This week was so much better! First of all, thank you for praying for my blisters. I realized how selfish I was being, so consumed with how tired I was, and complaining about how much pain I was having. Now I see that instead of merely praying for my blisters to disappear, I need to pray for the energy and ability to walk and make it through the day SO I can be a blessing to those we are supposed to meet. This mission isn't about me; this time belongs to the Lord!
So Brazilians have a really hard time pronouncing my name. Most of the time they look at my name tag and don't even try. So I have been taking on Sister "Jota" (Sister "J" in Portuguese) to make things a little easier :)
We spend a lot of time in a bairro (neighborhood) in the very farthest corner of our area called Zaki Narchi. It's an area of more than 30 apartment buildings that remind me a lot of the projects in Ensley (I truly believe serving in the Ensley Branch with my family for 2 years prepared me for this). The people who live in Zaki Narchi don't have much, but they are very humble and eager to listen to our message about the Restored gospel. This area is our powerhouse!
We have a rock solid, 21 year old recent convert named Edvaldo who passed the Sacrament at church for the first time yesterday. We have an investigator named Jaceleine who has 5 kids and really wants to be baptized, but she's not married and her husband guy doesn't want to be. We're also teaching Wemerson and Juceleine, the Brazilian version of Ivan and Belen from Northridge, who are also living together and need to be married before baptism. It's super rare to find people who are legally married. Funny side note, Wemerson told me the other day that I look like I am 30 years old hahaha. I blame it on being American. Anyway, all these people and almost everyone else we meet with live in Zaki Narchi. Every day in this area is an adventure.
Interesting things I am learning about Brazilians and culture here: they use military time, everyone drives really small cars, oranges are green, no clothes dryers, they eat Halls cough drops like candy, all the stairs are really steep, the napkins are so thin they are like oil blotting sheets, everyone here smells really good, moms nurse their babies out in the open anywhere and everywhere, you can't flush the toilet paper, everyone writes in cursive, they'll wear alot of American brands and anything with an American flag, and you really can't say no to things people offer you (you'll never believe this... I gulped down the famous Guarana soda the other day, my first soda in my entire life. It burned...). And the weather has been beautiful!! Yesterday was the first day it downpoured.
Differences between my mission in the United States and here in Brazil: we can only listen to music on Pday and it has to be Mormon Tabernacle Choir, investigators only need to attend church twice before baptism and don't have to be taught Plan of Salvation, no hour for dinner, no zone sports with other missionaries on Pday, we hardly ever use our cellphone and we can't text, we walk EVERYWHERE, and missionaries usually don't do many service projects because we are supposed to teach as much as possible. We have a goal of 35 lessons and 20 new investigators per week.
As far as my Portuguese is concerned, I can understand most of what people say if it's church related. Anything else, nope! I just smile and nod. I participated more in our lessons this week so I am trying. Still frustrating but little by little I am improving. There is a neat promise by President Hinckley that if you read the entire Book of Mormon in another language, you will have the power of the Holy Ghost to be able to understand and speak that language. So that's what I am doing!
I love reading in Portuguese because I am gaining new insights. In 1 Nephi 9:6 it says "But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning..." In Portuguese, it says "Senhor conhece todas as coisas", using the verb "conhecer" for "to know" rather than "saber" (same as in Spanish). The Lord doesn't simply just know all the facts from the beginning or know who His children are. He understands us, He is familiar with what goes on in our lives. This helps me realize the Lord has a person relationship with each one of us. And just like the end of that verse says, He prepares the way for us to accomplish His mighty works.
May we each strive to know the Lord a little better this week! I love you all and thank you for your prayers.
Sister "Jota" Jorgensen
P.S. Pics are of the 4 of us that live and serve together here in Santana- 3 Americans and the other sister is from Peru. The other pic is from the top of a street with a beatiful view. I couldn't pass it by!
Also this week we have interviews with President Martins and Elder Nelson from the Quorom of the Twelve Apostles is coming to speak to us!!!! Stay tuned!
Guess what I just realized. A year ago from I opened my mission call. And this week I turn 8 months old in my mission! Crazy.