Subject: my week
I was really excited to get all of your letters last week and today! Keep writing and don´t be worried about if I will be able to read all of them. I take pictures and read them after if I don´t have time. If you have things that you want me to respond to that can't wait one week, put it in bold.
The bees and and the running, braces and everything else makes me homesick. I really love to hear about it though, so keep it coming. How are the Carmans doing? Does Andy have a job lined up yet? Emma stick it out with those braces and making friends at school! Eliza work hard in school, don´t forget to have fun and good luck on your ACT scores! Danny keep writing I know you can write more than that. Could you send me your story about tomatoes? Mom, Dad, thanks for the updates about everything.
I love you all!
OK, my companion. I don´t know what to think. I don't really understand him because he can't speak English. Most of the time he's cool, but sometimes he gets it in his head that we are in a speed walking race with some unseen competitors, and that doesn´t work out very well for me when his legs are significantly longer than mine. It's funny because normally its no big deal. But I don't know how to say, "Hey, slow down and here's why" in Portuguese very well at all. Other than that, he is cool. We pray about 50 times a day and sometimes I feel like it's overkill, but that's not something that I feel like is much of a problem.
The people. Everyone here is pretty nice and people have a lot of respect for missionaries. Most everyone we talk to is open to hear our message, and when we share one with people they for the most part are willing to try it out and make small changes in their lives. There is a very strong belief in God here, and I really like it. Most people I have met are really clean and organized. I can't figure out if it's because that's who they are or if that's just because they don't have much stuff. Brazilians are great and I think that I will continue to love them more and more.
Culture. The people as individuals are organized but as a whole it's kind of a dump. The street is one big trash can. People have construction waste in the street. Traffic laws are more like suggestions. It seems like the people have a lot of potential, but the infrastructure is not there. Me and my companion waited in line to get a power bill worked out for more than 2 hours this morning. And we complain about the DMV!
I have been walking for miles each day. I don´t know how far yet because I don´t know the area very well yet, but I would estimate an average day would be more than 7. I wash all my clothes by hand and its a mission rule that we take a shower twice a day! The showers are cold at first -- it takes me about 10 seconds to get used to the 80 degree water. It's great to cool off. I sweat 24/7. At night its not dripping, but I still sweat. During the day, it pores off of me. There is lightning every few days around the city, but I never hear it. And sometimes when we walk, I see vultures eyeing us from trees and circling.
We had a baptism this last week and it was cool to see Janaina baptized. I think she will get a lot of support from the ward. It's cool because the whole ward is made up of converts. I don´t really know what to think because I didn't understand what was going on. But we didn´t do a very good job of planning and organizing the baptism, so it wasn´t on time or as smooth as it should have been. The branch president pulled my companion aside and told him that we needed to do better. I understood the jist of what he said. Baptism is very important and should be something that should be remembered. We should make it special. My companion kind of rushed it. I think he recomitted her to this last Saturday on Thursday after he had told our branch president that we wouldn´t have a baptism this Saturday.
Moral of the story: I'm learning, and we are going to do better in the future!
I love you guys!
Elder Benjamin Clark