(This letter was sent 12/29)
I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year!
Christmas was good here! Christmas Eve our whole missionary zone went caroling with the bishop in Pimentas. About 20 missionaries were walking around the neighborhoods of Brazil, wearing red and green and all wearing Santa hats. It was great. We sang a couple hymns in Portuguese (of course) for each house we went to. Then after that we came back to the bishop’s house and had a FEAST. They had delicious mangos and these french-toast-like things that were delicious and it was great. Then, we went up on the roof of the house and watched all the fireworks at midnight. Pretty sure that that was the only night of the year we can stay up that late, so it was special. The fireworks here are crazy. Everyone has these annoying ones that just make a really loud bang sound, and they have been going off all week. It’s crazy.
A pretty cool thing happens here in Brazil. Kids are always flying little kites here. I always see people out in the street with wheels of string flying kites. I love it! People eat with a knife and fork here with everything-even just rice and beans. I’m getting used to it but it’s a little annoying.
Oh, we had a Christmas conference for the mission that was fun. We did a little present exchange and I got a cool frame that i put the picture of Christ that Aunt Beth took, and it looks great in our apartment.
Everyone has little Charlie Brown Christmas trees. I love them. But mostly there aren’t a lot of decorations here. It doesn’t feel like Christmas here. Christmas Eve was the only day that seemed super busy with people buying gifts and running around.
(This letter was sent January 5th)
Oh my goodness. It’s a crazy week. So much stuff happened. First- it’s hot! It was 104 degrees on Christmas Eve. It has started to get a lot hotter now but still not too bad. It’s a lot better when it rains or when it’s cloudy. I am totally getting a nice tan. It’s gonna be really bad when I get home, I already have one from my shoes. It’s great ;)
There was a FARMERS MARKET on New Year’s Eve! Oh my gosh. It made me sooooo happy! It was huge. All along this giant road and there were lines and lines of fruit stands and clothes and food venders. It was amazing. It made me think of Beth and Kelley and California so much! I kept thinking you guys were right behind me as I tasted some peaches or picked out mangos. Oh man it was great.
Oh wait-- I forgot to talk about caldo de cana! It literally means sugar cane juice and it is so good! We put some lime in it and it is delicious. Also we eat pastels here--its a type of food, kinda like a fried tortilla with cheese or meat in the middle. We also tried this really weird fruit this week, that was spiky pink and was white in the middle. They called it a lixia, not sure what it is in English (maybe lychee). It is so crazy all the different types of food that they have here. They have açai here which is really good. I've tried it as ice cream so far, and they put sweetened condensed milk and granola on it and it was delish! I'm loving Brasil!!
For lunch we had flan for dessert. Legit flan just like mom makes it. That was kind of a hard day for me. Literally everything was reminding me of home! We stayed up late to watch the fireworks, because we couldn’t sleep even if we tried. Everyone here just buys their own fireworks or bombs and explosions were going off all night! But it was really cool :) A couple times the fireworks were RIGHT in front of us. And mom I totally did the oooooooh and aaaaahhh thing just for you ;) And our New Year’s Eve dinner was delicious. We had homemade popcorn (my favorite!) and fresh mango. AND then we put sweetened condensed milk on some of the popcorn and it was heaven! It was great :)
The sky is always beautiful here. The clouds are just amazing and it’s green. I know that the clouds are one reason that I was sent to Brasil. I love clouds so much and I know Heavenly Father knows that too. Brasil is beautiful!! Heavenly Father loves me. :)
We’re going to be starting an English class! I am super excited.
Not sure if I said this already, but the first week I was here everyone said that I looked like one of their relatives. Literally 3 people in one day said that I looked like someone they knew. It was interesting.
I pretty much cry in every lesson now, all the time. We were teaching Ceu and Silani about the Restoration of the gospel and I was reciting the first vision (in Portuguese but here it is in English)…
I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is my Beloved Son: Hear Him!
That part just gets me every time. Joseph Smith was a true prophet and he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is true and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter -day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth today. I love this gospel and I am so grateful that I get to share it with others. I love Ceu and Silani too. They are sooo nice! But Ceu has a heavy cigarette and coffee addiction and Silani can’t come to church because of work. Please pray for them that Ceu will be able to stop smoking and that they will come to church. They need the blessings and happiness that comes from this gospel.
I am doing so much better with the language now and saying a lot more in lessons and talking to people in general. Heavenly Father has blessed me so much and I am soooo grateful! Love you all! Read the scriptures, pray always, and be strong!