NERF Basketball Star

Óla novamente!

So many questions! And not even in bold! Haha just kidding. I’ll try to answer most of them.

Elder Bispo is from Campinas, São Paulo, and he’s pretty cool. He’s relatively easy to understand, especially compared to people from Belém, and the more I talk to him the easier he is to understand. He’s actually only one transfer ahead of me, which is kinda cool and kinda scary at the same time. I mean it’s neat that we knew some of the same people in the CTM, but a bit scary considering we basically have no experience between the two of us… but we’re both learning! He loves to talk, which is convenient when I’m still learning to be able to talk.

I think I’m staying in pretty good(ish) shape! We have a half hour to exercise every morning, and so I do 10 minutes of core (why not?), 10 minutes of upper body exercises (we were given a resistance band thing in the CTM), and then I play basketball with myself for 10 minutes. When I say basketball, I mean throwing things in a little door frame basketball hoop that an Elder Haws (THE Tyler Haws? Haha BYU basketball player, different mission I think) apparently left in our apartment. So I set that up and “shoot hoops” in our front room every morning, which turns out to be pretty good exercise if you try to never stop moving. I figure that and walking all day takes good enough care of the legs. But I wouldn’t say I’m tan or buff. I’ve been using that sunscreen and that’s keeping me surprisingly protected. That being said, I’ve got some pretty good tan lines forming on my arms and neck.

I really miss playing the violin in the CTM! I’ve been memorizing hymns in Portuguese to sing in my head while we walk. It’s kinda fun. Eric’s mini hymn book has really saved my life. I think the hymns keep me a bit more sane, and they are good pick-me-up things when I need it, too.

I forgot to take pictures this week… but I promise I’ll take some today! We’re taking a bus into Belém to visit the Escritório and I’ll try to take some. Or with the members of the ward here. They are really nice and friendly. They always poke fun at the fact that I don’t understand most of what they say, but they also like to help me learn too. The ward here is actually the strongest and largest in the area, and it would be even larger if people would get married… that’s one of the biggest problems here. Many, if not most, couples just live together without getting married, so we work a lot with that. And also there are two separate families that were baptized – except a daughter, because the daughter is scared of water. An interesting challenge, that’s for sure!

Okay I think I answered at least some of the questions. I hope you all have a fabulous week. Love you!

Com amor,
Élder Scott Maughan

P.S. the Internet paused for a few minutes here so I thought I’d take a picture! Here’s Elder Bispo and I.

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Photos!

Óla família!

Okay that’s probably it for the Portuguese! it still takes a bit too long to think everything out. And I’m trying to send some pictures here. I hope it works! Not quite sure the quality of the internet here, but it seems pretty good.

Did I mention that my zone is Cidade Nova? That might be easier to find. And there aren’t really street names here actually; they do everything in numbered blocks. But if I see any street signs, I’ll try to remember how they’re spelled.

Glad you got my letters, glad to hear the mail is working too! We get mail on Tuesday mornings so I’ll find out then if any mail got forwarded. I forgot to mention that yes I got a letter from Otis! And actually kinda funny; Otis has been in every single one of my dreams since then haha. Thats another strange thing: I remember my dreams way better here!

So it actually doesn’t rain nearly as much as I expected, probably only every 4 days or so. But when it rains, boy does it rain. Last Thursday it rained from noon until 9, and on a scale from 1 to 5 I’d say the lightest it ever got was 3. Turns out it can actually get a bit chilly when you’re more or less soaked; never thought I’d be cold here ever!

I’m also slowly starting to adjust to the eating schedule here! Basically this is what it seems like: eat a tiny breakfast at 7:30, eat a HUGE lunch at 12:30, then eat a tiny dinner at 9:30. I’ll admit I still have to have a big breakfast, I’m not sure if I could function without one. I usually have aveia every morning (which it turns out is oatmeal, although it took me a week to put that together), then some small snacks at night. Oh and they have this really good chocolate milk mix, which I put on everything, including milk, oatmeal, toast, and chocolate cookies. Yup, still really like chocolate.

The teaching has also been going really well, it’s a really neat experience finding people, talking about the gospel, then visiting them in their homes to teach. I actually for some reason find it more enjoyable and almost easier to meet specific needs or problems then to just teach a lesson. I love finding the perfect scripture that fits exactly their situation. I’ve been working on marking important scriptures and remembering where they are. My appreciation for the scriptures has really grown here. The only problem is that I have to understand the people here in order to figure out how exactly I can help… but that’s coming! Someone pointed out that it’s easier to learn the language in order to preach the gospel then it is to learn the language to just learn the language.

Well that’s all for now. I hope you have a great week! Take care, love you all!

Sincerely,
Elder Scott Maughan

Three friends from the Albany, NY stake — together in the Brazil MTC

Scott’s district in the Sao Paulo CTM

Scott with Sao Paulo CTM President Clark and his wife, Sister Clark.

Missionaries leaving the CTM for Belém

Can I Have a Snowball for Christmas?

Hello from the Amazon! Well, more or less.

This has been a crazy past couple weeks! So much to say, probably not going to remember to say half of it. And I’m going to apologize ahead of time that I’m probably not going to have time to put pictures in the email, but I haven’t taken any here yet.

First, the last week of the CTM was awesome! It was a bit sad that we were all leaving each other after 2 month together, but we already started planning our party for when we get back. Also all the professors were sad we were leaving; there were multiple instructors that said we were one of the best American districts they’ve met. But someone pointed out that the mission is all about creating a good relationship with people – and then leaving them. So I guess that was my first taste of this!

Oh and also, I only received one letter (a really nice one from Sister Crosby on my very last day) in the final 2 1/2 weeks in the CTM. Our whole district only received mail twice in that time period, where we had been consistently getting letters before that. So I have a feeling that there are whole bunch of letters that I probably won’t ever see. But the lady who works in the CTM said that she’d try to forward the ones that make it, so there’s still a chance. But the mail service here is either still in a strike or way behind on the mail. But from what other people in my district have confirmed with parents and friends, there is a good amount of mail that did not ever find its way to the CTM.

There were actually 6 Brazilian Elders and a Sister that also went to Belém with Sister R and me, but she and I were basically companions because we were sitting by ourselves on the opposite side of the plane haha. But it was nice to have the Brazilians there, 1) because all of them were really funny and awesome and 2) because they knew what they were doing. We had a layover in Brasilia (hi Eric!) then finally arrived in Belém, where when we landed it was a cozy 34 degrees C (who wants to look that one up?). We met President Campos, who was funny, really nice, smart, really spiritual, and knows no English. And he was a bit hard to understand, but I got a little more used to it. His wife is really sweet (and easier to understand). We ended up having meeting and interviews and orientation forever, and I finally got to my house in my first area just before midnight. Long day, considering I had to wake up at 4 for the flight!

So my first area is Paar, which is part of Cidade Nova, which is just outside the main city of Belém. It covers Paar and Curaçamba (not sure if you can find those on a map). Paar is a little more developed, as far as Amazon Brasil goes, and Curaçamba is less developed, so it’s a really cool area to work. Definitely way different than anything I’ve ever seen in the US, makes me think about how rich even the poorer people in the US are. There are always tons of people constantly out on the streets too. Its really interesting to see how culture is different in areas where it never ever gets cold. Everything is open and people are just out and about everywhere, or just sitting in front of their houses. I’ll try to take some pictures today and send them to you, because that’s way easier than trying to describe it in words.

My first companion is Elder B, and he’s from Campinas, by São Paulo. He’s really nice, very talkative, but also knows no English. But I guess this gives me a good opportunity to learn. And he’s actually only been in the field for two transfers! It occurred to me yesterday, and I confirmed it with him, that I received my mission call before he did. So we’re both pretty new, but he knows a lot and is teaching me a lot. And I’m slowly getting more used to his Portuguese too.

Oh and believe it or not it’s kinda hot here! Let’s just say that I was already sweating at 8 this morning just sitting in my house in a chair in front of a fan. I don’t know the degrees, and I don’t really want to know the degrees, but it gets pretty bad, to say the least. On the bright side, I sweat so much that no matter how much water I drink I never have to pee! I’ll eventually get used to the temperature and climate though. And actually once the sun goes down at 6:10ish (which I realized it will every single day) the temperature really is kinda nice! It’s just the 12 hours before that…

Well thanks so much for the updates! Glad to hear everything is going well, sorry I didn’t really respond to anything you said, but that is some great news! Did you ever get the letter I sent two weeks ago? I do like sending letters, especially because even though we do have an hour to send emails here I feel much less pressured haha. Hopefully some of those letters will make it to me soon! And I hope you have a have great week, love you all!

Sincerely,
Elder Scott Maughan
Brazil Belém Mission
Av. Nazaré, 532 Sala 412 4° Andar
Nazaré Royal Trade Center
66035-170 Belém – PA
BRAZIL

Party on the plane to Belém!

Yup I leave for Brazil exactly one week from today! And from what I hear, the people who are flying up north usually leave for the airport at 4 in the morning, so that will be fun! I’ve met a couple more awesome Brazilians (2 Elders and a Sister) that are also going up to Belem with Sister Robinson and I so that will be a party, more or less. Haven’t yet heard of any the Provo Elders going straight there, I hope so though! Also, President Clark (the CTM president) said that there are 3 Elders and a Sister coming from home this week. I’ll be here to say hi to Elder Blanchard when he arrives!

Proselyting was so incredible! Our companionship had 6 books to give out, two per Elder, and we just wandered the streets talking to people about the Book of Mormon and our church. I was actually really surprised, because I figured I would be kinda shy and nervous about having conversations with people on the streets, but I actually ended up being the one who was striking up most of our conversations. It’s funny when the scriptures say open your mouth and it will be filled, because that’s basically exactly what would happen. Without really thinking about what I was going to say I would just start a sentence and the rest would just kinda seem to flow out, and apparently in discernable Portuguese too! We ended up giving out all or Book of Mormons relatively quickly and easily. While we obviously got ignored several times, we actually never got turned down (guess I’m still waiting for that first fun experience), and never got into any debates or such either. It was so awesome, and next week we get to take a public bus to the “Times Square” of São Paulo and do the same thing! That will be intense.

I really enjoyed conference too!  I watched/listened to every minute of conference. It was a great experience, and it’s so funny here because everyone gets so excited about it. We all got super pumped when they announced the 2nd Provo Temple – that will be awesome! And completely necessary; the Provo Temple would get so packed.

Hmmm well not quite sure what else to say, nothing else too exciting! Our district has CTM senioritis, but we’re doing a pretty good job at not letting it get to us. Everything’s going well. It was nice to hear from everyone! And Dad, I loved the envelope you sent me, with Eric’s name crossed out. The secretary here sure was confused, but don’t worry it got to me! And Melissa that’s so awesome you talked to someone in Salem – small world! And I’ll send home a package of mail to be sent off today. I would’ve sent it last week but I thought I’d wait to make sure I didn’t have other letters to write also. Ended up not receiving any to write back to this week, but I did get one that all the XC boys sent from the Baldwinsville pasta party! Those guys are awesome, I couldn’t stop smiling reading that. Well take care, have a great week!

Love,
Elder Scott Maughan