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!