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Monday, October 19, 2015

A vida

Dearest family,

More and more, i'm adapting to the swing of things here, and enjoying more and more the life of a missionary in Brazil.

We've been struggling to get people to church still (yesterday that was partly due to the time change to horario de verão (one hour earlier), so everyone we went by was asleep), but we've found lots of new people to teach that are awesome! This has also brought some interesting experiences as well, such as the one lady who in the middle of the lesson starting singing to us conversationally.... little odd, but hey, some people just approach things differently than us, including talking. Also when I said "amen" at the end of the opening prayer, she launched into this elaborate chanty-prayer thingy. Elder Rodrigues and I peeked at each other, shrugged, and let her finish..... new things every day. 

I had my first experience with tear gas.... it was awful, I don't recommend it. We were walking to an appointment yesterday and all of a sudden hundreds of people starting flying down the hill on foot, by bike, and in cars as fast as they could. We heard people saying stuff about "polícia," and sure enough when we got a little further, we saw the police firing tear gas grenades to break up a huge fluxo (fluxo is basically a party with blasting funk (the horrific music everyone here listens to) and lots of drugs). They were in a line marching down the hill firing gas and people were scattering every which way...the wind blew just a tiny bit of gas to us, but it was horrific, I felt like my nose and eyes were on fire..... it was like a movie. I tried not to appear particularly shocked by what was happening (difficult when affected by tear gas as well), since I already look American enough haha. It must have been interesting to watch as all the people were fleeing the fluxo, but there the missionaries were, just walking calmly up the hill through it all, business as usual.

My Portuguese continues to improve week by week. I can tell because I read things and part way through forget if it's english or portuguese. There was this Japanese man on the bus who started speaking to me in English because his Portuguese isn't very good, and for the life of me I couldn't respond in straight english. He asked if I spoke english, and I replied "eu falo" and he didn't understand so I persisted "eu falo! eu falo ingles!!!" and eventually figured out how to say "I speak English" haha  But perhaps my favorite indicator of my portuguese happened when one morning Elder Rodrigues asked me what I dreamed about. I said I remembered it was something about our investigators, and then he informed me that in the middle of the night, he was awakened by my voice. When he looked over, my head was off the pillow, and I was introducing Kesley (an investigator) to my cousin, then proceeded to teach a lesson, complete with hand motions... all in Portuguese. He now sleeps with a camera nearby for when it happens again hahahaha

One of my favorite blessings of being a missionary is people giving us food just because we show up. There was this one investigator we stopped by to just use the bathroom, but before we knew it she had made us a full banquet in like 10 minutes.... People here just give everything they have with love, even if they barely have enough for their families. It's cool.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Merrill

Some service on Saturday

We always get invited to members' birthday parties, and I love it because we get free cake!

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