The people here have nothing. literally nothing. We had lunch (the big meal here) with the ward mission leader´s family. His son´s prized possession was 2 stacks of business cards. Every store he goes in, he gets a card. He handled it with more care than a mom does a newborn. BAM, humbled. I´ve had people who live in shacks give us glasses of cold water, that they save for weeks to buy. We work in the favelas (slums/shanty towns) and the people there are so humble. There is an investigator family here that I just love. They have an 7 year old daughter that calls me her american. Yesterday we had lunch with a member family and a couple nonmembers and there was a little boy who was 9 or 10 who realized that I couldn´t speak well and can only really understand when people talk slowly. So, that´s what he did. It wasn´t insulting but rather caring. He wanted me to feel like a part of the group. He showed me the greatest example of including others. we live right by the church building (one block south) with 2 other elders. one of them, elder lopes, is so awesome. He has really helped me a ton. My comp speaks no english so yes, this has been a long week.
My birthday was the greatest one i´ve ever had. We spent all day in the favela, teaching people. We teach the first lesson every single day. It was so hot but i´m not sunburned (actually getting a tan WHADDUP). at night there was a concert here so the bus ride home took almost an hour instead of the usual 20 mins. But we got off a stop early and walked right past our street. I asked elder olivera what we were doing and he said that we were going to stop at a members house real quick. it was pretty late so i was like ummmmm okay. When we got to their tiny cramped apartment, the lights were off and there was a cake with candles there. The other elders had set this up during the day (easy to do when you can´t understand the freaking language haha) and they were there with this young family. it was a surprise party! Needless to say, I was speechless! I had mentioned that the 25th was my birthday my first day here and they remembered. In broken english, elder lopes asked me, ´´Did you think that we forgot your birthday?´´ This family had nothing, lived in a slum, and they made me a huge birthday cake. How many times can one be humbled in one week?!?!?!?!
I love it here. Slowly I am understanding more but it is coming very slowly. I get stared at a lot because I am the only american people have seen in a long time. Elder Goldade is in my district so that rocks. But I´m so happy to be here and i have nothing to complain about. my area doesn´t have any mosquitos so I´m still alive! Though, i wouldn´t mind some snow.
I´m super sorry about the short call. my flight out of tucson was delayed taking off. I´m pretty pissed about that. I hope you guys aren´t too upset at me.
I´m doing really well here but the language is extremely hard for me. It´ll come in time. Oh, my 3 month anniversary is in 3 days! Isn´t that nuts?
Enjoy the cold weather!! miss you guys a ton!
Love you guys,