Hello Friends and Family,
This week was a pretty tough one, but I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed this week because I feel my companion and I really bonded this week. I don't know what set it off but it was good for me because now I feel comfortable in this whole new environment. I think it was maybe because I was finally able to keep a conversation going in Português. I'm stoked to see that the language is progressing each and everyday. I can pretty much understand what people are talking about. Some heavy accents throw me off but soon that won't be a problem.
Why this week was so tough. First off, we hiked every lomba in our area and some of them we hiked a few times. Also, lot's of appointments fell through so we found ourselves wondering around trying to do a bit of contacts or visiting less actives or recent converts. Knocking doors is a joke here it's very ineffective so we try to find anything other than that to do. My companion sees me as a secret weapon, an American. Even if someone on the street has no idea what I'm telling them they will usually give me an address to come teach them another day, basically because I'm American. The people down here in the Southern part of Brazil can be very racist. If someone is brown or black they usually do not give them the time of day when out contacting. This might be one of the reasons Elder Quieroz does not like doing contacts. We find after lunch it is very hard to do anything because everyone goes to sleep! This would not fly in the US. They also have a holiday just about every week it seems.
We have a new investigator named Rosi. I have high hopes for her. She is a single mother and lives in the roughest part of my area. Elder Queiroz tells me not to look at anyone while walking around there. Sadly, one of our investigators told us she did want us to teach her anymore. She is the mother of a member of my ward, Bruno a teacher in the aaronic priesthood. The missionaries have been working with her for awhile and Elder Queiroz and I thought she would join the church, but she gave us the excuse that she does not have time for church. Pretty sad, especially because her son Bruno was so stoked for her. She recognizes that the church is a huge blessing and she decided to deny it for herself, people are weird. The upside is that we layed the foundation for future missionaries.
This week I will tell you a little about Gaúchos. Gaúchos are Brazilians from Rio Grande do Sul, the Brazilian state in which I live. They love only three things in life, churrasco, chimarrão, and Grêmio.
Gaúchos are extremely prideful, for example people from Texas. This is why I fit so well here. This is a generalization but 99% of Gaúchos are like this. Churrasco is Brazilian BBQ which has made them famous. It is really good. I have been to a few restaurants and some members have made us churrasco for lunch. The drill is the same every time. They have these huge slabs of meat, all kinds, stuck on spike and they come walking around and you jab your fork into the side of the meat and they slice that portion for you with a big ole' knife. It is really tasty and you eat until you cannot anymore. All it's missing is some spring creek BBQ sauce.
Chimarrão is the tea every single person here drinks. Oh, and missionaries are allowed to drink it because it does not have black tea in it which makes it against the word of wisdom. Chimarrão is very different. They put this green powder inside this really goofy looking cup and then they dump really hot water inside. Also, they drink it with this metal pipe looking straw. If you didn't know it was tea you would probably think it was drugs because of how it looks. I drink it a lot because usually a member has it going when we stop by. Oh yeah there is only one cup. You pass it around when you finish your shot. There are even rules behind the whole operation like who serves it and what not. Kinda ridiculous.
Lastly, Grêmio. Grêmio is the soccer team in Porto Alegre. When there is a game work stops, period. You can tell when Grêmio scores because you can hear people screaming and shouting. Its pretty funny. Their arch rival is international which is a team also here in Porto Alegre. I picked Grêmio as the team I support even though I have never seen them play. Most people like Grêmio so that's how I start conversations sometimes. I visited the old stadium on P Day, their new stadium opens up early 2013.
Anyways, that's the news for this week. To answer some questions, yes I'm still getting letters from mission ties. You can still send me cookies through mission ties. The trip from São Paulo to here is a day or two. The next transfer is December 11th. Time is starting to pick up now. The first few weeks were really slow but this last week went by quickly. Like all missionaries say the days are long, the weeks are quick. Thanks for the pictures you sent me, I need them because everyone is asking to see pictures of my family and I only have one from like two or three years ago.
Lastly, I had some time today to write some letters. I did one for Oupa & Ouma, Grandpa, and Grandma. I will try and get them in the mail this week. Oh by the way Happy late Birthday to Grandma and Marie, hope you two had excellent Birthdays.
Ântonio who was baptized the first week in the field.