Monday, February 10, 2014

Snakes in the Garden

Day 214, February 9, 2014

     A LOT happened this past 2 weeks.  I got transferred to Bom Jardim, which is an area that’s more dangerous than the last.  You can sort of grade the dangerous areas of a mission based on how many sister’s serve in that area.  I have yet to serve in an area in Brazil where there are any sister missionaries.  Fortunately, I love my new area, and I have made it 2 weeks without getting mugged, so that is pretty good!
     One of the things that I miss about my old area is the apartment buildings, specifically the shade of the apartment buildings.  I haven’t seen anything taller than 3 stories here, which is definitely a lot different.  It is funny how even though it is more dangerous, the people are much more open to being taught here.  I have already had my first baptism, which was a great experience.  I will explain a little more about that later. 
     Unfortunately, the danger here does not stop with thieves.  There are a lot of ‘snakes’ here. A. LOT.  Snakes are girls or women who REALLY like the missionaries.  Specifically, we have two women in our ward (who are active members) who chase after missionaries.  One of them has already had 2 missionaries sent home…you can guess why.  She literally places a target on an Elder and tells all of the girls in the ward that she is going to have sex with that particular Elder.  It is really sick, and wrong that she is even in church with that kind of mentality.  She has even created a facebook page for other snakes who want to hook up with missionaries.  I am told that our zone leaders (who share our apartment) have made it clear to her that they are not interested.  But my companion’s trainer got targeted and so he was transferred before there could be a problem.  I replaced him…  So that is one thing that is kind of worrying me, but I know that if I follow the rules, nothing will happen.  Another ‘fun’ experience that I had recently happened when we were walking home and this girl starts catcalling at us.  At first I just ignored it, but then she shouted “Ei!” So I just turned around ANNNND then turned back around as fast as I could because she lifted her skirt up to flash me!  Then she shouted, “Come here”.  Man, I was out of there as fast as possible!  So it is a weird place to serve a mission!
     I am really fortunate to have great housemates and a great companion.  It is interesting and fun to have American’s for companions.  I think that I appreciate them much more now after having to work within a different culture.  Here is a summary of what they are like (there are a lot of Elder C’s in our house):

After it is all cleaned up, we send pictures to our mission president's wife as proof of cleaning!
     Elder F (my comp) He has been out for 2 transfers. He is from Missouri and he is pretty chill, goofy, and easy to get along with.  He already speaks Portugues pretty well, but he just needs to talk more to build up his reaction time until he doesn’t have to translate anymore. He likes to work out, so FINALLY I have someone who will exercise with me!! He wants to study and train to be a bodyguard when he finishes his mission.  He played a lot of basketball before his got here, and he farts, A LOT.  Actually to be fair, all of us North Americans fart a lot….it’s the beans, they just kill us. 
     Elder C.  is an interesting guy.  He is super funny, hard-working, was an Eagle Scout, and is in the official Bananagrams Club (didn’t know that existed.)  He is a good example to me.  He and Elder Cet. are my zone leaders.  Elder C. is on his last transfer of the mission, but he still is working super hard because he doesn’t want to have any wasted time on his mission.  A lot of the Elders in his position just mess around in the end.  So I am lucky to have him as an example.  He is from Dallas, Texas.
     Elder Cet. is a person that I have had the most in common with during my entire mission.  He wants to study biomedical engineering.  He did dual enrollment and got his associates before serving his mission, he knows a lot of karate (his dad is his teacher), he plays a little bit of piano, and he was a lifeguard.  It is pretty cool to have him here.  He is from Logan, Utah and has curly hair like Jimmy’s.  He is really funny, and he also loves to work out so that is more great news for me.  Here’s hoping that I can get in shape on this transfer!
     The first week of the transfer was great.  I got to know my area and the other missionaries in my zone.  My leaders are really good here, which is a great blessing to me so that I can learn from them how to be a better leader myself.  Elder Whatcott is in my zone!  It’s pretty great to see him again.  He hasn’t changed a bit, but I think that I have really grown because all of his kidding doesn’t bother me anymore.  He is his usual goofy self, all-smiles and whatnot.  Another thing, our new ward mission leader is AWESOME!  Erivan has already served in the bishopric, served a mission, and he works!!!  It is really nice to have someone actually help us.  Also, he is super funny and intelligent with the gospel, and he gets along great with people.  In other words, he is the perfect ward mission leader. 
     To wrap up the second week, I had my first baptism here.  L. is 16 years old and very reserved but smart and willing to learn.  It was super easy to teach her because she was willing to listen to us and then apply what she learned.  I am really glad hat I got to help her to prepare for baptism.  I just love helping people learn about the gospel and how they can really change their lives.  It makes me super happy. 
I had one more exciting thing happen to me, a random street contact gave me a Bleach T-shirt!!  Yeah baby!


Elder Colvin

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