Dear Family and Friends and all those in the cheap seats,
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