Wednesday, May 28, 2014

First 2 Pday emails from Brazil and lot of pictures!!

Weekly Email - May 19, 2014

Missionary Training Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Rio!!!!! View from the Mission Home! Gorgeous!!

Man what a week!!! First I love it here in Brazil. It's is awesome. My companion is Elder Veiga, he has been out 8 months. He is a native but speaks a little English. He is awesome and very patient and helpful teaching me the language. The language is getting better everyday. We go contacting a lot here where we just talk to people and invite them to church or teach them about the Book of Mormon. My first day here I couldn't even introduce myself without looking like a dumbo, haha. The language here in Rio is wayyyy different than in Sao Paulo. The second day with a lot of practice I could introduce myself but Elder Veiga had to so the message part about the Book of Mormon or whatever. Then on the third day he said alright it's your turn to do it by yourself. I was so freaking nervous but he helped me out with the words and I got it down and we ended up getting 60 contacts that day. We always go contacting at this exit of a mall that is constantly pouring out with people. So we target the families and we will do it on our own so we can cover more ground at once. It was fast growth from the first day were everyone one looked at me like I was an alien. I even convinced someone I was from Belo Hortizonte the other day, haha. The people here use a ton of slang that doesn't have the same meaning as it would literally translated so it's going to take a while to learn all of that. Just like redneck English that I speak, haha. I taught Elder Veiga 'ya'll' and 'howdy' the other day. He really wants to learn English so when we study we read Preach My Gospel and Book of Mormon together, he will read in English and I will read in Portuguese. It's a great way to learn. Oh the buses, they are crazy. They have three different kinds. A small van that goes to the outskirts of town, a school bus size one, and a huge mega size of 3 school buses one. All of them are packed to the rim, always, haha. They are like clown cars. They are dang expensive too. They are R$3 for one trip. Our area is massive so we ride the bus a ton. The other day I had a scatterbrained moment with the bus. Since it is so packed Elder Veiga and I normally can't stand by each other so when the stop comes he will yell at me get off because the area is new to me. Well at one stop I heard him yell, I thought I heard ``time to get off`` but he said ``time to get off at the next one``. So I wormed my way through the people and got off at the stop we were at and I didn't see Elder Veiga. Then the bus takes off again WITH Elder Veiga still on it. I was like "minha nossa" (my gosh) how am I going to find him. So I start running the direction the bus took off, hoping that he realizes I got off. About a quarter mile later, at the next stop, I see him running towards me. Thank goodness, haha. That was crazy. Welcome to Brazil moment for me, haha. (not so funny to his Ma!!) Anyways the people here are so humble. Their food is dang amazing too, haha, so good. Different for sure but really good. The ward we cover is awesome. They are smaller, 150 members or so but they really made me feel welcome at church. Oh, guess who had to give a talk on Sunday? haha I did. The bishop wanted me to give a quick 5 min talk and introduce myself to the ward. It went pretty well. There are so many churches here, it's crazy.  I really like Pres Lima. The day I flew in to Rio we spent most of the day with him. He actually is about to be released in June to be in the Quorum of the 70. Man its hard to type English! It's weird, takes me a second longer to remember how to spell. My brain is on overload, haha. We have some baptisms this Saturday hopefully. A father and his two kids. He is so humble. There is a huge divide here between the rich and the poor. Some people are super comfortable and others make R$10 a day, or 5 bucks. No matter what they have they give you their best. They are such a happy people too. Always laughing and joking about something. Oh, something neat the Rio temple is being built in our area!! They have just barely started construction but it's underway. It's right near the beach off the highway. The name of the suburb we cover is called Camorim, so maybe you can google pictures of it. I love it here that's for sure. Oh, Elder Veiga is from Campo Grande Brazil. Love you guys, I think that's everything. Love ya!!!
 eu sei que jesus cristo live. eu sei qui pai celestia ee litermente nosso pai. ele nos ama muito. o poder de Deus e real. e sento ele cada dia.
com amor, vamos la!!
Elder Montanha

 He says it's a drink his companion likes from the area of Brazil that he's from but it's not popular in Rio.
Not sure about the straw?? 

Elder Mountain and his first companion in Rio!!!

CTM fiesta!!

Nate with an Elder from a neighboring ward here in GA, small world!!

His district in the CTM in Sao Paulo.

Some Elders from Peru that Nate became great friends with while in the Missionary Training Center.

Weekly Email - May 26, 2014

Week two in Brazil!!! Man it has been crazy but a lot of fun. This week was great. Elder Veiga has been a great teacher. I have seen my Portuguese improve a lot this week. It's small steps at a time but it's cool to see what I can do that I couldn't when I got here. We had a good week teaching. We had most of our lessons in the homes of our investigators which is a big push here. It's really easy to have lessons on the street but the problem is you probably will never find them again so it's important to meet in their homes. People are constantly protesting for one reason or another. One day this week the police went on protest (WHAT???? that cannot happen!!) so there were no police available so we had to stay in after dark. We found a few families to teach this week. One, N--- and J----- we are really excited about. We had a really good lesson with them and they called us later in the week to tell us they have been reading the Book of Mormon and like it. Another lesson that really sticks out in my mind is the one we had with F-------. She is an older woman who owns a business where she makes dresses. Rae would love to look around her house. When we were there a little girl Rae´s age was getting a dress for her bday. Anyways it was the first lesson with her. Elder Veiga had met her before but she was always busy. It was an awesome lesson. Very powerful! Elder Veiga is a great teacher. He always tells me ´Alegria Elder!! Alegria!!!(joy)` whenever we teach or contact. We gotta show in the first few seconds, "dang, something has made that person happy, I wonder what it is." I have learned a lot from him. We did quite a bit of reactivating work as well. There are three inactives that live right on the same street as us so we see them often. One of them, R--, is one of the funniest guys ever. He is a huge person, in the literal sense (350 pounds maybe) and has an even bigger heart. He is super nice and tells his jokes slow enough so the gringo can understand. Also it's been interesting, no everyone but some of the natives are surprised that I can speak Portuguese. I guess they are used to the Americano tourists. They say, "Voce fala?" (you speak?) haha, luckily they like talking with the American. We had a bit of a roach problem this week in our kitchen, haha, but with some spray and using flip flops as the weapon of choice I think we eliminated all of them. I am surprised by the amount of English speakers in our ward. There are 4 or 5 Americans who live here who all teach English or have English schools. One of them is from Scotland and another is from South Carolina and they are good friends and they always are bickering who is teaching the correct form of English. The work is so different here than Arizona, it's almost overwhelming, there are so many people. In my last area I think I almost met every single person. Here there is probably 100,000 living in our ward, if not more. So many people to teach. So much to do always. I love it here. The language is coming slowly but surely. I love the people of Brazil. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve here. Love ya!!!! Happy bday Ali!!!!

Com amor (with love)
Elder Mountain

View out Rio apartment. Living in the city for sure!

Rio apartment - bedroom.

In Brazil!! CTM and Rio arrival!!

Email received from The Missionary Training Center in Sao Paulo - April 30, 2014

Hey family! I made it to Brazil! Man it was a long day and a long flight (9 & 1/2 hours). We will be Skyping on Sunday May 11th at 6 oclock Brazil time. Not sure what time that will be for you guys but you can google it to figure out. It will only be voice unfortunately no video. Sao Paulo is so dang big. We drove on a bus from the airport for 2 hours or so and it was just solid down town city. My comp here is Elder Fox. He was in the district with me in the MTC on Provo, Utah. It's great to see him again, and cool we got it the same time. Doing great other wise, still like a dream I am here. The people are so nice here I can tell already. The nice lady who sat next to me was super nice trying to understand my super broken Portuguese. It's going to be a lot of work and my head may explode trying to think so hard but I'm gonna love it here. Also I don't have a Skype account so if you can make one for me and send the username and password so I can use it. love you guys it was great to see you. take care!!!

Weekly Email - May 9, 2014

Man what a week!!! Brazil is freaking awesome first of all, and I love it down here. My comp is Elder Fox if you guys remember him, he was in my MTC district in Provo. Crazy that it happened like that. He was serving in the Charlotte North Carolina Mission and is from Oregon. Great guy, really enjoying being with him. It's so crazy being in the MTC again. I feel like it's starting all over again, it's pretty fun. All of the focus, of course, is on the language where as before it was on the lessons with Portuguese on the side. It took my brain a while to get going but its amazing how fast you learn here. There is about an even number of Brazilieros, Americans, and Hispanics here. It's a lot of fun to talk to all of them. We have two Brazilieros in our room, they are a blast to talk to. I feel comfortable enough in the language now where I can have a conversation about anything really. Portuguese is easy, in the fact that you don't have to know all of the words, you can describe them and they will understand. We have three teachers all of which are Brazilieros that just got back from their mission in the last year or so. They are great. We have gone proselyting twice so far, that was an adventure but man it was fun. We ride a bus to a park or bus stop or something where there is a lot of people and just start talking to people. They are all so receptive. The second time especially I couldn't believe it! I was having a conversation with a native, they understood me, and I understood them. They are so nice, very polite as well. For an example, we talked to this guy who was a minister or something for a church and was comfortable with his church. In the USA I would expect someone like that to just walk away or even maybe say a rude comment or two but here he said I respect you so I want to listen to what is it that you believe. They are so sincere. It really is amazing. The traffic/streets here are insane. They are tiny and all of the cars absolutely fly every where and there are a million and a half huge buses all over the place, not to mention all of the motorcycles who all ride in the middle of the road flying past traffic, haha. It's crazy. Sorry I can't upload any pictures, the computers here aren't capable of sending them for some reason. Next email hopefully I can. I'm super excited to get in the field and get a braziliero comp. It's hard to describe how nice they are, haha, they are instantly your best friend. And they love seeing you trying to speak the language. It's been a long week but at the same time it has flown by. Skyping is going to be really quick only 15 minutes because there are so many missionaries here but I'm excited to talk to you guys again. love ya I'm doing great.
Elder Mountain

Email letter that we received on May 18, 2014, once he arrived in Rio! A sure trial of our patience! He arrived in Rio on Tuesday (13th) and the email came on Sunday......but he's there!!! :)

VISA!!!! VISA!!! Time to say goodbye to AZ :(

Email from Gilbert Arizona Mission, received April 23, 2014

Brother & Sister Mountain,
We wanted to give you a heads up that Elder Mountain’s visa to Brazil has cleared and he will travel on Tuesday, April 29th.  Attached below is the entire itinerary.
When he’s at the Phoenix Airport, he is allowed to call you if there is time before boarding.  Also, it looks like he’ll have a couple of hours layover in the Atlanta airport, where he may also be able to call you at that point before boarding the plane for Rio.  If you have a preference on when you’d like him to call , or if you would like to get a message to Elder Mountain, email me back and I’ll get the message to him.
Elder Mountain is a fine missionary and we have thoroughly enjoyed having him here in the Arizona Gilbert Mission!  Actually, we hate to see him go!  We believe he has grown, and hopefully having been in Arizona will be a treasured memory for him also.  Thank you for raising a fine son.
Sister Cathy Thornock
Mission Secretary
Arizona Gilbert Mission

A text picture we received from a family in AZ. Elder Mountain was on his goodbye tour! 

Weekly Email - April 28, 2014

Man what crazy news, I never thought this visa would ever come. So you guys found out on Wednesday? I didn't find out till Saturday night. I am really excited, hard to leave here I have been in this area so long, it's like leaving home all over again. I am really excited, a little nervous about the language and all but really excited. How I found out about my visa is a kinda funny story. I guess President Nattress was supposed to call me on Friday to tell me, but he forgot. On Saturday evenings the Thornocks who live in Highland ward and also are office staff for the mission have all of the missionaries in the area over for root beer floats. When Elder Ramon and I got there (we were on exchanges that day), Elder Thornock asks, "So you know right?" "Do I know what?" "Are you serious you haven't heard?" "I haven't heard what?" I thought he was pulling my leg, Elder Thornock is a funny jokester kinda guy and I didn't even suspect that my visa came. I hardly thought about my visa at all to be honest. Then he tells me "Your visa came Elder Mountain, you will be out of here in 3 days!!!". I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. It is going to be a lot of adjusting I know, but I am excited for it. It's going to be hard to leave the members and missionaries that I have gotten to know here. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve here. I was quite lucky to be able to be a part of the temple open house and dedication here. That was incredible to be a part of. I am definitely going have to introduce you guys to a lot of people here afterwards. So today and tomorrow are going  to be some crazy days. I have a lot of the packing done already but it's gonna be really close to fitting into the 50 weight requirement. The type writer definitely can't come, haha. I was able to say bye to a lot of people yesterday and hopefully be able to see some more today. They announced that was leaving in Monterey Sacrament meeting, which took me by complete surprise. There are so many members I am going to miss. Today I hope to see T--- one more time and E--- is going to take elder Jewkes and I out to eat. It will be great to see him again. Other than the visa news the week was great. There was an expanded Zone Conference for our stake and the stakes around us where all the missionaries plus all of the members in the are are invited hear Pres Nattress speak to us. It was really awesome. Every time I hear him speak I feel like I'm in the presence of an apostle or something, haha. He just radiates with the Spirit, haha. So this evening I will be picked up by the assistants and will spend tonight at the mission home and then fly out in the morning. I am super excited!!! 
love you guys!!!
Elder Mountain

Elder Mountain and Elder Ramon, great friends!!

Birthday and rumors of transfer!!! oh, and another baptism!!

Weekly Email - April 21, 2014
Elder Mountain's birthday dinner & cake with this amaZing family!!! I love them!!!

Hey family thanks for the happy birthday wishes. Thanks for the package and all of the cards, been a great bday so far. The sisters in the district are making me a cake apparently, haha, and we ate at Sonic after we went shopping at Walmart. I have been recording every night what happens with the recorder I got last week. C---'s baptism was so dang awesome. The ward supported him really well there was a lot of youth there. His friend McKenna, who gave him a book of Mormon with her testimony in it a couple months ago, gave a really good talk on baptism. The spirit was so strong there. The baptism pictures are on Elder Jewkes' camera and he forgot it so I will send some pictures of it to you next week. C--- was confirmed on Sunday, it was pretty neat to happen on Easter Sunday. We missed Monterey Sacrament Meeting because both of our wards now start at the same time. They will fix that during transfers I'm sure. Interviews with President happened this week, interviews are always so awesome. We all had about 15 or so minutes. He hinted that I will be leaving the area next transfer, I have been here a while. I would like to stay if I can but change is good too. Went to the Easter Pageant with C----- this week. The pageant was incredible, it is so well done. It was crazy how many people were there. My guess would be 5000-7000 people, if not more. It was absolutely packed. It was a really good experience for C-----. On Sunday we had a investigator come to church out of no where. C--------, who was baptized about a year ago and is 17, also just turned his papers in for his mission, brought his mom to church. We have been trying to meet with her for a while. She really wants to meet but is busy with work because she is a single mom. Hopefully we can meet her this week. She really liked church. Did you guys see the "Because of Him" Easter video the church released. We shared it in a lot of our member visits this week. It's a great video. Also have you guys seen all of the bible videos on Watch those if you haven't. they are incredible. We share them once and a while. Elder Parsons and Ramon both were pretty sick this week. Elder Ramon had the flu and Elder Parsons has pneumonia. It was a pretty sick apartment, haha. Luckily I have felt fine so far. It was a pretty good week otherwise. Can't believe it's the last week of the transfers. Love you guys!!!! Thanks for the package and all!!!

Elder Mountain  

Elder Ramon posing in front of Nate's flag.

View from Gilbert apartment! Elder Mountain spent 7 months living on Guadalupe Road :)

Saying goodbye to a favorite member missionary!