Hello Friends and Family,
I hope you all had a great Christmas, and Happy New Year! Christmas for me was a bit different than what I'm accustomed to. Christmas Eve was a p-day and we spent a good part of the day helping a member in our ward move a bed from the bottom story to the top story of his house. It was ridiculously hot and humid and the fact that Elder Skouson and I had to move a bed did not help at all. When we finished the job I was drenched in sweat. I went to the members bathroom took off my white shirt and tie and used his sink to take a mini shower. I felt so nasty that I did not care what anyone might think haha.
Later in the day, we went to Gustavo's house (a member in our ward) to have big dinner and dessert. We had to climb a couple hard hills in order to arrive at his house. Once again I was drenched in sweat. The dinner was really good, churrasco. I ate a lot of beef, chicken, sausage, and best of all chicken hearts. Chicken hearts are amazing. I don't know how to describe them exactly but they are the perfect snack. And later we ate pasta maionase which Brazilians are obsessed about, it has a bunch of fruits and vegetables etc.. I'm not the biggest fan but I ate it anyways. Lastly we had ice cream which is surprisingly pretty good. There was a lot of members there and we talked and sang Christmas carols the whole bit.
After all the food Elder Skouson and I watched all the kids open there presents and take pictures with "papai noel" aka Santa Claus. The Christmas traditions here are very similar to those in South Africa. Also, us missionaries received a present too (chocolate), and they took a picture of me with Santa Claus which I'm not proud about. When it was 11:00 we had to go back to the apartment so Santa Claus decided to take us home. All along the way we were stopping to give out candy to all the kids. Within minutes kids from the favelas came pouring in. Our stash of Christmas candy was almost depleted after this haha. It took us awhile but we finally got home where I took my third shower of the day and went to bed.
Before I knew it, it was Christmas day and just like every other kid in the world I rushed over to the other room to open my presents. I had already set up the small Christmas tree with lights that you guys sent me. Quickly I had opened all my presents. I got a few snazzy ties, some photos, stuff to write letters haha, and a Dallas Cowboys t-shirt! GO COWBOYS!!! Elder Skouson had already opened all his presents. He got a couple ties and wheat thins. We will go out to eat sometime to make up for this.
And then we went to our district meeting where we all decided to walk with the Book of Mormon in hand where ever we go. So far it is working to get some interest out of our contacts. Soon after we went to Gustavo's house to call home. Elder Skouson performed a couple miracles on some ancient computer and we were able to skype our families. The call home was amazing and just what I needed. It was funny because I'm already forgetting words in English. Two months in the field and I'm struggling with English which I'm thinking is a good thing. But it didn't matter because all I needed was to able to see my family. I waiting in anticipation to see how Elder Skouson would do with his call home. It was so funny he was switching back and forth between English and Portuguese the whole call. Afterwards he said "English is so hard!" I look forward to being able to say that. Portuguese is starting to come along now, understanding, and talking with more speed etc.. Soon it will be the norm.
This past week was the most difficult week thus far on the mission. We had hardly any lessons and we spent most of our time finding new investigators. With the combination of holidays and a lot rain we could hardly meet with anyone. Apparently everyone leaves to go to the beach this time of year and a lot of people will only come back in a month or two, kinda crazy. Elder Skouson and I need a lot of inspiration right now about how we can make this area better. This area has a lot of potential and I hope I will be able to see the fruits of our labors before I leave.
Anyways I'm doing well and I hope you all are too. It is almost 2013, sounds strange. I hope this year will be one of much success and improvement. I will be here in Brazil if you need to reach me, haha.
Elder "A". Miller