For everyone who may have been wondering, yes I am in Brasil and yes I am alive. This past week has been crazy! The Brasil CTM is so much better for learning Portuguese than the Provo MTC. As much as I loved the MTC, it was really easy not to FSL (speak your language) because almost everyone there spoke English. Here, definitely not. I would say about 10% of the CTM are Americanos, 60% are Hispanicos, and 30% are from Brasil. The only way we can communicate with each other is in Portuguese. We have two native Portuguese speakers in our room, one from Brasil and one from Cabo Verde (I actually think his first language is Creole, but he is fluent in Portuguese tambem).
Sao Paulo is HUGE! We went to the temple today (a 1.5 hour drive, but not really very far). The skyscrapers go on forever and ever and ever. The other night when Brasil was playing in The World Cup, every time they made a goal the entire city went crazy with fireworks and yelling and cheering and horns and sirens and anything loud. And the freeway is just one big accident waiting to happen. Compared to Sao Paulo, the 405 and 605 and the 5 in Long Beach are pretty darn empty. It takes forever to get anywhere and there are always motorcycles flying like crazy between the semis and buses.
It is amazing how quickly I remembered the Portuguese I learned almost a year ago in the MTC in Provo. This is said by missionaries a lot, but the gift of tongues is real. However, it is also based on our effort. The mission president of the CTM told us that if we were exactly obedient, the Lord would be bound to bless us. It’s definitely true. The devotional on Sunday was a broadcast of Elder Ballard. That’s the second time I’ve seen him speak in two weeks. Although one time I was sitting four feet from him playing the organ and this time I was thousands of miles away. Also, our devotional on Tuesday was a live brodcast of Elder Christofferson. He spoke about The Worth of Souls. It was fantastic. I really like Elder Christofferson.
On Saturday we went into dowtown Sao Paulo (I actually don’t know if it was downtown. I just know we were surrounded by 40 and 50 story buildings and there were tons of people in the street) and contacted for 2 hours. It was awesome. The first person we talked to was actually a return missionary! And two of the people we talked were from Nigeria and didn’t speak any Portuguese. People are so friendly and open to learn here. It is weird how you can literally jump in front of people in the street, hand them a free book and they will listen to you for twenty minutes and want to learn more.
Next time you get an email from me I will be in the Sao Paulo Interlagos mission. I can already tell that this year of my mission is going to be completely different than the last year. Essentially a completely different mission. I loved Long Beach, and I think I will love Sao Paulo Interlagos for entirely different reasons.
The past couple of days have been a little rough. I have a cough and sore throat and am super congested. The medico (doctor) here at the CTM said it is because of all the pollution in the air here in Sao Paulo (and there is a lot. Everything is covered in grime and there is a nice layer of brown in the skyline). On the bright side, my stuffy nose makes my pronunciation in Portuguese almost perfect.
I’m glad that Grandpa’s funeral went well. It is bittersweet. I’ve been praying for Grandma every day. It sounds like everyone is going to be pretty busy. I hope Kimmie’s delivery goes well.
I love you all!