Tuesday, July 31, 2012

(Written 7 July 2012, we received this on the 30th of July)

Dear Family,

Well, I already sent you a very confusing e-mail but I wanted to tell you a little more about what happened my 1st week in Caixias (pronounced Caisheas). My area is Bella Vista. On Terca, (Tuesday) I got to Porto Alegre and almost immediately we had to catch the bus for our area. It is about a 3 hour bus ride. Then two days later we had to return to Porto Alegre for a leadership/training conference. And since we are the only sisters in our area I got to go too. It was really nice though because I was able to see the sisters that I came with from the CTM (including my companion Sister Matiaco). It wasn't a very productive day but after we got back to Caixas we had to race to Maicon's (Michaels) house with our district leaders for a baptismal interview. All went well and I got to go to my first baptism!

One thing about the mission that is really hard for me living out of a suitcase. Remember what I said before leaving about being done with moving/bouncing from place to place. Its the same here, nothing has a place and I know in 5 weeks everything will change again. I guess I'll just appreciate stability more when I finally get it.

As far as the food, lots of rice/beans/meat. Its really good but I have learned to mix food. You don't just eat the rice, then the meat. Just mix everything on your plate. I find that ironic. (Carissa never let her food mix or even touch!) But so far I don't mind.

(Written 24 July 2012, the second part of the letter we received on the 30th))
Sorry I didn't get to send this last week, but I'll finish it now. Before I forget this is the address of the mission:                           Sister Bradley
Caixa Postal 13008
CEP 91010-971 Porto Alegre-RS

So I thought I would write you a little more since I actually have some extra time!  Another thing about being a missionary that's different than I expected is we don't start working until 1 or 2.  We leave our house around 11:30 or 12:00 to to to lunch, we usually have to walk or take the bus for about 30-40 minutes to get to the area we proselyte in.  Oh and something about Brasil there are so many dogs!  In Sao Paulo there are a lot on the streets here luckily most are inside the gates around the houses.  (And some are so ugly!)  haha but there have been a few I wish I could pet.  But its against mission rules and for good reason.  But everywhere we go there are dogs barking at us.

You asked a little about our apartment.  Its about 3/4 flights of stairs up.  It has 2 rooms, One we keep our clothes and such the other we sleep.  The apartment has blankets that are fairly warm so at first I didn't use the sleeping bag but I started using it and its so warm and wonderful. Its usually so cold in the morning that we do our exercises in bed.  Then we have a small living room with two desk/tables for personal study and then a small table where we have companionship study.  Some mornings our apt is so cold we take the blankets off our bed and study wrapped up in those. haha Usually tho our apt is colder than outside which is interesting.  I did laundry for the first time here today.  We'll see how long it takes for everything to dry.  Someone told me it could take a few days sometimes, yikes.  I am going to be grateful for a lot of little conveniences when I get back.  I already am.  

There is a scripture in  Doctrine and Covenants 84:88 that I love.

(88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.)                     http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/84.77-91?lang=eng

  It is God's promise to his missionaries to send angels to help them.  It really is a cool thought to realize how important missionary work is to Heavenly Father.  It is "his work and his glory" and I get to help, and receive the help of angels. 

Well, I miss you all and think of you often.  There are so many things I miss.  And so many things that are hard for me here.  But I have felt God's strength helping me.  And hopefully someday soon I'll be able to understand Portugese better and be able to say better the things he would have me say.
Love Y'all, 
Sister Bradley

(Written and received via e-mail 31 July 2012)

THATS SO EXCITING FOR JANELLE AND HER MISSION CALL!!! She told me she wanted to go, and at a temple thats going to be incredible! (A friend of Carissa's just got her call to serve in St. George, Utah).

i~m so excited For Lauren to go to the temple. She~s going to love it, wish i could be there for everything!

And i have a story about the Olympics too! Its not very exciting but I had totally forgotten about them, and yesterday we were out clapping at doors :P and a lady came out and through the window i could see her television and she was watching the olympics! It was so had for me to focus on our lesson because I remembered how much fun we all had watching it. Especially the Summer Olympics and how into all the events we would get. But oh well yáll will have to keep me posted on those things.

Well this week has been super crazy. I have been pushed and pushed and usually I´m successful! On sunday we went on splits for the 1st time!! I was Sr!(I think she means she was the senior companion or leader) gahhhh i barely speak portuguese let alone know my way around our area very well. I was supposed to only teach new members but the 1st house we went to the member wasn~t there only her parents that we~ve been teaching. So we taught them, scary. But all went well. And then this morning we met up with our ZLs (zone leaders) because they are doing a training in Porto Alegre tomorrow and they want a video of a short lesson and baptism committement. We had 3 minutes to teach our Investigators (members) and invite them to be baptized...in portugues. It was really hard, and now the entire mission will know that i don~t know portugues haha.

So I should probably tell you a little about the culture here. The south has its own culture. Gauchu (know idea if i spelled that right). They have a drink that i~m not going to even attempt to spell. but its very interesting, i don~t love it but its not bad. Its in a giant mug, has the powder/mixture (it looks like green alfalfa and a lot of people think it tastes like grass) and they just pour water in it and you drink it, then put more water in it and pass it to someone else. Always people are drinking it. So I better get used to it because its custom here, and if you don~t, well people don~t like it very much. Just the same as you always have to have seconds here...I eat so much! But the food is really good! always rice and frejole (beans/meat) but i really like it!

Socks, probably just normal socks that i can wear with my boots/clarks. We walk so much already 3 pairs of socks have holes in the toes. I keep sewing them together and they tear in another part.

Sunscreen regular. I´m about 1/2 way through my 1st for my face( maybe half way) i didn~t really use it in the ctm because we were always inside.

I~m not sure which address your talking about. Send it to the one for the mission home/office. we don~t have an address for cards. Send it to the one i sent to you in mission ties (i think) because what happens is they get it. And we have transfers, leadership mtgs in porto alegre they bring everything to the area for us. So we only get mail about 3 times a transfer, at least here in Caixias.

thanks for the excercises! its just really hard on your joints here. So I want to prevent anything from happenening. I did have a question about insurance when I get back. Because I~m positive I~m going to need glasses. Don~t worry nothings wrong with my eyes now. Just that lighting here is usually not very good, so thought i~d ask your opnion about that 2.

Oh and sister lira has a question. she was reading the 1st chapter of Ezekial. And its complicated and we don~t understand it. Is there anything in the semimary manuel about it??

Well tell Matthew to keep up the good work with swimming! And tell Taylor Happy Birthday for me. Love you all and pray for you all!

Love ya

Sister Carissa Bradley

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yikes I can hardly believe wedding month is almost here!!! I can~t wait to see all the pictures from it! (check below for answers to your questions)

so you said you wanted to send a package...i started thinking of things I need could use now that i~m in the field. I don/t know if you can do the music thing but an mp3 and little speakers would be wonderful. if you can put the music on my computer/church music and then on a separate playlist disney music and showtunes that would be spectacular! thanks some other things: socks, pictures of the family cuz i don~t have any :( a small backpack, sunscreen cuz apparantly i brought the empty one,and if there is anything that we could use to put pictures on. LIke a flashdrive but that could just take the pictures off my card. I don~t know if thats possible but it was a thought i had. Because I can~t email them :( or at least i haven~t figured out how to do that. and AAA batteries (the small ones lol) and i have a job for the little boys. I need excercises especially for knees!!!

I miss you guys a lot. This week has been really hard but good at the same time. Being sick has been hard because its hard for me to talk already because i don~t know the language very well and then my head hurting and my throat hurting i just don~t want to talk (shocking i know). But I think i~m on the upside of it. I^m working now to memeorize D&C4 in portugues. And my companion is learning to say it in English. 

A funny thing happened last night while we were walking home. I was teaching sister Lira to say It is good. And she was saying it correctly and everything. Then she turns to me and says `I am good food.´ AShe was trying to say the food is good, but it was so funny! A little while before she had asked me too if I liked the mission. I said Sim, Mas (yes, but...) I was going to say i~ll like it better when I have a voice. But instead i said mas (but) and then tripped and feel. Theres lots of hills here and everything is uneven cobblestone. Its so hard to walk sometimes haha. 

During lunch yesterday we walked the steepest hill I have EVER SEEN! Literally you could have tripped and fallen the entire way down it was so steep. and exhausting to climb. I had never been to this members house so i didn~t realize how steep it was. Sister Lira kept telling me the hill was steep but all the hills here are steep so i didn~t really think much of it, till i saw it and realized we had to climb up and down it to get to the bus! (oh ya, i~m in one of the only areas that gets to use the bus!) Its crazy scary! it goes so fast and is so bumpy and takes turns so quickly but its fun...and nice not to have to walk everywhere. We only use it when we have to go to a members house that is far away but its still fun and different. 

Well I love you all! Hope your summer is nice and hot, cuz so far mine~s been pretty cold haha
Sister Bradley

(In answer to my letter and questions, Carissa just wrote the answers in red after my questions.)

Now it is mommy's turn!  I am hoping that we get a lot more details from you, like what is your apartment like, our apt, its pretty small, always cold. Although this week not as much its been a really nice week about 12C. Though today its warm but it started raining again. Our apt has no hot water excpet for the shower which is heated by a small electric heater. its hard to explain the differences between houses here than those in the states. But they are very different. what is your companion like, my companion, Sister Lira, is crazy but I love her. She works very very hard. what was your first day at church like, first day at church was super hard. I was really sick. and I played piano for sacrament meeting. and then spoke just bore my testimony. then went and the elders gave me a blessing. Because we have two wards that meet at the same time. So they left sunday school, and we left sacrament and they gave me a blessing. (it was in english so that was nice haha) how is the food, the food is SOOO GOOD! I~m gaining so much weight, and the members just want to keep feeding you. Usually its just rice, and bean with meat. But yãll will find this funny, I mix everything on my plate now. Evreything just ends up in a pile on your plate. But actually now I don~t mind. Salad and rice and meat and beans....all together haha not too bad. the weather the weather...i~m in the coldest area here. but this week wasn~t too bad. But Sister Lira said thats strange because its usually like my first week....freezing cold!and your new mission president. we dont hear much from our mission president. I talk to Sister Wright quite a bit this week because i~ve been sick. My throat is still pretty bad. but its getting better  Do you see the elders very often? we see our ZL (zone leaders) because we live in their area. And have to walk past their apt on our 30 minutes journey to our area. So evry few days we see them. And then we have district meeting every week were we see the elders in our district.  Do you have to clap to get people to open their doors? yes we have to clap to get in. Its very different, and hard when i wear my gloves haha but i~m used to it now and its kinda fun  I heard they had to do that in some places....

OH and michael! thats so cool! that rock looks awesome! I miss climbing on rocks ahah but here i get to climb a billion hills, and steep hills lol. 
love ya!! Sister Bradley

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

(These pictures were taken by one of Carissa's instructors, Irma Israel.  These missionaries are all in one district, or group, at the CTM.  This was their last day proselyting in Sao Paulo.  It sure looks like they enjoy being together!)

(We finally heard from Carissa!  She left the CTM last Wednesday and flew to the mission home in Porto Alegre.  Because their P-day, or prep day, is on Tuesday, we didn't get an e-mail from her.  We did receive an e-mail from the mission president letting us know that she had arrived.  So this is our first communication from her actually doing missionary work!) 

 Oh man the past two weeks have been crazy!!! I really don~t know where to start! Left the CTM at 5:00 in the morning, two hr plane ride to porto alegre, spent 2 hrs in porto alegre and then got on a bus to Caixias do Sol (my area)...ITS SO COLD HERE! Its a nice city, lots and lots of hills, and all the streets are coblestone and uneven. I understand why its so important to stretch here because there is so much stress on your joints from walking around. My trainer Sister Lira is amazing! She is Brazillian and doesn~t speak any english. Its hard at times but i usually can understnd her. We live in the area of the elders so we have to walk 30]min to get to our area. But we have quite a few investigators and the most exciting part....

my first area, my first weekend we had a baptism and a wedding! It was really neat, they are an amazing family. 

A really fun thing about my area is that my district has ALL the elders that i met in the CTM that left the transfer before! we had our first district meeting over the phone and all these elders that i knew were on the line! It was really fun!

Sister lira is a very hard worker but very caring and loving. I have been really sick this weekend, i had a fever and then a sore throat and have just been miserable for the past few days but she has been so sweet in making sure I~m all right. The members too have been so helpful. Every house we went to, they made me soup, and gave me all sorts of things to make me feel better. Its been very sweet! 

Oh a really special experience was on sunday the ELders gave me a blessing. It was beautiful and very sweet. I felt to much love from my Heavently Father. It was a really hard sunday for me because I wasn~t feeling well, I got to play the piano for sacrament meeting (it is really hard to play piano in a different language because a lot of the timing is different!) and i got to speak in sacament meeting too...i was so sick and i~m pretty sure no one understood anything i said haha. oh well hopefully someday they~ll understnd me better haha

Our house is always cold, its usually colder inside than outside. The funny (well not so funny) was it took me 3 days to figure out that our shower had hot water!!! I was taking freezing cold showers in freezing cold weather not fun. But i finally figured out how to get our electric water heater in the shower to work so now taking showers is much more enjoyable. 

Our mission President The Wright~s are from Utah and so sweet! THey are brand new! They started the week before we got here. Sister Wright doesn~t speak very much portugues, so its nice when she calls to ahve someone to talk to in english. 

(This is from a second e-mail we received!)
Sorry my e-mails right now are confusing, Tell Br. Lugo thanks that really is good advice. The language has been really hard. I feel like I~m not improving as quickly as I would like, its hard because i can~t just pull out a dictionary in the middle of a lesson and look up words i don~t know, and Sister Lira can~t tell me what it means in engish. Usually she can explain it in a way so i can understand at least the significance but othertimes i~m just competely lost haha. 
OH my first day here in Caixas....I started the lessson!!! ahhh it was so scary but Apparently it made sense...i hope haha

As far as a package goes, I had thought of  few things but at the moment i can~t remember. when i write next week i~ll tell you anything I think of. Right now the only thing i can think of is music!!! Just a simple mp3 like the one i had before. that can have a playlist one for church music...and DISNEY cuz we can listen to that on Pday!! 

I can~t believe Lauren and Christ get married so soon!!! Its crazy! Well hope all is well. my pday is now on tuesday so we~re changing things up now haha

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

 Sister Matiaco,  Sister Bullen,  Me, Sister Sorenson (Alaska)
 STRESS!!!  (We jump out of the window)  and the view from our room

Some pictures we just got from Carissa.  Enjoy them!

We heard from Carissa's mission president and wife, President and Sister Wright.  She has arrived at the mission home and they are excited to have her.  We received this photo from them this morning.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Carissa leaves the MTC next Tuesday we believe.  I have changed her mailing address to the mission home in Porto Alegre.  If you want to mail her or send packages they should be sent to that address.  Thank you for all your support and interest in her adventures!  The next chapter is about to begin and we are all excited!!!!

Your e-mail sounded so fun! and a lot like what happened today here in Sao Paulo!!! ITS FORTH OF JULY!!! and we're celebrating..a little! We had "hamburgers" french fries, ice cream, hot dogs and popcorn for lunch today!!! Irmao Israel told us we should stand and sing the national anthem during lunch...so we did and the almost all of the american in the cafeteria stood and sang with us!!! It was incredible. Last night after devotional we sang the national anthem as a mission, it was so powerful, we sang every verse. That was probably the first time I've felt homsick since leaving. Our mission President dressed up, like you discribed vest, straw-hat. And since it was our P-day we can take pictures so we took a picture with him :D After we print it off sister bullen's camera i may send it home, or I may keep it :P
Oh just so you know, when i send things through missionties to you its usually sent thsame day. so i e0mail and write on the same day i just never have time to write everything in the email.
This week has been so CRAZY! Hightlights and then I'll expound on what I can:
-Prosyliting for the 1ST TIME! Outside the CTM and in Portuguese, we gave away 7 Book of Mormons as a companionship, and as a district 31 or 32
-We had our last TRC (practice teaching) and we got to be investigators. We were first told we were missionaries and we were really disappointed. Then on thursday we were told that we would not be teaching saturday but friday
...ahhhh we hadn't prepared at all yet!!! and then they said we would be investigators!!! Our entire district cheered we were so excited. It was really special experience because we had Brazillians travel from Curitiba (which is about 4 hours away) to do TRC with us. So the Brazillians were the investigators, and we were visiting them when the missionaries came to teach. It was really fun to get to be an investigator with Brazillians and to get to talk to them!
-Our Branch President is leaving this week. :( President and Sister Call, are basically amazing. On Sunday, the last time we would get to see them, She came to our room and talked with us about the places we are going to serve. She told us more about President Degn and the mission President of the Elders (She couldn't say anything about ours because he's brandnew, He's only been here a week!) But then before they left she and President Call sang us a Brazillian lullaby.

its so crazy!! I leave the CTM in 5 days! Last week i was so nervous about going to the field, not I'm very excited! Its going to be so hard, especially because I think my Portuguese is getting worse, but I'm so excited to actually do what I came here to do. Prosylyting helped a lot, in reminding me of our purpose and remembering that the CTM is a very small part of my mission.
Well love you guys! Hope all is well, I really don't know what to ask you haha.

Love, Sister Bradley