Things here in São Luiz have been a little bit depressing. My companion and I have been working on finding all the inactive members of our branch, because our branch by February will become a Ward. But before that can happen we needed to find over 100 people to see if a) they were still living in São Luiz, b) if their address even existed c) if they had any interest in coming back or what. It turns out most are not. We found this couple who had been baptized many many years ago, and left the church and started frequenting another because even though they knew that our church is true, or at least they thought it was at the time they were baptized, it is far away and they started going to another because it is much closer to their house. We found many people with that attitude.
All is well otherwise. We are working hard, and we had a chance to relax and do little of nothing yesterday at Christmas Conference. It was good times. I got to relax from my work, and just hang out with my friends from the CTM. Although it was unfortunate that I forgot to re-apply sun screen on the back of my neck, and so now I have a really bad sunburn on my neck, but it will go away soon enough.
I was so glad to hear from my family on Christms. That was a pleasant treat. I got to relax and hear from people I love. There is little better than that.
Well I must get back to work. I do not know if the next time I write if I will be in a new city or with a new companion or if the status quo will be kept. All is possible it seems like.
Deus fique consegos até nós encontramos de novo.
Elder Caleb S. Carriere.
Dear Family and Friends,
I am glad to here that everyone is getting ready and gearing up for Christmas. I have received all the packages that were sent to me, I think. I have the one from Mom and Dad, Aly and Kris, and Team Moore. I especially like the team Moore package. I did not know the Virgin Mary had a Rino Fork T-shirt. I really got a laugh out of that one.
Things here have not improved much, although they have slightly. I pulled a muscle in my shoulder last week and I was in a lot of pain, thank goodness for Ibuprofen. I am fine now, but if Alyson or Erynn have any tips about how to stretch the left side of my body that would be spectacular. We also had Zone Conference which was nice. I got to hang out with some of the people I came here with from the CTM. I really love those guys and we are all going through the same thing right now so it is nice to have the month support system.
Another good thing was we had a baptism on Sunday, and guess what I got to baptize someone in Portuguese. It was great although I nearly killed the girl. Her name is Bruna and she is 9 years old. My companion and I explained to her that it is a good idea to pintch your nose when being baptized. So when it came time to do the deed I put her hand in front of her face and she did nothing, and I figured she did care to, so I dipped her in the water and when she came out the expression of horror, and freight has dramatic. I felt bad, but after she coughed up some water took a deep breath and she smiled at me so it is all good.
I am otherwise fine and in good spirits. I love hearing from you guys, and I look forward to hearing from you on Friday.
Deus fique contigo até nós encontramos novament.
Elder Caleb Carriere
Things are going well here, although this past week was as my companion put it, "ruin de mais" or in lousy translated English, sucked. We accomplished very little. We became as it is known in Brazilian Mormon culture, fubecas, or lazy. That word is only in the Church down here, it is like saying Jack Mormon or something like that.
It was not due to inherent laziness on the part of my companion and I, but more on the fault of a series of unfortunate events. It was a bad week. First off I ate something that did not agree with me and I have had many trips to the restroom, to put it in a non-vulger way. Then also, I cannot explain why, but I keep waking up at 4:30 in the morning and I cannot for the life of me fall back asleep; so I have been really, really tired as of late. Thank goodness it is P-Day so I can take a nap. Then my companion for the last month or so before he became my companion has developed a bad knee, which decided that this week it will really start acting up. So normally we would be able to walk a distance in 15 or 20 minutes now takes almost an hour. Then two nights ago our cell phone which he needs to gather numbers and relay them to our zone leaders broke.
Not to steal the title of those books, but this last week had a lot of unfortunate events.
Oh also, the girl that we were going to baptized needs more time now so hopefully we will baptize here this week. Fingers crossed.
On good new, I received two packages this week. The first of which was from Mom and Dad. Thank you both I need those pants greatly. They fit wonderfully. The other package was from Alyson. Sorry to say Aly if you where trying to keep what was in the package a secret I already now. Not because I have opened it, but because of the shipping manifest on the front of the package. So if it is not going to break your heart, I would like to open it soon, because I can really use the photos. If there is one thing Brazilians love it is photos and photos of ones family is better. So let me know if it is possible for me to break my promise.
Sorry Amy I have not received your package yet, but I hope to this week. I have Zone Conference where generally I will receive mail, and other things. Then the week after that is Christmas Conference where the entire mission will ascend upon Santa Maria and do something really haven't the slightest idea of what will happen save lots of photos.
Well I really do not have more to say than good luck. I love you all and I am looking forward to talking to you guys on Christmas. I only have an hour to talk and my companion is a bit of a Peter Priesthood kind of guy, who I guess would have no qualms hanging up the phone for me if I went over the limit, so keep that in mind. I think the plan of action is that we are going to go to the Chapel and use the phone there. It is more private that way, so next week I will have more instructions about the phone call.
I love you guys and I hope you are doing well,
Elder Caleb S. Carriere.
So I was dumb and deleted the first message that I wrote you all so I am going to make this one shorter for I do not have the time to make it another long one.
Things here are doing great. Christmas has come early for me. We had two baptisms on Sunday. They are Janete and Jonas. They are mother and son. Their father is a member and a return missionary, he preformed the baptism. It was awesome.
We also have another baptism coming up on Saturday. I am excited for that one as well. Her name is Charmene. We will baptize her on Saturday and then she will be confirmed a member not on that following Sunday but the next for that Sunday is District Conference. This place does not have a stake yet so it is a District and my mission president will give a talk which ought to be cool.
I have pictures, but as my companion has informed me I am not supposed to use photobucket which is no good because I dread uploading photos via myldsmail.net. I would rather have my head bashed in. So I will be sending my SD card to Alyson or Seth soon to upload my pictures.
I had more to say, but I no longer have the time to do it. Sorry to say.
I love you all and hope you are doing well.
Elder Caleb S. Carriere
Sorry I have to make this one short and sweet. I am alive and well. I am teaching more than I did in my last transfer. Transfers happen every 6 weeks. To answer Seth's question I do not know just a fried egg.
My new companion and I get alone fine. His name is Elder Matos and he is from northern most part of brazil, I have forgotten the name.
I am well, and I will talk to you all later. on the phone maybe.
Elder Caleb S. Carriere
It has continued to rain with growing frequency. I was told by one of the members that this is normal for spring in Rio Grande do Sul. I am just glad all the hot days of spring are more or less behind me now. Although I will be expecting much warmer days ahead come summer, but I will keep that in the back of my mind.
As you might have guessed it is my pan ultimate day with Elder Zequini as my companion. He will be moving on and be the Zone Leader of a city near the border of Uruguay (I think that is how it is spelled). I will be staying in São Luiz Gonzaga, well sort of. I will go to Santa Maria and meet my new companion. His name is Elder Matos. I do not know anything about him other than that his is a cool guy and that he is Black or so they say. They have a different definition of Black than we do, but I will assume that he is. Everyone says that I am lucky to have him as my new companion, so I am looking forward to it.
This was an eventful week, sort of. Sunday was good. Really good. The family that we have been teaching is making great strides to becoming baptized. Even in the pouring rain they made it to Church. Well my companion and I went on divisions while he and a member of the branch went and picked them up. The fact of the matter is that they came.
Also on Sunday, I had my first true churrasco ( Barbeque of the gáucho). It was really good although I am eating way too much carbs and meat. Rice with every meal and lots of meat. I still am 20 pounds lighter than I was, but I am somewhat nervous that I will gain it all back and then some. Well, knock on wood.
I also in the same event ate something a little strange, but not as strange as chicken heart. It had the pleasure, or whatever you would like to call it, of eating barbecued kidney. It was good. I would not like to have it again, but of all the tastes it could have had it was good. It did not taste like I would have imagined an organ meant to filter out your blood to make urine would taste like.
I also received a bunch of letters today so I have to start writing. I again want to thank you all for your love and support and I will talk to you all later.
Elder Caleb S. Carriere
It has been one month and three days since I left the CTM and entered the mission field. It is strange that I have been out for so long. I know this is a cliche to say but, I feels like it was only yesterday that I was sitting at home with you all.
Nothing especially exciting has happened. I am teaching. The progress in this city is slow, but we are making it.
Oh, there was something last week noteworthy. I had my first zone conference. I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot, and I got to talk with my mission president once more, and in Portuguese. Believe it or not I am actually finally starting to get a hold of the language. I just need now to learn more vocab and work on pronunciation then I will be like a really Brasileiro. But forming my thoughts is coming much more quickly. I am really loving it.
This here have cooled down some. Most of last week it rained, and when I say it rained, it truly rain. It rained every day with out fail and most off the day. There was only 10 hours one day when it was not raining. But I liked it. I finally got to use that rain coat. It works great by the way.
Well life rolls on. I will talk to you all later.
Elder Caleb S. Carriere
Guiherme's Final Words to my District before we all left the CTM
Goodbye Sao Paulo....HELLO....
I had my first companion exchange. It works somewhat differently than in the United States. I actually had to travel by bus to a city called Santa Angelo, and there the division, as it is called, began. My companion for three days was Elder Borges. He is from Salvador Brazil. Which is half way between Reicife and Rio de Janeiro. He is also on of my two Zone Leaders. He is a cool guy. He taught me a lot in the two and a half days I was his companion.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel. The family that I had been teaching,
Oh, I have also some more good news. I have lost 21 pounds in total since I arrived in Brazil. I started out at 192 and now weight 171. Things are looking good for me, I feel better, and everything is going great. Mom, do not worry I am eating three meals a day and drinking at least a gallon of water a day if not more. Alyson, I would like it if you would send me that workout you were talking about. I think it is from P90X. The jail cell work out? I think that is what it is called. I do not remember it was so long ago.
I am also going to be sending Amelia and Ashton a present soon. I think I might send it to Mom first and have her mail it to you guys because I do know what the postage of shipping baby bottles is here in Brazil. The reason I will send you baby bottles is because they are really cheap here. The other reason is that there are two soccer teams here in Rio Grande do Sul that people really love. Grêmio
I am doing really well otherwise. I would love to hear more from you guys. Let me know whats new and what not. How is Seth liking his new job? I hope he is.
Well, I bet be getting off now.
Elder Caleb S. Carriere
It is time for my weekly update about the life and times of Elder Caleb S. Carriere. Things have not changed much. I am still working hard, but things are moving at a snails pace when it comes to tracking. We are still getting a lot of I am Catholic or Evangelical and the door being promptly closed. We have made a couple of promising investigators however, so I will keep you posted on that when anything more noteworthy derives from it.
It has been hot. How hot one might ask, well I will tell you. It has been in and around 100 degrees everyday this week. It really has been tasking, but I am still doing really well.
I had a funny moment the other night. I was so hot and sweaty and I needed to cool off, so I took a bath. We do not have a bathtub, but we do however have a large outdoor mason sink which I plugged the drain with a plastic grocery bag. It was tight, but it felt good really really good. I have a picture, and I would post it on Photobucket.
I will post the picture however on this email.
My companion and I are getting along great. I am still teaching him English and he is still teaching me Portuguese, well everyone feels the need to teach me Portuguese. It is kind of annoying actually. There is one member who has taken the burden upon herself that I must be fluent now, and gets quite upset with me when I cannot pronounce something correctly only after 3 weeks of speaking the language, and then she ask me to teach her English, which I have been. Oh well, life is good.
The reason that I am writing today instead of yesterday day was yesterday was the Day of the Dead... oooooooo, and our mission president asked us if we would go out to the cemeteries and teach the plan of salvation to those who would listen which was very few. The cemeteries here are really cool. Every family has their pastel colored crypts and tombs. They look like houses and I would even go farther to say that most of these crypts are nicer than some of the actually houses here. There was one funny moment, well funny might now be the word I would use, but a moment were an older lady asked us if we would accompany her to her family crypt. So Elder Zequini and I did and she was talking up a storm. I did not understand one word she was saying, and then she had us light candles with her. Since I am not Catholic and do not believe in these superstitions I was taken aback that she would ask us to do that, but we lit the candles and Elder Zequini said a prayer afterward and that was that.
I did not take any pictures of the cemetery. I will later though.
Well, that has been my week.
Love you all and thank you for your support.
Elder Caleb Spencer Carriere.
Everything here is going... well for the most part. Although my feet have been killing me, and I have many blisters on my feet from walking many miles a day. I do not know the actual number, but a lot. I have a picture of one that is honestly the size of a quarter. It is under my left big tough (TOE) ( I honestly cannot remember how to spell that word) and it kills walking on it, especially due to the roads here. There are some that are paved with blacktop, but the rest are a hodgepodge of dirt, or more commonly are these roads that are kind of brick, but instead of being nice and flat and rectangular they are instead these large and jagged volcanic roads that send your ankles every which way when you step on them.
But I digress, I really love it here, and I think that Dad would love it as well. It is a community of farmers, and the landscape is honestly great. I have not taken a picture yet, but I will soon. I found Eyrnn´s note that she left in my Portuguese dictionary. It says "Preciso lavar minha roupas," which is actually conjugated correctly except it would be minhas, because it has to agree with the number as well as the gender.
The family that I have been teaching are doing well, although I do not think that the others will be baptized, because the parents of the family are not married, and I do not think that they will. It is a very common thing down here in smaller towns of Rio Grande do Sul for couples to live together as if they were marriage and not get a marriage license, because it is difficult to get one and it takes 30 days or so to apply for one. So if they do get baptized it will be more than likely not by me or Elder Zequini. But the two oldest daughters are baptized so that is good. They second oldest daughter and the father came to church on Sunday. I felt really good about that.
I also helped in giving a blessing yesterday as well. Irmã Bastos has been sick and her family asked if Elder Zequini and I would give her a blessing. It was a cool moment for me, although I had to give the anointing in English.
That is it for me. I have one thing to ask of you guys, if you want I would like for all toughs who would like to, to prepare to go through an endowment session when I get home. I would like to do that with all of you.
Elder Caleb S. Carriere
How is everyone doing? I am doing really well. My time here has been different from what I am used too but in a good way.
First off I would like to say congratulations to Ashton. Congratulations my friend, taking those first steps are a hard but important thing. I have been taking some new steps down here in Brazil.
Santa Maria is great. Although I am not in Santa Maria. I am in a city 4 hours drive north west of Santa Maria called São Luiz Gonzaga.
(São Luiz Gonzaga (Portuguese for St. Aloysius Gonzaga) is a municipality of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. It is located 503 km west of the state capital of Porto Alegre, northeast of Alegrete.
80km/50mi west of Santo Angelo is San Luiz Gonzaga (pop. 60,000). The town's principal feature of interest is the pilgrimage church of Caaró, in which two Jesuit saints, Roque Gonzales and Afonso Rodrigues, founders of the "Guaraní Republic" (so called from the Guaraní Indians whom the Jesuits settled in the mission area in the 17th century), are venerated. Taken from Wikapedia)
We are teaching a family right now. They are awesome, although they have been going through some hard times. They have three daughters and one son. The oldest two daughters have already been baptized, but the oldest one has had some difficulties, which I do not feel comfortable talking about. They are really awesome though.
The city is really small. Only about 33,000 people here, and my companion and I are really the only two missionaries for this town. He is also my district leader, and the next closest duplas (companionship in Portuguese) is a hours or two bus trip from here.
I have had a lot of chimarrão here. It is this tea stuff. I really do not know how to discribe it, but it is rocket hot and still really good. If you can find a picture on the interweb of it and post it on the blog that would be great.
Also, My mission president is one of the greatest men I have ever meet. He is really an inspired man. I would not be at all surprised if you see Rodrigo Myrrha as an Apostle one day, or at the very least a General 70. He has already been a bishop, Stake President, an Area 70, and now he is a Mission President, and he is only 45.
(Rodrigo de Lima e Myrrha, 45, Brazil Santa Maria Mission; Pampulha Ward, Belo Horizonte Brazil Pampulha Stake; Area Seventy; former stake president, bishop, ward mission leader and missionary in the Brazil Sao Paulo South Mission. Commercial director, Escadas Sintese. Born in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, to Nelson Myrrha Junior and Emerita Ines de Lima. Married Alessandra Choairy Coelho, two children.
Sister Myrrha is a former ward Relief Society and Primary president, counselor in a ward Young Women presidency, stake choir director and seminary teacher. Born in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, to Newton Rodart and Maria de Jesus Choairy Coelho. Taken from the Chruch News)
Everything is going great. I love you all, and I will speak to you again later.
Elder Caleb S. Carriere
PS. If you mail me anything send it to this address
Elder Caleb Spencer Carriere
Caixa Postal 0339
Also, something that I was told helps with packages was to gett stickers of Christ, or the Virgin Mary, or the Cross, or other Catholic Iconary and place them over the seal of the box or just anywhere on the box helps because they are very superstitious about things that have to do with catholic dogma. Just a thought. I love you guys and I hope to talk to you again. I checked my passport, and I should be getting home sometime around July 22, 2011. Just a heads up for any vacations that you might be planning. But then again I also read on my paper that it was the 29th of the same month. I cannot remember. Oh well.
Love your son,
Also I only receive mail twice a transfer now. So you do not have to be so frequent in you letter writing, but keep up the emails. I will still continue to write you all as often as occasion allows.
It has finally arrived. I am one week out from the field, and to be honest I really am not worried about it. I have discovered that I really cannot speak the language yet. I can read it. I can somewhat understand it, and if I have time I can throw out a sentence here and there, but nothing that would wow anyone, I am just working at my own pace and that is all that I can do.
This last week was honestly the best week I have ever had at the CTM. I was focused and accomplished a lot. I have been reading Jesus The Christ in my free time, and I have to say that I really love this book. I am only 50 some odd pages into it, but I know that James E. Talmage was an inspired man, not to mention a man with a mastery of the English language. If fact my old AP and I were talking abut it and evidently Albert Einstein was asked a question that he did not know the answer to and his response said "Go ask Talmage."
The other big event was Friday. It was our chance to go and track in the heart of Down Town São Paulo. You guys would have been so proud of me. I was truly inspired of the Lord that day. My companion and I were looking for a place to start, and I had this feeling that we needed to go to this particular building with a lot of statues in front of it. I also had a large granite fountain with a lip where people could sit and read and such. We walk up to it, and there was a gentleman sitting reading a book. My companion and I both looked at each other and say "this is the guy we need to teach." Since it was my turn to start off I approached him and say "Tudo Bem!" expecting a response in Portuguese, but the gentleman Says hello in English and begins to tell us that he speaks English and lived in London for 5 or 6 years. His name is Joâo (John in English). He is a devout Catholic, but he loves to read and is open to new ideas, and because of this he took our copy of the Book of Mormon and then said that he admired us for taking the time out of our lives to come down here and experience another culture and said it "bring light unto others." I know that the Book of Mormon is going to have a profound change upon him. I know it.
Another man that we taught after giving him a copy of the Book of Mormon and getting him to commit to read it reached into his Wallet and gave my companion 10 reais. We tried to explain to him that it was a gift and free and we could not except it, but he was not having any of it. This allowed my companion to have dinner that night. Which leads me to my next great moment of that day. We were able to eat McDonald's.
I never thought I would be so excited to eat at McDonald's, but I was over joyed. It was one of the best things I have eaten in 47 days at that point and honestly the best thing I´ve had since. It cost me 15 reais, which is about 7 or 8 dollars for a medium fries, coke, and a Big and Tasty which was the only sandwich they had left. I have never had something so angelic from a fast food restaurant let alone McD`s.
Then there was conference. I loved every minute of it. I watched every session save the Relief Society and soaked in the words of the Prophet and the Apostles and all other speakers. I have never been so attentive for it in my life. I really like Elder Hollands talk, and also President Uchtdorf´s talk during Priesthood.
I would write more, but I really have not done anything else save those things which is note worthy.
I love you guys, I hope all things are going well, and I hope to hear form you all soon.
Sincerely your son and friend,
Elder Caleb S. Carriere
PS. I am almost out of here. I am so happy. Oh I forgot... I leave sometime Tuesday morning for the airport where I will fly to Porto Alegria, then I take a bus to Santa Maria. I will spend the night at the mission home, then get my new companion. I will not know until then so I really cannot say who it will be. I hope it is either an American who has 6 months left or a Brazilian who can speak English well enough that I can make my point if needs be. I am looking forward to this all the same.
again Love from,
Elder Caleb S. Carriere
Alright the Roman things was a bit of a joke, but all the same I am in good spirits. How are you guys doing? Tudas Coisas aqui no Brasil é ir muito bom. That roughly translates to everything here in Brazil is going very well. I might be off in my sentence structure, but all the same.
I have been doing really well, and I see that my photos have been put on to the blog. Do I not looks skinnier. I feel it to. None of my pants fit me anymore and I have to keep my hands in my pockets in order to keep them up when I walk. They fall down if I do not keep them up. My belt does not work either. I do not have my stomach anymore to keep it on my body.
Things here about the same. I do not have anything more to tell you other than that. I have not lost any weight from last week. I am still at 15 pounds. The other thing is that we are working on the Second lesson in Portuguese. I got to teach about the Atonement with my instructor Irmão Melo (that is brother Melo in English). I felt really good about it.
My Portuguese has been improving a lot over the last week. I am understanding more, and reading more, but speaking is still a trouble, but I know that with time I will get it.
I got letters from Mom, Alyson, and Erynn. Sorry Amy your package has not arrived yet, but I hope to get in the next week. I have written Mom, back, and I am going to send Dad a post card today. So I hope that you guys will see São Paulo. It is something... I really have no way of describing it. It is the second largest city in the World, and it is evident by all the large buildings and congested highways.
I am in high spirits. I am really excited for Friday, and the weekend in General, but on Friday we are going to go proselyting in Down Town São Paulo. I am super excited. I have been waiting on pins and needles to have another try at it.
I leave in 13 days for the field. Eu vou partir em 13 dias para o campo.
Dad was wondering about how I am going to get to Santa Maria from São Paulo. From what I have been told I will be leaving the CTM around 5 to 6 in the morning to get to the airport. From the Airport we fly to Porto Alegria, which is the capital of Rio Grande do Sul. Once we arrive in Porto Alegria we will be picked up by some of the AP's of the Porto Alegria Mission who will put us on a Bus and then we will be bused to Santa Maria. I have heard the trip takes anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. Then we will be picked up by our AP and then go to the mission home where I have heard we will spend the night there until the next morning, then we will go to our areas.
I would ask that you all put my mission home address on the blog. By the time I get anymore letters from you guys I will be in Santa Maria and I will take a transfer or two to get anything to me if it was sent to the CTM.
I love you guys, and I love to hear from you all. It bring joy to my week, and lets me know that I am supported by those I love.
I will talk to you later,
Elder Caleb S. Carriere