Monday, January 23, 2012

Week Seventeen.

Hello everyone,

This week has been a bit of a hard one, just because I have felt under the weather. I think the effects of the food and the heat are starting to get to me this last week. It hasn’t been that bad, I mainly feel sick in the morning, and sometimes at night. But it could be a lot worse. The day I felt the worst, whole body ached, was the day of our baptism, which was great. We woke up and headed over to the chapel for the interview and the room that the baptism was going to beheld in, with the font, was flooded. This week it has been raining quite a bit (at least for here, maybe not Seattle rain), but the ceiling was leaking. So we had to mop it all up.

Then after the interview was over us and the Elder looked in the baptismal font to fill it up and the water had never drained, from last week when I got in the font. There was some stuff in the drain, we tried shoving a big long rod down it, and nothing happened. We realized that the water had been sitting there for the last two baptisms, almost a month, and the water was a bit dirty. So we had to get the water out. So what did we do, use buckets! Us four formed an assembly line and were filling up buckets of water and dumping it in the sinks and the toilets of the bathroom that was right next to it. It took us about an hour to fill up the whole baptismal font with buckets and dump it out. Too bad I didn’t have my camera with me. It was definitely something to remember.

Well after that I felt a lot worse, but the day had just begun, our lunch was about 40 mins away and we journeyed there in the rain. I arrived and the members said I didn’t look very good. That was true. But then after lunch we had to go to the store to buy stuff to make a cake for the baptism, which happened to be on the other side of town. I wanted to collapse in the street, and I have no idea what was making my legs work, but they were still moving. We finally made it home to make the cake, and Sister Leite made me get into bed right away. I was able to take a nap, and after a bit of time I started to feel a lot better, and we had a good baptism.

The boy who we baptized, George, really has been a miracle. We only taught him for about 3 weeks before he was baptized. We invited him to be baptized our second lesson with him, in the second week he said he was ready for baptism and the third week he was baptized. For a boy of 17 years old, he shows so much faith, and will be a strong amazing member, and talks about wanting to serve a mission. We felt so great after his baptism.

On Sunday I gave my second talk in the ward, but they asked me last week to give it, and to be the second and final speaker, instead of the first. So as I was sick on Saturday I wrote my talk on D&C 4, I guess missionaries always get given this to talk on. So I gave my talk, and went over my time, I think almost 5 minutes over, my talk was about 15mins long, and I even cut parts out of it. Sister Leite said I did a really good job, and my talk was good. Some people said they couldn’t really understand me, but that is sometimes a given, and then they said I talked really fast (that’s because I was nervous), but once people realized I had only been in Brazil for 1 ½ months they were really surprised and then complimented me. So the only way I can go from here is up, and improve even more. But it was good.

This week we had family home evening with a family that is pretty inactive but really fun. There are a lot of girls who are in Young Women’s in the family and they also invited some friends and were super excited. (But again it was a night I didn’t feel very well). We gave them a lesson and they made popcorn and we played games, but the problem was they were all in Portuguese and they were games of memory and thinking of more words. Well I don’t know that many every day words in Portuguese, like all the fruits, so I had a hard time with the game, but they basically gave me a free turn.  I said what I remembered, which wasn’t everything, and they didn’t eliminate me! :) But it was really fun having a family home evening with them.

Last night we received calls for a mini transfer for today in our mission, and it was not really a mini. Almost everyone got moved around. I stayed because we are still in training, but the two sisters we lived with left this morning. We spent the whole morning cleaning the house, because two new sisters were going to come this afternoon. We got a call and Sister Leite (my trainer), her trainer will be coming here, but they are training a new sister who will come tomorrow from Argentina. So we will have two people in training in our house, an American, an Argentinean, and two Brazilians. We found out our District Leader will also be training. A lot of new things happening in our mission -  We also get to go to Recife this week to hear from Elder Jensen, I think from the Presidency of the Seventy. So, I will have lots to tell everyone next week.

Hope everything is well

Sister Rebecca Nelson

Monday, January 16, 2012

Week Sixteen.

Hello everybody!

This week was a good week. Sister Leite and I decided that we want to try and meet all of our goals this transfer, and work even harder. First with some of our investigators -  Our investigator George, who we have been teaching for about 2 (3 weeks now), who we invited to be baptized the second lesson, told us this week that he now is ready to be baptized, that will happen this week. We were so excited for him! He is almost the perfect investigator. Reads everything and always has a ton of questions for us, and he writes them down too. But this week he had a lot of questions for us about our mission, he is 17, and wants to serve a mission, already. It is great. We also started teaching a group of kids this week, about 4 of them. They are friends with some members in our ward, they range from about 11-17 in age. They are all surprisingly very interested in the church and during our lessons they pay close attention, which is surprising for kids their age. We really like teaching them. My first transfers were this last week, but almost none of us moved around, actually my whole zone is the same, except for my district leader, who is very good, and always calls us and makes sure we are doing good. But most of all he is inspiring during our district meetings. All the other sisters are excited to have him.

This week it rained for the first time, almost all day. Here they don’t really have drains in the street, so the water is everywhere. And a lot of the sidewalks are tiled (everything here is tiled it’s a bit weird), so it makes it very slippery. And as sister missionaries we don’t really have shoes for the rain. But since I love the rain and have missed it, I liked it! My companion on the other hand didn’t so much. But it was good.

This week I have convinced my companion to get up and go running more with me, the most I can convince her to do is three times a week, but ill take it. We go running at the chapel, they have a small cement soccer court in the back. One day when we were running we realized that we forgot to drain the water from our last baptism. In order to drain the baptismal font you literally have to get in it and pull a plug. Guess who was the lucky one to do that... ME. It was funny though.

So there are a ton of street dogs here, most of them are really dirty and you don’t want to get to close to them. But they are more on the small side. Well yesterday we were walking home from an investigators house and there was about 3 or 4 male dogs chasing a female dog (poor girl), well the males get really aggressive, and these dogs were bigger then normal ones here and scarier. Well they started getting really close to us. And one of the male dogs kept barking and growling at the female dog. Sister Leite stopped and we were going to just let them pass us. But them they stopped too. I tried moving slowly so we could just get pass them (we were against a wall at this point too), then the scary one turned around and started barking and growling at me and was getting closer. Sister Leite then hid behind me (because I’m bigger and usually not afraid of the dogs here). I didn’t know weather to hit it with my scripture case or kick it our what, but we were both scared, and I don’t know where it came from but I just barked back at the dog and then surprisingly it left. It was pretty funny. Sister Leite said I do truly have a gift of tongues.

But this week has been good. We have truly seen how the Lord blesses us and answers our prayers. I hope all is well with everyone.

Sister Rebecca Nelson

Monday, January 9, 2012

Week Fifteen.

Hello family!

This week has had a few crazy things happen. But most importantly we had a baptism this week, it was my first. Sister Leite has been working with him for awhile, we committed him to baptism my second week here, but things kept coming up and he didn’t get baptized on the other dates, but finally this week he did.

He’s 13 years old and has a great spirit about him, we had a few near misses this week with the baptism, such as we couldn’t find him in his house to teach him the last lesson before getting baptized, and his older brother (who was also scheduled to be baptized) telling us he didn’t want to any more. And about an hour before the baptism he called us crying saying that his mom wasn’t going to come because they got in a fight over shoes ( I didn’t quite understand the whole problem)...but never the less we, well Sister Leite, fixed everything and made everything right, and the baptism went perfect! Some of the people we teach I don’t quite understand the stories they tell us, so I always have to recheck what I understand after our visits with my companion. It depends on the people, on who I can understand.  The members and all the Brazilian missionaries I can understand, but some of the people that we teach who are older or have less of an education, I can’t understand very well.

The funny thing is that the people here do have a different accent than what my companion is used to. So the old people with really heavy accents, who I can’t really understand anything they say, well... neither can my Brazilian companion, haha. Sometimes I feel like she has to be a counselor for the people here. Some of our investigators have a lot of health or family problems, and they always ask us what they should do.

I feel completely comfortable speaking with my companion and the other missionaries, all the youth around here (for some reason they think my accent is cool), and most of the members. But some of the older people here don’t understand me when I speak. Everyday I feel a bit more comfortable, but I still have a lot to learn. I understand most of what everyone is saying, there are always words that I don’t know here and there, but for the most part I understand. Speaking though is a different thing, but that is always my goal during the week -  to be more comfortable.

This week was pretty hot, hotter then normal, and some days it was so hard to work, because our heads hurt and we were hot and tired, but we still tried our best. I had my first transfer cycle yesterday, but we stayed the same.  We already knew that, because the training program that we are doing is 12 weeks, 2 transfers, long. The sisters that we live with also stayed the same. So nothing really changed for us this transfer.

Oh Brazil... well a small town in Brazil. We almost got ran over by a heard of cows! Sister Leite and I were walking and this old lady stopped us and wanted us to look over at some of these horses that were stuck in some mud.  This little boy got them out (I don’t know how), and then we heard a cow bell behind us and these cows are right behind us, so we quickly moved out of the way. Afterwards we couldn’t stop laughing, because my companion is from São Paulo, and also used to a big city. It was funny.

There are always a lot of animals everywhere here. Mainly dogs, tons of them and they are all really dirty and just stray dogs. There are cats, and chickens (and a roster that wakes us up almost every morning at 5:30am), and sometimes we see goats and pigs in the street too. The horses, I feel so bad for the horses here because a lot of the time they have super bad skin and scabs on them, and are super skinny and you can see their bones, not like the horses in America.

Oh they have a fruit market here! I love it. All the fruit is super cheap too. The first time I just asked my companion which fruits were good and bought them. I didn’t really know what fruits I was buying. Mainly because I didn’t know the names of them, like a papaya. You can always buy bananas, pineapple, and mangos for really cheap here too.

So we have this investigator that we started teaching the lessons to this week, and we asked him to be baptized the second time we met with him, or the first time we actually taught him a lesson. Sister Leite was too scared, so she said, well now Sister Nelson has something to ask you, right after I was done speaking, ha-ha. We know he is ready, he is only 17, but he is great, he didn’t agree to be baptized yet, but will soon. We know it. Well this was my week in Brazil. I am still learning so much and am grateful for all the things I have and have been blessed with.

Sister Nelson

Monday, January 2, 2012

Week Fourteen.

Hello Everyone!!

It is a new year already, can you believe it! I will be spending all of 2012 in Brazil, that is a crazy thought! My companion and I made a bunch of new years resolutions for this year, most pertaining to mission rules such as we won’t swim this year, or watch movies, or other stuff like that, it was pretty funny. Then we made actual goals like completing the Book of Mormon (for me in English and Portuguese) by a certain time and reading the other books that we have. And goals for our numbers and how we really want to help people. This week Sister Leite and I have truly grown closer, we were able to understand each other better I thought. She helped me boost my confidence in my language speaking ability that I am actually good, and I shouldn’t be discouraged. She talked to me a lot about that yesterday. So now in the New Year, my spirits are raised and I am ready to serve my Lord.

I would have a bunch of crazy stories for you about the crazy Brazil parties... but we stayed inside most the day the last two days, which meant a lot of studying, which I actually really enjoyed. New Years Eve we woke up probably around 5or 5:30am to really loud fireworks going off, we tried to sleep for the next hour. That evening (not very late, so we avoided the drunk people) we went around our little downtown area and took pictures of the Christmas lights before they shut them off. Some houses here were sooo pretty with the lights, but only a few.

We four Sisters then for dinner made mini pizzas and no-bake cookies, but since they don’t have peanut butter here it was a bit different, still pretty good though. I was then soo tired I fell asleep about 10:30 pm (when I normally do), but then Sister Leite woke me up for the fireworks. They were pretty little, but super loud. I liked seeing them, but then went right back to bed after the 5 or 10 minutes. I realize in America we really go all out for our holidays with 45min firework shows, it was a funny thought.

Yesterday for New Year’s Day everyone in town basically was sleeping from partying the night before or had gone out of town. We tried to visit people but only found one that was home and awake. So we studied a lot. We visited a member though, and she introduced me to the way they eat avocados. WAY different, but really good. They thought it was weird that we eat it with salt. They eat theirs like a smoothie. With milk and sugar, and blend it all up and drink it, it was super good. They kept saying “Oh the American likes it, give her more.”  It was funny.

This week with teaching people, another one of our baptisms literally fell, (the same family, other brother) this one fell off his bike and was scrapped up all over and really bad on his face. We came in to his house and were like - Oh no! The first thing he said to us was “Can I still get baptized?”  It made us laugh a little, he is 13 years old. So finally this up coming week we plan on baptizing him and his brother. We had been visiting this really old lady for a little while but not in the past week. We visited her this week and she forgot who we were. But she took hold of my hand for a hand shake but then hung onto in the whole time we were talking to her and my arm too. For a little old lady she had a lot of strength. My hand hurt afterwards. She kept saying - Oh you are sooo pretty, you need to get married, find a boy here. Oh you’re so pretty. It was weird, but really funny at the same time.

We started teaching this young man this week who already attends church and for our first lesson he asked for the baptismal interview questions. Me and Sister Leite were a little thrown off guard and didn’t know what to do.

I love my mission here and the people. I am so grateful for the blessings that God gives me in my life. I hope that all of you have a good new year!

Sister Rebecca Nelson