Happy Sunday/Monday/Pday :)
Ma, those notes were amazing! Loved it. To answer your questions, there is only 1 store that has Peanut Butter. It's really expensive & they run out all the time. If I get that extra suitcase I will stock up. We got a bunch of visas come through. Everyone through the 1st group in Nov. So Ben, (I hope) should get his this next week or the next. So wait for the Christmas packages maybe....it'd be cheaper to send with Ben. No, we haven't gotten pizza yet. They have pizza night every wed at the CTM but it's pretty nasty stuff. All the Brasillians say it's way different outside the CTM. Yes, I've done the sheep noise for her. Chalula is the hot sauce I love to put on my eggs. It can be used as salad dressing too. The peanut butter is amazing. Thank you! It made my week :)
I loved this: "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time. So much of your talents & money, and so much of your work; I want you. All of you. I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man, but to kill it. No half-measures will do. I don't want to only prune a branch here & another branch there; rather, I want the whole tree out. Hand it all over to me. The whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants & wishes & dreams. Turn them all over to me, give yourself to me & I will make of you a new self in my image. Give me yourself & in exchange I will give you myself. My will shall become your will. My heart shall become your heart.." --Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis p.167
And here's a poem one of the Elder's grandmas wrote to her son (his dad) when he left on his mission.
"As I sit looking through the window, a tear still in my eye, I see the family & friends I love as we say our last goodbye. the ride is long & tiring, as two questions plague my mind. "Do I want the life that lies ahead, or the one I left behind?" [Eighteen] months is such a long time for going door to door. In my reflections I thought to myself, "There really must be more." I climbed down from the airplane & looked longingly at the beach. But a man turned me the other way & said "[Sister], go find & teach." I sit reflecting once again as this day is my last; I say "Lord, this just isn't fair;  months goes much too fast." As I sit looking through the window, a tear still in my eye, I see the missionaries & friends I love as we say our last goodbye. The ride is long & tiring as two questions plague my mind, "Do I want the life that lies ahead or the one I left behind?"
We watched a video this week. They sent 10 missionaries in the early days of the church to the "Sandwich Islands", modern day Hawaii. When they arrived, the living quarters were bug infested & dirty. The food was strange & the language almost nonsensical. By the end of 6 months, half of the missionaries had gone home including the presiding Elder. But the youngest, at 23 years old, (I forget the name) fasted & prayed to be able to master the complicated Hawaiian language. When he left 4 years later, 3000 Hawaiians had been baptized. I think it said 38 or 48 stakes. Holy Carrumba. We really don't know the good one person can do. Oh & he helped translate the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian.
Also last week, when I did my frog noise in class, the reason my teacher laughed so hard is because he had his back turned & thought I farted! "Sometimes it just slips out" He said. haha. I had a goal not to hit the snooze this week. Did it . :)
Have I mentioned there are cockroaches everywhere here? I read preach my gospel on wed a.m. instead of the Book of Mormon like I usualy do & I was SUPER anxious all day until I read them. It went away after 3 verses.
It's so wierd but sometimes I can literally feel your prayers.
I've never had such extreme emotions before! I'm so happy I cry, I feel the spirit & cry! It's crazy!
So we use the word "verdade" a ton, right? Truth. You bear testimony a ton with that word & I have heard Elder Nascimento say that word at least 50 times haha. Also I've said my lst name in Portugese- "verde" which Nacsimento also knows. Irmao Costa was in the room answering questions & someone says "verde". Another person says "verdade" & Costa is explaining the difference between the 2. I take a big mouth full of water & am about to swallow when Elder Nascimento says "wait, verde is verdade?!" Keep in mind, I'm hysterical. I start laughing, trying not to spew water everywhere so I turn toward the wall & end up choking on the water, causing me to open my mouth & the water to come out my nose as well, plus it hurt so my eyes water. Still choking, I run out of the room, leaving a spot of water on the floor which I had let leak out of my mouth when I opened it. Sister Caldwell sees all of this & is keeled over her chair laughing so hard she can't explain what happened & all the boys see is the water on the floor. So they thought I had peed a little & ran out of the room. Sister Caldwell finds me in the bathroom coughing & laughing so hard I'm crying. Oh man. Why do wierd things happend to me? Sister Caldwell thougth I was going to die.
They were very good to us on Thanksgiving. They even decorated the cafeteria! They made turkey & stuffing, it was great! I got Ashlee's invitation finally. Gorgeous & classy as always. I said she has the perfect life. Sister C. said, "well she should with a face like THAT!" In a good way. If any of my guy friends (especially with blue eyes) want to wend me a pic I could easily get them a hot Brazillian woman. JK. Kinda :)
One of our "investigators" was Alexandre. Real person is Alexandra. That was the one Irmao Costa pretended to be. He told us the beautiful story of her conversion & we got a new "investigator". The first day we got here we had a guy come in as an investigator whose name was Igor. Igor talked about how his dad was abusive to his mother & him. How he didn't believe in God because a God wouldn't let that happen. He told how his mom kept taking his dad back & finally he gave his mom an ultimatum that if she took him back again, Igor was moving out & wouldn't come back. She took him back, so Igor left. The "Igor" turned out to be Irmao Costa, but our new "investigator" is Igor. I'm stoked. It's like finishing a story. The fake investigators we have here are based on the real investigators our instructors had. So we will get to hear what happened with Igor when we leave. The instructors get super into our roles, so you actually start caring about these fake people & thinking of them when you study.
I'm telling you Ma, these people over here are so strong in faith & ah! I just love them! They are so loving too! All of these guys have an amazing love story with the girl waiting for them & they aren't even embarrassed about it! One girl gave her man a round shoe box that was decorated. It said something like 730 inspirational momentos. This girl had written a note on 730 [# of days on mission] teeny pieces of paper, rolled them each into a little scroll & tied a ribbon on each one. Incredible.
Loved your letter Ma.
Elder Whittakers district came & visited our after the workshop last night. We (SIs C. & I ) asked E. Whittaker how he was so awesome. He said, "I wasn't always this awesome. Just be awesome." Words of wisdom. He made a face & noise for us somewhere between a handicapped baby and a velociraptor.
I'm getting better and better at volleyball. Some days I still suck but I'm getting better. The ball was coming at me yesterday and I straight up punched it over the net. Everyone was laughing but what else was I supposed to do? We got the point :) Also, some Elder was racing his companion on the track & lost his footing at the end. Split his head (just a gash), got a concussion & a broken nose. The kid went to the hospital & is getting surgery today. They have to take skin form the back of his head & graft it on. I hope he at least won the race.
I'm sending a few pics. One is the government photo we took at the beginning. We had just been up on a plane all night & weren't allowed to smile. So we've started coming up with captions. I want to hear some of your guys' Some good ones have been, "attacked by a rabbid animal", "Just been abducted by aliens" or "Laman & Lemuels wife after travelling in the wilderness, having babies and then finding out they have to build a boat."
Tell Ash BIG congrats this weekend! Give her a big hug for me & take some pictures of how beautiful she looks.
I asked one of the Brazillians here if a lot of the men are gay like in the US. he smiled and said "the women here are too beautiful for a man to be gay." Sweet :)
Iv'e never seen so much graffitti in my life!
Our favorite group left today. Favorite Brazillians, favorite Americans including E. Whittaker & the guys who always had a funny TRC. I teared up saying goodbye to my favorite Brazillian at the CTM. We call him Africa becasue he's going to Mozambique. He still hasn't gotten his visa, so I think they're sending him to Sao Paulo. He told us that we are what makes him happy at the CTM. We gave him a makeshift bday gift on sunday for his bday & tied it with a bow made from a plastic bag. He kept the bow and said he reads the card every night. Here in Brazil they often say "Vou a sentir falta" which literally means I am going to feel you missing. Like something will be missing in my life when I go away. I love that! I feel bad I didn't cry saying goodbye to family & friends but I can't help crying when I say goodbye to my Brazillians. I want Ben to come so bad so he can feel this experience. Wow both Sister Caldwell's & I's english is so bad right now. Our sentence structure is suffering. I hope my letters make sense.
It's raining pretty hard today. It was a good morning at the tmeple. Sis. Caldwell & I just brought our blessings into the celestial room after initiatories. We read & it was so quiet & peaceful & the first time we'd been there alone so we had a hard time staying awake but the spirit was strong. There were some interesting things I noticed in my blessing. We're supposed to get about 30 new missionaries today. North Americans. We leave with the Brazillian group that comes this week. So crazy. When new people come they have a blue dot sticker on the tag so people know they're new so we call them smurfs. It's so funny! Africa [Our favorite Brazillian] loves the word hot dog. He'll say "oh my hot dog!" when he's surprised. Did I spell that right? It was funny last night though cause we were stiing practicing music & there was a moment of silence & we just hear "hot dog" form somewhere in the crowd. Sister C. & I giggled. ha. Thats all the good stuff that happened this week. Just pluggin along. We feel discouraged, inadequate & scared but I know it'll come. We'll be okay I think. Love you guys!
P.S. Thank Sis Hemmingway for the letter & tell the Bishop HI!