And so much has happened that I dont even know where to start......
My first full day of "real work" was on thursday last week.We worked super hard and knocked doors for several hours with a girl from the ward that we had lunch with. She´s only 12 or 13 and a recent convert, but she loves to work with us and wants to be a missionary so much!!! She´s so sweet. I feel like teenagers in the states aren´t like that..... I know I wouldn´t have been excited to go spend 4 hours knocking doors with the missionaries at 13 at least.... hahaha. But she is awesome. She helped us a TON. She also made about 3 times as many contacts as me....we laughed about that a lot. But I´m getting better now!! haha.
The people here are so great. We have lunch with members everyday, (lunch here is the biggest meal of the day) and if something comes up, they always give us money for something. If we have an appointment around dinner time, the members always feed us then too. And they feed you SO MUCH. At our lunch on Sunday I honestly thought I was going to explode...... Two platefuls is expected. After my second plate, they got out the desserts. I nearly died.... They gave Sister Pederson and I each an entire plate of rich cakes and chocolate and coconut candy-things. OH MY GOSH. I thought I would never make it.....Sister Pederson is a pro, but she was struggling too... hahah. But dont worry!!! We perservered!!! hahaha. And didn´t eat anything for the rest of the day...... =]
Our area of Araras is HUGE. It is a bigger city and has lots of neighborhoods. We have to take the bus a lot, and we walk A TON. Sister Pederson is teaching me to walk fast. hahaha. ´
Monday this week, we had to go in to Campinas for training meeting for all the trainers. Campinas is an hour and a half bus ride away, so we had to get up at 4:30 to get ready, walk to the bus station, take the bus and then find our way to the chapel in Campinas. Then while Sister Pederson had training, the other new sister-Sister A. Silva (who is brazilian/american and grew up speaking portuguese....) and I did a division with another Sister- Sister Ferreira. We took a bus to a little town called Matou. It was raining ALL DAY. hahaha. So we walked a TON in the rain.... We had lunch with a member family. Irmã Deborah-the mother of the family, kept teasing me for being so quiet.... I couldn´t follow what they were talking about AT ALL!!! hahahah. So then after lunch when Sister Ferreira asked her who she wanted to share the message, she said something like "the one who has talked the least today" and they all looked at me, and I was like "what????"ahhahaha.They had to explain for me.... Oh man. ´
Another fun Portuguese story:
We were talking with a little old man, he is 89, turning 90 in October or something..... And we had knocked (clapped really... that´s what you do here...) at his house and were talking to him through the fence of his driveway/car pull in thing. I asked him (several times because he didnt understand me.....) if we could share a message with him. He finally understood and said yes, so I shared our message. Then afterwards he was laughing a bit and said "well, it´s a good thing I studied Italian or else I wouldn´t have understood you at all!!!" He was completely positive that I had been speaking Italian the entire time. YEP. hahaha. Sister Pederson and I have laughed about that one a lot......... I´m not gonna worry about it too much though, since he also kept calling both of us "Maria" the entire time we talked with him... hahah.
So about Portuguese.....
I can say what I need to say to tell people who we are, invite them to church, and teach and talk about the gospel....I can do that fairly okay. And I can teach super well in our practices in the mornings AND understand almost everything Sister Pederson says in portuguese... BUT, the second a brazilian starts talking about something else, over half the timeI have NO IDEA what they are saying..... hahahahaha. So then Sister Pederson has to save me..... She´s super good about picking up on my blank stare after someone just asked me a question and answering for me. hahahah. Dont worry though. I´m improving. My first day, it was worse.... so I´m taking that as a good sign.
This week we are teaching a 14 year old boy named Felipe to prepare him for his baptism on SATURDAY!!!! WOOOOOO!!! We are so excited!!! He has been coming to church and hearing some of the lessons with his aunt and uncle´s family for a while, but we didn´t think that his mom would let him be baptized. But this week, he told us that she said yes!! And he is so excited about it!!! We taught him yesterday and the entire time he couldn´t stop smiling. He loves hearing about the gospel so much and is so excited for our lessons. After they dropped us off last night he said "until tomorrow, at six!!!". I am constantly amazed by how strong the young people are here..... it´s crazy. Felipe, Aline(the girl that came and knocked doors with us), the other young women in the ward.... They all want to help us and are so excited to learn more about the gospel. I wish I could send some of their excitement back to the states. They are AWESOME.
People here in Brazil are generally super nice. Everyone (women only for us obviously) greets eachother with a hug and kiss on the cheek. And when we knock doors, almost everyone is willing to listen to us or if they truly are busy, have us come back another day. And usually at least one person invites us into their home. Everyday I am impressed.... I´m fairly positive that people in the states are not that welcoming or receptive.... I dont think I would let strangers share a message with me, and I for SURE wouldn´t have let them into my home!!! hahahaha. People here are super nice and giving though. The members especially help us out a ton.
It is starting to get cold here..... And Sister Pederson and I are a little worried..... We almost froze to death yesterday morning, and this morning it was fairly cold again.... Who knew Brazil would get cold??? I should have packed a sweatshirt.... hahaha.
It rained constantly over the weekend and on Monday, and I think that cooled things down a ton.... The rain isn´t my favorite. It´s super hard to knock doors and try to teach people (usually on their doorsteps or at their gates) while it is raining..... But yesterday and today the weather was great!!! So I´m hoping that is a good sign for clear skies ahead.
Well, everything is so good here!!! I´m excited to keep improving at understanding people... haha. And Sister Pederson and I are excited to keep working hard.
Araras is great. I even love the un-even cobblestone-ish sidewalks that trip me everyday. hahaha. AND I really love the lake and the park with the cool fountain that changes colors that we walk home by everynight. Hopefully this week I will start to be able to remember where everything is and not get lost everytime we leave the house.... hahah. Sister Pederson had me try to walk us home the other night and at a cross only a block from our apartment I looked both ways and chose the wrong way and said "I know it cant be that way because I´ve never seen that building before"..... that building was school across from our apartment..... wooops. ahahah. Sister Pederson got some good laughs out of that one....
Love you all so much!!!!