Monday, June 23, 2014

It's Kind Of A Long Story

Elder Coon's last lunch in Brazil before he goes home.

Wow.  This week was something else.  So to start off I'll go through a conversation I had the other day when the mission office secretary called me.

ME:  "Hey Elder, how are you?"
SECRETARY:  "I'm good, listen, I have a question for you.  I already know the answer to it, but I need to ask you just to make sure.  So.....what airport do you want to get off?"
ME:  "....."
SECRETARY:  "......"
ME:  "It's the call, isn't it?"
SECRETARY:  "Yeah, it's the call."

It caught me by surprise.  I definitely didn't see that coming.  It was kind of like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, when Willy Wonka is getting his hair cut and he sees one of his hairs and realizes that it is gray.  He realizes that he won't be around forever and he needs to find an heir to his factory.  It went a little bit like that.  My first gray hair in mission life.  It's kind of sad to think that it'll all come to an end one day.

Anywho, one cool thing happened this last week.  I didn't know if I'd be staying here in Sergipe much longer so I decided to take the opportunity to go visit Marcio in Siqueira Campos the other P-day.  We got there and there was Marcio, all firm and active in the church!!!  My first companion Elder Godoy was there too!  Since he ended his mission yesterday he wanted to stop by and see Marcio too for the last time.  It was pretty sick.  Marcio is a counselor in the Young Men's Presidency and will be going to the temple in August.  It's cool to see how people have progressed after so much time.
The beginning - Elder Godoy, Marcio, Elder Johnson.

This week we also had the farewell for President and Sister Gonzaga.  They will be ending their mission this week and President and Sister Gomes will arrive next Sunday.  It was all rather melancholy.  It was sad to see them go.  I definitely learned a ton from them and the influence they've had in my life has been enormous.  In the meeting, "Elder" Mauricio G. Gonzaga, gave everyone an apostolic blessing.  He blessed us with success and peace in our lives and it was amazing!!!  I've never gotten one of those before.  He gave us a lot of advice about after the mission and how to have success in life.  I will definitely miss them, but I'm excited to see the new President and Síster arrive.
Sister & President Gonzaga

So this week was also the death of my companion Elder Coon.  Let's just say his last week was rather... eventful... It's kind of a long story, but I'll share it anyways.  I tell this story with my companions' permission.

So we were at the supermarket the other day buying some last minute stuff for him to bring back to the states like cuscus, tapioca, farinha, you know, important things.  We were waiting in the check out line when he gives 20 Reais and tells me to buy his things.  He was going to go step outside for some fresh air because he was feeling rather sick.  He walked around the register and grabbed a hold of a grocery cart.  He started acting all sickly when the cart came crashing to the ground along with my companion.  My companion had fainted in the middle of the store.  

I dropped my stuff to go see if he was all right.  He was unconscious and there about a 100 people in that store just staring at us.  With out a moment’s hesitation everyone instantly became a doctor and started telling me what to do. "You need to go grab salt."  "You need to grab a fan."  "You need to go make him some beet juice for him quick!"  I'm pretty sure none of these things would've helped, but everyone else was convinced.  I tried to get one of the workers to help me take him to another room away from everyone; I also tried to get everyone to give him some space, but apparently the two ideas I had were not an option.  Some lady then magically pulled out a pressure tourniquet to take his blood pressure.  Apparently it was super low.  The lady who told me to get the salt wouldn't stop telling me to go get the salt so I suffered her and went to the bakery to go grab some.  I ran over to the bakery and lo and behold a bishop from another ward was there buying stuff.  I got him to come with me so we could revive my companion and by the time we got back the people at the store had sat him up in a chair.  We gave him a priesthood blessing and he started to wake up.  Some lady also grabbed a cup of milk and put a ton of salt in it and forced him to drink it; apparently that does something.

I then ran across the street, grabbed a taxi that was parked at the pharmacy, and we were off to the hospital.  The taxi driver recommended that he drink a really strong cup of coffee everyday.  I said we'd take his idea into consideration.

We walked into the hospital and I told the receptionist that my companion had fainted.  She asked me where he was and I pointed at my companion, perfectly conscious on the other side of a glass door.  She told me he didn't look like he had fainted.  I told her that he is awake now.  She looked at me like I was an idiot.

We managed to get him to see the doctor.  They had him take Soro - I don't know what to call it in English, it's that little plastic bag that has the tube that goes into your arm (I think Tanner means an IV, funny he can’t remember the word in English), take some meds, and gave him a blood test.
Soro - aka an IV

About two hours later we got the results back.  The doctor and my companion had the following conversation.

DOCTOR:  "All right, so we got your tests back.  I have a question for you.  Do you have Dengue?"
ELDER COON:  "Um. No."
DOCTOR:  "Huh, because based off of your blood platelet level, you have Dengue."
Elder Coon in the hospital with Dengue.

SURPRISE!!!!!!!!  You have Dengue!  My companion got Dengue on his second to last day of work before going home.  Of all the souvenirs you could bring home, I don't think Dengue would've have been the best one to take with you.  We left the hospital at about 4:00 in the afternoon and we finally got to our lunch appointment.  My companion, needless to say, got very sick.  The ward had planned an integration activity so we decided to tough through the Dengue a bit and go.  Lo and behold, when we got there, there was no activity, but another ward was having a São João party, with a live Forró Band and everything.  So Elder Coon sat down for a bit, we ate some stuff made out of corn like canjica, and mungunzá.  They also had this shrimp soup substance that was actually pretty good too.  We were there for a bit and then we went home.
São João Ward Party with a live Forró Band.
Comida tipica do nordeste.  (Typical food from the northeast.)

Needless to say the rest of the week was rather uneventful.  My companion couldn't do much because he was stricken with Dengue.  Yesterday, however, we brought him to the Bus station to see him off and so he was my third victim.  I have now killed three of my companions.  Elder Godoy, was also there, because he was going home too so I got to see my father go home.  I'm now an orphan. 
Tchau Elder Coon!
I also got transferred too.  I'm going up to Alagoas, but I don't know where yet.  It's been great down here in ala Soledade.  I'm sure going to miss it down here.  Anyways, I've got to go.  Sorry this was super long and everything, but a lot happened.  Love you all and have a great week.

-Élder Johnson

Churrasco (Barbecue).

The definition of Mormonism I found in a Brazilian dictionary.
  It says: "A Protestant religious sect/cult formed in the USA whose followers, the Mormons, practice polygamy."

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