September 2009 - September 2011

The Journey from Beginning to End

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Letters and Emails for Week #5

Letter dated 10 October 2009: 
Dear Family and Others (And Friends!),

"Hey there!  How are all of you doing?  Did you enjoy conference?  It was absolutely amazing! Right now only the Saturday morning (afternoon here in Sao Paulo) session has played yet.  But WOW!  It was intense, and it was over in about what felt like a half hour."

"Right now we are in between sessions and we get personal time to nap and do whatever inside the CTM.  Unfortunately, pictures/cameras can only be used on P-Day, so I don't have many yet.  That camera rule only applies to the CTM by the way.  Also, I have an email address but while in the CTM, we are only allowed to email family, but out in the field it is up to the mission president.  I still need a confirmation, but I think it is possible to receive, but not send email to outside of family.  Because many here have, but I'm not sure as of yet."

"They only turn on the air conditioning system when there are big group meetings here, and it's been pretty nice temperature-wise so far when we open the windows and doors.  UNTIL...Yesterday we  were hit with an intense heat wave.  And there wasn't even a breeze.  The inside temperatures hit 30 degrees C!  What made us feel worse is that a Brazilian from Manaus told us this was cold.  In Manaus, it can get up to 40-45 degrees C by the end of the day.  We don't know if that is with or without humidity though..."

"It's pretty cool that Brigham City is getting a temple.  I wish it was Cedar City instead though."

"I love Friday and Saturday breakfasts here.  Friday has cereal like granola and chocolate frosted flakes, and Saturday is pancake Day.  The syrup is really thin though.  Every other day, though, is ham &/or bologna and cheese sandwiches.  I shall never eat a sandwich after my mission ever again.  We can toast them if we want, and add butter, but we all wish for cereal.  There are tons of stores all around the CTM, so I'll probably buy some next P-Day (Tuesday)."

"P-Day ends at 4 in the CTM instead of 6 like out in the field.  I've been to the Sao Paulo Temple twice so far.  On the bus trip there, I saw something that brought more joy to my soul than chocolate frosted flakes for breakfast:  WAL-MART.  Underground parking included.  I'm saved!  Hahaha...Too bad it's outside our area..."

"Well, with the missionary stuff, we can almost teach the first lesson entirely in Portuguese without having to check our notes every 3 seconds or so.  I really really really like Portuguese.  It makes Spanish sound like a more basic language.  It's like this: 
Romantic languages>Neanderthals>Spanish>Portuguese.        According to one of our teachers, that is how it is.  Upon asking where/what English is from/like, he said, "Oh, it goes barbarians>English>then romantic languages to Portuguese.  China and Japan are just weird.  Not really."

"There was a giant rat running around the other day. It could almost have been classified as a Rodent Of Unusual Size.  It was about the length of my wrist to my elbow.  Maybe a bit bigger.  It. Was. Awesome."

"You can send me pictures (preferably wallet size) of people in the mail (and email, just make sure they're not too big!) over the weeks.  Just F.Y.I. :)"

From a letter to mom dated 10 Oct 09:
"In case I haven't said it yet, streets here are filled with crazy drivers.  I'm so happy I don't have to drive here!"

"Sao Paulo is so huge.  It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that there are 23 million people around me."

"The days feel like they are just flying by.  It feels like just yesterday was my first Sunday here, but now I'm in my 4th week!  100 more to go."

"Guess what.  I could have come to the CTM with a 70 lb bag!  And go to Manaus with a 50.  And leave x-tra weight at the mission home.  That's how I understand it at least.  Most missionaries stay in the city, so they can have a heavier suitcase until they get sent out to a far corner.  Oh well."
(We sent Elder Tenney with the specified 47 lb least he's travelling light).

"When I came, there were about 60+ Americans who came the same week. This week: 5. Visas are extremely hard to get now. I feel blessed."
"My Portuguese is coming along very well.  One of my teachers were extremely surprised with my "milestone event" which we have twice a week to evaluate where we are.  I can teach the entire first lesson without having to check notes now.  I done feel so smart. ;)"

"Life is good."

And if you are still reading, here's excerpts from his Tuesday, 20 October 09 email: 

"Hi. Need I say more?...Yeah, I guess I'd better. This last week was fun. I'm back to 100 percent health-wise, my eyes are clear and my cough is gone! Yay!"
"We went to the temple this morning and it was pretty much awesome.  My district was put in a van instead of the bus because there were so many people and we got there and back before everyone else, so we get an extra hour or so to our P-Day time today."

"We have an Apostle coming this Friday to speak to us!  I wrote in the letters I'm sending who it is, but I'm going to let you guess who.   Have fun guessing!"

"Elder Owens and I were talking with a teacher who went to Manaus, and he told us some fun stuff.  There are 2 zoos:  SIGS and IMPA.  SIGS is a land animal zoo and IMPA is an aquatic zoo.  Super excited!"

"There are 3 states in the misison:  Amazonas, Roraima, and Acre.  Roraima is the nice one according to the teacher that went to Manaus."

"Supposedly there are no people in Acre. It's just a myth.  There are cities on the map, but none of the teachers have met anyone from Acre.  It's like us saying there aren't any people in Montana.  Just mountains.  Supposedly the jaguars in Acre are really open to the gospel though."

"We are through 3 lessons in Portuguese so far.  It's amazing to see how far we've come with the language.  We actually have a Portuguese only thing in our District from 6:30 a.m. to after lunch.  It was really quiet the first time we did it. ;)"

"Well, I thought I could do it, but I failed.  I was trying to wear the same tie everyday in the CTM, but last Friday I just couldn't stand it anymore and pulled out a different one.  Maybe I'll just wear the same tie for each transfer.  Every 6 weeks, switch the tie."

"I hit 68.2 kilos yesterday.  I don't know what I'm at right now.  However this means I have gained over 7 kilos since I've been here, which is over 15 pounds!  I can't tell the difference though."
"Thank you to everyone who sent a letter!  I got about 6 envelopes in the last 3 days!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!"


Elder Tenney