I got assigned to the Novo Osasco ward. the area isn´t terribly big, but it requires quite a bit of walking. Saturday almost killed me because we had a new chapel that was being dedicated outside our area, 3 miles away, and we had to walk that route three times (we got a ride from one of the members when it was time to go back at 9.) Yeah, my calves were screaming for relief.
Last Tuesday was interesting. Elder Wilson and I had to wait at the mission home for the night, but they had no more beds, so we slept on the floor (with the windows open). I had to put my suit back on so I wouldn´t freeze to death.
Elder John Dattilo from Tacoma is my comphanion. He has been out for about 9 months and is very fluent. The first day I couldn´t understand a lot, but I could follow the conversations mostly. I testify at the end of the lessons, and he sometimes lets me do a spiritual thought. It´s a hard language to say because you can´t be lazy with the pronuciation, but it´s not a hard language to understand. Many of their verbs sound similar to English, and once I learn the conjugations, I should be home free. I had to introduce myself to the ward yesterday. (Guess how long that lasted.)
Novo Osasco is in a favela…..Yeah, about that. Most of the homes you have to walk down a hall or an alley to get to. There is so much trash on the road (a good portion is cigarette boxes), and there are definately sights you won´t see in the States. 15 year-old pregnant girls, drunk parties, people smoking bongs, and lots of dog crap. Plus, most everyone here has teeth missing or an accent, so sometimes I can´t catch a word they are saying. This week has been very tough.
Yet the faith of the people is inspiring. We have several baptisms scheduled for the 29th, including one from a lesson we did last night. Elder Dattilo can hardly contain himself.
So a good story:
President Martins called us and said that he had a strong feeling about Bosocaba (a section of Novo Osasco). So, we (like the good hard working missionaries we are) have spent all our free time working that area. We had a lunch appointment yesterday that got pushed back an hour, so we went tracting in Bosocaba. We found a wonderful middle-aged gentleman working on his garden. He expressed his appreciation for our sacrifice (while encouraging me by saying Portuguese is a hard language to learn), talked about families needing to be unified, reading scriptures, and asking God for truth. He invited us to sit with him, and Elder Dattilo taught a short lesson on charity using Moroni 7. The man loved what we had to say. We gave him a Book of Mormon, committed him to read from Moroni 7, and we have a return appointment for Saturday. When we left, Elder Dattilo was jumping up and down. He just couldn´t contain himself!
BTW, ran into Sister Hayes. She is doing really well and seems to be enjoying herself. Also ran into a kid from Mulketio that has got under a year left.
The members love to serve food, and you feel compelled to eat as much as possible. Today´s lunch was lasagna with Pinneaple Juice. So Good. I also said to one or our investigators last night that I don´t like chocolate. She asked, in Portuguese: Are you sick? We all had a good laugh about that one.
Elder Dattilo has 9 months out here, is very fluent, and brought a bit of music with him. He even brought Lord of the Rings….Droga! I wish I would have known things like that were approved. I would have been able to bring my John Williams stuff. He is perfectly fine as a comphanion and we are getting along pretty well. He speaks Portuguese 90% of the time (cause I asked him to. I need to get used to hearing it), and has taught me quite a few things regarding the work.
So much happening out here, though most of the smaller more personal experiences I´m keeping off here for now. Those experiences are going in letters and my journal, which selections from the journal will be shared when I get back. Happy Birthday Corbin.
Please, keep writing letters and emails. I´ll be able to respond to the emails fairly quickly and I´ll get all the letters every 6 weeks or so. Anywho, The gospel is still true, the Lord loves you and so do I.
Eu amo vocês!
Stephen (Elder Jarvis)