Monday, December 26, 2011

Week Thirteen.

Hello Everyone,

And a Merry late Christmas. Christmas here in Brazil, is very different. Sometimes it felt like a skipped over Christmas. One because its summer here, so it’s pretty warm and no frost or the rain of Seattle. Not many people have decorations. A few people have lights outside, but not very many. A few people also have Christmas trees inside, but they are all really small, not like the ones we have. But never the less it was good.
 In Brazil they mainly celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. Usually with a big dinner and then they party and stay up until midnight, and count down, like we do on New Years, because at midnight that’s when Santa comes. Christmas is then a recovery day from the night before, but then they usually have a big lunch. This is what my companion Sister Leite has told me. Because we always eat dinner in our house, we bought some stuff and made our own dinner. Of course rice, mayonnaise salad (potato salad), and we even had a small ham. Then one of the sisters made a desert too that was good.
Christmas Eve we went to this presentation show in the town square. I didn’t really know what it had to do with Christmas, and the other sisters said that they were confused with the story and didn’t understand it, they said it’s probably a north thing. It was like a voodoo nutcracker. But it was cool. They had a suspension set up over head with a pulley system and things would fly and float above us, angels and other people. They also had a lot of dancing on the main stage. One was cool they were dancing with fire. But after all of that we exchanged our Secret Santa gifts. We did it with us four sisters. I got a Gravatá shirt!
Our ward also had a Christmas party on Thursday night, they had talks and then a slide show, and even had Santa come, and then had a big dinner. The decorations there were really cool; I haven’t seen anything like it.
 Something funny that wouldn’t happen at home is getting burned two days before Christmas. It was very slight. They always think that I’m going to get burned here and they say sometimes that I’m red, but I can’t see anything or feel anything, it’s mainly because I’m really white. But Christmas here was good, I ended Christmas with talking to my family on the phone, that was the best part.
It was hard to do work towards the end of the week because of Christmas, but this week we recommitted two of our investigators to baptism one this week the other next week. I was able to recite the first vision this week in a lesson. That was great! I felt sooo good after. It was to these three old ladies. Here in Gravatá there are mainly youth and old people. And none of the parents are married. It makes it hard to baptize them.

I finally bought my own fruit this week. The fruit here is really good. I got melons, mangos (they have tons of those), and even papaya. That’s what I’ve been eating from breakfast. It’s been great.

I hope that everyone’s Christmas was good. And I’m sure I will have stories to tell you next week because New Year’s here I have heard are crazy. Take care everyone.

Sister Rebecca Nelson

Ward Christmas party with us for sisters who live together.

 Our neighbor who lives below us has a turkey, we thought they were going to eat it for Christmas but they havent yet. Its loud and always gobbles, and you cant tell in this picture but its big.

  Secret Santa Gifts.

 Our Gravatá t-shirts!

The payphones that they have here.

The tan line on my foot just after 3 weeks with sunscreen everyday. i though it was good untill i compared it with my companion's.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week Twelve.

So this week has been pretty interesting, a lot of things have happened. The main thing that happened this week was that we had a zone conference in Recife this week, it was a Christmas devotional. We got to leave for it Thursday morning and spend the day in Recife. Eight of us sisters in my zone shared one room, it was at the hotel right by the temple like when I first got here. And yes we got to go to the temple again. I have gone twice already here, which I guess is pretty lucky. This time I went through in Portuguese, because last time I had a head set with the English translation. It was a bit hard, but good.

Because it was then our p-day the sisters wanted to go shopping, which I thought was weird. We went to the mall, everything is super expensive, but we found a Santa Claus, or Papi Noel. We did some preparation for zone conference the next day, and then they all wanted to go to Burger King (yes they have that and McDonalds here, only in the cities) All the Brazilian sisters were super excited and the Americans all thought it was really weird, and it was really expensive. It was funny though.

The next day we had a zone conference on the other side of town with half of our mission. It was fun. They had people give talks and had each zone sing. It was good, but of course I didn't understand everything. I got to meet other missionaries in the mission and see the elders in my district in the MTC who had gotten their visas. It was then an adventure to get home, my district, six of us (4 sister, 2 elders) and our zone leaders all traveled together with all of our stuff.  Some how for just one night these Elders had a lot of things, they also received some packages too that they had to take home. But we had to walk to this station to take a metro which was small and cramped to what they call a subway (but its above ground) so it is more like a train with a metro feel. You are packed body to body on that thing. We then took that to basically a Greyhound bus station where we then went home. Right after that, the other sisters we live with had their ward Christmas devotional and we all had to sing. We were pretty tired after that day was done. Our ward had their Christmas devotional yesterday where our mission president came, so it was a big deal.

Some interesting small things happened this week. We still don't have water, though right now I'm not sure. We didn't have water for 9 days. Then this morning we thought that it arrived again and were really happy - took showers and then it stopped. So.... I'm not sure if we have water or not. This whole week we have been taking showers at a members house, but usually only every other day or so. The people who live below us also have a reserve, and they net us take showers there, but it was with a bucket and a cup.  So that's how I  have been taking showers the last part of this week - with a nice cold bucket of water and a cup. It was an experience, makes you grateful for having a shower!

I also hadn't done my laundry since the MTC and was out of some things so we went to a member's house who we thought said had a washer, but they didn't. So I got to wash clothes by hand for the first time. I told them I didn't know how, and they always say..."Oh sister!" It's funny. I feel like my life has been spoiled by having a washing machine and a shower with warm water. But now I know how!

We were supposed to have a baptism this week but it fell through. Here they say it "fell". But our baptism literally fell. He fell off his bunk bed and broke his collarbone, so we decided to postpone it. We also still had to teach him a few more things.

Funny short story. One day we decided to just go around and do contacts. And walked around all day and did contacts and we kept running into dogs and cats and would pretend with them (there are a lot of stray dogs here!!). It was funny. This one dog we were talking to started barking at us and Sister Leite ran and screamed, it was really funny. Don't worry, we talked to real people too, and got a lot more new contacts.

I also had to give a talk in sacrament yesterday. Church is backwards here compared with home,  and they have sacrament last instead of first. Half way through the second meeting one of the counselors asked me to give a talk in sacrament the next hour. A slight bit of panic ran through me, but I had a feeling they were going to ask me. So I pulled out one of my talks that I had prepared in the MTC and used that. Oh how grateful I am for the MTC, every day.

This week was good and we worked a lot. Hope everyone is doing well.

  Sister Rebecca Nelson

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week Eleven.

I can’t believe that I have been here for over a week, and that Christmas is so soon. Wow.

This time I will tell you a bit more about Brazil. So Brazil... Recife the city is a lot
different then Gravará the place where I am at now (about 2 hours away). So I always
thought city traffic was bad in Seattle, but here (mainly in Recife) it is just super
dangerous! Cars fit in where ever they can go, like there are lines but no one pays
attention to the lines and is EVERYWHERE, motorcycles also weave in everywhere and
drive everywhere. In Gravatá not a lot of people have cars, very very few. More people
have motorcycles, more like nice dirt bikes. Most of the roads in Gravatá are
cobblestone, or dirt. So I come home every night having to wash my feet, because they
are so dirty. I think that I am starting to get tan, nope its just dirt. It is hot here, but
honestly not as hot as I though it was going to be. It is humid, but the thing that’s the
worst is because we are so close to the equator the sun is just really strong. But it is
surprisingly bearable. I haven’t gotten burned yet, also because my companion doesn’t
like being in the sun because she thinks is too hot, so we are usually in peoples houses
during the day.

I will tell you about my house. Our house is a lot better then a lot of the houses that are
here. The main difference that I am going to have to get used to is the bathroom. We
actually get hot water in our shower, it has this heater around the head, but sometimes it
drips and is cold. Sometimes it’s too hot because we can’t control the temperature. The
water is a bit yellow (so says my companion, I can’t quite see it, but I trust her) so it’s not
good for washing your hair in, so we have to wash our hair in a sink outside. But the
toilet in our house is different. First many of the toilets here feel like porototies. But ours
you can’t put paper in so it’s all in a garbage can in the bathroom, so it stinks! And we
have to fill up the toilet every time we want to flush it! So it always takes awhile. But
our big adventure these last 3 days has been no water!!!! That means no shower, now
our toilet really is a portapotty! No washing clothes, which I need to, or washing your
hands. But luckily we are going to go to a member’s house hopefully today and take a

The food here is different but I like it. Surprisingly I have not had any problems at all
with any of the food. It is al pretty similar food, but different if that makes since. A lot of
rice and beans and they like their meat too, but it’s not that good of quality. WE have
also had lasagna a lot here too, it has slices of meat in it, but it’s good. The fruit and juice
here is soooo goood. Everyone gives us pineapple, which I have never tasted anything so
good! I love it!! We get fed by a member everyday for lunch which is super nice! But
other then that we don’t eat much. Their lunches here are huge and they don’t eat much
for the other meals.

That’s a little about Brazil for you.

My week is going good, we have my first scheduled baptism for this week! And we have
been trying to find new people this week. We helped someone move houses, one of our
investigators. I am starting to get the language a little better each day. I can usually

understand what they are talking about now. My companion though, I can usually
understand everything that she says, which is good. But the people here have a really
different accent. I usually don’t talk that much when we are with people (which for me is
really weird and really hard) but yesterday I finally tried to talk and bore my testimony.
The lady turned to my companion and said, “I didn’t understand anything she said!”
Wow that was great. My companion said that people here usually can’t understand what
I'm saying, but she does and so do the other sisters I live with. One of the sisters I live
with has been helping with my grammar and Portuegese and it has been very helpful! Oh
I also got to see Sister Harris this week and she stayed in my house because we had zone
conference. It was great. All the sisters went out and got a hamburger. Which had sooo
much stuff on it!! - hamburger, hot dog, chicken corn,... strange but good. The members
and the people we teach are very accepting. Oh, everyone here gives hugs like right when
they met you, it is funny. I am trying to work my hardest everyday and share the light of
Christ with people.

Love to everyone and thanks for your support.

Sister Rebecca Nelson

Monday, December 5, 2011

On her way to Brazil! 

Sister Nelson and Sister Harris at the temple their first night. 

Sister Nelson and Sister Leite at the Recife Temple.

 The view from Sister Nelson's deck.

 The street Sister Nelson lives on.
Sister Nelson's Apartment.

Sister Nelson and her MTC companion Sister Harris.

Sister Nelson and Sister Harris with their new companions!

Week Ten.

Hello everyone! I am in Brazil now, it is very exciting and was a very long journey.

I should have sent everyone my mission address before I left with all the information on it. If not it should be on my blog. But I will give you my address for my house. I will be here for three months so only use this address through February:

Rua Sigueira Compos, 57A
Prado / Gravatá - PE

So first my email and spelling might be even worse now, because of this computer. We are in this store place which is more like a small garage that does not have a door so the keyboard is full of dirt. And the key board is a bit different to.

But I am not in Brazil! First I will tell you how a got here. My last couple of days in the MTC were good. It was hard to leave everyone though, because in the last month I had become really good friends with everyone in my zone and my teachers and my branch president, our last Elder, and my companion Sister Harris (which we are in the same mission and now in the same zone so it is good).

I left the MTC at 8am on Wednesday November 1st and did not arrive to the mission presidents house until about 7pm on Thursday or something. We had a total of three flights, on the red eye flight I didn’t get any sleep so it was an interesting first day in Brazil. We were the only Americans on our flight. So once we landed it was hard. Our district, us three, stuck together the whole time, and we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. We just followed everyone else getting off the plane. We had to go through customs. We then had to get our bags to put on our last flight. Luckily there was a lady from the church travel to help us get our other tickets and recheck our bags. It was hard for me and Sister Harris to say good bye to our elder, because he was going to a different mission.

I didn’t really know what a lot of people were saying, and then this one lady came up to me and Sister Harris crying - basically asking for money, because we were Americans. It was weird. The lady said good bye to us as we went through security. And that is when we got really confused we were glad we had each other. They changed our gate on us like 3 times and what they were telling us was different than what the board said. It was sooooo confusing. The place we were waiting seemed like a bus station, there were three or four gates and it was a pretty small place and there were about 100 people or more and we were crammed in there body to body. Finally we heard Recife and we ran to the ticket person, we then got on a bus to go to our plane. People here have no personal bubble and again on the bus we were stacked on top of each other. We finally got on the plane and fell asleep. I woke up about and hour later and realized we were still in Sao Paulo. The plane took off an hour and a half late so I got some sleep.
Seeing Brazil from the sky was beautiful. It was all green and blue and then very red, the dirt is red and all the house tops are red too. We finally laded in Recifeand then our bags took forever, there was only one guy loading the bags on for two flights. We were afraid that they lost our bags, they were the very last ones. Our mission president was then there to pick us up! Luckily he spoke English too! He actually can speak like 5 different languages.

We then arrived to his house late and our two future companions were there waiting for us. His wife Sistre Lanius had made a nice meal for us. It was very good.  We were so tired though. President Lanius kept saying that we were going to sleep at the temple and we had no idea what we was talking about. The temple was right by his house. We then drove over to the temple and there was a small hotel that we were sleeping at. Our companions kept trying to talk to us, but we really didn’t understand a lot of what they were saying (I still don’t). But President Lanius let us sleep in an extra hour.

The next day, my first day in Brazil was a bit crazy. We woke up and went to the temple though it was good, but the whole thing was in Portuguese. So they gave us headsets, it was funny. Then they had some American temple workers take us through so we could speak English. We then got to eat at the temple, I didn’t know what a lot of the food was. But I ate it any ways.

We then needed to go to the mission home but the taxi to pick us up with all of our stuff took over an hour and a half. So we were able to talk to our companions. My Companion is Sister Leite, from Sao Paulo, she doesn’t know any English. She is very nice and very patient with me, and she is a great companion. We finally got to the mission home and then some elders took us away (I guess they were the secretaries I didn’t really know). They both spoke English though so that was nice.

We needed to get a Brazilian ID, and a picture for it first. The place closed in like 2 hours, so we got in another taxi and went to 3 different stores trying to get a picture taken and the taxi left us at the last. But that store didn’t take any either. So we basically ran to the mall. I don’t know how far away it was. I walked through the poorest place I have ever seen. I guess in Recife you have your rich people and then your poor people who live right next to each other. Their one room houses were made out of plywood, and there was trash in the dirt street/walk way. It was a bit scary, but we had the elders with us. We finally got to the mall took our pictures, which because we ran in the really hot weather we were really sweaty, not cute. Then we hopped in another taxi to go back to the airport to get our ID right before they closed.

We then went back to the mission office and filed our paper work and got in another taxi with our companions for an hour and then on a bus for an hour to my my new area - Gravatá. I had to then say good bye to Sister Harris the only English speaker. We live with two other sisters, who are both Brazilian.

Really  quick because I don’t think I have much time left. I am living in Gravata and everyone says its really nice because its not as hot as Recife and the people are nice. We have visited lots of people here and I don’t know how to say much.  My dictionary is my best friend, so I just bear my testimony. The people here are really nice and welcoming. I will tell you more about it next week because I am out of time. Sorry...I guess I only get 45 mins. And with this bad key board full of dirt, I can’t type fast at all.

I love you all, and want to tell you so much more.  I am doing well, and even though I can’t really speak I have been trying my hardest and am just very humbled but not frustrated or anything so its still good. :)

Sister Rebecca Nelson