Monday, December 23, 2013

23 Dec. 2013

Thanks for the email!  That sounds like a lot of fun being able to go to a Christmas party!   Here we have our ward Christmas party this Saturday! Should be pretty good, parties here generally have a lot of refrigerante(soda), arroz(rice), kikão (hot dogs), and other random things. Cake is always there to so it will be a lot of fun. I´m accompanying the 4 YW in the ward with Angels We Have Heard On High and I think I´m ready for it, but we shall see :) People don´t actually carol here, or at least that we´ve seen.  Thats so cool that the missionaries came over and caroled along with a mini jazz band!
  This week has been really busy! Monday was p day and buying our gifts for the mission Christmas Conference which was pretty busy. Tuesday, woke up at 4am to catch the 5:15am bus to the stake center to meet up with another zone to catch a bus the mission had rented that we were told would show up and leave at 6am.  Well, turns out it didn´t turn up until 7:30am, but we don´t know if that ws arranged so that all the missionaries would be there or not, but it was fun to hang out with all the other missionaries while we waited. Got on the bus with some of the assistants and just talked and had fun while we were heading to the meeting. I thought we were heading to the mission office but turns out that we were actually heading to a military base! It was a little weird to look at the window and see a whole bunch of camouflage and rifles where I thought there would be a chapel! We meet up with the rest of the mission here in Manaus, and spent the morning with the CIGSs our the Brazilian equivalent of the Green Berets.  Super cool, I have a bunch of photos and videos of what we got to see and do.  We saw two ceremonies, one with a general arriving, and the other where he was promoted, super cool. Afterward the CIGS talked to us about what they did and actually the commander of the base/school is LDS.  Then they demonstrated with live cobras how to catch a cobra with your bare hands and a few missionaries got to try!  Afterwards went back to the mission office where we had a huge lunch and gift exchange. Presidente Klein talked to us along with Sister Klein, and I along with all the other arriving missionaries bore our testimonies along with all the missionaries returning home. My portuguese is a lot better  now. Left and got home at about 10:00pm. Super tired, but we had to get to up at 5am then next morning to get to the temple by 8pm! Its always awesome to go to the temple and we get to go again this Thursday!  Wednesday, had the baptism of 3 people. 1 20 year old who is amazing. When we showed up at his door b/c his younger brother had been baptized and we started talking to him about the gospel, immediately accepted it. The other two were children with whom we are trying to baptize their mom and older brother.  The work here is going really well. We have several people ready for baptism this week!Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, nothing happened out of the ordinary. Sunday I did actually try to make chocolate chip cookies. It was interesting b/c we didn´t have measuring cups, so it was a lot of, that looks like the right amount.  Turned out okay, but I know now how to make them better.  We also don´t have brown sugar in our town, so we found this other sugar that was brown and it tastes only a little different. Don´t also have chocolate chips, used generic M&Ms. Turned out okay, and tonight I´ll be making more for the zone training tomorrow! Only problem is that its a little expensive! (40 Reals!)
  This week has been pretty good. Wednesday I´ll be calling at about 7pm Manaus Time so about 6pm Indianapolis time. We´re going to skype with a family in our ward,. They found out that I have a recipe for chocolate chip cookies so they want us to come over a little early to make them at their house. Apparently they have brown sugar along with measuring cups!  Here they don´t celebrate Christmas the 25th, they hold all the parties the 24th, but still open presents the 25th, so the 24th we have zone training in the morning, a service project helping to hand out presents in the afternoon and fifty billion houses to visit as well.  It will be interesting. I think today I will officially organize it into Operation Holly Jolly and plan it all out. We will be doing a lot of walking! Packages still haven´t arrived, but tomorrow if any have arrived I will receive them so I´m crossing my fingers!  Other news, my camera broke this morning. Don´t know what happened, turned it off and turned it back on and the message lens error flashed across the screen and it won´t open. I can still look at pictures, but nothing else. I´ll try and fix it, just think something got stuck in the lens when it closed, but if it can´t be fixed, I´ll be looking for a cheap camera here. Still can send the pictures I have.  Thanks for writing! I miss you all! Feliz Natal!
Ben/Elder Battraw

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