Monday, November 11, 2013

11 Nov. 2013

Thanks for the email! I am pretty jealous that you all got to go to Arizona and I wasn´t able to. But I´m in Brazil so I´m kinda okay with it. This week has been pretty busy.  Monday, cleaned the house and made it look like people could actually live there, that was the big highlight of that day. We spent this morning as well get it looking all nice.  I spent Wednesday at district meeting at the stake center, which is about 20 minutes away by bus. That was pretty cool. There is only 4 of us in our district including me, so really small district, but its still pretty awesome. My portuguese is getting better and better. I could understand a good portion of it. Still a lot of room to improve though. I don´t really have trouble following the general flow of a conversation, but when asked specific questions, I have trouble understanding b/c every word that you hear matters in the meaning of the question in Portuguese. Not a lot of filler words like English. After district meeting, I went on exchanges with another missionary in another area for a day, so I stayed the night there. Pretty cool to see another part of Manaus. Life is so different here. I´ve come to find that Brazilian ice cream is better in some ways than American.  Brazilian markets are pretty cool to. If you can´t find something in one store, chances are that you can walk down the street and there is another store that sells the exact same thing at a different price. Not like grocery stores where you have to travel a bit of a distance to get to it. Restaurants here are pretty cool too. There are restaurants everywhere, including randomly in the middle of the neighborhood, so you don´t have to walk far to get there. Most of the time they are run by the people living there, so it doubles as a house, but you can just walk up and order some food without having to walk very far. Some members told me and showed me that there is a pizza hut in Manaus, but I haven´t had any yet.  I don´t know if  I will, it is probably really expensive. Everything that is american here is very expensive. What costs about 2 reals for the american version is usually 6-7 reals. But its all good. Thursday I returned to my area and we had a baptism that night as well. Tuesday we did as well along with Saturday. Total baptisms for this week is 4. The people here are so willing to listen to the gospel it is amazing.  We are always teaching somebody or finding new people to teach.  Baptisms here happen so fast.  We usually start planning for  one 3 days in advance, but most of it happens the day of. Very fast.  The days here are starting to blend together. Friday night, I played piano for one of the soon to be elders in our ward. I didn´t find out till the day of though so I spent a good amount of time at the chapel beforehand practicing up for it. I only had to play accompaniment for armies of helaman, but with the amount of notice I had and time to practice, I was pretty stressed out,  but it went just fine. The meeting was supposed to start at 6:30, but it started late even by Brazilian standards.  Normally meetings will start 30-60 minutes late here. Not unusual, you just plan for it. But this started at 9:00pm, 2 and 1/2 hours late. We are supposed to be back at the house by 9:30 and it ended right at 9:30 and food was available afterward. The food was also our dinner, so we grabbed as much as we could, gulped it down and got home as fast as we could. Brazilian cake is also very good. Tastes kinda of like really sweet cornbread, but super good. Saturday was a baptism, so super busy running around making the final arrangements. Sunday we spent in church meetings. Pretty good week.
Things that I need, I don´t really have any thing that I need.  Things that I would like to have is more music if there is some way to get it down here, and maybe some american candy or snacks, but I don´t know if they would survive the trip down here. Basketball shorts would be nice as well, b/c its pretty hot. Nothing I don´t really need. I really miss though donuts and basically anything that is american and is sweet. But everything is pretty good here. Thanks! I miss of all you! Have a great week!
Love Ben/Elder Battraw

P.S.  I´ve had to use  my debit/credit card a lot lately for food and to get a new bag b/c the other one was not working out with it having to be a shoulder bag and backpacks aren´t allowed here. My mission card usually works, but I´ve had to use my debit/credit card a bunch to get food and some other things that I really didn´t need. I´m really sorry about using like that and I´m trying to stop using it except for emergencies. Just letting you know, with the cost of the bag and all of the food for the past 3 months should be about 100 dollars off of it. I´m super sorry not using it right.

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