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 :)

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