Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Week 10

Well, I just got done with my first week in Manaus! It's been good for the most part. I baptized a girl named Brenda. She and her mom were baptized, and she wanted the elder I replaced to do the baptism, since I took his place, I was able to do it! It was a pretty cool experience. We had the baptism on Sunday after church and it was great! A lot of members of the ward came and a lot of investigators. We had 11 investigators in our ward on Sunday, which is a miracle for this area. I'm serving in one of the hardest areas in the city. But, after a lot of investigators saw the baptism, they all want to be baptized as well! We had a few ask us if they could be baptized right then and there! We are hoping for some success this month with baptisms. We had several investigators that are SO close! A lot of them know it's true, they know it. There are just some life-style changes that need to occur, but I have faith that things will work out with some of them. So, if all goes well, we should have some weddings and some baptisms. I'm excited!

It's hot here! My first couple days were pretty cloudy and not really that bad, but it's been getting warmer. Turns out September is the hottest month of the year. Whoo! It's the dry season, never rains and there should never even be a breeze. But, I brought some Seattle weather with me I guess. A few days we had some breezes and there were some clouds. So that's cool. The Brasileros make fun of me for being white. I put a little sunscreen on and have never really burned. Well, a little on my neck, but it's not bad. I'm getting tan and have a line. Gross...but whatever I guess.

I've learned so much with the language this week. The first couple days were pretty hard. People talk fast and with and accent. At first I had no clue what was going on- which drives me nuts. I'm starting to get better with it and am understanding more than at the beginning of the week. In the CTM, I learned how to speak decently, but hearing is different. My trainer speaks like a Brazilian. It's helpful for me. He's helping me with my accent and helping me learn the language. I can't wait for the day that I'm fluent! I just wish it were soon!

My dad (Elder Christensen) is way cool. All the trainers are called pais and the trainees are filhos (dads/kids). He's funny and we get along well. He's been in this area for 3 months, so it's nice to have an in with the members. We get along really well, and I can never imagine there being a problem with us. He's a good missionary and teaches me a lot.

So, you asked about the food. This one is going to be a big surprise. Rice and beans!! Every lunch (well- except one- there were no beans). It's pretty good though, and I'm glad it's not something worse. For breakfast, (which isn't really formal at all. It's like a snack) I eat cereal. Lunch is the big meal here, and we usually eat with members, unless they forget. Then they usually give us money and we go to a restaurant. They also like to eat noodles, but with nothing on them. It's kinda weird...but I like the variety. We don't eat dinner. I think we did once. That's our time to find people at home and to teach. When we get back home we make some eggs or a little snack. That's the food. In some of the poorer areas they eat a lot more fish, but here- rice and beans. The drinks are way good though. Like passion fruit juice or pineapple juice, guava, mango. So good!

I'm in the central part of the city and not really IN the rainforest. But even parts of the city are right next to it. You see monkeys and snakes. You could just walk right into the forest. I hear that's a cool area to serve. The wards are big over there and the work is exploding with lots of baptisms, and the churches are packed. I saw my first snake this week. He wasn't too big, but it was cool to see. I've seen papigioes. (I'm sure I spelled that wrong.) They are the smaller green parrots and are crazy. I haven't seen an arara yet, the BIG red parrots. I guess they are huge. The little papigoes are pretty funny and some people keep them as pets and teach them words. It was funny the first time I heard one saying "oi". They yell words and whistle at you. It's pretty funny. I guess some will even say their owner's name. I'm looking forward to seeing a full arara.

Today, we are at the center, the downtown area. My pai took me to see the Rio Negro and showed me the old opera house and other sights.
Props to Shannon for the mission papers! It's hard, but you'll love it! Hopefully, you get called to Brazil. But, props to you.

So one interesting thing- this area is nuts with churches. There are more churches than I ever knew existed, and some of them are crazy. You can hear them yelling and screaming down the street. There are so many different churches- like more than the McDonald's and Starbucks combined in Seattle (probably add gas stations to that, too.) The people are super religious, which is what makes it hard sometimes. They all have their church, or believe there isn't one true church. Most of the people are nice, but it can be hard to talk with them about religion because they believe so many different things. But,it's fun!

Well, that's pretty much it for now. Oh, if you guys ever feel like sending me a package you should send some skittles, peanut butter and jelly, and taco seasoning. You are probably wondering why taco seasoning. It's because this place is driving me nuts for mexican food. Elder Christensen, too. I feel like I should be able to go pick up a taco or tortilla or Mexican food anywhere! But it doesn't exist! So, if you ever send a package, that would be appreciated. So, have a good week, keep it real, and yeah...Love you guys. Tchao!

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