Hello Family and Friends,
There is so much to write and so little time.
Our last week was challenging at the CTM because they changed the schedule and because we were only there for four days of the new schedule, we had about 7 hours of personal study each day. It was difficult to keep myself engaged for that many hours. Then there was one teacher who apparently memorized the rule book and I realized how many rules there actually were at the CTM. For instance, he said we can´t kneel during closing prayer in our classrooms. That was hard for me to understand. It is sometimes difficult for me to “do” without understanding the “why.” For instance the only reason that I “do” the study journal is because the Mission President will look through it during our interviews and he has asked us to do it. I don´t understand any other reason for doing it, but that is what I have to do.
My companion is Elder ______ and he is pretty cool but at the same time there are a few things that are challenging. He helps me a lot with learning Portuguese, and I appreciate it a lot. He knows a bit of English but sometimes he can´t understand what I am saying in English. That´s completely understandable but then again, I can´t understand what he is talking about at times and it frustrates me. For example, he tells me something important and then about 30 seconds later when I want to repeat it so that I can make sure I remember it, he has no idea what I am talking about and he looks at me as if I´m crazy. He likes to give very long prayers. Last night, and I am not exaggerating at all in this sentence, he gave a ten-minute prayer after a three-hour lesson. Now I´m fine with a one-hour lesson and maybe a four-minute prayer, which I still think is a lot, what he did was too much. And I couldn´t really do anything since I don´t know any Portuguese, so I had to sit through it all and pretend I was listening.
I have learned some good things, however, from my companion. He drinks really loud and I had no idea how annoying that sounded before so I will stop drinking loud myself. I have also learned that I should talk to people more, since I have always been a little shy about talking to those I don´t know. I have also learned that I need to get along with everyone, since in the past, if my personality clashed with someone else's, I wouldn´t ever hang out with that person. I have learned that the general conference talks are not allowed in personal study since those are not scripture material or something like that. I don´t know for sure, but I started reading the conference talks and my companion (Elder ____ ) pointed out my error, like he does with a lot of things. I'm not sure if it is possible to completely understand him. Finally, he is very touchy-feely which is probably one of my biggest pet-peeves if not the biggest. He touches my shoulder constantly and pats my back all the time. I don´t like it. Maybe once or twice a day you can give a guy a pat on the back, or if you are very happy which is about once a week you can give a hug. Not constantly. And that goes with any person to a degree, but males especially.
So we are teaching quite a few people here in Criciuma (that´s the name of the city) that we really have no time to go tracting or other proselyting. We have a ton of referrals so we are going around and trying to contact them. We have a marriage this Wednesday or Thursday, I forget which and then a baptism on Saturday so we are preparing the investigators for those. I have committed two investigators for baptism and that is really cool.
The weather here is rainy and the members at church are very nice. I think there were quite a few investigators at church, either that, or there were a bunch of members wearing jeans and T-shirts. That is understandable since this area is a little more poor than others. The style of clothing is much more uniform here than it is in America and it goes for members as well. The women tend to wear tighter clothing and it is loose for guys, all ages, unless you are a missionary, at church (for guys at least), or weird, and no I am not trying to be offensive.
Oh yeah, Happy Father´s day dad. Yesterday on Sunday was Father´s Day in Brazil. I was kind of surprised that it was in a different month. But it is.
I´m sure that this week will go better than last week and hopefully I will eat more, since breakfast and dinner are not as big of meals as they are in America. Lunch is the biggest meal here.
Good luck with the wedding plans. I will probably not get your letters until next zone or district meetings, one of the two. The mission president is cool, though he speaks very little English. Gotta go.