Monday, December 26, 2011

A Quick "Hi" After a Christmas Call

(The decorations on our tree are the same ones Tom and I bought the first Christmas we were married.  The kids won't let us buy new ones.  To them ... these decorations mean "Christmas".)

(Every year, each of our kids buy a new ornament for the tree.  Last year Tavin shrunk down his mission call and made it into his yearly ornament.)
Hey guys!

How’s it going? Glad to hear the rest of Christmas was good.  Today we got up and went and played soccer.  It was way fun until people started getting really competitive.  It’s so much better when it’s just for fun and not playing hard. Especially when you’re not that great … that would be me.  We had 12 of us, so we made three teams of four.  Winner stays on the court and the other team comes in.  My team consisted of me, both of my ZLs (one Brazilian and another American that’s about equal or worse than me), and then another American that was about the same level as me.  However, he was super good at goalie so he stayed in the goal.  Well … our team, as you can imagine, wasn’t super good but it was so much fun.  The other two teams would get more into it when they played each other, but we were just more or less goofing around.  Elder De Andrade (our Brazilian) was a good sport about it and made it fun too.  Thankfully, he wasn’t a competitive one.  Every time when we lost, he just said, “Alright guys … next time!” haha  Me and my American ZL (Elder King) made a goal that was pretty sweet.  I stole the ball and passed it to him.  He dribbled it a bit and passed it back to me.  I got closer to the goal and passed it over to him, who was on the other side of the goal, and he knocked it in and scored.  Elder De Andrade afterwards said, “Look guys!  You scored all by yourselves!!!”  haha  It was so funny.  Good times.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Being The Best "Me" I Can Be

Dear Family,

Hey guys.  What’s new?  How’s life, school … all that jazz?  Are you still dancing Belle?  I’m excited to get to see how good you are in April 2013.  Brittin … how’s High School treating you?  Any guys I need to write?  I’m so glad I’ll get home just before you turn 16.  That’s when I’ll really need to worry about the guys.  Kassie and Peter … any more problems with your house?  Is your heater working right?  Mom and Dad … all the cars are working?  No problems with the turbo on Mom’s car or anything like that?  Funny stuff how Kassie and Peter always have trouble with the AC … what I wouldn’t give for an AC in my house … and Mom and Dad with the car … what I would give for a car - or a bike even.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Old Traditions - Hayrides ... New Traditions - Skype Calls!

Hayrides and gift giving ... a Fox Family tradition!
Hey Guys!!

Ya … I agree with Jarin!  This tax thing on packages is ridiculous.  It somewhat make sense in the way Elder Costa explained it to me.  He said things are way cheaper in the United States.  So someone could just make a friend with someone there, send him money, and have him buy stuff and send it down here.  Then he could turn around and sell it all for cheaper than the stores and make some money.  However, there’s got to be a better way of monitoring that than taxing the crap out of people.  I’m pretty worried about the Christmas package being way expensive too.

About Christmas … I can call you guys on Skype!  I’m not sure what time though.  I haven’t really made any plans yet with any members because transfers are this week and I don’t know if I’ll go or stay here.  I’m thinking I’ll stay, but who knows.  What’s the time difference from here and home?  I know when I left it was 4 hours, but we moved our clocks for daylight savings time, and now I’m on summer time and you guys are on winter.  Does that change it?  Am I now 6 hours ahead of you guys?  Right when I go to send this, I’ll put what time it is.  Then when you see when you have received it, you can know the difference.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Little Girl ... A Map ... A Reminder!

Dear Family!

Hey guys!  How’s life going?  Things are going good way down here.  Sometimes I forget how far away I am from home.  The other day a kid had a map of the world and wanted to see where I lived so I showed where Las Vegas is.  She said, "Whoa!  You are so far away from your home!!"  I had kind of forgotten how far São Paulo is from home and it took that little girl and a map to remind me.  haha.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Leapin' Lizards!

Dear Family,

Hey everyone!  How’s it going?  Hopefully good!  Man … today it’s raining like crazy!  I swear Satan controls the weather.  Haha  When we’re just home relaxing … nothing.  When we have to leave to do emails or to teach … it starts raining like crazy.  When we got home I was soaked and pretty cold too.  Our house, not having a heater, was not too much of a help.  We just used a “Missionary Improv Heater”.  I don’t know if I’ve told you guys about this yet, but what you do to get all nice and toasty … get a pot and fill it with rubbing alcohol.  Once you have a good bit of fluid, toss a match in and get all nice and warm.  After that, I took a nice shower.  By nice I mean scorching hot since there are only three settings.  Super hot, medium, and not heated at all.  You get used to the super melt-your-skin-off-hot though after awhile.  Especially when it’s cold.  These shower heaters are a pretty good idea if someone was able to make it so there are more then three settings.  With them, you never run out of hot water like at home.  Also, the life span isn’t too long and once it gets old there are two settings … luke warm and ice.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade ... In Brazil?

Dear Family,

Hey guys!! What’s going on? I’m doing good over here! Thanksgiving was ... different. Basically, it didn’t feel anything like Thanksgiving.  At the same time … it wasn’t just another Thursday in the mission.  It was such a good day!  An amazing day actually!  I'll write about it in my letter today because it'll take some time to write.  Also, something I thought was pretty cool is that down here, they get the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was talking to one of my investigators about Thanksgiving and how it was the next day.  The next time I saw him he said that he watched something on TV in New York with giant balloons that look like characters. I was really confused at first and thinking maybe I misunderstood him. He was like, “You know … a lot of huge balloons and people walking down the road  holding them.  And there were some bands too and people dancing and everyone walking and waving.”  I was still a little confused until he said, “It’s on that day that you guys have, with lots of food and turkey.”  That’s when I clued in.  Pretty sweet that they get it over here don’t you think?

Monday, November 21, 2011

With My English to Portuguese Dictionary In Hand ... It's Time To Talk

(Speaking in Sacrament Meeting becomes a little more nerve-wracking.)
 Hey guys!!!

Man!  So this week has been exhausting!!  This P-Day is very welcomed!  In this new area, we didn’t have too many investigators.  The ones we did have, aren’t very firm at all and aren’t progressing.  You know what that means … time for a new start!  And that means going and knocking doors and making contacts.  Sooo … lots of time spent in the hot sun walking all day long.  Fun times!  However, we found a lot of new people that seem like they will be really good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The "Missionary Look"

Brazil is beautiful!
Dear family,

Glad you guys liked the pictures.  It's kind of hard to send pictures home.  I need someone (investigator or member) because we do our emails in a public computer house and Mauricio warned me of using those computers to send pictures home. I guess they are generally loaded with viruses and if I were to hook my camera or memory card to them, I could get a bunch on it.  Then when I get home and try to load up my pictures, it could mess up the computer.  So that’s why pictures are in short supply.  I do have a bunch on my camera.  And … yes … the backpack or hip bag thing that my companion has on, is normal here.  That’s actually part of the “missionary look”.  Whenever I’ve left without my backpack or just with stuff in my hands, and I run into a member, they sometimes don’t recognize us as missionaries at first.  They always ask where our bags are.  Do the missionaries back home not wear backpacks?  I thought they did.  How else would they carry a Bible, Book of Mormon, one or two other copies of the Book of Mormon to give out, and whatever other stuff they need?  The area I took the pictures, is basically in the middle of my area.  We pass through there lots.  Those trails that I snapped some shots on, we use those a lot.  I saw a huge lizard in that tree area the other day.  One of those with a snake-like tongue, that are big, and have a load of poison that it stores in it's tail.  It was really cool until it started coming right at us.  That kind of freaked us out a little.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Little Training and Some Construction

David F. Evans - Of the First Quorum of the Seventy
Dear Family,

Hey guys.  How’s it going?  Mom … you mentioned in the email today, again, that you guys aren’t getting any mail.  I don’t know what’s going on with the mail.  I’ve received letters from people saying they haven’t heard back from me so I think some of my letters are getting lost in route.  There have been some weeks where we get in late and I don’t have time to write, but those weeks I don’t have time to write anyone.  Just know that whenever I do write letters ... I write one to home.

On Monday we had a training given by Elder Evans (a member of the 70) and it was so good!!!  It wasn’t really a training like normal.  Normally we just learn stuff about teaching and do some practices, but since he was there, he just spoke.  He first opened up by letting us ask questions and then started talking after … first about tithing, and then about revelation and lots of other stuff.  It was amazing because I have been working hard and studying in reference to revelation and how best to receive answers to questions.  He totally answered every question I had in aspect to that topic.  He also answered questions about other stuff I have been thinking about.  It was so cool!!!  A great little experience.  Also, his testimony that he bore was incredible!!!  It was so powerful.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard a testimony that strong before in my life.  His testimony just cut right through me … to my soul.

"Goodbyes" and Armadillo Encounters

A little family encounter!

A street contact ... I don't think this one counts.
Dear Family!!

Hey!  Our P-Day got moved to today but I didn’t know until Wednesday of last week so I wasn’t able to get out any notices.  First of all, transfers were last week.  I got the call Monday afternoon … unfortunately just after I had written my last email.  haha  However, I’m sure you guys have found out I was transferred through the grapevine.

Ok.  So first of all … I’ll talk about my last day in Freguesia.  Tuesday after our district meeting, was spent running around saying “Goodbye” to everyone and throwing all my stuff into my bag.  I had gotten a couple of extra stuff in that area, and since we’re only allowed one bag in the field and have to leave the other one and stuff at the mission office, I had to sit on it to get it closed up.  Once the quick packing was done, I was off running around saying “Goodbye” to members and investigators.  Man!  That was so rough!  I hated it.  People were crying and as you can guess … I cried a bit too.  The recent convert that said she was going to fast so I would stay was pretty bummed.  When I shook her hand to say goodbye she pulled me in and gave me a hug.  Needless to say, I totally freaked out and stiffened up and she had a good laugh about that.  Transfers are no fun at all.  You leave so many people behind that you have really grown to care for.  One family bought a bunch of pizzas for my "last supper".  That was pretty fun.

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Since This Is The Time For Goblins & Bats ..."

 Happy Halloween!!!!

Today definitely doesn’t feel like Halloween.  The only decorations are at some of the English schools they have.  Other than that … nothing.  No one does anything here for Halloween really.  Some people have parties over the weekends and stuff but I guess, especially when Halloween is on a weekday, there’s nothing that anyone does for it.  It’s basically just another day here.  But those spider rings were a huge hit!  Everyone loved them!  They were so much fun to give out.  Also … I got the other package.  I just hadn’t opened it the last email I sent.  Thank you so much!!  It was so much fun.  The kids were amazed at my magic powers.  haha  I guess I’m going to have to ask Santa for something else.  I’m thinking I’ll ask him for a rugby ball and air pump.  Why are you guys having the Trunk-or-Treat on Halloween??  Please send me pictures.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Santa Worry

(Belle was very concerned her brother would be missed by Santa this year.)
Dear Belle

Brazil is great!  Today I went to the temple and that was awesome!!

You have to send me a picture of your Halloween costume!!  That’s so sweet about dance.  I like the thriller dance too!

About Christmas for a Santa present … I was thinking about asking for that Magic Trick thing I got once in Disneyland.  It’s a flying card trick thing.  I think that would be way fun here to do magic for the kids.  The only problem is, I don’t know if Santa would know what I’m talking about or if he'd be able to make it.  You should ask Mom and see what she thinks.  I think I’m going to write him too and let him know I’m down here.  Thanks for worrying about me.  I wouldn’t want Santa to not know where I was.

I love you Belle!


(Belle’s Email to Tavin …)

Fasting With A Purpose

Dear Family,

So today was awesome!!  I woke up and went to the temple.  The buses were a little crazy, and the bus we needed wasn’t coming, so we hopped on another one that takes a bit longer.  I was ensured that it would be the same amount of time, yet, I knew that it wasn’t.  Needless to say, we were late for the session.  I was kind of bummed because we were going to go with President Martins and I had some questions to ask, but oh well, that’s no big deal.  We got there and just waited for the next session.

Ohhhh … here’s some quick background info regarding the temple trip … my zone, well some Elders in my zone, were fasting today.  I was as well.  We were fasting and praying that the visas will come through easier.  Our mission is going to start suffering on numbers if not.  I was also fasting to say "thanks" for all the help and blessings I’ve been receiving.  I like going to the temple after fasting because I feel the spirit so much more.  This session today … I felt it stronger than ever.  Right when we opened the doors and I walked through, it was like a wall at the door.  Not so much a wall but a filter that caught all the frustrations and tiredness, and I instantly felt light.  It was great.  The session was amazing!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Being Carried and Other Moments

(I love you Big T!)
Dear Mom,

So how are you?  Hopefully things are going good for you.  Things here are … going.  Someone was saying to me that the mail system is almost back to normal so who knows … maybe I’ll start getting stuff again. 

One of your letters made it through to me this last week.  It was the one where you talked about your “Get Away” with Dad.  That sounds like it was awesome!  I bet you two had a great time.  Also, in that letter you mentioned that it was exactly what you needed to re-energize you and that sometimes the things you do, you don’t know if people notice.  Well Mom … we do.  Like the church teaches, and we teach too when we’re talking about families, kids notice a lot of what their parents do.  At times I don’t think we give you and Dad the praise (not credit, but praise) you guys deserve.  At least, I didn’t when I was still at home.  Just know

Listening & "Singing In The Rain"

Dear Family!

How are you guys?  What’s the news with you all?
So we had a pretty neat experience  the other day.  Saturday to be exact.  We were going to lunch, but it was WAY far away in an area we never go to because we don’t have members, investigators, or referrals out there.  However, now we had someone to teach.  I had been to this area for lunch a couple of times prior, but I only followed Elder Henrique so I didn’t remember exactly how to get there.  I knew the major roads but the side streets … I was at a loss.  So we were wandering around forever and it was hot, sunny, and humid.  Just horrible.  We were also out of credits on our cell phone (kind of like minutes) so we couldn’t call her.  We can call another missionary with credits, and do a conference call, but when we tried the other missionaries didn’t answer.  They were probably eating already!  While walking around lost, I was praying in my head.  (Come to find out later that my companion was too.)  So, there we were, walking and walking and walking.  I was about ready to turn around when I had the thought to keep going down this road.  So I did.  To my dismay, we came to the end of the road.  We stopped under the shade of a wall to figure out what we were going to do.  I asked my companion to try calling the other Elders again.  While he was calling I was thinking, “Why did I feel strongly to follow this road when we ended up at a dead end?”  That’s when I looked up at the house we were resting in front of.  All of a sudden I said, “Elder!  I think we’re here!”  I clapped my hands and sure enough … it was the house!  Haha  We were so tired, hungry, hot, and sweaty, but we made it.  And the only reason we made it was because we listened to the promptings on which way to go.  What a great life lesson.  If we listen to the “still small voice” … we will never be lead in the wrong direction.  It was a pretty neat experience.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Bieber Fever Epidemic!

Dear family

So Brasil is infected with a bad case of Bieber Fever!  haha.  Justin Bieber is here in Brasil … in São Paulo as a matter of fact … and yes, in my mission!  The hotel he’s staying at is in the center, right by that Brazilian Barbecue / Pizzeria that I sent a picture of.  The soccer stadium where he performed is right by the Mission Office and the Temple too.  People are going crazy about him.  We'd go into a member’s or investigator’s house, and the news would be on and it was all about him.  All about the crowds … it’s crazy!  There were tons of people that were camping out in front of the stadium for like over a week.  lol  So, ya … it’s a Bieber Fever epidemic going on here!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hammocks and Cool Breezes ... PLEASE!

(For as long as his family can remember, Elder Fox, has begged to have a hammock in his room instead of a bed.  Could Brazil be more perfect for him?)
Dear Family!

Hey guys!  How are you all doing?  Today, when we were going to Pirituba (our Stake Center) to play soccer, we rode past the Post Office (on the bus) which was closed.  I really hope this strike ends soon.  Whenever it’s open and we mail off our letters, they give us a heads up about the strike and that there’s a chance the mail won’t make it to it’s destination.  So once again … fingers crossed!

Today, soccer was a bust.  Nobody came.  It was us and a companionship from another zone that came out to play.  Even with so little people, it was still fun.  We went and bought these French Bread rolls (super good!  It’s like a mini version of Albertson’s French Bread), some lunch meat, and cheese and made sandwiches.  Then we all just chit-chatted.  We also bought some Doritos and … well … they’re A LOT better in the U.S.  Now I’m just in my hammock writing the best family in the world.

Monday, October 3, 2011

General Conference ... A Connection To Home

Dear family!!

So … yesterday was Conference and it was awesome!!!  I never really had the same appreciation for Conference before my mission.  Now … oh man … I left there so excited and so happy.

We watch the different sessions at the Stake Center and it was way cool because there were tons of members there.  Mostly everyone that watches Conference, watches it at the building.  I’m not sure if they get it on TV or not.  Someone said they do, but someone else said they don’t, so I have no idea.  We watched both the Saturday and Sunday sessions there, and during the interval, just hung out at the church.  Lots of people stayed there in between the sessions.  We stayed because if we were to walk back to our area … by the time we got there, we'd have about 10 minutes to teach, and then have to leave again.  We figured we could do more good at the Stake Center.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Hoorah For Israel" ... The Things We Love!

(Elder Henrique and Elder Fox.)

(After almost 3 months of being companions ... they are on to new adventures.)

(September 15, 2001 marked Elder Fox's "100 Days in Brazil"!)

(His family went to work getting a package together to help him celebrate.)

(A list was made of "The Top 100 Things We Love About You".)

(And each family member decided on a treat ... 100 items in each package.)

(Here's a list of what treats Elder Fox received in his "100 Days" package.)
Hey everyone!!!

Hey family what’s up?  I hope you’re all doing good back home.  Ok … so about all the exchanges this last week.  We found out Monday evening that Elder Henrique was going to Porto Feliz (Happy Port haha) which is a city in the interior.  In our mission, there’s the capital and the interior.  The capital is the big city of São Paulo and the interior is all the little cities on the inside of the state São Paulo.  When I found out he was leaving, it wasn’t too much of a shock because he had been here for a long time.  I was expecting that.  Me training and being in a trio … I was not expecting.  I was pretty nervous about that but at the same time I knew I’d have another companion with more experience so I didn’t think it would be too bad.  (Also, we were going to be in a trio because our mission had an odd number of missionaries, and so for whatever reason, we got picked to be the trio).  There was a bit of a panic too because we only have two beds in our house and two wardrobes for our clothes (houses here don’t have closets) so it was a mad scramble trying to get a way to get the new bed to our place.  We finally got it worked out to have someone bring it by on Wednesday afternoon … the same day as transfers.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Eating Lunch and "Dying" Missionaries

(Shortly after Elder Fox first arrived in his area ... this Sister was baptized.)
Hey everyone!!!!

Today is the day they let us know about transfers.  We won’t find out until we receive a phone call sometime tonight.  I’m so anxious to find out what’s going on!  From the looks of it, in my Zone, there’s going to be a lot of changes.  There are two missionaries that are "dying" this week (ending their two years) so there’s for sure two.  Chances are, if Elder Henrique leaves, I’ll stay.  I’m thinking he'll leave because he's been here for 71/2 months already!!!  So who knows … but this is going to be a big transfer.  President Martins seems to be wanting to make a lot of changes … or so the rumors go at least.  Some other people are thinking they are going to shut the area Brasilandia down because it’s not doing so good.  I really REALLY hope they don’t!  There’s a pretty good chance I’m staying in Freguesia do ó and if Brasilandia shuts down … I’ll have to be the missionary for both areas!!!  Oh, that would not be fun.  So fingers crossed it stays open.  Haha

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trains, Lions and Pig's Hooves

(Elder Fox and other missionaries at one of his favorite places to eat ...
a Brazilian Barbecue.)
Dear Family,

How’s everyone doing?  I hope you’re all doing good.  I’m writing this now but won’t be able to send it out until Friday.  I don’t have any cash on me and all of our cards are shut down.  I guess too much money was accidentally put on them … like seriously lots … so they blocked all of our cards to get it sorted out.  They aren’t unblocking them until Friday because that’s the day our cards get recharged normally.  Luckily, we’re set on food and all.  The only problem we had was toilet paper.  We were all out and tried to buy more and couldn’t.  I won't explain how we improvised ... I'll just leave it up to your imagination.  But imagine if someone was out of food, deodorant, or soap for showers.  That would bite!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Look Back and a Look Forward

(A look back ... 10 years ago.)

And here we are now!
(This is a sticker I put all over Elder Fox & Elder Henrique's last package.)

Elder Fox and Elder Henrique made a "bet" on the outcome of the girls
USA vs Brazil soccer game.
Elder Henrique lost ... he bought the pizza and wore the flag!
Dear Family,

I was quite surprised how many people remembered 9-11 here.  Obviously, it wasn’t quite as big of a deal like it is in the States, but lots of people remembered and lots of people talked to me about it at church … in both the wards that meet in our building.  Some people didn’t really remember or just said, “Oh ya.  Today is that day huh?”  Most people were very kind.  One guy came up and started talking to me about it and called it “one of the worst days in history”.  He expressed how he wished he could go back in time and stop it.  It was nice to see how respectful most people were.  The people in Brazil are really cool.  I remember that day ten years ago too.  I was watching TV with you, Mom, when the second plane hit.  It was during the morning, before school started, when I was in 4th grade.  I remember not wanting breakfast so I could see what was going on and not wanting to go to school that day.  However, when I got there, nobody did anything all day.  Every class just watched the news.  Even during recess we were in the classroom.  Such a horrible day.  I didn’t hear about any of the planned attacks or terrorist threats this year though.  That’s crazy!  I‘m glad America was kept safe.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Walking With Family Through Eternity ... One Step At A Time!

(We love our son!)

(Enjoying Family Home Evening with a family in Sao Paulo Brazil.)

How are you doing Mom?  How’s the picking up from school going?  Haha  Do you pick up everyday or do you have a car pool going with some people?  I remember my Freshman year.  I always just bummed a ride off of someone.  I think the only time someone would pick me up was during basketball season because practice ended at the same time every day.

So how was Disneyland?  I’m sure you’ve already written me about it.  (Don’t you love getting mail two weeks later!)  Right now as I’m writing this, you guys are there having fun, and I’m down here at my desk in Brazil ... the exact perfect place for me to be right now!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Having a "Ball" With Funky Missionary Tans!

(A beautiful picture Elder Fox took of the Sao Paulo Temple.)

(A day spent with other missionaries at the Temple.)

(PS - These are some of the pictures Elder Fox was writing about ... wondering if
"a certain missionary, when he returns with honor, can or can’t go in?")

Greetings from sunny, hot and humid São Paulo!

Sounds like you guys had a fun weekend!  I would love to go to the beach!!!  Ugh!  I’m missing that so much.  Especially now that it’s getting even hotter here.  Especially in the sun!  You can go in the shade and it feels pretty nice but once you step into the sun it just kills you.  And this is winter still too!  I’ve also got some pretty sweet missionary tan lines going on right now.  haha  My arms and face are nice and tanned (well the lower part of my arm that’s not covered by my sleeve) and then half of my neck is tan and the other is white thanks to my collar.  At night when I’m in normal clothes, or when we're playing soccer, we all have really funny looking necks.

I was able to get the pictures and that looks awesome!  You can also take those things (I’m not sure if it's exactly the same or not) and put a bit of water in them and then roll down a grassy hill.  Looks like a lot of fun.  Why didn’t Brittin go in?  Do those balls have a height / weight limit so a certain missionary, when he returns with honor, can or can’t go in?  haha

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Taste the Explosion" ... Being a Missionary is Sweet!

A "must have" treat for every foreign missionary!
Dear Family,

I know this is becoming a habit and I'm sorry, but once again I have very little time to write.  I'll try to get as much into this letter as I can but my big experiences I already told you about in my email.

In your email today, you asked how often I see my Zone Leaders and District Leaders.  I see them every Tuesday at our District Meetings.  If we do divisions, I see them then too.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A "Greenie" Missionary ... Ever Learning and Growing

(As tradition dictates ... Elder Fox finally received his "Greenie" Package!)

(This poem was also included.  It's special to Elder Fox and our family because of the connection to our ancestor Benjamin F. Johnson.)

So I got the “Greenie” package this Friday!  I also got the package from the Steingraber’s too.  The CTM said they don’t forward packages but they did with mine.  (Probably because the CTM is in my mission.  The Mission Office, where everything gets sent to, is right by the temple and every week during multiple days there’s buses going there.)  However, on the package from them … on the part that you write what it contains … it said a book and a bag of chips.  The book never made it to me.  When I got the package, it had been opened and stapled shut.  Oh well.  It was so awesome getting that stuff.  Our ZL's went to the office on Wednesday and they said there wasn’t anything there except some letters, but on Friday at a ward activity a lady in our ward brought my packages!  I guess she works by the Mission Office and had to stop by there for something.  While there, she asked if there was anything for us.  I was so grateful she did!  I really needed those “pick me ups” cause this last week, and that day, was rough.  On top of that … we ran out of food and money and don’t get more money until Thursday this week so we’re rationing the food from the packages.  Haha

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cold Days and Warm Hearts!


PARA BEMS BELLE!!!!!!!  Glad to hear your baptism was awesome!!  Saturday night when I was laying in bed, I was thinking, “Belles probably getting baptized right now“.  Then I got a little choked up.  Just know I was thinking about you.

How are you guys back home?  Nice and hot?  I’m stinkin’ freezing right now!!!  haha  It’s been so hot these last few weeks and then we had a rainy day …  and I mean rainy … like all day long non stop.  The rain is bitter sweet because the rain is kind of annoying but it’s not burning hot when it’s raining.  However, after it got COLD!  Yesterday was horrible!  Worst weather since I’ve been here!  Windy and freezing and rainy too.  Today was more or less nice.  Not too cold but raining a bit.  Now that it’s getting dark out, it’s getting pretty stinkin’ cold.  I haven’t seen the sun in 4 days.  On the plus side … I don’t get as sweaty.

So today for P-Day guess what we did.  Yup … soccer again.  Haha  I still suck but I’m getting a bit better.  Maybe by the time I end my mission I’ll be decent.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Got Milk? That Doesn't Have to be Refrigerated ... and Other Questions"

Elder Fox wrote earlier about enjoying hot dogs Brazilian style … well here they are!
Dear Family,

OK ... I have a lot of unanswered questions from you guys so now is the time to knock some of those questions off the list.

First off … about the weather here.  It’s crazy!  Like one day it’ll be hot and the next freezing.  Or it’ll be beautiful one second and the next windy and cloudy.  One day we were out and it was kind of baking hot and sunny.  We went into a house, taught a lesson, and when we left, you couldn’t see any sky and it was freezing out!  It’s just insane.  I’m not even joking about this but … one time it was raining and there wasn’t any clouds above us.  There were some dark ones far away but it was sunny where we were.  Maybe a wind carried it or something.  I don’t know.  That’s the weather during the winter (and always humid).
To answer when it changes from winter to spring … I have no idea.  It doesn’t feel that much like winter.  Except on the days when I wake up and it’s freezing!  I don’t like those mornings because our house is not insulated at all.

Just Going With the Flow ... Even When It's Green!

(Belle was sad that her brother wasn't going to be at her baptism.  However, when she heard his voice over the speakers (he sent a tape to play at her baptism as a surprise) the tears and joy were overflowing!)

Happy anniversary!!!  How was it?  How's everyone doing???  Hopefully good.

We just got back from the Stake Center where we played a bit of soccer and had a barbecue too.  The steaks were way good!  It’s cool because we all brought R$5 a person and when you buy meat in bulk you can get it for way cheap so we had a lot of food.  I'm still horrible at soccer but it’s lots of fun.  haha

I got the invitation and Belle looks beautiful as usual.  When people are looking at my pictures that I have, they always comment how beautiful all the girls (mom included) are.  And on top of that, they always talk about Belle’s eyes.  People will say, “There’s no way those are real.” or tons of different stuff.  One person even said that Belle’s perfect!  Blonde hair … blue eyes … beautiful skin … everything. haha  It’s funny to hear the stuff people say about the girls.  Some people have called all 4 of you “Barbies” (which here … is a very good thing!).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Events

(A missionary Elder Fox will remember his entire life.  This missionary is the one who "smashed" Elder Fox's thumb but more importantly ... this Elder became his "eternal best friend".)
Dear Family,

How is everyone?  Let’s see here … I’ll be sending this on the 9th so if it takes the usual two weeks for this to get home, Belle will already be baptized!!!  So congrats Belle!!!  If you haven’t yet, then wait until you are and then reread this part.  Haha  You guys need to send me pictures!  Put them in the email you send and I can look at them when I read the email.

I always forget stuff when I’m writing my emails.  I forget to answer things you guys ask me.  Sometimes I remember to write them in my letters but sometimes I forget to answer them at all.  In case I forgot to answer your question in my letter last week … yes I found my license.  It had fallen behind one of the pictures in my scrapbook.  Someone was looking at it and when they turned the page something hard was in there.  They were like, “What’s this?”  So, ya, I found it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mail From Home and Baptisms ... Life Is Good!

(Elder Fox seems to get his letters in waves ... nothing for a long time ... and then a bunch all at once.  A very happy day!)

(An even better day!)

(This is what it's all about.)
 Dear family,

That's awesome that you guys got my package so quick!!!!  Way cool!

To answer your question about the Portuguêse … yes it’s getting easier to talk to people and understand them.  I’m getting to a point where I don’t have to translate in my head from English to Portuguêse and vise versa.  I’m starting to get to a point where I don’t even notice they’re speaking Portuguêse to me.  I just understand them and can start talking no problem.  It’s a huge blessing that I’m having.  Like the other night I was talking with Elder Henrique while we were walking, and I said something and he said, “How did you know that word?” and I had no idea.  Haha  It was sweet!  I guess I say “like” a lot when I’m speaking just kind of out of habit.  Elder Henrique always likes to point it out to me and teases me about it.  It’s funny.  He says, “You’re speaking so well and then you just have to throw out “like” when you’re thinking of the word.”  But now I’m getting back at him and correcting his Portuguêse on the rare occasions he says something with the wrong conjugation, or something like that, and I recognize it.  Then I get to tease him and say, “I’m getting better at Portuguêse than you!”  Then he puts me in my place and talks very fast using big words and I have no idea what he’s saying.  haha  Good times!  He keeps me humble.  Lol