I am officially through my first week in the field, and what a week it was. I performed my first baptism, I got my first blister, I attended my first BBQ, I had my first Birthday, I said my first invitation, I received my first cake, and I had my first joke played on me. Just a bunch of first’s.
My mom asked the following questions that I will respond to at this time. d-(O.O)z (That’s supposed to be a guy giving a thumbs up).
How are your sweets?
Wonderful, the other Elders and I enjoyed them so much. Thanks for getting my favorites!
Everything new and different?
Yep, pretty much everything is different. Milk here, for example, has preservatives which means they store it at room temperature in a paper carton. Cookies come in tubes and are delicious as expected. If you don’t eat all your food at an All-You-Can-Eat, you might end up paying extra. All the stores close by about 8pm because everyone retires to their houses. The members are really nice! One of them made me cake for my birthday, and I have some of the best meals ever here. They say that they want only the best for missionaries! I love it here.
A lot of fruit, meat, rice, beans, salad, and Coca-Cola which is good with me.
Best shower ever, but the bathroom always smells like an outhouse. Nothings perfect :)
Is there toilet paper?
Yes, but you take sheets individually like a tissue or napkin.
Do you live alone or with a family?
We live in a big house with two other missionaries. We have a drier and a clothes line, one bathroom, and four couches for some reason.
Tracting? In a good area? Are you opening a new area?
Yes, I am opening an area. I baptized my first person on Sunday. He had been having some doubts that we helped him resolve. I was really nervous leading up to the baptism, but I prayed right before going into the font and just felt a calm come over me. I spoke slowly and clearly and then performed the ordinance. Afterwards, the members said it was the most beautiful baptism they had ever seen. I heard ´´Not a splash´´ several times. My companion, our investigator, and I felt so happy. It was wonderful. It was only then that I realized I had remembered dry garments, but no towel. Drip drying was fun.
Companion...Is he hard working? Nice? Fun?
My companion is wonderful. He always pushes me to improve. He encourages me to speak in Portuguese and calls me out when I am doing something wrong. He really cares about me and the members. On my birthday, all of the Elders in the house woke me up screaming. I don’t remember it at all, but apparently they have video so it must be true.
If you guys have specific questions in the future, I think you can just shoot my parents in an email, and I’d be happy to respond. On a side note, the post office went on strike again, so I have been receiving packages, but not letters. If you sent me a letter, I am sorry I haven’t responded, but please forgive me. I only visit headquarters about once a week so I will try to respond to you as best I can.
I now realize that I have a lot more to learn before I become the missionary I want to be, whether it is improving my vocab, teaching skills, or personality, its going to take a while. As I have tried to more exactly follow the schedules and the rules, I have really seen the blessing. I learn more, I feel better, and I work harder.
I know this letter is kind of scattered, I’m sorry. I just wanted to give you a quick medical update. I now officially have four blisters, a rash, and a removed wart. But besides that I am feeling great. Just a little moleskin, athletic tape, and some ointment and I am good to go.
So we were contacting in the park this week, and this family actually called us over to talk. They wanted to learn and have us over for lunch and they seemed the elect of the elect. But when we went to the house, and called the number, it was someone totally different. We got pranked by some random stranger! But we ended up teaching the actual family that lived there and we will probably return for a second visit. The work works in mysterious ways.
The one thing I have really struggled with more than anything else this week is patience. I found myself getting frustrated when appointments and lunches fell through and when no contacts wanted to hear us. I did not like waiting for the bus or having to walk two miles to get to someone’s house. Investigators fear and failure to do what we asked made me upset just made me discouraged. But my companion talked to me about how one of his friends in the mission was always happy regardless of what happened. I have been thinking about that a lot recently. I have come to the realization that as we struggle through hard times and bear our afflictions with patience, we will be blessed for it. People have the ability to choose, and as long as I am doing my part, I should not let the choices of others bring me down. I need to try and be sad when they reject the gospel, but never let any incident take away my desire to keep going. You just have to keep your individual self worth separate from what you are doing. Just because something doesn’t go right, doesn’t mean you aren’t doing right. Bad things can happen to good people, but as long as we take these trials and try and learn and grow from them, they won’t get us down but make us stronger.
A famous author (whose name currently eludes me and whose quote I am currently going to butcher) once said that his favorite times of his life were during his trials because he could remember them the best and it was during them that he grew. We must always try new things and although they might be hard, it is when we are reaching and doing our best that we grow. I hope you guys have a great week and try not to get to down on yourselves when things don’t go your way.
Come on really,