Monday, June 24, 2013

São João

So this week we were able to experience the lovely traditional celebration of São João.  I'm still not quite sure what it is, but from my understanding there was a guy named São João and he knew a lot about the Bible.  So therefore, everyone dressed up like Hispanic cowboys, danced, listened to Forró (which is like Brazilian folk music and they like to make Forró versions of popular songs like "Umbrella" by Rhianna), make terrible food out of corn and peanuts, and blow up things in the streets.  The church put on a São João party and let me tell you, church parties down here aren't like church parties in the states - they are PARTIES.  Everyone was dancing, singing, eating the abominable São João food, and all in all having a splendid time.  With São João though the streets are a bit more dangerous.  Not because we'll get robbed or anything like that, but because of all of the fireworks.

Fireworks down here aren't like they are back in the states.  In the states they shoot colorful sparks and everyone says "Ooohhh pretty!" Here they're more like bombs and shoot fire and rain death upon the people.  It's so scary.  And the bombs here aren't like the cute little M80's back home either.  They resemble more of what you see in footage of Afghanistan and the next Michael Bay movie.  They have these kind of fireworks called "busca pés", which translates to "feet searcher."  You always hear stories down here about missionaries walking around and kids see them and yell, "Oi! Mormons!!!" and then throw busca pés at them.  I swear you walk outside and everything is exploding, people are blasting music, and lighting fires in the streets.

Brazil man...

So to answer your questions mom:

1.  I chose the São Paulo futebol team because they're the "Tricampeão do mundo" (Champion of the world).  They're a really good team, pretty solid, and a pretty safe bet.  You have to choose a Brazilian futebol club down here so no your favorite team England's Manchester United wouldn't play out too well.  You generally don't want to choose a team from Sergipe or Alagoas because they're terrible.  There are about four or five teams based in São Paulo and they're generally better teams so everyone usually picks one of them.

2.  I do in fact know Elder Jensen.  He is my Zone Leader and he's a pretty funny guy.

3.  The ocean is a pretty far distance away from where I am and the ocean in Sergipe isn't generally an ocean you want to brag about.  The best one is up in Maceió and man is it beautiful.

4.  It generally isn't too weird giving advice to older people about not drinking and getting married.  They usually don't act too prideful about it and they know that they should get married and stop drinking.  They just don't do what we tell them to do.  It's a lot weirder when you have to tell two 14 year olds that they have to get married and can't live together.

5.  Ha ha - thanks for the update on Kim Kardashian and Kane West's new baby.  I was dying to know what they were going to name it.

6.  I'll be sure to send more pictures of my area before I eventually leave.

We got transfer calls last night and Elder Godoy is being sent up into Alagoas and I'm staying here in Siqueira Campos for the 4th transfer, which should be fun.  I'll be getting a new companion tomorrow so more on that next episode.

So a few really awesome things this week.

We talked to some of our recent converts and it's amazing to hear how much this gospel has changed them.  Marcio was talking to us and said how his life has changed for the better and how he can't wait to buy a brand new wheelchair for his dad so he can take him to church.  We also talked with Maria José and she's way excited to go up to Recife and do baptisms for the dead for her son that died. She also said how much her life has bettered and what a blessing tithing is in her life.

We also had lunch with a member yesterday and what she said really touched me.  She had a son who served a mission down in Curitiba and when he came back he died saving a kid from drowning in a river.  She is always one of our favorite lunches and always makes amazing deserts for us.  We were talking about how we were always excited to eat with her and she said something along the lines of, "I always try to do my best when the missionaries come over for lunch.  I know what I have isn't a lot, but I always love to try.  I know how I felt when my son served a mission and I know how I would have wanted the members to treat him so I always try to do my best for the missionaries."  She then told us about how much this work means to her and how much it has blessed her life.  She gave the closing prayer and she started to cry while thanking Heavenly Father for the opportunity her son had to serve a mission and for  the blessing the missionaries are in her life.  I sometimes forget about how much this work means and what a difference it makes in peoples lives.  Because most of the time we always get answers like, "I'm already baptized" or "Read the Bible and stop believing in this crap" and "Would you defend the Indians!?"  But every now and then there are people like Marcio, Maria José, and the member we had lunch with who's lives have been so blessed by this work and that's what makes it all worth it.

Anyways, that's about it for this week.  Love you all!!!  And have a great week!!!


Elder Johnson

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