Hello and sorry for the wait!
I am sending this letter from Pedro Leopoldo, my mission area. It is a small town in between Belo Horizonte and Sete Lagoas. A small town, but we have a large area of proselyting. Lots and lots of walking and bus riding. Exhausting, but rewarding. I´ll try to use the small time I have to share a few stories and thoughts. Sorry if they´re a little scattered!
First, I´ll talk a little about how lessons work here and how I participate. We spend much of our time clapping at doors and talking to people in the street, because when I arrived we had fairly few progressing investigators. We have taught the first lesson like fifty times these last couple weeks. That´s hardly even an exaggeration. People are very willing to let us in and hear a message, but far fewer care to hear more. But we have found a few who are interested and will continue to visit. During the lesson itself, I usually teach about a third. My Portuguese is limited in terms of small talk and extended teaching, but I am able to teach all the parts of the Restoration lesson and improve every day. My companion and I switch off roles, he´ll talk about God, then I´ll teach prophets, then Christ, apostasy, restoration, etc. Back and forth. Sometimes my companion has to clarify things I say, but overall I am taking a bigger role than I thought I would in the first week.
Next, language! It is a lot more difficult out here in the field. My companion and I try to always speak in Portuguese, which helps. I say try, but honestly it´s true, at least 90% of conversation is in the mission language. Makes me think a lot more in Portuguese. The toughest thing is comprehension. I can understand everything my comp says, but with Brazilians, listening is far more difficult. They speak quickly, place words in a different order, and obviously there are phrases I don´t comprehend. But every day is better and I understand more, get more accustomed to the way they talk. It´s especially tough because here in Minas Gereis they have a particular way of speaking called 'Minheiro' in which they make all their words shorter. Very tough for a person learning the language.
Now for some stories. The first occured almost a week ago. My companion decided it would be a good idea to take a 'shortcut' to another neigborhood in the city via a rickety ladder up a wall and down the railroad tracks for a mile. I was doubting how good of an idea it was until, miracle of miracles, we found a few houses directly next to the railroad tracks. In one of them we found a new investigator. Crazy world.
Second, and sadly I think this is all I have time for, we went to another city in our area, Matozinhas, to teach a couple contacts there who had visited the church in another city. We found Dream Street there, with many new investigators, contacts, and receptive people. One particular family let us in, had us teach with the whole extended family gathered around, then fed us and chatted for a while. They told us we are welcome back anytime to teach and rest. Oh the blessings of being a servant of the Lord! And I hope that family is blessed as well for their hospitality. I love the people here. So welcoming and kind.
All right, to wrap up. Congrats to Tasha Munk on her marriage! That´s fantastic, and I wish her my best. Congrats also to Devin Munk and his mission call! I´m so excited that he´ll be joining me in the work of the Lord, even if it´s in a different place.
Also, scripture of the week: Alma 5:45-46. Read it and know that I feel exactly the same way, and know I´m in the right place doing my best to serve the Lord!
Love you all, always do good, follow your hearts, and I´ll see you on the flippity-flip!
Elder Alex Burt