First Week in Manaus

It’s my first week in Manuas!

I can’t believe that I am really here. It’s like a dream…. well… actually, It’s like a mirage. The first reason, is because of the Heat. People use umbrellas here…. for the sun. Because of the humidity, I never really sweat, but just end up feeling really greasy by the end of the day. It’s interesting. We drink a ton of water. The Church has developed a incredible water bottle that filters water as you drink so we just fill up our water bottles at contacts houses and continue on our way. Manaus is huge. Many of the people I came with went to far reaching areas, but I stayed here in the middle of the city Manaus.

The second reason Manaus is like a dream is… Portugues. I never feel like I clearly hear what people are saying although I can usually get the gist of what they are intending. The Holy Ghost helps a lot. The Spirit communicates with our spirits and so if someone needs something or means one thing or another, the Spirit can help me get a feeling pointing one direction or another. It is really quite incredible.

My companion, Sister Prada is Brazilian! I was praying for this so I am stoked. One funny thing… when people speak and it is obvious that I don’t understand (usually I can hide it by smiling, mimicing their expressions and nodding politely) siser Prada explains it slowly to me….. in Portuguese. Yep… in Portugues. Sometimes, I understand and, well, other times, I just do my best. She is learning English while I learn portuguese for the little bit of time we have every day to work on language. She is incredible. She was a trainer after three months on the mission (which is the time it takes to be trained) and works harder than anyone I know. She is like a big sister. She is incredibley patient because with our language barrier, everything has to be explained to me like you would for a small child. Learning a new language is one of the most humbling things a person can do. It’s really helping me to become more like a child in the good way. I’ve realized that her patience and kind way of teaching must have come in part from the many lessons we teach to investigators and necessity we have for making things simple and clear to understand. We taught 20 lessons this week!

When I was in High School I used to joke about becoming a girl monk and escaping the world for a little bit until I had better social skills and was a pro at yoga. I finally have my chance, but I am escaping the world through seeing more of it than I ever have in my life and escaping my fear of people by getting to know more people than I have met in my life. It’s awesome. We discover ourselves through the experiences we choose in this life. I will always love Brazil. The only way to escape fear is to face it.

My companion has incredible faith in me because her success is linked to mine and yet she is continually giving me opportunities to teach parts of the lesson and share spiritual thoughts. I slaughter the language, but I have this faith that if I just open my mouth and show God my willingness by trying, that he will fill my mouth. We walk by faith. I am learning so much.

Oh, a few interesting things about this place, people wear swimming suit attire for regular clothing. The guys wear swim suit shorts and sometimes wear t shirts and the women wear mini shorts, sometimes dresses and all kinds of odd things on the top, mostly sleevless.

The cockroaches are so big that cats play with them as if they were mice. It is really funny to watch because you can’t see the cockroaches right away because they are so fast so you thing the cats have been eating cat nip or something. Our apartment is painted bright neon pink inside! Don’t worry, I’ve only found two tiny bugs in our apartment so far and we keep it really clean. Lots of builings here are painted bright pastel/neon colors and so our apartment interior isn’t to uncommon.

If you remember the movie Rio, you will have a decent picture of what the apartments are like here. Ours is in a nice part of the city though, along a large Avenue called Ramos D. Everyone has lots of neighbors and there are lots of adorable children always out playing along the streets…. so many. The people here are very friendly. Woman hug each other instead of shaking hands. I actually really like it.  I love you all. I see your faces in the faces of the people I teach and hope you are all going to church.

Love,

Sister Thompson

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