This was sent home Feb 23, 2010
Yay, I finally have the chance to write you! So here’s the skinny: I LOVE Gama. Wow, where to begin? Lets start at the very beginning; a very good place to start.
The first week in Gama was full throttle. I love being transferred. Its like arriving in the mission field like a greenie all excited and running around because your stoked to figure stuff out, meet everybody, and get going. The first week – this area had a bunch of possible baptisms (people who had been to church before, people who had already been taught, but never quite committed to baptism.) So we just went after these people and we were blessed with 2 baptisms the first week. A young man named João and his little sister, Julianna. Sweetest little things. The Sunday morning when we went to get them before church, they were standing outside, completely ready to go, in the rain. (this is a big deal because whenever there is the tiniest bit of rain here, people absolutely refuse to leave the house. I’m still having trouble understanding this. Heaven forbid we get our shoes wet?)
The first week was also eventful because of my first trip to a Brazilian hospital. My companion, Sister Lima, got super sick and really needed a doctor. Luckily, we live in an apartment across the street from a hospital. So at like 9:30 pm, we left to go to the hospital, and it turns out I failed to learn adequate medical vocab in Portuguese in the last 8 months. So we get there, and I was responsible for her, and she could barely speak she was so sick. The doctors and attendants looked to me and started asking me 8 billion really hard questions. (for example, What’s her name? haha I didn’t even know. I was like, uhhh Sister?) But then it was worse when I had to call the mission president because I had to explain what was happening. Once again, I had no idea how to explain. But it all turned out ok, she got some medicine, and was hooked up to this IV thingy. The nurse who was hooking her up, put in the iv WITHOUT GLOVES. It was an abhorring scene to behold. I could honestly not believe it. She was touching bloody gauze of someone else with her bare skin. Has she never heard of body/substance isolation? Anyways, Sister Lima fell asleep while she was on the meds, and I hung out in the hospital chatting it up with the nurses and playing with the medical instruments until like midnight when she was dismissed. I love America. This experience helped me develop a real opinion on public health care – but I don’t want to go into it right now.
Lets talk about week 2 in Gama! Week 2 – I got a bunch of letterrrrrs. Christmas cards to be specific. Thank you Brazilian postal workers, for your incredible dedication to the punctual delivery of missionary mail. Not. But thanks a bunch for all the great Christmas cards and for the package from the Sunbeams in our ward! Loved it. The second week we had a gift wrapped baptism. There’s this lady in the ward who was inactive for like 12 years but now she’s coming back to church. She called us up one day and said, “Sisters, my son Gabriel wants to get baptized. Could you come teach him?” Me (stunned) on the other end of the phone, “yaaaa we could do that.” So it was literally a baptism handed to us on a silver platter. Thanks for the blessings! Gabriel’s baptism was the 14 of Feb. happy valentines day.
Week three: This was really the week that Sister Lima and I totally clicked. Not that we didn’t have a great first two weeks, because we did, but this last week especially, I have been LOVING this companionship. She is hilarious. She has SO much personality and I LOVE it. We just crack ourselves up in the streets all day long, and she is a joy. And she TEACHES! I love having a Brazilian companion because she understands whats going on in the lesson. I can toss control of the lesson over to her at any given moment, and she knows how to pick it up. Plus she knows how to talk to the people because she is one of the people. It’s fantastic.
Other things I like about Sister Lima -- she always refers to me as Gringa, and I honestly love it. (zero sarcasm here, I think it’s the greatest thing). She just does and says funny things, we make fun of each other in the fun happy way, and we get along really well. She basically refers to the mission as marriage prep. She has all these things I need to learn to do so that I’ll be ready to get married, and then whenever I learn how to do something right she says, “that’s one more point for your letter of recommendation.” Or whenever I do something stupid she says, “oh Gringa, that’s minus one point on the letter of recommendation.” I think my over all favorite thing is how she talks to Carlsbad. (The teddy bear that Janie Chapman gave me for my 18 bday that I honestly cannot sleep without.) When we come home at night, the first thing she does is calls to Carlsbad and goes to check on him to make sure he’s ok. She has this teddy bear she sleeps with too, and she named him Oceanside. And at the most random moments she’ll talk about Carlsbad. One time it was raining and we had left the windows open by accident, and she shouts (with an expression of genuine concern), “Carlsbad vai tomar banho!!” (Carlsbad will take a bath!) I was dying of laughter. And we’re practicing with her English. Omg funnest thing ever, teaching her how to say stuff. Faith = faif. Bathroom = bafroom. This = ziz. So she always says, “ah gringa, you’re choosing the hardest words to teach me, isn’t there another way to say, I need to go to the bathroom?” So we’ve adopted the newer and easier phrase, “I need to go potty.”
But I have to tell you: the number one best phrase to teach anybody: “Its cool, baby.”
She says it all the time. With the funniest accent. I LOVE IT. Please, share the joy of this phrase. You cant help but smile when you say it. And its pretty much guaranteed that the receiver of will smile as well.
Sorry I got super side tracked there, but other good stuff that happened in week 3. For example, the baptism of João Paulo. Great guy. Loves the gospel, loves the church, understood and accepted everything perfectly. His baptism was on 21 of Feb. After the baptism ended, I was playing post-lude on the piano, and João Paulo came up with his nephew holding his hand. And the nephew is this little 9 year old. The first time I met the nephew, Ed, he was this little tough kid, but after I started making stupid faces and winking at him all day long, he really warmed up. When he came up he was all shy, and he was like, “you tell her” and joao Paulo was like, “no you do it.” And then Ed said, “I want to get baptized too.” MELTED MY HEART. Also present at the baptism of João Paulo was this other investigator we’ve been teaching named Karina. She loved the baptism, is super excited for this Saturday when she’ll get baptized too, and she asked to make sure that her baptism was announced in all the meetings last week, so everyone would be there. SOLID.
I LOVE Gama. I love my mission. I love the church and the gospel. I love my Savior and I love His work. This transfer in this area it doesn’t even feel like work because we are being so incredibly blessed. The members are super involved, the bishop and ward mission leader are excellent, and there’s just an all around good vibe here.
I love you all and I hope you have a great week!!