Monday, August 24, 2015

Week Six - In the Mission Field

So I'm actually in the field now.  I have a companion and I'm living in an apartment, teaching lessons and walking everywhere. I'm in a place called Alagoas. Me and my companion Elder Mariano cover two wards: Bariloche and Beira Mar. Bariloche is great and has tons of members and gives lots of referrals and lessons. Beira Mar needs a lot of help. It is extremely inactive, doesn't have a Bishop or first counselor at the moment. Part of the problem is because Beira Mar covers the grota (basically the favela). But we're working hard on both wards.

On Thursday it rained the entire day. It was nuts. We walked around for our appointments for a couple hours, and they kept falling through because people weren't home. Eventually later in the day we knocked out 3 or 4 lessons with investigators so it got a lot better. But I was basically soaked the entire day. The other days were hot. Temperature wise it doesn't feel unbearable. But because we are walking in pants, and it's extremely humid I sweat the entire day. But I'm getting tan so that's cool. I can see the beach in the distance sometimes from certain areas and I really want to go for a swim when it's hot.

We have a good amount of investigators. It's hard to remember all of their names. Not all are progressing, but we have about five that are doing very well. Here it's a problem to get people to get married. A lot of couples live together and want to be baptised but don't want to get married. It's a little difficult. Also a few people have troubles with getting divorced here so they can't actually get re-married at the time. But we have one investigator named Hobby, he's a rapaz who lives in the grota and he's been to church numerous times but only needs the desire to get baptised. It think he will be ready within a few weeks but we will see. We visit lots of inactives here as well. If a lesson falls through we just kind of walk to the nearest inactive members house and clap at their gate hoping someone is home. It surprisingly works out pretty well. Although I really wish people here had doors we could knock on or doorbells. But all is well.

I've seen some very humbling homes here. I think it's a good reminder to be grateful for what I have. I don't have a right to complain about the blisters on my feet, or the heat, or the fact that I forgot sheets or that missionary work is at all hard. And missionary work is hard, but living in the grota or in any other homes of the people I visit would be a lot harder.

A lot of the Brazilians notice me in certain areas because I kind of stick out being white. (Side note: preto the word for black in Portuguese is offensive to call a person, and people use the word negro to refer to skin color). It's pretty funny because a lot of the kids will yell out "what's your name?" which is like the only thing they know how to say in English. I'll either say "Elder" or "Eu ná posso entendo Inglés." But when I say that they know I speak English because I have a bad accent.

I'll admit that Portuguese is a lot harder now. Understanding people is really difficult and it's extremely hard to focus when I don't know what people are saying. I have a lot of work to do but I'm working hard and learning more everyday. I don't speak a lot during lessons. I will if I have something to say and if I've been pretty on point with understanding the investigator, but if I'm a little confused by their questions I can't really say anything sometimes. But I plan on being fluent in three months. We will see.

Until next week
Luke

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