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