Tuesday, June 25, 2013

First Companion in Brazil: Sister Castro

June 24, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,  
     Before i begin telling you about my adventures, can somebody tell me why the word suave, as in to be smooth, is bad? We were eating dinner with a family and their daughter kept sneaking dessert while her mom was turned around. I told she was smooth, as in, as in she had sneaky skills enough to get away with eating dessert. My companion Sister Castro asked who taught me the word smooth and then asked that I never repeat it. I thought you could say that, oops.
     I found out Monday of last week that I was leaving the next day for Brazil. There was one other sister living in our house that was also going to Brasil, she was the only other person to receive their visa. I managed to pack pretty fast, but she had a lot of stuff. It took 3 people a whole day to help her finish. I just tried to stay calm so that she would stop worrying. We took a direct flight from JFK airport to Sao Paulo and then waited a few hours in Sao Paulo for a 1 hour connecting flight to Ribeirao Preto. The office elders met us at the airport. Apparently they had just barely found out we were coming too. They took us to the mission office where we received a huge welcome from several more office elders and a few sisters that I would soon come to find out would be our companions. We met President Prieto and his wife, who speak absolutely no English and are finish their time serving here this week. President Brum should be arriving this week. We never went to the mission home. I guess President Prieto doesn't do that because my companion has never been there either. We received our assignments right away, got a bit of training, and off we went. My companion is Sister Castro. She's from Sao Paulo....she doesn't really speak English either. What an adventure. I'm praying for the gift of communication with my companion; so far its going alright.
     We were supposed to catch a bus to Penapolis when I arrived a Wednesday, but my companion lost her photo id.... She tried to explain to the bus driver that she was Brazilian. He didn't really care: no photo id, no bus. End of story. I was good though with my American id, which I was super grateful to have. Thanks mom and dad. I'll be taking buses a lot, so I'm going to need that. We spent the night with Sister Training Leaders and attended the wedding of one of their investigators. Oh, I arrived on the birthday of Ribeirao Preto. The ward had a party to celebrate. So in my first 2 days, I attended a wedding and a huge ward party.
     I'm learning to speak Portuguese. Its an adventure. The hardest parts are remembering the doctrine while trying to explain in Portuguese and understanding peoples' names/relationships. I forget everyone's names because they are way different and because they say them in Portuguese. We are teaching an 8 year old girl and I said her name like 30 times, and every time I said her name, she said I was wrong. Sister Castro finally stepped in and said it was because I had an accent. We taught this wonderful little girl last night at what I thought was her house, with her family. We taught the Restoration; she has an amazing testimony. Her mother shared her testimony, it was a great lesson. I came to find out thought, that she actually lived in the house behind them and it was actually her neighbor's mom that was sharing her testimony. We were having a lesson with a member president! Boy was I confused. It happens a lot (well, a lot for one week).
     We eat lunch with a different family everyday. We don't eat a whole lot other than that. Brazilians basically eat a huge lunch, and then crackers and juice for whatever other meal they want. Which explains why people always tell the missionaries to eat more! eat more! Its because its your only real meal of the day. Don't worry though, I get enough to eat. I just watched the broadcast from President Monson. And, I should have another  40 minutes of email. But, I have just been informed that I need to finish now. My companion says were leaving. I' not really sure why, but apparently I'm supposed to be done already. I'm super confused at the moment, but I love you. My companion is amazing. I have a testimony. I kind of-ish, sort of understand Portuguese.

I love you both. 
Sister Hoggan

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