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

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2 Weeks till Belém!

Hello family! Nice to hear from you! Not quite sure what the deal is with the mail strike, we get just a few letters once or twice a week, but the ones we receive were sent anywhere from a week ago to 3 weeks ago. Kinda confusing! I really have no clue if the letters I’m sending are getting through or if letters sent to me are coming through either.

Thats so great that Aaron got his visa! It’ll be nice to see a familiar face. Also, I think J.R. might be coming tomorrow! I thought I heard a Gleason on the list of people coming. 16 or so Americans should be coming from Provo tomorrow, thats a good sign. As of now I’m still the only one from our stake though. 6 missionaries came last week, including one into our district! We were a little worried, just because we’d become so close over the last 6 weeks that we weren’t sure how it was going to be, but he’s awesome! Elder H is from NJ, and he fits in perfectly. Since he’s going to Brasilia just like Elder N, he’s in our companionship. He has two more friends in his old district in Provo going to Belem. I’m looking forward to meeting Elder G.

The temple sessions have all been in English except once. The temple here is so nice, and just last week we went to the baptistry for the first time and it’s absolutely amazing!

Our roommates left today! We miss them – we’ve gotten so lucky with the Brasileiros that we’ve had in our room. Both times they have been super nice and helpful. I hope we get new Brazilian roommates next week!

Oh and violin went really well. I’m actually playing again tonight. And Elder K in our district is conducting the music tonight and asked me to play a short duet with Sister R on the piano (she’s absolutely amazing at it). Oh, if you get the chance you should look up the Brazilian Hino Nacional, so that you can get a sense of what all the Americans have to try to stumble through every Sunday. Warning though, it always gets stuck in my head!

Well I think thats it for most of the exciting news this week. We go proselyting on Monday around the neighborhood for the first time, that will be exciting! We’ll be giving out Book of Mormons, I hope it goes well! And I hope we can understand people haha. Well take care, love you all!

Sincerely,
Elder Scott Maughan

Big Debut Tonight!

This week has been good! Nothing too exciting…. Oh actually one thing that might be exciting, there might be a strike with the mail service in Brazil! One started last Wednesday, but then we got mail on Friday… but then we haven’t gotten mail since… so not totally sure what is going on with that! Kinda hope that it’s not still going on, guess I’ll find out later today when we try to go to the post office.

We’re down to 19 Americans here! But 6 more are coming tomorrow (4 from home), so hopefully thats a good sign that things are changing. Glad to hear Aaron might be getting his visa, it would be nice to see another familiar face who should be here. I leave for Belém the 11th of October, 3 more weeks! That means that we head out with the Brazilians that will be arriving this Thursday. Hopefully some of them are going to Belém also! If not, then Sister R and I might be companions on the trip to Belém. I’m glad there are at least two of us! It’s a 5 hour flight from what I hear.

Oh yeah, a normal day! So we wake up at 6:30, eat breakfast, study the scriptures/Preach My Gospel/Portuguese for a little bit, go to TRC and practice teaching, study some more, go to gym for an hour (volleyball!), eat lunch (always delicious), have class where we learn more about the gospel and the language and how to teach, then go to dinner, then study more, then have more class, then have a snack, then talk to Brazilians for an hour (when we should be getting ready for bed), then we are usually in bed as close to 10:30 as possible. The classes are awesome, we got really lucky with our teachers. They are both native brazilians (obviously) who speak english really well. They are also both really smart, really instructive, and absolutely hilarious. Probably at least once a week I laugh so hard I cry. We have a really fun district, but everyone is also really spiritual and hardworking. It’s a really good combo.

Oh and the schedules does change too! Some days we have devotionals that we all go to instead of night class. We have one tonight, and I’m playing the violin for the choir! Can’t wait haha. It’s just Sweet Hour of Prayer (O Doce, Grata Oraçao) so it’s pretty easy… I hope! Also Tuesdays we have Preperation Day, where we go to the São Paulo Temple in the mornings (it’s soo beautiful) and then come back and all afternoon we just write letters/emails, sometimes play volleyball, and we go walk around the street outside and run errands. That’s one plus of being here in the CTM, on our P-Days we are allowed to leave the CTM and go pretty much where ever we want. It’s really nice!

Glad to hear the family and friends are doing well! Have a fantastic week!
Love,
Elder Scott Maughan

Work please!

Scott's CTM district Hello family!

Yup, finally made it past the halfway point here in the CTM! It feels like it’s gone by pretty quickly though. Oh and I made an outline of what I might say today hopefully I’ll have time to try to add pictures at the end haha.

First of all, we got new roommates this week! They are both Brazilian, and they are super cool. And I’m getting to the point where we can have conversations and I can understand them better! Our whole district is definitely making improvements, I think being totally surrounded here by the language has really helped. Now that we can have conversations (slowly) with the guys in our room and in our hall, it’s been really fun getting to know them. It’s kinda crazy to think that they still leave a couple weeks before us, we are here for so long! But thats okay, I like it.

So we came to the conclusion that Brazilian Sisters are easier to understand than Brazilian Elders. Luckily Sister R (who is still the only other American going to Belém here) knows all of them, so when we sit next to her, we sit next to all the other Sisters also! The first day one of the Sisters told me that she had a friend living in Utah that had a pictures with me, and I was soo confused because I definitely had never heard of the name before. Turns out, she was confusing me for Eric! Thought I could get away from being confused for Eric in Brazil, guess not! That made me laugh a ton though.

Every Sunday we sing the Brazilian National anthem, which is super fast and hard to sing and uses words that even Brazilians don’t know. Fun to try singing though! Anyway, this past Sunday, September 11th, I wanted to do something patriotic so I asked the CTM president if all the Americans could sing The Star Spangled Banner before we started the devotional and he said yes! So we had a translator explain what we were going to sing and why, then all the Americans (only 25 of us) stood up front and sung the national anthem, and it was amazing. The international director of MTCs was at this meeting too, and he said that he really liked it. Proud to be an American! And excited to become semi-Brazilian too, of course.

Last thing before I try to figure out pictures, I might actually get to use my cello skills! There’s a violin here that they use with choir songs, but the last person who knows how to play the violin is leaving next Tuesday. But I was playing around with it the other day (holding it like a cello on my lap) and my friends said I had to sign up to use the violin next, and since I give in to peer pressure really easily I did! Looks like I might be teaching myself how to play the violin haha.

Okay I tried to attach the pictures, don’t know if it worked? Hope it did!! AAllssoo eevveerryytthhiinngg iiss ddoouubbbblleedd rriigghhtt nnooww aanndd II ddoonn”tt kknnooww wwhhyy… wweeiirrdd!! HHaahhaa hhaavvee aa ggrreeaatt wweeeekk!!

SSiinncceerreellyy,,
Elder Sccoott MMaauugghhaann

pp.ss. tthhiiss ccoommppuutteerr iiss hhaavviinngg aa ttoouugghhtt ttiimmee hhaahhaa.

We should probably give them a chance to surrender

Hey family!

Thanks for the letters! And thanks Dad and Eric for the postcards! Now my district has pictures of Portland, Las Vegas, and Wyoming tacked on the wall haha. We’ve been working on decorating our room. And sorry I didn’t bring my camera this time! I’ll try again next week. Since we can’t take pictures outside of the CTM I don’t have any super exciting pictures to share yet anyway, but I’ll try to add some next week.

I’m really sorry to hear about Sister Bentley, that’s so sad. Thank you for keeping me updated though. I’ll make sure I keep her family and Sister Love in my prayers.

Three more elders arrived this week. They all came from Provo after 5 or 6 weeks. But three is still an improvement! Is that elder from PA coming this week? Well I guess I’ll find out before I hear back from you haha. We’ve heard that two elders are coming from home this week, which will be the first time anyone has come from home since Elder Stinnett joined our district 3 weeks ago. I hope more come! There are actually more Latinos here than there are American right now. So there’s quite a mix of languages here! When we since in choir we occasionally since a verse in each language (sometimes Japanese too!) so it’s pretty interesting and really neat.

Yes I am loving volleyball still! Actually the 2 other districts that we have gym with have challenged my district to a game of volleyball tomorrow (non-competitive, of course), so it will be their best 6 people again the 5 of us. Hardly fair, I think. We should probably give them a chance to surrender.

The language is still going well! Since our friends left last week we haven’t had so many Brasileiros to talk to, but just the past couple days we’ve been meeting some guys on our floor. They speak really fast and none of them know English, but the more we talk the more we can understand them! It’s actually really funny, because we can have a conversation about church pretty easily (even though us Americans are still talking pretty slow), but I am soo lost if we try to talk about anything else haha. I guess that will come eventually! Probably not as important right now anyway.

Teaching is coming along better too! Last Saturday we taught an actual family from a Casa Verde ward, which was extremely nerveracking but still a great experience! It was probably more of a learning experience for Elder N and me, but a good one nonetheless. We are certainly improving, and smoothing out our lessons much better. Definitely still have a lot to learn, but I’m enjoying it. Also, I’ve been trying to read the Book of Mormon in Portuguese the past couple weeks and it’s getting easier and easier and I’m understanding more and more, which is a good sign!

Well sorry nothing terribly exciting has happened this past week! I’ll try harder to get some pictures on here next week, so you can see what it’s like. Take care, love you all!

Sincerely,
Elder Scott Maughan

Week 3? or 4?

Hey everyone again!

Not too much has changed here! Every week more and more Americans leave, and every week less and less Americans arrive, so we are getting quite outnumbed here by the Brazilians. It’s really fun though! I know enough Portuguese to at least have a small conversation with them (if I can get them to talk really slow), and they are all friendly and nice. If only I had already known Portuguese, I would have left today! All our Brazilian friends that had arrived the same time as us left this morning, and we definitely all really miss them. We took lots of pictures with them though! Except can’t figure out how to attached them on this computer… I’ll try that again next week, sorry!

The learning here is going really well! Portuguese is coming along pretty well still I think. All our professors and people we teach say that our district is farther ahead then most districts are by this point. I think having a small district and being surrounded by Brazilians is really helping. Yup we’re still at 5 people right now, although if anyone that was supposed to be in our district got their visas in the past month they would come tomorrow. One elder came last week, a week ahead of us. He says that there are about 200 elders waiting for their visas in the Provo MTC. Crazy! Makes me really greatful that I was able to get mine. There are probably not even 30 Americans here now.

Oh so kinda cool fact. There are two Japanese sisters here that we do lots of activities with (they count as a “North American district” and only a week ahead of us), and those sisters are the first Japanese sisters ever to be called to Brazil! They are really incredible, they both only knew a small amount of English from studying at BYU Hawaii, so they are really learning two languages at the same time. They are super nice, super funny, and full of energy too. If I ever figure out how to hook up my camera I’ll show you a picture of them also!

Wow Hurricane Irene? Thats crazy! Thanks for sending those pictures, that’s incredible. I’m glad everyone is okay! And I’m glad you had internet too, haha. I suppose I’ll have my share of rain for the next few years. I wish I could’ve gone to Lake George! I hope you guys had a great time. Love you all, take care!

Sincerely,

Elder Scott Maughan

P.S. Subject: I’m technically what we call a “4th week”, but I haven’t even been here 3 weeks yet, so it’s a bit confusing!

I Can’t Make Up Interesting Subject Lines Like Melissa Can

Hey family!

Thanks for the letters! I really loved reading them.

One lone Elder came from home this week and they put him in our district, so now we’re up to 5 in our district! He’s a week behind too but I think he’ll catch up easily. Our district works really hard, but we also make sure we have fun too. Our two instructors are awesome, they can really bring the spirit when they need to and they can really make us laugh when we need to. Our goal for this next week is to talk more to each other in Portuguese! Also my companion and I gave a lesson almost entirely in Portuguese. Not the greatest lesson in the world, but we’ll have to be teaching in Portuguese eventually I suppose so why not try now?

From what I hear only 1 more elder is coming this week, not sure what they’ll do with him. It really does seem incredibly hard to get a visa here now. I wish JR was coming here! It’s way fun meeting people you know here. For instance, Elder Michael Biancardi! He’s the one who wrote and conducted that song I played the cello for in winter semester at BYU. He just left for his area yesterday, but while he was here he composed an arrangement of “Where Can I Turn For Peace” that he taught the whole CTM to sing (and play for the few instruments and vocalists) for the fireside last Sunday. It was absolutely amazing, one of the best arrangements of any hymn I’ve ever heard, and really brought the spirit too. And the incredible thing is that he wrote it without ever hearing it before Sunday! He’s so talented. I gave him my address, he and I are going to keep in touch.

But yeah what I was going to say is yes from what I hear there should be 15-20 in our district, the rest must be in Provo. And Sister R is going to Belem! She’s the lone sister in the district, but she’s really fun and it’s great having her there. Also going to Belem is a group of Brazilian Elders we sit with at most meals! They are really fun, one of them knows English pretty well which helps a ton. Speaking of meals, the food in the CTM is great! Rice and beans every meal (just as a side dish), amazing fresh fruit every meal, and the main dishes and desserts are so good too. I’ve eaten so many things that we don’t have at home, and I know the names for… none of them, sorry!

Preparation days are nice too. This morning we actually went to the Campinos Temple because Sao Paulo was closed (that makes 6 different temples in 6 visits!). Then we got back, put in our laundry, and go write emails! We’re planning on hitting the town after this. By which I mean walking to the post office to mail letters, maybe go to the paper store to get pens, and then maybe get a cookie or pastel. Then we really want to play volleyball! We get really really into volleyball, we play it for gym everyday. Turns out everyone in my district is at least pretty solid at volleyball so we have really good games (not keeping score of course).

Well I hope you are all having a fantastic day and have a fantastic week! Love you all!

Sincerely,
Elder Scott Maughan