Monday, November 24, 2014

Greetings from São Paulo, Brazil!  This past week has been fun and I'm acclamating to Brazil.  I was able to see three members of my original MTC district, which was nice.  It was good being able to catch up with them after a year apart in the states.

Went to one of the Mission Councils this week.  There I saw Elder Nissinen and Elder Jacobsen, two of my friends that were serving in Rancho Cucamonga with me.  We ate lunch together and had a good time laughing and reminiscing about the good ol' days of California.

I gave a talk at the meeting for new missionaries this week.  I attended because my companions were giving a training.  The talk went as well as you could expect a talk given by some with one week of Portuguese would go, haha.  But it was cool because at that meeting I ran into my very first companion in the Provo MTC, Elder Thomas.    It was good to catch up with him.

I did exchanges with one of the Assitants, Elder Sales, and we worked all day in a Brazillian favela, which was good fun.  The people here have very open hearts, especially when it comes to the Gospel.  The people were very hospitable and kind to us.

Yesterday was my birthday and I spent it in the hospital, haha.  While working in the favela I got bitten by some weird sort of mosquito and had an allergic reaction to it.  I was covered in TONS of red spots for a day or two, which I thought were just normal mosquito bites at first.  But then I noticed that I kept getting lumps without mosquitos so we left church early and went to the hospital, which is fortunately in our area.  The doctors informed me that it was nothing serious and that after a few shots and pills that I'd be completely fine.  The medicine made me super sleepy though and the doctor said I had to rest for the day, so in the end I got what every missionary wants for their birthday, a seven hour nap!  It was pretty awesome.

That's about if for this week!  Até mais!

Seu amigo,
Elder Morgan

November 10, 2014

I'm leaving the office tomorrow to open a new area in the city of Osasco!  I'm excited!  The office has been fun, but it's time for me to spread my wings and fly.  I'll be living in a house with two other Brazilians and my companion, who's from Ecuador.  I'll be the only American so my Portuguese is going to get really good, haha.

Had to speak English a couple times this week because of Americans that came into the mission office.  We only have one other American here and he's kind of forgotten how to speak English.  It's pretty funny, haha.

Thing about Brazil:

- Dryers aren't really a thing down here.  Clothes lines for us!

I don't have a ton of time to write today.  The church is true, the book is azul!  Dang it, that doesn't have the same ring to it in Portuguese.

Ate mais!

Your friend,
Elder Carter David Morgan

November 17, 2014

Greetings from Osasco, São Paulo!  Elder Guamangallo and I arrived in the new Novo Osasco B area this Tuesday and have been working hard ever since!  Opening a new area has definitely been interesting, but Elder Guamangallo has served around her before and knows a little bit about the layout of the streets, so that combined with our trusty map and the natural sense of direction I have that comes from my slight resemblance of a Native American has really helped us out a lot.

Elder Guamangallo is pretty sick.  He has roughly the same time on his mission as me and is a super tall, super chill Ecuadorian.  Also, absolutely no one in Brazil can pronounce his name.  I´ve looked up all the Portuguese words that begin with "gua" and have begun introducing him as various objects during contacts.  It´s pretty fun.

My companion:  Elder G. 
Me standing awkwardly in Osasco

We arrived in the Novo Osasco B area to discover that we´re rooming in an apartment the size of a shoebox with two other elders and one bathroom.  Four elders.  One bathroom.  The mornings are always interesting, but good.    I´m a regular speed demon when it comes to the shower now.

In my move from the office to Osasco I accidentally left my sandals, so I had to bust out the white temple slippers and wear those around the house.  They look pretty sick.  But you may be asking yourself, "Elder Morgan, what do you do when you´re in the shower?"  Well folks, that´s what grocery bags tied around your feet are for.  Brazil has only upped my level of class.

Since we opened an area, we didn´t really have any investigators.  Like, at all.  But we found a lot this week!  Among them are a woman named Silva, who´s Catholic and deals with a lot of health issues but we had a great lesson about the Book of Mormon and we should be meeting with her again tonight.

It started POURING one day this week and we didn´t have our umbrellas so we asked the owner of a small shop if we could stay there for a bit.  Brazilians are super nice and she said yes and we talked a bit about the Bible and some of her favorite scriptures.  We talked about how we have another testament of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, and left her with a copy and a return appointment.  She was a pleasant woman and hopefully we see some progress there.

It turns out I´m the first American missionary in the Novo Osasco ward in about a year, so the ward´s pretty excited.  It´s funny to hear some of the members try to speak English with me, because quite frankly I can understand their Portuguese better than their English, haha.

I´ve been getting a lot of questions about food.  The food here is really good.  Meat, beans, potatoes, rice.  Pretty much that.  Quite frankly, I had more sketchy meals in the states.  Things like "It´s an organic chicken-spinach combination without the chicken!  Instead it´s been replaced with tofu!"  What the heck, people?  We could all learn a little from these Brazilians down here.  Also, lunch is the main meal and we have it with members and they feed you a ton, so you don´t really have to have dinner.  You just stuff yourself at lunch and work the rest of the day.  A big money and time saver.

Things about Brazil:
- There´s about one millions dogs that roam the streets of São Paulo.  They are homeless and I want to help all of them.  However, they will bite you if you try to pet them.  I may or may not know this by experience.  My dream is to figure out a way to charm the dogs, become their leader, and be followed around the streets by twenty loyal attack dogs.
- My first name, Carter, is INCREDIBLY strange to Brazilians.  Like, they´ve never heard it before, can´t even begin to think how you´d spell it, and I have to repeat it several times before it registers with them.  It´s pretty funny.
- Brazilian juice?  SUPER good.  We get it with every meal.
- Guarana, the soda, is the In N´ Out of Brazil.  At first you have it and think, "Why on Earth does everyone love this so much?  It´s not that good."  Then you have it a few more times and realize that it´s the nectar of the Gods.

That´s out it for this week.  Thanks for the prayers, I certainly need them!

Your friend,
Elder Carter David Morgan

November 24, 2014

Greetings from Osasco, SP!  Another good week down here in the land of Guarana and chocolate pizza.  We had the ward primary program this week, which was good fun.  The missionaries were invited to sing the "We are as the army of Helaman" song, which was good fun.  What was not good fun was the fact that I don´t have the words memorized in Portuguese so my wardmate had to frantically scribble them into my planner so I wouldn´t look like a total idiot, haha.  Everything worked out in the end, though.

Our zone is preparing a skit for the upcoming Mission Christmas party.  The skit is Lehi hosting a dinner for various characters throughout the scriptures.  I play Mormon, and I have the killer line (made my yours truly) of looking at the dishes on the table, acting indignant, and saying "Sorry, I only use golden plates." Buh dum, kish.

Apparently all Brazilians think that all Americans are rich and beautiful.  So you can imagine their disappointment when I showed up instead, haha.  I was told by a member that my accent doesn´t seem American, but rather Russian, whatever that´s supposed to mean.  My companion also said that I don´t look American, but European.  I asked him what he thought Americans look like and he said "Red hair, blue eyes."  These people have a lot to learn about America, haha.

I was reunited with my flip flops this week, so I don´t have to use my temple slippers anymore, a welcome change.

There are visa-waiters here too, but they´re Brazilians who are waiting on visas to Angola.  We are a mighty and proud people.  We cannot be surpressed!

The ward had a baptism this week!  It was an older, blind woman and it was really cool!  She´s the relative of an active member and she was so sweet and grateful for the ordinance.

We taught an investigator this week who said that he KNOWS that we´re sent from God because we speak unusually well Portuguese for the time we´ve both been in Brazil.  The gift of tongues is certainly real and it was nice to see it used as a testament of our sacred calling.

Things about Brazil:
- You know how everyone and their dog told me in the United States that I looked like Jacob Black?  Well, Twilight´s not as popular here so now the new thing is that everyone asks me if I´m related to J.P. Morgan.  Also, my zone leader looks EXACTLY like Edward from Twilight.  I´ll have to get a picture.
- Milk comes in boxes here, not jugs.  This is actually kind of nice, because it keeps for a lot longer and you don´t have to refrigerate it until a day or two before you use it.  This way you don´t have to buy a whole other fridge just for milk coughcouchMorganscoughcough.
- In case you haven´t already tried it, put maple syrup on your ice cream.  It´s a thing down here and it´s sooooo good.

That´s about it for this week!  Keep the faith!

Your friend,
Carter David Morgan