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.

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