Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. Alma 26:12

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The tight grasp of money, our home search and Conference!

My city - Santo Antonio outside of Salguiero
I can't believe I've been in Brasil for almost a month already! It's crazy how different time feels in and out of the MTC. Our house search is still ongoing and we're really starting to worry about how it's affecting us. We have to spend so much time searching and where we're staying now isn't big enough to hold church in. We're hoping and praying to find a new house and move in before this Sunday. Still haven't found a house. We've probably seen close to 30 since we've been here. Realtors here aren't very professional and don't have many properties (usually 3 or 4 at max...). We probably won't go with another realtor. The people here are great though. Random people that we've never seen before will stop us on the street just to tell us that they know where a great rental for us is. Crazy!

Tomorrow we will be taking a 3 hour bus ride to Ararepena (thats probably spelled wrong haha) for a Zone meeting. Good news? The buses are super nice and have AC. The bad news? It's gonna take and entire day out of our week. Oh! I found out that where I'm serving right now is only a couple hours away from Elder Loveland's mission. 

Street in Salguiero
On the 3rd we celebrated Elder Constantino's 19th birthday. Sandra, the mother of one of the families we're teaching, also has her birthday this month. So Elder Constantino and I decided to celebrate with them! We bought 2 cakes and some soda and headed on over. You should have seen the looks on their faces and their children's faces. Their family is going through a hard time right now (financially) and they aren't able to afford extras like cake. Their family is so awesome and Sandro / Sandra (parents) want to be baptized but they can't because they aren't married. It's a tricky situation for them. Sandra receives money from a pension and she'll continue to receive this money every month up until she is married. They just can't afford to lose that income (right now at least). It's scary to see how tight of a grasp money has on the lives of the people of this world. Back home, we take so much for granted.  We complain when we can't have the latest and greatest while people here are grateful for every little thing they have.

I'm still trying to adjust to both the language and the culture. It's much more difficult than I had expected. I can still barely understand Portuguese but I know that in 7 months, I'll be just like Sister Coffey - 9 months in and with A LOT more knowledge. Both the language of Portuguese and the language of the Spirit. I'm so jealous of you guys reading together. I'm only allowed to read in English for 30 minutes every day. My ability to read is increasing rapidly but I wish I were able to spend more time with a greater understanding.

Conference was a really interesting experience. We didn't have anyone to watch the Saturday session with so we went to the LAN house for both sessions. Which was really great because I got to watch it in English! The Sunday session was a bit different. We went to Romolo's house and watched it with his family and the family of Zuza. Annnnnnd it was in Portuguese. The first session, I could barely understand anything. The translators speak so quickly!! The second session I understood everything!! Because I turned on subtitles in English haha. Portuguese is coming pretty quickly to me. Unfortunately, only the speaking part is coming. I can say basically whatever I want, but it's very hard for me to understand people. I think I'll have it down within a month.

Love you all so much!!!!
Elder Hamstead