Monday, September 26, 2011

Working hard

You can see where I am now:
Google maps
Rua Cristovon Colombo n°:2197
Bairro Passo
São Borja

I think you can check out Ijui on google maps too.

Hey Family, If my spelling is bad it´s because I don´t have the best Portuguese but you really do forget all the English rules after a while.
So I woke up at Two in the morning to get on the bus to go to zone conference and on this bus ride there my facial hair already sprung up. I´m looking a little off. Oh well.
Everywhere we go is all on foot. It was the same way in Ijui but there`s more paved roads here and when they aren`t paved they are flat. So it`s a lot easier on my feet here. We only take the bus when we need to go downtown like on P-day or when we have a meeting with our district leader. We have lunch with a member usually every day aside from p-day. The chapel is very beautiful here as well. It`s all brick and carved wood. It`s really something. 

Well this week was interesting. I´ve been praying and we´ve been finding people with potential left and right. There´s a lot of potential for us to help these members strengthen the less active members as well. I said the Sacrament Prayer this week and I cried tears of joy as I heard the Priesthood holder on my side singing the sacrament hymn as we humbly broke the bread. Because we´re over two branches we have two sacrament meetings and I love it. We´ve been teaching some lessons and it´s really just up to our investigators now to humble themselves before the Lord and -through prayer- ask Him what they need to do. It´s tough because that´s really what it comes down to is just praying and asking, but it´s rare that they get out of their own way and ask to receive an answer.
 In Ijui there were nine investigators who I had been working with who were in the Church on Sunday and they're are all going to be baptized!
We had a zone conference this week and some Brazilians say that I have better Portuguese than some Americans who have more than a year out. The President was saying that he needed trainers for the twenty Americans who will be entering our mission this next transfer. He was explaining the difficulties because trainers need to be very pro-active in order to train. There´s already many Brazilians who are training and won´t be finished training other Brazilians by the next transfer. So our President is worried about placing Americans with new Americans because of the language. My previous companion spoke up in the meeting and said "Elder Hanson speaks Portuguese" (he said this in Portuguese of course). Then an American was saying how I should train. I´d love to but I really need to make leaps and bounds by next transfer then. None of this is anything more than speculation.  
It´s funny because I´m sitting here typing this email and having trouble spelling the simplest words.  
My companion is a good teacher but he´s just a TAD bit overwhelming when he teaches. He´s really kind and he´s a good help with the language.
I love you all a bunch!
Elder Hanson

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Surroundings

Hey guys,
So my new mission area is São Borja, It was a two hour trip from Ijui until we all got to Santa Maria. When I say we, I mean another person from my district in Ijui and we also picked up Elders from other areas along the way. My companion and the other two elders from my Ijui apartment are staying put. So all the missionaries meet in Santa Maria and recieve packages and supplies for the mission (more copies of O Livro de Mormon ) and sometimes meet with their new companions there. I just got a couple letters from Mckenna and waited two hours for the next bus to São Borja. It´s six hours away from Santa Maria. Some other Elders rode on the same bus until they got to their areas and for the last two hours of the bus ride I was alone. Companion Separation Anxiety. Then at 9:00, I got to the bus station and my companion showed up with two other Elders. Turns out that it´s just us four in this district. There were six elders here. Two sets of Elders were dividing my area but this transfer it´s just me and my companion who walk around in an area that´s bigger than big. Then there´s a downtown area and that´s got the other two missionaries in our area. My companion and I live in a house. It´s pretty nice. When it rains though, It´s louder inside the house than when a hailstorm hits a shed.
The Elders who work downtown live in a small building that used to be a Church. When the ward was small here, people used to go to the smaller building but then the ward grew so they built a big Chapel right next to it. So they live inside the older church building. It´s really nifty. When they go to Church they just walk to the next building over.
The ward of the other Elders is for the downtown area and there´s more members. In my area, we´re in charge of two small branches that cover these two big areas. Each of our areas have only a few members in each branch. Our Church building is more beautiful than the downtown one. I think it´s funny because the downtown area has buildings everywhere but our area has businesses (just smaller ones) as far as the eye can see. There´s more paved roads here than in Ijui and when they aren´t paved there´s roads that are brick roads but the bricks are pretty flat and easy on your feet. In Ijui it was like a bunch of crushed up boulders murdering your feet on every step. There´s also a lot of dirt roads here when you go far out. It´s usually scorching hot here and we´ve only had a couple days of rain here. When I arrived it was sunny skies all day most of this week. We´re approaching summer and it will be murderously dry and hot.
The branches are nice. There´s about ten thousand inactives here though. We go to both sacrament meetings on Sunday. As I listened to the humble talks given in the first meeting, I cried and when it was over I stood up and heard everyone joyfully conversing and laughing. With this and the sound of the Piano playing "Nearer My God,  to Thee",  I felt week and and like I could have slipped through the veil in to heaven. Then I gave a talk in the next meeting, everyone cried because they said they felt the spirit. I know however, that my grammar is garbage and I probably sounded really ... interesting up there.
The other Elders in Ijui took a bunch of pictures with me before I left and they´ll send them to me and I´ll forward them to you. This area also has a strange fruit that I´ll make sure to take a picture of. I got here and went straight to work and then the last few days it´s been raining so I don´t have many pictures yet. Next week.
As for the language: Things are sticking more as I learn them (they used to go pretty much in one ear and out the other) but I still have much to learn. The Brazilian Elders say I have terrific Portuguese for only having three months in the field. It´s a toss up, because some people here will talk with me and say that they knew Elders with a year and a half who didn´t speak as well as me and then you´ve got people who can´t understand a thing I´m saying when I ask something as simple as 'How are you?'  So it´s a toss up.
The visas must be coming through because there´s a ton of American Elders entering Brazil now. In my mission area alone, we´re getting twenty Americans this next week. This next transfer I´ll most probably get a new companion and then there´ll be two missionaries to divide our area with and they´ll stay in the same house that my companion and I are staying in.
My companion is kind, fun and he´s actually really huge - like bigger than a huge football player- huge. That´s good.  We have a lot of work to do.
Love you! Elder H.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Traveling on.......

So when transfers roll around, you find out whether or not you´re leaving on the day before the transfers. I´m leaving for another area. It´s too bad because the other three Elders in my apartment are staying. Would have been neat to stay around with those guys. They´re all saying how things will be a lot more stiff with me gone. My companion is sticking around in this area so he´ll be around for the upcoming wedding of our investigators and for all the baptisms of the other people we´ve been working with. I hear the guy who will be my next companion in this next area is the kind of guy that you have to sort of wind up to get going. I´ll be patient with my companion and the work of course.
So the language is coming. I can understand pretty much everything but talking freely with all the tenses and word endings that they use is a lot more difficult. There´s many different word endings for conjugating the verbs, then there´s about a thousand exceptions to these that you just have to learn. There´s also about a thousand different rules for ordering words to form a sentence. I said I could understand pretty much everything. I do pretty well but I still have so much to learn. I had spoken with American Missionaries who were nearing the end of their time here and they said that you´re fluent about four months in the field. I think that they meant you can understand things better but you still really have a lot of work to do. The Brazilians in my district say that currently they think I have the best Portuguese out of the Americans in the district. Not to gloat, we´re all progressing. I am getting frustrated with my accent. It´s good but there are some words that my mouth just can´t make currently without the Brazilians laughing.

I love you all. The mission's coming along. I´ll be praying for the family and make sure to be praying for me.  -Elder H

Monday, September 5, 2011

They think he talks a lot??? Hmmmm

Things (in terms of the work) are really picking up here. Guilhermi´s mother Selma has accepted baptism but we´re not really able to mark a date yet . Yesterday attended a testimony meeting. Things are really coming along. His mother owns a salon and talks about the missionaries to people when she cuts their hair and Guilhermi is inviting friends to the church and so all in all we´ve been getting more solid lessons. We´ve found another few special people and things are coming along. It´s tough but you have to find that handful of people who are ready to learn,seek,pray and to run with things. Alan and Leila´s wedding and baptism will be on the 24th. We still don´t know how things are going to go with transfers until a day or two before. So I´m still in Ijui and hopefully I can stay - with my companion - for another transfer. We know the people around here and can really help them, we´d also like to be around to see everything working out. The language is drastically improving. Still have so much work to do with it. I´m able to understand everyday speech pretty much perfectly, with a few words here and there not connecting. I´m learning a lot of phrases and things. Really conversing freely, like I would like, will come. Of course the Brazilian Elders are already saying that I talk a lot.   
No pictures this week. Pressed for time! I´m praying for the family and for everyone. I hope that things continue to get better and better for all of you.
Love, Elder Hanson