Monday, November 17, 2014

Bom Dia de Uruguaiana!‏

Hey friends and family,
     Please pardon me for again, the lack of photos. I was in a frenzy this morning and forgot to bring it along. First off, I have WAY more time to write you guys than I did in the CTM, so expect some good letters! I say this, so I have to commit to sending good letters instead of slacking off. 
     OKAY. So as the name implies, I am in a town called Uruguaiana. It is on the FAR west side of Rio Grande do Sul. The town actually holds 200,000 people. The inner city is rather big, with tall buildings and houses made of bricks and stuff. The outskirts are more of a poor, farming community. Lucky for me and Elder Molina (my new comp), we get to work in the outskirts. In fact, our area borders the Uruguai River. This means, I can actually see Argentina very clearly from my apartment.
     I will try to write this letter in somewhat of a chronological fashion, because I have SO, SO, SOOO much to tell you guys! Gosh, I am so excited for yall to read this letter. Okay, so first off, back at the MTC, our district sang that version of ‘Abide With Me, Tis Eventide’, with the a cap verse that I arranged, in the MTC devotional on last Sunday. It was incredible. It was funny too, because in the MTC, all the sisters sit up front. So we kept looking up to a bunch of bawling faces while we were singing. It really was really good. In fact, both the Mission President and his wife were crying, too. I am going to miss that group of guys. We also talked President Swenson into letting us record the song afterwards, and so I have a recording on my camera. The recording does not do it NEARLY the amount of justice it deserved, so yall will have to have faith that it actually was good. That is, when I remember to bring my camera. Next week, I promise.
On Tuesday, I took an early morning flight down to Porto Alegre, then a little tiny propeller plane down to Santa Maria. I arrived, dropped our stuff off with the assistants, and took off to the Mission Home in Santa Maria. The first thing Presidente and Sister Parrela did was they took us to the roof of the house, and had us overlook the valley. This was an incredible experience. It was so beautiful, and yet, so familiar. I really had a confirmation that THIS is the place that I need to be.
     Afterward, they took us inside, and, (mom, you’re gonna like this), gave us a 3-hour talk on how to stay healthy. What to eat. What not to eat. When to eat. How to eat. Where to eat. Where not to eat. And, yes. Even why we eat. And other hygiene stuff.
     WHICH REMINDS ME. There is a reason why the "b´day" is nowhere to be found in America. Make sure that the United States does not lose sight of that reason by the time I return. PLEASE. I BEG OF YOU.
     So anyways, I am well watched over. I am now a health pro. And I look more like one, too. I’ve trimmed up quite a bit.
     After all that jazz, Presidente treated all the newcomers to a churrascaria. I was so excited, as I had never had churrasco before. Lesson learned: please understand what the waiters are bringing out to you before you tell them to put it on your plate. I could have had ANYTHING my heart desired in that place. Chicken, steak, pork... my first dinner in Santa Maria was Chicken Hearts, people. Check to see what it is first. It actually wasn’t that bad, but I could’ve enjoyed a nice steak over that.
     We head to a hotel for the night. My roommate was a Brasileiro, so I could start up a basic conversation with him about his home, about his family. I had a little bit harder of a time explaining that I had accidentally locked myself in the bathroom and the handle came off. So I was shouting all the Portuguese I knew how to yell, such as "door is closed! Broken! I am here" and my roommate was yelling in Danish, I think, so it took a good 20 minutes to get me out of there.
     After a decent nights rest, I repacked my bags, headed out to a meeting, met my companion, and took a 7 hour bus ride over to Uruguaiana. My comp is really awesome. Like, really. He works hard, he’s fun, likes to follow the rules. He also walks as fast as humanly possible, like Elder Reis was for my dad. Even though he is only 5'5, it is hard to keep up with him. We get to Uruguaiana, unpack our stuff, and head out to André's house. Andre is a man, lives a simple life, and he was going to be baptized last Saturday, but he got sick, so next Saturday he will be baptized. Lesson Learned: Humility. I did not speak Portuguese as well as I had thought. Like, really. I could speak decently, but I did not understand him at all. Down in the south they have an accent "como um gaucho." Dad, imagine Portuguese WITH the tu and vos form, without the letter s, and "de" and "te" are actually pronounced as "de" and "te" instead of "djee" and "tchee" as I had learned in the MTC. So that was humbling.
     Here in the outskirts of Uruguaiana, cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, and even horses roam the streets, in great number, none of which have been fixed. Which cause for the wild animals to increase in number.  (I can’t call them streets, because there are very few that are actually paved... many people, such as André, live off the trail of the train tracks)
     Presidente Parrela gave us all a pillow, which he called "travesseiro de lagrimas" or "pillow of tears", for the nights when we can’t take it anymore, we can cry it out. This was the one time President was wrong. When you hit your pillow, you are so exhausted that you don’t have time to cry. You are out cold. The only time I almost used it was when I had a Hamburger that everyone said was as close as you could get to American. It just... no. Sorry. I want a real burger.
     Everything that dad told me about Brasil was pretty accurate. I have seen 9 year olds with pacifiers. Mothers here don’t hide themselves while nursing, even in Sacrament Meeting. The drivers here are terrible, and there are no controlled crosswalks.
     There is a lady that Mom would LOVE. That means she is about 70 years old and loves to talk. Her name is Irmã Delmaci. We were talking to her one day in a lesson, when she looks off into the distance and says "it’s ready." She promptly gets up, runs to a tall melon tree, and, with her 70 year old body, climbs the tree like in those jungle book movies, picks the melon, climbs back down, and gives it to us. It made me smile inside.
      There is a rapaz named Edivã, but we call him popó. He is 12. President Parrela told us that because of our focus on families, a youth must wait through 3 months of investigation before getting baptized, if their family is not a member. No problem for popó. In fact, a month in, he invites all of his fútbol friends to take the lessons, and in two months later, he was baptized, one month later, all of his friends were baptized, and now make up our young men’s group. Except one. His name is German, and we are working with him now. He´s the youngest of the group, he’s just a rapaz of 11, but he is progressing well. We hope he will be baptized on Saturday with André. We were heading over there, to teach him, and his mother wanted to listen in, too. So we taught her the first lesson, gave her a Book of Mormon, and we have another investigator.
     I have no doubt that this was because of a special fast we had on Saturday to Sunday, which was for Sao Paulo to get rain. But I prayed for the Gift of Tongues, and investigators as well. It was the hardest fast I had ever done, because as hard as we walk, (and as FAST as we walk, goodness) It was very hard to go without water. But this fast was by far the best working. I haven’t heard anything about São Paulo, but the success boomed yesterday. For instance, Germans mom, and also, we felt very impressed to visit a contact that was given to us by a member. Like, very impressed. So, we take off to the house, and clap at the gate (we clap, instead of knocking). A lady walks out. We asked her if she was Patricia, she said no. We asked if a Patricia lived there, and she said no. So we said to ourselves "we usually don’t 'tract' because we have so many appointments, but lets try" and we asked her if she’d like to listen to our message. She said yes. So we taught her the first lesson, gave her a Book of Mormon, committed her to baptism, to which she accepted, and we’ve got it planned for December. Pretty awesome. Stuff like that happens with the spirit.
     I still have stuff to tell you guys, I have it written down so I can tell you next week, as I have run out of time. I never resolved my "I can’t speak Portuguese" story, so It suffices me to say that through the grace of God, my Portuguese has improved greatly, and I can talk to the people here. More stories and miracles on that next week. Anyway, love you guys, until next week,

     E. Wassom

No comments:

Post a Comment