Monday, December 6, 2010

Week 10 - 22 November 2010

Olá everyone! So these past 2 weeks have been pretty crazy. I didn´t get a p-day last week because I left São Paulo on Tuesday and my p-day here is on Monday.

Well I arrived in Belém Tuesday and went to the home of President Campos with his wife and daughters. They live about 18 floors up in central Belém. We did some stuff there and ate there and had our interviews there. That night me and a bunch of other Brazilians stayed in Belém then on Wednesday we were off to our first area. My area is a small isolated city called Oriximiná! It´s in the zone of Santarém. When President Campos told me I was going to Oriximiná he told me that it is the area that almost everyone wants to go, but very few get to. He also called it the ``other side of heaven´´ area of our mission. From Belém I took about an hour long plane ride to Santarém, which is down river from Belém. There I met my companion Elder Costa. He´s really cool and likes to work, so I´m grateful I got a good trainer! So then Wednesday night we got on a boat and went on a 10 hour boat ride from Santarém to Oriximiná on the Amazon River. I´m not quite sure where on the map I am right now but all I know is that I´m downstream from Santarém about 10 hours. It was crazy because the boat was from about 7:30 at night to about 5:30 the next morning. So everyone was cramped on board and slept on hammocks. So that was my first experience on a hammock, on a boat in the Amazon River. It was pretty sweet. 

So far I haven´t been able to teach much in the lessons, just bearing my testimony and saying the first vision and stuff like that. People here talk a lot different than what I´ve learned in the CTM, so I´m having a pretty hard time understanding and speaking to people. But I´m trying to improve everyday. The biggest barrier for me right now is the language. The people here are amazing. A lot of them act like they´ve never seen anyone as white as me before haha. They either laugh because I can´t understand anything or love me because I´m American haha. My second day here Elder Costa and I were contacting this lady and I heard her say something to me but I just smiled and shook her hand. Then after Elder Costa told me that she called me a boneco. Which is like calling someone a ´´Ken´´ Barbie doll or something. He thought it was so funny that it was only my second day and someone already did that haha.

The city here is actually pretty big, but almost all of it is on poverty. We have a lot of area to cover because we´re the only ones in this city so we walk quite a bit. Our house isn´t bad though. We have a washing machine, microwave, fridge, blender, all the essentials. There are so many motorcyles here too. Almost everyone rides a motorcycle. There is only one member here that owns a car. There is one ward here and it has recently moved from a branch to a ward. So things are growing here in Oriximiná. The members seem to really like us and want to help us and provide us with food, so I´m happy about that. So far this week we have 4 people with a baptismal date for next Saturday. We would have had a whole family to baptize last Saturday, but we found out that they weren´t married so that was a downer. 

As for the mail and everything, it seems that I´m very isolated and not sure how long it´ll take for mail to get here or to send to the US. It´s all good though. I love it out here. I just only wish I could understand and talk to the people. Because it´s really hard to understand, but even harder for me to speak. Some days it feels like I´ll never be able to, but don´t worried I try to hurry and change my attitude and work even harder. Thank you guys for all the support and love! Love you all!

Com amor do Amazonas,
Elder Andrus

PS the packages weren´t at the mission home when I was there so I haven´t gotten them yet.  My address in Oriximiná is:
Caixa Postal 10
Oriximiná - PA  68270-000

Elders in our district pose (CTM district)

São Paulo temple

Swollen finger

Birthday cookie!

First group of Brazilians 

Next door neighbors 

Elder Lima and me 

Shirt that a Brazilian gave me

Elder Costa wrote in my scriptures







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