Tudo Bom! (All´s good!)
So you got my package? Tell me more about how much the girls liked their letters. They were really special and took me a LONG time.
The work is really, really, REALLY hard down here, physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. But I grow every day! My trainer, Elder Aguiar, is the best! He speaks very little English, but I know more than enough Portuguese to communicate with him now, through the Spirit, of course. We share a ghetto apartment with two other missionares (we share the ward/area), Elder Salazar from Chile (Spanish, Portuguese, and a bit of English), and Elder Baisden from Ohio (English, Portuguese, and a bit of Spanish). Elders Aguiar and Baisden are both district leaders (I don´t know how) so technically, I´m the senior companion. I broke down yesterday because I finally was able to talk to Elder Baisden in English, but he quickly brought me back and I´m stronger than ever! I´m losing weight despite the mountains of food because we only get one meal a day (massive lunch with members where culture prevents moderation) and we walk EVERYWHERE. So many hills! So many blisters! It´s awesome! My feet hurt ALL THE TIME, I LOVE IT! Brazil is my home, now. Everything is so delightfully sketchy and ghetto. Sao Paulo is 26 times bigger than NYC and my mission has 11 million people in it, yet it´s the smallest mission (area-wise) in Brazil. Standard of living is very low. It´s extremely humble. But we made 20 new investigators in 3 days, one of which was a Sunday, one potential baptism, and I´ve already baptized a kid, taught by the other two Elders. I had to try 5 times because he squirmed so much. So I had 5 baptisms on my first Sunday. The meeting was great, I think. I didn´t understand much, but I felt the Spirit nonetheless. The meetings are backwards: Elders´ Quorum, Sunday School, then Sacrament Meeting. President and Sister Pinho are awesome! Best mission president ever! Everything is so ghetto! Stray dogs and cats everywhere! Trash all over the streets! No traffic rules, barely any police presence! Lots of loud music, more than half from the United States! And the food is sooo good here! No parasites, yet! The water is clean, but we still are advised against drinking from the tap, since the tap comes from a BIG barrel on the adjacent roof and who knows what could get in there. Not much else to report, except that I love it, here, and it´s life-changing!
That´s it for now! I love you!