Monday, February 8, 2016

Letter #25

Dear Families and Friends,

​Transfers occur tomorrow. I´m staying here, but Elder Costa is leaving for a new area. So at six o'clock tomorrow morning, we´ll be picking up my new companion. And the other two missionaries in the house are getting transferred as well, so it´s going to be different here. My companion will be Elder Soares. And that´s all I really know so far. All three will be Brasilians again, which will continue to help with my Portuguese.

And talking about mosquitoes, there aren't many here in Serra (blessing!) but I know four missionaries in one part of the mission that got dengue fever already this year, and one other, Zika. Both health professionals President and Sister Young told us that 99% or more of the cases will be prevented by mosquito repellent and getting rid of standing water in and around the houses. So we've been following that. But last week, we´re walking down the street, and Elder Costa shouts,"You have a dengue mosquito!" Sure enough it was on my shirt so I swatted him quickly, and everything is still good. Thank goodness he saw it. I had thought that some mosquitoes carry dengue and others don´t, but apparently they are a different kind. They are whitish, and therefore distinguishable.

This week, I haven´t really seen any mosquitos at all. Because it is so hot. I think they all died. When I smell someone cooking liver and kidney, I wonder if I´m just smelling mine. Just kidding. It's hot, really hot, but it doesn't bother me. And we have a system, we both carry a waterbottle, so we go from house to house asking for water, and drinking it in between. It feels like sometimes for every four houses, we ask for water, ask for water, ask for water, ask to use the bathroom (repeat as necessary).

It's funny because I think the heat bothers my companion more than me, but when we are in houses, the host will ask what I think about the heat, and often the person will put the one fan in the house right in my face because they think I´m not used to the heat, and Elder Costa is almost dying, wanting some air.

English class went well this week. Only three people attended, but they all enjoyed it, and I´m excited for this week.

And Carnival. Holy cow. It´s crazy. Nothing happens here. Literally nothing. The two biggest Carnival celebrations are just south of here, in Rio de Janeiro, and north of here in Salvador, bahia. So everyone leaves to go there or just to the beach here. Today, walking to use the computer here, I think 80% of the businesses are closed. It´s difficult to talk with people in the street, just because there is practically no one here. It goes officially until Tuesday.

One other interesting thing here is the kids. School starts at age 2-3. And goes until generally 18. But, for only 3-4 hours per day. So we see them all the time, and especially right now as there is one more week of summer break. They play soccer. And fly kites. With the kites, especially being near the coast with lots of wind, they get them into space almost. And try to cut others kites with their string. And the other national hobby is sitting and watching people. A lifelong habit that starts young. We have one investigator, who lives in an alley, and there is almost no one else there. But every time we go, there´s a five year old who is watching the alley. And he tells us whether or not our investigator is home. But the amazing thing is we've visited at 8:50 p.m and 8:50 a.m.. And the kid is just watching, every time.

We have four very promising investigators, but right now all four are struggling about whether they really want to change their relationship with their girlfriends. All four believe in the Book of Mormon, and in this Church, but know they can´t be baptized unless they change.

Don´t be afraid to change. One of my most favorite talks is by Elder Hugh B. Brown talking about the currant bush. Sometimes, we may not understand why things happen, but we have to trust in the Lord, in His plan for us. And that will include pruning us at some time. But if we trust, we will be thankful afterwards.


Elder Schenewark

1 comment:

Bachland :) said...

I'll ask Sis. B. to put mosquito spray in the next box. No need for dengue or zika for our good Elder.