If you want to see where I'm working, search on google maps for Aracaju, Sergipe, next to Rio Sergipe. Street- Visconde Maracaju.
I'm still having a hard time believing that Sarah got called to the Philippines, that's super exciting! And I'm So happy for her. Sure do wish I was there to help her out.. Miss you SO much Sarah!
So my new companion Elder Gonzales is from Chile, Santiago I think... He has almost 11 month in the mission and I'm his first junior companion. He's from Chile so he speaks Spanish, so we're both kind of learning together, me more than him haha. There's many words that we both don't know so at times it's hard to communicate, haha. Something funny that I've noticed, the Brazilians are really good at guessing what you're going to say, so many time they will understand what your trying to say and respond before your even done finishing the sentence, but I guess that's the same when two Americans talk, haha.
So we're working in an area that the scale of wealth ranges from very poor to very rich, depending on what neighborhood we work in. Our area is huge and since we both arrived in the area at the same time, we have a hard time finding where people live and where the streets are etc.. There have been quite a number of times when we've gone tracking and gotten lost in the dark, or knocked on a member's door, or a person that was baptized and left the church. Since we've opened the area we've had to make a lot of street contacts or knock a lot of doors. Normally I and Elder Gonzales trade off or he gets one side of the street and I get the other. Doing contacts by myself is harder but at the same time easier, cause I can act like myself... I don't know why it's just easier. Like I'll play with the dogs, comment on something, talk with the little kids, idk. Something I've been learning is that there exists a huge number of people in the world who aren't like me.... I thought I was a patient chap before my mission, HA Nope! but I'm working on it, trying to be more patient. ...
Our ward is HUGE compared to my last ward. It has around 100 people active in the ward and a bunch of kids, this past Sunday one of the more hyper active kids ran around in the chapel during sacrament meeting with my name tag pinned to his shirt, haha, he was whispering Elder Ralph Elder Ralph to everyone! I pinned it on him but I didn't expect him to go around whispering my name, Oppps... But it was funny. Unfortunately the missionaries that were in this area before us didn't do anything, just stayed in their house, so the members are still observing us to see if they can trust us enough to give us references. But they are starting to come, wehehe. The other day we put on an activity with some of the members, one of the games was "Do you love you neighbor", haha kinda difficult when you can't make contact with people of the opposite gender, haha, and the sounds between the word amo and não are very similar hehe
So if you guys have any ideas for games that are simple for big groups PLEASE let me know.
We've been working with a number of great people with great intention, a couple ITALO and LAELA who have been coming to church but are still working on a few problems, marriage is one of them. And Denise who is still searching for her answer, but she really believes that she´ll get it. And Rosá, who is an older lady that a member has been bringing to church. She has been a part of many religions in her lifetime so she knows a lot, but is very lost in certain topics of the gospel, its fun teaching her, she talks a lot haha.
We've been teaching a lot of other people but unfortunately the "real intention" just isn't there, they make up a lot of excuses or run away when they see us coming, they seriously run! It's sad but it's their choice, sometimes I wanna chase 'um down or call them out when they lie but it's really not worth it. It's something that Elder Bednar taught us, the difference between helping an investigator gain a testimony and helping them be converted, if we chase them down or force them to go to church they aren't growing in either, a testimony or conversion. Many people in our areá know the Mormons because of the two boys that walk around in the streets, most of them have never talked to them, UNTIL NOW WAHAHA.
I don't know why but talking about food is one of the easiest topics when talking with the female members, like I've been asking for recipes for certain foods and the women just talk! They probably think, awe this cute little American wants to learn to cook haha but seriously I do! I got rice done to a tee, and pancakes, and I make an awesome salad but I want to learn more, mainly because the guys that I live with are pretty low on the cooking skills. That reminds me! this week we're going to move houses, we're moving into a house way cleaner and bigger because our contract expired and the president has moved us into another house.
Dearest Friends and Family, I am so thankful for all of your support, your prayers, your examples, love, everything that you have done and are doing to help me. I'm working hard, staying focused, and trying my best. I know that this time that I have will pass so fast so I will soak up every moment of it. Learning and growing in every way that I can. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH, and MISS YOU LIKE CRAZY!
Love, ELDER Ralph