Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hungry Like the Wolf (for Pizza and Success)!

Last day of being 19! It's kinda crazy how fast my birthday came. I remember like it was just yesterday that I was celebrating my 19th and I got that awesome Hawaiian shirt.  Well this week was rough but good I guess. I've decided to change up my teaching method and be more effective. For me, I always learn better with visual aids so I've decided to try and use some sort of visual aid with everything. We use the Restoration video when teaching the first lesson, a picture book that I bought at the temple that has tons of different pieces of gospel art that illustrate many stories and what not in the gospel, little pieces of each part of the Plan of Salvation that I went and laminated and we teach each one and then have the people put it in order and explain it back to us. I don't know, I just think that this way of teaching is more meaningful and quality than rambling on about each principle. I have also come up with tons of funny little examples and stories that I use to explain things. It's fun to do. Not only does it help the people learn better, but it helps me learn how to teach from a different angle, expanding my knowledge of the gospel. Oh, so funny story about the Restoration video: we were watching it with one family but the remote control wasn't working so we couldn't change it to Portuguese, so guess who got to be the official translator for the 20 minute video? It was pretty funny and a good test of my language. They were all impressed at how quickly I could translate James 1:5 and the first vision. ;)
As you can see in the pictures, we got ourselves a city pizza this week! It was sooo good!!  It was huge and we divided it into 4 different flavors: Mexicana, Filé de Carne, 4 Queijos, and Brigadeiro (chocolate mixed with heaven). I'm also wearing my wolf shirt because it was #WildlifeWednesday and I was hungry like the wolf.

The people here are doing well.  In this area, we focus a lot on less actives because there are a ton.  But the people that we're teaching are doing really well! We have a few wonderful families we are working with.  My mission goal is to baptize a family before my year mark and return to witness them get sealed in a year and I think that it is possible in this area!

I'm suffering in this bipolar weather. This past week was brutally hot. To the point that I got sick yesterday. I woke up with a terrible migraine but just sucked it up because we had church. Towards the end, I started feeling lightheaded so I just kinda took it easy and hung out in the chapel because it has AC. Around lunch time, my stomach began hurting badly so we headed to the house and literally the moment I walked in I went straight for the bathroom and puked my guts out. I went and laid down with the fan blasting on me and a wet towel over my face. About an hour later, I went right back to the bathroom and puked again. After that, it hurt to lay down so I sat up in a strange position just sweating like crazy and feeling super lightheaded. I went back to the bathroom 2 more times to puke within the next few hours. Finally I fell asleep and woke up feeling better. Now today, it is freezing cold and raining/hailing.

Next time you hear from me, I'll be 20 years old. Yikes!!  I'll be sure to get a crazy pizza this week or something. Well, have a good day and week! Love you guys lots. Miss y'all tons too!!

Happy Birthday, Daniel!! 
(I can't believe how fast you grew up) 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Montanha - The San Francisco of Brazil

I'm still alive!! Haha it's crazy being in an urban area now. I'm in the "San Francisco of Brazil" - so different than Águas Claras, the "Texas of Brazil". But I can't lie, I'm somewhat enjoying it. The people are super cool and so are the members - I think if it weren't for the people I'd be struggling a lot. We have this one awesome family that we're teaching and I was accepted right away because the son's nickname is "Sonic" so when I walked in and was like "hey, what up, I'm Elder Sanok" they were all like "yoooooooo, welcome to the fam" lol. The work is a little harder in this area - not everyone is as accepting as they were in Águas Claras so we really have to focus on the ones we have and strengthen them. Another big thing we have to do here is strengthen the ward because there are tons of less-actives, so half of our time is spent working with our investigators and the other with less-actives. But I'm actually liking it here - minus all the hills. It's nice having tons of restaraunts, post office, bank, grocery store, email place, etc. like right by the apartment. The new companion is cool, Elder Nelson, from near San Francisco.  Since we both have like no time here in Brazil, we made a goal to speak as much Portuguese as possible so that we can improve. There was a guy the other day who was convinced that I was a Brazilian and couldn't believe that I was American when I told him (I take that as a really good compliment to the language). Attached are some pics, one of some super good food I had at this restraunt called Cabrito's and the other of the area.  

Well, until next week! I love you all and miss you guys! Keep praying for me. I pray for you guys all the time. I was thinking of the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and it made me think of good times! I'll be home before any of us know it! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tchau for now, Águas Claras

Well, it looks like my time here in Águas Claras has come to an end. I'm getting transferred to Montanha, a more urban area. Fortunately, it's in the same district that I'm already in so I'll be able to come back and visit my old area! I already plan on coming back for my birthday, haha! I'll be finishing the training of a new American here, which means I've been made Senior! I'm super surprised because I just barely made 6 months! I don't know what to expect.

This week was a good week though. We had fun celebrating Elder Buhler's 1 year mark on the mission by burning stuff and making American brownies with one of our good friends. Since I kind of had a feeling that this was gonna be my last week, we spent a lot of quality time with some of my favorite people here.
Today was a super good day - we went fishing! We woke up way early and headed over to this huge lake we know of. It was super fun and relaxing! We had a couple of good catches today! We caught this one freakin' monster fish that had teeth and what not!
But yeah, not too much happened this week - just kinda wrapping up my time here in Águas Claras. It was a good 5 months that I spent here. I'm gonna miss it. I'm nervous for what awaits me, but this is all part of the adventure, huh?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August Already?!

I think y'all are gonna have to send me some new shoes soon. We did SO much walking this week. I think if I keep it up like that, I'm gonna need new ones for sure. Let's start from the beginning of the week. So we decided that we wanted to go for the Standard of Excellence again so we decided to go find new places to work.  The only problem is that everything is super far here since this is the biggest rural area in the mission. We walked, and walked, and walked - through rain, mud, jungle-like areas, and up and down massive hills. We were able to find some good places and get them set up for "District Amigo" which is when the whole district will come to our area and help us out for the day. That day we were able to teach many lessons!  The work here in Águas Claras is just going SUPER well! Saturday rolled around and we realized we still had many more people to meet so we headed to an urban area and met many more in about 3 hours. By Sunday, we still wanted to teach a few more lessons.  We pushed through and were able to get everything except for one reference contacted. We honestly didn't know what to do because the only possible reference that we had contacted lived about an hour away in the middle of nowhere and it was already 6:00. No way were we gonna let all that work go to waste because of one.  We tied up our shoes and headed out. We were so excited we were able find her.  All in all, not only did we reach our goals, but we also doubled some of them! WOO! Now I ask, can I get a pizza or something tonight? haha. I still don't think I can say I'm having the time of my life out here and I'm still struggling with the whole "one more year and a half" thing BUT I'm bucklin' down and working hard!!!  

Now, here's a funny story for you guys..... So one day when we were out in the middle of nowhere, literally an hour and a half from the main road, in an area we call "The Shire", we were walking along when my comp realizes that the urge to poop is more than he can bear, to the point where he couldn't walk anymore. It was either poop the pants or make a dash for the woods. However, we're missionaries and we only carry around Books of Mormon and pamphlets, not toilet paper. This was a serious problem. I searched my bag. The only paper-like products were lesson pamphlets, pass-along cards, or the area map. Out of respect for the church products, the area map was chosen as verdict. The map saved the day. Fortunately, it's hard to get lost in our area because there's like one road so the map wasn't that big of a sacrifice. Moral of the story: always be prepared and go before you leave home. I'll have a poop story one day......  Every missionary does.

Here's a pic of me getting drenched in the rain.

That sign in this picture cracks me up because it says "prohibited to fish" but it's in a muddy puddle of water, lol.