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

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Small Emergencies and Blessings

Dear Family,

Sorry I’m not writing everyone but I didn’t have as much time as I thought I would.  Today we woke up, studied, got ready, and all that jazz.  P-Day doesn’t start until 10 am so at 10 we cleaned our house and after that I wrote Dad’s letter.  Then we went to this place that makes asai smoothies, that are pretty dang good, and they have a bunch of computers to use.  We wrote our emails and then I went to pay and my credit card that the mission gives us wasn’t working.  Thankfully, the people that owned it are cool and let us go to the bank to get money to pay them.  I was surprised, but they recognized we were missionaries (remember it was P-Day) when we first got there, so I think that’s why they trusted us.  So we ran over to the bank, went back and paid them, and also got two pasteis (which are delicious) for lunch.  Just a little side note ... mustard is WAY better here than in the States.  It is actually really tasty!!!  It has a totally different taste to it.  Anyways, after that, we went and got some groceries and ran into a recent convert Raphael.  We spent some time with Raphael and then walked back home.  Once we got back ... an emergency hit ... we both had to go to the bathroom.  Only there was one problem ... we didn't have any toilet paper so we ran down to the church.  Once there, the Bishop asked us to stick around to help him bless his daughter.  We waited around and were really thankful for the opportunity to help out.  I guess blessings come out of small emergencies.  haha  When we finally got home, one of the people in the same building as us asked if we could help her with some stuff.  She’s old and all alone and has to use a walker, so we helped her out.  Now we only have like … 0 time for P-Day relaxing / letter writing.  So this is the reason for only a Dad letter and a generic one.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Missionary Reunions and "Helping Hands"

(Elder Fox, Elder Downer, and Elder Krusi ... heading out of Provo and over to Sao Paulo Brazil.)
Dear Family,

Sounds like you guys are having some fun times!  The letter I got last week was from Mom about Belle’s dancing and the Chuck Norris competition.  That’s so cool that you like dancing Belle!  But you don’t like Hip-Hop very much?  That’s one of my favorites to watch.  That’s cool that you’re liking Ballet!  Did you guys tell Lindsey that?  She loved doing Ballet.  Sounds like you guys also had a good time at the competition thing.  Britt … you weren’t impressed by the guy going to take out his cup?  I think that’s a pretty impressive and manly thing to do.  But what’s the deal with all these people you are meeting after I leave?  Chuck Norris, Bill Nye, Adam Sandler … who next?  Shawn Horcoff?  Haha

Thanks for the news updates.  It’s nice to know that there’s still life in the States.  In the MTC in Provo, when I left to go to the doctor, Elder Tarbet asked me to bring back a branch from an olive tree (like Noah with the dove) so he could find out if there still is life outside of the MTC.  It’s even worse here because the only news I hear is soccer and that Amy Winehouse is dead.  I guess she’s really big down here.  I couldn’t think of any songs.  I only recognized her name.  So, ya, please load me up with current events.  If I were to get any news, it would be over exaggerated liberal garbage.  I was talking politics with some people here (one time the guy could speak English but the other time only Portuguese which was way hard) and they think Obama is the best man ever and that Bush is one of the worst men to ever live.  I quickly corrected them on how they had it 100% backwards.  It’s sad that other parts of the world are only hearing lies and half truths.  One of them mentioned how Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize so I asked him what he did to deserve it and he had no answer.  It just goes to show how bias the media is nowadays.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Ding-Dong-Ditching" in Brazil

(Mauricio, Elder Fox, and Elder Henrique)

(Awhile back Tavin wrote about a P-Day trip he took to a building where they could see all of Sao Paulo.)

(Sao Paulo is so beautiful.  I love all the colors!)

How’s everyone doing??? I sent the tape to you guys so be keeping an eye out for it.  Oh … and I put a cd with my pictures in it too and explained the pictures in the tape.  Guess what the grand total of my package was.  Just to send a cd and a tiny cassette tape home … R$65!!!  Seriously, this thing is small too.  Oh well.  Hopefully you guys will like it.

That’s awesome your missionary right now is from Brazil!!!  What part?  Yes … the reason we clap at houses is because every house has a gate around it and you can’t really knock on a gate.  Lol  Nobody has air conditioning here - correction - nobody needs air conditioning here, you just open windows.  Typically windows are always open and they can hear us clapping.  It’s very easy to accidentally “ding dong ditch” a house here too.  We were walking down the street and Elder Henrique tripped over something.  So just joking with him, I started to applaud.  A couple people stuck their heads out their windows.  Haha  Now I know not to do that.