Wednesday, September 26, 2007

of 'mortos' and mayonnaise

First, before the funny stuff that happened this week, here is the low down on letters: YES i mailed some, and no i haven’t received any (except one). here is why: ahem... if you guys send the letters to the mission office, i only get them every three or four weeks during zone conf or transfers. i had z. conf. this last week and i only got one from jen that was sent on sept 3. i was a little disappointed until i found out why: correios- the mail system here, was on strike for 2 weeks. so all mail traffic stopped. pouch mail made it in, but out-going and in-going mail hasn’t worked in a while. i am not sure if or when it will come thru, but i will tell you if it does. i am hoping for a pile at transfers! speaking of which, after transfers i will give you my new (possibly old) address and you can send mission-tie letters there until we get close to transfers again. (every 6 weeks)

ANYWAY.... this week i .... gave my first REAL talk in sac. meeting. Sat. we had almoço (lunch) at the branch presidents house and he asked me to talk on charity for 7 to 10 min. since i had almost no time to prepare a good talk, IN PORTUGUESE, i accepted. my companion says it was great, but i have come to learn that most of the members didn’t understand most of what i said. which leads to a funny story: yesterday we were teaching a lesson and afterwards they gave us some food and we were talking. marionici, a recent convert, asked me why i looked sad. i wasn’t sad, but i told her that it might be because the people that we talked to before we came here didn’t understand anything that i said, and that might be why i look sad. she stared at me. then she stared at my companion. then, apparently thinking that because she didn’t understand me, that I wouldn’t understand her, blatantly asked my companion what i said. if i looked sad before, i was sad then. my comp just laughed, ... a lot... then told her what i said. it was a little depressing but that is just the way it is ... another language story- we were at this members house dropping something off, and she brought us out juice. DARK juice. they were talking and i was sipping my juice trying to understand what was going on. she was talking at the speed of light and i was only picking up a few words. she kept saying this word that i didn’t know so i leaned over and whispered to my comp. what does (insert word) mean? his mouth happened to be full of juice when i asked and apparently he thought what i said was funny because he spewed the juice all over me. he laughed and laughed, i went to the bathroom to try and clean up, and when i returned he was still laughing. i still don’t know what that word means, and perhaps never will. ... thank goodness this time it was only grape juice, who knows what it will be next time :) ...

i had a little cold the last couple of days, and as you know, we don’t have TP let alone kleenex. so i have become fairly proficient at the farmer blow (snot rocket, booger bullet; take your pick) but the first couple times were a little hairy. i had snot all over my pant leg one day and on the tie the next. ...

of MORTOs and mayonnaise: i guess it was on monday that this happened. we were on our way to a FHE in the rain at night. as we walked we came upon an ambulance and a small crowed of people. we went to see if we could help. we couldn’t. there was this dead guy laying there, still on his bike. the cops were filling out the report, and judging by the size of the crowd, he hadn’t been there long (crowds form really fast around here for weird things). At first we thought that he had been hit by a car, but thinking back, that doesn’t make any sense because there wasn’t a car around and he was still on his bike on the sidewalk. it was pretty gross and a little disturbing. so we kept walking and got to the FHE appointment, where i gave, what i am sure was, a very good lesson about CHARITY, then they fed us dinner. it was sandwiches. EGG and MAYO sandwiches! they kept making them and putting them on my plate. i mean, there was enough mayo on these to make Betty think it looked gross. but i just kept biting, swallowing and washing it down with COKE-ZERO; i felt like a robot.

so it was raining that day right... and earlier we were walking when the power lines up in front of us apparently got too wet. the lights in all the stores next to us went out and then there was this huge, blinding explosion of white-bluish light on the power lines ahead. it was accompanied by this really weird loud buzzing sound. after, the lights came back on in the store. it was awesome!..

so yesterday, we are walking to an appointment when suddenly someone grabbed me from behind, pokes something into my back and yells something at me. i nearly peed my pants. i looked back, hands in the air, and it was one of our investigators, DAVID, and he was just goofing around with us. he did the same to my comp, just in front of me and scared him too. it was pretty funny i guess. the sad part is that if david doesn’t come to church this sunday, we are going to cut him. he just isn’t progressing.

oh- i saw monkey number 8!

we were knocking/clapping doors and i am sure that this man thinks that we are gay. we were talking with him, and as usual i got behind in the conversation. he asked if i slept well last night. well, i couldn’t answer, i didn’t even know that there was a question directed to me. i was just staring at him, so my comp replied. : he slept well. then the guy asked how HE (my comp) knew that I slept well. he told him that we live together. the man just gave us a funny look and went inside. it was funny.

gotta go, times up!
love elder helland
ps i will try to sent pic next week, sorry!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

things pretty much ROCK here!

first, let me share a few funny things:

my POOR, poor comp.; first off, he doesn’t have any family that are members, and they don’t send him ANYTHING, letters or email, so if you could send him a letter that would be nice. the OTHER reason i think of him as my poor, poor comp is because he has been sick for 3 weeks now. stomach sick. i mean it is funny because he has to take a shower every time he uses the b-room, which is every time that we come close enough to home to stop by. because the toilets here stink, and don’t flush nearly anything, the whole toilet paper thing is a joke- thus he showers EVERY time. well at least he is clean

this week i ate something for sobre-mesa (desert) that was called geléia de mocotó. it was pretty good, but everyone just laughed at me when i asked what flavor it was. i guess it must be something weird, because my comp wouldn’t tell me what is was.

i heard this cool song by this cool band called 'legião urbana'. alyce, you should look them up, they might be cool?! i don’t really know, i only heard a little of some of their songs.

I SAW 7 MONKEYS ! it was awesome. i will send a drawing of the little rascals home. they were just swinging on the power lines like birds!

i met a woman who has a daughter that is LDS and lives in litchfield park. this lady was inactive, but she says her daughter is active. i guess it really is a small world after all! its a small world after all; its a small world after...

heres a Q: for jay and elle- WHAT the HECK is all this macumba and voodoo, condumblei CRAP! it is everywhere. Every corner has a pot full of something or a burnt rotting animal, candles burning; it is so WIERD and kind of creepy. it you could just give me the low-down on what to watch out for, that would be great.

on segunda-feida we had splits for the first time. it was cool. i got split to another area, praça seca, with elder j ferreira. he was cool. it rained most of the day, which was great because i was wearing the only clothes that i had, and needed to wear the next day. as it started raining i thought, i guess I’ll get to see just how water proof my shoes are. Turns out, they are water proof right up to the part where you put your foot in. my socks however are NOT water proof. all in all it was a good day. their area has bigger mountains than ours, SO... they have more stairs. we work up and down these favelas, endless stairs, IN THE RAIN!. but i honestly think that less rain fell on us than it did around us. maybe angels were holding semi-permeable umbrellas. either way, we still got entirely soaked.

dad, just so you know, i am gaining weight. i think. the conversion from kilos is tough. i am working out every morning for 30 min. 50 pushups and 300 crunches. some mornings me and my comp run too. only when he feels good enough though. one thing that i would like (not need!) maybe for the next time you send a package or for christmas or something, is a jump-rope, it is hard to do cardiovascular in an apartment. i too am on a diet, of COKE. i know that the prophet said not to drink caffeine, but my mission pres says to drink it because it is better than the juice. so, all my life i have hated and abstained form coke, and now i drink it whenever it is available. because, at 6 in the evening when my garrafa (bottle) of water is empty, i am PRAYING that the next house offers soda and not juice or water. anyway, good luck with the cars dad.

i am sure that you guys have heard the analogy about the grain of sand and the oyster. that little grain of sand bothers that oyster until it becomes a pearl, or something like that. i am trying to figure this one out, to apply it to my life. i had a little, little rock in my shoe, right?, and at first it just bothered me a little while i was walking, but i guess i thought, HEY, this will turn into a pearl!. turns out that a grain of sand in the shoe, remains a grain of sand. the foot doesn’t turn into a pearl either. but that little rock DOES make something- a huge blister! i never want to hear that analogy again, because if that oyster had a foot in there, he would be better off spiting out the sand.

we have a new investigator an awesome rapaz named bruno. i am excited. i am out of time, i will send you more about our investigators in a letter.

love elder helland

ps. yes i did take a hundred reais out of my account (about 50$). i am only supposed to spend allowance on certain things, so i might use that money for other needs. YES i DID get both packages, thanks SO MUCH. i thought that i already told you that i got them. we only eat lunch at members homes. That’s just the way it is. it is harder to send pictures here, maybe next week. love you guys.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

what it means to be green...

first it means blisters: we really DO walk a LOT. and not just a lot of walking, i mean we are talking stairs, ENDLESS stairs, the sidewalks sometimes feel more like i am hiking. i imagine that my shoes will be completely broken in soon. i hope so anyway...

it means that all i ate for breakfast this week was bread and milk, because i had no money and didn’t buy anything but bread and milk! which, by the way, is an interesting thing in itself: the milk isn’t refrigerated here. i refrigerate it because i like it cold, and then i put this chocolate mix in it to make it edible. it is interesting. anyway, that PB [peanut butter] was a godsend this week- it was the only thing that i put on my bread. luckily today i have a lot of money and will be able to buy some good food for dejejum! (b-fast)...

it means that i can’t drink anything that isn’t carbonated or bottled water. i thought that was silly at first, but since we were commanded by the mission president: thou shalt drink coke... by golly we do. i am even building a taste for it. at 5 in the afternoon and my garrafa is empty, when an investigator offers some coke, i take it. a lot of people offer juice, GOOD LOOKING juice, but i can’t drink it unless i want to puke my guts out. the other day, we were at this house and we were sharing a message with the family because they had recently lost a loved one. well they gave me a glass of juice. i just held it, frozen. i can't drink the juice, but at the same time if i don’t drink it they will be offended. well, my awesome comp, during the lesson, pounds his glass, walks across the room and sits next to me, slyly switches glasses, and then drinks mine. all this is done while he is still talking and teaching. it was awesome. (our area consists mostly of favelas [slums], and we teach mostly poor people. their houses are really small and it looks like the kind of place that the water is probably not good.)...

it means that i had to ask (twice) what someone was saying when they called me "...smthg smthg verde smthg..."

being green means smiling... all the time! :)

my comp is awesome! he doesn’t really speak english, but he understands about as much as i understand of portuguese. we are doing great. we have 6 pesquisadors and i teach a part of every lesson.

some interesting things that i learned:

1. there is no rhyme or reason to roads here. the only REAL laws that seem to govern traffic are the laws of physics. the bigger the car, the faster you go, the more clout you have on the road. it is all about inertia, and after that it is a big game of chicken. buses for instance - stop for nothing, signs- lights- or otherwise, except they stop for people, to pick them up. cars give the bigger vehicle right of way, unless they are driving on the sidewalk, then people have the right of way. people are to stay on the sidewalk, but the only way to cross the street is jay walking. it is like a game of frogger, move from one lane to the next, dodging flying cars. the cars also don’t follow the whole "lines on the road" idea. if there is room, they use it. it scares the pants off me when we get in cars with members, the roads are wild...

2. speaking of wild, our area butts up against the floresta. it is so cool! behind the favelas, suddenly there is jungle, a stones throw away. this place is beautiful.

3. i hate bugs. those things just bite me all over! my ankles are covered with bruises from them. formigas everywhere!

4. go and thank your laundry machines. today i spent the whole morning doing laundry- nearly all by hand. i feel like punching jay and his dumb ole stories about having maids! speaking of jay...

5. it is not at all surprising that he withheld a certain nugget of information about the bathrooms here... you can’t flush the t-paper! and how about the showers!... nobody has a water heater, the water gets heated right before it hits you by this cool little hair dryer like device- but this device is powered by 220v and there are EXPOSED wires all over the place! i am tall and showering is a scary experience now!

6. well i spoke in church on sunday; that was exciting. another thing at church, we walked into the chapel and this woman was breast feeding her baby right there! turns out she is the branch presidents wife!

7. i guess the missionaries before us were total fubekas (a mormon word here that means slacker) because all the members turn on the TV for us when we come over. also, the area book is empty. it is hard work gaining back the trust of the members.

well gotta go
elder helland

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Rio de janeiro is...

paradise! well i flew in yesterday, and it has been a never ending whirlwind of events after that. one morning (we left the ctm at 5 am on Tues.) i am in the ctm, the next day i am in my new apartment with my new companion in rio. but, to be fair, i will start at the beginning and work to where i am now (which by the way is a dingy computer lounge in my area).

AHEM... i will need to be brief because i did A LOT of stuff, and i can only write so much about it... so we flew into rio right!? it was so awesome!!! (i didn’t think about it this time, but next time i will try to send you pictures) we flew right over cristo redentor and pao de açucar. for a minute we saw all of the affluence and favelas and raw beauty- and the next we were in the airport. we met president brinton and sister brinton by baggage claim and they are awesome. the secretaries took us to the policia federal and we were there FOREVER. eventually we got the mission home where we took pictures and had the longest meeting of all time. during the meeting where we were told way more than a person can take in and remember in a day, the president interviewed all of us. after the meeting ended, we were treated to some "bobs burgers" by the beach. we had been traveling by bus- which is our usual method- and these things are more dangerous and as exciting as roller coasters at times. you are standing there and holding on to the bars, while the bus whizzes around town. the driving here is twice as out of control and in sp, so the rides are more fun. that night we went to the APs house and spent the night and the next morning we had transfer meeting at a local chapel. there were a lot of guys leaving, and they all bore there testimonies, then the pres had a few of the new ones bear their testimonies. i had to. i got up there in front of those 70+ missionaries and froze. the portuguese in me went into hibernation. i choked out a few poorly conjugated phrases and sat down. then they told who would be companions with who. mine is elder rodrigues. he speaks VERY little ingles, which is great because that is what i speak... i was assigned to the area of Jacarepaguá, actually, that is my zone, but i cant remember my area name, but come on cut me some slack, it is in portuguese! ha ha...

thanks for the package, it was great- i got it right after the meeting and ate one of the crema de adujime (???? peanut) it was great! then we grabbed all of my bags and walked a LONG way. i dont think those wheels on the bags were ready for that kind of side walk that we have here- it is more like hiking... take a suit case with you next time you hike waterfall trail at w-tanks. the only difference in that the side walks are made out of cement and odd shapes, rough cut bricks and stones here. my companion flagged down this dingy vw bus (they are everywhere here) and paid the man for transportation. we piled all my stuff in and 20 mins later we were here! the apartment is cool, and the Superman sheets look great on my bed. i unpacked everything, and then we went out. i have zero money and I’m just following my comp around, trying to talk. he is SO great, but I’m not always sure what he is saying and usually just end up saying "sim" (yes) to everything. so things are great. well, sorry no pictures, i dont know if i will be able to send some next week. i need to write my president now, so just know i am safe and well somewhere in the city of rio de janeiro. love elder helland

P.S. out of morbid curiosity... why NO emails this week? i know, and thanks for the letter on monday, but the only email i got today was the 2nd half of alyces last one. ... and the general letter from president brinton which was in portuguese, which didn’t really make any sense to me. really though, thanks for the package. all of those pens are awesome and my new Companion liked his pop tart (i think). well, to be honest it is a little exciting to be out here, not really knowing yet what is going on around me. i am just going to smile (sorrir) when i don’t know what is happening, because... that is all i can do really, that or frown i guess, but what fun is that. so just know that i am down here just smiling away! :) love adam

PPS i really dont know the mailing situation, and dont anticipate understanding any answers to questions that i might ask, so just send letters to the mission office or home or whatever it is. i think that we usually get those every two to three weeks. anyway, i don’t know my address. emails will have to suffice from me for awhile until i get the hang of it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Elder Helland Arrives in Rio!

Av. Das Americas, 1155 Salas 502/503
Barra da Tijuca – Rio de Janeiro, RJ
CEP 22631-000 Brasil
Fone: (21) 2111-9243,4
Fax: (21) 2493-6237

4 September 2007

Dear Helland Family,

It was a great pleasure to welcome your son to our mission. He arrived in good health, is enthusiastic, and anxious to begin missionary work here in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro mission. I have interviewed him carefully and find him well prepared, with a strong testimony, and a good beginning foundation in the Portuguese language. I feel honored to be his mission president and know that the Lord has prepared many people here to receive the testimony of the restoration he bears. Sister Brinton and I will treat him as our own son.

Your son will look forward to your weekly letters of encouragement and support. E-mail is a great way to communicate with him as he communicates with me by e-mail weekly as well. If you prefer to send letters, the church pouch system is the safest method. The pouch mail comes several times per week and is delivered to the mission office, where we either carry it ourselves, or send it with missionaries to your son as soon as possible. You can also send letters directly to his address but the mail system here is unreliable. The address of our mission for the pouch system is as follows.

Elder Adam Harrison Helland
Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

Thank you for all you have done to prepare your son for his mission. Sister Brinton and I will do everything in our power to help him have a wonderful and productive mission.

Sincerely yours,

Milton H. Brinton
President, Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission