Monday, January 24, 2011

Letter #53 - January 24, 2011

Hey Mom,

Thanks for the letter. I can start out by telling you about my week:


Well, I did what I had planned to do. After the cyber we came home and I did a bunch of laundry and packed. My bus left at 11:00, and despite calling the taxi at like 10:22, I was almost late but thankfully I made it. I arrived in a town called Paysandu at like 1:00. After that I chilled out in the terminal for like an hour by myself even though people said that they were going to meet me there. After waiting for a long time, I bought my bus ticket and then laid down. I actually got woken up like an hour later by the people who said that they were going to wait for me, who said they had been waiting outside for an hour as they were waiting for me to arrive haha. Anyways, I think it's a good thing that they showed up to wake me up so that I could make my bus to Rivera. I got on at like 4:00am and then arrived in Rivera at like 8 or 9 or so. I actually slept solid on the first bus and pretty consistantly on the second, so I wasn't that tired that day.


Today I got to the terminal, dropped off my suitcases at an Elder's house, met E' Smith, and then we went out together. It's so awesome being with him. Anyways, we worked for a tiny bit in the morning, and then went to what is called 'The Line' in Rivera to get lunch. It's the place where you can walk between Uruguay and Brasil without any problems. There's a huge ferria there, there's a ton of super cheap everything, and there's all these duty free shop, which are huge shops in Uruguay that Uruguayans can't shop in haha. They usually have alcohol and colognes and perfumes, but bigger ones have a lot of electronics and clothes, etc. We never went in any of them, but it was super cool being there. There's a spot in this big park that has two huge flags, one of Uruguay and one of Brasil. I also decided that I don't understand Portugese. I'm pretty sure that I could easily use a Portugese Preach my Gospel or something that I was familiar with. Since it's almost identical to Spanish, it's quite easy to read. However, people on the other side of the line speak Portugese, and I realized that I can not understand any of it haha. For lunch we bought Guaranà, which is this famous pop that's pretty much only in Brasil and so of course, Rivera. To eat, we got these hotdogs which are 6 pesos (or 30 cents) each haha. So that was a pretty good lunch. After lunch we went to the area of the Zone Leaders who are in Rivera and worked in their area. It was kind of cool working there, as the city has a really cool 'feel' to it. Also, pretty much everyone speaks this weird mix between Spanish and Portugese, so it's slightly more difficult to understand. We stayed at the ZLs house in the night.


We stayed in Rivera all this time instead of going to Vichadero because today we had a district meeting in the morning. Since we live alone like 2 hours away from Rivera and therefore, everyone else in the zone, we don't come in for district meeting that often. I still get letters and everything no problem though. Anyways, after district meeting, and meeting a ton of knew people, E' Smith and I took a bus back to Vichadero. We had to run to the Branch President and some member's house, and then we had soccer in the night, since Thursday is their soccer day here. I didn't really get a chance to unpack, and we didn't even really do any work today, but that's all that we had time for. Soccer was kinda a gongshow as there was like 25 kids who showed up. It's extremely frustrating trying to organize 25 10-16 year olds doing something that they love like playing soccer haha. It was fun though, and I suppose it was nicer than not having anyone show up.


Well today was Friday, and having week planning when we did actually was really convenient. Since I didn't know anyone here, E' Smith told me about all of our investigators and where they're at. Today was also my first day working with E' Smith and it was a lot of fun. I really felt like I could be more of the missionary that I want to be. We have similar teaching styles, and it just overall works a lot better. For example, we're encouraged to have the people that we're teaching pray at the end of lessons. Well a lot of times people are shy or something, and don't want to do it. Well with E' Smith we did what we should have, and eventually the guy gave in and it was really, really good. However, since we were late for our next appointment with the branch president thanks to making this guy pray, we had to run to his house. It was just satisfying working really hard like that.


Today we had a lesson that went really well. We had talked with this woman a few days ago who used to go to some other church but then read the Book of Mormon, prayed, etc. and figured out that ours was the true church. Anyways, she had gone to this other church for like 15 years and had a lot of her friends and I think family in it. She also for some reason was terribly afraid of entering out church for some reason. Today we got the key from a member and showed her the inside of the church on a day when we weren't all meeting together and brought a friend of hers who's LDS. It ended up being an awesome experience. She said that she felt like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders, and she now felt comfortable in the church. Her name is Anita, and she's actually a really good investigator. I also discovered today that there's way too many people from a certain type of church here. In my last area there was a pretty good mix, but here everyone is in the same thing. It's also extremely frustrating because this is what happens when we ask to come in 'I'm sorry, but I'm from another church. There's only one God and I'm not from your church.' Well considering you're from a church that doesn't recognize certain essential things but still understand that there's only one God, technically that should be reason for you to let us in. Ugh, it's frustrating. However, I do find overall that it's easier to get into doors here, for whatever reason, so that's nice.


Today was Sunday so we had church in the morning. In my last area we lived like 20 minutes away from the church, but here we only live like a block and a half, so that's definitely a lot nicer. Today we got there really early so that it looks better and so that I could introduce people as they came in. Our ward here is super small, there's only like 20 or 25 people in church on Sunday, so that's a bit of a change. The town is overall quite small where I am though, so that's to be expected. The branch president asked me to give my testimony and maybe a short talk, so I gave a short talk on obedience and then bore my testimony. We also had 4 investigators at church, so that was awesome. 3 were these brothers who were like 10-15 in a family, and the other was the woman who we showed the church to yesterday, woohoo!


Today is our PDay, and today we've been working a lot on cleaning the house. I've been looking forward to cleaning it, so finally Monday has come. The kitchen is especially nasty, but we actually haven't even started on it yet haha. We basically just organized our room and a couple other rooms in the house. A member gave us lunch which we ate at the house, and then we came to the cyber. My comp and I actually stayed up really late talking last night, so we didn't get out of bed very early this morning haha. We'll probably go back to cleaning once we go back to the house, and then we have to go out to work.

To your email:

Yeah, I was exhausted the night of changes. The reason that they transfer during the night is because generally people can at least somewhat sleep during the night, and it doesn't waste a full day of working.

This area is actually quite different than Salto. In Salto I just had a part of the city. Here is a small town that is basically like Vauxhall. I think it's generally a little more spread out but there's supposedly more people that live here, even though it roughly seems like the same amount of houses. We're about 2 or 3 hours away from any other type of civilization, so President has a lot of trust in both of us. And yeah, there's only one branch out here, and we're the only 2 missionaries in it. Our house here is huge, well, larger than we need it, and I think overall it probably is nicer. However, it needs a pretty good cleaning before it'll get to where it should be. Even from what we did today the house looks a lot better. It definitely has more potential, I'm pretty excited to be here. Our branch president washes our clothes since they have a machine, we just buy them soap when they need it.

Mom, there are no areas where we use cars here. The assistants the president and the office elders have a vehicle, but I don't think they use them for proselyting. There's only like maybe 4 areas that use bikes. It's a walking mission haha.

My toe actually hasn't given me any problems since my operation.

I guess that's all the questions that you asked. Thanks for the update on everyone, and yourself. I'm glad that I at least get a couple good emails everyweek. Thanks for all you do. I read the rest of your email, although I didn't respond to it. Have a great week,

Love you,

Elder Fikus

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