Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Great and Terrible Was The First Half of Carnival

The most Brazilian picture in the world.  Note the soccer field, Groata, and tall buildings in the background.

This week was a week of service.  We did two service projects this week, which was loads of fun.  Our first service project was for a member of the ward.  We helped them stain their wooden windows and so now I know how to stain wood pretty well. NEW TALENTS!!!!!  We also helped a member move from one apartment to another.  The first apartment had an elevator, the second one did not, therefore we had to lug furniture up the stairs for a few hours.  It was a great experience.  My rock hard muscles sure came in handy there.  We were so dead afterwards but it was fun.

We had an unexpected adventure this Tuesday.  We were having lunch with a member, when her brother walked in, whom I had never met, and he ate with us.  He then told us he had a referral for us for someone who lives in the Aldebaran condominiums.  He called the guy, who turns out to be a very successful doctor who owns a few clinics in town, and it turns out he wanted us to meet with him at his clinic.  His clinic however was way over close to the Ponta Verde, which is the super nice beach part of town with lots of tall buildings.  We were rather excited. We'd never been over to that part of town before, nor have we ever taught a doctor or someone of that stature before.  We got permission from our leaders and our new best friend gave us a ride over there.  

It was super cool.  You go over this bridge and then you just see a bunch of tall buildings and the ocean and you feel like you're in a completely different place.  When we got to his clinic he had us teach him in the radiology waiting room.  We only had about 15 minutes to talk with him but it was really cool.  He was really accepting and wanted to talk with us more.  I had never had quite an adventure that just came out of nowhere before.

As I have stated in the title of this Email, Great and Terrible was the first half of Carnival.  Carnival starts here on Thursday night and goes until Monday.  This is my first Carnival in Brazil so I didn't know quite what to expect.

So this is what happens:

1. people go to the beach and commit all manner of sin and iniquity
2. people stay in the neighborhood and commit all manner of sin and iniquity
3. people flee the city to go into the interior to flee all of the sin and iniquity
4. basically wherever you go people commit all manner of sin and iniquity

The church down here sends all the youth up to EFY (or FSY now) in Garanhuns a city in the next state over so they can avoid all of the wickedness.  Half of our area turned into a ghost town because everyone left and the other half became Babylon.  Basically for Carnival here people just party non stop and do whatever they feel like.  There is in fact, a tradition of throwing things of people for Carnival, which includes:

burning hot oil

The last two are more common in the interior for some reason.

Anyways, we were leaving our house on Friday to go and try and find someone to teach.  We had yet to go 20 steps when around the corner came a group of about 40 troubled young men all carrying a handful of eggs.  If you do not know, Mormon Missionaries make rather good targets for whatever projectile you may have in hand, may it be rocks, fireworks, (são joão) or eggs.  20 seconds of pure fear as we walked passed this rabble of hooligans.  They looked at us.  We looked at them, (as we crossed over to the other side of the road.)  It was a very tense scene.  Thankfully they had other targets in mind and not the missionaries.  I had never been so scared in my life.
We saw some hooligans coming down the road yesterday trying to throw eggs at people so I took a picture.
Until now there's just been lots of partying, drinking, and dancing with much rudeness.  Even in the Hiper (Walmart) there was some lady who danced for about twenty minutes in front of some speakers they were selling.  Needless to say we had a rough week trying to cry repentance.

Other than that our week has been pretty good.  It is in fact a miracle that you are even receiving an email this week because everything shuts down for Carnival.  I was also transferred and so I'll be getting a new area tomorrow.  So you'll have the comforting feeling of not knowing where am I am for about week.  How neat is that?

Anyways, I'll write to ya'll next week.  Love you guys até mais!!!

-Élder Johnson

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