Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My First Week in the Field

So I will admit. This past week has been really, really hard. The town I am serving in, Piedade, is considered the hole of the mission. There are like a million Evangelical churches here and one big Catholic Church. My branch only has about 50 people in it and none of them are giving us references, which makes it even harder. Just about every door in the town has already been knocked on and not a lot of people (especially the pastors) really like us or want to hear our message. Also, just about every lesson we were going to teach to the few investigators we have fell through. We were however able to pick up two new investigators which is good, we will have to see where that goes.

But my week went a little something like this. I got to the mission offices on Tuesday morning, ate lunch at my mission presidents house, went back to the mission offices and had personal interviews with the president, and finally got our call as to where we were going to go. We then went out with some of the elders that work in the office as APs (Assistants to the President) and went proselytizing, but my group went to a members FHE (Family Home Evening). We came back and had pizza then went to sleep.

Wednesday we sat around for a while as we waited for all the elders to arrive for transfers. I met mine around 11. He is a Brazilian that knows like 5 words in English and his name is Elder E Olivera. He is a good companion. After all the transfers occurred all the Elders and Sisters serving in the interior of the mission (anywhere pretty much not in São Paulo city) and we went to Sorocaba where then me and my companion got another bus to Piedade. Total travel time 3 hours. The country here is really pretty. There are a lot of rolling green hills scattered with forests and farm, a lot like SC minus the mountains. We got to my apartment which I took pictures of but failed to bring my camera to the internet cafe we are at (sorry I’ll send them next week), but the apartment is better than I imagined but the problem is it is right on main street and everyone here loves to listen to their music loud and they all drive old VW bugs which are super loud so my apartment is not quiet at all which kinda stinks. Oh and just when I though I had escaped Riana and her Love in a Hopeless Place for two years....I was wrong, it is everywhere. But anyways when I got to the apartment I unpacked, got lunch, took a quick nap, and then we walked about a mile to an investigators house in which she was not home, so we walked about another two miles to a members house and visited with them. We then had a meeting at the church with the branch mission leader then we went to a member’s house for dinner then came home and went to bed.

On Thursday we had our first personal and companionship study. Personal study was fine because I can read quite a bit in Portuguese and understand most of it. But companionship study is hard. Very hard. Since my companion only speaks Portuguese it is hard to understand what he is asking and often times I misinterpret what he is saying which is a little frustrating. It also doesn’t help how we pretty much go over everything I went over in the MTC so it is really boring and really frustrating. But that is one thing I get to work on. Not getting impatient or frustrated with myself when I cannot speak the language. I just need to keep working and doing what I need to do so that I can hopefully soon speak the language. But after study we then went to a members house for lunch and then since my companion was recently called to be a district leader we then had to go back to São Paulo for a training thing. Which then took 5 hours to get to Sãò Paulo. We then just waited for 10:30 to come, then went to bed.

On Friday we had the meeting and I just hang out with the other elders companions who weren’t in the meeting. We then left back to Piedade, which took 4 hours. We then visited an investigator at work and talked to him for a little. Then we went to the branch FHE and ate some food. I was also able to meet some of the members of the branch which was nice and I was able to talk to them a little bit, at least as much as my language allowed. We then went home and went to bed.

Saturday we had study, which was again very rough. Then we went to an investigators house, which again they were not home. But in the process of finding another investigators house we gained two more investigators, which we are going to teach tomorrow, needless to say we did not find the investigators house we were looking for. We then went to a less active member who again, was not home. We went to another investigators, which thankfully they were home and we were able to share a short lesson with them and they fed us. We then met with some members that were having problems with the word of wisdom and we had a small lesson with them. Finally to end it all off we had dinner at a member’s house and then came home and went to bed.

Sunday (which was the best day) we went to church and then went to a neighbors’ house. Our church is in a corner type place so it is not its own separate building. It is small but it gets the job done for our small branch. We then ate at a members’ house where we had rice and beans, meat, pastries and lasagna, which was nice because every other meal I have had has been the same, rice and beans with a meat and a salad. Needles to say I really want a burger. But after lunch we tried to visit with some investigators but again, none were home, we then went to a members house to get a list of all the members inactive, needless to say they were not much help. Just when it seemed like our day was shot (prosiliting would do no good because everyone was in evening worship in the town) a member called us (named Elizabeth, she is my favorite) and she brought us to her parents’ house where we had dinner and the and then taught them the restoration. The spirit was there so strong during the lesson and I feel that they accepted our message. We left them with the commitment to pray and read about the Book of Mormon, which they said they would do. I hope that our next visit they actually kept our commitment.

And now that bring us to today. I am doing well although just a little distraught. It is hard not being able to talk to anyone or express myself the way I want to. I kinda feel removed from everyone and everything around me because of the language. Also everything is different. It is hard to go to the grocery store and buy food cause they don’t really have any food that is quick and easy, so if we don’t eat at a members’ house I usually don’t eat very much. But I am doing fine. Once I get past this language barrier I will be a lot better. Just keep me in our prayers and I will be sure to tell you more about the people we teach and the branch! Thanks so much for all y’all do!!

Oh one more thing. I can Skype on Mother’s Day, which is coming up soon. The time I plan to Skype is going to be 7:30 p.m. my time. Please be prepared for this. I want to talk to everyone on Skype even though I won’t be able to do video to everyone at the same time. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help y’all be able to talk to me.

With love,

Elder Shelton.

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