Monday, October 18, 2010

Letter #9

Hello Everyone!

      Well I'm finally here in the mission field. We had to leave the CTM by 4am last tuesday to make our flight. It felt a little ridiculous flying for 40 minutes. It was pretty much like taking a plane from Fresno to Sacramento. But, they said statistically it is safer for us to fly even for that short period. We arrived at the little airport in Ribeiro Preto and President Prieto and his wife, and the assistants were there to pick us up. We drove to the Mission Office and had some training there. That reminds me, they want all mail to be sent to the mission office, never directly to us. Which is kind of unfortunate because I'll probably only be able to get my mail about once a month or so. But oh well, rules are rules. The mission office has a different address now too. Anything sent to the old address will get to me so go ahead and use that for now, I don't have it with me at the moment to tell you guys now.
       Anyways we had lunch at the Mission President's home, and were assigned our companions and Areas. My companion is Elder Azevedo and our area is Pos de Caldas 1! Elder Azevedo is Brazilian, he is from Teresina and speaks no english. I'm definitely going to have to learn quick. I was really confident in the MTC about my Portuguese, but now that I'm here....holy cow. I have a lot to learn. The people here are super hard to understand, they mumble a lot and have a little bit different accent. Our first day in Ribeiro Preto we have to register with the Federal Police there. But the 12th, the day we arrived, is a national holiday, Dia das Crians, or Children's Day. So everything was closed and we had to stay the night in Ribeir Preto. We had nothing to do in the afternoon so they sent us out to street contacting. I wasn't ready for that, 7 hours of walking and not having much sucess because no one was out in the streets because of the Holiday. Wednesday we got registered and took a bus to our area. We got here in Pos around 11:30 at night. 
        My area here in Pos de Caldas is absolutely beautiful. It's so nice to be out of the big city of Sao Paulo and breathe some fresh air. My area is also the only area in the mission has a lot of wills to climb to get to peoples houses. The hills are quite brutal here, I've got some pretty gnarly blisters. Some of the hills are so steep that you decrease altitude quick enough for your ears to start plugging up. It's pretty intense, but awesome. The people here are great. The first couple of days we spent most of the time introducing me to members and asking for referrals. I'm not sure why Elder Azevedo didn't already really have many people he was working with. He has already been here for one or two transfers. But we have some good people now I have high hopes for.
        I went to church yesterday, which was amazing even though the plans we had for investigators to come fell through. There are three wards here in Pos, our averages about 80 people a week. The Spirit was awesome sitting in our tiny little chapel and I was trying my best to understand the talks. The members here are so nice here. I think the hardest part for me about Brazil will be our lunch appointments. Here in Brazil lunch is the primary meal so we are fed lunch by the members. You have no idea how many times I've already heard ``Come mais Elder, come mais创. It means ``eat more, Elder, eat more创. The sisters take pride in how much they get to feed the elders. So far i've been basically only eating one meal a day, but the equivalent of a normal 3 meals. It's going to take some getting used to. 
        I'm going to take some pictures of the area today and get them sent next week hopefully. I'm not sure how doing snail mail is going to work since I only receive it once a month. But, feel free to go ahead and send as much as you want. I'm just not sure how often I'll be able to send mail to all of you. I will hold off on taking pictures of our apartment. it's in pretty bad shape right now. My goal for the day is to get it looking nice. It's actually pretty disgusting right now. It looks like it hasn't been cleaned for quite a few weeks. I sometimes get the feeling that my companion is kind of loosing steam. This is his last transfer. I hope I can get things working a little better around here even though I have no idea what is going on most of the time. I kind of feel like we waste a lot of time and our planning isn't very thorough at all. I don't know how to suggest improvements when I can hardly speak and I'm so new and don't know the process. But from what I was taught in the CTM i feel like a lot of improvements can be made to increase our success here. 
         I'm super excited to be here. We have several investigators I think we will have some good success with. We taught an awesome lesson on the Restoration yesterday to a young couple. They seemed really interested and the wife. Camila, was already reading from the Book of Mormon before we left. We are teaching an old man named Sebasti, and he seems to be very interested as well. And yesterday while trying to find someone else's house, we met a lady named Angela. She at first had no interest at all to talk to us because she is already a firm member of another church. But she began to share here worries about one of her sons who is having a lot of troubles. She was basically begging us to come and help her son. She was even in tears while we were talking on the street. She really wants the best for her son.
          Well I want to all know that this truly is the work of the Lord. I feel the Spirit so often already. It's one of the most difficult things I've done but it is already bringing me great joy. I'm doing very well and I look forward to hearing more from all of you.

Elder McLelland

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