Hi Fam and Friends,
This week was good. Sounds like everyone back home is having a good time. Grandma and Grandpa Murray are ending their mission soon, and that´s cool. Sounds like the chickens are having some problems. Good times. Mom, your emails are really pretty funny.
Dad sent me a big old monster list of questions, so I´ll take some time to respond to all of them, with as much detail as I can muster. Next week I´ll give you good stories, so remind me. Alright, on to the questions.
My new apartment is really nice. It´s a rented house actually, and we have a lot more pots and pans here, and a couch! It´s really luxury. We´ve got 4 elders in our house, Me, Elder Mancilla (Companion), Elder J. Nascimento (District Leader), and Elder Donadon (Got here when I did). It´s a really fun house in general. I´ve laughed a LOT here. They fixed our shower this week. The problem was that whenever we turned on the hot water, fire shot out of the celing because of the faulty wiring, so they sent in the same guy that fixed the house back in Itajubá to clean things up. We´re getting to be good friends, Ronaldo (the repair guy) and I. My clothes are super stained from the sunblock, giant because I lost a lot of weight, but still pretty high quality. Our typical day starts with working out, then studying, then we go out to work at 10:30, lunch with a member from 12-1, then we knock doors, make contacts on the street, or meet with people and teach lessons until 9 at night, when we return home, prep for bed, and sleep. I eat a ton of rice and beans, a lot of strange fruits like goiaba and acerola, and they eat a lot of chicken here too. The members in Valinhos give a lot of food too. I really like the stroganoff they do here, it´s hard to explain what it is. The weirdest thing would be the salgados, which are like hot pockets that are made and fried by had and every street vendor sells. Sometimes they´re really good, sometimes it says chicken but you believe pigeon. Doing my own laundry is normal by now. A little annoying, but not that bad since I only wear one type of clothes. I´ve been really going hard in the morning workouts, and I´ve actually gotten a lot more defined, and skinny. We walk basically constantly. I spend more time walking than probably any other activity. Our District has 4 Elders and 4 Sisters, and consists of two wards that meet in the same chapel at different times. We have meetings generally every Tuesday, unless we have a zone meeting or a transfer. Brazil has plenty of buck dogs, or cachorros da rua, as they are called here, and all of them hate Elder Mancilla. Every dog in the city hates him. They all bark and slobber and run at us, but luckily they´re all behind fences. All the drunk homeless guys love him though. They love to come talk with us, but we´ve yet to convert one. Working on it though. The palm trees are abundant, and so are the cool birds. I´ve seen several toucans, parrots, and even a macaw. The goats and wildstock were in Itajubá, but Valinhos is more industrialized. Here in Valinhos it´s a lot colder and rainier, but that´s really a good thing. A lot of the members here speak English, but usually with a strong accent, and basically no one else speaks it. My companion sleeps with insect repellant on to protect against dengue, and we´re getting mosquito nets soon. Elder Cruz got dengue early in his mission, but no other missionary that I know has gotten it. I´ve never even heard of a case of zika, but everyone´s super worried about it. I still lift sweet, sweet concrete weights. I know a ton of exercises thanks to good old Coach Ackerman, so I´ve been able to get some pretty good workouts in. Still haven´t played any soccer, but I play BBall every week with the other Elders and the recent converts.
As for advice, I´d advise you to make a big list of all the questions you have ever been given about the church and find a scripture in the Bible and one in the Book of Mormon that can answer your question. The scriptures have answers for almost everything, and if you get good at answering questions with the scriptures before your mission, you´ll be great during it. The scriptures are the word of God, and if you master them, it will really show in your teaching. I love you all, and I will succeed.