May 31, 2013

Email 5-20-13

This week was great! :)

It was funny, just now we were walking down the street and two guys pull up and said ``are you American`` (in English) I walked over and said yes! One of them is Brazilian, and the other is American, from San Jose, California. We just talked about why I'm here, and how we’re missionaries. I guess they’re just traveling and seeing the sights. (I don’t know what sights they’re trying to see here in Jatobá, but.. cool!) :) It was just a funny experience. I definitely didn't expect to speak English today!

We went to the Doctor today too, to do some exams. She did an ultrasound on my heart to make sure everything is good, which I don't see why it wouldn't be. And we have to go back again tomorrow for a 24 hour test. I´ll have to work all day tomorrow with a blood pressure monitor attached to my body! And, I can’t take a shower with it on............ But it’ll be good.. I hope.

We are continuing to teach F____. She went to church with her son to our ward. She went with her boyfriend, who is a member, to his ward two weeks ago. She and her son loved it. And, she is still on track to be Baptized on Saturday, as long as nothing comes up! She actually came to us and wanted to be baptized, so everything should be great,

With D____ and his family, they have all decided to wait until after their marriage to be baptized, then D____ will baptize his wife, daughter, and two sons. Because he is already a member, inactive for 15 years!! :) They are loving it, and the questions they ask about the church, and the Temple are awesome! They´re going to be firm in the gospel.

We are accompanying two sisters, one has 13 years, and the other 14. (that means they are 13 and 14 years old)  They were taught everything like a year and a half ago, and are just waiting for approval from their parents. Their mom approved, but the dad is traveling for now, and they will talk to him when he gets back. The day that they want to be baptized is Saturday too! Saturday should be a special day!

So I’m still not completely sure, but here in Brazil, when people are baptized, they have a different name. One girl asked me how was my baptism, and I said, it was with water!! She got super upset and won’t talk to me, and won’t shake my hand! Elder P____ said it’s just because she’s 15 and she’s a ``snake`` (girls who love missionaries) so, I'm not too worried! I guess she wanted to know my real name, but I didn't understand! Ha ha ha

We had mission conference this week, with the whole mission, except Juazeiro because they’re about 10 hours away. But, President S____said he wanted to get everyone in the mission together one last time before it gets split. So, I got to see everyone from my MTC group, except for the sisters, because they´re in Juazeiro. It was way cool! So our mission is getting split into Fortaleza, Fortaleza East, and Natal. No one has any idea where they will get put. Sunday night we will know for sure, so I’ll be able to write all about it Monday!

I bought a rede this week! :) A hammock. Our apartment has hooks on the walls, so I can set it up and sleep. I have pics but I forgot my camera, so maybe next week I’ll be able to get them sent!

The rainy season here is coming to an end!! It has been so hot these past couple of days! It was a little bit better, I thought I was getting used to the heat but no.. It just wasn’t as hot. So, the heat and sweating continues! It’s great though. Everything is perfect! The people we are teaching are great. I´m so glad I’m here! There are some things that I see right now as challenges, but in the long run they are just going to make me a better person. This is me preparing for my future!

Mom - feel free to send whatever you want. Nothing will make me ``sad``, or trunky. :) It was just an idea I had that I thought would be pretty cool!

Until next week :)
-Elder Kyler Blane Farr

And a few more things:

The hammock is SUPER comfortable, but just to rest in. I tried sleeping in it for like an hour, but all night is impossible for me!! Ha ha..  I bought it from a ward member.   It’s called a rede and is pronounced heh-gee!    De is gee, and depending on where the letter r is, in a word, it makes an ``h`` sound.   Just like with my name. Fahh :)

I think I’ll stay here in this area; it’ll stay the Fortaleza mission

Blane had e-mailed him to ask if he did his silent prayers in Portuguese or English and this is his answer - My silent prayers are in Português too. Someone asked me to pray in English... goooodd luuckk.. I forgot the words! So, that’s why. Ha ha. And it helps with learning the language too.

It only happened once, they don’t really ask me to speak English very often. The other night this kid said, good morning! So, I taught him good night. Ha ha ha    it was cool.

There are so many missions getting split right now – it’s super insane!   It’s a good thing!  But sad too, because the ole MTC district will be getting split!!

Until next Monday!    I love you guys! :)

-Elder FARRA (fahah) :)

May 16, 2013

Talk with Elder Farr

It was so amazing to see him and talk to him!  He is so happy and looks great!  One of my most favorite parts is when he would talk to his companion – we would all lean closer to the phone or TV and listen with big goofy grins on our faces, while Elder Kyler would rattle off Portuguese!!  So cool!!  As the family that could be here were talking and goofing with him, he laughed and told us that he was worried that everyone would have changed in the last 5 months but that he’s happy that we’re all still the same!  Except for Liam – he has changed a lot, of course, and Kyler could hardly get over how big he’s grown!

Kyler is guaranteed to be in Jatobá until at least May 27th.  Then his comp will probably be transferred and made a zone leader.  Kyler thinks he will stay there for another transfer.  They are dividing the Fortaleza Mission into 3 missions!!  

They buy pizza from a local individual.  They put chopped up hard-boiled eggs on every pizza, along with along with other ‘normal’ toppings.   He said the egg is so good!     There are no fast food places in his area and only 1 Burger King and 1 McDonald's in Fortaleza city center – but it’s very expensive.

Some foods in the market are very inexpensive and some are very expensive.  “American foods” like peanut butter are very expensive but they eat simply for very little money.  Oh, eggs are also very expensive.   In Jatobá, there is no farmland.   There are lots of fruit trees though.  There are 2 football fields, 1 market, 1 gas station and 1 drug store.  Most of the people work in the city; lots of them are bus drivers.   Cars and gas are very expensive – not many people have them but some have motorcycles.  He loves the people there – he says they have nothing but they are so nice and generous and friendly.

The only places that have AC is the Bishop’s office and the market. 

There is a lot of crime and violence.  Guns are not legal but of course all the ‘thugs’ have them.  And a lot of young people have them and use them to steal.  This is why they are not allowed to have a cell phone or car.  It would just get stolen.   Even their second floor apartments have bars in the window to help protect them.  They have never been bothered – Kyler’s too big and his comp is large for a Brazilian.

We got to meet Elder P____, his comp!!   He was very friendly and nice and we are happy to have his face to go with his name now!!

Elder P____ has been in Jatobá for around 5.5 months.  There had been another missionary there as a trainer and after training 1 missionary or 1 transfer (I can’t remember which now), he said he was done and didn’t want to train anymore so Elder P____ was assigned as trainer there.

Their washing machine is still broken so they are still washing clothes by hand – he laughs and says he loves it – it adds to the memories!

They don’t wave there – they give the thumb’s up, which explains why Kyler is always giving us the thumb’s up!!!  Good to know!

Kyler had trouble remembering words, like “backpack”, “wind”, “cheese”….   It was so funny.  He’d stop and be thinking and then laugh!!!  He had to hold up his backpack so we would know what he was trying to tell us!

The language is more formal there.  Instead of saying, “I don’t want to go to church”, they say, “I don’t have the desire to go to church.”  He answered one of my questions with, “more or less” and then laughed and said, “See, that’s what I mean.  I would never say that normally but that’s how they talk here.”

Only him and 1 other missionary he went out there with have native companions.  He said he used to be a little jealous because they could talk and easily communicate with their comps and he has had to really struggle.  But when they get all together at zone conferences and such, those elders can’t talk Portuguese as well as him and the other elder with the native comps.  The native Elders and people on the street will say, “What’s wrong with them?  Why can’t they speak very well?”  And Kyler said that this shows him how very lucky he is and he’s very grateful, even though it has been hard.

Shannon asked if President S____ spoke any English.  Kyler said just enough to do worthiness interviews but in the first interview Pres asked him if he was taking drugs?  Kyler was surprised and said, “NO!”  Then President said, “drugs….for health”  And Kyler smiled and said, “Oh, yeah.. medication” and President said, “Yes… medication!”

In the MTC Elder Holland told them that if they can’t speak their native language at the end of their mission, that’s wrong – they didn’t do their mission right!!  Kyler was so flabbergasted and didn’t understand because we always thought that was a sign that they completely immersed themselves in their mission, and that’s good!!  Elder Holland went on to explain that their native companion needs to learn English as much as they need to learn Portuguese ( or whatever language) !!   They should be teaching their companions English while their companion teaches them their language!    Hmm.. never thought of it that way but it makes perfect sense.

So in regards to that – Kyler has taught Elder P____ a little English!   The best story is about ants!  The Portuguese word for ant is difficult to learn and hard to remember for him.  So Kyler taught him the word ant.  They will speak Portuguese before and after the word ant but say ‘ant’ in English!!!

They had 6 or 8 (I can’t remember) investigators at church last Sunday.  They are having a war (contest) with the other areas and they’re in a very hard area but he says they are working so hard and having some success!

(Shannon had asked him some questions about his time in CA)  In California one of his comps was “Peter Priesthood” and the other was a really big slacker.  It was a very difficult situation.  He struggled in that area to really feel the Spirit and wondered why, because he was doing all he could.  Then it was revealed that the slacker was breaking some mission rules  - no, not rules… they call them guidelines!!  And that’s why the Spirit wasn’t with them always and as strong as he expected.

The houses in Jatobá are made of the red brick we saw behind Kyler in the picture he recently sent and have a wood ceiling and clay roof.  There is nothing in the rafters and it’s open on the sides so that the wind can blow through to help keep the houses cool.  It works, but it also lets in bats, mosquitoes and huge flying cockroaches!!!  He said the mosquitoes are HUGE, like the size of a mosquito eater here!  And they hurt when they bite.  He has lots of red bumps all over his arms.   Elder P____ says they like his sweet American blood!  They also have tons of ants everywhere all the time… little black one and huge red ones!   They clean the floor with bleach and that keeps the bug population down some.  But he says that he accepts the bugs and bats because it does make a big difference in the temperature of the house!!

There are huge tarantulas all over the street.  He says the biggest ones here are the size of the baby ones there.  He has never seen one as big as his head yet but that they are commonly that big.  The tarantulas will lie on their backs with their legs up and when something touches their leg, they attack it and eat it!  So Kyler touched one with his shoe and it latched on, attacking his shoe and wouldn’t let go.  He had to kick pretty hard to get it off!!

He’s happy, healthy, loves his mission and the people.  He says it’s the best decision he’s ever made!

Email 5-13-13

Elder Kyler     13 May 2013

AAHH! :)

 I just got done talking to you guys, and I pretty much have nothing else to talk about in this e-mail!  Just that talking with family after a long time without seeing them is the best thing ever!  

 It just gives the Plan of Salvation so much more meaning. Because we miss people here in this life at times. And there’s some things that we can do to make sure that we can be with our families forever!! Even after this life. We just have to follow the teachings of our Savior. Following in his example is the best thing we can do in life. And making sacred covenants, or promises. It may seem hard in the moment, but it is always worth it in the long run.

 I have never been happier in my life. I know there will be times in my life after the mission that I will experience this same happiness, but they will only come from the decisions I am making right now! I don’t know exactly what I will do in the future, Where I will be, or who I will be with, but I know that if I prepare all that I can right this second, that everything will be that much better in the future! This is my testimony. One thing I have been thinking about, that when we do all that we can, always, everything will work out!  If we want to experience the blessings that are in store for us, we have to do the things we know are right, to get those blessings pronounced upon us!

I hope everyone is well, and staying great. :)

-Elder Kyler Blane Farr

Mom Notes from E-Chat on 5-6-13

Hello - so here are the new things I learned while e-chatting with Elder Kyler on Monday:

He is guaranteed 2 transfers in Jatobá because he is training.  They think Elder P____ will be transferred during the upcoming transfer, but they're not sure.    But either way, he says, all is well.

He can call on Sunday, Mother's day, for 10 minutes - just to set up a time to skype on Monday.  (We can't wait!!!!)

Daniel and his family are still going strong. - they haven't missed a church meeting since the first time Elders Farr and P____ met them!  They are setting up a date for marriage and after that Kyler hopes he will be able to baptize his kids!

He lamented that there's only 19 more months and it's really sad how fast it is going.  At the beginning he thought, "Wow.. this is forever!!!"  But now, in no time he'll be home -- all skinny and brown!!!"

In the name tag story, he mentioned the boy that brought his name tag back to him clapped at the front gate to announce himself and they went out to greet him.  I asked if people there clap instead of knocking.  He said, 'Yes, because there is usually a gate, and then a door ten feet or so behind the gate. So they clap, because there's nothing to knock on!  Ha ha  I love it!!!"  He also said that all of the houses have the gates.  They're pretty interesting.  He thinks they use them because they keep everything cool - every little bit helps when it's that hot there!

Jatobá is at the very end of Fortaleza, almost into Maracanau.

Then he wrote - "Ha Ha ... I just had to ask my comp. a question.  I looked at him and asked him in English!!  Ha ha ha ha... It's weird trying to switch back and forth between languages.  Writing here in English, then talking to every single person here in Portuguese!

He is doing better with the heat and loves us all!   He said, "See ya next week!!"  and my heart caught in my throat!  We can hardly wait!!

Email 5-6-13

This week was awesome!!

Since I've been losing so much weight, my blood pressure has been super low. We went to the doctors, and he checked it, it was low there too. And he ran a test on my heart. Everything is fine but he wants to make sure that nothing will go wrong in the future. I have a few more appointments in the coming week. But it's good to get all this straightened out! He cut the amount of meds I take in half. That’s good too! :)

But, when we left the doctors office, we were in the terminal waiting for the bus to arrive and it was FULL. There were so many people it was ridiculous. When the bus finally arrived, there were so many people pushing and shoving. We finally got onto the bus, about 10 minutes into our trip and I noticed my name tag was gone! I looked all over the bus on the floor but it was gone! :(   We got to our area, went home to get my other name tag, and went to the Chapel for a meeting. The first thing the Bishop said to me when we got there was that he saw some kid wearing my name tag in the street... He had no idea who he was, and neither did we. After the meeting we just went walking to try to find this kid, with no luck. Ha Ha. We were kind of annoyed, so we went and bought a pizza. While we were at home waiting for the pizza to be delivered we heard a clap outside our apartment. I went out, and there was a kid standing there with my name tag! :)  He gave it to me and told me the story of how he saw me get pushed in the terminal and he picked up my name tag afterwards, as he was waiting for another bus. I don't know how he knows where we live, but it was awesome! He told us the reason why he brought it back is because he wants to learn more about what we do. He agreed to come to church, and we will be setting up an appointment to go teach him. It’s funny, the ways the Lord puts people in our paths. We will have a new investigator only because I got pushed in the bus terminal! I love it.

We did exchanges with the zone leaders this week. I went to their area with another American. I thought, yay, maybe I’ll get to speak English!! But, no. I tried for a little bit. But without speaking English for 8 weeks, it’s hard. It was like half English, half Português. But it was fun. We had a good day there. We got back to their apartment and they don't have fans! Living in Brazil and they don't have a fan. I'll just say that I didn't sleep that night. I woke up wet with sweat.. I love the mission ;)

We did another exchange too. Elder P____ went to their area to do a baptismal interview  (he’s the district leader ) So Elder B____ came here to Jatobá. We had an awesome day!! We taught a man that we met that same day. He’s trying to stop drinking, and he's looking for the truth! He’s so prepared it’s not even funny! He accepted the invitation to be baptized and everything. We’ll meet with him again Tuesday and see how his reading in the Book of Mormon went, and teach the rest of his family, his wife and 2 kids!

Everything else has been pretty normal! We walk a lot! (33lbs lost total!) It’s hot! But I love it. This is the best decision I have ever made!!

We get our mail from the zone leaders; they pick it up from the mission office and give it to us once a week at our district meetings.  We are on a 6 week transfer, but this one is only 5, not sure why.  Elder P____ has 5 months here in Jatobá.

Remember, you’re great!!
-Elder Kyler Blane Farr

May 1, 2013

Email 4-29-13

So, This week was awesome! I never thought, before the mission how it would be to have a companion that you have to stay with ALL of the time.  It´s kind of annoying sometimes. I like to have time to myself sometimes, but that doesn't exist on the mission. It´s not a bad thing, It´s just a little bit different!  Spending every moment of every day with the same person.... it's evident that you´ll get a bit annoyed with them. :)

This week we taught D____ and his family the Gospel Of Jesus Christ.  They responded super well.  After we got done teaching I got the opportunity to invite them to be Baptized. The whole family is pretty chill, and laid back. I have never seen them get so excited. We talked about marriage afterwards too and they have decided to make that happen!!  Marriage takes about a month to go through completely here, so the end of this transfer or the beginning of the next it will be complete. The mom, and two of the children will enter into this sacred covenant with the lord! As D____ is already a member.  It´s super exciting.  The first visit, the mom couldn't stop talking about the Evangelical Church and how it's such a blessing in their lives.  But now, all she can talk about is how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has blessed her life, and how it will continue to bless her life and the lives of her family. Its awesome to see the spirit work on people, and help them realize what is true!

We have been focusing a little bit on getting new investigators this past week . We went to talk to one of our former investigators, he wasn't home, but his sister came to the door.  She´s 18 as of yesterday.  We taught her the first lesson in about 15 minutes and invited her to be baptized after she comes to know it´s true.  She accepted, and said she would do all she can to prepare for it.  It is truly amazing how the lord is constantly preparing people to accept the message that we have to share.  Some people think we invite others to be baptized on the first visit so we will have more numbers.  It is 100% wrong. We do it so people will have a goal.  It is a preparation.

This week some members of our ward will start ``English with music`` Teaching anybody and everybody the basics of English using music; to explain the grammar, and pronunciation.  It is a great opportunity to give some service and it will be in the Chapel.  So we will have the opportunity to invite others to come unto Christ.  The ward has a goal of giving 5 references to us each week . If this happens, which I think it will, missionary work will explode in our ward!!  Our chapel is in a duplex right now.  They have a plot of land already picked out to build a chapel, but they need an average of 120 people attending every week.  We have about 95 right now.  But with our new ward mission leader things are about to change.  The bishop said the past couple companionship's were slackers, but now we are doing everything we can to pick up where they left off!!

The family of C____, he has 3 daughters between 15 and 19.  We are still teaching them. They are progressing so well.  They are going to seminary, the church meetings, and other activities in the church.  And they're making friends with the youth too!  This family was a reference from one of the members of our ward. I was thinking, what if he never talked to us about them.  Nothing would have happened.  But now, they´re learning so much about the scriptures, and about the restored gospel, because one man went a little bit out of his way to give us a name.  We never know what will come from giving a name to the missionaries until after we do it!  With members helping the missionaries, it is so much more productive.  It gets the members excited about the work, and it gives a friend to the people investigating!

We will be skyping in the chapel I think.  And calling too, I'm pretty sure.  Between 1 and 5 should be perfect.  I´ll talk with my comp. and let you know next week!! :)  And, pancakes are pretty common here too.  But they make a pancake, fold it over and put meat inside of it.  They´re super good!!  And my companion has 11 months on the mission and has only had one Brazilian companion.  His trainer was American, and they made pancakes almost every day.  Just now, before e-mailing we made french toast!  Its a good change.  Not that the food here is bad, it´s just gets a little bit old I guess.. eating the same exact things every single day!!  But, only 19 more months eating it!!  H aha.. Just kidding.. It´s great!! The people are amazing.

My comp, and the members are always telling me I speak well.  We have a goal of doing 10 street contacts every day.  And we do them most of the time.  But I did one two days ago, and I started talking and the lady just starting laughing.  Not just a little chuckle, but straight up rolling on the floor laughing!!  I wasn´t sure what to do!!  So I asked, "Are you laughing because I don't speak very well??"  She responded.. "No, I just didn't expect this HUGE American boy to be able to speak our language.. "  I was kind-of.. I don't know.   It was just weird..   But afterwards Elder P____ said, "Man... you just brought so much joy to her day!!"  He made me realize, that even when we look stupid sometimes, it´s for the benefit of others :)

I saw my friend again yesterday!!   The one that talked with me every single day the first 2 weeks here.  He got a haircut, shaved..  And he actually looks pretty good!   He didn't preach this time either.  But he just started asking questions about why we were there.  I was so surprised!  We invited him to church, and he said he would go if he had clothes like us.  We told him everyone is welcome, no matter what clothes they have!! :)

One man was so wasted during one of the conference sessions.  He didn't have a shirt on.  But he walked by the chapel and asked if he could join us. We see him every once in a while, but he only wants to talk to us when he's drunk!  Must be something about feeling terrible, and wanting to change his life!  Just goes to show that everyone and anyone is welcome to come learn about our wonderful message!!

This week was so awesome!!  As are all of the weeks :)  I´m so glad I'm here.  Everything is awesome!  Hope all is well with everyone else too!!

-Elder Kyler Blane Farr!!

E-Chat on 4-22-2013

Here are some things Elder Kyler told me during our E- chat!

Time wise, he is 4 hours ahead of us.  

He hasn't lost any more weight since the last 8 pounds, due to a bacteria bug in his body, as he is able to eat and keep it in his body now!  (Yea!)

He had a personal message to Camron -- "...we are lifting every morning too!!  So Camron better watch out.. We're getting ripped! ha ha "

It takes about 3 weeks for him to get a letter from us.

He's very thankful for the extra half hour on email every week.  (Me too, because otherwise we wouldn't have been able to e-chat!!)

On Mother's day, he will be able to call home to set up a time to skype on Monday.  I asked him 'Why Monday instead of Sunday?" and he replied - quote "  I'm not sure but President S____ said it, so that's how it is  ha ha!!  He's very strict but that's what I love about him!"  unquote 

Fortaleza is HUGE!  Jatobá is inside of Fortaleza itself.

There is an elder there that loves American money so Elder Kyler switched him dollars to Reais.
They ride a bus about 30 mins and walk another 15 to get to the bank.  Every other P-day they do this just because they don't have a bank in their area!!  it would get robbed!  But it's all good, he says!  They only go to the center when they have permission for something very specific.  And it's the same amount of time to get to the mission office.  2 hours there and 2 hours back!
He says he misses peanut butter because it's so expensive there.  He gets 115 reais every 2 weeks - 230 a month, which is $115 a month.

They eat a bunch of carrots with members, also beans and rice but the people don't eat a lot of veggies in Brazil.  They have a mango tree right next to their house and can get fresh ones all day every day! 

He had a message for Tawni - he "hasn't seen many big spiders - just big cockroaches!  Some almost the size of ....  a little bit smaller than a computer mouse!!   HUGE....and they fly!!!  : ( "

He ended with this:  "Tell everyone I love them!  I Love it here and the language is coming more and more every day!!   : )  You guys are awesome!! Keep working hard!  I love it here... I love you and everyone else too!!  : )