December 11, 2007

First and foremost..did you guys end up getting snow in the valley? Oh man I hope so. And I hope it's in Mesa. Last year it was so epic. Even though it was a trace, it was beautiful. If there were to be snow anywhere in the valley other than Carefree it would be in Mesa because of the elevation, right? As for the boxes, I haven't got them yet. Blow up Christmas tree or illegal drugs. They should be waiting for me at zone conference which will be next week, and I'll be sure to put up the tree right away. It is true that nobody has real Christmas trees here, or big fake ones for that matter. At least not in Aguas Lindas. Most people here are poor. I'm looking forward to getting the Celebrex. I'm sorry it's taken so long, these packages have probably arrived already but the mission is very lazy about disseminating mail. The zone leaders pick up our letters for us every once in a while and drop them off with us at our district meetings when they are in town, but it's worse with packages. They just sit in a closet in the mission office until zone conference. But I'm happy to know I'll have a lot waiting for me there. Reading letters on the way home from conference every transfer is probably when I'm happiest. I'm really looking forward to Dad's next letter "with a story from 600 years ago". So Tight. I can't wait. I love reading about these things, it makes me happy and helps me feel close to you, Papa. Which reminds me, when I get back, since we couldn't go before I left, I want to go to Europe with you as soon as possible to see some World War II historical sites. Is that possible? I think we should all go as a family that summer when I get back.
Today is transfer day and Elder Redd is leaving but I'm not. I'll probably stay for another two transfers Three more months. Redd is going to a place called Estancia to be a district leader, which means he gets to have a cell phone. My new district leader is Elder Guimares, who was my companion when we did a trade with him and the AP Elder Galbes in October. I'm glad he'll be my district leader. So I'm staying here for this transfer, and probably another because apparently every missionary that comes to Aguas Lindas stays for four transfers, or six months. I should leave in March. And then I'll be off to who knows where. Maybe I'll go to the state of Tocantins which is 13 hours away and in the jungle and very hot. My friend from the CTM is there in a city called Palmas. He was fat in the CTM and I'm curious to see if he's gotten skinnier in the last 4 months up there. Apparently everyone loses weight in Tocantins. I kind of want to go. We just ate lunch and I'm feeling fat. I'm hoping to see him and the other guys from my CTM group today at the Rodoferrodoviaria, which is a big bus/train station in Cruzeiro (which was my first area, where they have McDonalds and Dominoes and Outback Steakhouse and Subway and I miss it very much) where all the missionaries meet on transfer day. I love transfer day if I am staying where I am. Leaving sucks. I'm sad for Redd, he doesn't want to leave Aguas Lindas. There at the Rodoferrodoviaria I'll meet my new companion, Elder Leite. A Brazilian. My first Brazilian companion. I'm a little nervous but I think I'm ready. My Portuguese is good enough. Now my only opportunities to use my native language will be in my journal, my e-mails home and letters, and with this crazy woman who walks up and down the street I live on selling juice. She speaks English with a British accent because she lived there a few years ago. I see her a few times a week and always get a nice hello dear!! from her. I don't know if this Elder Leite will be too much of a needy companion as far as Christmas presents are concerned, but let me tell you something about Brazilian missionaries, they are some of the most presumptuous and imposing people you will ever meet. If you take a candy bar out of your pocket, before you even get the chance to open it, if a Brazilian missionary is around, he'll be in your face saying ohhhh, for me? Thank you and he'll take it and eat it, as if it's some hilarious joke I should be cracking up at. I wish it wasn't this way but it is. They are all like this. So I'm sure he will appreciate his package very, very much. It should also be understood that I still love all my Brazilian missionary friends very much despite this.
We stayed very concentrated this last transfer and baptized every week. This transfer the mission baptized 502 people. Enough for an entire stake. That is the best the mission has ever done and is a miracle! We are so close to having a temple in Brasilia, it's amazing. Presidente's vision may be realized before he leaves in six months. I'll be sad when he goes. This week I'll figure out what time and what number you guys can call me at on Christmas. I'll be sure to let you know in my e-mail next week. I think you guys will probably call my friend Erisvaldoa's house. What time will be best for you? Is Dad working? I don't want anyone to be sad and crying on Christmas.
Anyways, it's time to start heading out to Brasilia. Redd wants to go early so we can eat there. I'm looking forward to getting some reading done on the bus ride there. Have you guys been reading Matthew, Mark and Luke before Christmas like the First Presidency invited us to? I've nearly finished Luke, and I can't wait to start John. I'd like to finish Acts before Christmas. I'm loving it, and it's helping my testimony of the Savior grow. If you haven't started, START!!! If you have, let me know where you are. I love love love you. Have a good week and don't get arrested.
Jordan ps: Dad, if you can, copy a list of the standing in the NBA to me. I'm curious to see all the numbers. This business with Boston is amazing. I knew the big ticket would clean up wherever he went. Is Dallas ahead of us? Let me know how all these east coast games turn out.

December 3, 2007

Family, sorry I couldn't write you last week. There was a blackout over the whole city for an entire day, and it just happened to be on prep day. The power didn't come back on until the next morning so we had to do everything by candlelight. I was all about it. I was hoping the power would never come back on. Our showers are heated by the electricity though so after my second cold shower I was ready to come back to the modern era. Modern in The Brazil, which is more of a 1970's United States.
The weather has been beautful here lately. Everyday we wake up to thick fog, and fall asleep to the rain tapping on the windows. I love it. It's still dreadfully hot during the day though. It's really not that different than Arizona I guess but I don't really remember. The thunder in this place is louder than any thunder I have ever heard. It's amazing. And a little terrifying. I thought I was being struck by lightning just the other night.
I already have Fagan's mission address, I got it in the CTM. But thank you. What do you hear from his mother lately? Did their house burn down in the fires? I hope you guys have taken this leak in your bedroom as a sign to sell our house and buy or build a new one somewhere nearby, still in our same Ward, still in the orange trees. President and Sister Cardon should be coming home soon, right? January? I can't wait to see them. I'm going to have a hard time not calling him President Cardon. Did you know he was Presidente Aidukaitis' mission president many many years ago? In Sao Paulo I think. Small small world.
So I've reached the SIX MONTH mark! I don't know if this is a lot or a little. Both I guess. I'm feeling somewhat accomplished, but trying to stay humble. You won't see me being one of these missionaries who's six months in and already going around talking about how "I can hardly speak English anymore!" and "look how dirty my shoes are! I'm such a missionary!!" But I do feel like I'm at a point where I can begin to look back and see the progress I've made. There's some. My testimony has certainly grown. My knowledge of the gospel and of the Church as well. My love for the prophet and the leaders of the Church is great and I can't wait to see them in conference in person again one day. I truly love being a member of this Church and I do want to help people to see the sweet truth that exists in it. But ALAS, I remain a five year-old who can't speak very well or take care of himself on his own. And thus, I still don't really like the business of being a missionary. But I can't say I regret the time I've spent here. And when it's all said and done I don't imagine I will have regretted the last two years at all. I'm trying to be as obedient as I can so I don't end up like Oscar Schindler as I'm leaving the mission in the back of a Mercedes. "This... this pen! These shoes!" Maybe I'll be like that no matter what. It's too early to know very much, but what I do know is that in the "24" hours of my mission it's 6am, and the sun is just now finally coming up over the horizon, and there's a long day in front of me. Pray for me!
I loved your Thanksgiving pictures. I hope everyone got FAAAAT FAT FAT. I'd love to see more pictures of the animals. I haven't seen one picture of Pebbs since I left! I need one. Dad, I'm sorry to hear about the Huskies, but just yesterday I was daydreaming about being in Seattle, eating at 13 Coins and going to Barnes & Noble and a football game and man I wanted to die, it sounds so great. I don't even care if the Huskies lose every game in the "09 season, so long as we're there! Anyways, I love you guys. Have a wonderful first week of December. Let me know if it snows in Mesa again. Jordan

Pictures From Aguas Lindas

November 19, 2007

All I know is that while I'm tired and been in Aguas Lindas for two months now, it hardly feels like it. I'm still new at this despite feeling old and dirty already. So now my fantasy football team is showing everybody what's up? Here are some more pictures. There are two from when I was sick Wednesday morning. Some others are from the Bolo Macho we did sometime during the week, I forget exactly when. That was really fun. Bolo Macho means Man Cake. A bunch of guys from the branch made cakes and they were judged on looks and taste and the winner got a trophy, then everyone ate the cakes. I got to be a judge. I took it very seriously. There are also some pictures from the baptism we had yesterday. The girl with the dreadlocks is Thais (Tai-ees, not Thighs...), and she's one of the smartest, most receptive people we've taught. And she' only 9. I was really happy to see her get baptized. We baptized another little kid named Henrique as well.
As for Christmas list business, all I really want is the new Radiohead box set for In Rainbows (and for it to be left in my room somewhere where it won't gather too much dust) and the DVD of this last general conference. And letters, and pictures of Socs and Josie and Pebbles. I miss them. Oh and for the SUNS to win a championship. I think that's all.
Michelle, link me to this most-modern basketball allegory social critique blog thing. If you have any questions about basketball, please feel free to ask. Or talk to Hajax, he knows more than I do. Your day out sounds so fancy. Did it maintain best day ever status or did it end up crashing and burning? I hope not.
Lex, Yaaahhhh daaaa hilllllllllllzzzzz.... Did Spencer and Heidi break up? Is Lauren still kind of a babe? I want to date her when I get home. Mischa Barton too. Set me up? Ashley Olsen, she's the less pretty one, right? Isn't Lance Armstrong like 40? Yikes. Brazilian style. All the married people here have these incredible age gaps. There are 30 year-old men with 16 year-old pregnant wives. That's not everybody, I shouldn't say "all". But a lot. Members of the Church too. Britney Spears downward spiral just keeps getting better and better. For me. For the public. I think it's about time someone makes a documentary about her. I will do this if no one else does.
I have a bunch of good videos I wish I could send you guys. I'll try that next week but I doubt it will work. Maybe I'll make a CD. I want pictures from the festivities this week. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I love you guys, George Glass