Monday, January 20, 2014

First week in Brazil

Hey Everyone, I made it to Brazil! Sorry I couldn´t call everyone like I thought. I didn´t have enough time. I arrived on Tuesday. 
All the new missionaries, the President´s assistants and I went to the Mission President´s house and ate lunch with him. He lives right in Recife, we could see the temple from his house, it´s really pretty. Then we went to some nearby missionaries apartment and had the rest of the day off to relax from traveling all day Monday.

 On Wednesday we were assigned our trainers and went to our areas to begin working. My trainer is Elder Jara, he is from Chile and only speaks Spanish and is barely fluent in Portuguese. He finished his training just before I got here. It is hard to communicate with him because our only common language is Portuguese, which I know very little of. We are serving in Goiana, which is a small city 2 hours north of Recife. Goiana is new to the gospel. There is one church building where two branches meet, but the members are very faithful. They give the missionaries food for lunch every day, or money to buy lunch. They also have a lot of respect for missionaries. Its always hot here!! The Sun is already up at about 5am. and sets at about6pm. It only begins to cool off at about 5pm, so tracting before then is a workout. We have a lot of work to do here and people will generally at least listen to our message. About 1 out of 10 contacts will be really intersted enough to hear more. Goiana is interesting. most of the streets are cobblestone, and there are motorcycles everywhere. There seems to be very little traffic laws out here, basically just dont hit anyone else. I´ve also seen 4 different people riding on horses haha. There are no fast food places, and most of the markets are outdoors. life is just so different here. My district only has 4 elders total. One from Peru, who has only been here 3 months, one from chile who has only been here 3 months, one from Utah who arrived with me, and I. The one from Utah served in California for 5 months waiting for his visa. I´m glad there is another american to speak english with occasionally way out here. Our Zone is called Paulista and has about 16 elders total. I think most of the Sisters serve closer to the city but Im really not sure. Recife is alot like New York or Boston, but the ratio of taxis to buses is switched. There are so. many. buses.

The language is more difficult than I had thought. I try to imitate the accent of the people here when I speak, but I´ve already noticed that different people will pronounce the same words at least 4 different ways. Usually I get the idea of what people are talking about, but not the specifics. It is hard to adjust my ears to it, but I´ve already made improvements since I´ve been here. There is a man from Curitiba( far south in Brazil, where Jackie served her mission) that we teach, and I can understand very little of what he says becuase of his accent. It can be discouraging because I will feel useless. I will feel like I can´t help this person if I cant understand what they need, or any of their questions. But, I know it will get better. The first weeks being anywhere new are always the hardest, especially if you don´t understand the language. I was feeling discouraged but I started to read the christ-like attributes section in Preach My Gospel. Under hope, it says:

When you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good. Hope helps you conquer discouragement.

That helped me alot. When I first arrived, I talked to Elder Hoyt for a bit. He reminded me a lot of Grant because of his personality. He just became the Financial secretary, but he trained my trainer and served in Goiana for 6 months before I was here. When I mentioned my discouragement he said thats how it is for all american missionaries here. After 12 weeks, you will be able to comunicate just fine, and teach according to the peoples needs. He also said to just have fun when problems come up. Dont get discouraged if you cant understand people. When are you ever going to be walking around in Brazil with a Chilean teaching about Christ again? Just have a good time when things are out of your control. Don´t get discouraged.

Anyways, sorry I dont have pictures, I forgot my camera at our house. I wish I had more time to write. Stay in Touch everyone. My mailing address: 
Elder Hodgson
Rua das Ninfas, 30
Boa Vista
Recife, PE

Eu Amo Vocês!!!!!!!!
-Elder Hodgson

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