Aw-Sigh-Ee

Hello family!

Hopefully the internet will work this week… glad to hear my email last week got through! And I don’t have too much news from this week either either but I’ll try to make it exciting. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Sounds like things were pretty nice around the house. My Thanksgiving was pretty normal. Actually, kinda ironically it was less than normal, considering our lunch appointment with a family fell through… but that’s okay! I celebrated “Dia de Ação de Gracas” by eating a giant mango for dinner while listening to some song called “Thankful” by Josh Groban, which I don’t think I knew was on my mp3 player. Worked out well!

The accent is coming along a little better. I’m learning some new pronunciation rules (that I probably should’ve learned 3 months ago) which I think is helping people understand me a little better. The pronunciation guide in the mini dictionary is my new best friend. Of course, that guide is based on high class people from São Paulo, not exactly Ananindeua, but I figure it’s a whole lot closer than an American accent.

Transfers were last week! Which makes me no longer the newest American in the Belém Mission. The only change in my zone was my district leader (American) who I was pretty good friends with, but it will be nice to work with new missionaries. Still working with Elder Bispo – things are going well there too. Also I’m making a few friends in the ward, which is really helpful for having someone with a Belém accent with whom I can talk and practice listening.

Also we had another zone training Wednesday. A member of the Seventy gave a great training, really interesting and enlightening. Also one of the best parts of that meeting was that I got to see all my friends from the CTM! Sister Robinson was the only member of our group that wasn’t there, but it was really fun to talk to everyone else. Also, I got to catch up with all my friends that I made from my first 3 weeks of the CTM that are a transfer ahead of me! It was really neat to be able to see that my Portuguese has, in fact, improved from my 3rd week in the CTM. I had missed those guys; it was really nice to see them again.

Well I hope everyone has a great rest of November and start of December! If you ever get cold, just think of me. Love you all, until next week!

Love,
Élder Scott Maughan

P.S. Pictures this week again! Where I spend 8-12 every morning studying (guess which side is mine), and a bowl of Açai (pronunciation in subject title) mixed with sugar and tapioca. Or I think it’s tapioca.

I Can Fix Your Camera

Óla novamente!

63 degrees in Burnt Hills this time of the year? I don’t believe it! It was probably pretty close to 63 degrees here yesterday… in celsius… actually I really never know the temperature here, partly because I don’t have a thermometer and partly because I don’t want to know. Oh and I think Belém has Burnt Hills beat with the Christmas lights. People started decorating for Natal 3 weeks ago!

Also, I didn’t actually get the package last week, but that could more likely just mean that the zone leaders just never picked it up. They are supposed to pick up our mail every Monday in the mission office and we get it at zone meeting the next day.

Had baptism #2 Saturday! The lady who had moved out of her boyfriend’s house got baptized. Since Elder Bispo had previously been teaching her before I got here, he baptized her. It was really neat, and she was so excited. She even made us a cake! I would have taken pictures but my camera wasn’t working… there was some problem with the lens. Not completely sure what the problem was, but I found out the next day that banging the camera on the table could fix it. Why hadn’t I thought of that earlier?

Teaching is going well too. We are getting a ton of help from the members in the ward. We’ve been getting lots of referrals for families and friends from them. This past week we had 18 investigators at church! Problem is all of the couples have to get married… but at least their sons and daughters can get baptized before then! I didn’t realize how long it takes for divorce papers and marriage papers to get processed. For instance, the family we went into Belém with last week to get married can’t be baptized until the end of the next month when it’s official that they are married.

Hopefully these pictures send! Thought for a second I was out of luck again because the USB outlets on the computer weren’t working… found the one at the back though! The trees in the background of the first one are Açai trees, which are EVERYWHERE here. Not complaining — it tastes so good! I’m trying to branch out, experimenting with new foods and new fruits. So far haven’t gotten sick or had anything nasty (knock on wood!).

Oh and by the way last week I found out that the name of the city I’m in is Ananindeua. That might help you find it on google maps!

Well have a fantastic week, until next Segunda-Feira! Love you all!

Sinceramente,
Élder Scott Maughan


Busy week for everyone?

It’s me again!

Glad to hear the family is doing well! Sounds like everyone is extremely busy. Actually I fit in too, because I also had an extremely busy week, but it was a good one too!

One of the couples we’ve been teaching finally decided to get married, so Elder Bispo and I got to go into downtown Belém with them where they did the paperwork, and that was really neat. The city hall (by the way, I decided it’s slightly frightening to be sitting in a government building of a country that you don’t belong to) is located right next to the Amazon (which they count as the sea because it’s so large). And there’s a GIANT food/fish market right there called Ver-O-Peso. And I should’ve taken pictures but… kinda forgot, I was busy looking at everything! But I’ll for sure take pictures next time I’m there. I’ve never seen so much fish in my life, it was crazy.

Also we had the zone conference, which was really neat! Got to see a bunch of my friends that flew out with me from the CTM, and I could definitely understand them better than I could when we left, so that’s a good sign! Felt like I was in the CTM again, sitting in the same spot all day long and being taught, but Presidente and Sister Campos are awesome and they’re really good at keeping attention, even in Portuguese. Learned a bunch of great lessons, ate a lot of great food, and talked to a lot of great people, so it was a pretty great day!

Oh and probably most exciting, I baptized my first investigator Saturday!! He came to us last Sunday and told us he wanted to be baptized. Apparently his wife and kids have been members for 7 years now, and he finally decided he wanted to join them. And Elder Bispo had me baptize him, slightly nerve-racking but such a neat experience too! And actually another lady came up to us in church yesterday who has been attending church for 4 months now but was living with her boyfriend, and apparently she just moved out and wants to be baptized now, so hopefully we’ll have another one Saturday! I guess Belém really is the mission of miracles.

Well the internet was going super slow and taking forever to download photos so I don’t have time to send any this week… I’ll make up for it next week. I’ll send at least 3! Sorry! Love you all–have an awesome week!

Love,
Elder Scott Maughan

Fruit fruit fruit fruit

Óla família!

I hope everyone has had a great week! It was so great to hear about David’s baptism, and all the support he has in his new ward. It’s kinda funny. After learning so much about missionary work and realizing how important the members are, I feel terrible for how lousy I was as a member missionary. Hopefully I’ll make up for that out here and then fix that when I return!

I got your Halloween card exactly on Halloween actually! I don’t usually get mail on Mondays, but I was at the mission offices that day to do stuff with my passport (and I was there again today; these past two P-days have been pretty hectic). On the bright side, I got to see Sister Robinson again each time, and it was really neat to catch up and compare our first weeks out in the field. And to speak English. I think I really needed some time where I could speak my mind with more ease, even if it was just for an hour or two.

Oh and another letter I got on October 31st was a letter from Elder Brooksby, which he had sent AUGUST 31st! Remember how the first letter he sent to me got to me in 4 days in NY? Yeah, apparently he had used up all his luck on that one. I wrote back to him today, but I’m not totally sure where/how to send letters yet… I’ll work on that.

Teaching in Portuguese gets to be pretty tough at times, but it’s improving! Actually since the very first day Elder Bispo has had me teach a pretty decent portion of each lesson, although usually he repeats everything I say afterwards just to make sure the investigator understood. Which I realize makes what I say more or less pointless in the lesson, but either way it’s good for me to practice speaking! I’ve been able to understand better as well, which was something that really bothered me at the very beginning. A huge part of teaching is obviously listening and understanding the needs and questions of the investigator so that you can meet them. But I’ve been learning patience as I slowly start to be able discern what the people are saying. And as I’ve been doing that I start to be able to help more in the lessons.

The newest challenge is speaking so that people can understand me. Originally I thought it was because I was saying words all wrong and not making much sense. But today I was talking with one of the assistants to the president (American) and he said that it’s mostly just the accent, which will come with time. He told me that my grammar was great and that I was speaking really well, it’s just that while investigators are listening, they hear my accent and the only thing going through their heads is “He’s American He’s American He’s American.” But apparently with time that goes away!

Most of the people we teach are either contacts from members or people we met on the street. We’ve never actually gone from door to door (or gate to gate), because usually there are so many people all over the streets or just sitting in front of their homes. Oh and also I’m teaching an English class every Friday! Which feels a bit strange when I’m still trying to learn Portuguese!

Oh two things before I go: One, basically everyone here has a fruit tree. At least one. There are so many different types of fruits that grow here and they grow everywhere. And they are all really tasty too! It turns out that every tree here is some type of fruit tree. Our house somehow doesn’t have a fruit tree, but that’s okay because people always have so much fruit coming from their trees that they keep giving us their fruit. And two, turns out the rainy season is coming! It’s definitely started raining harder and more often, had to wade through a few floods already! Brings back good memories of running in the rain: You can try to avoid the deep puddles, but it’s going to happen eventually so you might as well just go in the first one.

Have a great week, love you all! I’ll send a picture next week! And there will probably be a fruit tree in the picture.

Love,
Elder Scott Maughan