Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Porto Velho, Rondonia

Two letters this week! We received this letter via airmail from Eric's trainer. (And have permission to share it.)
Stapley Family,
Greeting from Brazil! Except it's not your son, it's me, Elder Christensen. You are probably wondering why I am writing. Last week, Elder Stapley was transferred from our ward. As his trainer, I spent 2 wonderful transfers with him. I just wanted to congratulate your family for such a wonderful son/brother.
I have to admit, Elder Stapley was by far one of my favorite comps. Not only because we were such good friends, but because he was a great missionary. He has an impressive knowledge of the gospel, a strong desire to work and learn, and speaks great Portuguese already. He will soon be perfectly fluent.
I always joked with him that he had to make me proud when I leave. I can promise you that no matter what callings of leadership he holds on his mission, he will make all of us very proud. Thank you for having a great son! I expect to see him back at BYU in a couple years. Congratulations also on your beautiful family! I have a younger sister that looks EXACTLY like your youngest...Callen? And congrats to Shannon on her call to Brazil. She'll love it here. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! -Elder Christensen

Hey guys!
I'll start by answering some questions. The Christmas package is sitting in Manaus still!! The asisstants didn't bring it when they came. I'll get it when I go to Manaus. It will feel more like Christmas getting my package right then. Elder C will still be in Manaus, his group doesn't leave until Dec 30. Poor guy. BYU starts back up Jan. 3rd...Lame. I'll get to see him and we'll party it up at the Christmas conference. We're all going on a boat to the encontra das aguas. We'll eat lunch on the boat. It's going to be sweet. I met Elder Mason. I didn't realize he's related to Chandler. He worked in this area and lots of people know him. He seems like a cool guy.

This week went well. We had a baptism on Sunday of a 76 year old man. That was exciting. We had interviews with President on Monday. He told me visas were taking longer to arrive, and I told him how Shannon doesn't leave until March. We talked about her mission Pres. Shannon's only going to get to know him for a month or 2, and then get a new one. I hear he's a really good guy. Pres. Jayme likes him. Also, while waiting, I talked with Sister Jayme. She's actually from New Jersey, and pretty close to Morristown! That was her stake. It reminded me of Brian, at least he's getting a winter there. It's still hot over here and rains.

Yesterday we had zone conferene. I was used to zone conference with 100 missionaries, but there was just 16. It was a lot more personal and we were able to get some good feedback and training from Pres. One of the other missionaries taught me how to call to Manaus and I gave Elder Christensen a quick call last night. It's fun talking with him because he sounds just like the people from Manaus. Here, they have all sorts of random accents. I'm trying to hold on to what little bit of Manaus accent I picked up...

We marked one more baptism for the beginning of January. We are teaching a decent amount of lessons, and 4 out of the 5 baptisms since I've been here- are all men. Not bad...the work is going pretty well.

Shannon, I'm glad you'll start learning Portuguese right now. It's lame you have to wait to leave, but my advice is take advantage of the time. If you want my personal advice, practice at least an hour everyday. Minimum. An hour and a half is better. I'm not kidding. It will pay off. You will definately learn more when you arrive here, but, if you start learning a few things in the U.S parabens. Really go to work and study it. Learn it right. Really learn the rules, how to pronounce things, and just go to work. If you have questions, you can ask me. I'm not a pro, but I could probably help if you need it. But, pelo menos 1 hour a day. I'm not kidding...

Our stake had a Christmas devotional and the missionaries went. Poor choice. When it got done all of us Americans just looked at each other and someone said, "who is missing home right now?" Sure enough, we all raised our hands. Something about Christmas music. I can't say it even feels like Christmas. It's still hot here, I'm still working a lot. We bought a little Christmas tree, but it doesn't really feel like December and Christmas. It was only when I sat down and heard Christmas music that it actually clicked that it's almost Christmas. Weird. They sang 'Oh holy night' and just didn't do it justice. I can honestly say I'd do anything to hear Erynn play it on her harp with Brynn singing. Mas rapaz. That's over, we went back to work, and it feels like the middle of summer again. I think we are planning a little missionary Christmas carol night though...that's going to feel strange.

Oh yeah. One more thing. My camera broke. Not my fault- by the way. I might have to have you guys send me another probably didn't want to hear that.

Well, I guess that was pretty much it, have a good week. Miss you guys and hope all is well. Love you guys!

-Elder Eric Stapley

No comments:

Post a Comment