Monday, September 8, 2014

Elder Swalberg's 2nd-3rd week in Manaus

Hey mom, and Dad! 
Thank you both for your letters. Mom was right, about your example of what i was talking about the baptisms happening so quickly and feeling like they werent ready. Dad I really appreciate your examples and explination of the spirit world being such a incredible tool that Heavenly Father uses to make all things that are unfair here fair in the world to come. I was pondering about how unfair it really is here. The way that I grew up, I had it so easy and thats why I can live the gospel the way that I am. I had the gospel from day one, and had leaders in the church who were in the church from day one, I have you both and my grandparents who have had the gospel since day one. All of my family and most of my friends have been strong good examples of the gospel. Yet here it is rough, and the gospel is new and not fully devoloped as the United states is. They have enough and still have great leaders, but not the amount of help I received. They just don´t have the kind of experience that allows them to live the gospel to its fullest. So my point is, your explianation of the spirit world helped me understand that even if they dont understand how to live the gospel to the fullest in this life they will have at least made the covenants here and then have the potential and capability to live it more fully there in the spirit world. So yeah, thank you so much. And I really love hearing about your missions mom and dad. If you ever think of an experience of your mission. I would always love to hear about it! I recognized in my mission that I feel like I dont really know much at all about yalls missions! haha
And thanks for the package in advance! haha. sorry i wasn´t able to give suggestions, I totally forgot until afterwards becuase I was trying to answer all the other questions yall had about my area. Yall are pretty good about reading my mind anyway. haha 
And mom to your questions:
The mission home is pretty close to us, because we are in one of the Manaus City areas...we have to take a bus to get there, but we didn´t end up getting to go to the temple this week,,so for sure this week and if so...depending on when we go, I might get the letter. But Im not really sure how often we get mail distributed out. But it will get to me soon enough! haha Thanks again.
And yes we are supposed to still have an hour of language study each day, but we are only getting regular studies in like 5 days a week. Which I really don´t like but my comp says that 5 days is pretty good in his experience. I need my personal study though, to get me through the day. So if I can help it, we have it. But our language studies have been reading in the Book of mormon in portuguese to english and it is to help me and also my comp learn some english. He wants to learn. 
And on avagage we teach like 3-4 lessons a day...but my comp says this is pretty low. He talks a lot with people before the lesson so we are usually doing a lesson for over an hour....I have a hard time starting and ending lessons becuase I am not fully involved in the conversations yet and its hard to know when a good time is to start when you don´t fully understand what they are saying. But I am going to work on that. Because we need to be teaching like 7-8 lessons a day. It wouldn´t be hard here if we have shorter lessons.
And on avarage how many miles do I walk a day....i dont really know.....a lot? haha Im sure it seems like a lot more because of how much we sweat and there are so many hills but probably at least 6-8 miles on avarage. I really don´t know. I wish I had one of those trackers on me to know how much I walked each would be interesting to know for sure! haha 
The chapel is like 1 and a half miles away from our place I think (all approximation and there is a big hill to get there so maybe its only a mile) and the place we email from is this like computer room that is open to the public for like 50cents (in US money) an hour. (or R$5 for 5 hours) You have like a litte account and sign in everytime so you can just add more time to your account by paying them a little more. And this place is inbetween our house and the chapel. So its not too bad. And no laundry mats don´t exist here. haha I was so spoiled in the states. But we do have this washer like thing that everyone has. It looks like a washed but it really just sokes our cloeths with soap and spins and then rinces them again for us to then take out and dry. If we want our collers to look desent we  need to scrup them by hand and them wash them. But we have it here in our appartment so thats nice. But yeah that is how everyone does it here. 
Ah and to help yall understand how the meals work, every day for each month we have a meal except for p-day. But sometimes (like last week) we do. But here, they dont really have dinner. They sometimes have bread and some juice, coffee, or a chocolate like drink, and then at 12:00 they have Almoço (lunch) and this is their big meal to sit down as a family and eat together, and dinner like I said they dont really have they are still full from almoço until like 7 or 8, they have lanche which means a snack. So we have Almoço with a member every day of the week and they are surprising way easy going about vegetarianism. I am really glad because of the switch over to meat and meat in a country like this I think could have really negetively effected my health. But I always have pletty to eat. We normally have rice and beans at every meal, and a speghetti dish called Macarrão. And often a salad or some other dish I can eat. OH and I cant forget Guarana! I probably have had Guarana every day sometimes 2-3 times a day since I got here! Its like the soda that everyone drinks and wants all the time. So many elders are like addicted to it! Everyone offers it to us so I havent been able to keep up my no soda goal that I had going for like 3 years, but its a sacrifice for the culture and people here! haha I like it though! haha 
well I think thats it, and I don´t have time to send out a email to everyone else again. Sorry. I think next week I will try. But because everything is so new I just have too much to share every week. But I hope yall feel like you are getting to know a the things you want to know about my mission here. I am sad that I wont be able to send my sd card home as often as I used to, but I am still taking pictures and videos that I hope yall will enjoy. Here are a few that I took this past week.
The first one was of me after we took a 15 minute walk to the bus an 45 minute wiat for the bus, where after we road for 20 minutes to a stop where we walked down another 10 minutes to a river bank where a son of the family we were having lunch with picked us up in their large canoe/boat thing you can see part of it. And yeah the 11 year old boy made me get on this stiraphome thing to take a picture. haha it was fun 

the second was while on exchange and there was a great view of the river! ]
the third is of a tree.....with a sloth in it! hahaha you cant really see it but it was just like 1 minute walk from our house in the tree. We saw it there the next day too! It was pretty sweet! 
And lastly we had a baptism this saturday that went a lot better than the previous week. his name is Daniel and he looks like 18 but is only 13! haha but was so prepared. we met him like my 2nd day her through a member of our branch. Our ward mission leader actaully. (our wml is only 20 years old and was baptized 5months ago. haha) But yeah, he wants to be a missionary some day too. He went out and bought new pants, white shirt, tie and shoes for church! he looked great yesterday and was confirmed. So it was super fast, but I will do everything I can to help these recent converts receive the lessons a second time and then help them stay active. I know this was something I did a lot in my other mission that I think this mission lacks. There focus is Baptism baptism BAPTISM! and there isnt really a lot of talk about less actives and only a little of recent converts. President Klien i think really drilled this into every missionary that they need to baptize every week! And if they don´t they are successful missionaries. And so this one of the biggest reasons toooonnns of children are baptized here and get lost because the families aren´t there to support them! So yeah, I hope that I can help get a consistant and immediate plan for helping RCs receive the lessons again and get taken care of. (btw the home teaching and visiting teaching sucks here. like 2 families do it, and that is another reason there are so many lost members here.) But anyway I didnt mean to get off track with this picture....but yeah Daniel is pretty sweet and asked me to baptism. first one in portuguese. It went well. :) 
Well I think thats all I can share this week! I hope to share more and in a more organized manner like usual next week. 
But I sure love you both and thank you for all your prayers. It is still really tough here and I miss my other mission and home like crazy but I am really trying my best to be happy to be here and help as much as i can. It was a real treat to hear from yall today. Thank you for your advice and encouragement, It really means everything to me, and I apply it. 
Until next week! 
love your son,
-Elder Swalberg

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