Monday, January 28, 2013

Week 11

Oí folks! 

So things here in Guará are going well. Well... well considering my Portuguese is still a bit rough. But, I am understanding people better and better everyday. One of the women in our ward flew to SLC and got back a couple day. She said it was cold, but that the snow was beautiful and she got to go to City Creek Mall which she was pretty excited for. It sounds like things are pretty cold there. I hope you all are all enjoying the winter and warm houses and blankets. I like all of those things! Here it is still raining. I guess the rainy season lasts till April ish and then begins the 6 ish months of the dry season. So I should enjoy cooler weather for now. It really is quite rainy though! Okay, time for a couple stories- 

1. We always ask members and investigators if we can help them do anything- like work around the house or whatever. 90 percent of the time people turn us down and say oh no worries. We are supposed to have service hours so its a little rough when no one accepts our help, but we were visiting an investigator and her husband wasnt home for the appointment we had yet so she asked us to help her do laundry. She seriously had a bed full of laundry... a whole ton. We ironed all of it. I dont even know how to iron that well, but I am pretty sure none of the clothing items we ironed needed to be ironed. It took quite a while too. Writing this out this story doesnt sound that funny. But it is... I promise. More about laundry. Another woman we had a lunch appt. with had us help her. She had S. Victorio make juice and had me fold laundry that was on the line. All the laundry were underwear and such. In summary... I am not all together too comfortable with doing the laundry of other people. 

2. We went and visited some references of the ward missionaries. Two of the ladies that we visited were very talkative. VERY VERY talkative. Even if I couldnt speak any Potuguese I dont think they would have even noticed. That is how much they talk. Anyway, one of the women while we were at her house, she was very animated and enthusiastic about gospel and and the end of our lesson she asked if she could say the closing prayer. We said yes and she stood up and started saying this really loud preachy kind of prayer. I had my head bowed so I couldnt see what was going on but all of the sunday she put her hands on my head and started blessing me. I was a bit strange. She said nice things, but I was too stunned for words. This is by far the longest prayer I have ever experienced. Ever. ha ha ha 

3. So we went and visited the bishop and his wife. After we decided we would stop by and see the bishops mom who lives in a little house just in front of theirs. We knocked and she asked who it was ... We called out and identified ourselves and she opened the door... butt-naked. She had not one single item of clothing on! Oh my lanta. That was...I dont even know what to say about that. But its funny now I guess! 

4. Running into the Elders. So we are the only missionaries in Guará 2, but there are two sets of elders in Guará 1 the city proximal to us. We were finding an investigator in an appartment complex. We paged up and her mom said she wasnt home but that we could come up. I started to walk in the door and someone called out my name behind me and it was a set of elders in our district,  Elder Amon and Elder Bell! That was exciting. They were going to the exact same apartment to help move some furniture for a man living in their area. It was pretty exciting to see them and we helpe them move a bed and desk down 4 flights of stairs. My district here is pretty awesome. They are all really nice. We have 3 americans and 2 brazilians and 1 bolivian. 

5. Last night we had our first baptism in Guará. Elder Tippetts and Elder B. Gomes had been teaching this woman Adriana. It was really cool to go to a legitimate baptism here in Brasil. The ward mission leader asked me to lead the music. I did--- but I am terrible at everything musical. I think people just automatically assume I know how to play the piano and lead music and such...but I definitely cant. Elder Bell and Tippetts were laughing the whole time I was leading because they knew I had no idea what I was doing. But, its all good! 

Other than this things are going well in the mission. I walk a lot. It rains a lot. And the people in Brasil are awesome! Love you guys, dont forget to stay in touch! 

Sister Hoopes

Monday, January 21, 2013

Week 10

Happy Holiday Folks! 

Thought of the day:  

If you are not as close to God today as you were yesterday, guess who moved!

Life in Brazil is going good! I made a list of different experiences that I had this week that I think are pretty noteworthy so I will begin with that: 

 1. Lizard. So there are lots of really cool lizards here. I enjoyed seeing them climbing on walls and moving around outside... but the other night we returned home and we immediately started doing our planning for the next day. We start our planning sessions by kneeling down by our desks and saying a prayer. I knelt down and I am really glad I looked before I got all the way on the floor because I found a lizard on the floor. I didnt go as crazy as I did with the cockroach in the shower at the ctm, but I was pretty taken aback. I actually caught the lizard in a bag and put it outside. You all should be proud. I also took a picture so I will try to send that as well. 

2. The members in the ward provide lunch for us which I am really grateful for. We usually go to the house of the family and they prepare some large meal with rice and beans and salad and some sort of meat. Usually good. But, this week one of the sisters in the ward came and picked us up and took us out of our area to a shopping center to OUTBACK Steakhouse. Ah, it was so good! We ate so much and it was so delicious and I knew exactly what I was eating. It was awesome. The woman that took us her name is Laura and she is an English professor which is awesome because we can communicate fully.  

3. Cat and Bluebird. Okay this is a weird one. So Sister Victorio and I were visiting an investigator for the first time that actually called us to come teach. His name is Adimar. He is awesome and definitely ready to be baptized, but is preoccupied because he has already been baptized before and does thinks it is an abomination to be baptized again. Other sisters have visited before and he really likes the missionary program we have in our church and really respects that the young people of our church leave everything to serve the church for this time. Anyway back to the story. We sat outside on his patio area for the lesson and while we were talking his cat came up with a bluebird in its mouth. This bluebird was dead... I am pretty sure it died a death by cat... but it was pretty large. Like bigger than the head and neck of the cat. Anyway I sat there and watched the cat eat that entire bluebird on the patio. I was the only one that was facing that direction and I didnt know if I should say something... like oh hey... your cat is eating a large bird on your patio is that okay? I ended up not saying anything at all. It was really gross to watch... but I stayed composed and the lesson went well. 
4. Mayonnaise Ketchup and Mustard...and butter. (Sorry is I spell anything wrong... this computer says I spell everything wrong because it is set to portuguese) But these three condiments are much loved by my companion. I think I may have said this last week... But nothing I could have said could possibly describe her love for these things. One of our lunches fell through last week and so we ate some fruit and had bread. I just put a little butter on my bread and heated it up. She loaded her bread with these condiments all of them nothing else and ate it. Another borderline horrific spectacle! Just kidding... but really strange. I have a picture of her pizza with mayonnaise ketchup and mustard that I will also try to attach! 

5. Carlos... Carlos is a menos ativo member of the church. We found his name on a list and went to visit him. He was crazy. Seriously crazy and kept saying things like Mentiras and christ is dead and everything we believe is wrong because he found some sort of information on the internet. We got out quick but he was loco. 

6. I still dont speak super well. Actually I still speak pretty bad, but I understand what people are saying for the most part. We were walking and started talking to these girls around 8 to 10 ish years old. Sister V. spoke first and they started laughing at her because her pronunciation of portuguese has a spanish accent. They didnt understand her when she asked a question... they looked at me expectantly and I asked the question again for them... and they laughed at me too. I was not altogether too pleased that little kids thought I was stupid because my language was rough. Perhaps that will be enough motivation to try harder! 

7. Morning Hymns. Ha ha ha. Really though. Sister V and I sing a hymn every morning and it is terrible. Sometimes I know what the tune is supposed to be but trying to sing the tune and the right words in Portuguese is difficult for me and she is not particularly musically inclined either. I am just glad no one else has to hear it. 

8. First Portuguese telephone call. I actually talked on the phone in portuguese! Not a long conversation. But, apparently Ben called the mission office last week because my pday was so delayed? All is well here. I am alive and I guess sometimes pdays will get switched so dont get worried about me! 

Okay these are my stories for now! The people here in Guara 2 are awesome. We have a few progressing investigators and we know a lot more people in the ward now. We are a lot better at finding places here now too which is good. I walk a lot... unfortunately the mission is not a solid weight loss program for us! I learned the word gordinho... But... all is well =) 

I love you all and hope that you all are doing well! You should all send me real letters to my mission home address because I like letters and such! 
Love Sister Hoopes

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hello from Guara 2: Week 9

Hello Everyone!

I feel like it has been forever since I have talked to you all! I have made it to my first area Guará 2. It is a city proximal to the city of Brasília and about 20 or 30 minutes from the mission home. I am going to recap my life in order hopefully quick ish. So my last week at the CTM was great. We had a lot of non-study time which was excellent and we got to go and proselyte on a major street in São Paulo. I think the neighborhood is called Barriga. We went as a district with a Brazillian district on the omnibus. The first person that I talked to came up to me and she knew English really well so it was a pretty awesome. It felt like people came up to me more than I approached them which really helped build my confidence leaving the ctm. One lady on the omnibus on our way back to the CTM grabbed my arm and stopped me to sit by her. She didnt know anything about our religion so I talked to her about it and gave her a Book of Mormon. She was super happy to receive it and she wound up giving me some sort of nutrigrain sort of bar before I left. That was a little weird, but still good. On our trip our instructors took us to McDonalds and got us all icecream which was super delicious.

We left the CTM early on Tuesday morning. The flight to Brasília was maybe an hour and a half. super fast. I think 10 or 12 of us travelled there together. There were a lot of us arriving that day. Maybe half of us were North Americans and the rest were Brazillians. President and Sister Gaertner were at the airport with the APs to meet us. They are both super nice and fortunately both bilingual. We ate lunch at the mission home which is huge and beautiful, got interviewed and were assigned our areas during the interviews. I was the last sister to be interviewed so I dont know if President Gaertner would have put me someone different had he realized I am retarded in the most literal sense with Portuguese. But, all is well! My first area is Guará 2 as I mentioned before. It is the same area Sister Sargeant (she is a sister from Tamies home ward) served in for her first area I think. The members here liked her alot. Anyway my companion is Sister Victorio... a Bolivian. This is significant in many ways. First, I will say that she is awesome. Legitimately a sincerely happy and energetic person. I really like that. The only difficulties we have is that her native language is Spanish. Mine is English. We are both still learning Portuguese. And she doesnt speak any English. I mean 0 percent. CRAZY. Somehow we can still communicate. Her Portuguese is pretty good though but she has a strong accent. She has been in the field for 5 months and I am her first Junior companion and also the first person she gets to train! Asside from a slight language barrier... we are both brand new to Guará. We didnt know any people here and only had a list of the investigators the last sisters had and a list of inactive members. We have walked around a ton figuring out where places are and meeting ward members and trying to find our investigators. We have also got to knock doors... which means clap at the gates to these peoples houses. I dont know how they can possibly hear us! It is cleaner here than São Paulo and greener too. It has rained the last 3 days straight which means I have spent most of my afternoons quite wet from the rain! 

Things are going well. My Portuguese is terrible still, but I am working really hard even though a lot of people kind of laugh at me when I try to say things that I havent said before. The ward mission leader and another girl in the ward know English so luckily they can help me understand some things better if I have questions! This is all for now, next week  I will send pictures for you all! 

Love you all, 

Sister Hoopes 

PS Send mail to the mission home for me now! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year-Week 8

Feliz Novo Ano!

We made it through another year! Things at teh CTM have been going well. President Degn didn't want any missionaries out on New Years so my final p-day got moved to today (wednesday). After the fireworks and canons I experienced the night before Christmas, I figured New Years was going to be really crazy. It might have been, but I have no idea because I went to bed that night and heard some fireworks and next thing I knew I was waking up the next morning. Someone must have put something in our brownies that night because none of the sisters in my room heard anything. (just joking about the brownies, but we really didn't wake up to anything)

So, last night someone pulled the firealarm...again. Yep, again. This is the second time in 2 weeks I think. Everytime people get crazy when the alarm goes off. I have no idea why. There is clearly no fire. I think next time I will just skip the evacuation and stay in my room. That is if there is a next time...

This week I am leaving Sao Paulo and traveling to Brasilia finally! I am really excited and nervous. I still don't know what to expect. I don't know where I am going area wise yet either. I don't know what day my pday will be either. So give me all the way through next week before you all start getting worried about not hearing from me. Not that you should ever worry... I am pretty sure I am in good hands.

Funny story of the week. In class our instructor split the district into two groups and gave us a desert scenario in which we had to put in order of importance a list of items that were available to use. After we would have to explain to the other group why we chose what we did. I could see that my group was having problems agreeing on what items were most important so I convinced them to just be funny and put the items in alphabetical order. They all were in and we decided that we would stay as serious as possible and give ridiculous reasons why we chose what we did. The other team was serious in their answers which made it funny because they couldnt understand why water was so far down on our list. They were so confused especially when we said we needed the water so we could wash our hands and faces. It was funny.