Dear Family and Friends,
Thanks again for all you emails and letters! I am still working on writing some of you back. The first week in the field has been awesome!!! My Trainer is Elder Bangerter as I already said. He is from California/St. George Utah and is from a family of 5 boys. He played football and basketball in high school and played football at Dixie St. College before coming on the mission. He has been out for 6 months and his portuguese is really good. He´s a good missionary, we get along really well, and is willing to work so I´m glad he´s my trainer. I was really worried that I´d get a bad one. He looks exactly like Tom Cruise! Even more than Zach Leininger!!! It´s crazy that I´ve known two people who look exactly like Tom Cruise. He says he´s already had brazilians here come ask him for his autograph they can´t tell any difference. Also I´m really glad I got a companion who speaks english. I might not learn the language as fast with him as I would with a brazilian but it´s really nice to be able to just talk normally when we´re in the apartment. Also, Elder Bangerter and I baptized someone yesterday!!! Her name is Maria Lucia and is 73 years old. I will type up the story at the end of the email because it´s awesome. I have learned a lot of Portuguese in the last week. Hopefully I can keep learning at this pace. Whenever we teach I can understand almost everything but whenever we are just having normal conversations it´s really hard. Church on Sunday was difficult because we had a couple investigators there and I was trying to stay with them and show them where to go and stuff but I could barely talk to them.
The ward that I´m in is awesome. We have a lunch appointment every day this month (here they do lunch appointments every day instead of dinner). Usually we don´t eat dinner until we get back to the apartment around 9:30. Mostly because we want to be able to teach people during that time. The youth in our ward have helped us out a lot with finding people to teach. I feel like a lot of the adults don´t have a whole lot of trust in us. A lot of them really like us but I think they a cautious to give us references because this area has had kind of a rough past as far as missionaries go. But we do a lot of activities with the members and try to serve them to gain their trust. This past week the ward had ward activities every night of the week because this week was their ward conference. We went to all the activities to get to know the members. I was really grateful for that too because my feet were killing me the first couple days haha. We walked so much. A lot of our appointments fall through so the result is a lot of walking around and not a lot of teaching. It´s kind of annoying. In the States if you contact someone on the street and they aren´t interested I think they would normally just say no or slam a door in your face. Here they always say yes but will most of the time just give you a fake address or phone number. Or just not keep their appointments. So that is a little frustrating but we still had some really good lessons this week and some great experiences. Here are three miracles (not the only miracles but my favorite ones) that happened this week. This is copied from my letter to President Ferrin (who is really cool by the way).
Miracle number 1. When Elder Bangerter and I were on the bus coming back from the mission home on Tuesday we were sitting on the bus speaking in English to each other. A random guy came and asked us where we are from. He was Brazilian but spoke english well enough that we could communicate with him. We started asking him what he knew about our church and he said that he had been given a Book of Mormon by the missionaries once before and had already read it all the way through and was about halfway through reading it again when he lost it. We didn´t have one to give him with us but we did visit him once this week and gave him another one and have another appointment set this week to talk about the Plan of Salvation. To me this was a miracle that the first person I met in the field was someone who was so prepared and even spoke Enlish. 2. There is a woman in our area who has two daughters who are both members and ever since her daughters joined the church the missionaries have been trying to give her the lessons but she has always refused. This week Elder Bangerter and I were walking to an appointment when Elder Bangerter stopped and said he felt like we should go try and give her a lesson. We went to her house and she accepted to her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then afterwards we gave her a summary of all the other lessons we have to teach her. She said she was interested in the Plan of Salvation so we taught her that lesson to. We are going back this week to teach her more. I know Elder Bangerter´s decision was inspired and it was a small miracle that she finally accepted to here the lessons. 3. My first day in the mission field we went to visit a member family so that I could introduce myself to them. When we got there the father of the family asked us if we would baptize his mother who lives with them. She is 73 years old, has cancer, and is in very bad health. I think she weighs 70 lbs at most. She had already been to church 3 times with her son and so we taught her all the lessons this week and baptized her on Sunday. She was baptized by her son Lindo Mar (I was really glad he accepted to do it because honestly I didnt want to baptize someone that frale who is in such bad health). At the baptism her son said that even though his mother had been living with them for several weeks and the missionaries had passed through their house many times he never asked them to teach her. But when he saw us on Tuesday (my very first day in the field) he felt inspired to ask us to teach his mother. It was a sign to me that Vila Galvao is the area I am supposed to be in.
That´s about all I have for this week. I will probably send pictures of the baptism and me and my trainer tomorrow because we have to drop the pictures off to the famliy of Maria Lucia so I will probably send them here. Also whoever made ``The Best Two Years`` totally nailed it.
Love you all and hope you are all well,