Saturday, December 6, 2008

April 15, 2008

Dear Family:

PLEASE!! If you love me, can you search through all the boxes I left to find my chacos and send them to me? I can wear sandals! And I want to!

The interesting things I learned recently…...

1. Portuguese is hard.

2. The People of Brazil. They are different than the people of the United States. They're not just Americans who speak Portuguese and kiss a lot. Case in point: We prepared a FHE activity for a family we're teaching. It was for the 3rd lesson which is about the gospel of Jesus Christ which includes the five steps that you have to fulfill to return to live with heavenly father forever (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost, endure to the end) so we cut feet out of colored paper and wrote the steps on them and cut out a house and wrote "live with god" on it. The game was as follows: you place the first foot on the ground and put the house on the ground... far away. And then invite the person to attempt to reach the house while standing on the first foot. Fun, right? For maybe a 5-year-old. And the family we were going to teach had a 5-year-old, so I thought it was a great idea. However, the family cancelled and so we went looking for other people to teach. We ended up visiting Paulo and Andrea, a couple with an infant. Sister De Jesus said we should teach them our game... I thought she was crazy. But she is my trainer. And she speaks Portuguese. So I let her. So she lays out the first foot and the house and invites Paulo to try to reach the house of God from faith. He tried his hardest. He stood on that foot and he thought and he thought. He didn't try any mammoth leaps... but he tried hopping. And then his wife tried. And then he got back on the foot... and as we taught and set down the feet, he excitedly would move to the next foot. He loved it. After the lesson, I asked Sister De Jesus if anyone would've behaved that way. She said almost everyone. Unless they were super "chato" (the all-purpose word for uncool/annoying). Even power-house business men. Can you imagine how that game would go over in our house? We would all look at the feet and say... "yeah. I get it. what are the other steps. what am I, a five-year-old?" So that's different. And I like it.

3. Poverty. Everyone here is less well of than most people I have ever know in the states. Most people live in apartments--many of them very comfortable and nice... but some really old and shabby. And if they live in houses they're old and run down. The most "chique-chique" places are nice apartments. However, they also have people living in one-room shacks with a bed and a nice TV and nothing else. But everybody has a TV. It's interesting to interact with people like that... realize that they're just normal and nice.

4. The Work. We work hard. We walk all day. And we do all this work and a lot of it goes nowhere. But then, out of nowhere, you'll be surprised with great success. Case in point: Yesterday--Monday--we had appointments schedules for every hour of the day--And getting a day full of appointments is the work of several days hard work contacting on the street.-- Every single one of the appointments fell through. I got really disappointed. However, Sister De Jesus called Paulo and Andrea (old, stand-by investigators who can't get baptized because she's still legally married to someone else and is waiting for the divorce to come through) and on our way to that appointment, Sister De Jesus started talking to someone who was golden. She let us come to her house after our appointment with Paulo and Andrea and teach her. She has been looking for something for a long time. She's a single parent of 2 young adults. She decided all on her own recently to stop drinking and smoking and to live the law of chastity. she has been trying to learn about the bible and attending a variety of churches. and she has great faith in Christ. When we taught her about the first vision and invited her to pray if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God she said she would. And she asked us to write down his name so she wouldn't forget. She was really excited to come to church with us. It made Monday a great day. And that bit of magic did not come from any other work that we had done. All of the rest of our work got us nowhere... except it put us in the right place at the right time to talk to Beth (pronounced betchie). I'll keep you updated.

5. Walking makes my feet hurt. But if you pray for your blisters they get better. But your feet still hurt because you're wearing Sunday shoes and not chacos. :)


Sister Whitney

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