I´m here in my first area! - Caico Week 1

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It takes a long time to upload photos with the internet here, so I only had time to attach 1- It´s with Elder Fernandes.

I left the MTC on tuesday morning at 4:30am. We took a bus to the airport, and flew for 3 hours to Natal. There were 17 missionaries total in our group: 9 Hispanicos, 5 Brazileros, and 3 Americans. I was hoping to have a window seat but I didn´t. We arrived in Natal at about 11 am. As soon as I stepped out of the plain I could feel the heat and humidity! It´s in the middle of winter right now, but of course that doesn´t make a difference. Everything went smoothly on the flight. The Natal airport is very big and new, but it was pretty empty. President and Sister Soares, along with their assistants, were there to meet us. It turns out that President Soares does speak English. I don´t know if I´d quite say that he´s fluent, but he speaks well. We took an hourlong busride to the city- first to pick up all of the trainer companions that were waiting for us, and then to a chapel to do some first day orientations. All of the chapels here that I´ve seen (3 or 4 already) are really nice! First they had lunch for us, and then we got assigned our companions. While we were gathered in the chapel, they talked to us for a while about the mission. President Soares says that this mission is the 3rd highest baptizing in Brazil and the highest in retention. During the orientations, all of the new missionaries had a 15-20 minute interview with President Soares. He did my interview in Portuguese and it went really well. He does have a different accent than the people in Sao Paulo, but he speaks clearly, so I understood him completely in the interview and in the orientations as well. I´m so thankful for the preparation I had in the CTM!

So here´s are the other things that I´m sure you´re anxious to hear: My companion is Elder Fernandez. He´s from Brasilia and is 21 years old. He´s been out for 1 year and 7 months. I like him a lot, and he is definitely a hard worker. He doesn´t speak much English, but he wants to get better in his remaining time on his mission. He said for the first few weeks we´ll only speak portuguese, but after that I think I´ll start practicing English with him. We´ve been communicating pretty well so far, but he does speak really fast, haha. He´s had a lot of success on his mission so far.

We were assigned to an Area in Caico, a smaller city about 5 hours away from Natal.
Yesterday night, all the missionaries assigned to zones in the interior stayed at the assistants´ apartment. There were about 10 Elders in 1 room, haha. This morning we all got on a bus for about 5 hours and went to our areas. Halfway through the ride, Elder Fernandez had the bus driver stop in a certain place in a city that we passed through so we could eat lunch. All of the elders and Sisters bought some food, but Elder Fernandez had called some people that he knew there beforehand (a family that he baptized) and asked if we could eat lunch there. So we walked there with two other sisters and they had a big lunch waiting for us! It definitely feels like a foreign country here, even more than Sao Paulo did. The houses are very basic, all the streets are cobblestone, etc.

Once we arrived in Caico, we went to the apartment we´ll be living in. It´ll just be the two of us, and there was another companionship in it before. It´s actually pretty big, but it´s run-down too. I think it would easily be big enough for 4 or 6 missionaries, so it´s nice to have extra space.

Normally my p-day will be on Monday, but it´s on wednesday during transfer week. Elder Fernandez says that we´re opening a new area, so I´m not sure what it´ll be like. We live just down the street from 1 of the 2 chapels in Caico. We just walked for about 10 minutes to an internet place to use computers.

I found out that we can´t receive letters at this address. All the mail, including packages, is supposed to be sent to the mission office where we can get it once a month at conferences.

Things are going well here so far, and I´m excited to find out what the next few days will be like. My time´s running out, so I´ll try to attach some pictures in another email.

Love you!

Elder Church

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