These are answers in response to some of the questions Randy and I asked Austin in our emails…
(I asked where the photos were taken last week)
"The baptism picture are inside the church. The church is a one minute walk from my house. The language is good. I can speak it but not really understand it yet because it is so fast. It will take a few more weeks but each week is getting a lot better and I'm learning a lot.
(We told him we wanted to see how big the giant cockroaches actually are. I told him to kill and trace one since an insect body wouldn't' make it through customs - haha) You want me to send you a giant dead cockroach?! Haha!!! You guys are crazy! Tell Blake to open his email and respond to me!!
(I asked him about the people he's teaching and about the members) "The investigators are really nice. They usually offer me water. Members offer us more and more and more food so me and my companion eat a lot!
(I asked him if he had any funny stories or mistakes he was making with Portuguese) "Here is my best and most embarrassing language story so far. I was trying to ask for stamps but I kept saying breast! So I went to the store and said, "Hi, I would like some breasts please." Then they looked really confused. So I said, "I need breasts now." Then my companion, who speaks English said, "Elder, they don't have those here." I thought my companion was telling me that they don't have stamps there, so I said, "darn it, I really need breasts now…" And then we left. So lesson learned that when you are learning a new language you make a lot of mistakes. Awkward, bad mistakes!"
(I asked him about the man who approached him on the street) "The man who walked up to me and said "baptize me" was being serious. We went to his house and clapped - but he didn't answer. So my companion and I started to leave but I felt an impression to go back and to knock. He answered and we taught him and it was great and hopefully we are going there again this week. Last week my companion baptized a little girl of a non-member family, but I don't think her family is going to join the church anytime soon. The grandma attended the baptism, but not the mom or the sister. We didn't even teach the grandma but she is coming the church now with her granddaughter and it is great."
(I asked Austin who lived with him and his companion) "It is just me and my companion, Elder Seidmann. He is an awesome super hard worker."
(Happy Valentine's Day) "The Valentine's Day of Brazil is in June so I'll tell you I love you then - haha. That's cool that I can get letters from them here. I have a binder that I'm putting all my letters in. Love you too!"
"Yes, Monday is my P (personal) day. (Day off where missionaries do their laundry, shopping, and hopefully have a little break.) I'm in a city called Sapriana. I'll send the address and you can google map it and see my house and see where I walk around. My area is a busy town with lots of people. It is really hot but this week it rained and it cooled off which was nice. Like Nick, I walk everywhere but I enjoy it. My companion is s a super hard worker. He was sick last week but we still went and taught 12 lessons. I bore my testimony of how the Book of Mormon is a guide in my life in Portuguese. So I love my mission! Each day is a new adventure with lots of awesome new people!! And the food here is so good! On Sunday we have a huge BBQ with the members and it is sweet."
(I asked him about his financial situation) "You always give the best mom lectures - haha! Everything is going great. I've used 50 Reals of the money you gave me only because I didn't know how to use my card the first week. I'm saving 150 for emergencies. I have a good amount. I get 135 Reals for 2.5 weeks, and 30 of it goes toward the bus. The rest is for food and toiletries. The members feed us each day. Brazilians eat lunch as a huge meal. On Sundays there are BBQ's and it is awesome. I have to be frugal so I eat really cheap stuff. Ramen noodles and hotdogs which is pretty good. But lunch with the members always fills me up. I ordered a pizza one day. I was starving. My companion paid for half of it. I will tell you more about Brazilian pizza next week. Members are super good about feeding us. We always have a member feed us or give us money to eat out and then we go to a restaurante or buffe. So food wise I'm way good."
"I do a lot of traveling between Saprianga and Novo Hamburgo. I call it hamburger city. My companion is the district leader so we travel to the other city twice a week."