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

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