Monday, July 29, 2013

Oi from Brazil

Oi Familia!
Tudo Bem?!

Things are going a lot better for me this week now that I´ve had some time to adjust to the culture, mission, companion, and everything else.  Definitely still like some things about Indiana, but I´ll get used to things.  The thing that helped the most this week is a mini explosion of frustration to my companion.  I just told him everything that had been bugging me, and just venting really helped me settle down and be excited to learn the language and the culture and serve here in Brazil.  Still struggling a little bit with starting completely over, but with time, I´ll learn the language and culture.

So a couple more culture things about Brazil.  Everyone lives in cages, okay, not really, but the houses are all completely walled off with huge gates to let you in, so to knock houses we just clap outside the gate, which is kind of annoying because usually people just poke there head out the door and say they aren´t interested.  I kind of miss having a nice house with a yard, but oh well.

We go through investigators a lot faster here.  Everything is within reasonable walking distance, and people´s schedules are a lot less busy, so it´s not uncommon to find someone and then drop them within a week since we can meet with them every day.  We kind of cycle through quickly.  Right now we don´t have anyone commited to baptism, but we found a couple great people yesterday.  We met Fernando at almoco (lunch) yesterday.  He´s a friend of some members, and we taught him the restoration and invited him to baptism after.  He didn´t commit, but wants to come to church and read the book of mormon.  We also found a family, Jose e Ana.  They are a little more religious, and it will be a little more difficult to help them accept the gospel as the only fulness of truth, but I think with time, their hearts will open up.  

The goal for the mission is that every area has a baptism every week.  So far it seems a little unrealistic, but hopefully I´ll figure out how to meet expectations.

Portuguese is coming along.  Mostly, I´m back to speaking sportiguish.  A lot of Spanish is still engrained in my head, but usually people can understand me.  My biggest struggle is pronunciation.  Letters just make different sounds here, and a lot of times I still pronounce things like I´m speaking Spanish.

Now for a little about Elder Barbosa.  He´s a great guy and a great missionary.  The language barrier has been a struggle, but we manage to communicate.  He´s actually serving as district leader right now, which is kind of cool considering how new he is.  I think worldwide missions are struggling with the influx of new missionaries, and a lot more is being asked of the newer missionaries.  He´s only been out about a month longer than me, but obviously speaks the language and knows the culture a lot better.  He´s the oldest of 4, loves music, and is learning as much English as he can while I´m trying to learn portuguese.  Whenever I´m done with my flashcards, he takes them and learns all the English which is pretty cool.

I guess the only thing worth noting this week is I gave a talk in Church this week.  It was a struggle, but hopefully I was at least able to invite the Spirit.  I´m technically serving in a ward, but it´s tiny, smaller than the branch I was in in INdiana.  I´m guessing a lot of inactives as well, but becaue of the language barrier, a lot of times I´m left kind of clueless.

Hope all is good at home.  I´ll try to respond to all your letters.  Thanks for writing!  Love you all and have a wonderful week!

Com Amor,


Oi from Brazil!

Monday July 22, 2013

Oi Familia!

well i finally to brazil! it´s been a crazy week so far and quite exhausting. 7 companions in 7 days, a new language, a new country, a new mission, a new president. its all been kind of exhausting. but i made it and life is good.

so much has happened so i´ll just try to fill you in as best i can.

the trip down was an adventure. it was fun to be with elder mckay again. i would love to be companions with him out in the field one of these days. after the late flight to detroit that caused us to miss our flight to sau paulo, i had a fun time working with elder jones and elder bytheway for a couple hours before going back to the airport. the flight down to brazil was long, but uneventful. i didn´t sleep much, so my first day in brazil was kind of exhausting, but fun nontheless. we got picked up at the airport by a member who drove the three of us to the mission office in downtown campinas, about a two hour drive. drivers are crazy here and there are tons of motorcycles who just zip inbetween the cars even on the freeways. crazy. anyways, once we got to the mission home we went to breakfast with some of the mission secretaries, and then spent went through some training with them, the assistants, and then had a short interview with president perrotti (pehochi). president seems like a great guy. funny, hardworking. couldn´t understand a ton and i doubt he could understand me either, but we made it work.

after that we went to the mission home to have lunch with president and sister perrotti. good food, good people. and then we got assigned companions.

as for companions, it´s been quite a story. i first got but with elder bonfanti and elder miranda, both brazilians, in an area called progresso. then the next day i got a call that i was being emercency transferred, so had to pack everything up again, and go to vida nova with elder barbosa. vida nova is within the city of campinas, so that´s been fun.

so with all that i think it makes 7 companions in the last week. elder paxman and elder cozzens in indy, elder mckay while traveling. elder jones and elder bytheway in detroit, and elder miranda, bonfanti, and barbosa in brazil.

personally, it´s been kind of a rough transition to brazil. my companion doesnt speak very much english, so it´s portuguese all day every day, which is good in the long run but difficult right now. they do everything differently, and are so focused on baptizing quickly, i almost feel like we aren´t really converting anyone. elder barbosa is upbeat and lively, but i almost feel like we are just shoving the gospel at people and just expecting them to be baptized withouth meeting their needs, and listening for their concerns.

it´s been hard to start a new language again. i was finally starting to communicate in spanish, and now it´s back to square one. i think learning spanish helped, and it feels like portuguese is coming quicker, but difficult all the same.

well it has been exhausting, and i come home everyday absolutely wasted, but there are definitely some fun stories i want to share.

1. people are a lot more friendly. there are tons of people just walking around in the streets, and you can talk to anyone and everyone about anything, and they´ll listen and respond. it´s kind of cool. i like how lively it is.
2. music. half the music they listen to down here is american music, and the other half is funk (weird brazilian rap). my companion probably knows more american music than i do. people play music loud everywhere. bars have it blaring, cars driving by, all in all its actually kind of annoying how much noise there is. fun fact, all funk artists go by MC and then their last name, so all the brazilians who arent sure how to say my name just call me mc daniel, which they love.
3. we were teaching a lesson to an investigator and she asked me what the strangest thing i´ve seen in brazil was so far while she was nursing her 5 year old kid who didn´t have pants on right in front of me! what did she think i was going to say?
4. kites. everybody flies a kite. kids, teens, some adults, its awesome!

well a lot more has happened. all in all it´s been a crazy week, but i´m sure i´ll settle in eventually. things will work out, the language will come, and eventually i´ll be out of training and just be a regular missionary.

love you all and hope you have a great week.

love, evan

p.s. sorry for the horrible grammar and lack of capitilization. the keyboards here are a little strange and hard to work with.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Brasil Bound!

We just got off the phone with Evan! He is at the airport headed to Detroit and then to São Paulo. He's been in Indianapolis Spanish speaking while waiting for his visa ...which came last week. He said it feels normal to be headed to Brasil. He just finished up his twelve week training so it feels like a natural time to go. It was so good to hear his voice and talk and laugh with him!


Hey Family,

Just sending a quick email just let you know I didn't quite make it to Brazil tonight.  There were some weather delays in Detroit, so we weren't able to leave Indianapolis on time, and by the time we got to Detroit and booked it to our terminal the plane had already left to Sao Paulo.  Entnonces, we're staying the night in the mission home in Detroit, will work a little bit tomorrow with the missionaries here, and then catch a 7:45 pm flight to Sau Paulo tomorrow night.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to call from the airport but maybe.  Love you all.  Have a good night.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Home Bound

It's been a tough week for Elder Paxman.  He got sick again Monday when we the two of us were on exchanges with Elder Aranda.  He didn't get sick till about 8:30 so we were still able to do everything we had planned, but it stunk for him.  And then he got really sick again Saturday so we had to go in early, at a about 5, and then stayed in all day Sunday as well, which drove all of his crazy.  Elder Paxman from being sick so much, and me and Elder Cozzens from having to stay inside for so long.  You can only read so much scriptures and Jesus the Christ before your brain gets fried.  He started feeling better this morning so hopefully he keep up for a couple days more.  I think he's lucked out with a new President and wife coming in, because Sister Collins was about ready to send him to the ER or home, neither of which Elder Paxman liked.  But the President and Sister Cleveland are still a little clueless so it looks like he's bought some time.  He has a couple appointments with some gastronologists out here in Indiana the next couple months.  I guess some of the best in the country so hopefully they'll keep him at least until then.

With Elder Paxman being sick so much progress with investigators has gotten slow.  It's so hard to find time to meet with them regularly, and then we have to cancel, things just get tough.  We went through are area book and decided to drop a lot of people who weren't keeping appointments or commitments, so we're kind of starting over with some people.  

Another potential bright spot is the Nephews of the Garcia's, some sweet members in the branch.  All of Hermano Garcia's siblings are members, but most of them have been less active since coming stateside.  However, they have been bringing three of their nephews to Church and branch activities, JJ, Austin, and Brian.  A couple week ago JJ, who is 11, came up to me in Church and asked me when I was going to come to his house to help get him baptized.  It kind of lit me up when he asked me that, but it's been a process because we want to get his Dad's support as well who really isn't interested in coming back.  But we just talked with the Garcia's and we might start teaching them at their house for now.  We just don't want to baptize them into inactivity, and we are scared that's might what happen since they don't have support at home.  And then again, we don't want to not baptize them if they have that sincere desire.  

Personally, I've been doing pretty good.  It's been tough working in a threesome.  I love both my companions, but it's just hard to compromise with two people instead of just one.  Too many different opinons.  I don't think I've lost myself completely in the work yet.  There was about a week where I was really hoping to get my visa and had a feeling it would be coming, and I think that pulled me away from the Spirit and made me get a little down on myself.  Elder Paxman lovingly called me out on it Thursday night, which kind of snapped me out of it, but since then we've spent a lot of time inside instead of out.  Spanish is getting better, so that's been fun.  I'm crossing my fingers it transfers over to Portuguese as good as my Portuguese transfered over to Spanish, but I'll worry about that when the time comes.

I have no idea about my visa.  Still completely in the dark.  I'm curious what they'll do with me in transfers a week and a half from now.  They usually split trainers and trainees after the 12 weeks are finished, but they like keeping  visa waiters in a threesome so they don't have to close any areas if and when visas finally come.  Not sure what they'll do with me next.

I guess the other big thing this week is I met President and Sister Cleveland this week.  They are great people, and President's theme so far has been "Touch All The Lines."  A nice analogy on running ladders in practice.  Half of me thought he would open up the gym and have us run some right then, but that didn't quite happen.  I guess he coached Paul George when he was at Fresno State, who now happens to be the best player on the Pacers.  Kind of a fun connection.

All in all things are going well and the work continues to progress.  Sometimes not as fast as I would like, but like President Uchtdorf said, "patience requires actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged or frustrated when results don't appear instantly or without effort"  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

People and Places

Monday July 1, 2013

I'm dedicating email time today to sending everyone pics so sorry but there won't me much of a letter.  But I figure pictures are worth a thousand words so enjoy.

1. Yazmine Corona's baptism.  May 14th.  Elder Mancilla baptized her, and I participated by giving a talk on the Holy Ghost.  I think I emailed more about it earlier so that should be good for now

2. Hermana Liliana.  She used to feed us every Monday night before she had to go back to Mexico.  Sad to see her go but we still eat with her two sons, Carlos and Luiz, before we teach Carlos and Guadalupe every tuesday night.

3. Vicky, Maria, and Anthony.  Vicky and Maria are recent converts we've been working with a lot.  Every once in a while they will have a giant lunch for all 8 missionaries after church in the church kitchen.  People use the kitchen a lot more in the church here than they did in Utah.  Anthony is the cutest little kid.  Yesterday we made him a little future missionary plack with a sticky note.  So much fun.  He loves calling us "corchino" which pretty much means pig.  I think we eat too much at there house.

4. Downtown Indianopolis from near the Church.  I took this after I went on exchanges with Elder Ustach, one of the Zone Leaders.  Most of the zone leaders here work on college campuses, so I got to work on the campus of IUPUI with him for a day.  It was pretty fun.  We just talked to people all over campus in English, and handed out a lot of cards.  Definitely a more diverse school of thought on campus than among the hispanics.  We ran into atheists, muslims, hard-core christians, people who didn't really care, but over all most everyone was willing to listen and it was fun talking to so many different people.

5. Guadalupe, Carlos, and Luiz Reyes.  Since Hermana Liliana left, Guadalupe has been feeding us every Tuesday and we teach them right after.  Carlos and Luiz are both members, but inactive and have a lot of doubts.  Luiz has a solid testimony of the Book of Mormon, but thinks the Church has veered off since then and he has a lot of questions about living prophets, tithing etc.  Really cool guy though.  Carlos doesn't have the same testimony of the Book of Mormon, but he's been reading, and has definitely made some progress since we started.  Guadalupe isn't a member, but she really wants to find out if its true for herself and has been reading the Book of Mormon, and feels like it's true, but she wants a more solid answer before commiting to baptism.  I love teaching them though, because they have a lot of sincere questions, and a sincere desire to know.  It's just been a longer process, but I have faith it will all work out.  We are teaching them the Law of Chastity tomorrow, and I really hope Carlos and Guadalupe will commit to obey it, either by living separate or getting married.  I think we need to get them living all the commandments so the Spirit can testify to them more strongly that this really is the truth.  They have felt the Spirit, but the Spirit obedience is prerequisite to feeling the full force of the Spirit in our lives so I'm hoping that will help.