Monday, November 17, 2014

First Week in the Field

Seriously I have so much to tell you it isnt even funny. Im worried that Im going to leave some things out!! Ok so my last few days at the CTM were bittersweet. Saturday was our last lesson with our teachers and our female instructor shared her testimony with us in PERFECT English. We were shocked and kind of mad that she understood everything we said in english from the beginning!! so funny but i love her. one thing she told us was that if we were real missionaries on the street and we contacted her she would let us into her house because your spirits were so strong. that was what i needed to hear.

Sunday was the last sunday and in our branch they dont announce before who will be speaking. they just call you right up after the sacrament. Before church Elder Nickerson said, who do you think theyre going to call? I said there is no way that theyll call 4 from our district because there were 2 other districts in our branch. Well i totally jinxed it. all the speakers were from our district including yours truly. I wrote a talk the second week in the CTM so it was pretty rough but I honestly was thankful to have words on paper cause once i stood up my mind went blank.
Monday starting at 8 am and finishing at 9 pm we had orientation. If i thought i knew a little portuguese at this point it went right out the window.Literally knew  nada. The best part of the whole day was that my friend Sister Morley leaned over to me and said, How much of this are you understanding right now. I said 10% and she goes me too. made me feel so much better. all of us americans were scared because we were going into the field the next day and we didnt understand anything that was going on. oh well.
later that day all of our instructors came in to take final pictures. and literally the second i saw my instructors a river of tears just started to flow. I love them so much and I just wish they could be here with me. I have to many pictures to send but i forgot my cord so ill send some next week.
we got done at 9 and then they gave us an HOUR to pack. 1 hour!! well i didnt finish until 12 and sister swensen yelled at me a few times. oh well it needed to get done because i was waking up at 4.45 the nest morning and knowing me i wouldnt wake up in time. mom packing was so incredibly easy. maybe because i didnt take everything out but it was a success and the weight didnt matter! it was a miracle.
next morning i left with sister Aune, a sister who was going to Santa Maria which is right next to Porto Alegre. I was so glad to have someone i knew with me. 

The flight was about 2 hours and I knocked out. mouth open and everything,we landed, picked up our bags and were met by the presidents  assistants. so many Americans and they were so nice. later the president and his wife walked in and love just radiated from them. They are just simply incredible. So kind.
There were 18 missionaries from the CTM and 2 of us were American. We then went to dinner and the food was to die for but i didnt eat a lot because i didnt want to look like a pig.after dinner i think we went to the mission home but i have no idea because it didnt really look like a home. there we had more orientation and i just sat there and went into my thought because i knew nothing. when we had breaks, the american elder was like i understand nothing. I felt so much better because he was one of the brightest in his district. I had an interviewwith the president and it was great because i understood what he was saying/asking. 
My companion is Sister Costa. She is Brasilian and speaks no English. She is absolutely adorable. She has been out for 3 months so im here first trainee which scares me a little.We´ve had a few instances where you can tell this is new for her. But shes great love her.
After we boarded the bus and were dropped off at the bus station. I had no idea what was going on but all i knew was that we had to wait an hour for the bus to arrive. S. Costa asked if i was hungry and i was but i thought that we were going to a house for dinner and didnt want to ruin my appetite but she went and bought cookies and water. and thank heavens she did because guess what. we werent geting dinner. in fact we were riding a bus for 4 hours to our area. ya 4 hours. we got on at 7 and arrived at 1020. sister costa had to ride the bus here to get me and then ride it back once she had me to go home. crazy day for her.
a member picked up us and dropped us off at my new home. the area im in is called Cachoeira and its very rural. but i like it. we share an apartment with another companionship and one of the sisters is american thankfully. sometimes there is too much portuguese that i just need a break and its so nice becuase she said she went through the same thing so she knows exactly how i feel. her name is Sister Foutz and shes been out 11 months. her companion is sister A. Oliveria and shes brazilian and loud and hilarious. 
our apartment is gross. the tile is just dirty and we wear flipflops everywhere. there are two separate rooms and we all share a bathroom. But the longer im here the more i like our apartment. dont worry the area we are in is so safe. not dangerous at all.
ok so the first real day i was here i was starving cause i didnt eat the night before except for some oreo things and one thing i learned really fast is that there is no food in our apart. none. what was for breakfast the first morning? cookies a member brought. not very nutritious. we left at like 930 that morning in the pouring rain to attend my first district meeting. we had to take the bus because its far away. we have 12 missionaries and 8 of them are american. we introduced ourselves and then practiced contacting. i failed and i understood nothing so i was a little down and of course they asked me to say the closing prayer. lol.
oh in our meeting we made a goal to have 3 baptisms by the end of the month and to fast that day. so i was starving and they were already asking me to fast? seriously?? But i learned that we would fast after lunch. hallelujiah.

When i was in the CTm the last day, pres swensen told us that we would have a baptism our first week and i learned that a woman we were teaching, lucia was scheduled to be baptized on saturday!! except she cant quit smoking. i met her and immediately loved her. i had no idea what she was saying but i wanted to help her so much. She wasnt baptized this week but hopefully in a couple more lessons we can get her to commit.
the streets here are cobblestone and only the main streets are paved nicely. the poorer areas are dirt. so when it rained the first day i ruined my leather shoes. some members here live in shacks. legit shacks. i have no idea how some have electricity but they do. one thing that amazed me this week was that these people are so giving. they are thankful for what they have and when they have extra they give. for example. we have a recent convert whos name is joão and his two kids are taking the discussions. they live in one of these shacks that has four wooden walls, a mud floor, two mattresses and a bathroom all in the same room. its quite uncomfortable and i am so mad at explaining. but they have nothing. yet when we stopped by he save us a bag full of potatoes. he could have saved them for the next nights meal. but he gave them to us. such humble people.
this week we talked to 81 people about the gospel and some even gave us their addresses to come back. the work is good and itll be awesome once i understand and can speak the language. oh sunday i was asked to come up introduce myself and bear my testimony. i was shaking i was so nervous. but the second i stood up in front of the congregation, i was washed over with a feeling of peace and comfort and i delivered as much as i knew in portuguese and sat down. Sister foutz said i did better than she did the first week so that was comfoting.
oh my gosh i forgot to tell you. there are dogs EVERYWHERE. literally everywhere. people here have at least 3 dogs and none of them have bit me so i think im good with the rabbies. we had dinner at a member house the other day and she had 9 cats. 9!!!!!! the sister wished us luck and told me, if you dont look for hair in the food you wont find it. hilarious. hilarious. didnt look for it,or at least tried not to.
love you so so much! xoxo
sister harrick 

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