I guess it's a good sign when you have your first baptism in the field before your first email! More on that later.
The last week of the CTM was super fast. I focused hard on Português and really improved a lot. I ended up not meeting my less than 25 words of English in four days goal because I accidentally said a few phrases, and I was pretty disappointed about it but then realized that I had tried my best and learned a lot, which was what I was really striving for. Overall my CTM experience went as well as it could have, and I'm grateful for it!
|Jumping for Joy at the CampinasTemple with Elder Hull (CTM companion)|
|Some of our District in the CTM...studying!|
At 4 Tuesday morning we left for the field (or in Português, o campo). The flight was great, only about an hour and a half, and I was able to talk to the guy next to me in Portuguese a lot. I told him about our church and gave him the links for mormon.org and lds.org, and he said he would check them out! When we got off the plane at the tiny Goiânia airport, the surroundings looked more like Africa than Brazil. It's really dry here (a few days ago it rained for the first time in 5 months), the grass is all light-brown and lifeless, and the dirt is really red—like Georgia, but even more red haha. We met President Kuceki at the airport and took vans to a hotel. After that we stopped at the mission office on the 11th or so floor of an office building with a great view of the city and went to lunch (almoço) at President and Sister Kuceki's home. The food was so great, especially after lots of traveling, and we had a meeting afterwards. The Kuceki's are so nice, and I'm glad to be in their mission. That night we had an orientation meeting in the mission home with the Assitants to the President, ate pizza, and walked back to the hotel for the night.
|Dinner at the Kuceki's (Mission Home)|
|All of us who traveled there that day from the CTM.|
|With President and Sister Kuceki|
|View from the Mission Home|
The next morning we went to a big bus station and met our new companions. Elder Meireles is my trainer. He's Brazilian, knows a good bit of English, and likes to quote Rocky movies haha. Our area is Jardim Curitiba, 40 minutes or so northwest of the center of Goiânia. Our apartment makes me really grateful for our house back in America haha. It's about the size of our living room, and needs some deep cleaning. That being said, it's waaaaay better than what a lot of people live in here. Most people live in small homes with rough brick walls, few rooms and doors, and few possessions. Yet, they live happily and normally. It's humbling to experience and is exponentially increasing my gratitude for the luxuries we have in America.
|A typical street in Jardim Curitiba|
There are way more motorcycles here than cars. They're all over the place. People drive them fast and fearlessly too. I'm surprised I haven't seen one wreck yet. When we're walking around town all day in the hot sun, it makes me want one so badly. I might invest in one when I get home haha.
The food here is good stuff. We make our own most of the time. For breakfast I usually have some fruit and grain bread and drinkable yogurt. For most lunches we eat at a member's house, and we eat rice and beans every time, with some salad and meat usually. I love the rice and beans everyday haha, they're great. For dinner I usually make a sandwich with and egg and some meat and cook some vegetables. I miss your great food everyday a lot Mom, haha.
The mission work here is going well! We had our first baptism on Saturday! Gabriel was baptized by his dad who just received the Priesthood last week. It was great to see their family so happy for him. We're working to find more people to teach every day, and I feel like we'll find success here in Jardim Curitiba. Usually during the day, we study for 2-3 hours in the morning and then go work for 8-9. It's hard work, and we walk around 7-10 miles a day, but it's great!
|With my companion, Elder Meireles and Gabriel.|
I can hardly understand what anyone is saying haha. I get about 15-20% or the main idea, but that's it. What I know how to say, I can say well and quickly. I just need to increase the amount of things I can say. I can see myself improving rapidly every day, even by the hour. The gift of tongues is real, and I will eventually be fluent! It's hard to realize that sometimes, haha- but I know I'll get there.
Thank you for all of your emails! It's great to hear about everything back home. I can finally send some pictures! I hope you all enjoy those. Have a great week!