Saturday, January 22, 2011

Week 16 - 3 January 2011

Olá Família!

This week was pretty tough too.  I’m coming to realize that Oriximiná is a pretty tough place to do missionary work.  In Brasil, they have something called Carnival, which is where they have a lot of partying and craziness, basically.  It’s in February, but for some reason in Oriximiná it starts at the beginning of January …haha  This town is like their own little world.  They do things differently here and the way they want haha.  But yeah, with New Years and the beginning of Carnival, there is a lot of craziness in the streets here, and it’s really hard to find people to teach.  Everyone is either drunk, doesn’t like the missionaries, or is already a member haha.  We’ve seen multiple people passed out in the middle of the road, and there have been a couple fights.  And now that I’m kind of starting to understand a tad more, I’m realizing that a lot of people here don’t like us haha.  A lot of people tease us and ask if we want coffee because everyone knows we don’t drink it.  And as crazy as it sounds, there was a parrot perched on a fence of a house that said, “vem ca, quer café?” which means “come here, want coffee?”  Haha  Oh man, that was funny.  I don’t know how it knew to say that, but it did. Haha. 

So for New Years, our ward had a party and dance at the church.  Remember when I said the members didn’t help much with activities?  Well, I’m not really sure what happened, but now they are doing like everything.  So they put on a cool dance and white elephant gift exchange and stuff.  Lots of people showed up, and it was good for the ward, I think. Also, we met a man on his motorcycle who wasn’t a member but knew some Elders in São Paulo, and he could speak English!  He showed up for the dance activity, and we talked a little there.  He would talk in English, and I would respond in Portuguese haha. But he taught himself, it was cool.  One thing he said to me right before we had to head home was that “it’s not so hard.”  It gave me a little confidence booster with the  language.  But another thing that I realized is that I really took for granted being able to talk without even thinking too much back home. Haha  When something came to my mind I would just say it, but here I can’t quite do that.  So lately Elder Costa and I thought of a great idea to boost my growth with the language.  I started sleeping with my dictionary! Haha  One, because I don’t have a pillow or anything to snuggle with haha, and two, we’re hoping that I will soak up some of the words during the night.  We’ll see if it works J  Elder Costa is predicting that it’ll make me fluent in just 2 weeks haha.

So I translated your latest letters I received through missionties here.  The one from mamãe e papai was surprisingly pretty easy, but the one I got from Rio is super hard haha.  She used a lot of expressions and little words that I noticed we use in English that can’t be translated very easily to Portuguese.  Oh and this is for Dad, if you thought it was hard to remember names in English, you should try here in Brasil in Portuguese!  Oh man, they have the craziest names, and it is so hard to remember or even understand them haha.  Elder Costa even had a hard time.  He says that the names up here are extremely unusual compared to other places in Brasil.  Well tonight I’m going to take a boat to Santarém to do a division with the Zone Leaders then return on Wednesday.  Divisions in our zone are really complicated because we have to take a 10-hour boat ride one way just to do one division haha.

But love you guys!  Estou preserverando ainda, então não se preocupam.

Com Amor do Amazonas,
Élder Andrus

Flippin huge thing...I don´t even know

We took this boat thing back to Orixi from Santarém instead of that
big boat thing. It´s way more cheque and faster. Called a lancha :)

View of Orixi from the lancha

A cool house on the Amazon

Week 15 - 27 December 2010

Oí Familía e Todo Mundo!

It sure was great to talk to you guys on Christmas!  It was a bummer that we couldn’t get Skype or anything to work here in Oriximiná.  But I’m glad we found a way to use a phone.  It was weird to speak in English, not gonna lie!  And to listen to English.  I’ve basically gone 6 straight weeks here without hearing any English at all, so it was a nice break haha.  The transfer just ended, and Elder Costa and I are sticking around here in Oriximiná.  Lots of changes occurred actually - our zone is gonna change quite a bit.  Sister missionaries are transferring to Òbidus and will be in our district - that means brownies and cookies every district meeting :) haha

This Christmas was pretty stressful with all of the confusion and everything here, and with nothing working, but it was good.  A little different than back in the states, but still good!  It was about 90 degrees here with rain haha.  Our baptism went smoothly though! No better day than to get baptized than on Christmas!  His name is Faed, and he’s 11 years old.  His brother, Fabricio, baptized him.  Fabricio is a member who is going on a mission in about a year.  Then right after the baptism, we had our Christmas Party that was actually really good.  Remember how I said we have to do a lot for our activities? Well, the members did everything, and they seem to be doing a lot more activities now, or at least planning a lot more.  Papaí Noel showed up there at the church building and everything so the kids loved it haha.

Like I told you guys, we had a Christmas Zone Conference in Santarém on Thursday, which was cool.  It was with President and Sister Campos who came from Belém.  We got to go to a beach nearby and play soccer on the beach and go in the water - all with the mission president haha.  It was fun.  And at the conference we received all of the packages and letters from the mission home.  So I got your 3 packages and then 8
letters haha.  Everyone was jealous and said it was only because I was new, which is probably true haha.  I will most likely only get letters from the mission home whenever I go to Santarém for some sort of zone activity because they don’t send it all the way out here where I am.  It’s best if people send letters to the mission home because I never know when I’ll be transferred, but you guys can continue to send them here to Oriximiná because I’ll let you guys know when I’m transferred. 

I was happy to hear that more people from our stake are coming to Brasil!  I’m excited to be able to talk with Nate, Ethan, and Heather in 2 years.  Let Nate know that I’m proud of him and he’s gonna love it.  Also it would be cool to get his email or someway to contact him,  Thanks! 

Brasil is by far the best place to serve the Lord.  I learned something in the CTM – “there are only two kinds of missionaries; the ones who served in Brasil, and the ones who wished that they served in Brasil.”  Haha  Well, thanks for all your support, and I hope you had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year!  Boas festas la em casa e obrigado por tudo!

Com Amor,
Èlder Andrus

Papai Noel!

The ward choir

My Christmas tree and presents :)

Faed, the baptism on Christmas

Blurry. Elder Costa says it´s just the Holy Ghost haha

The beach in Santarém

Me at the beach

Pres, Sis, e eu

Elder Shepard on the left, and elder Mematoh...or something in the
middle. Haha He´s funny

Elder Costa e eu

From left to right: Síster Beery, Síster Davis, Síster Campos, Síster Leite, e Síster Selata

Week 14 - 20 December 2010

Feliz Natal Todo Mundo!

This week was kind of a bummer too.  We taught a bunch of good lessons this week and worked hard, and we invited probably about 12 or 13 investigators to come to church. About 10 of them said they would come for sure, so as we waited at the door and searched for them; none showed up... It was a bummer.  I’m not quite sure what we need to do, but the people here seem to have a little problem with keeping commitments.  Elder Costa always seems to be complaining about things like this because they have been happening a lot lately haha, and I kinda make fun of him a little and call him a complainer haha. 

So, when we were walking to a recent convert’s house really, really far away, we contacted this couple walking on the street, and it was kinda strange.  They were Brazilian, and yet even I spoke more Portuguese then them. haha  Elder Costa said that they were a kind of Indian people here and spoke their own dialect and not Portuguese.
During lunch one day at a member’s house, we ate with a member and a couple young women and this girl that isn’t a member. This non-member girl always laughs at me for some reason because I’m American and don’t understand what she says, and so after lunch, I began to give a little scripture and thought.  During my message, she starts laughing at my Portuguese...literally out loud.  Not gonna lie, it was pretty embarrassing and discouraging, but I forgave her haha.  Hopefully we can go teach her again so I can say something and have the spirit touch her without laughing.

The weather over the past few days has actually been kind of nice and cool.  And when I say cool, I mean it was only like 85 degrees out instead of 105 haha, but I liked it.  The people here thought it was freezing cold, but Elder and I enjoyed it.  It is pretty odd having Christmas time here where it has summer doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all haha, but the people still put up lights and trees.

So the people here and the culture is a tad bit different.  Elder and I were outside the Bishop’s house waiting for him to come home, and the daughter of the bishop, about 5 years old, is out there trying to play with us.  Then out of nowhere she says she has to go to the bathroom, and goes right there in her yard...haha pretty strange.  Also, this week we cleaned out the old house that the Elders used to live in here, and man was it dirty. But there was a ton of stuff in there that we brought back to our place like 2 more tables, shoe polishing kits, and a ton of other material.

On Wednesday, we’re going to head off the Santarém for a Christmas Zone Conference and return on Friday, the 24th.  Then celebrate Christmas at a member’s house.  Hopefully there are lots of goodies there :)   Anyway, that’s about it.  Love you all and thanks for everything!

Com Amor,
Elder Andrus

Deizson, left on o mission a couple weeks ago

We thought this goat was a dog at first haha

View of the Amazon

I´m already starting to get a sweet missionary tan line...just imagine in two years aha

Some nice free bread from the bakery at the end of a nice sweaty day

My new friend I found at the old missionary house here. I named it Ituzinho haha 

I finally got my own desk!

Nice and sweaty after a hair cut

O Livro de Mórmon!

A little bird outside our window
Pres and Sis. Campos!

Food at the stake president´s house in Santarém for our Christmas Conference

On the way to Santarém in a hammock on a boat