Monday, October 26, 2015

Brandon's Twelfth Email! October 26th, 2015

So first of all, thank you soooo much for the packages!!! I got hooked up with so many treats and INSOLES and the rugby and football, thank you sooo much!

Dad, there are tons of willys cars here. Willys wagons, willys pickups, it is super cool, some are still really clean!

I tried oatmeal for the first time this week, idk if my taste buds have gotten less picky but I actually liked it!

Tons of people here speak in Vos form... It's like a mix between vosotros and Tu, and it's not in any textbooks because it isn't officially a form, but that's interesting haha, just thought Casey would think that's funny. 

I eat this typical salad here a lot... Salad with huge tomato chunks and tons of mayonnaise and oil... that's it... haha I'm like actually pretty used to it now, can eat it and almost enjoy it.. I think I'll learn to like it idk! 

There was a baptism for an 8 year old in the ward and we brought Gabriela to see it, it was really cool, and my companion and I stood in for the confirmation.

Dad, can you send me 3 photos of the falcon¿?

My new comp is awesome.. So Elder Rae went home and that was crazy, the first day was hard because I can't speak any english, and Elder Rae finished, and ALL of our plans fell through for 6 hours straight and I just felt so dumb with my new comp, but thennnnn things turned around... My spanish is definitely improving faster, we had a couple good lessons together, and two new investigators (a couple with two kids). Elder Balke is from Porto Allegre and is super cool. I like the way he teaches but it's still a little too early to really tell! It's funny, I really can't speak english besides Tuesdays when we come together as a zone, but my spanish is doing better than I thought it would. I understand people way more now than I did, and that's cool.

One of our investigators, Gabriela, is starting to progress more and more. I'm not sure exactly though, I'll try and talk about her more next week. We had something cool happen though. Elder Rae and I taught this lady three weeks ago and haven't been able to have contact with her. Two days ago I was thinking and was like oh, we should go visit her, and she told us, "I've been thinking a lot about your lessons and want to know more, I want to know what a baptism is like and see how it happens," so we are hoping our next lesson with her will go well. All in all, everything is great here... getting more accustomed everyday.

Top ten

10. Getting to know the area pretty well, especially cause Elder Balke just got here.
9. I made pancakes and maple syrup and french toast this week! It was so good!
8. We came home from changes meeting and there was a letter in the mail from Sheridan in the fence. It was cool to get mail at the house!
7. Mom sent me 2 packages and they both got here! So much goodness inside!
6. I got to see Elder Mcmillian (from the MTC) at the changes meeting!!
5. Gabriela and some inactive members came to church this week!!
4. My new comp is sweet!!
3. The scriptures are something I love reading now. I look forward to personal study time so much.
2. My spanish is coming along, not good, but improving
1. I have been increasingly happy and excited these past couple weeks. I feel like I am happy I can finally communicate more and start to contribute.

Love you all, thanks for everything!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Brandon's Eleventh Email! October 20th, 2015

This week was great!

Okay so first of all I am just a lot more happy. I'm not sure why, I think I am like finally getting used to being here and just doing what we do every day but it has been really cool. I feel like I'm actually enjoying it now to a new level, of where it is fun, not just like okay yeahhh haha.

This week we had an open house in another chapel, it was great. Elder Rae and I were in charge of showing the baptismal font, and explaining what it is that we do and why and it was fun. Lots of people came and it was great practice! We went to Carrasco three times this week! Once to go to Elder Rae's choir practice (changes meeting tomorrow he is singing with all the other elders who are leaving), and then yesterday for his final interview with President, and then today to go to the temple this morning!!!!! It is cool to go there because it is so nice but the bus ride is an hour long and it's always an hour long at least of standing in stop and go buses! 

So the work has been going well, sort of. We have a lot of investigators but only a few of them are progressing, which means like they won't come to church or something like that. My spanish is still improving, but sometimes it is hard to think positively if I get super lost in a lesson. But that rarely happens anymore. So the lock on our fence broke so now we have to hop our fence every time we go in or out. It's like 5 feet tall so it's super annoying when we're in suits! 

Elder Rae is going home tomorrow! So crazy, my new companion is a Brazilian named Elder Balke! It is just a two person house so goodbye english! So gnarly! I'm kinda scared but I guess that I'll learn a lot faster... hahah but starting tomorrow at like 3 it's all Spanish unless we meet up as a zone! I can hardly believe it.  

I'm sorry everyone that my emails are so janky, but the computer labs we use are so janky! This one is in a mall next to beating music and it is so hard to type without totally losing what I'm saying! 

I will send voice recordings with information about more specific stuff I guess so I can actually tell cooler details, but parents, could you guys get my driving record from the DMV and then once it gets to you mail it to the mission address? It's good to have it on record or you can never drive. But I'm super excited for this next change, can't believe it'll just be me and this guy haha. I heard he is like 24 and used to be in the Brazilian army. Well, I'll let you know next week. 

Something I'm super stoked about is how much I'm loving the scriptures. Personal study time is seriously the best, the scriptures are so comforting and just right. They are so right, it's awesome. 

Top ten

10. The Galarza family gave me some super sick cologne! 
9. I get to go to changes meeting tomorrow in Malvin!
8. Elder Rae has finished a good mission!
7.We got to go to the temple this morning! 
6. Got to participate in the open house this week!
5. Finished my first transfer as a missionary in Uruguay!
4. Hopefully I'll learn spanish really fast now.
3. The scriptures are the best
2. Excited to be here, my gnarly blisters don't hurt so bad (I have a pic, I'll send it sometime)
1. Get to teach people about the best knowledge ever!!!
Love you all! Thanks for your love and support!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Brandon's Tenth Email! October 12th, 2015

Hey guys!

So random things first. I sent a voice recording so hopefully you got that. Other than that, Jack looks soooooo cute in all the pictures of him I've received!! We had a conference this week for the 10 missionaries who got here with me. It was cool, but we had to wake up at like 5 something to go to Montevideo by bus, and we were there till like 5 just kinda getting taught and doing practices. 

We contacted this lady, and came to her house later where we talked with her and her husband and we were asking about their family and they had a son who lived in La Jolla for 3 years and worked at Scripps!!! How random!!! Then we actually met him and he was asking me about La Jolla with like specific questions. It blew my mind hahah.

We've gotten a lot better with our area, just in time for my companion to leave in 10 days, he finishes his mission! But now we're able to have a lot more firm plans and lessons and things like that. This week, I actually took the lead in a lot of the lessons which is somewhat of a laugh riot because my spanish is still so bad haha. But I'm actually understanding sooo much more now. I barely get so lost anymore where they could be talking about baseball or the church. The first week it was like I had my ears closed. It is so weird to be sitting in a house listening to someone in spanish and understanding, then when I actually think about them speaking in spanish and listen to the spanish, I can't understand. Very odd. We had a cool lesson about the plan of salvation with this guy and his wife and mother, so we are hoping that they will continue to investigate. Our other investigator is more or less flaking out, which is a bummer to see. I don't have enough time to write about like anything, or send pics, but all is well. I think a huge thing right now is for me to try and understand spanish well enough to be more personable with people in their houses. If there was one thing I could change right now about our teaching it would be that I think we need to be more pleasant when we are in people's houses. 

Top Ten 

10. Still haven't gotten sick
9. We had church again in our own building!
8. Elder Rae has almost finished his mission!
7. We will have a zone intercambio this week where I stay in my area
6. The rain stopped, I don't have a jacket with me
5. We found a lot more people this week
4. Our bishop really loves us.
3. The ward has opened up a lot more to receive us.
2. I'm finally getting used to not getting used to anything, aka, less OCD
1. I am here and things are good and hopefully we can help some people make good decisions in their lives. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Brandon's Ninth Email! October 5th, 2015

I actually don't know what week from home it is, if someone wants to figure that out...
So I forgot to say last week we had an intercambio so I slept over in El Bosque and went with Elder Carroll and it was super fun.

First of all, happy birthday to Ladd Castellano, and Kennedy and Carson Hoffman. There are tons of people in my zone with birthdays this week too.

This week was sweet, my feet are hurting a lot less, I'm understanding more and more spanish, although still sometimes get soooo lost, and we had lots of lessons where members came with us. 

We have zone conference tomorrow, and me and my comp are doing a 30 minute workshop, so wish me luck.

So there isn't much to say I guess besides, there isn't much time to email, and we walk so much! haha it's all good, but sometimes we have lessons like so far away and we just book it. It's been really fun though.

The general conference was great. I have never loved it more, I always thought Casey was exaggerating on his mission, but it really was something more special this time. Our investigator Gabriela loved it! So that morning, we taught her about prophets, which at first she thought was crazy, but after conference was so excited to go back and watch Sunday, it really was a miracle!!! Every talk in the first session was for her I swear, me and my comp were so stoked. 

We watched it live in english at the stake center, so Saturday night we got home at like 11:30 cause it ended at 11. I will try and send more next time, but the conference was 10 hours of the week haha, in between sessions we talked to people around this area and invited them to watch... 

Top ten.

10. More investigators
9. The goodness of family history work
8. Getting to stay out late Saturday
7. Getting potato chips one day at lunch!
6. The conference wasn't boring at all this year, haha not at all
5. We have been starting to have warmer weather!
4. My feet don't hurt so bad!!
3. We have a super impressive walking speed
2. Our investigator Gabriela will probably be baptized October 17th, the gospel is helping change her life for the better
1. I'm here and things are good, great ward, great people, all involved in a great work