First Steps

Dear Family and Friends,

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.

The municipality contains the Urugay River, which forms a border with Argentina.)

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)

My new companions name is Bruno Zequini. He is from São Paulo, and he is a really cool guy. We are getting along much better than my last companion and I. My language skills have improved greatly, but I still am finding it difficult. But I have only been down here a week, so I am not complaining.

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)

Oh this is interesting. I am the first American to be assigned to serve in São Luiz Gonzaga in 10 years. according the Branch President here.

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
Santa Maria-RS

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.