[Jon's comments about his mission president's blog and pictures of Jon on Jon's last day there--if you haven't seen the blog yet, you should! Click here! Alabama mission blog]
THANK YOU, I LOOKED AT IT AND READ THROUGH, I'M GLAD TO HEAR THEY DIDN'T MIND HAVING ME THERE TOO MUCH, OR MAYBE THEY JUST WANT YOU TO THINK THAT! YEAH IT WAS SAD TO LEAVE ALABAMA AND ALL THE AWESOME MISSIONARIES AND PEOPLE THERE (BECAUSE MISSIONARIES AREN~T PEOPLE.) :) [keyboards are different in Brazil! ]
[Jon got to call us while he was in Dallas awaiting for his Brazil flight. He mentioned that one thing Sister Bednar told the missionaries last Saturday was : "Be the missionary your mother thinks you are!" ]
YEAH WHEN I WAS TALKING TO [Tom] ON THE PHONE [in Dallas], [three missionaries] SHOWED UP TO CALL THEIR FAMILIES. I KNEW ONE OF THEM REALLY WELL FROM THE MTC, ELDER PRICE (HE LIVED WITH ME), SO IT WAS REALLY COOL TO BE ABLE TO HEAR ABOUT HIS 2 MONTHS IN TEXAS. AND WE ENDED UP SITTING ON THE PLANE TO SÃO PAULO FOR LIKE 11 HOURS OR MORE SO WE HAD PLENTY OF TIME TO TALK. WE ALSO SAT BY A BRASILIAN AND TALKED TO HIM ABOUT WHAT WE ARE DOING, AND ENDED UP GIVING HIM A BOOK OF MORMON AND REFERRING HIM TO MISSIONARIES IN THE AREA HE GOES TO. SO WHEN WE ARRIVED IN RECIFE (ME AND 2 OTHER ELDERS THAT HAD BEEN WAITING, INCLUDING ONE WHO HAS 7 MONTHS ALREADY ON HIS MISSION AND BARELY GOT HIS VISA) THE MISSION PRESIDENT PICKED US UP WITH THE SECRETARY (A NORMAL ELDER, BUT NOT THE ASSISTANT, BECAUSE THEY DON~T HAVE OLDER COUPLES TO DO THE FINANCIAL WORK AND STUFF HERE) WHO WAS BRASILIAN BUT SPOKE GOOD ENGLISH, BECAUSE MY PRESIDENT DOESN~T SPEAK ANY ENGLISH! SO I GUESS I DONT HAVE MUCH TO SAY ABOUT HIM, ALL I KNOW IS TUDO ESTA BOM COM ELE [everything is well with him], AND HIS WIFE COOKS VERY WELL (LUCNH THE NEXT DAY). WE WENT TO THE RECIFE TEMPLE TO EAT AND SLEEP (BUT NOT TO ATTEND) AND IT WAS AWESOME. LIKE LOS ANGELES, IT IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE VERY BUSY CITY AND SURROUNDED BY WORLDLINESS AND HEAVY TRAFFIC. SPEAKING OF WHICH THE TRAFFIC IS RIDICULOUS HERE. IF YOU WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT JUST ASK TOM CUZ APPARENTLY IT'S EVEN WORSE IN SÃO PAULO! MOTORCYCLIST ARE DOIDA AQUI [crazy here]! BUT ANYWAYS AFTER THE 32 HOURS OF TRAVEL AND A NICE NIGHTS REST AND A RETURN TRIP TO THE AIRPORT TO FILL OUT SOME PAPERWORK, I MET MY COMPANION, ELDER DE SOUZA, AND WE TOOK A 4 HOUR BUS RIDE TO GARANHUNS, A CITY ON THE INTERIOR OF THE MISSION [southwest of Recife]. HE IS A BRASILEIRO FROM SÃO PAULO AND DOES NOT SPEAK ANY ENGLISH (EXCEPT THE WORDS HEY MAN..., SORRY, I LOVE YOU, SISTER BROTHER MOTHER FATHER, AND THAT'S PRETTY MUCH IT). HE ASKED TOM, DID YOU KNOW ELDER T. SANTOS? THAT GUY WAS IN BELEM IN 2003-5, AND MARRIED ELDER DE SOUZA'S MOM...ANYWAYS HE IS VERY PATIENT WITH ME AND WHENEVER PEOPLE TALK TO ME, I CAN~T UNDERSTAND. SO HE TURNS TO ME AND SAYS IT AGAIN, MUCH MORE SLOWLY AND SIMPLY, THEN I TRY TO PUT SOME WORDS TOGETHER TO ANSWER THE PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE HERE ARE VERY POOR, AND EVERYONE WE TEACH/VISIT HAS NO MODE OF TRANSPORTATION BESIDES TO WALK, WHICH IS FRUSTRATING BECAUSE OUR CHAPEL IS KINDA FAR FROM OUR AREA. SO ANYONE THAT COMES TO CHURCH HAS TO REALLY WANT TO, BECAUSE IT TAKES PROBABLY ABOUT 30-40 MINUTES TO WALK THERE. WE HAVE A FAMILY, WE REFER TO AS "NOSSA FAMILIA" WHICH IS 4 KIDS WHO ARE BAPTIZED (EXCEPT THE LITTLE 5 YEAR OLD) AND THE PARENTS, WHO WILL BE BAPTIZED IN 2 WEEKS AFTER WE GET THEM MARRIED. I DON~T KNOW WHY, BUT WHEN I RECEIVED MY CARD [money], I HAD WAY MORE MONEY THEN EVERYONE ELSE, AND THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TOLD ME I COULD KEEP IT AND USE IT WISELY. AND NOW I GET TO PAY FOR THEIR WEDDING WITH IT. PERFECT.
YUP, WE LIVE IN, LET~S SEE, THE 9TH PLACE I'VE LIVED IN MY MISSION, IN AN APARTMENT WITH 2 OTHER MISSIONARIES, ONE WHICH IS AMERICAN, AND CAN TRANSLATE THE PROBLEM-WORDS OF THE DAY WHEN WE GET HOME. HE~S ELDER STRICKLAND FROM WISCONSIN. THE APARTMENT IS NOT TOO SHABBY, BUT THE BATHROOM IS NASTY (CAN'T PUT TOILET PAPER IN THE TOILET) AND MOLD EVERYWHERE, BUT IT'S PRETTY AWESOMELY LOCATED. THE MIDDLE OF GARANHUNS, WITH CITY ALL OVER THE SURROUNDING HILLS. THE CITY IS PROBABLY ABOUT THE SIZE OF VENTURA OR SMALLER, AND IT HAS 3 WARDS AND 2 CHAPELS. WE HAVE A LITTLE WALK FROM OUR APARTMENT TO THE CHAPEL, AND A LONGER WALK IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION TO GET TO THE BOUNDARIES OF THE WARD IN WHICH WE SERVE. (WHAT? WHY DID I WRITE THAT?) [because he's learning correct English grammar by studying Portuguese ! :) ]
[I told him to be careful about keeping any mission rules about drinking the right kind of water...] I'M BEING CAREFUL AND MY PAIZINHO (TRAINER) TAKES CARE OF ME. NO WORRIES. WE GET LUNCH WITH THE MEMBERS EVERY DAY SO WE HARDLY HAVE TO BUY GROCERIES.
LIB'S IN TOWN? COOL SOUNDS FUN. THE BEACH THAT WE DROVE BY IN RECIFE LOOKS PRETTY SIMILAR TO THE BEACH IN VENTURA, BUT BLUER, WARMER, BETTER WAVES. AND CATH, MY COMPANION THINKS YOU ARE VERY PRETTY. BUT HE ALREADY HAS A GIRLFRIEND, AND APPARENTLY THEY'VE PLANNED THAT WHEN HE GETS HOME IN 4 MONTHS, THEY WILL BE MARRIED 4 DAYS LATER...CIAO E OBRIGADO,
Have you had any cold coconut water, coco gelado? NOT YET, I HAD SUCO DE GUARANHA OR SOMETHING, AND LOTS OF GUARANÁ, CUS-CUIS, BEANS, RICE, CARNE... Ridden on a packed ônibus? OH YES. VERY VERY PACKED, PART OF THE WAY TO GARANHUNS, NÃO TINHA UM LUGAR PARA ME SENTAR OU TO STAND [I didn't have a place to sit or stand...] (COMO SE DIZ? [how to you say stand??]) How was Sao Paulo? JUST TRANSFERRED PLANES THERE. I bet you have progressed in the language since you first got there, even though it was only 4 days ago. YEAH, DEFINITELY I CAN SPEAK MUCH MORE WITH MY COMPANION. OR MAYBE HE IS JUST GETTING BETTER AT UNDERSTANDING BAD PORTUGUESE. Tell us about your ward/branch and area... city or rural? Can you understand the people at all with their accents? THEY ALL HAVE AN ACCENT MORE LIKE PORTUGAL. WHEN THEY SAY BOM DIA, THEY SAY DIA LIKE ESPANOL, NOT LIKE "JEE-YA". AND THEY SAY NOIS EM VEZ DE NOS [em vez de = instead of] AND STUFF. SO I GUESS THAT'S THE TYPE OF PORTUGUESE I'LL BE SPEAKING. BUT APPARENTLY, IT IS DIFFERENT HERE IN THE INTERIOR THAN IT IS ON THE COAST OF OUR MISSION. Tom wrote: When I got to belém i was like wow this is not the pronunciation they taught me in the MTC! Cliche i know but its true. Don't hesitate to ask your trainer what things mean, and keep a pocket dictionary in your bag always haha! that helped me. THANKS, YEAH I DO BOTH OF THESE ALWAYS. I'M CONSTANTLY ASKING QUESTIONS TO HIM.
[This last paragraph contains Tom's questions to Jon about food and drink, transportation, language...]