Sunday, August 18, 2013

We got this after a LONG wait. We were very anxious not knowing exactly where he was. He sounds good and that makes us happy. We sure do love him and we're so grateful for his example.

Well since the last time I emailed, I finished up at the CTM and went out into the field. I had a great CTM experience with a great district. I left for the field early in the morning on tuesday the 6th. I´m here in a place called Arroio dos ratos. This translates to, river of rats I believe, but in all honesty, it is a great area with a great branch. Also, super pretty here and as well in Porto Alegre. São Paulo was too big and pretty ugly, being further south is better for me. My companion is an American. Elder G..... from Utah. Really a great guy. He´s teaching me a lot and I think we´re having a good time working together. We have a family that we´re going to baptize. It´s pretty cool. The dad wants to be baptized but hes always busy. We still need to teach him. But there is a mom and a ten year old daughter. I really hope everything works out. Also, I´m getting really good at clapping outside of peoples houses. Thats how you knock down here in Brazil. Pretty different, but fun.

Arroio dos Ratos is a pretty interesting place. I have yet to see any carpet in houses we visit. It is either tile, concrete, dirt, or a combination of all the above. There are some parts of this town that are pretty poor. I mean like really poor. Look up favelas online. I think the people here aren't living in favelas but, its close. The people are really humble and the members here love missionaries. Also, there is an interesting religion down here called á banda´ I think. Pretty evil actually, deals a lot wih possesion and doing evil devilish things. But hey, I'm a missionary, so I feel pretty protected. Elder G...... knows a lot about it, so he´s watching out for me.

Also, stray dogs everywhere. They´re all hungry and cold. I feel bad, but there is really nothing I can do.
Winter down in southern Brazil is actually pretty rough in its own way. This whole week except for today and yesterday it rained. Just a cold 40 degree kind of rain. Not very fun, especially when half the roads here are dirt.
My Portuguese is progressing. I can understand almost everything Elder G..... says. But he has an American accent. Other people here, slur, mumble, cut words off early and other things making it really hard to understand. But I´m making progress.
This week I also drank a ton of Chimarro(?) not sure if the spelling is right on that one, bur it is a tea drink that we´re allowed to drink. Super big deal with the Gauchos here. There are so many cultural rules about how you can drink it as well. But I like it. The food here is fantastic. Rice and beans everyday, but everyone puts there own spin on it, and somehow it tastes delicious and new. Haha hopefully I still feel this way in 12 months. Please continue to pray for this great work. It is really amazing to be apart of it all. I know my email this week isn´t really spiritual but that´s because of all the new things I had to talk about. Next week will be better!
Elder Holloway

Friday, August 9, 2013

This email came on August 8th. We haven't heard from him since. He should be in Porto Alegre but we haven't heard. We're going with no news is good news. I'm kinda sad he stepped in poop, I just bought home those shoes!

Well this week was crazy. My last full week here at the CTM. I committed my other pesquisador to baptism and I went proselyting in Sao Paulo this week. I am so excited to leave for the field on Tuesday. I have about a 1 hour flight to Porto Alegre. I also learned that in some parts of my mission you have to travel by boat to do transfers. Pretty cool stuff.
So my proselyting experience was hilarious, scary, and also very awesome. Naturally my companion and I were nervous to leave the CTM and to talk to real Brasileiros about the Book of Mormon. But we quickly shook off all nervousness and had a great time.
First man we talked to was drunk out of his mind. We know now that we should've just left him as soon as we realized this but he was intent on hearing our message. He then said I wasn't an American but a Brasileiro. i told him no and he called me a liar haha. He continued to mutter portuguese to himself for the next 20 minutes after we stopped talking to him. My companion and I found a husband and a wife sitting down at this park table. Lucklily they were sober. We talked to them in great detail about the Book of Mormon and the husband accepted it. He was truly interested as to how he could become closer to Jesus Christ through the Book of Mormon. As I was finishing up with him, a slightly less drunk man than the original sat down with us and started talking to my companion. Remember that we can understand half of what sober Brasileiros say, with drunk Brasileiros this percentage drops to about 10%. This drunk man's name was Josué. i totally forgot the name of the interested man, but he has me a quick testimony in the cover of his Book of Mormon. When he left, the super drunk guy(who was yelling and muttering while I was teaching the good investigator) came back and sat down in his place. Josue was actually kinda interested and when he saw that the more drunk man was just trying to cause trouble, he started yelling at him. "Sai Fora!" "Get out of here!" He then proceeded to take his little cheap bottle of vodka, and smash it in the table in anger. At this point I was kicking Elder -----------'s leg, trying to tell him we needed to leave. So we did. Josue wanted to still learn more so he came with us and we sat down on another bench. Josue wanted a Book of Mormon really badly. I wonder if today he remembers anything. But hey, he gave me his address even without me asking for it. So I guess he's my first contact. Oh yeah, and I stepped in dog poop from one of the many stray dogs in Sao Paulo. Pretty funny story. Spiritual at one point, and at other points, not at all. So far my experience with missionary work is pretty hard, but fun.
My investigators are doing great. Igor is going to be "baptized" tomorrow, and Ellen, on tuesday. My lessons are going great and i can hold a solid conversation about gospel things in portuguese. Everyday I feel the spirit here, and the fact that myself and my district have learned as fast as we have is a testimony of the power of the spirit. I'm picking up regular conversation phrases and words just from talking with people around the CTM. Pretty pumped to get out there.
Oh yeah, went to the police station this week to get all my documents finalized and stuff with the government. When my fingerprints were getting taken I had a great conversation about our church with the man taking my fingerprints. I taught him from the beginning. God is our loving Heavenly Father and then I went from there.
Super cool week. Makes me really excited to get out into the field.
Elder Holloway

This email came to us on July 26th.

Time is flying by so fast here at the CTM. 1 month down, 23 more to go! I´m really enjoying my time here but the CTM can get a little old after awhile. All of us want to get out there so badly. Lucky for me I have 11 days I believe before I leave for the field.
2 days ago was pioneer day and this whole week here at the CTM has been full of all sorts of Pioneery(?) stuff. I watched 17 miracles on sunday and really liked it. I´m glad Dad had a successful talk! It´s funny he spoke last sunday, because this last sunday in my branch, I gave my first talk in Portugese and it went really well!
An aspect of the CTM that is never mentioned is how sad every week is. Literally every week you have friends leaving, it´s sad but it makes me want to get out even more.
I have not been able to visit the Campinas temple and I don´t think I´m going to. No one has ever mentioned going to that one, but it´s no big deal. I cannot post pictures in the CTM. It bums me out because I want all of you guys to see what I´m seeing! Haha although I have gained weight, my clothes still fit me. Don´t worry mom.
This week has been SO COLD. My mission got 2 inches of snow, and São Paulo has been freezing. The CTM is super open. The entire lower level isn´t enclosed. They also love to keep the windows open and have no heaters. But it´s all good. I´ll be praying for Madison. A bunch of Provo kids just came here so, I hope she´s not there long. I better see her this coming wednesday!
Anyways, I´m still down here doing well. I appreciate all the prayers.
An update on my Português, I can understand anywhere from about 30-50 percent of what the average Brasileiro speaks and I can speak about half as well as I can understand. I see progress everyday though, and I am super grateful for taking Spanish in school. Taking only 4 years of spanish has helped me tremendously.
This ones for Derek: Derek, the weeks feel like days and the days feel like weeks. just in case you were wondering haha.
Love you all. next friday is my last p day in the CTM. After that, I think the next time you´ll hear from me could be on the 12 of August I think? 
Elder Holloway