This week was a bit of a slower week, but it was still insanely crazy because I passed one year on the mission on September 7th!!!!! Wow, this year has gone by so fast. I can't believe all the things that have happened, and that the time passes so quickly. I am excited for this next year, and for the things that we will be able to accomplish and learn. I pray that I can rely on the Spirit, and serve and obey as the Lord would have me do. He sure has blessed me, especially in these past few weeks:)
Things that have happened in this past year:
- I learned a different language: Portuguese! I'm still trying to improve every day, and it's nice to see that work paying off
- I learned how to survive in a foreign country (albeit supported by daily lunches in the houses of members and other things, but still, it's not that easy....)
- I have seen cockroaches, rats (HUGE rats), a tarantula, a weird small type of monkey that they have here in Ceará, among many other animals (did you know that the bees and wasps here don't have stingers? I freak out and wave them away while everyone just looks at me like, "What are you doing, you weirdo?" Good thing they don't really have that many wasps and bees here...)
- I have eaten many types of foods, including rampadura (I finally tried it yesterday, it's a Cearense candy), pop that is made from the fruit above cashew nuts (lots of people don't know that there's a fruit there, but there is, and they make pop out of it! It's amazing:) ), mangos, coconut water (I remember telling my dad when I was little that I wanted to drink coconut milk, and he said that is isn't that good. Well, Dad, you were right: it's not that great), among many other fruits and vegetables that don't exist at home in the U.S.
- Made 15 liters of root beer only to find out that basically everyone thinks that it tastes like tooth-paste and having the grand privilege of drinking at least 8 liters all by myself (oh, it was great. I had all the root beer I wanted, and no one was going to hog it from me!)
- Oh, two other types of drink I tried: chimarrão and tereré, which are both made from the same "weed-like" herb, yet chimarrão is common in Rio Grande do Sul, and is made with hot, hot, hot water, while tereré is more common in Manaus and Pará in northern Brazil and is made with cold, cold, cold juice, usually a type of lemon juice. So good:)
It's been quite the adventure, but the adventure isn't over yet! It keeps on going, and I can't wait for the awesome times to come. I am so grateful for the people that I have known, and for those who have decided to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ, being baptized, and becoming members of His Church here on the Earth. I am not anywhere near perfect, and I have so many things that I want to improve upon, and I know that as I rely on the Lord, and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, I will be guided by Him, and be blessed and privileged to see others be baptized as well, those who are searching for the truth, yet "know not where to find it" (D&C 123:12).
I love you all so very much! Have a wonderful day, a wonderful week, and a wonderful time as the days keep on rolling along!
With all of my heart,
Elder Reid Powell Empey