Monday, September 30, 2013

Oi!! :) So things have been good this week and things are progressing in our area. I sent 6 photos last week but I guess you all only got 2 :/ Anyway, we have general conference next week so we are trying to get all of our investigators to attend it with us at a member's house. We will be crowded but it will be a great experience! :) Geymeson was not baptized this week because on Sunday he left with his family to go to Fortaleza because his uncle was in a bad motorcycle accident so we are praying for him. But he will be baptized the week after next. His brothers Emerson and Wendleson and cousin Nicole are also planning on being baptized so it will be a pretty exciting day!! :) Their mom said she wants them to be baptized :) She is Catholic but she believes everything we say but I am not sure she is ready for baptism. We are also teaching Nicole's mom and she is very interested. We have had a total of 3 baptisms so far. Opening a new area is not easy when you have no church and few members and the people have never heard of Mormons... A lot of people think with are Evangelical so we have to explain how we are different pretty much each lesson. Lessons are getting easier to teach and the Spirit helps us a lot. The language is getting better but I really want to be fluent by the end of my training in 6 weeks. Oh so weird thing here in Brazil is that for the Word of Wisdom people only cannot drink black tea. So everyone can still drink tea even if it is from a tea plant just not black tea. I find it really strange that the rules are changed in a sense for a different country but it states black tea in our pamphlets we teach from and all the members say tea is fine just not black tea, so fun fact for you!! :) I think Mark actually told me about this but I didn't believe him hahaha!

So our members here are great, all 15 of them lol! They do so much for us and oh to answer your question we usually eat chicken, beef, rice, beans and even pasta :) So nothing too strange but one day we had fish and bananas, that was a bit different. Desserts are different here and I miss our cakes and cookies but they are still really good! I eat all the time I feel like but I haven't gained any weight yet and I hope it stays that way lol!! :) 

So day to day we usually teach about 5 to 8 lessons and we look for new contacts by going door to door. It is more difficult for the old people to understand us but the young people usually can and it is getting better, Sis Twitchell and I just have strong accents haha. I am a Gringa for sure but people are entertained by our mistakes and it always ends in a good laugh!! I still have my crazy moments of laughing until I cry usually when I am tired lol so my Brazilian companion Sis. Alcantara always gets a good laugh and she is like you Americans are locos. haha She is so great!! It is hard at times to understand everything and to communicate the way I like but each day I try to ask questions and get to know her better. We all can joke around a lot more and just talk with each other each night as the language gets easier!! :) I don't have a ton of time but just know I think of all of you often and I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord and his people. He could easily do his work without missionaries but He gives us this opportunity and the chance to learn more about ourselves and others and His gospel by serving missions. I am always praying for you all and I am learning so much every day!! It is not easy but it is so worth it. I never realized how hard things would be until I was actually here doing it myself. Everyone always says it's not easy and that really sank it when I got to the field and was faced with many trials but Tudo bem!! :)  I love this opportunity!! :) Hope you all have a great enthusiastic week!! :) Remember to always smile and count your blessings!! :) Love you lots!! :)
Oh I received Granny's letters and one from Becky McGinnis! Tell them thanks for me!! They were so sweet and I will send a letter to them next P day!! :) Letters are so nice to receive so I really appreciated it!! :)
Muito amor,
Sister Mattei :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tudo bem!! :)

So this email will be a little shorter than the rest so sorry but I have no time to write today :( I am glad to hear everyone is doing okay and that things are well at home!! Things have been really good here this week!! Things are getting easier each day!! :) So our President of our group here ( it isn't even a branch) moved away because he had to take care of some stuff back in Curitiba and his family was like 10 of our members so we currently have 15 members here and we changed our church to a different house. It is really tiny so hopefully we will have a newer place soon!! So my companion is Sister Sowa but most likely after our 6 weeks together in the field are up we will switch it up and I will be with Sis. Alcantara, my trainer for the other 6 weeks of our training since training is 3 months.

So this week I asked 3 people to prepare for baptism and they are all preparing. Geymeson, I think I told you about his last week, will most likely be baptized this Sunday because he wanted a little more time. He is ready though and he is so awesome!! We have some pretty great investigators!! :) Our time for church was 9 am but we changed it to 5 pm now because it fits the peoples' schedules here a lot better so we are hoping more people will come to church with the new change because it is hard sometimes to get people to go to church.

 So people here are baptized in a swimming pool. Pretty sweet. Oh to answer some of your questions Dad. We walk everywhere and we have about 40 investigators with the 4 of us together that are progressing. Some much slower than others but if they are progressing then it is a good thing! :) I live with Sis. Sowa, Alcantara and Twitchell. I am in a room with my trainer, Sis. Alcantara. The typical day is we wake up at 6:30 woo hoo :) and we get ready, exercise and then have personal study for an hour and then training and practicing for 2. We then have language study and go to a member's house for lunch. Here we eat lunch with a member, not dinner.

The members are awesome and we have all gotten super close with all of them since there are only 15! They always are feeding us and helping us with references and teaching! Here, a lot of people don't have a lot of money but there are some really nice houses and people who are more well- off than others but it is a really humble area and the people are really nice. Here, I can still say there are lower, average and higher class but it is mostly lower class living but the people are so happy nonetheless so it is a pretty awesome to see!! 

Well I have no time and I need to get going!! Sorry it is so short! I will continue to answer your questions next week!! Oh and ask Grandma and Grandpa if they ever received my letter in the mail. I sent an email last week too but I sent them a letter in Provo. Well I am always praying for all of you!! Tell everyone I say hello and I love them!! :) Have an awesome week and always count your blessings!! :) I have realized how much I truly have being here in Brazil!! Well I love all of you!! :) Stay safe and take care!! :) Thanks for writing, Dad! :)

Muito amor, 

Sister Mattei :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Oi familia!! Tudo bem!! :)

So I do not have a ton of time to write because I want to try and send pictures and such so we will see how all this will go!! So how are you all?? It sounds like you all are well and that things are going pretty good!!  It sounds like everyone is keeping´pretty busy!! I am jealous about you and Dad going on a cruise!! I am sure you will have a wonderful time and it will be nice to get away!! Good luck for Grandma and Grandpa taking care of Garrett for a week haha jk i am sure he will behave for them! I hope :)

So each week here gets a little easier and I am progressing in the language!! Understanding at times for me is the more difficult part because people talk so fast and cut off the ends of their words so it can be really difficult to understand but my trainer is awesome!! Oh and to answer Dad's question, there are 4 of us and we split into doubles. Sometimes I teach with my trainer and sometimes I teach with Sis. Sowa or Sis. Twitchell who arrived in the field the same day as me and were my previous companions in the MTC. Teaching alone at first was more scary but all this week our lessons went really well and we were able to understand our investigator's questions. We have a new teen we are teaching and his name is Gameson and we are hoping he will be baptized this upcoming Sunday. Things with Ellison are progressing but more slowly but everyone moves at different rates and as long as they are progressing I am happy! The lesson Sister Sowa and I taught to Gameson though was probably our best lesson yet! The Spirit was so Strong and we were teaching him, his 2 Brothers and his Mom. They were all interested and his Mom agreed with everything we taught as well. Gameson was the only one who attended church this past Sunday though. We have a lesson with all of them again today so I pray it goes well!

So here on P days we get to watch Disney movies!! Pretty sweet huh? :) Last week we watched Rio and Madagascar 3! We all put our beds together and ate popcorn and were in our PJs!! It was relaxing but the work here is so great!! It is hard since it is a new área and we have no chapel and very few members and I don't know the language super well but i wouldn't want it any other way because we learn through opposition and trials!! I learn so much every day!!

Dad, our house is nice and we have fans to keep us cool at night. We get cockroaches a lot and I kill them lol :) Here, there are constantly bugs in people's houses or flies but it feels normal now. The weather is perfect and we live near the beach but not on it. Sister Twitchell and I get stares sometimes because of our hair lol and we are called Barbies lol pretty funny how people react... I am Reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese which takes a lot of time but it helps me learn about the gospel and the language so it is a blessing!! Well I need to get going but things are good here on the mission and we have spiritual and crazy experience each day!! I can feel our Savior's love more now than I ever have. I hope you all take care and have a great week!! I love you a lot and am grateful for all of you :) Oh I will end with another funny experience!! :) So sister Sowa and I were knocking at doors(clapping) and this one old guy just kept talking and talking about I have no idea what... God, one second and then about George Bush lol... He touched my face and was just a little bit creepy lol... so finally we were able to leave lol... well then later in the day we were knocking doors again and we accidentally did the same guy's house... I thought it looked familiar and then Sis. Sowa was like it is him because she saw him in the house. haha So we ran and hid in the neighbors' doorway hahah... We pretty much ding dong ditched on our mission lol... who would have thought?? We felt a little bad but he really was creepy haha!! Well I hope you all have a great wonderful week!! Tell everyone hello at Kidsplay and all our friends and Family!! Love you all!! :)

Muito amor,

Sister Mattei :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Oi!! Tudo bem!! :) 

So things are continuing to get better each week I am here. Things are definitely still hard at times but I am no longer crying in the shower each morning which is definitely progress haha. I have my moments of ugh... I just wish I could express myself but I really am learning patience and just trusting in the Lord. It has been such a great learning experience and I am learning things about myself that I didn't even know existed. It is so true a mission changes you in a sense. I am still the same person but I am just learning so much about the gospel and why we are here on earth. Plus, I am now eating meat just about every day (nothing too strange though) but the Lord has truly blessed me to just eat things even when I have no desire to do so and I am living in much different circumstances than before and am speaking a totally new language.

I love experiencing a new culture. Here, learning the language and just the way of life is truly humbling. We live right by the beach in Paracuru. We can see the ocean from our back window! There are palm trees everywhere and we walk around all day long so I am getting a lot of exercise lol! Here, driving is much different, people weave in and out and there are not really speed limits in a lot of places. People ride bikes and they carry 3 or 4 people on them. How they pedal and do it I have no idea because it is just one person pedaling. People also ride bikes and motorcycles with their babies in one hand and steering with the other. It really frightens me. But I love the way people drive here because it is kind of nuts so it is pretty adventurous lol! There is trash everywhere and animals just walking around all over the streets. We see lots of stray dogs and cats, cows, donkeys, horses, chickens.... you name it lol... they are just walking around everywhere. I am used to it now and it is really an awesome thing to see. I still have not seen any monkeys though. I love the simplicity of their way of life because the people are so grateful and they have very little. Even if you do have money, the living circumstances are still much different. We have no air conditioning in our house and none of the houses we teach at have air conditioning. 

Also, I am so grateful for our plumbing in the United States because some places we can't even flush. A lot of people get their water from wells and then a lot of people also have running water. We have running water and we have a stove, microwave, washer and a flushing toilet so we have it pretty nice. I do hang dry my clothes now. I also have a bed but people sleep on hammocks everywhere here and each house has a hammock or multiple... I am going to buy one before I leave. Food is different but they still have yummy snacks I can eat at the stores so I am happy about that! Oh and their juices here are so good!! I love them!! Here they don't really eat dinner but instead a snack at night time so members always invite us over to eat bread, tapioca, popcorn, crackers or some form of snack at night with them.  We only have about 25 members here or less and the 2 baptisms we had last week were referrals from families. We can only have so many references because there are such few members so we tract a lot and we clap our hands at doors (not many door bells here) and we tell them we would like to teach them about the restored gospel. We get rejected every once in a while but the people here are very nice and will have us teach even if they are not interested,which is not always the best because they don't progress and like their church so don't want to act upon ours. Here, that is the problem which in probably every mission it is the problem, that people will say they will come to church or do things and then they don't. Plus, it is hard here because a lot of people don't have transportation so to get to church they have to walk. President Ribeiro picks some people up. Also, a lot of people want to be baptized but they are living together and have kids and getting legally married here can be tough sometimes. 

This week was good though we are teaching this 20 year old guy named Elisson and he is so awesome and is progressing and is reading the Book of Mormon. I think it is so cool when people are so interested in the gospel and are willing to act and change their lives around. Once, he did kiss Sister Sowa and I on the cheek which is normal here but immediately he was like oh I probably shouldn't have done that I am sorry. Teaching is such a great experience and I am understanding a little more each day and I try to converse with people but it is very difficult. This week our turnout at church was not the best so we are hoping this week will be better if we try our best and work, work, work!! I love all my companions and Sis. Sowa is progressing in the language faster than Sister Twitchell and I but it is nice to have people to undersand my situation. I love my trainer Sister Alcantara though, she is so sweet and very patient with me which I need at times lol.. Well I better get going but real quick I had an experience this week that was awesome! So i dont know why but this week the Plan of Salvation really hit me and I was overwhelmed with joy but was crying in my room and I just realized how lucky I am or we are to have the gospel in our lives and that we can live with our families forever if we follow the example of the Savior. I was thinking how it is hard to be away from you all and my friends for a year and a half and how I would never want to imagine life ending and never seeing any of you all again. It broke my heart that people actually think that. So just so you all know (friends and family) I am so so grateful for all of you and how much you have blessed my life and that I love you all so much and am grateful families are forever and that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again some day! We are so very fortunate and it became very real for me in that moment!! I need to get going but I love you all so much and I hope you all have a wonderful week!! :)

Oh funny but strange expereince... we taught 2 drunk people this week and one was an old man and he hadn't drank in 3 months and then did :9 his wife was upset, very sad... but we were leaving and he just kept talking and talking and he let out the longest fart I have ever heard (that is saying a lot for living with 5 brothers lol) It took so much for me to not laugh... his wife was like I am so sorry... Sister Sowa and I busted up after we left.... Oh good times on the mission! 

Muito amor,

Sister Mattei :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Oi!! Tudo bem!! :) 

This week has definitely been better than last week!! I don't have an email from you or Dad though so I guess y'all might have forgotten I don't know. So this week I am feeling much more confident and I have been exercising my faith in the Lord a lot. Everyone's prayers have truly helped me!! So thank everyone for me, because I really do appreciate it. The bathroom and I bonded with my crying moments last week haha. This week still had its tough times but each day gets easier. Last P Day we went to the beach, the sand dunes and went out to eat. It was nice to have a break and a lot of fun but I love the work here. Teaching people even in a language I barely know is something I can't describe. The Lord has truly blessed me and I am getting much better at teaching.

So crazy thing we teach without members or a trainer now. The 4 of us always split up and some days I am with my trainer and others with Sister Sowa or Sister Twitchell. Our situation is so different since we opened a brand new area. The President wants the church to grow super fast so that is why he has split us up. It is difficult to teach sometimes when it is 2 of us who are brand new in the mission field and barely know the language but Heavenly Father really helps you to understand and to speak when teaching. We are in a new country just walking around teaching by ourselves. Teaching alone without a member or a trainer is hard but we learn so much faster how to teach because the people truly listen because they know we can't speak very well and there is no one with us to translate. We teach on porches and everyone here has hammocks they sleep on or lounge in. I want to buy one before I leave. Our investigators are amazing and we have some progressing and others that aren't so interested. Some people just want someone to talk to. The people are so sweet and I love the members. We only have a few but they are so sweet and are always feeding us and wanting us to come over for snack. This lady Eliza is the sweetest; she isn't a member but she has 2 daughters that are and she says with time she will get baptized. She just has such a great spirit and I love their family, so much fun, and such great people. Her daughter is Lara who was baptized yesterday with Leeandro. It was awesome to see and a great experience!! I love Lara, she is so sweet and she is patient with us and our Portuguese. She is easy to talk to and just awesome! Oh so last week our lights went out in our house so we had to shower and everything without light haha it was crazy but fun. The weather is absolutely beautiful and I have a tan line on my feet from my Chaccos haha. I am going to return super dark. 

So yesterday Sister Sowa and I taught this lady Elza by ourselves and she understood us and she wants to learn more and was so accepting of the Restoration. She seemed to really understand it. My prayers are helping and yours are as well. I have never prayed so much in my life but it has been such a great, humbling experience and I have really learned to put my trust in the Lord and know that with time things will come and I will learn to speak and understand all around me. My testimony of the gospel is growing each day and I just love the experience here. We are so privileged to devote 18 months or 2 years to the Lord. You really learn to care only about others and not be selfish. It is something I probably needed to learn. I am so grateful for this experience and i love you all so much and truly appreciate all you do for me!! I am coming to appreciate the things I have more and more each day!! I am so blessed!! Keep praying for me and I will do the same for you all! :) Be safe and take care!! Please fix all my mistakes because again the keyboard is different. I am going to send some pictures!! Remember to pray and trust in the Lord always!! Tell everyone hello for me. Sorry about my last email being so sad, dont worry about me!! i am fine here and the work is great and I love the experience of learning and teaching!! Oh and I don't need the preach my gospel or hymn book but thank you!! Love you lots!! :)

Muito amor,

Sister Mattei :)