Hello from Brasil! This past week has been pretty crazy with all the traveling and trying to get used to Brasil. Monday I woke up at 4am to leave Boise and I went through Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Detriot, Sao Paulo to Manaus. I got to Manaus about 12:30am the next day. 30 hours of continuos traveling was pretty hard, but I am here now safely in Manaus. When we touched down in Manaus, I and one other Elder from the States met a whole bunch of Brazilian elders from the Sao Paulo MTC. The assistants and President and Sister Klein picked us up and took us to the tempke, then to the mission home and then to the mission office. I got my first taste of Brazilian food there. It is pretty plain but good food. They have a drink here called Bare that tastes kinda of like skittles put into a blender, but tastes really good. Most of the food that I've had is rice beans, some kind of meat(chicken or beef) and usually some vegetable side dish. Its really good and we have lunch with the members here every day. We don't really do dinners, its more or a kind of snack and we don't usually eat breakfast either. Its pretty different. Manaus itself is really different. All the houses are usually one but sometimes two stories tall and they have either concrete or tile floors. Every house is sourneded by a gate that is actually part of the house. You can tell pretty quickly how well off a family is by seeing if they have a gate, and if the sidewalk outside their house is tiled. Its a little weird to walk into a house that looks like it is going to fall down at any moment, and find 6-8 people living it, with the house being the size of our living room and family room at the absolute most. Its even weirder when they start pulling out smart phones and you notice the tv and dvd collection as well. Not a lot of books here I've noticed. Most people usually only have the bible and book of Mormon. Drivers here are crazy as well. There is a speed limit but everyone ignores it and you see bikes weaving in and out of traffic. Whenever we have to go out of our area, we have to take the bus and those will have easily 50-60 people on them all crammed in. Its every different.
My new companion is Elder Sousa Silva from Jose Pessoa Brazil. He speaks a little English, but mostly Portuguese so it gets exciting sometimes trying to understand him. I'm still trying to figure him out, but he seems pretty nice. Our apartment here is nice for the mission. We have a fridge, washing mission, toilet and shower along with a microwave and a sink. Its pretty small, and our room is the only room in the house that has a/c. It gets the job done.
This week I was able to baptize two people. A brother and a sister. Their names are Narielly and Paublo. Its was really cool to baptize them. A baptismal service here are very quick and you can plan and set them up about a day in advance. You have a hymn, prayer, message about baptism, baptism, quick advice, hymn and prayer then you are done. Its very efficient. Its pretty amazing though. The spirit there is pretty amazing. The members here are super nice. Weather is always hot and humid. We haven't had rain at all since I've gotten here. Very different. Well that's all for now. Internet here is super slow so hopefully this pictures will go through. I miss you all!
Love Ben/Elder Battraw