Monday, February 24, 2014

Transfers. . .But not me

           Transfers came and I am staying in Votuporanga with Elder De Oliveira.  We had a bit of a crazy week. But it was good overall.  For one thing, a couple we have been teaching are going to get married on the 8th which is pretty awesome and hopefully they are going to get baptized the following week. We are pretty excited for that since she has been going to church for 14 years but was never baptized for one reason or another. It is really awesome that she is going to make this step in her life.  
Other things in Votuporanga remain the same.  It is still hot but it has rained a lot more the last two weeks.  Carnival starts next Sunday and supposedly Votuporanga has one of the craziest carnivals in the State of São Paulo.  It will be an experience for sure.  Probably we won't be able to get a whole lot done next week, but I guess that is life.  People here are much more excited about the World Cup coming up this summer than they are for the Winter Olympics that are happening right now.  But I guess it stands to reason that Brazilians really don't care that much about the Winter Olympics.  It’s not even winter here.  
Things seem to be going kind of crazy in the world but maybe that is only because I didn't see the build up.  A lot of the younger people in Brazil don't like America very much.  The whole spying thing didn't help.  And the fact that Americans just seem to have more money than Brazilians and on average things are cheaper in America, well some things.  For example American products are way more expensive here.  Like a Big Mac meal is about $10. But it’s not really a problem.  I haven't met anyone who was against me personally.  
I hope you are all having wonderful lives back in the US of A.  I love you all.

Elder Russell

My District

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spring Forward FALL BACK

Hello everyone!  
I have received a ton of emails this week so I am sorry if I am not able to reply to everyone; but I will get to you all eventually.  
This week was a little slow all things considered.  We had a lot of appointments fall through and it was a little frustrating and a lot sad.  We are hoping to make this week much better since it is the last week of the transfer.  We will probably both stay here (my companion and I that is) since I am still being trained, but you never know.  Sometimes missionaries have two trainers but it isn't common.  
The clocks were changed this week in Brazil, but since the seasons are opposite, the clocks go the opposite way as well... at least I think.  Either way we got an extra hour of sleep this Saturday/Sunday night.  
We also found a place that has free internet access which is pretty awesome even though the Lan-houses aren't really expensive here.  It is usually about $1.50 per hour but all the Brazilians think that is really expensive.  Either way we are saving money now.  
The language continues to be a struggle but if the person isn't old, I can basically understand them now. In fact, we were teaching a lesson last week and a lady thought I had been in Brazil for a year at least, and she was blown away when we told her that I had only been here for a month.  Portuguese is an interesting language. The tonic syllable (the syllable that is accented) can change the meaning of the word. You can't stress words however you want, which is annoying because you have to change your speech patterns.  In other ways it seems almost babyish to me since they hardly every use compound tenses.  For example, you never say "I have been doing something." They just have a different past tense for that more or less.  It seems babyish if you translate it word for word, but I guess it just comes down to the fact that you can't do that.
Now that I have rambled on about Portuguese for a while. I hope you all have a good week!  I love you all!

Elder Russell 

Monday, February 10, 2014

It's a Baptism

Elder Russell viewing Ribeirao Preto

Hello everyone! 

This week was pretty awesome! Mostly because we had a baptism! His name is Rafael.  This was the first baptism in Votuporanga for 4 months; which is too long, I would say.  The Baptism was right after sacrament meeting which was good because basically the entire branch was there. After that the entire branch went to a member’s home for lunch (which is the principal meal of the day here) so it was kind of like a party for the baptism.  

Other than that this week has been kind of a blur.  It is strange.  I have been here long enough that I no longer can exactly pick out what happened every P-day or on every Sunday.  It’s been four weeks and already it is like forever.  But at the same time, it is scary how much of my mission is already gone.  Almost a tenth of my mission is over.  I feel like I just got here which I guess I did, but its still a little scary.  

It is quite hot here as you may have seen.  It has been above 35 Celsius most everyday but eventually it will cool down I am sure. [Do you think Elder Russell is appreciating those white short sleeve shirts, yet?]  Things continue as normal. Portuguese is getting easier.  I can pretty much understand what people say now even if I don't know what all the words mean.  It is amazing, thinking back on it, how much I have learned already. I am nowhere near fluent but I am beginning to be able to pick out words in chatter from people who aren't even talking to me.  I am getting there.  

I hope everyone is having a good life. I love you all!

Elder Russell

Monday, February 3, 2014

From Votuporanga

Hello everyone!  For the first time in this transfer we were able to basically spend the entire time in our area!  Which was good because our area needs to be worked in, but I guess all areas do.  It turns out our area is not one city but it is actually four... or so. There is Votuporanga, Fernandopolis, and Perdreandopolis, and at least one more I forgot and the names of those last two I probably completely spelt wrong.  But it is really difficult to work in the other cities because it is a 30 minute bus ride to Fernandopolis and there isn't even a bus to the others.  But we are trying to work in them as well and that is difficult.

Overall things are starting to look up in the work.  We almost had a baptism this week. However, at the last minute he decided he wasn't ready but this week we think he will go for it.  Other then that we are also finally having investigators come to church though they are few and far between and not nearly as many as say they would.  Sometimes I wish people would just say no if they really don't want to accept the Gospel but I think the people of Brazil aren't very good at saying no.  That is just kind of the way they are. Which means that a lot of people just invite us in after just talking to them in front of their house which is awesome, but kind of crazy when you think about it.  

The week went pretty good.  The language is still difficult but I am able to understand basically what people are talking about, if not exactly what they are saying about it, which is a step in the right direction.  It is still hard but I suppose no one said a mission wasn't.  

I love you all!  

Elder Russell 

Elder Russell and Elder Hedworth in the MTC