September 24, 2007

Well there isn't much to say about Aguas Lindas. I don't think it really means Beautiful Waters, I think it means "Armpit of Brazil." I have a nice blue bike with hot pink handlebars. Something different breaks on it every day. My second day here the brakes broke so I had to stop with my feet all flintstones style for a few hours. I lost count of the number of cars that almost hit me, Ha. It's nice enough here I suppose. Apparently there are a lot of baptisms here. Despite that, there aren't very many members of the Church, only enough for a branch. A branch needs 120 members to be made a ward, and it's pretty close to that I think. There is a big family that lives near us and a few of them have joined the Church. We're at their house every day, sometimes twice a day. There are these five women there who are always doing each other's hair and reading magazines, and they're always happy to see us. They offer to make us food the moment we walk in the house. We don't always say yes! Seeing the members of the Church here makes me happy. Just like in Cruzeiro. It feels like a safe haven where we know people and they'll give us water an let us use the bathroom. Elder Redd is fine, he's a short fellow, shorter than Hajax. And stalky. I think he has midget body. He used to play lacrosse in high school and never wants to grow a beard. He really makes good eggs. He flips them in a pan like pancakes. I like it. So clearly my fantasy football teams defense is the bomb. That makes me happy actually, more than you know. I wish I could discuss it with you, Dad. Nothing would make me happier than to go get something to eat with you and talk sports. Grandpa should be there too. I daydream about little things like that. Oh, and I LOVE AMERICA SO SO MUCH.
Lex, I miss you more than anything in the world I think. You're probably at the top of the list. Above Socks, above the Suns, above HD. Even more than Ryan Adams. By the way, thank you for the Easy Tiger sticker. How is the Album? I'm still dying to hear it. The new Rilo Kiley too. Is it legit or what? So, I really hope you are doing well in school. Are you? Tell me all about it. Tell Mr. Peterson I said Hello! Thank you for the poem it was beautiful. I love you.
I must go. I love you all. Jordan

September 18, 2007

Today at 5 o'clock I'll walk myself with my bags to the Rodoferroviaria to get on a bus that will take me to a place called Aguas Lindas where I will spend at least the next 6 weeks with Elder Hedd, who is apparently short and stalky and used to play lacrosse. I'm going to miss Cruzeiro. I'm going to miss the food. Aguas Lindas isn't necessarily "the boonies" but it isn't as nice as Cruzeiro. In the last six weeks my Portuguese has improved somewhat, I've seen what is apparently the wealthiest neighborhood in Brazil, called Sudoeste, and the poorest/most dangerous neighborhood in the mission, which is a place called Estrutural. We went there once, it was interesting. The missionaries are in good with the gangsters so we didn't get robbed or shot or anything. Nobody got all O.J. on us! A girl from there was baptized, her name is Paloma. She has yet to be confirmed because getting from Estrutural to the neighborhood the ward building is in, which is called Octogonal, is a difficult thing. Especially when you're poor and might get shot leaving your house. Well, I have had it with my legs. I have to sit down and get up like an old man because of the soreness in my knees. I think Aguas Lindas might be a bike area so that will probably help. I hope all is well with everyone. I love you guys so much. I miss you. Keep updating me on sports, politics, animals, etc. I love reading about. Update me on my fantasy team, pops! I got the package, it's wonderful. Thank you for the peanut butter. That's quite the commodity here, it's like R$25 so no one has it. I am perhaps the only one. Have a good week.

September 10, 2007

Momma, Poppa, Spench Legs, LEXA!?!?!

I sent Mom a birthday card last week that should be arriving in Mesa any day now. Elder Maughan says you can take videos from your digital camera and have them put on a DVD at Wal-mart. I might do that and send it home. Wouldn't you just completely freak out if you could watch me on TV on my mission in Brazil? Well, I just need to take some videos. Thanks for all the continuing encouragement. This week has been a little better. My mood has improved. Despite being a lousy missionary I still call upon the Lord in my times of trouble (though not in vain, or so I hope). I don't want you to take my frustrations as typical and indignant me. It isn't the day to day difficulties that keep me down. I've quickly come to the realization that my mission can be served in vain or selflessly. What I feel terrible about is that considering my age and lack of college I cannot afford to waste my time. Which is something I have felt a lot lately due to the struggles with the language. Nevertheless, I carry on! I love our Ward! The members here are so wonderful. There are some people whose houses we're at almost every day. There's a woman named Olga who we always talk to. She and her three kids are so funny. I love being in their home, even though I can't speak the same language. One of my favorite places to be in all of Brazil is in the house of Aquiles and Aline. They are perhaps the nicest people I've ever met. They always give us ice cream and really good food. Aquiles is like 6'5" and looks like Shawn Marion and can slam dunk with both hands behind his head, and Aline is really pretty and really funny and for some reason when she speaks I can understand what she's saying. That isn't the case with many people. My Portuguese has certainly gotten better, but only a little. It's been five weeks and I still have to listen to the same thing everyday when we're in investigators' houses. "He doesn't understand anything, does he? Why doesn't he speak Portuguese?" The thing is, I can understand what they're saying, but I can't speak as well as I can understand. So I'm retarded. But, in the spirit of positivity, let's see what else I like...I like Cruzeiro. It feels like home now kind of. I'm used to it. I've been blessed to have never felt homesick in the three months I've been gone. Don't worry. I miss everyone very, very much. But I don't get homesick. In fact, I've never even felt culture shock. As far as my feet are concerned, I really don't know what to think. I will not lie, it's awfully painful. I don't like complaining about it, and I don't like receiving any special attention for it, but I have to say I'm starting to get a little worried. The impact I'm putting on my feet is obviously a lot more than ever before in my life, and I think it's just taken this for me to realize how bad my legs really are. I think I may have inherited that from Dad, Ha. Nothing to feel bad about though. Dad, are you still crippled? I hope you're feeling better. I may be worse off than you. I'm convinced I will have to walk with a cane in my old age. The only way I can describe the feeling in my feet is imagine having a cramped foot all day long, with what I think is a shin splint in my right leg, and two sore knees. My right foot is the worst. If I take my shoes and socks off and walk around the house barefoot, I can't go more than a few steps. Like I said, I'm a little worried about it. It's been five weeks and I'm more or less used to it, but that doesn't take the pain away. So I don't know. Dad, I believe you were wondering about what my schedule is like? I shall tell you!


-6:30- Wake up (or as it says in the missionary handbook...."Arise"!)
-6:40ish- Take a shower
-7:00-8:00- Get dressed in proselyting clothes, eat breakfast, write in my journal, shave, play darts on our fancy dart board, etc.
-8:00- Personal scripture study
-9:00- Companion study
-10:00- Language study
-11:00- Leave and go walk around for a while. It's not a bad time of day because we've been sitting in the house for the last 4 and a half hours studying, and usually the weather is nice. Tuesdays, we leave a little earlier to go to a city call Guara, for our weekly district meeting (which Elder Maughan conducts because he is our district leader).
-12ish, 1ish, 2ish- We eat lunch at a member's house. Because we live in a well to do area, we usually eat pretty well.
-2ish, 3ish- We're back out walking around, going from apartment complex to apartment complex ringing intercoms and getting turned down, maybe we teach a lesson or two. No one is all that interested.
-Rest of the day- We walk around, maybe getting something small to eat, Elder Maughan calls people on the phone, we go to members houses. My feet HURT! etc.
-9ish- We get our righteous rear ends back in the house so we don't get jumped by some heathen gangsters. We have our planning session for the next day, then maybe eat more, shower, brush our teeth, write in our journals, go to bed.
-That's it. Incredible, right?

Now Lex, I love that you are coming closer to the Lord,(If you're enjoying welcoming the Spirit into your life, do yourself a favor and watch ALL of conference in a couple of weeks. Each session. Listen especially to the words of the First Presidency and the Twelve. You'll like it, I promise. I'm so glad that your lives are being blessed. I always talk about each of you individually in my prayers, and I know it helps. Which means Dad must be doing a little better about cutting that corner turning left off Val Vista onto Mclellan. I make sure God knows what's up. I really am glad I'm doing some good (for you guys) by being here. The joy and faith in my own day to day life can weaken from time to time and my doubts are many, but I'm trying not to focus on myself. I'm trying to have a good attitude. We'll see how it all works out. Next week expect an e-mail from me on Tuesday, because it's transfer day and transfer day has to be on P day. Momma, I hope you like your card. I'm sorry it's not much. Have you decided to take that Portuguese class you were talking about? How's Dizzy in Nevada doing? I hope life is good for you. Have a happy happy birthday! Jordan

PS: Lex, I saw a picture of Brittney on a TV being skinnier and having hair. What's up with that? And do you really plan on moving to Utah next school year? We might need to talk about this.

PPS: Michelle, I have a question about your manfriend who served his mission in Mesa. Why didn't he just go into Arby's or the Dairy Queen by the temple and get water? Oh and HEY! I love you!

PPPS: Dad, I wish so badly I could go watch some Husky games with you. I would be all about it right now. I"m glad their doing well.

September 3, 2007

I just wrote you a nice long email and myldsmail "timed out" when I tried to send it. I have no time to write more now, I've been on too long. I can't write Mom and Dad and Lex now either. Do me a favor and call them and tell them I love them. The pain and numbness in my feet has gotten worse! Thank you for your email and encouragement, I appreciate it. I have one thousand things I want to tell you but I never have any time. I love you very much. I miss you.