Friday, January 29, 2010

Porto Velho

Hey guys

This week went pretty well for the most part. It had it's ups and downs. Our baptism fell through on Sunday. The lady didn't make it to church. We visited her on Monday and it turns out she got sick and had to go to the hospital. Since nobody has phones (or credits to call people....) she wasn't able to call us and was pretty upset about it. We rescheduled for this Sunday and I'm hoping and praying that everything goes well.

We had zone conference this week. I can honestly say I look forward to zone conference. President, the assisstants and Sister gave some trainings. We had a great lunch and had interviews with President. I let him know that I want to work harder than I am right now and we had a nice little chat. He's a good guy. So zone conference was very fun. The only problem was that the assistants forgot our mail in Manaus! It's a good thing I like the guys- or I would've gotten really mad at them. (And... they are a lot bigger than me.) One is a hard core cowboy and the other is 6'4" and from Rio. (They, obviously, haven't lived in an area where you only get mail once every 6 weeks!)

The assistants have decided that I am officially Elder Christensen's "son". Sister was training us about having a reserve fund as a missionary and asked me to read something about how we need to have a reserve of R$50. But, I accidentally read R$5. When everybody corrected me, I said (with a strong Manaus accent) "eu sou pobre eu" (or "I'm poor"). Everybody started laughing and afterwards the assisstants told me I sounded just like Christensen. I guess that's a good thing considering he had a really good accent...I guess my accent is improving. But, I'm still working on it.

On Saturday we helped a sister in our ward paint her house....exciting. It actually went by pretty fast and was a nice break from the usual day-to-day activities. We walked to her house in street clothes. Talk about weird. It was a 20 min walk and felt so cool to go down the street in shorts and a t-shirt and tennis shoes. I kinda miss it actually. Just one year and 5 months to go....

One day, all of our appts fell through after we walked to the edge of our area. We were decently close to the forest. We found some pretty gnarly spots in our area. Too bad I still don't have my camera or I would've taken some sweet pics. I might have to borrow a camera 'cuz it was cool. We didn't go into the rainforest itself, but got pretty close. This week I'll try to take some pics for you guys....we'll see how it goes

So, today, our zone is going to Subway for lunch! I'm stoked. Except, it's so expensive...but, oh well. So good!

Quick story- I've been dreaming in Portuguese for a while now, (actually I think some strange mix of Portuguese and English). I guess this week I was sleep talking in Portuguese. My comp told me the next morning that I was saying things in Portuguese. A little embarassing, but also, pretty cool. boa sorte....mas, só isso então. Até mais. tchau

That's tight Chandler is going to Tawain! I'm stoked! If you see him, tell him good luck and congrats for me. Way cool.

I talked with President this week about visas. It sounds like they are picking up and going a little faster now. But, still a little slow. Have fun in the temple with Shan. Encourage her to go a lot. I wish I would've gone more, especially because we don't have one least her mission has a temple...

Anyway, have a good week. tchau

Elder Eric Stapley

Monday, January 25, 2010

Porto Velho, Rondonia

Hey guys!

Well, it's P-day again. We just got done playing basketball and soccer with our zone. It was a fun time. I can't wait to play sports again where it's not burning hot every second.

We have a potential baptism this week. It's a lady that has a testimony of everything, but doesn't always go to church. Even active ward members don't go because of rain. Maybe it's just because I grew up in Seattle, but you wouldn't think rain is THAT big of a deal. But, I'm praying everything goes well with this baptism. It feels like it's been a while since we've had one. I guess about 3 weeks ago...

On Sunday, our stake went on a bus trip to the temple and got back Sunday night. Our lunch got put on the bus. So, we were left without lunch. So, we got together with the other elder's (who's lunch left, too) and threw together all the food we had. Our lunch consisted of noodles, popcorn, and the brownies that you sent me, and Kool-Aid. Solid lunch. It made for a pretty fun time and some members fed us throughout the day. It didn't turn out too bad and the brownies definately turned out well!

I got a little sunburned this week. Freaking sun. Our area is massive! We got a reference of someone that lives on the far edge of our area. It was the first time that Elder de Jesus and I had headed out that far. It was a 2 hour walk, and when we arrived....he wasn't home! But, we left a note inviting him to church. He actually came on Sunday. He had class or work or something, but it was cool that he came by (in the rain...) just to say that he wouldn't make it. He will come next Sunday for sure. So, looks like there could be some potential there. Cool guy...

Monday I went on a division with Elder Olsen, an American from Utah, who is heading home in about 3 weeks. It was fun. We worked hard. His area is pretty cool. We went to some houses that look like they're completely surrounded by rainforest. Kinda cool...

This week we have zone conference! I haven't gotten my camera yet, but it might come with the assistants from Manaus. If they have room....but I'm stoked. Zone conference always makes for a good time. And... it means letters! Hopefully I'll get some....

To respond to your concerns, yes, I'm doing fine. Sometimes I get a little frustrated with the area, but overall, I'm enjoying it here. I'm growing to like my ward and the people here. Hope you guys have a good week, and talk to you next week. Tchao!

-Elder Eric Stapley

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Porto Velho

It's P-day again! Overall, we had a pretty good week. It's definitely the rainy season... It rains every day and is still hotter than inferno. But, it's all good! Every once in a while it reminds me of home, except a lot hotter...

So, yesterday I went on a division again. It was with an American who's been serving about 8 months. We had a pretty good time. Except lunch...I heard lunch was going to be fish. I was pretty excited. When we got there, I realized it wasn't a fish that I'd eaten before. I honestly thought it was a piranha. It was ugly (hideous actually...) and had massive teeth. My comp and I just looked at each other, then we ate it. It tasted pretty good, but it's spine and bones were tiny. (Usually we only get tambaci here. It's a bigger fish, tastes good, and has some pretty fat bones.) So, I was eating pretty slowly, but I still ended up swallowing a fish bone. I didn't say anything- didn't want to freak everyone out- and just kinda kept eating. It finally went down. I was worried for a second. Bigger fish are so much better. But, I'm still alive.

The other interesting thing about the division, I was the better Portuguese speaker for the day. That doesn't happen too often. It was kinda fun. It gave me the chance to talk more and see what it's like to be the senior. I gotta admit, I enjoyed it. I'd like to turn senior next transfer, but don't know if that will happen. President leaves everyone as juniors a long time. It's not uncommon to have missionaries with 9-10 months still as juniors. We'll see though...

This week was pretty normal. Elder De Jesus and I get along for the most part and we're pretty good friends.

I made chocolate chip cookies this week with another American. It's fun to make them with Brazilian companions, they don't eat much. They say the sugar isn't good for them and they aren't used to it. I'm fine with that. We use something like brown sugar, but different, so the cookies weren't exactly like at home, but they were pretty good.

Have a great week, love you guys, e Tchao!

-Elder Eric Stapley

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Porto Velho

Before I forget, I'll respond to some of your questions. I'm using the ice cream ball and have made ice cream 3 times. I'm waiting for the right time to make the brownies. In the picture I sent home last week, all 3 of the Brazillians are missionaries. They are just short. We were playing frisbee and basketball. As far as the package, it was great! I can wait awhile for new black socks. I'll destroy the ones I have a little bit more. But yeah, I liked everything in it. Cheeze-its are a repeat. As well as brownies. Whatever you send... I'll like it.

Overall we had a good week. We had another baptism on Sunday. It was well attended. Now we are trying to find some new people to teach. We're starting to work with a couple that will get married in February. The work is going well.

So, this was an interesting week for food. On New Year's Day we had a great feast. Lasagna, fish, fruit. Good stuff. I think it was the first time I had fish in Porto Velho. I also experimented with 2 new kinds of ice cream. Plum, and corn. I think plum was the better of the two....but it's just kinda weird. Some other American missionaries and I are looking for mint extract to make mint chocolate chip ice cream. It's kinda difficult here....but we're trying. Also! We went to SUBWAY!! We went with 2 other missionaries. It was so good. The other American and I went first, bought 6 inch sandwiches, and before our Brazilian comps were done ordering, we were finished and in line to buy another. So good!

New Year's was pretty fun. Like Dad guessed, the city was full of drinking, fireworks and partying. We had a mini party in our house. We made some ice cream and played some UNO. Pretty exciting... it made for a good time.

I'm trying to think what else went down this week....not too much really. Rain, sun, mud. The usual.

-Elder Eric Stapley