Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Life in Brazil E Muito GRANDE!

Jan. 27, 2014

My family!
  Well the time is here again to email. It just seems to fly by. I tell you what, I love being busy. I love having a purpose and getting to focus on it, and really sink my teeth into somethng. I love learning this language, its like one enormous puzzle/ game of sharades!
We ran around a ton this week, and did a lot to prepare for this upcoming week. We have tons of set appointments, and lots of progressing investigators. Specifically, SebastiĆ£o, Rosa, Durinezio, and Regina.
  We are heading to Curitiba at the end of the week for some business, Elder Long is going to a zone leader training and we have to do a couple things with the police station, get my passport, signed or validated or something like that. Anyway all is well!
  I still can´t believe I am in South America, finally in Brazil! Its so awesome and the experience is all the better because I am enjoying it so much! I´m so glad I got to feel what I don´t want my mission to be like before this! And I am also very grateful to still see room to grow.
Anyway, I got all your emails last week and they were fun and I ment to bring them with me today to make sure I got evryones questions but I forgot them at the house!
  I do remeber that I wanted to say good job on the steal Dad, it sounds like you are in a lot better position now that you have a controller! Hey and I wanted to let you know that you are doing such a great thing by helping the missionaries in anyway you can! They will talk about you to the other missionaries, you will all recieve more spiritual blessings, definately gain a friend or two (probably two) by talking to missionaries stomachs and to their member referals list! I actually almost cried when you told me the other week all you and the whole family are doing to help the missionary work! Your efforts do not go unnoticed I am telling you!
  Ty, you are awesome! Keep being funny, and work hard! At everything! Yes, even school! I know, don´t give me that look. =) Swim hard, study hard, smile a lot pal and get ready for the most enormous bear hug when I get back.....I would reenforce your eye sockets if I was you=)
  Brooke! Well that airport thing sounded stressful! And no, do not be worried about not writing me the other week! I love you tons, mail and email me the pictures of you and your baby but dont just email them, that is much harder.
  Mom! Hearts and kisses! You are so amazing, and such an example to me, keep working hard at that calling! It sounds like you have a ton on your plate! And thanks for the excellent letters! Oh how I wish you could come tell my companions how to clean, it is a very lost skill amoung missionaries I am learning! But don´t worry I am fine! Promise promise promise! I love it here.
Hey and about things I need. My camera still works, however I would love the switcheroo thing. That is a good plan. Other things I want you to know is that I will probably need to aquire in one fashion or the other another a new proselyting bag and shoes. Seriously I need military grade, more like boots than shoes, and a much much stronger bag. But not right now. If I can figure out something I will be able to make the bag work, but I will very likely need new shoes. For the package you are sending, know that whatever you send will make up the majority of my diet outside of lunch everyday. I do love candy, but I really need sustinace food. Like gummy bears=) just kidding and cliffbars. In reality if you havent sent my package yet I would like multivitamins too. I know for sure I am not getting all I need simply from the food I eat here. I have also lost me picture album to the elements. It grew moldy. I saved the pictures, they are in great shape, but I will need something else to keep them in. Peanut butter doesnt exist here and neither do hymn books in English, they would be great trading tools if you have any way of sending anything like that, but I would eat the peanut butter. I wouldnt mind shoe insouls either, in fact I probably need them. I also need anti-persperant deoderant. Im not sure if I can find it here.
  This week I litterally taught on a Brazillian farm on a split with another Elder. Mom and Dad and really everyone, you would be very proud of me. I am doing well and hold my own in lessons souly in Portuguese.
Improving, happy, and just a little home sick=)
  I love you all!
Elder Showalter

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jan. 21, 2014 Letter


  All is good! I´m still so excited to be here. This week I have a little less to talk about but none the less plenty!

  Ok so the other week you asked me what types of things I would like in a biorthday package and I've started a list. Mostly food hahahah! But I forgot it this week.

  In regards to your questions here are the answers. Guarapuava is awesome, very South American! Muinto legal. Seriously its just about the coolest thing I have ever done to be here. The branch is big, more like a ward, with  about 90 regulars. The members, people, and everything about this place is friendly, warm, and inviting. I love it. Makes it a lot easier to be happy. My Portuguese is coming along excellent too! I have found a hidden talent. The language is really fun, even not understanding what people are saying is fun, its like one enormous puzzle I get to sink my teeth into. I'm putting forth my best. Summer weather is good, reminds me of Florida, although slightly cooler. I have in fact been using sunscreen too =) Im sure that's important to know. It also costs a lot of money here. I think 24 realis or about 12 bucks in the US. I am healthy and well, but the food schedule is different here, dinner doesn't really exist and lunch is pretty big most of the time, so when you send the package be sure to send lots of cliff and granola bars! That would help a lot. Also a list the simplest, cheapest recipes you can find, like how to make spaghetti and meatballs or beans. We are teaching a ton of people! Oh its awesome! And people actually like us here! and my companion is awesome!!!! He is willing to work hard and to do the right things! He is on his last transfer here and has proven that you don't have to be a ready to go at that time in your mission. He sets a really good example for me and is helping me grow. He is actually a zone leader here and has been called to be a district leader and new missionary trainer all at the same time. He is clearly pretty awesome right? NJ was a bit of a challenge, not overwhelming, but enough to have been uncomfortable, here its different, less aggravating challenges that I actually love dealing with! Some surprising things are that Brazil by all accounts should have been a more difficult situation to handle but has been fun! I just can't get enough. My thought is that I needed a little perspective on things before I got here and to get to know some really good people beforehand. P- DAYS ARE AMAZING! Last P- day we went and fished in the middle of the Brazilian outback! also know as the jungle. And had a lunch that was awesome! I've got some great videos and pictures you are all gonna love to see! That reminds me, did you all ever get my package I sent? It's been two weeks now. Anyway the only problem I now have is that we are only allowed 1 hour here for email. It's like the MTC but I had gotten used to the two hours. Also we are not allowed to email back and forth like New Jersey. I had gotten off before your email came through last week mom but now I know that we aren't even allowed to do that. Bummer right.

Anyway I love you all and hope you are doing well!


Elder Showalter

p.s. I have been doing better on my goals too! I actually can do more push ups now that at any other time in my life I know of - except maybe once.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

First Letter from Brazil & he couldn't be happier!!

Jan. 13, 2014

 Hey Mom! Hey I just want you to know I love you! I made it to Brazil, and it is actually quite a story. When I was leaving New Jersey I was really blessed to even make my flight. The airport was busy, and I only made it to the terminal with about twenty minutes to spare. Right in the middle of that short break I heard a voice come over the intercom speaking in Portuguese and I heard Sao Paulo and thought I even heard my name. I went over to the desk next to the terminal and I met a man who was sent to Kennedy airport because there was no more room on the plane. I managed to get on, it was literally a miracle I even made it. As you maybe know the weather was keeping planes on the ground a half hour after I took off. In Atlanta as you know I didn´t have much time to make my next flight. I too was sprinting through the airport, but yet again another miracle, I MADE IT. ten minutes to spare, dripping in sweat in my best cloths. The flight was long, but not as bad as I thought it would be. I tell you what though, the anticipation three and four minutes before touch down was probably among the funnest experiences yet in my life!!  This is one big amazing adventure I'm on mom. I tell you what this is absolutely, without a doubt the coolest thing I have ever ever ever done. The transition in the Sao Paulo Airport was smooth, but considering I didn´t have any idea how to ask for directions and I wasnt certian about the way the whole thing would function I did not go about trying to call home, I knew the card I had wouldn't work there and I had no money to buy one.
  When we touched down in Sao Paulo something amazing happened, I literally began thinking in Portuguese. I´m not kidding only in Portuguese. My thoughts were simple, but I did receive a gift. I talked with people in the airport, by the bags, helped a lady with her cart, started talking to other missionaries in Portuguese! It was crazy!  Soon enough, we encountered other missionaries from the Sao Paulo MTC headed to curitiba, and I talked to them too! It was ridiculous. In New Jersey a few times before I got my visa I was so determined to get my language study in every day that I did it in the car, pushing through rather powerful car sickness, because I really beleive once I finish the Book of Mormon in Portuguese I will be fluent in this language. I have been trying super hard, and have been blessed.

   Landing in Curitiba I met President Fernades. At first he said something to me in Portuguese and pointed to the other group of missionaries going to Curitiba North. I was so new that I didn't even make it on his list! Later that day he received a call notifying him I was coming hahaha!

  Anyway those first few days were awesome! I took on the attitude of smile and wave! and also to really truly truly try to understand what these fun people are saying! It's been awesome! I've made a lot of friends and learned the value of a smile =)

  Ok, I met my companion and we headed off with six other missionaries to a place called Guarapuava, six hours away from Curitiba by bus! The road was amazing! This place is so excruciatingly beautiful. I have always said that New Zealand, and Ireland are the places that I personally think are the very most beautiful in the world.  The area of Southern Brazil tops it. Wow. Tons of trees, rivers, and fields, everything is green! This place is beautiful.  I am in a city cut out of the jungle inhabited by a people whose culture and language is as strangely colorful and beautiful as the land they inhabit. Wow wow wow.

  I love my companion! He is the best. He loves me, and I love him. We get along great and have been laughing a lot in the past few days. His name is Elder Long and he is from Idaho. He has been out in the field long enough to be very proficient at this language and he is teaching me a lot.

  We live in a wonderful apartment, cleaner, happier, and brighter than the one I came from before, with three other Elders. One is new like me, from my travel group, and the other is from Sao Paulo. Both of our trainers are the zone leaders and are amazing missionaries.

  Have no worries. I am doing way more than well. I can speak, I can make jokes in Portuguese. I get along by communicating in simple phrases, kind gestures and smiling. I capitalize on my current innocence because of my newness to the language and other people love me for it, but I don´t let this be an excuse not to do my very very best to learn, and I am. I am excelling. Have no worries, all IS well.


Elder Showalter

Monday, January 13, 2014

First Day in Brazil

Photo: Quinto Grupo chegando :)
Elder Showalter (top row third from right) on his first day in Brazil with the other new missionaries and President and Sister Fernandes (front row middle).

Sunday, January 5, 2014

And just like that he is off to BRAZIL

On Saturday, Jan 4 at 11pm this is the email we got from the amazing Sister Burt!

Dear Showalter family,
President Jeppson called my husband and asked him to take your son to the airport on Monday because his visa came in! 
So happy for you all!
Sister Burt
To say this took my breath away is putting it lightly!  I think I just wasn't prepared for that to happen so quickly.   But, we are all so happy for him, and he is thrilled!!

Sister Burt took this video this morning before church.