Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First email from the field, was feeling a little discouraged

Oi, tudo bom!
 
This week has been crazy, so I guess I will get started. It has been kind of rough actually, Prudentopolis is an interesting place, its a small town of about 50,000 people, its not too nice, its kinda ghetto, at least the parts that we are in usually. Its nothing like Curitiba. It has been really hard to understand things here, I was doing pretty good in Curitiba, but once I got here, it kinda went downhill. The people here are people of the interior of Brazil, so its really kinda backwoods people, and they speak horrible portugues, just imagine like the deep, deep south U.S., its hard for people who speak fluent english to understand them, so for someone who is still trying to learn how to talk correct portugues, it can be kinda difficult. I feel really comfortable with speaking, but I just have trouble understanding what they say. But its going better. The people here in Prudentoplis are very interesting. Where we usually do our contacting, it is very, very ghetto, a lot of these people we have to explain the concept of God, like some of them don't even understand that, its kind of been something to get used to. They live in pretty much wooden or brick shacks, about the size of one or maybe two rooms in an american house. Its very humbling.  Everyone else... is Catholic. The town is 90% catholic, there are like 3 legitimate cathedrals here, for catholics, and ukranian catholics. But you know how Catholics are, they say they´re catholic, but they only go to church once a year for Christmas or Easter, so it can be kinda of frustrating trying to talk to people about the church.
There is one branch here in Prudentopolis, with about 30-50 members, depending on the day. We have about 60 other inactive people who never come, so me and Elder Buerkle and a few other branch members are coming up with plans to reactivate people, so that we can have a ward and actually get a church building, right now we are in an old elementary school. The problem is, some of the past elders just did whatever they could to get a lot of these people baptized, so a lot of these inactives have no interest in the church anymore, and most of them never really understood a lot of the concepts in the first place. So it's really hard work. This past Sunday, we were really trying to get this girl Jessica to come to church, she is inactive and her cousin Bruna, is not a member, but we really want her to be baptized. This Sunday we walked all the way to her house, to pick her up and when we got there, she just came to the door and said no. It was really dissappointing, we had to walk for an hour up huge hills to get to her house, so we were pretty bummed. But its okay, we are working on a lot of other people too, so things are going good. My favorite family would have to be Fernanda and her parents. Fernanda is a member, she is about 20 or 21, but her parents are not members, but they have been taking lessons for a long time, their only problem is they smoke and they aren't married. But they're just the best, we love them so much. And Fernanda has a 3 year old daughter named Ana Clauda, she is probably the cutest little girl in the world, it's so funny hearing her talk, shes awesome. We usually go to their house at 7 o'clock every couple days, and we all just talk until late. Its not very good, cause we have to walk about 3 miles to get back home, in the dark, but its okay, the town is pretty safe for the most part.
Elder Buerkle is cool, he's a good trainer, but he's pretty tough. He is 23 years old and was in the Marines, but I´m learning a lot from him.
The food is good here, we don't eat very well in Prudentoplis because there aren't many members, so we just don't get that many good meals. But we have lunch with members about 3 days a week. The rest we have to buy ourselves, which is difficult on a missionary budget, not to mention my missionary card hasn't kicked in yet, so I don't have any money. But it should work soon, so maybe I´ll be able to eat. But yeah, Guarana is the best.
Without a suitcase was a challenge, I kept pretty good spirits about it, but it was pretty dificult wearing the same thing for a week, but it was awesome when the Cordons drove up to give it to me. I felt pretty special,I don't know why they did it, Prudentoplis is like a 4 hour drive from Curitiba haha, but I was very thankful.
And yes, it is so humid here, and so hot, we walk about 10 miles a day, up hills and stuff, so it is very hot. And it´s not even the hot time of year yet!! But its okay, that's what being a missionary in Brasil is all about.
Anyways, the past few days have been really great, I was kinda discouraged the first few days, but things are going well now.
One cool story, on Thanksgiving in Curitiba, we had our Pday and we all went to this sweet park and played soccer with the president, but after, we went to the forest area on the side of the parque, we got to see monkeys, like real, wild monkeys, it was the coolest thing ever. We brought banana´s, and after a few minutes a bunch of them just come out of nowhere, and they hang from the trees by their feet, and grab the bananas right out of your hand, it was the coolest thing ever.
Anyways, I´ve got to go, we are really busy today, and I still need to write the president, so tchau, até mais, hope everyone is doing well!
 
Love,
Elder Trevisanut

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Finally in Curitiba!! It is the coolest city ever!

Oi, tudo bem!!

I don't have much time at all to write, but I have a 4 hour bus ride tonight, and I will write an in depth letter about my first few days here, it has been crazy. I'll start with the plane ride, it was pretty good, but very very long. Like 25 hours of travel. It was crazy, I was in Atlanta, during my waiting time for the next plane (I honestly can't think of the English word right now) and I turned around and guess who I saw??? Brad Dial!! It was the best thing ever, turns out he got his visa the same time that I did, so he got to leave his reassignment in Colorado and we got to go to Brazil together!!! It was awesome! It was the coolest experience ever. Like, I'm good friends with my other district members from the MTC, but it was awesome getting to walk off the plane with him. So the first day was crazy. I didn't get any sleep on the plane, so I was dead tired, and the jet lag killed me, it is still effecting me. Oh yeah, the airline left my bag in Atlanta, my main bag with all my clothes, except the ones I'm wearing now. But they should get it to my area tomorrow. President Cordon picked us up from the airport, and we drove in a van to the mission home for lunch, and it was the coolest thing driving through Curitiba. The airport is on the outside of the city, and the mission home is right in the center, so we got to see a lot. It is the coolest city ever, it is so nice, especially for Brazil. After lunch we all met our trainers at the church close by, and we found out what areas we will be serving in. I'm going to be serving in Prudentopolis with my trainer, Elder Buirkle. It's a small town way into the interior of the state, like 4 hours away from Curitiba. The first day he wasn't in town yet, but he got here yesterday, and we're taking a bus up there tonight. So the first day I was with the secretary, Elder Hugo, he's a really good guy, he's Brazilian, but he speaks really good English. He left to be zone leader in Guarapuava, and he left yesterday. So that night we got to visit a bunch of families that he baptized and taught. It was pretty crazy. Curitiba is very nice, but it definitely has it's ghetto parts. We were walking down the street, and we literally walked through a hole in the concrete wall on the side of the road, and we were suddenly in the most ghetto place I had ever seen. It was like extreme poverty. The houses were tiny made out of concrete, most of them had maybe two rooms total. He was just stopping by to say bye to all of them, and it was the coolest thing ever. With every single one, they all just burst into tears, mostly just the mothers. They really loved him ,and he had been serving there in Baragui for 9 months. I didn't really say much, I had trouble understanding them, they all mumbled and they talked with like extreme slang, so I pretty much just bore my testimony for each one, they all had a lot of trouble with my name, almost everyone does, but they all really seemed to like my eyes for some reason. So much more happened, but I have no time. The buss system here is so sweet. On each road there are about 8 lanes. The outside ones are for traffic each way, and then the two in the middle separated by medians (usually trees or something) are just for buses. The buses are huge. Most are usually like three buses in one, all connected by the accordion door looking things. The next day, we picked Elder Buirkle up from the bus station, and the president let us sleep in his house that night. They weren't going to make him get right back on the bus for another 4 hour bus ride. So we're leaving tonight. So last night he kinda showed me around Baragui (Baragui is like the middle of the city, it is really nice, and has TONS of buildings) and we visited with some of his old investigators and baptized members, he served here for 6 months. It was really cool. Oh yeah, tell Bailey that there are tons of those trees that we talked about here. I forgot their name, but they are illegal to cut down. Anyways, I'm out of time. The weather here is good, it's very humid, and pretty hot, but not too bad, like 75 degrees, but it feels worse with the humidity. The food is awesome for the most part. The fruit is the best, and the fruit drinks. The bananas are awesome, in the U.S. there is only one type of banana, but here there are like 50, and they taste so good here, and the mangoes are awesome. The best thing I've had is probably Maracuja (Idk if I spelled it right) It's like a pineapple drink, it tastes SO good. Anyways, I have like 2 minutes left, this place is sweet, the language is coming a lot better than I thought it would, President Cordon and Sister Cordon are awesome, they have been so helpful with my lost suitcase situation. Anyways, time for Thanksgiving dinner at the Cordon's, I have to go!!

Tchau! I'll send a more detailed letter tonight, so much has happened!!

Elder Trevisanut

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We've only got 6 more days!

Oi!!

This week has been awesome. Along with the visa coming in, it has just been great.
As you know, my visa came in on friday (it was 11/11/11 too so it was perfect), and I'm leaving this Monday (the 21st). I'm soo excited to go!!!!! We got our travel plans and everything. We are flying to Atlanta, and then we have a short layover, and then we leave for a 12-13 hour flight to Sao Paulo, after that it's just like an hour long flight to Curitiba. I'm so ready to go, we've only got 6 more days. Me and Elder Twitchell got ours, and I'm guessing Elder Barkdull will get his this week, so he could fly out with us, but he'll most likely be on a different flight. Sister Patton just got her electronic last week, so she will get reassigned for probably a month or so. I'm way excited to see the rest of my district too. Hopefully we will see them before they get assigned to their areas.

This week, classes have been great. We've learned everything that they can really teach us here, so we just review a bunch. And sometimes we slack off a little bit and talk about Brazil with our teachers. But we are still learnig a bunch. We're all pretty much what we call "MTC fluent." So we feel pretty good. But we all know that we are gonna be shocked when we get out there and realize how little we can speak.
This week we got to leave campus 3 times, it was the coolest thing ever. None of us had left since we have been here, so it was pretty surreal. We had to walk Sister Patton to the BYU health clinic, cause there is something wrong with her wrist, but we still don't really know what is wrong with it, we're going back on friday or saturday so she can get an MRI.

Other than that, everything is the same here at the MTC. On your 8th and 9th weeks here at the MTC, you get to be a host which means you get to stand outside and pick up the new missionaries from the curb where there parents drop them off. For some of them you pretty much have to pull them away from their crying Mom's, but you're supposed to get them going really quick. After that you take them to their residences, then get there books and stuff, and then take them to their classrooms and drop them off. It's really fun. You really learn how much you know about this place, by now we're like mtc pro's. We know all there is to know about this place, along with several theories like the underground city below the MTC haha. But yeah, we do what we can to keep oursleves going here, it gets pretty boring if you don't liven things up. Everyday is pretty much the same, and you pretty much only look forward to meals and gym time. I've really perfected my volleyball skills here haha.

But anyways, I don't really have much time left, I've got a few other emails to send off, and I honestly don't have too much else to say. BUT, next week, my email with be awesome and filled with all kinds of stuff about Brasil haha. Anyways, thanks everyone for reading and writing!!!

Love,

Elder Trevisanut

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another perspective. :)

 Victor's companion received his visa the same day that Victor did, 11-11-11.  His mom sent me the dramatic rendition of the events of the day from his perspective.


FAMILIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So today after lunch, my district mozied over towards 2M to get our mail, like we do almost everyday. It was cold outside and we rushed toward the door. We realized that no one had gotten out their ID card, which we need to enter any building at the MTC. We all rifled through our pockets. We only had thirty seconds, a minute, tops, before we would succumb to the merciless elements.
As Providence would have it, Elder Barkdull procured his card first, and quickly swiped it, and all four of us--Barkdull, Trevisanut, Sister Patton, and I-- tumbled in, panting and marvelling at how close we had come to freezing to death.
We collected ourselves, and proceeded to our mailbox. At this point we were in the depths of hopelessness and despair. Hope of anything good coming our way from the Mailbox had died. The mail area, once a place of good cheer and optimism, had been completely corrupted by pessimism and dashed dreams. So, like a procession of lamentation--with heavy hearts and downcast countenances--we arrived at Mailbox #333.
But lo, what treasures were in store for us there. What happy tidings and good news dwelt within our mailbox. Elder Trevisanut reached into the mailbox, yea, with a sorrowful hand. He felt around and--what's this? Something's here? Immediately, he took courage. His emaciated hand seemed to strengthen, and he pulled out his hand with two papers the color of courageous crimson. He kept one for himself, and handed the other to me. Oh timorous arms, don't fail me now! I reached out for the paper--that courageous crimson paper--trembling slightly from excitement. I took one glance at the top of the paper, and read just two words--two magnificent words, that made the world warm and beautiful again, and the darkness clouding my mind receded entirely--these two words being "TRAVEL ITINERARY."
So yeah, i got my Visa today. Sorry, i'm a little excited, so i decided to dramatize the whole experience. It's really not that cold at all. And we weren't really that negative or downtrodden about anything. I actually thought today was already a good day before i got my Visa.
I'm supposed to tell you all the information about my travel plans, so here i go.
First Flight:
Delta Air Lines, Flight #1912.
Leaving Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) at 11:25 AM, 21 NOV 2011
Arriving in Atlanta, GA (ATL) at 5:06 PM, 21 NOV 2011
Second Flight:
Delta Air Lines, Flight #105
Leaving Atlanta, GA (ATL) at 7:35 PM, 21 NOV 2011
Arriving Sao Paulo, Brazil (GR) at 8:15 AM, 22 NOV 2011
Third Flight:
TAM Meridionais, flight #3157
Leaving Sao Paul, Brazil (GR) at 11:25 AM, 22 NOV 2011
Arriving Curitiba!!!, Brazil (CW) at 12:27 pm, 22 NOV 2011
So, as you may have noticed, i'm not leaving until the 21 of November. That means that i will have spent my whole MTC time here at Provo, which is cool beans. So, instead of going to the CTM in Sao Paul, i'm going straight to the field in Curitiba! Woohoo!!! Hahaha, i'm going to Brazil, i'm not going to have to get reassigned. I feel sooooo blessed right now, this is awesome.
Also, you may have noticed that i have 5 hours of layover, and about 20 hours of travel time. So, in total, 25 hours round trip. I'm going to finish the BOM twice during that time. I'll be so much more spiritual when i step off the plane in Brazil.
Elder Trevisanut is going to be traveling with me, so that will be cool. And Elder Barkdull's Visa should be here any time now, so there could be a possiblity that he will travel with us. Probably not, but i'm hoping.
I don't know if you know this already, but Sister Patton got her Electronic Visa on Wednesday! So, she's definitely going to Brazil. She might get reassigned, but once you get your electron Visa, it's pretty much a sure thing that you're going to get your Visa. So, everyone in our District will be in Brazil! Certainly before Christmas! yeah!
So, if you have any questions, please ask! i'm so excited, and i'm so glad that i get the chance to go to Brazil! Heavenly Father has truly comforted me during this time, and I know that I'm supposed to be in Brazil!
I'll try to check my e-mail later today, so go ahead and send something!
Thanks everyone! I love you lots!
Elder Avram Twitchell

Finally! Visa has arrived, flight scheduled

Oi! Tudo bem!
 
So... good news and bad news.....
I got my visa!!! It was way anticlimactic, for like 99% of the people, they call you on the speaker, and you get to run down to the travel office, and they give you your travel plans. But for me and Twitchell (he got his too) we just went and checked the mail and our travel plans were in there.. It was so anticlimactic, like none of us knew what to say, it was just like, woa, there are our travel plans, but it was awesome too. The bad news, since we have been here for 8 weeks, they're keeping us here until we go to Curitiba. So I leave the 21st of November. So no Sao Paulo MTC, AND I'm not aloud to call you, even though I got my visa. They said since we aren't leaving until November 21st, we have plenty of time to email family, so we don't get to call home. But, I'm still able to call you at the airport and stuff, and I have like 5 hours of layover time, so I'll definitely call. But, I have to go now, I'm not sure if I'm technically aloud to be on here, but I figured it wouldn't be fair to make you wait just to hear that I won't be able to call, anyways.
 
Ate mais! Tchau!
 
Elder Victor Trevisanut

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This week maybe...

Ola!

How is everyone this week?! My week has been good, but pretty long.. We really wanna go to Brasil.
Classes this week have been good. We finished all of our Portugues lessons, so now we're just doing review and trying to perfect the language as much as we can while we're here. But we're far far from perfect, so it's proving to be pretty difficult. The investigators are the same, so we're still teaching 6, but now we have 40 minute lessons on Wednesdays, which are pretty cool, but it's a lot more to prepare. but we've all come really far with the language, so we're doing fine. But yeah, we're all still pretty stir crazy. Every day we're more ready to go, we just wanna leave.

Hmm... with the visa. So we all really wanted ours to come last week.. but they didn't. And then Monday came around, and we really really wanted them, so that we could leave the next day, and I really thought mine was gonna be in. I even said a final goodbye to Bailey, cause i thought I was definitely getting it. But nope. This is the last week that we can get them if we still want to go to the CTM in Brasil. If it comes later than next tuesday, then they will just send us straight to the field. But the good news is, my visa is at the point where I wont get reassigned, they'll just keep me here until it comes in, cause it is still supposed to be in any day now. BUT, not to get your hopes up yet again, there's news today. We heard like 20 guys get called up to get their visas, and I talked to one of my friends who put his electronic in the same day as I did, and the Travel Office lady said that his should be in today or tomorrow, so I'm pretty sure that me and Elder Twitchell's should be in today or tomorrow, so hopefully for the last time, expect a call soon!!

The weather has changed a lot here too, it's really cold now, it's snowed a few times, but it onyl really stuck once, and it was like half an inch, but it's helped a bit with sitting in class all day cause it's not as hot anymore.
It's a good thing that I'm leaving in a week or two, cause these emails are starting to sound really boring, but I'll be outta here soon enough. I'm kinda short on time, so I should go. Tell Rianne Happy Birthday for me, and I hope everyone has a good week! Oh yeah, if Aunt Alyson and Lisa are reading this, thank you for the letter and package, they're the best!
Ate mais! Tchau!
Sincerely,
Elder Trevisanut

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Missionary Antics!

Oi! Tudo bem!!
This week has been a good one. Not much new has been happening, but after everyone left last week, and now there's only four of us in the district, we have gotten really busy. Rather than everyone who left dropping their investigators, we have all taken them, so we are teaching 6 investigators now. So it's pretty much three lessons each day. And extra study time didn't come with each investigator we gained, so it's crazy trying to prepare for 3 lessons a day. But it's been good, and we have been learning so much more. And me and Elder Twitchell are teaching companions, so it's pretty cool. He's definitely the best at the language, so it's helpful sometimes.
In response to your email, that's awesome to know that my visa app is finally being processed, I really hope they finish it soon! I'm not sure how much of Provo I can take, at least the MTC side of it. I'm so ready to go to Brasil.
I got dad's letter, I was gonna send some pictures home in a day or so, so I'll just reply to his through that. I'll probably send it tomorrow or something.
Anyways, sorry for everyone who's reading this, my emails have been so boring lately, but the MTC is hardly ever changing, so I run out of things to say really quickly. Brad Dial got reassigned to Denver this week, and we all saw him off on Sunday night, but I'm sure he'll get his visa soon. There are a lot of missionaries here, but me and him were on the same schedule, so I got to see him like 5 times a day, so I'm really gonna miss him around here. There's no way to explain how great it is to have people from home here, like Bailey and Morgen and Brad, cause any contact to the outside world is the best thing ever, so letters and stuff are seriously the best.
For devotional on Sunday, Robert Swenson spoke. He's the Director of Missionary Work (or something) and he was also once the Mission President for Curitiba Brazil. When they announced that, us three all like freaked out, and we were sitting pretty close to the front, so he saw us and he gave us a shoutout. Afterwards we went up and shook his hand and told him we were going to Curitiba, and he freaked out. he just kept saying, "It's the best! It's just the best!" So that was really exciting. His talk was also really really good. It was probably my favorite one, after Elder Richard G. Scott's.
Well, this letter has been kinda lame, but a couple funny things happened this week. I was doing a 5 minute practice lesson with Elder Twitchell the other day, about attending church. At the end of the lesson I told him that I would call him and remind him about church the next day, I said "Eu vou limpar voce no sabado." He started laughing. I quickly realized that I meant to say ligar, instead of limpar. Ligar means 'to call', limpar means 'to wash.' Haha. I taught I really good lesson, then I kinda ruined it cause I said I will wash you on Saturday. Haha it was pretty funny, you kinda had to be there.
Also the other Sunday, we went on our Temple Walk (we just walk up to the temple for an hour each sunday) and we saw this couple on temple grounds, like 20 yards from the temple, on a blanket, and you guys can probabyl guess what they were doing. To clarify, it wouldn't really be too innapropriate anywhere else, but considering there were like 200 missionaries all around, and they were on temple grounds, it was kinda innapropriate. So we were kinda bugged, so we figured we would do something, we kinda just wanted to go sit next to them and start talking to them, and try to make it too awkward for them to stay there. But then Elder Barkdull and Elder Hobbs decided they were gonna run down the hill and jump over them. So they went up to the top of the hill, ran down and jumped right over them. It was the funniest thing ever. We all booked it. Elder Twitchell got a perfect picture of it, and I got a copy so I'll have to send that one home so you all can see it. Just make sure you don't throw it away haha. We kinda felt bad afterwards, but it was still pretty funny.
Anyways, hopefully those stories helped make this email a little more lively. This week has been kinda lame, so sorry if you guys are falling asleep reading this haha. Anyways, I'm outta time, so I should go. Thanksfor the letters this week those of you who wrote. I'll write back as soon as I can. Letters are the best!!
Tudo bem! Ate mais!

Sincerely,

Elder Trevisanut