Carnaval

Lots of older people here have been telling us that they are afraid of Carnaval even though it is quite small in our city.   One of our investigators, Mirelle, said: “I’m not leaving the house; everybody already dyed their hair.” I was confused — what does hair dye have to do with Carnaval?  Then over the next two days all of a sudden everyone in the street had hair dyed bright pink, red, blue, yellow, green, etc. She was saying that she knew Carnaval had already started because her neighbors already dyed their hair!  We’ve also seen a lot of people in costumes. There are little bands of boys and some adults walking around with costumes, sticks, and masks.  There are also lots of people in rainbow tutus. 

Frevo dancers holding little umbrellas and dressed in orange green and yellow neon clothing for Carnaval in Brazil

We haven´t seen much Carnaval but right before we got to this LAN house we saw some people dancing Frevo!  That was exciting.  We are hearing a lot of marching band sort of music. Our LAN house (similar to an internet cafe) was closed today but luckily there was another LAN house open.  It´s not very good — only two headsets and the computer lost power due to lightning in the middle of my video chat. 

Sister Broadbent, Sister Centeio, and Sister Faulconer, Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holding small frevo umbrellas in Brazil

We had to wait for computers to be open so we went to a store where I tried on this hat:

Sister Faulconer, a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, poses for a picture in a pretty hat.

We have had a number of investigators hiding/don´t want to answer the door this week, so that was a little sad, but we did a ton of contacts and we have found a lot of great new people to teach. We have two great families marked for baptism but we have a stake conference coming up so we will see whether we can convince them to travel to Caruaru for that or if they will have to be baptized a little later. 

We already had trouble finding people at home for the lessons we planned with them, but now with Carnaval it is getting worse.  We mark a visit with someone one day and show up the next day only to see a locked-up house. We call them and they say they´re travelling for Carnaval!

We have been talking to a lot of investigators recently about how to recognize answers to prayer.  We have shown a couple of them this video with Elder Bednar’s thoughts on receiving revelation. It reminds us that we can’t expect answers to be huge signs from God — often they are more subtle.  On my mission I’ve found a few scriptures about answers to prayer that I really love.  One is Alma 5:45-46. Here he is talking to the people and asks them how they think he received an testimony of the gospel:


45 
And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?

46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.

Alma 5:45-46

This is cool because Alma saw an angel before this — but apparently that wasn’t enough to have a testimony!   He had to fast and pray — not just one time but for many days!

Sister missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints eating acai bowls.

I have been on a mission for six months!  We ate açaí to celebrate.  I can’t believe it’s been six months already!

Presidente, Proselyting, Pdays and Pig Fat

On Sunday, during devotional, the CTM president told us the speakers at the devotional were the new CTM president and his wife!  We had no idea this would happen. Apparently President Martins-Silva´s wife has been quite sick for a while, so the general authorities decided to release him.  I don’t know much about the new president, but I love him and his wife´s speaking styles. They are Brazilian, but they spoke slowly about simple subjects and repeated themselves, so I understood most of their talks!

For proselyting on Saturday we stopped people on the street, introduced ourselves, talked about their beliefs, and asked for addresses so missionaries could give them a message about Christ or families. Unsurprising fact: stopping random people is not one of my innate skills. But it was fine. We found some people who were excited to learn more about the gospel.  I’m excited to go to Recife and teach people! But I suspect I will prefer knocking on doors. Doors are great — they never use headphones, don’t have to board buses, and they stay put instead of walking mach speed down the sidewalk.

Hannah and Sister Hale at Mr Cheneys--improved
Blurry yet beloved photo courtesy of Mr. Cheney’s (treat provider to the CTM) & Missionties.com

Anyway, I am great, but if you want to pray for me, pray that I don’t get lice (and that I learn Portuguese). A sister in my hall has lice and I really don’t want any. Unsurprising fact #2: the CTM is sickness central. All eight people in my district have been sick! I had a painful sore throat/cold my second week here which lasted 1 ½ weeks. I mostly recovered . . . then this week I got the same virus + eye inflammation. People keep asking if I’m crying because I´m sniffing and my eyes are red.  Mom, I feel a little misled; sleeping eight hours every night and constant handwashing ought to prevent this! I was healthier with less sleep at BYU! 😉

This week I wanted to tell you more about P-days.  They are great! It takes an hour+ to see everything in our boundaries, so I don’t feel too confined.  It’s mostly residential streets, but they’re residential streets IN BRAZIL!! So they’re exciting. There are huge, vibrantly-colored red, pink, orange, and yellow flowers blooming everywhere: the gardens, the parks, the trees. It’s super green (“verdant” describes Brazil perfectly). There are several types of palm trees and lots of flowering trees — but instead of cherry-tree-sized buds they have green leaves and lily-sized flowers that cover the sidewalks! I love it.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
capuacu fruit [stock photo]

On P-day I tried some Açai, which is sorbet-ish with ice cream consistency. I also tried a strongly-flavored melon-y sorbet-ish thing from a capuaçu fruit (google for pics). Delicious and exciting, because both tasted so unrecognizable that eating them is like what I imagine discovering a new color would be like.

We’ve also been to a bakery several times. My companion loves their banana bread. First I got a “cinnamon sugar” roll, (turned out to be savory fennel? seed roll) then a roll I thought had nuts (actually chunks of pig fat & skin! – not what I wanted!) and then finally correctly identified a coconut-shred-filled sticky roll, which was good. Hopefully knowing more Portuguese will improve my success rate in the future!

I love Brazil, Portuguese, and the CTM! I´ll be sad to leave in two weeks.

That´s the novel for this week,

Sister Faulconer