Monday, February 27, 2012

good morning! 2-27-12

Hello everyone!!!

First off, yes it is true. I like cheese now. Maybe like is too strong of a word...lets say that I can HANDLE it now. I would still choose to not have it, if I have the option, but if someone gives me a plate of food with cheese on it...I will eat it and enjoy it :) Anyway....

This week was a good one! Went by about normal, not fast or slow...On Tuesday, I had my first companionship split with one of the zone leaders. He wanted to talk with me and see how I am doing. He is Brazilian and speaks NO English, so I really had to use my Portguese. It wasnt too bad. He was really patient and helped me out a lot. He really encouraged me to talk to more people than I usually do. I knocked on the most doors Ive ever knocked on that day! Unfortunately, tuesday was Carnaval, so no one was home or, if they were, they didnt want to let us in. So we only taught two lessons that day. But it was still cool. Carnaval was boring for us, cause we couldnt do anything hahaha :) But we did see a parade and walked through a park where they were having a HUGE concert and it was really loud. The Carnaval costumes are really cool, have you seen pictures of them??

The rest of the week was normal, we just tracted all day, unsuccessfully knocking on doors (no one hear is excited for us to knock on their door asking to talk about Jesus in the middle of the day). We did teach this one old man. He is catholic and wanted to hear nothing about the Book of Mormon. But, we felt like we should talk with him. So we visited him each day this week and just read bible verses with him. At the end of each lesson, we would invite him to read the BofM...he always said no. Then, on Saturday...we read about the Sermon on The Mount with him. Then we shared with him how the BofM has the Sermon on the Mount too in 3 Nephi 12-14...he was really interested then...and he agreed to read the BofM and pray about it! Que bençâo!!

On Friday, we had to go into the main city to visit the mission office so I could sign something for my visa. After that, we took another forty five minute busride to another area so my companion could do a baptismal interview. So that took most of our day. (Speaking of busrides...the buses here remind me of riding the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland!)

Saturday was the English class that I taught. It went really well! I taught the youth, 12-18, and they were really excited and listened and seemed to like it. Im teaching again next week. You wouldnt believe how much the children and the youth here love the missionaries! I dont want to be prideful, but the youth in the ward think I am the coolest thing ever: how I came here from America, how I speak English, how I am trying to learn Portuguese, how I testify and teach of the Gospel. they are always so happy to see is really cool!

Foods I Had This Week: I had a fried banana that was covered in hot chocolate sauce, and fried cinnamon things...SO GOOD! I also had the wonderful experience of eating beet flavored dessert was NOT so good :)

Anyway, that is all for now! Miss you, love you! But Im doing good out here! Brazil is really hot, but really a nice place to be right now :) Elder Nickel got a package from his family this week that had a package of those Betty Crocker cookies that you just need an egg and some butter to make, so we made those this morning and we have them to look forward to when we get back :)

Até próximo semana -
Love, Elder Spencer Eastwood
Alma 13:28-29

Monday, February 20, 2012

more pictures! :)

some pictures!

February 20th 2012

Hey everyone!!! You have no idea how much we missionaries look forward to P days!! It is so good to get a break from our week of hard, hard work....but, I am enjoying my time as a missionary. This week was A LOT better than weeks past. I have been a lot happier and the time this week went by a lot faster. Im still working on the language, still cant understand a whole lot, but it is okay. I have found that even though I cant have a real conversation with someone, I can still bear my testimony and talk about the Gospel, which is the most important thing, right?? I have tried all week to not stress about the language, and I have done good! Ive learned that as long as I study hard, work hard, and pray hard, I will get it eventually. Something that helped me was today i got an awesome letter from my grandpa Beckstrom who served here in Brazil too. He told me not to worry about the language and that soon I will be speaking it and understanding just fine. It really helped me out!

Some other things have helped me too. There are some lyrics in the song Walk On by U2 (haha it was only a matter of time till I started quoting U2 in emails, huh!??) They say `And I know it aches, and your heart it breaks, and you can only take so much...Walk On`. That helped me because, although I do struggle at times and it feels like I cant take it anymore, I just have to walk on (literally haha, we walk SO MUCH). I just have to keep trying. I know the Lord will help me. The song goes on: `What you got they cant deny it, cant sell it or buy it.` This helped me because I know that the message I have is so important! The people here need to hear it! They can make the choice whether or not to accept it, but they are only going to hear it from the missionaries. It is my job to invite them to hear this message! Another thing that helped me was a scripture that my Aunt Lisa sent me last week, D&C 122:5-9. It made me realize that no matter how hard things get, 1) the Lord is ALWAYS with me and 2) every struggle will be for my benefit in the end! (So yes, Lisa, if you are reading this, that scripture really helped me! Thanks!!) My mom also said something last week that helped me too: `There is a struggle with anything worthwhile. That´s what makes us appreciate things.` Thanks mom! That helped me so much!

This week has gone good. We are having some trouble with finding people that really want to hear our message. Lots of our `investigators` told us this week they didnt want to hear anymore from us and that they didnt believe it. That was sad for us to hear. But we have one family and two young women that we are really counting on this week! They came to church yesterday and loved it! We are going to work hard with them this week! Things with my companion and I are about the same. he doesnt really like to talk with me and he is always talking about how much he wants to go home (he leaves in August), which kinda stinks for me because I still have 21 months left! But did I mention that he is the district leader? Its kinda cool cause I get to help with the training at district meetigns and I get to help out with baptismal interviews. This morning I had an interview with the zone leader and he told me he is confident that soon I will get the language totally down and that I will be a mission leader soon as well.

This week I had a cool experience where I was able to explain and talk about 3 Nephi 11 all by myself and the Spirit was really strong. I couldnt believe that I did it all by myself, but now looking back on it, I know Heavenly Father was there helping me. Tonight, as we do every Monday night, we are going to a members house for Family Home Evening. I love doing FHE here with the members! We bring a baseball hat that we call the scripture hat! We have filled it with a bunch of slips of paper with scripture references on it. A mix of Bible, BofM, and D&C verses. We pass it around and everyone takes one scripture and reads it and then explains it and bears their testimony. It is so cool. I have seen these families become so much closer just by doing this.

My favorite food this week was this fruit salad made with papaya, bananas, apples, and pineapple. BEST THING EVER

Well, I will close with my testimony that I know this is the true church of Christ here on earth. Thomas S Monson is the prophet that leads and guides us. The Book of Mormon is the true word of God. I have such a strong testimony of that amazing book.

Tchau! - Elder Eastwood
Alma 34:40-41

PS: About the pictures...the one of the pasta is this really good meal the sisters made us for lunch today...I ate a ton of it and really loved it! It wasnt until after that I learned it was made with goat cheese...oops...the one of me and my awesome neck tan line and holding the plate is of Goiabada, my favorite snack here! I eat it for breakfast a lot. It is this fruit leather stuff made from the goiaba fruit, I put whipped cream on top of it to make it even better :) Then there is a picture of Bono cookies! They have a brand of cookies called BONO! So cool and so good! Finally, I felt inclined to leave a picture of one of the six awesome blisters on my feet :) Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Oh one more thing...the area Im just outside of Goiania, the big city. maybe you can find it on google maps. But its cool cause when we go up on a hill...we can see the huge city in the distance. It is beautiful. I will try to take a picture next time. And one last thing...the streets here....HAVE NO NAMES!! Im living my favorite U2 song in a place Where The Streets Have No Name! You should listen to that song right now in honor of me :)

I Still Havent Found What Im looking For!

Hi everyone!! so this week was about the same as last week. I got letters from my family and from Grandma Beckstrom. They were both sent on the 19th of January...but we can only get mail when we go to the mission office (which is only like once a month) and we can only read it on our P days! So I read those letters today and was very happy! Thank you!

Im still struggling with the language. I can barely pick out one or two words people say...and even then, I have no idea if they are asking a question or saying a comment...and I have no idea what I should respond with. Its hard on me. i try to bear my testimony every lesson and I sometimes share a quick scripture and message after our lunches at members homes....but that is about it. It is really difficult. I cant really make friends because I cant communicate with many people and it is hard to even have fun. But I am trying my best. Really, I am! I pray all the time for help and yesterday I was fasting for Heavenly Fathers help with me learning portuguese. I dont know what else to do though. I read O Livro de Mórmon everyday for a half hour. It sort of helps with pronunciation and with my accent. But I am just going to try to stay positive.

Some good things happened this week though! We didnt have a baptism...oh yeah! I got transferred, haha, if you could call it that. I am stil in the same area, Ipiranga...i just moved houses. My new trainer is named Elder Nickel. He is from Utah too. He goes home in August and seems really homesick. He doesnt really like to work...haha....It is kind of hard because I need to rely on him for help, but he doesnt seem too excited to work! Oh well...I just have to keep trying.

We went to this members house for lunch this week and I had the weirdest meal of my life! it was chicken noodle soup...but let me tell you how she made it...She boiled some water and put six ears of corn in it. After they cooked, she poured some chicken broth in there! She let that stew for a bit, then added the chicken....feet.!! SICK! Then she gave us the soup to ´enjoy´. She gave us like three servings, and tried to give me more! I told her that I was ok because I didnt want to get least that is what I wanted to say...I actually said that I didnt want to get pregnant!! Fat and pregnant are really similar in Portuguese...after the soup she gave us milkshakes....avocado milkshakes :P She put vanilla ice cream in a blender, half a avocado..which is a lot! They are like as big as my head here! Some lemon juice and some milk and then blended it together. It tasted like guacomole and sour cream in a cup. blech!

Although, yesterday, we did get ice cream which was good! Because we rarely get ice cream reminded me of home cause mom always has some ice cream in our freezer!! Lots of things remind me of home here..actually the area really does remind me of st George! There is a lot of red sand! And everyone here has the same Honda Civics that dad has....

This week has been really windy. Its cooled down. Not a lot. I still sweat so much during the day. But it is cooler than usual. On Wednesday, we got stuck in a huge rain storm! We were waiting at a bus stop and when it started raining, there was a RIVER of muddy water all around us. It was awful! I got SOAKED and I even had an umbrella! My comp. didnt!

Well...things are going good. We are looking forward to finding new people to teach this week so we can have some baptisms. I want to learn the language is really weighing me down. I feel discouraged a lot. Several times during the day I think ´I cant do this anymore´...but always just before I want to quit...something inside me tells me to keep going. Tells me that this will just last a little longer and then I will be fine. I know that that is the Savior helping me. I know that I need his help more than I even realize. We all do. Trust in Jesus Christ and He will make all things possible for you!

I pray for eveyone each day! Please pray for me!

Mosiah 24:14

Com amor, Elder Spencer Eastwood