Oi tudo mundo! Tudo bem?? (we think this translates to something like...Hi all world! It's all right?)
So I found out last Monday when I was leaving the CTM in Sao Paulo. 3:40am on Tuesday morning... It was so so so early! But I didn't complain because it meant i could get into the field that much sooner! The flight went smoothly, no problems. Then when we finally landed in Teresina, I was so excited!! And then I walked off the plane and I thought I had walked into a fire!!!!! The sun was super strong and the heat was so intense! It was crazy hot! Then we waited a little for the cars to get there to take us all back to the mission president's house. He is a really awesome guy! President Siedschlag and his wife are awesome! So we went to their house and had lunch there. it was tough. I have never eaten so much food that I didn't like. But I ate it! And then we got ice cream!!! So that was sweet! Then the waiting started. He took some elders and the sisters to do interviews at his office at around 2ish. So the rest of us stuck around. Sister Siedschlag said we could nap, so we did! And then we woke up and it was 6:30. so we thought, okay, we should be going any time now. It was about 8:45 before we ever left the house. Then we went to the mission office for interviews. It went pretty well. So after that we went to the place that we'd be staying at until we go to our areas. There are normally 6 elders in the one apartment. That night, we had a little less than 30.... So needless to say, it was crowded. And hot!!!!! So hot everywhere! But I slept pretty well just because I was so tired.
So the following day, Wednesday, we got to me our trainers and find out where we would be going. It was a big meeting and orientation for both the new elders and the trainers. We were at the stake center from 8am-8pm. Just sitting and listening. But anyways, my trainer is Elder Medina!! (Pronounced MeGina) He's from Peru! Super amazing elder and trainer! Just a stud! Our area is Parnaíba in the state of Piaui. We are serving in the Parnaíba 4th branch. Super amazing branch! The members are all amazing people and are solid members! They are so friendly and so helpful! I guess in the recent past, they have had missionaries that didn't work very hard and just didn't do much, but every person that Elder Medina and I have visited, we tell them that we are here to help and serve them. So the members are gaining confidence in the missionaries again. We are going to work super hard on that! Back to tuesday! So after all that waiting and anticipation, I found out that i was staying in Teresina for at least a day to get my Brazilian ID. Oi. So we went back to the same apartment and slept there again.
Thursday brought some more waiting and anticipation. Didn't really do much of anything. We just did some stuff to prepare the paperwork for my ID. My comp and I got to go out in the streets around the mission office and do some contacting! That was super awesome! First we talked to 2 guys. One had been in a moto accident recently. (moto is just a motorcycle) And the other was missing his left leg from the knee down. They were pretty open and receptive to our message. Then we talked to an amazing guy! We were walking away from the first contact and talking about how it went. This guy was sitting on the step of a business with his head down. so we turned around and went to talk to him. He was from a different area, but he was there becuase his mom is sick and in the hospital. So we talked with him about families and about the plan of salvation. He was really touched by the spirit. We left him a pamphlet and a Book of Mormon. He said that when he saw the missionaries in his town, that he would talk to them. And before we left, we ended with a prayer. It was super amazing! The next contact was with two ladies sitting on a street corner. They were also really open and talkative with us! We left them both a pamphlet and got their addresses for other missionaries to go back and visit them. Then we talked with a family of 13 people! Such a big family! They were awesome! The father was very interested in the Book of Mormon and how it is like the Bible and how it testifies of Christ. So we left one with them too! That's about all that happened that day.
Friday was the big day! Woke up and knew that we would be leaving that day! So we went to a couple different places to get the paperwork all done, drove around for that and went back to the mission office. Waited, sat around. Then everything was finished and ready to go with my ID! We had a bus trip booked for 6:30 to come here. So my comp and I went to the shopping center so he could get some cash. But it took forever!!! We didn't get out of there until around 4:30ish. Then we quickly went to the mission office to call a cab to go to the apartment to get my bags and go to the bus station. But the cab took about an hour and a half to get there to the office! We finally made it back to the apartment and got my bags and went to the bus station. But by the time we got there, it was 7:05. There were 3 buses leaving at 630, 645, and 7. We missed them all.... So one of the other elders going to Parnaíba got our tickets changed to go on the 9pm bus. So we waited. 9pm comes and no bus. 930, no bus. 10, no bus, 10:30, no bus. 11, no bus. It finally showed up at 11:20pm! FINALLY! We got on and went to sleep. It's a 6 hour ride from Teresina to Parnaíba. We got to the bus station here are around 5am. and got to our apartment at 5:30am. The sun was up at that point! So Elder Medina and I slept for a couple hours. We got up at around 8:30am on Saturday.
Saturday was a good day! We didn't do much in the morning. But for lunch, we went to a member's house and had chicken, beef, rice and beans. It was super good! The foods here have a lot of spices in them so it's a really good flavor without any kind of sauce or anything! Then we went WAY out into the farthest area of our area to talk to people out there. We went to a school where a bunch of kids practice break dancing! It was really cool! And just before we left, Elder Medina did a little dancing! He was a break dancer back home in Peru. So he used that to make a connection with them! We got 14 contacts out of it! So that was super cool! Then we went to talk with some other members of the branch at their houses. They are all so cool!! They are helping me with my portuguese too!
Sunday was great! We had church at 9am.The chapel is just a house converted to be a small church building. But it's really cool! We had lunch at a branch presidency member's house. He is super young! Can't be more than 24 years old! We had rice and beans, beef, sausage, potatoes and juice! All of it was really really good! Then I gave the message on the spot. It went pretty well, only tripped up a few times. Then we went to talk to a family that other elders contacted a while ago. They are super amazing too! They are really friendly and love talking with us and laughing and making jokes. They are living together right now with 2 daughters. But they both want to be baptized. So the elders before me have been working really hard to get them married and baptized, but haven't had any luck. So we were talking with them yesterday about baptism and how Christ was baptized. Elder Medina asked them what was keeping them from getting married so that we could help them. They said nothing was holding them back and that they want to be married and baptized!!! So amazing! Now we need to work with them to set dates for both of these. They also need financial help with the wedding, so we are going to find out how much they need and then talk to the branch about it. But still!!! So amazing!!! One problem with that. There are 4 elders here in Parnaíba Ramo (branch) 4. And this family is in the other companionship's area... so Elder Medina talked with one of the other elders about it and he said he would "pray about it". But I really doubt we will get to teach and work with this family. These other 2 elders are difficult. They are always in the apartment and never do a whole lot of work, they are teaching people in our area, they don't follow the rules, and they are selfish. It's just difficult. One is in his last transfer so he is super lazy, and the other one feeds off of it. They are setting a horrible example. As I am typing this, the elder in the other companionship is on youtube watching some anime show. And earlier he was watching My Little Pony on youtube. Which is flat weird. He also has 2 my little pony ponies in our apartment.... And it's not a joke. I walked into the apartment last night, and he was coming its hair........... I am quite worried about him. I don't really know what to make of it. But anyways, like I said, I doubt we will get to teach that family that we talked to and that Elder Medina has been talking to for a while now. So that is really sad.
Today has been a great first P-Day in the field! We had a zone choir practice this morning! We are singing at some point soon, but I don't know when. After that, we just came back to our area and had lunch and talked with another family in the branch. Awesome people as well! Everyone here is awesome! haha
People here in Brasil are very friendly and open. You can go up to anyone and just start talking to them. A ton of people sit outside one the sidewalks or in chairs wherever there is shade. Especially at night and in the evening. So it's really easy to contact and talk to people here.
I love it so much here! It's pretty hot but here in Parnaíba we get a pretty constant wind, so it helps a lot. the Mosquitos here love me. If I counted right, I've got 33 bites..... I itch so bad! But it's all good!
I am super excited to finally be here in the field and working with these amazing people! I am sending a few pictures to my parents to put on the blog and facebook. This email is already super big, so I don't want to try attaching any pictures... But they will still be sent!
I hope everyone has a good week and is doing well!
Love you all!
Elder Cole Gunnoe and his companion Elder Medina from Peru