Thursday, December 31, 2009

P-days Have Been Changed to Wednesdays...

Sorry, no blog from Elder Titus will be posted on Monday...his day to visit the internet cafe has been changed to Wednesdays. See you then!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Transfer Comes Through -- Relief Sets In!

Sample of local wildlife

Another sweet storm rolls in

This week was pretty exciting! Indeed Elder da Silva was “emergency transferred.” So, as of this past Thursday I’ve been in a trio with Elder Galdino and Elder Carter. I have yet to receive a new companion. When one of the people in our branch heard that da Silva had been transferred, he yelled with pumped fists “Halleluiah!!!”

I actually got to take a day off this week. On Tuesday I got a rad fever of 104 and got to stay home. By the time we got to the hospital and got through the line, my temp had settled back down to not-a-super-emergency-temperature. And by night time, I was back to normal.

Wednesday we had our mission Christmas Conference at the Londrina Stake Center, which is the only conference during the year where the entire mission is re-united. It was quite the feat since north to south spans over 10 hours of driving with 133 missionaries dispersed all over the mission. It was really great to see all my buddies from the MTC. In the morning we all went to the "Hospital of Cancer" in Londrina and taught little messages and handed out treats. It was pretty neat. Then we just chilled in the church the rest of the time and ate, sang, watched a play, and heard speeches from President Leal. Elders Gibbons and Vogeler from the MTC both got the swine flu. Elder Vogeler also got pneumonia at the same time and also got hit by a car (not at the same time). He’s having a good mission so far! However, despite the trials, he’s in good spirits.

Christmas was pretty uneventful, kinda because about the only one that writes to me is my mother!!! (hint, hint! Thank you to those few who have written. Your letters are a total treat!) But, the best part is that we all get to talk on the phone with our families, it was sweet! I truly enjoyed hearing family voices once again. The hour we are allowed went by way too fast. It was very hard to say goodbye. Other than that we just kinda chilled around.

On Saturday, one of Elder Galdino and Carter’s investigators, Camila, finally got baptized after getting permission from her mom. I was also able to teach her a lot.

Camila's baptism

And, yet another sweet storm passed through town.

This just in: Breaking news is now hitting America . . . Postage for Brazil really doesn’t cost that much! (98 cents for a regular letter) . . . hint, hint!

Since it is Christmas time, I feel compelled to say a few things as I close out this week's blog: I'm very grateful for this time of the year when people care more about giving than receiving. We can really see the impact that Jesus Christ had on the world, and I'm grateful for the life that He lived and for the example that He set. I know that He loves us and is our Savior. He lives today and guides us in our actions.

I hope everyone’s Christmas was enjoyable!

Até maís. (uh teh - mice): until more, or loosely translated: see you later.

Elder Titus

Monday, December 21, 2009

Feliz Natal!

Elder Titus showing off his mad climbing skills

A moment of silliness (can you believe it rained so hard that my umbrella broke?)

This week was good!

Elder da Silva and I went to the hospital to teach short Christmas messages to people that are having a rough time. It was a humbling and very spiritual experience.

We usually have activities at the church on Wednesdays. This week was called “torta na cara,” or pie in the face. Similar to Family Feud, but with a pie in your face if you get it wrong. There was also a ridiculous sunset that night too. I had time to upload the sunset, but not the pie in my face photo – maybe next time.

Awesome sunset in Ibipora

I made a street contact with a lady bum. She told me that she didn’t want to die without God in her life and that she wanted to stop drinking but she couldn’t. I told her to pray for strength and just do it. I told her you’ll feel better and save a lot of money. At the end of our conversation she told me that she was ugly and looked horrible. I told her she was a beautiful daughter of God. She then double clenched my hand and gave it a nice long kiss...

Finally we're getting some good investigators. We have 3 solid families that we’re teaching. Family of Angelica, and Selma, and Antonio. Why are these families so special? They have member friends. It’s like night and day.

We might get an emergency transfer in the next few days due to some flirtation done by someone in my apartment. He didn’t do anything bad, but they want to make sure he doesn’t do anything worse. Is it bad to say I’m happy?

Portuguese lesson for the day:

edificio (ed jee fih sea-oo) = building
é dificil (same thing) = it’s difficult

There’s also a verb called “fartar.” It means to be satisfied; like “eu farto” which would mean “I´m full.” To say that out loud, well, it’s just weird. Usually we say “estou satisfeito,” or “I’m satisfied.”

Feliz natal to everyone! I get to call my family on Christmas Day!!!!! The first of only four phone calls home that are allowed during my two year mission. Next call, "Mother's Day!"

Elder Titus

Monday, December 14, 2009

No Transfer -- But I'm Working Out the Kinks!

This week was a super roller coaster. Wednesday I found out about transfers.... I was not transferred (which was my preferred choice), but guess what? Neither was Elder da Silva! I almost fainted when I heard that there were no transfers. I just need to endure another 6 weeks, and then its pretty much guaranteed that Elders Carter, Galdino and da Silva will be transferred out since they have been here for so long, and I will stay here because someone needs to know the area and current investigators. I hope I can last -- imagine a person that you absolutely can’t stand.... and then imagine living with them 24 hours every day for 3 months – constantly being within sight and sound. Yes... pity me. BUT, I will survive, I’m determined to somehow make the best out of this situation. After this experience, I will be the most patient person in the world.

Elder Carter and Elder Galdino also were not transferred. That is a blessing.

I have found something that makes me incredibly happy here in Brazil. All houses here have a gated front yard, and all people have at least 2 dogs, all of which hate missionaries. I find incredible joy out of taunting them, and trying to get my shoe bit through the fence. You would have to be here to fully understand. Random note about Brazilian dogs: even the dogs eat rice and beans... serious!

Cool story: last week at church there was a family that we´d never seen before. Elder Carter and I visited them later in the week. The guy, Rafael is a member, but stopped going to church when he was 11 (23 now). He had a dream a few days before Sunday. In his dream he was sitting on a wall. On one side was the church and the members, he distinctly saw the name of the church, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” And on the other side were his old friends that were bad influences in his life. Needless to say he came to church the next day. His wife will be getting baptized in January.

There was also a sweet storm this week. For those that have seen the movie, “Independence Day,” remember when the space ships are rolling in and the land beneath them slowing begins to darken as the clouds surrounding their ships block out the sun. Same thing happened here, minus the space ships. This enormous black swirling oval shaped cloud came rolling in, it was sweet. We had to run to a member’s house to wait out what the storm delivered.

Storm Approaching -- Run for Cover!

País - Country (emphasis on the ´i´, pie-eece)
Pais - Parents (pronouced pie-z)
Paz - Peace (pronouced pie-z)

Paz to my pais from the país of brazil.

Elder Titus

Note from Derek’s mom: Along with the blog information, Elder Titus usually sends me another email each Monday, which contains more personal stuff. I thought I would share something from his email that I received today:

“Miracles are happening mom. See picture. The day after the picture of my feet was taken, they were back to normal. At that moment of the picture I can’t describe to you how hard is was to walk. The pain was in the bones and massaging was useless. Before then, I was determined to let it take its course hoping the blisters would become calluses, but that night I had had enough. I prayed (begged) for relief. Next day, sem dor (no pain). On the tip of one toe* I have scabs, meaning that it was bleeding. I never felt it. That next day, the blisters were gone. I would like to see a doctor explain that. (*notice blister even at the tip of the toe to the left of the big toe, left side of photo)


Also, at the MTC, I lost all of my leg strength. I sat all day for 2 months. I have yet to have any, any, pain/sore muscles in my legs. Every day we walk 12-15 miles, and that one day we walked 18, all on uneven hard pavement – yet, no pain. The next day I feel fresh.”

(Back to mom: I feel blessed that Heavenly Father is looking out for my son, and despite the rough conditions and sometimes unpleasant circumstances, he is adapting, and doing well. Thank you all for your support and friendship!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pizza and Tan Lines!

Typical Brazilian Lunch of Rice and Beans

A Major Storm Brewing

This week was better. I found that the best thing to do in my companionship is just to keep my mouth shut and let him think that I’m listening. Just smile and nod (albeit with clenched teeth).

Well, I won’t know about transfers until tomorrow. I’m praying, pleading, and begging for a companion exchange. I think I might die if it doesn’t happen.

We found a family while tracting (knocking on people’s doors) that let us into their home to teach them. They happened to know a sister in our branch, so that’s going well. Our next lesson will be with her there, also. Those are the best types, when the people already have a friend who is a member of the Church.

Rui went to church finally. And at church we had the biggest turn out I’ve seen so far. About 85 people. Yeah!

Elder Galdino and Elder Carter (the other companionship in the apartment) celebrated 6 and 10 months in the mission this week. We celebrated by me cutting their hair. First time I’ve cut hair with scissors! Then I made a couple of pizzas from scratch that were INSANELY good. See picture (rockin that Brazilian missionary tan-line)

Pizza: The Perfect Food (and an awesome example of a missionary tan line)

We also got to attend cançoes esquecidas (forgotten songs), which is a Christmas musical that the Church is putting on in Londrina. It was pretty cool. I got to see Elders Webb and Gibbons (they were in my district while at the MTC) so that was cool too.

Words for the week:

queijo – cheese
queixo - chin
queixo is more of a shh sound.

Ahhh…I’m nervous for transfers! I’ll let you know what happens next Monday!

Paz e amor (peace and love),
Elder Titus

Monday, November 30, 2009

How Not to Teach English...


Here Comes the Rain!

Three Month Celebration

Oh, yes. Three months on the mission. Yeah!!!

Hmmmm, exciting things that happened this past week…

I attempted to teach English at an English Learning School. I had a hard time explaining why box=boxes and ox=oxen. Why not boxen, or oxes. Can someone explain this to me? Needless to say, it went horribly. But it was still nice to speak English.

I also walked more this week than I ever have before. We walked 18 miles in one day. The best part was walking 2 miles to an address that didn’t exist. And then immediately turning around and walking those 2 miles back. We taught 3 lessons that day. The rest was spent walking.

The remainder of the week was kind of boring. We only have one progressing investigator named Rui (whoo-ee). But he has skipped out on church two weeks in a row now. We teach a lot of first lessons, but very few second ones.

Things are pretty tense between my companion and me. He likes to treat me like a child and to enforce the rules. One morning I closed my eyes after the alarm went off at 6:30 AM, and accidentally fell back asleep for another hour. He was livid. He called me a fubeca (slacker missionary). I am trying so hard, and really feel like I am progressing well, but in his eyes, I can’t do anything right. It is pretty frustrating. Just know that I’m definitely learning patience here in Brazil. I will survive, because we have transfers in 8 days. I’m hoping one of us gets sent elsewhere.

Word for the week: "puxe" - pronounced "push" but actually means "pull." It doesn’t get much worse than that. When people tell you to “puxe” and you start pushing instead of pulling. haha

So, any guesses as to where I might get sent next? Or, if I remain in Ibipora?

Stay tuned!
Peace from Brazil.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My New Friend, a Talking Parrott!

My new buddy can say "Oi"

The countryside of Ibipora, Brazil

This Thursday is my 3 month anniversary!! Hard to believe, eh?

Things are going better and better every day with the language, but Elder da Silva and I aren’t having very much luck with the work. Elder Carter and Elder Galdino, who share the same apartment with us, are having a lot of success.

It rained 5 days this week. Not straight, but sometime during the day it rained. And like I said before, when it rains it pours. They are always thunderstorms, too. We got caught in 3 of the 5. It was a wet week. My umbrella broke due to overuse.

I found a parrot the other day that can say “Oi.” It was pretty funny. That means “Hi,” by the way.

Hmm, this week wasn’t super exciting as far as stories go. Hopefully I’ll have something to relate next Monday.

So here are some more “similar” words. It is a very tricky language! (Although I’m not sure it would be very easy to explain about our English to, too, and two!)

tesouras - scissors
tesouros - treasures

abacaxi - pineapple
abacate - avocado

The emphasis is on a different syllable.

comessem - imperfect subjunctive form of ´they eat´
começam - they start

A funny thing to do in Brazil (with people you know) is to make fun of their language, for example, the word “obrigado” (thank you), is pronounced ohh-bree-gah-doo. It’s super fun to say in front of Brazilians “abrigado” - ahh-bree-gah-doh. They hate it. All new Americans say it with an “ah” and the Brazilians will ALWAYS correct you, even if they know you are joking. It’s hilarious.

Until next week!
Elder Titus

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pictures are BACK!

There are some very beautiful flowers down here.

My first baptism. From left to right: Elders Carter and da Silva, Camila, Camila's father, me, Elder Galdino.

Good news! A friend in the branch down here had a USB cable that he loaned me so, PICTURES are back!

Ibiporã is pronounced: I – (as in “it”) – bee – pore – uh

The weeks are getting crazier and crazier. Portuguese is coming along smoothly. Ibiporã is pretty sweet. There are about 30,000 people here.

Okay, here’s some funny stuff:

After each of our lessons, we ask the investigator to pray about what we have discussed to receive a confirmation that it’s true, and then they can get baptized, if they want. One day, we returned to visit with a lady who we had asked to pray at the end of our previous visit. She told us that she had a vision of two big black men in white, with big white beards that told her not to get baptized. She’s a little odd, but we love her. We told her to try again, and we would come back.

At another lesson, we taught a man and a woman. After the lesson, we were walking out the door shaking hands. I shook the lady’s hand and then suddenly remembered that I needed to put away my chair, so I doubled back and took care of putting the chair away. Meanwhile, the man told my companion that I needed to, “Pedir a deus para perdaõ,” or ask God for forgiveness because I forgot to shake his hand. He was serious, too. So I quickly shook his hand and told him that I was sorry, and that I would repent.

We have been meeting some very interesting people!

Last Saturday, one of our investigators got baptized. Her name is Camila. That was really cool. My very first baptism! At least, my first one in which I took part in teaching! Her father, who is already a member of the Church, baptized her.

It’s still hot. And when it’s not hot, there’s a thunderstorm, and then after the thunderstorm it gets even more humid and hot. I got super sunburned this past week, even with loads of sunscreen slathered on. The way I see it, in about three months I’m going to look Brazilian for sure. And with luck, by then, I’ll sound like one, too.

Thank you to those who have written to me! It is so cool to get mail. Oh, and thank you Angela and Tim! The box you sent arrived safe and sound. And the goodies are awesome! American food, yippee! (OK, so maybe marshmallow Peeps are not a great example of “food,” but oh, they tasted soooo good!)

Until next week,
Elder Titus

Elder Nelson and me in Londrina, Brazil. He was my companion for five days!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ibipora, Here I Come!

President Leal, Elder Titus and Sister Leal

I’m in Ibiporá, my first official area. It’s about 15-ish miles east of Londrina. It’s hot here, too. My “trainer” is Elder da Silva from Fortaleza, Brazil. He’s 25 years old. He was baptized when he was 23 and left everything he had going for him to serve a mission. He’s a great guy. However, he doesn’t speak hardly any English, so he’s not much help at all in the language learning aspect. I’m kind of on my own. Did I mention that people speak Portuguese here? (Yes, I know I did.) All things considered, it’s going good with the language, I’m technically ahead of most “newbies” but it’s still hard for me to understand what people are saying. It’s also difficult to not be able to fully express myself and my feelings when we are teaching a lesson. Usually, I can talk for hours in English. I guess for right now I just need to be patient with myself. Most American Elders say that they are fluent by 6 months, and can understand 95% of the conversation by 3 months. That seems like a lifetime right now.

Ibiporá is a much smaller town than Londrina. It’s spread out over a few miles. Lots of little hills. All small houses, made of brick with tin roofs. Most people here do not have cars.

Our ward is actually only a branch. We need about 10 more priesthood holders to become a ward. The branch president is pretty young and he and his wife do not have any children – yet. Sister Fernando is pregnant. There were about 45 members who came to church this past Sunday. They are very humble, and very wonderful. They take turns feeding us lunch.

We mostly cook breakfast for ourselves. There are two other elders in the apartment with me and Elder da Silva; Elder Carter (from Farmington, Utah) and Elder Galdino. Elder Galdino insists on cooking the food, which is just fine by me! We usually have beans and rice, and . . . well, rice and beans. He cooks a pot of rice and a pot of soupy pinto beans and then puts them together, usually with some kind of meat. We got some pork one day where it was cooked and all, but it still had hair on the outside of some pieces. We occasionally have noodles with sauce. And sometimes, although quite rare, we get this cake type stuff for dessert.

Our apartment is fairly large, by local standards. The front room has a hammock. Then there are 3 bedrooms, but two are used for studying. The other room has four beds. We have a kitchen with a table in it. There’s sort of a laundry-ish room, open air. All homes here are open air, so forget about keeping the creatures out. We have a washing machine and a clothes line. Only the super rich have dryers. There are also two, very small bathrooms.

We are teaching about 15 people right now. We make 30 street contacts a day, where we just try to briefly explain that we have a special message about Jesus Christ and that we would like to share it with them in their homes another day, and then quickly write down their address.

Oh, and we walk a ton, about 12-15 miles a day. I already have survived my first blister. My companion wonders why my legs are not tired. Hmmm... I wonder. I have not explained the cycling thing, because... well it would need to be explained in Portuguese and I can’t really express myself well enough. Maybe some day.

More similar words:
Pecador – sinner
Pescador – fisherman
Pesquisador – investigator

Mao – hand
Irmao – brother (when people say irmao, they say the “ir” very fast, and if it’s in the middle of a sentence, then usually you only hear the “mao” and things become confusing very quickly!

I would love to go on, but time is limited.

Until next time,
Elder Titus

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm in Londrina, Brazil!

Bad news: I lost my USB cable, so I won't be able to post pictures until I can buy a card reader. There is a big store about a half hour away that might sell them. Cross your fingers. I know the pics are fun to see! Sorry...

Good news: We all left on Friday for Londrina at 4 AM (yes folks, 4 in the morning!). We loaded in the bus to go to the Sao Paulo airport. Things went well for all and we were soon on the flight to Londrina. One hour in the air, nice and short. Londrina is absolutely beautiful. There is the main city with lots of skyscrapers and then some suburbs that go for a few miles out, then it’s all Brazil. It is a very pretty country and grassland with some jungle here and there. The dirt here is incredibly red and at the end of the day our shoe soles are covered in it.

We met President Leal, the Mission President, and his Assistants, Elder Tobar and Elder Wolfertz, and then we all went to President Leal’s house, where we had a quick meeting and a nice lunch.

Transfers aren’t until Tuesday, so we were all temporarily put with elders currently serving in Londrina, located at various spots throughout the city. I’m with Elder Nelson, serving in Vivi Xavier.

We walk...a lot. We average about 12 miles per day in this area because there are lots of houses. Elder Parrott from my District at the MTC, said he walked 25 miles on Saturday. We work from 10 AM to 9 PM, with no breaks, except to eat lunch.

The first night we had little luck. In Brazil, all or most homes have walls and a gate, with no door bells. So at every home, you have to clap, it’s quite interesting. It usually alerts the dogs, of which everyone has at least one. Then the owners come out and unlock the gate. On some walls, the top is covered in broken beer bottles that were set in there when the concrete was wet. Consequently, the tops of the walls are full of colorful shards of pointy glass. The wealthy have electric fences on top.

One lady gave us some cinnamon rolls to take home, muito bom!

We did some street contacting which is interesting. You walk up to people, tell them you have a very special message about Jesus Christ and families, then you ask for their address so you can go and teach them in their homes another day. Most agree and are excited to have you come talk to them.

It’s exceedingly hot here. Exceedingly hot! By 11 AM it’s in the 80s, but with a very high jungle humidity, too. So, two steps after leaving the house you´re sweating. We drink 2 liters of water a day, of which we are supposed to purify before drinking.

On Saturday, we had an epic lunch at a member’s home; spaghetti, pot roast and beans and rice. And then a fudgecicle afterwards. That doesn’t happen very often, but it was amazing while it lasted. Elder Webb told me that his first lunch consisted of rice, with feijuada, a mixture of beans and meat. The meat is usually leftovers. In this case, for Elder Webb, it was pig ears with the hair still attached and some other type of unidentifiable beef. Mmmm!

Twice a month we get $115 reis to spend on food and other things. That’s about $57 dollars. Yeah, you have to be careful of what you buy or you may go hungry later in the month.

On Sunday, one of Elder Nelson’s investigators, Fatima, was baptized, so that was exciting. Elder Nelson is a stud, he’s from South Jordan Utah, and his two years as a missionary are over in January, so he'll be leaving to go home. He’s ridiculously fluent in Portuguese. He says it takes about 3 weeks before you can understand most things, and after that it gets a lot better. Right now, people are hard to understand, so I’m hoping I will catch on quickly!

I find out tonight where I will be going for the next 6 - 12 weeks. It could be here, somewhere in Londrina, or as far north as Barau, or as far south as Guaçu Falls, which is 6 hours from Londrina by bus. Then I will find out my address and send it to my mom and she will post it here on my blog-site. Then you can send all the packages you want! :-) Actually, it’s probably best to send packages to the Mission Home, which is over in the right hand column.

Ate mais!
Elder Titus

PS. It appears that P-Day (Preparation Day, which is my opportunity to use the internet for a short period of time) has been changed to Mondays. So, hopefully posts will be up by Monday evening. Thanks for keeping track of me!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Heading for the Campo (Field) This Friday!

Self Portrait

Goodbye Sao Paulo!

I leave for the campo (field) this week, on Friday the 30th. I have been here at the MTC (Mission Training Center) for 9.5 weeks. We leave at 4 AM for an hour and a half long flight directly west to Londrina. There are 17 of us going down; 6 Brazilians and 11 Americans.

This week the MTC had the opportunity to hear Elder Richard G. Scott, from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He is fluent in Portuguese. He had many great things to say, primiarily about being a good example, and working hard. He said that a good indicator of whether you're working hard enough is if you go home exhausted each and every day for the next 97 weeks.

We also got to pick up some trash, too. WooHoo! At first, it sounded dumb and pointless, but as I started out, I really got into it and felt like it was a worthy cause. The streets here are insanely filthy. People wonder why the streets flood so easy. Well, it's because the sewers are full of trash. Anyway, it was a good thing to do.

Next week the real updates start coming as I start being an actual missionary. We're entering the rainy season, and I hear Londrina gets a LOT of rain, and the thunderstorms are unreal.

Fun fact for you: Londrina means "Little London" in Portuguese!

I will compile more of these in the future, but here are some words in Portuguese that are similar to other words in Portuguese that are easy to mix up. For this week, I could only think of one. There are many, many more that I've slipped up on already, but I'm having some serious brain farting going on right now with my time constraints. More next week.

religiao = religion
relogio = watch

People look at you like you're really stupid when you ask, "Voce tem um relogio?" or, "Do you have a watch?"

"Ate proxima semana" or "Until next week."

Elder Titus

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Proselytizing in Downtown Sao Paulo!

My district in front of the beautiful Sao Paulo Temple

Leaning out our window to check out the world around us...

such as this beautiful sunset...

or this gentleman pulling his cart full of treasures to the market.

Okay, I finally got some action!!

Last friday was “Proselytizing, Round 2.” This time in the middle of downtown Sao Paulo. It was nuts! We were dropped off near a “carnival” or a big parade in the streets, with crazy drunk college kids, complete with hundreds of riot police. Great...

Elder Burt and I decided to go into a little plaza/park area to try and give away our 2 Books of Mormon, away from all the commotion. It took us awhile to get a good conversation going. We approached a guy sitting down, but he wasn’t interested. While talking to him, 2 drunken bums came up to us. One was not coherent at all and I didn’t understand a word he said. The other talked about American basketball the whole time. We would ask him questions about it and he would think for a few seconds and talk about something else. That lasted for 30 minutes. While walking we were stopped by a young lady with a guy. Earlier her boyfriend had been given a Book of Mormon by Elders Castellanos and Ingram, and she came to us and was interested and wanted her own copy. We taught her about it, and she took one of our books with a smile. Elder Burt did most of the talking.

Then we just walked around for a while. I was searching for a family to teach. Finally I spotted one. A dad, a mom and a 2-year-old, sitting down. We approached, and things started flowing nicely. They were very interested. Brazilians love to hear about the Book of Mormon, because it’s a record of their ancestors and they have an immediate natural tie to it. I didn’t really understand a question they asked; something to do with sagrada, which means sacred. They talked of a Biblia sagrada, and even Elder Burt didn’t understand. It was awkward for a second, but then I just went on talking for another 10 minutes or so. At the end, we gave them a card with the chapel address on it and Elder Burt finalized our conversation with his testimony about eternal families and we said tchau.

Later, we were approached by a big, really dark-skinned guy. He was from England. He had just been released from prison the day before, for smuggling a kilo of cocaine from Brazil to Holland. He had been in prison for four years. His English wasn’t the best. He wanted Elder Burt’s bible so he could read and pray in peace, even though he was of Islamic faith. It was weird, he talked for a while too, about how we could make $500,000 in 4 days trafficking cocaine. Hmmm... most definitely not!

We were also stopped by a really excited lady, who just joined the church 5 years ago and recently went through the temple. That was a fantastic conversation!

At 3 15 PM, we started the head back. At the intersection before we were at the car, Elder Burt was stopped by a really drunken bum. He wanted to know God’s phone number. Elder Burt responded, “Prayer.” But the guy wasn’t content. Elder Burt then proceeded to write down some random numbers and the guy was thrilled and couldn’t stop hugging Elder Burt. It was hilarious.

Many more things happened, but those are the highlights. A quick preview of what I get to do everyday, starting October 30th, which is the new departure date. All the other districts are leaving this Friday, 10/23, but those of us headed to Londrina have been delayed a week. WooHoo! An extra week to study and become more familiar with the language. I’m lovin’ it!

And, because we aren’t leaving, we will still be here when Elder Richard G. Scott arrives. He is one of the General Authorities of the Church, and is coming to speak to the missionaries who are still here at the MTC. I’m really excited to hear him speak, and consider it a great blessing to be allowed to stay for another week.

Until next week, take care everyone!
--Elder Derek Titus

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Sneak Peek into a Typical Sunday at the MTC

Elder Santos shows off his amazing flexi-fingers!

From left to right: Elders Ellis, Ghormley, Yuma, Burt, Webb, Fujimoto, Parrott, Ingram, Castellanos, Jensen, Titus, Gibbons, Tomocene (from Mozambique). These are the guys that make up my "District"

It has been exceedingly boring this past week. Nothing exciting to tell you. Basically, it’s study, study, study. And since we will be headed to the outside world in less than two weeks, studying is a good thing!

So, let me tell you about Sundays. Our church starts at 9 AM and goes until noon. On most normal Sundays, we prepare a 10 minute talk on differing Christ-like attributes, such as faith, hope, charity, humility, etc. Then during Sacrament Meeting, one person is randomly selected from each district (there are 5 districts in my branch; and there are about 60 of us in the branch) to give their talk. Every new incoming district starts with the topic of faith, so every talk is on a different Christ-like attribute. Most talks are done in English. Maybe one in twelve is done in Portuguese.

I have yet to be selected. Whew! However, since you never know when you might be selected to speak, you don’t dare NOT to prepare! Several weeks ago, I prepared a really awesome talk on humility, and was actually hoping I would get called on to speak…no luck. I was actually bummed at not being able to stand up there and give my talk!

After Sacrament Meeting, we have Priesthood Meeting, where one of the members of the Branch Presidency talks. After this, we have a District Meeting in our classroom, where one companionship gives a lesson, usually only about 30 minutes long. Elder Burt and I had the opportunity to give a lesson on “The Role of the Book of Mormon” last week on the 11th. It went very well, although it’s rather intimidating to teach your peers.

At noon, we have some free time. We can watch a church video in Portuguese w/English sub-titles, go to choir practice, or sleep/write/study (guess which one I choose to do?). At 7 PM there is a Fireside, usually a Brazilian Area Seventy (to my cycling peeps: no, a “Fireside” isn’t done sitting around a campfire, it’s basically a spiffy name for another meeting. And an “Area Seventy” is a man who is pretty high up in church authority.) Afterwards we have companion study time; then planning; then snack time at 9:30 PM and then it’s off to bed.

Next week in Sacrament Meeting (10/18), my district will be singing “Come Thou Font,” 2 verses in English and two verses in Portuguese. It’s a tradition for the leaving districts to sing a hymn on their last Sunday at the MTC. And I’ll bet you thought I took a nap instead of going to choir practice! Shame on you.

This coming Friday, we get to go out proselytizing again! This time they’re dropping us off in the middle of downtown Sao Paulo. Stay tuned…

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Street Contacting!

Sao Paulo Sunset

Massive rainstorm! Notice the water spewing from the spout across the street.

Elders Rodriquez, Santos, Titus and Burt. Elder Burt is my companion.

Week six has come and gone! I’ve been told that I’ll be transferred out into the field (somewhere in Londrina) about October 23rd. I’m excited, and also a little nervous. I wish I knew the language better, but I guess that’s what everybody says. I’m one of the top in my class, so I hope I’ll manage okay.

Last Friday we went “street contacting,” with a goal to hand out two Books of Mormon. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but in case you forgot, people here don’t speak English. Anyway, it went really well. Elder Burt and I met a man sitting outside his house. We asked if he believed in God and Jesus Christ, and he said, “Certo (s-air-too),” which is the English equivalent of “word,” but actually means “correct.” We asked him if he believed in the Old Testament prophets, like Noah and Moses, and he replied again, “Certo.” We told him of the authority they had to direct the church at that time, and to receive revelation for the people. And we explained that without the proper authority on the earth, the church could not function, and that when Jesus Christ and the Apostles were killed, that authority was gone, too. But with the formation of America came freedom of religion and we went on to tell him about Joseph Smith and how he noticed there were many churches and they taught so many different things. In Ephesians 4:5 it says, “…one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Joseph was confused, so he went to the Lord in prayer. God answered his prayer. And when Joseph had matured enough, the Lord led him to the Book of Mormon, a record of scripture about the people of the ancient Americas. We explained how the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ and like the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, it is another testament of Jesus Christ. We gave him a Book of Mormon with our testimony that if he read it and prayed to know if it was true, that he would receive his answer. He took it from us with a smile on his face. It felt really awesome.

We then talked to a few younger guys, one was in a hurry and the other was not religious. We found another man sitting down and talked with him, and had another successful lesson. He asked, “Quanto costa?” which means “how much?” We told him, “De graca,” which means “It’s free,” and he had a smile on his face as he took the Book of Mormon from us. Before we left him, I pointed out a few of my favorite scriptures that he should read first; such as 2 Nephi 29:7-8 which explains that there is more scripture beyond the Bible, because there are many nations in the world, and God knows of them and loves them enough to talk to them, just like He did with the Jewish people. Also, Moroni 10:3-5 which talks about praying to know whether or not the Book of Mormon is true, through the power of the Holy Ghost. I mean, really, how many books give a promise that you can discover whether their content is true or not?

Overall, it has been a fun time and I’m really excited to get out into the real world. But, for now, there are still 2-1/2 more weeks of class.

Elder Rodriguez and Elder Santos left today and are both headed to Recife, Brazil. It won’t be the same without them. Elder Santos was really getting good at Uno!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

...Past the one month mark, and another soaker

Elders Titus, Fujimoto, Burt, Yuma and Ghormley

Looking down at the front landscaping of the MTC from the 6th floor

It’s crazy to think I’ve been here for more than a month. It’s really flying by, but it’s because we’re busy all of the time. This week we had “TRC” where we practice teaching the first lesson in Portuguese to a couple of random LDS locals. We get recorded and get to watch it later and review our mistakes. It was interesting. Elder Burt and I did an awesome job. We work really well together. His Portuguese is way better than mine, but I’m still pretty decent.

Last week, Elder Burt got into a discussion with some Brazilian elders about soccer. They were really going at it (he used to play soccer before coming down here, and was as good at it as I am at racing my bike). I got lost after the 2nd sentence, and it was kind of awkward, standing there not knowing what they were saying. He took a lot of Spanish, and it has really helped him to learn Portuguese.

The language is coming along. I can teach the first lesson (restoration of the gospel), and the shorter version of lesson two (the plan of salvation). I’d say I’m about the 3rd best in the class.

Elder Santos (one of our Brazilian roommates) is finally coming out of his shell. We played some Uno last night, and he really enjoys it. Elder Rodrigues still doesn’t talk. He is super shy. He won’t play Uno with us. Hopefully he will open up, but he’s only got two more weeks to do it! (The Brazilians don’t stay at the MTC as long as we do.)

There isn’t too much that’s exciting, honestly. We’re in class all day and when we’re not, we’re doing other indoor, sheltered, boring things. The food is pretty much the same. We always have a meat dish, like chicken or steak. Lots of rice and beans, a roll, fruit, like watermelon, guava, papaya, stuff like that.

Yesterday, we were sitting in class and noticed it had turned nearly pitch black outside. It had been sunny 30 minutes before. We informed Irma Aline, our teacher, and she said, “It’s because it’s going to rain very a lot.” (Seriously, that's how she said it!) Immediately after this, I saw a drop hit the leaf of a palm tree. Elder Burt and I realized that our windows were open. We raced up to the 6th floor (there are no elevators, just LOTS of stairs) but by the time we got there Elder Jensen’s bed sheets were soaked and the floor was wet. Within 45 seconds the weather went from dry to monsoon. The rain was like nothing I’d seen before. Horizontal, I’m not kidding, and each drop was massive. The wind was super fast and the lightening to thunder ratio was less than a second apart. The storm drains were like fire hoses and we would have had mass flooding, but it all ended in 10 minutes. That night, the skies were clear.

I’m really happy to be here in Brazil. It fits my personality. I was originally disappointed that I wasn’t called to go to Europe, but I realize now that the Brazilian “chill” attitude fits me to a “T” and I don’t think I would have had as much fun in Europe as I will have here.

This Friday we will have our first proselyting attempt. Our goal is to hand out 4 Books of Mormon in two hours. Did I mention that people don’t speak English here? It should be very interesting. Stay tuned!

Until next week – Tchau!
--Elder Titus

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Half Way Through the MTC!

Elder Ghormley, Elder Titus and Elder Yuma

Southern Sao Paulo in background

Courtyard inside MTC

WOOO HOOO!!! Half way done!

This week went by really fast. Fairly uneventful, and will continue to be for the next 4 weeks until I get out into the field where the real action is.

Some Highlights:

On Wednesday, we went to the police station to get finger printed and to get our pictures taken. It was an interesting experience. Criminal missionaries!
Last Saturday, we had a "milestone," where we had to pass things off. This week it was to teach the first lesson in 15 minutes, in Portuguese. Elder Burt and I rocked it, and were the only ones in our district of 12 to finish in the 15 minute time limit. It was pretty fun. Elder Burt is ridiculous at Portuguese, it's nice to have him as a companion so when I don't understand what someone's saying, he can help. We work well together and we've become good friends.

So, I was walking to my room one night and this Brazilian elder comes up and asks, "You know Billy Jean?" I laughed, "Well of course I know Billy Jean!" Then I started humming it and we shared some sweet Michael Jackson dance moves and finished off with a high pitched classic MJ squeal. Great times!

They took our two rooms and made three, so that there are 4 Americans in each, and each room
was ready to receive a set of Brazilian elders. We got our new roommates this week. Elder Santos from the Amazon and Elder Rodriguez from Curritiba, down south. Elder Santos looks like one of the rebels from the movie, "The Rundown." He speaks very softly and has sort of a Sean Connery accent. Elder Rodriguez is also quite shy. He has a wicked hair part and a unibrow. He's taller than me. Last night we all played the card game "Uno." I guess it's pretty universal.

My District, with Irma Elias center left and Irma Aline center right

One room got a guy from Mozambique. He's waaaay cool. He came here with only one tie (the book suggested 6 to 8 ties). He's super humble. He will be serving in Mozambique. They speak Portuguese there.

Some quick stats:
400 missionaries here at the MTC, mostly American
Brazilians stay for 3 weeks; Americans stay for 9 weeks
In the field, the ratio is 60% Brazilian to 40% American

Until next week...tchau!
Elder Titus

Front of the MTC

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy...

So the top photo is the group of missionaries that I flew out of Dallas with, and on down to Sao Paulo last month. And the second photo is of the favelos, or poor area of town. Kind of scary over there. Sorry about last week. That was the nastiest storm and heaviest rain I have ever experienced. And that’s saying a LOT, having been born and raised in Seattle! I wasn’t able to send photos last week, but have two for you this week. They are harder to upload than I thought.

Things are going quite swell. I don’t really have any free time at all, and only about 30 minutes of email time a week. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the same schedule. 8 hours of class every day separated by lunch. No breaks. Mostly Portuguese class, with some gospel principles mixed in, then translated to Portuguese. It’s nuts. However, we are really blessed here. I have been told that other people have tried to learn with the church’s exclusive program and they cannot keep up with the missionaries. Things come so fast and they stick with you. I can pray in Portuguese and I can teach the first of four lessons already, as well as handling regular conversation.

I’m starting week 4 of 9 this week and it feels like I’ve been here for 2 weeks.

On Thursday we’re supposed to get Brazilian roommates moving in with us. Two of us will move out to another room, and two Brazilians will move in. So that should be fun. They are called Brasileiros in Portuguese.

So last week Elder Fenstermacher went home. This was a big shock to our district (of 11). He left for personal reasons. He was replaced by two elders that have been stuck at the Provo, Utah, MTC for 2 weeks because of visa problems. They’re names are Elder Ellis and Elder Fujimoto. They seem pretty cool and are meshing with our group very well.

The food here is getting better, but it’s still weird sometimes. Breakfast is the worst meal of the day. Sandwiches every day, containing bread, bologna, and cheese. That’s it. One day a week we get pancakes, however, the syrup is extremely bitter, and its spicy, so pancake day actually sucks. Sometimes we get cereal, it’s stale, but it tastes okay.

On Tuesdays we have p-day, or our day off. Half the time we go to the Campinas Temple, and the other half we have a day of our own. Today is a day of our own. We still have to get up a 6:30, but you can go take a nap later. We get to walk within the 6 block boundary around the MTC, which consists of a lot of little businesses that were once garages. They are so random. There are two businesses devoted completely to toilet items such as seats and scrub brushes. Other things are like candy stores and stationary stores. Everything is ridiculously over priced. A notebook at the stationary store is 7 reis, or about 5 dollars. In the states it’s like 50 cents.

If you have a sidewalk in front of your business or house it’s your responsibility to take care of it. Most people decorate it with tile, or cobbles. So every section of the sidewalk is unique. Or some people don’t take care of it at all, so it’s all messy.

Sao Paulo is ridiculous. 20,000,000 people here. Muitas, muitas pessoas. Lots of people. Skyscrapers as far as the eye can see. I tried to send a photo of the city, but ran out of time. Hopefully next week!

Friday, September 11, 2009

WOW! What a Storm!

Sorry for the delay. I was sitting at the computer on Tuesday, uploading photos to send and along came this HUGE storm! It made the Seattle rain/lightning storms look puny in comparison. I'm totally serious! And then BANG! The lights went out. So, no photos this time around. I’ll try again next week. That storm was awesome!

Things are going really swell here. The MTC is very intense. This is my schedule:

6:30 AM, Wake up, although I mostly get up at 6:20 to beat the 6:30 rush to the showers. 5 minute shower.
6:55 AM, Head to breakfast, fully dressed in white shirt, tie, slacks.
7:30 – 8:15 AM, Personal study time
8:30 – 11:45 AM, Class with Irma Elias (3.25 hours straight)
11:45 – 12:45, Lunch/naptime (a 20 minute power nap does wonders)
12:45 – 4:15, Class with Irma Aline (3.75 hours, no breaks either)
4:15 – 5:15, Dinner, followed by a few rounds of Ninja Destruction
15 minutes of MDT (Missionary Directed Time)
Gym until 6:30 PM (Usually volleyball) Get re-dressed
7:00 – 8:00, MDT, where we usually learn more Portuguese
8:00 – 9:00, Companion study. Read “Preach My Gospel,” and do flash cards with Elder Burt
9:00 – 9:30, Daily planning in classroom
9:30, Snack time; usually chocolate milk and cornbread
9:45 – 10:10, Banana Fishing* or other craziness (usually with Elder Chrisney from next door)
10:10 – 10:30, Get ready for bed and write in journal.
10:30 PM Bed!

It’s pretty intense. We’re in that same room for 9 hours a day. Even though it is supposed to be two classes, it is more like one class split into two parts. Irma (Portuguese for “sister”) Elias doesn’t know English very well. When speaking to her, you have to go very slow and make it super simple, often times using hand gestures (kind of like charades!). She says things like “contact eyes,” instead of “eye contact.” On the other hand, our other teacher, Irma Aline, is fluent in English.

In class, we are learning mostly Portuguese, along with a little out of “Preach My Gospel.” I have learned more Portuguese in 2 weeks than what I learned of Spanish in two years. I’m really excited!

Well, times up! Hopefully I can get the photos uploaded on Tuesday.

*Banana Fishing: Take a broom and attach a banana to it with thread. Lean out of window and swing the banana in and out of the window one floor below. Hilarious!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Stay Tuned...

(From Derek's Mom) There appears to be a breakdown in communication between here and Brazil. I was expecting an email 9-8-09, but it never arrived. I'm not sure what to tell you, except to keep checking back. I'm sure something will show up -- hopefully soon!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My First E-mail Home!

I did not really prepare for this message. I have learned my lesson. Next time I’ll be more organized.

The plane rides both went well. Our plane from Dallas to Sao Paulo was delayed two hours, so we all (25 of us) played Ninja Destruction. You get in a circle and you get one attack to try and chop the hands of the people around you, going in a clockwise order. But when you attack, you have to stay in that position, so it makes it a bit like the game Twister.

Sao Paulo is ridiculously large! I guess it´s like the second or third biggest city in the world, next to some city in India. Everywhere you look there are skyscrapers. For miles and miles! it makes Seattle look like an ant next to a human. No joke. And the smog is ridiculous. I´ll send pictures next week. I´m at a cafe with Neanderthal computers and we´re not allowed to bring our cameras outside of the MTC (Missionary Training Center). The 5 computers inside the MTC are taken and you´re only allowed 30 minutes here. So next week I’ll send pictures. Look forward to the photo of the favelas (shanty towns made of cardboard and tin piled high and together). They actually have those. It´s weird because the city is way wealthy but outside the city they have the poorest conditions you could imagine. Middle class here in Sao Paulo is our lower class up there, and upper class is basically non existent so far as I’ve seen.

When we got to the 7 story MTC building we were warmly greeted, and then fed lunch (rice and beans). My companion is Elder Burt, he´s way cool. He´s from Logan, Utah, and loves soccer. There are 3 companionships per room. We share with Elders: Webb, Parrot, Ingram and Fenstermacher. That night we had banana/chocolate/cheese pizza. It was interesting to say the least. Possibly acquirable.

We always have sandwiches for breakfast. Just bread, a piece of cheese and a piece of ham. No other options for condiments, and a banana and hot cocoa. The weirdest meal I´ve had so far was a potato gelatin casserole with red hotdogs spaced out in it, with a side of fried eggplant, a roll and downed with some cashew juice.

Classes are going good. We´re in class for 8 hours a day, separated by lunch, and with two different teachers. Irmas (Sisters) Elias and Aline. Irma Elias doesn´t speak much English, but Irma Aline is way cool and speaks pretty fluently.

The MTC is mentally exhausting. You’re up at 6:20 AM, bed by 10:30 PM with no breaks in between. Shower, eat, study, class, eat, class, study, plan, exercise, eat, study and sleep. Rinse and repeat.

Portuguese is coming along pretty good. We can all pray, and we´re learning how to testify, along with other standard conversation. We sit with the Brasileiros (Brazilians) at lunch and work on conversations. Those guys are way nuts and know the most random English.

Today is P-day (Preparation Day). We went to the Campinas Temple and did a session. When we got back, we explored the 5 block area that we´re allowed too visit. We got some candy, and I got some mango juice. Kinda weird.

Oh yeah, in the middle of Sao Paulo is this river, and it is way sick. It’s grey because it’s filled with sewage and litter. I guess down a ways it naturally rids itself of contaminates through rapids and other rivers. But up here, there is no life in it.

We played some volleyball, too. The Brasilerios are pretty good. They don´t allow soccer here because the Brasilerios get too competitive. Bummer for Elder Burt! I guess I will most likely not be on a bike, because of the crazy drivers in Brazil. But maybe it’s different in Londrina. Oh yeah, so we estimate our mission to about the same size as Montana. So it’s pretty dang big.

Walking through the market today, I finally realized that I’m in Brazil. We’ve been cooped up so much that I haven´t really been feeling it, but it’s there. And it will be more realistic when we go proselyting on day 51 in the Wallstreet of Sao Paulo.

Again, sorry for the randomness. They don´t really want us to email other people, so if you could let people know what my MTC address is, they can write to me if they want (that would be really great).

Oh yeah, I´m called Elder Chee Toos in Portuguese. I’ll be sending you a more in depth, organized message next week.

Elder Titus

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Testimony

August 24 (Very late evening)

After being set apart as a full-time missionary, I returned home and was anxious to get started. But it was quite late. I logged onto facebook and realized that I needed to let all my friends know that I would be gone, and then it occurred to me that I had a chance to bear my testimony, so I did. I only sent this to my non-member friends, but I'll share it here, too. This is what I said:

"I will be logging out of facebook for two years and I just wanted to say a few things:

I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on the earth. I have prayed about it, and have been given a special witness to confirm that statement. I know it is a bold statement, but if I wasn't sure about it, then I wouldn't be giving up two of the most critical years of my life to go tell everyone I meet in Brazil that it is... if I wasn't sure, I would be pursuing a professional cycling career amongst other things. But since I am sure, giving up everything is a piece of cake. Why would I fly across the world to spend my precious time telling a lie. If you don't believe in spiritual confirmation, then another way to find out is to read the Book of Mormon. Just like the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, it is another Testament of Jesus Christ, a record of the early American people, translated by Joseph Smith through the power of God. Plain and simple, when you read it you will find out that it is not a hoax, that Joseph Smith didn't "write" it, and that it is true scripture, not craziness. But it takes reading it to find out. Pray about, with real intent to know if it's true, and I promise that you will be given an answer. Some people have a hard time with understanding that answer. Most come in the form of feelings that you get: if it's wrong you will feel negative/darkness, if it's true you will feel calm, peaceful, at ease, with a sense of happiness and enlightenment. These are the feelings I have received. And if that doesn't work, just by reading it, you will find out that a modern man with 5th grade education could not have written it.That is a sliver of what I will be doing down there. Finally, thank you for your kindness and friendship, and I look forward to seeing you all in two years!
Elder Titus"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Set Apart as a Full-Time Missionary

August 24th (Evening)

Went to the Kent Stake Center at 9 PM to be set apart as a full-time missionary. President Maucotel had previously been down in Salt Lake City, and had just arrived back home. When he arrived, he realized he had left his keys at home, so he did not have access to his office. He set me apart in the Relief Society room instead. He said it was a good thing Gaylord (my stepdad) had keys to the building, or we'd be doing the setting apart out in the parking lot. He gave me a wonderful blessing, and I feel ready to leave tomorrow morning. I am excited to begin this journey.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Packing for the Journey

August 24, 2009 (Morning)

Mom took over the packing. She's OCD, but in a good way. Initially, we had 3 suitcases to hold all my stuff, but after everything was packed (8 short sleeved shirts, 2 long sleeved shirts, 8 ties, 8 pairs of pants, toiletries to last two years, 3 pairs of shoes, two sets of sheets, shoe shine kit, sewing kit, rain coat, 12 pairs of socks, shaving kit, hangers, well -- you get the idea), and the suitcases were weighed, it was clear that we could get rid of the smallest one and distribute it's contents between the two larger ones and still be below the allowable weight (50# per case). So, we did that -- and then added a few more last minute items. At the airport, the largest suitcase weighed in at EXACTLY 50#! **Whew**

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Passport and Official Name Tag Arrive

August 14, 2009
It's here! My official name tag that declares me to be "Elder Titus," arrived today from Church Travel Services, along with my Passport, and airline ticket. I'm currently down in Murrieta, California visiting my sister, Danielle and holding my new little niece, Avenly. I can't wait to get home and try it on.

The Call Comes In!

May 22, 2009
After much anticipation and a huge amount of patience, I received the call at work, from mom letting me know the letter from the First Presidency had arrived! We hurried home, and the family gathered around as I opened it up. I thought it would be funny if I teased them a bit, so initially, I announced, "You are hereby called to serve," (I paused here for better effect) "in the Utah, Salt Lake City Mission!" There was a collective gasp from everyone present and then my Aunt Sue said, "They wouldn't send you there!" I laughed and told them I was kidding, and then proceeded with the real announcement, "You are hereby called to serve in the Brazil, Londrina Mission." Danielle, who was listening via the cell phone, was very pleased that her guess of Brazil was correct.