Yes I got to Dourados by bus and it was not too shabby. The roads are filled with potholes as far as the eye can see so it was bumpy but the seats weren't bad. Didn't sleep too well but that’s ok! What made my bus trip worthwhile was watching the sunrise from the window. That's not all, I saw the toucans waking up and flying as the sun was rising. At that point I didn't care if I couldn't sleep; all I wanted to do was watch the silhouettes of toucans flying! When we (Sister Vilhena and I) were in Campo Grande for a breakfast break we saw two scarlet macaws, which made my trip even better. We arrived safe and sound with our companions waiting for us, along with our ride to our FIRST LUNCH mmmm!
My trainer (Sister Pence) is super amazing! She’s as hard working as it gets and she is also very patient with me. We get along GREAT and we both work well together and we are motivated to do the Lord’s work. She is happy that I can speak both English and Portuguese so we really help each other out a lot. She helps me with learning the ropes and I in turn help her with the language. A suitable exchange don't you think? My comp and I have a motto now. "Pence, e voce vai sentir o Espiritu!" (since they pronounce her name like "pensar" pense"). It means "Ponder, and you will feel the Spirit."
My apartment is the coolest thing since sliced bread. We DO have a microwave, washing machine and two dishwashers (aka me and Sister Pence AHAHAHA), which makes our house look like Downton Abbey but I love it since it's nice, clean and simple to maintain. Hopefully I can attach photos. We are relatively close to the LAN house and supermarket along with surrounding houses.
Fun fact: my house gets up to 90 degrees daily. We have two fans (and the small one I brought is super weak but I figured its better than nothing) but we do a pretty good job of keeping cool. I think the Lord blesses us a LOT because there hasn’t been a day where I couldn’t handle the heat. The only times I’ve woken up were when I got a fever and another time when I needed to take medicine to fight my fever. Other than that I think we are well off, even if our house is hot hot like a tater tot!
As for conference, that's a yes and no. We watched it at church, but the sound in the chapel kept going off so we missed a majority of the talks. We finally gathered around a tube TV with the other Elders to watch the remainder of the morning session but that's it. Afternoon session was worse because I had an awful stomach ache and I ended up vomiting. Yes, that is why my header is Puke-ahontas! I am her. It sucked! My comp and I ate at this super nice bakery called "Pão da Hora," which looked safe and delicious but we both got sick. She didn't vomit but I did. She recovered before I got sick so I think it was food poisoning but I ended up missing all of conference yesterday because I had a fever and I was weak. As of now, I am feeling a lot better but this morning I felt weak. Ibuprofen is helping me a lot though :)
I am going to try to send photos in another email, let’s see how it goes :) I miss you all very much and I am happy that you are all doing OK. I loved the photos from last week and I’m gonna print out whatever I can today! Also I met Sister Marion last week, forgot to mention that. She knows some Espiritus in Texas apparently! She is really sweet.
I've got other emails and pics to send. I am well hydrated and the members have fed us well except for p-days and weekly planning, which is OK. I am eating healthy, apples, passion fruit and grapes along with my supplements.
Man, The Lord really answers prayers! There hasn't been a moment where I haven't felt blessed, even when I got sick. You know, the Elders gave me a blessing after I puked... They did it in Portuguese and at first I wasn't sure if I needed a priesthood blessing but after I vomited, I gave in. But it was one of the most wonderful blessings I've had. The District Leader gave me the blessing. He said that "Seu Pai Celestial está muito animado pra você servir aqui" (which translates to "your Heavenly Father is excited to have you serve") and I've never associated the word excitement with Heavenly Father before.... but with that said, I am more than motivated to serve Him with all my might if He is EXCITED for me! Not that I wasn’t motivated before, but the word excitement means there is a lot in store for me. I know I have a special work here and I will do what it takes to fulfill it. I am thankful for all of the love and support I have back at home and in other places and I can’t wait to hear from you next week.
P.S. The best thing about missionary work is this... even though I was tired, sweaty, and I could feel the mosquitos feasting on my legs, I didn't care because I was listening to the needs of my investigators/less actives and I forgot about myself entirely. It’s so great whenever I visit someone and I could forget about myself. It's a real blessing from the Lord. He helps us missionaries forget our troubles when we are doing our best to teach the gospel. That's why we can manage the heat and everything else with it! Also, one day my feet were hurting so bad and we were walking through downtown... and just as i was about done, I heard some noises and the next shop had BIRDS! So I took a minute break with my companion to admire the cockatiels and lovebirds before we continued on our way. Small miracles make the difference!