“No Sister, you will die! You will die!”

Last week I said that people don’t eat very spicy food. Really they don’t eat any spicy food, but sometimes there are bottles of hot sauce.  A couple weeks ago we were having an activity at a member’s house.  She had a little plastic bottle of homemade hot sauce made from whole peppers marinating in vinegar and some members (teenage boys) were daring each other to try a little drop. Some of you may know that I looove spicy food, so I put several drops on my soup and they were very worried for me: “No sister, you will die! You will die!”  The hot sauce was extremely delicious, and I did not die, so I haven’t completely lost my spice tolerance yet. Later the same member gave me a little bottle of her hot sauce! I was very very happy!  But it didn’t last long 🙂

Palmares has year-round fruit and vegetable carts in the city center, which is really exciting for someone from Utah where we only have farmer’s markets a couple months of the year (because ‘winter’ is a thing in Provo).  I’m going to be eating very delicious pineapple and cheap mangoes while the rest of you are languishing under two feet of snow!  Hopefully that will help me with the saudade I’m going to feel for Provo’s grocery stores (*sniff* Trader Joe’s *sniff*).  Saudade is a noun in Portuguese that describes the feeling of homesickness or missing something.  I knew food and grocery stores would be really different here, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so different!

It turns out that Brazilians don’t have canned food.  Like, they have canned corn and maybe a can of pre-prepared feijoada (black beans and pork sausage) but that’s it!  I really miss canned tomatoes and canned beans, especially because we’re not allowed to use pressure cookers for safety reasons, so if you want to eat beans you have to use the very slow boiling method with dried beans. I am also going to have serious saudade for sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pie, and So Delicious Snickerdoodle ice cream around the holidays, but I think the mangoes and pineapple will get me through it.

 

Zone Conference 2018-10-30

My companion was sick at the beginning of the week, and we also spent a day at a mission conference, so less happened.  We are a little concerned about some new members and investigators who have had trouble making it to church.  But we talked to some members yesterday about ways ward members can help, and I think that will be super great.  Members can help so much.  We had one man this week who told us that he felt really accepted at church.  A young boy in a tie walked up to him his first Sunday and said “Welcome to our church!” and shook his hand, and that was a really big deal for this man.  It was a good reminder for me–when I get back from my mission I want to work on doing little things to make people feel welcome–members and non-members.

It’s really great to see the people we’re teaching develop testimonies.  Some people we’re teaching don’t know much about scriptures or religion (e.g., we were explaining what God does and who Christ is the other day), but they have a strong testimony that God will tell them where they should be.  It is so great to hear their testimonies when they receive that witness.

Love,

Sister Faulconer

Lunching in Palmares, apartment pics, and the story of the fishermen

Oi!

Typical food at a member’s house for our lunch (lunch is the main meal here)

white rice
beans (sometimes with squash, kale, or meat, but often just beans)
spaghetti with a little bit of tomato sauce
one or two kinds of meat, often chicken
(frequently without sauce, but sometimes with)
vegetable salad/some cooked kale/a plate of sliced tomatoes/possibly fruit
Fruit juice and/or soda.  (It´s not normal here to drink water or milk with dinner. Coca-cola is very popular — I’ve had a lot more Coke so far than Guarana.  Lemon-lime and orange soda are also popular.  The fruit juices are amazing. )
Cake or pudding for dessert!
The food here is good.  Most people don´t eat very spicy food.
The pineapple here is amazing!  It is less yellow and more translucent here, super sweet, and extremely delicious. Papaya and mango are also possible. There are lots of fruit vendors with carts in the city center.  They have bananas (often green and sweeter), mangoes, grapes, watermelon, coconuts, pineapple, papaya, sometimes nuts, corn, and  several fruits I don´t know the name of (graveola, aceola?, etc).  I also tried a jackfruit otter pop/popsicle-ish thing the other day.  That was super fun.  I use shredded canned unripe jackfruit at home to make barbecue-style tacos, but I’ve never tried a ripe, sweet jackfruit.  It didn’t taste super strongly of anything, but it was good.

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This week was very special.  We met the mother of the young woman I told you about last week (parents forbid her to see us, come to church, get baptized) on the street.  She lifted all the restrictions, said it was a misunderstanding and she didn’t have anything against us, and apologized.  Then her daughter came to the baptisms we had this week and went to the dance afterwards!  So it looks like we’re going to be able to teach her again.  Our prayers that her parents’ hearts would be softened were answered!

I didn’t go to the dance of course (not really a missionary-approved activity! We´re supposed to listen to church and classical music and eschew all romance-related activities so we can focus on helping people get closer to our Savior), but some less-active members, investigators, and recent converts did and everybody was excited about it.  Hopefully we can figure out how to have those dances more often.
Right after we met the first mother on the street we met a mother of one of our other investigators.  The day before she said he couldn’t get baptized last week because he needed to be 18 and spend many months learning about the church before making that decision.  We were concerned — he has a strong testimony, has learned all the lessons we’ve given him by heart, and we felt strongly that he should be baptized on the date we had chosen.  The discussion was going badly when I suddenly had the idea to share the story of Peter and the other fishermen who immediately left their nets and followed Christ’s invitation “follow me” (Matthew 4:18-22). It was a little tough because I couldn’t remember the exact word for fisherman and  “follow me´´ is a little hard to conjugate on the fly!  But I got close enough that my companion could correct me, and I think the sister understood.  Then she agreed to allow him to get baptized!  It was a little miracle.  The other young man who got baptized this week also had trouble with parents’ permission and we were worried he wouldn’t be able to make it to sacrament meeting to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, but everything worked out in the end.
Love you!

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.

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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

 

Halfway through the CTM experience

Oi!

I’m halfway through the CTM experience!  I’m not sure how to feel; I’m excited to leave the [CTM] and teach people, but teaching people in Portuguese is still scary.  On Saturday we’re venturing out into the real world for real-life “street contacting” where we’ll share short messages about Christ (in Portuguese!) and get contact information.  The prospect of using 22 days of Portuguese study to stop random people on the street is fairly terrifying! But I learn more words every day, and the other missionaries who did it all survived, so I’m sure it will turn out fine.

My mom asked if I can tell I’m in Brazil inside the confines of the CTM.  I definitely can! We have a great view from our window of the city. The water taps are separate, the plugs are different, everything has signs in Portuguese, and the water fountains have buttons for “natural water” (room temp) and “cold water.”  The computer keyboards are very confusing. Typically, breakfast is fruit (papaya, melon, banana), ham & cheese paninis, baguette rolls (delicious but I miss whole wheat bread) and extremely sweet porridge made with sweetened condensed milk.Portuguese keyboard detail

[for illustration only–no photos from the CTM yet]

For lunch, we have beans, white and brown rice, various kinds of meat, grated vegetables (beets, zucchini, carrots, etc.), lettuce, and one or two other vegetables — often one I can’t recognize.  Dinner is similar. Sometimes we have something different like pasta, hot dogs, or soup. They have dessert which is usually some kind of jello or pudding. It’s usually quite sweet and not flavours I recognize.  The food is good, if not what I would choose to make myself. It’s not very flavorful, but they have good hot sauce. I think I use more hot sauce here than at home which is saying a lot! There are no labels so some foods are a surprise. Once I got something I thought was roasted carrots but turned out to be strangely-colored hot dogs!  I also had fun explaining to some Brazilians that US sweet potatoes are orange or purple, not greenish-white.

[Stock photos of the CTM cafeteria from LDS.org]

I felt the spirit a lot this week.  Some elders in my group got priesthood blessings, where an elder puts their hands on the person’s head and says whatever the holy spirit tells them to bless the person with.  I felt the spirit so strongly when they got blessings. I just felt so clearly that the blessings were from God. I’ve also memorized some great scriptures recently — Mark 9:23 about how everything is possible through faith, and Moroni 10:3-5 in the Book of Mormon, which says that if you pray about the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart and real intent, God will help you feel that it is true through the holy spirit.   They are both great!

Boa noite!

Sister Faulconer