough, the doodadd came on out on its own. It was lodged a full centimeter in there, to give you an idea... eww.
     So anyways, a funny story that I forgot to tell y’all when I first got here, when I was at the airport, I was expecting to have all these Brazilians en route to Sao Paulo when I first got there, and I was ready to just start talking to some Brazilians, and baptize everyone at the airport, haha jk. Either way, I get there, and I see two people walk in, they looked like Brazilians, and they were speaking a foreign language. So I try to eavesdrop very subtly on their conversation, and I did not pick up a word. Not even a word. I was so frustrated. I was like "gosh, all that time learning Portuguese, and I’ve got a long way to go" while true I had a long way to go, I soon learned that they were actually speaking Hebrew, so that relieved some stress.
     So we go from not even recognizing what language someone is speaking... flash forward to now. We went proselyting on Wednesday. Irma Deniz, one of our instrutoras, (I’ve got a picture, just wait a bit) took us, and another district, to a big centre of people and told us to start handing out Books of Mormon. We were terrified. But it turns out, we were ready. We understood pretty much everything everyone was saying, and worked our way through the hour of being there. I even gave one to the guy sitting next to me on the bus! Anyways, in an hour, the 8 companionships that were there handed out 53 copies of the Book of Mormon. That’s pretty good for a bunch of Americans, an Englishman, and a South African. :) I’m so excited to be speaking the language. It relieves a lot of stress actually being able to talk to people. :)
     BTDUBBS, I sent some letters last week, and I’ve sent a couple this week, including a BIG one for home.
     Other things I’ve neglected to mention - They’ve got Antarctica Guarana on tap here at the MTC. It’s very nice :)
     I gave a talk on Sunday in Portuguese. It went off very well. I sent the talk home via mail today. BTDUBBS, I just heard that Missionties has a monthly fee. I thought it was a one- time pay-and-done thing. It is probably not worth that monthly fee. If you haven’t signed up, don’t worry about it. If you already signed up, it could be very useful for the MTC, but after that, it’s not quite worth it.
     Okay. So on Monday, Elder L., one of beloved colleagues in our district, announced that he was going to be sent home. This was the most bittersweet, perhaps tender moments that I have ever witnessed. Under his own free will, he confessed that he wasn’t ready to be out on a mission, and that he wanted to change his life around. We were all proud of him for making that vital but very difficult step of repentance. With consent of the Branch President, we gathered around Elder L. to give him a Priesthood blessing of knowledge and guidance. A very shaky and emotional District Leader, former companion of L.,  Elder Riddle was the voice. He only had one other Priesthood blessing under his belt, and that was a blessing that I would get over my cold. The blessing was probably the most beautiful thing I had ever heard in my life. Not a dry eye was in the circle of the band of brothers, sending Elder L home to begin his journey of utilizing the atonement. The words uttered in the prayer were perhaps too sacred for this email, but it sufficeth me to say it was unbelievable. We sent him off the very next day singing "God be with you till we meet again" from our 6th story window, as Elder L drove off to the airport.
     On Wednesday, we got a new district member - Elder Burt. He spent 3 weeks in Provo, got his Visa, and came over here. Let’s just say, I’m glad I’ve learned Portuguese in Brazil. :) He’s got some work cut out for him, haha. He’s a great guy, and like the rest of my district, very tall, very big. He’s a tight end.
      Running out of time, but I will say one more thing - The Book of Mormon is awesome. I am reading it as if I were eating Baked Steak. I read it every time I have a chance. I can read it in Portuguese just as easily as in English. It has enriched my life greatly. It is true. It is absolutely true. If you don’t have one, get one and read it. It’s a good book.
     Love Y’all! Until next week,
     Elder Wassom.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Week Two!‏                                        October 17, 2014
Dear Family and Friends,
Things are still awesome! I am learning so much already, it is amazing! First thing's first, I would prefer to be written via postal mail. My emailing time is very short and it is difficult to read everyone’s and still have time to send a decent email. However, I have plenty of time during each day to read and write hand-written letters from everyone! So don't hesitate to send me some mail!
Okay, so I just got back from the Campinas temple. (Pictures to be sent when I get to Santa Maria)  I cannot decide which one I like more, the Campinas or the Sao Paulo. They are both so beautiful. Heck, the whole country is beautiful. I especially like the artwork. In America, it seems like all the paintings and such are the same across churches, temples, etc. Here in Brazil, everything’s new. In the Sao Paulo baptismal font there are two giant tile mosaics on both sides of the font, rising up about 15ish feet high. It really is stunning. Portuguese update - the language is coming great. I went through the temple in Portuguese and understood everything just fine. Reading and writing - no problem. Hearing and understanding- a little harder, and speaking it is still fairly tough. I wouldn’t say I was fluent, but give me two weeks, and I could say safely that I would be very close. Maybe I’m overly ambitious. This week our district really buckled down and everyone has a whole lot of improvement over these last 7 days. We really are a tight-bunched group. Its super cool, I like them a lot. I am getting along well with my companion.
Somehow get this message out to Chandler Brown, I ran into an Elder Guierrmo Fernandez from Paraguay, who says that you taught him English. He's a cool dude. We've sat together at lunch a couple of times. Some of the food here is getting pretty... old? I’m getting pretty tired of Panini’s. It’s a good food, but it is the only thing we have for breakfast... so today when they had frosted flakes, the missionaries went ape wild over it. Milk is not something that they have in plentitude here.

To answer a previous question, they do have a CTM choir. I am in it. It is awful. But what is severely lacking in talent is made up for in spirit. Speaking of which, I cannot hardly talk, let alone sing. I have an extremely nasty cold. Insomuch, that blowing my nose so frequently has given me frequent nosebleeds. One nosebleed came unexpectedly in the night, and it dripped on my garment top. So I spent an hour in the bathroom at 1 am with my garment top and a tide pen getting that sucker out. I would go into detail about my ingrown toenail, but to make a long story short, I am going to the medic right after I am done writing you to get my entire toenail removed. TMI? probably. Do you remember about how I talked about Elder Paulson being a saint? Not surprisingly, he is our new zone leader. In sports, we call him RamenTop, because his hair looks exactly like ramen noodles. Funny story, Our instructora, Irma Diniz, said she had a surprise for us. She was so excited to show us this surprise which she had for us. The next day, she said she brought us all American candies! We looked at the wonderful stash she had brought, and they were Hall's Cough Drops. We tried to suppress the laughter. Lang and I just smiled, because we actually needed them. That’s all the time I have, ttyl! BTW, handwritten letters... awesome! 
Love, Elder Wassom

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Elder Wassom's MTC District

Saturday, October 11, 2014

BOM DIA!!! :)

Dear family and friends,
I somehow don't have a space bar that works, so you'll have to make some paragraphs or something. Im still getting used to this brazilian keyboard, so that's why I might have some crazy misspellings, and you will just have to cope with me! So, the MTC is an awesome experience, I am loving the people who I am with. I am in a district with ten 18 year old anglos who don't know a lick of Portuguese. Well, at least that was my impression when I first got here. But this makes a full 9 days out in Brazil, so our Portuguese is progressively getting better. As far as the learning curve goes, I am doing just fine. I know some were wondering if I were to be learning at a slower pace than I had hoped, but this is definitely not the case. In fact, our Portuguese instructor does not even speak English, so the only way that we could even attempt to communicate with her was by studying really hard and trying not to have our brain explode. There have been a couple of times where we have snapped, trust me. The Duolingo has definitely helped, as I was (still am) the person who everyone looks to if anyone is trying to speak with us in Portuguese. There are some awesome people in my district. Their names are Elder Blocker, Elder Beecroft, Elder Lang, Myself, Elder Riddle, Elder Lewis, Elder Stanbury, Elder George, Elder Smith, and Elder Paulson. I am writing so ridiculously fast, because I only have 30 minutes to write yall, and I can't send photos from the MTC. so I will send pictures to yall when I get into the mission feild in Santa Maria, including the ones of me and my district at the Sao Paulo temple. Sorry, this letter has no form. I'm just trying to tell you everything I have to say. Anyways, the temple. Its gorgeous. We kind of had a neat experience today, because we left at 6:30 am to beat traffic (it didnt work) so that we could get there in time for the English session. BTW. The drivers here are crazy. Especially the motorcyclists. Its as if the division lines in the road didn't exist. Either way, all missions in Brazil are 100percent walking, so I'm down with that. So the temple, haha. We arrived at 830ish (yes Sao Paulo is huge, so it took us 2 hours to get there in the same city) and our sessions didnt start until 1030. so our leader told us to ask the front end if we could do any service for them while we were waiting. So me and my district were able to work in the laundromat in the temple. It was so cool. Then, they let us check out the temple, where we stopped at the baptismal font, where we were conveniently needed. This one lady came in with some names for baptism, but no one was there to do baptisms. So our district got to baptize, be baptized, confirm, be confirmed, do initiatories for, and go through a session for the names that she brought. She was just sobbing that Preisthood holders just happened to walk in right when she needed us. It was a very cool experience. Also, the English session kind of fell through, so we just did one in Portuguese. They gave us headphones, but I didnt really use them. I am getting so good at Portugese now, it's super cool. Uhm, my companion. On the first day, I really thought we were going to have problems. It seems like everything he said or did aggravated me (probably because of the great amount of stress that first day was. It was really sort of a drag.) Nevertheless, I kept my head high, and now we are truly getting along just fine! The days are starting to be a lot quicker, and a lot better. It was rough the first few days when we were stuck in a room for hours on end (big district, small room), taking instructions we didn't understand, and it was tough. But now, I wake up smiling, knowing that the day will be hard, but that I will learn so much. Looking back, it is indescribable how much I've learned just in these past few days. I took a picture of your letters to me, and I will read them and respond to them as quickly as I can. My time is limited, so I haven't read them yet. Let's see what else. The food, haha. yeaaahhh, so I like it a lot, but my stomach sure didn't those first few days... lol. We have rice and beans for dinner, and Paninis for breakfast. The Paninis have already gotten old, but thankfully I love those rice and beans. We have a gym that we get to use everyday for 40 minutes, and there's either basketball or volleyball, two sports which I love to play. There was one day where 5 guys in the district (including myself) were playing together (they're all as tall or taller than me, and very athletic), and some Brazilians came up and said "Hey, lets play some ball!" we destroyed them. My inner sportsman died that day. Okay now a little bit about the people in the district. we're really close, because we really do spend, like all day in the sala de aula, which is a classroom that barely fits us all. Elder Lang really likes science, and is very hard working. Elder Blocker... He's just a goofball. Really, though. He's a great guy. Imagine a cross between Ethan Croft and Conner, but tall and lanky. Elder Beecroft is really quiet. He's awesome, and plays basketball super well. Elder George is awesome. He always laughs at my jokes, which is saying a lot. Elder Smith is very similar, which is perfect, because they're companions. Elder Riddle and Elder Lewis are both ripped, athletic type of guys that are really awesome. Elder Stanbury is from London, and likes attention. Elder Paulson is a saint. He plans, and studies, and does the right thing. He's somewhat of a leader figure in the district. My time is coming to a close, but I want you all to know that I love you a lot, and I have thought about you frequently, especialmente in the temple today. Love Yall, Elder Wassom. PS Im bummed that BYU lost. I don't really care, though.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


October 1st, 2014
Hey Guys! Just checking in to tell you that everything is good and decent here in the Sao Paulo MTC. My companion is atualmente Elder Lang! The same guy from the Missionary Mall!  I can tell we will get along just fine! The flights went smoothly, nothing was stolen :) Uhm. Sao Paulo is really pretty. It is a big city, but not very dense, so I dont feel so tiny. I sat next to a brasileira on the plane, and we spoke primarily in portuguese the whole time, so that was a confidence booster. We only had ten minutes for our little pulse check, but I figured I'd let you know that all is well, and that I love yall. I still don't know when my P-day is, btw.

Elder Wassom :)
All the new missionaries in the MTC in Brazil