Monday, July 29, 2013

My First Week in Brazil!!!

At the San Francisco Airport...
ready to do this thing...

Last day in the USA

Holy smokes what a week it has been. I'm still alive, so that's news!!:) I got off the plane in Curitiba, Brazil, after traveling by myself for 30 hours, (yay for plane delays,) and my mission president was waiting with a smile and without a word of English:) I am 1 of 2 missionaries who received their visas this week, anddddd the only girl. The first day, not a single person in the group could communicate with me. We ate dinner at the President's house, and there were about 15 women talking and laughing and I had absolutely no idea what was going on. NO IDEA! I'd kinda laugh when they laughed and got serious when they got serious, and take a 50/50 chance and either say "nao" or "sim" when I was asked a question. 

When we were paired with a companion that night, I was paired with the one girl who spoke not a word of english; not a word. Her name is Sister Lima and she is a darling Brazilian who does not understand that I don't understand anything she says. She says something SUPERRRERR fast and then stares blankly at me and waits for me to respond. I laugh a lot and take a stab at it.Ummmm....sim???:) 

PORTUGUESE LEARNED THIS WEEK: Sister. Nao entendi ;) (I do not understand!) 

She hates to run, so I didn't run last week, not once!! It was an interesting experience. I learned a whole lot about reactions this week. I was faced with the choice this week about a trillion times to either freak out about what was going on or laugh at myself. I have laughed at myself a lotttt this week;) I have no idea how people who take themselves seriously serve foreign speaking missions. 

For example: I live in a basement with 4 girls meant for about 1. We walked in the door that first night and there was a bunk bed shoved in the corner. I was nominated to sleep on the top, about a foot from the ceiling.
HAHAHA what an ordeal it is to get in and out of bed. It definitely is motivation to be skinny, otherwise I'm sleeping on the tile!! No houses here have heating and I have never been as cold as I was the first few days here. I learned to laugh at that too:) I am so grateful for my mother who thinks of everything and sent me with an rei sleeping bag, because I live in that thing. The Brazilians call me a worm because I hop around our apartment all bundled up in it:) I have many new talents. One of them is moving swiftly while in a sleeping bag. Another is washing my face quickly with freezing cold water while in a sleeping bag. Who knew?

I'm honestly obsessed with Brazil. The people here have nothing and are more happy than most Americans I know. Not a single person was rude to us this week. I decided to be fearless with the language, so I walk up to everyone and declare: I am an American. We are missionaries. Can we share a message with you about Jesus Christ? (I think that's what I'm saying...)

No one here has anything better to do than talk to other people, and that's what I love most about Brazil. Sure, people are busy with work and school and everything else. But no matter who you are, they are interested in you! They want to talk to you! They want you to come in and talk to them. I want to develop the skill of always putting people first, no matter what else is going on. I also tell everyone I meet that I am an American trying to become a Brazilian. True story.

As for the language, it is a difficult language. I just decided a few days ago to believe I will learn it and not to be afraid. I jump in every lesson and do my best to communicate how I feel, and I think sometimes I butcher it. And by sometimes I mean most of the time;) But I feel the Spirit when I try, and I surely hope they do too, and I'm trying my best. The people here think I'm hilarious and ask me to say their names in English and then die laughing when I do. People here laugh a lot, a lot:) Everyone is laid back and is more concerned about other people than themselves. When the ward heard there was a new American sister, they all gathered their worn and beat up clothes and gave them to me to stay warm. I feel so grateful that I don't even know what to say!! Literally though!! 

This week I asked someone if they wanted to be baptized on Sunday. She said yes, and then it fell through. But we taught her again yesterday and I felt so strongly that we needed to read something in the Book of Mormon with her. So, sorry companion but we're going to have a change of plans for a second! We read a story and laughed and talked about it and I asked her if she would kneel with us right then and pray about it. Oh the Spirit was so strong:) I have great faith that she will be baptized very soon! Her name is Angela:)

Yesterday in church I was asked to bear my testimony and also teach part of a lesson. What an adventure!!! I told everyone how much I love them and how I can't speak Portuguese, but I do know that this church is the Church of Jesus Christ!!! They all just smiled and nodded. What a gringa!

 Highlight of the week: The ward mission leader sang some Celine Dion for me. It's his favorite American song and he wanted to share...

I absolutely adore one of the girls we're living with named Sister Soares. I told her this week that when she comes to BYU to study English, she can live with me!! (In the house I´m planning on purchasing...) But the words live and die are very similar and hard for me to remember. So I actually told her when she came to the United States, she is going to die with me! She appreciated that. 

This week was the most humbling of my life.I no longer have the skill of communication that I've always had. I have prayed so fervently for the Spirit, to be able to discern the needs of the investigators. This language and cultural difference has helped me rely on the Lord that much more. It's been a difficult week, but I am so grateful to be the new girl and the one who knows nothing and tried to talk with everyone, because the Lord is teaching me humility and love. Oh I love these people, everyone of them. That crosses cultures.

I bore my testimony this week about the Book of Mormon to one of our investigators this week in Portuguese, and for some reason got all emotional and struggled to get through it. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I never feel alone when I have it. I can't feel alone. I know that Heavenly Father loves us, and that He answers our prayers. This is the Church of Jesus Christ; every day as I feel the Lord help me a little more as I become more humble, I learn again and again how involved He is in this wonderful work.

Oh, I love you all:)

Sister Brooks. (Brook--eees in Portuguese, because no one can pronounce my name.I love it here:):):)

Me and a Sister in the ward.
I am now teaching a piano class at the
church every week.
She is one of my students.
Also, I am now the ward pianist:)

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