2 Nephi 22: 2,3

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 18, 2010 Hey World!

Hey World!
Como vai? Well I have left the CTM and I am now in an internet cafe instead of a computer lab emailing home. It is so weird, it almost doesn´t feel real, to actually be out here. It´s a little scary of course but I can handle it.
Before I get ahead of myself, the last week at the CTM was pretty awesome. Tuesday night I directed the CTM choir for the fireside. I did a really beautiful arrangement of 'I Know That My Redeemer Lives' and it turned out really well. I was kind of limited because music education is not very good down here so the Brasilieros can´t really hold a note, so I ended up doing the entire song in melody. But I pulled some tricks that spiced it up! haha
In Casa Verde (where the CTM is) they just finished a huge new chapel and they asked the CTM to get a choir together for the open house. They asked me to direct a few songs because my stint as the director went so well earlier. It really was a wonderful opportunity and I´m glad I did it.
Last Thursday, Elder Hunt challenged Elder Pockrus to beat his record of 10 cups of chocolate milk during snack time and keep it down the rest of the night (after climbing the six flights of stairs up to our rooms) and he actually did it! Well, he did the drinking park and ran up the stairs and felt really good. Then he just lost it and the bathroom was a total mess! haha it was so funny!
During our final classes we got to do an activity with our district. Each person sat in front of the rest of the class and the others said something they learned from them or liked. It was so good to be able to share our appreciation for each other. The comments people made about me were really touching. They said (in a nutshell) that I showed everyone to always have a positive attitude and love everyone. They also touched on my patience and how I learned quickly. It made me feel really good but it´s always awkward to have people have to compliment you.
It was really hard to say goodbye to my CTM district. I love them all so much and we were all really good friends. We had a final district prayer the morning before we all left and I almost cried. And then we left, just like that.
We went to Pres. Jackson´s house for an intro meeting to the mission and a delicious lunch. It was awesome! They seem really nice and I feel really comfortable around them. They live in an amazing condo complex that has more free space than I´ve seen anywhere in São Paulo. After lunch we went to the transfer meeting after than and I met my new companion! His name is Elder Tibbs and he is from St. George, he actually lived way close to Grandpa and Grandma C. Pres. Jackson told me he is one of the best Americans at speaking Português. He seems pretty cool. This is his last transfer so in missionary terms I´m killing my dad. I also got my first area assignment. I´m in Grajaú (Gra-ja-oo).
It took us over 2 hours to get from the transfer meeting to our area! We took a bus and a train. Grajaú is right on the border of the city and is pretty poor. I thought it was a favella the first time I saw it but it´s not. The area is basically a big mountain covered in buildings and the surrounding hills. Our apartment is on top the mountain of course so I had to lug all my stuff up the hill. I was so sweaty! We do have a good view though.
I got a little time to settle in but we went out and worked at night. My area is one of the tougher areas in the mission. In the last three months there have only been three baptisms (which is pretty low for Brasil) put that´s the norm here. Elder Tibbs said the ward is kinda weak too. Looks like I got my hands full to start! Both of our scheduled appointments fell through so we just did follow ups with some investigators. Man, I was pretty confident about my Português when I left the CTM but now I don´t know. I couldn´t really understand much and the investigators didn´t really understand what I said. Luckily my comp has it down and he is helping me a lot! He´ll help me get the language down quickly. Needless to say I was really tired when we finally got to go to bed.
This morning we had district meeting. All the elders in my district are really nice so they helped me out during the meeting. We had a lunch appointment but it fell through so we went to lunch with some other elders. Now I have a mini P-day for two hours so I can email and settle in more.
I´m so good, nervous, but good. Things are going to be interesting, that´s for sure, so I´m going to look at this like an adventure! Remember to send things to the mission home now. I love you all so much!
Your Missionary,
Elder MacLane Taggart

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