Hi everyone! How is it going?? Hope all is well with you in America.I cant believe it is January 30th! I have been gone exactly two months today! I am here in Goiânia Brazil and it is REALLY HOT! Muito Quinte as they say here in Portuguese. It really is so hot. The other day, it rained, and you could see the steam rising off the asphalt cause it was so hot here. I cant believe how much hotter it is here than in São Paulo. But it is really cool. On Tuesday morning, the 24th of January, I woke up at 4:00am and traveled to the airport to fly here. I was excited to be moving on from the MTC, but because I left early, I didnt know anyone going to Goiânia with me. So it was sad to leave all my good friends behind. But I got their addresses, so I will be keeping in touch with them.
We flew into Goiania and arrived about 9am. The first thing I noticed was how Green it is! It is so pretty here. Trees everywhere. We went into the center of the city to the mission office which is in a skyscraper. There, we met my mission president, Pres. Prieto. He is reallynice and funny. But doesnt speak English at all. He actually reminds me a lot of Grandpa Norm, becuase he comments on everything and you can always hear him grumbling about something that annoyed him hahaha. It was cool. Goiânia is about as big as San Diego...but it is really concentrated with people in different areas. There´s the main city of Goiânia which is a lot wealthier...then there are different suburbs surrounding it. The city limits are about as big as the area between Las Vegas and Mesquite...which sounds huge, but because the people are so spread out, it doesnt look as big as São Paulo.
I am in an area called Ipiranga. It kinda reminds me of Lehi, Utah. It is a nice little area, but I wont be there for long...I am getting transferred tomorrow!! And oh yeah, this is kinda important...I had my FIRST TWO BAPTISMS!! I got here and my trainer, Elder Fralick, took me to meet a few families. We set one baptism date, and I helped teach a lesson for another who was already getting baptized! How cool is that! Ive been here for a week and it is crazy how receptive the people here are. So that was awesome! This work is so amazing and the Gospel is so true!
I am working on the language. I get discouraged a lot because...I can speak it pretty well...I just cant understand when people talk to me. I kinda know how you feel now mom, when people say something to you and you dont hear them. When people talk to me and I cant understand them I just ´smile cause I dont really know whats going on´. Hahaha. its true though. But I am working everyday. My trainer is helping me out a lot. There are 128 missionaries in this mission and I am one of only a few Americans. The rest are Brazilians. It is so crazy. The Brazilian people cant really say my last name, Eastwood, right. So they say either Weestwooo or Eschwoogee...hahaha :)
The people here are so nice. They love the missionaries. The members here just love to feed us. Sometimes, they save their money all month just to buy enough food to feed us. It is really humbling for me. Most of the houses are really small. just a kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom. The bathrooms here are reallycrazy. You walk in and there is a small sink, a toilet, and right next to it is a drain and a shower head with some wires coming out of it. No shower door or anything! And, if you want hot water (which I rarely do), you have to turn it on and then be really careful, cause if you touch the showerhead, you will get electrocuted. It has happened to me!! I am fine though, no worries!! :)
So about this place....everyone loves soccer. There are two major rivals hereÇ the Palmeiras and the Corinthians. Everyone tells me to say that I like the opposite team that the people tell me to like. That way, they´ll give me jerseys and other stuff for me to collect. Ive already gotten a few soccer jerseys! Parker, I´ll have to send you one. There is also a team called the Flamingoes and theyre really popular...their colors are...pink! I want a Flamingoes jersey haha.
Yesterday, I ate the weirdest meal ever. It was at a church potluck thing (oh and the church building we get to meet in was just finished a month ago...it is the biggest chapel in our whole mission!). I was already not feeling very good and had had three 30 minute (unsuccessful) sessions on the toilet....then we had lunch. All these women made stroganoff...and they all made it differently. Then they just decided to pour them all into one giant pot and scoop it onto our plates! It tasted TERRIBLE! and looked like throw up. Also, one elder found a whole chicken foot in his. SICK!
But its been fun. We are not allowed to drink Coke and they dont even sell Diet Coke here in Brazil! But they have this one Guaraná drink called Mineiro and it is the best soda I have ever tasted! It is like in the States when they have Vanilla coke...they take regular Guaraná and put a flavoring in it. I dont know what it is. But it is amazing. It tastes sort of like dad´s Monster drink. They have tons of fruit here. The best mangoes ever! Pineapple is amazing (and cheap) here too! Also...I thought you would all like to know that I HAVE eaten cheese...and the verdict? I didn´t mind it. I could handle it. But I would still choose to not have it if I had the choice!!
So...things are going well. I am still getting used to it here. I am a real missionary!! The language is hard. It really is discouraging when I cant understand people. I just have to try to stay positive. I know I will get it eventually, but I dont want to have to wait a long time! This past week felt like it took FOREVER! It was only 7 days, but it felt like 3 months. I have no idea how long 22 months is going to FEEL hahaha. But im glad that I am out here. I know that Heavenly Father is watching over me. I pray all the time for comfort and guidance and for His help in learning the language better. Some days are awesome, other days, I feel like crying. But I think it is all part of the mission experience.
I want you all to know I love you and that the Church is true! Thanks for your prayers in my behalf, and please keep them coming. I need them more than you know!!
Love, Elder Spencer Eastwood