Excerpts from this week's letter to home:
...Elder Cassimiro and I are an interesting pair. He is a convert of a few years. He and his mother are the only members in his family. He is a wonderful teacher! We have become very good at understanding each other. When he speaks I can just about understand everything he says. He knows my vocabulary now and is teaching me. These last few days we have been pretty quiet as we have walked around though because it has been been raining. He is only one transfer ahead of me [meaning he has only been in Rio six weeks longer than Cooper] and this is his first time training. Poor guy got stuck with a fresh American. He is showing extreme patience. But I feel like my progress is paused because I can not speak the language. I know the things that we SHOULD be doing, but with this language barrier I cant get any of it done. It's frankly quite frustrating!
...It is so funny that you look at the clock and wonder what I am doing because so many times I wish you all could get a snapshot, or even better a live feed of what is going on. I remember thinking this while we were teaching a woman named Paola (the Portuguese version of Paula) and thought to myself, "Mom would love to see this." We taught her late at night in a dark alley where she lives. These moments and so many others I wish you could just see!
...The highlight for this week is T and J. Their two little ones opened up to us and we've been playing with them a bit. But more importantly they both accepted a baptismal date which wont be until February. They have to get married first. But they've been coming to church. And although in the lessons I can't say much there is a great bond between us and we are always laughing.
...A favorite ward family is S and her daughter C. We had Family Home Evening at their house with an investigator CH and three of her five daughters. The youngest, probably just three years old, walked all they way there in her flip flops- about a mile each way! C is 15 years old and can't wait to serve a mission. She has come with us several times to teach investigators which is good because I am basically useless.
...I did the sealing on three blessings which I was not prepared for at all. It's the faith and Priesthood that matters though, not the words.
...In other news, I definitely am learning how to survive here. I found the Doritos, so I should be good if all else fails. The food really is fine though. I learned how to change the shower temperature, and how to start the washing machine! Baby steps!
...Guarana is the main drink here, like the Coke or Pepsi of America. I think I've had tried it before at Epcot at that soda drinking place. It's not too bad. Some amazing food here-Maracuja: Passion fruit juice; Açai- delicious berry, in shaved ice form!
...We had grilled bologna sandwiches after a lesson with T and J. They were surprised that I put the butter on the top and bottom. I hate being that foreign person that everyone thinks is really incompetent!
...We walked three miles to go to McDonald's. The chicken sandwich was a big McNugget on a bun, and when I asked for "minus salad" I got a side of salad instead of my french fries! Vanilla cone was awesome though!
...Its been overcast for 4 days now. Scattered rain throughout the day which is awesome! I'm not sweating and I love the rain.
...Saturday and Sunday are for parties. People gather together on the streets and put together a "churassco" or barbeque. So on Saturday we were walking in the pouring rain. A group of people, thirty or so, were gathered under some roofing. The steam from the grill flowing everywhere, and the song "The Heat is On". It was just so funny to see. This is what people live for here.
...I finished a run through of the Book of Mormon I started in the MTC. I've chosen my own 30 "Scripture Masteries" and I'd like to share one of them with you all that has been bringing me strength this week. I'm just gonna take a part of the scripture, Alma 17: 11
"...be of good cheer and let us go in search of the flocks, and we will gather them together and bring them back unto the place of water..."
Ammon was literally talking about sheep that had dispersed, but we should always apply the scriptures to our own lives. I need to be of good cheer always! Although the language is a problem I know it will come. In the meantime I'm helping those lost sheep return to the water...the Living Water of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why should I ever be upset? "Thine afflictions will be but a small moment". (D&C 121:7-8)
I'd love to hear about detail about thanksgiving this week!
[Cooper would really like to hear from you! Please consider sending him an email this week. He now has the ability to print emails and will then try to respond to them the next week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.]