ON FEBRUARY 3, 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
More snow?? Sounds like a pretty harsh winter! It´ll be awhile til I see snow again, haha. We´ve been getting a little more rain lately. It rained quite a bit this morning, which was really nice because it cooled it down quite a bit. It really is extremely hot though. I already have a pretty good tan (i´ve been using sunscreen, don´t worry!), and I´m almost constantly sweating. I shower twice a day, at morning and night, just because I get so gross. The morning shower is usually just a rinse though.
I´m really loving the ward and the people here in Mangabeira. Also, I forgot to answer a question Matt asked me in his e-mail. The area I´m in (Mangabeira) is in the city of João Pessoa, but it´s not in the middle of the city, so it feels more like a small town. João Pessoa isn´t nearly as big as São Paulo, but it´s still a big city of about a million (a bit less I think). Also, I mentioned this to Matt as well, but I´ve met a lot of people that served in the Interlagos mission, and two of them said they remember Matt! They saw my nametag and
recognized Kamilos, haha.
We´re continuing to have quite a bit of success! We had another baptism yesterday for a sister named Rosa. She´s absolutely wonderful. Everytime we taught her, she accepted it and knew it was true. Every commandment we committed her to keep, she accepted without any doubt. She gave up smoking a pack of cigarettes a day in just 2 weeks, for real. She hasn´t smoked at all in the last week. The faith of this woman is astounding. And one time, when I was on a division with another american Elder who only has one transfer in Brasil (Elder Motley) we visited her and she asked us if we could give her a prayer with our hands on her head (a blessing, she just didn´t know what to call it). I was the one to be the voice, and although it was a very simple, very broken-worded blessing, when I closed and ended, she had tears in her eyes. She´s truly wonderful.
Anyway, my time is up! I love you all so much!
ON JANUARY 27, 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well! This has been a buuuuusy busy week. But we had a lot of success! We had another baptism on Saturday for a young man named Markos (the older brother of Nawanna, the girl that was baptized last weekend). They both got confirmed yesterday in church! And Elder Gilliam asked me if I wanted to do one of the confirmations, and I was hesitant at first... but I did it! It was a verrry simple confirmation, but I could really feel the Spirit working, and that brought me comfort and courage to do this confirmation in front of the whole congregation. Not only that, but I also got to do the Sacrament prayer for the blessing of the water. So in the past two weeks, I´ve had a lot of opportunities to take part in our Sacrament services (last week I said the closing prayer). And it´s because I have an awesome companion/trainer! I´ve grown to love him so much in the last week. He´s really pushing me hard, almost beyond my limits, but he´s so helpful and understanding and I´m really learning fast under his leadership and guidance.
As for the water, we don´t have any hot water. It´s just plain water, haha. But it´s good that way, because
it´s so hot here that a cool shower feels really nice at the end of the day.
I´m glad the package got to you!! I actually left that in the care of Elder Richie and Elder Patino (the trio comps I had in Hooper). I left them $20 to send it back, and they said they´d cover whatever was rest, so I'm glad they took care of that!
It sounds like Tom and Lacey are doing well! It´s an exciting thought to think about having a nephew when I get home! And I´m sure Matt is doing really well with the internship! That´s cool that he´s out in the field and getting to experience being on the job.
The diet here is mostly rice and beans (of course), pasta, and lots of couscous. And then there are a lot of different sucos (juice), which is really awesome! My favorites are maracujá (passionfruit) and abacaxi (pineapple). I´ve had a looot of fresh pineapple here, and it´s the bessst. My health has been very good as well! I haven´t gotten even slightly sick since I´ve been on my mission. It´s a real blessing, especially when
I´ve seen plenty of other missionaries get way sick. I hope I´ll continue to be blessed with such good health.
The only thing that slows me down sometimes is that I´m aaalways tired, haha. But that just comes with being a full-time missionary I think.
It sounds like things are going real well at home! Until next week!
ON JANUARY 20, 2014 Elder Kamilos wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well, it´s easy to say that this has been one of the hardest, most physically, emotionally, and mentally draining weeks of my life. It´s also easy to say that it´s been one of the most rewarding. Sure, my Português is pretty rusty, but my learning rate is so rapid that I know it´ll come with a lot of work, practice, and hardship. We do aLOOOT of contacts on the street, and many times Elder Gilliam will be talking, and then he´ll stop and just look at me and smile, haha...I´m not going to say that I always seem to know what to say, or that the right thing always just happens to come out, because that isn´t true. Sometimes it does go very well, and I´m actually able to communicate! But many times I´ll freeze up, or I´ll make a mistake, or I´ll just get completely lost and then I get confused, the person we´re contacting gets confused, and we walk away and I honestly want to cry (I actually did once). But it´s all okay! Because that´s how it works. There are trials and opposition in all things so that we can learn from it and grow. I´m growing so much in every way because I
face so many trials every day. But the Work. Pays. Off. We had a baptism yesterday, and we have a few others marked for baptism in the coming weeks (one more for this week!).
It´s such a blessing to see people change and leave behind past problems and become truly clean. And believe me. People here have some reeeaaal problems. I mean with everything. We´ve encountered people
who have problems with financial issues, every part of the word of wisdom, chastity, homosexuality, self-inflicted injuries and suicidal thoughts and just about everything. To see people rise up from a pit of despair; overcome these trials and turn towards Christ is a miracle.
Now I´ll tell you about the actually city and our living conditions! So our apartment is actually pretty nice. In fact, it´s just about as good as any other place I lived in Utah. The only main difference is the lack of AC and American food, haha. We actually have a washing machine though! We dry our clothes by hanging, of course. Also, the showers are different. The shower is just part of the bathroom, and all the water just goes on the floor and drains in the corner. Also, the sun rises at like 5 AM, so I almost always wake up without an
alarm at about 5:30 or so, and it´s hard to fall back asleep because there´s a ton of buses across the street from us. The city is SOOO GREEN! There are trees everywhere (except for in the main part where it´s just tall buildings). Our area is one of the outer parts of the city called Mangabeira, and it´s pretty poor. I love it here though! It´s always hot, I´m always sweating, but I´m loving the work! The people here are so humble, and the ward members are so faithful.
Before I forget! Here´s the address that´ll work!
Rua Deputado Jose Mariz #515, Tambauzinho
Joao Pessoa, PB Brasil
I love you all and I look forward to next week!