I'm a senior companion now but I'm not training. Here's a really funny story, a newer Brazilian elder called me a minute ago and asked me a series of really wierd questions, but I know him because he's in my district and I know he speaks English, so after I couldn't figure out what he wanted I said, "Elder Contrerra, what do you want?" And he replied, "Elder Swinney? Dude, I totally thought I was talking to a Brazilian." Hahaha! It was funny because we spent the whole day together but he still thought I was Brazilian cause I don't have a very strong accent.
Oh yeah, my new companion isn't Brazilian, not American, not even the Canadian in our mish...I got the one and only African!!! He's from Cabo Verde, some islands off the west coast of Africa! The word on the street is that he speaks English and Portuguese but we've only been together for about 4 hours and we've only spoken in Portuguese.
So, my last companion went back to Sao Paulo today, kinda wierd. But that kind of thing happens on the mission, you can only stay here for 2 years, I guess.
We baptized a little girl this week and we're working with her mom to get her to go to church but she just started her new job and is never home...bummer. And also our President is on this awesome campaign called Cresimento Real (real growth) and as part of it he told us to stop burning people so much. It's a very northeast Brazilian thing to just tell it like it is. For example, if someone says that they won't pray to know if our message is true we usually tell them that they will go to hell, which to what their understanding of what hell is they will in fact experience in the spirit world. Well, President wants us to be nicer now, which is really easy for us Americans. It was cool because I had a chance to put what he taught into practice the day after the conference (we had a conference with Elder Gadoy from the 70's...awesome) anyways, we had a drunken father who was yelling at us for trying to baptize his 3 kids. Where we normally what have told him that he will be condemned for stopping the progress of his daughter, I stopped and marked an appointmnnet for another day to answer his questions. He said no but we came the next day anyways; he was sober and it was awesome. We taught him and at the end he apologized for all that he had said and he said we were completely welcome at his house anytime. So, now we are working with him and we may baptize the whole family! So, yeah, there's my little testimony that President is inspired and we should listen to him.
So we had a conference with Elder Godoy, and it was awesome. He's 100% behind the Crecimento Real thing, and I believe it's going to change all of Brazil. They are working to make the church here more like it is in America, which because of cultural differences is very hard to do. They want to have the members more dedicated and more active. They want the leadership of the church to be more on top of their callings. And they want the missionary work to focus more on reactivation and family work. So, our work got harder but it's also going to be way better here in Fortaleza.
So, this update is scattereed and very unorganized but so it my mind right now...I've been traveling a lot and helping my new comp. so I'm sorry if it's hard to read/understand.
Love you guys,