Monday, December 22, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! WOOHOOO It´s almost here! 

So I didn´t know this, but there are a few things that are different about how Brazilians celebrate Christmas than how we do things in the States. First, is that Christmas Eve is just a big of a party (if not bigger) as Christmas Day. So we got invited to a member´s house for Wendesday night. Lots of Panettonne :) Another thing is that Santa Claus doesn´t put the presents under the tree or by the fireplace. In Brazil he puts them on the foot of the kids´ beds! Imagine Saint Nick creepin in every kids´ bedroom! I remember that Santa at home always locked all the kids´ bedroom doors so they couldn´t find their presents until after Mom and Dad woke up haha. 

We´ll be spending Christmas Day with a family for lunch and Skype. The father is actually American (born in Portland OR), served a mission in Brazil, and came back and married a Brazilian. I´m guessing it´ll be around 3-4 my time (I think that´s around 9-10-in Oregon). Should be good! 

A lot of things to tell you guys today, since last Monday I hardly knew anything about how transfers were gonna go down, who´s my new companion, etc. Wednesday was the Mission Chritsmas Party, and it was a BLAST!! All 192 missionaries got together in Ibiuna, one of the places most west in the mission, and probably one of the most rural. I got some pictures of it all - it was so GREEN! It´s like the jungle of Brazil kind of a thing. The Church owns a camp/park there. The President let us change into our pday clothes, play volleyball, soccer, football, whatever. We gave our little skits from each of the zones, and then...? The President announced what movie we were gonna watch......and it was.......not Frozen :( I think it was some movie about Maleficent?) But the presentations took longer than everyone thought, so we didn´t watch any movie anyways. Turns out Frozen will have to wait just a little longer. 

It was great catching up on old times with old companions and other mission buddies, getting some good sun (actually too much - my neck has been burnt since Wednesday haha). The last part before the busses took us back on the 2 hour trip to our areas was the Transfer. Elder O is now in Osasco, not too far from here, and I´ll still see him at Leadership meetings and stuff. We worked really well together. Thank you again for sending the money to buy Elder O his shoes. Tuesday night, and it was the only time I´ve ever seen him cry. They fit him perfect, and he chucked his old shoes that the holes had gotten so big that little gravel rocks were getting inside. I´ll miss him a lot. Between Sunday and Wednesday we were visiting all the members he made friends with, and he was really a friend to everyone. Great example to me. The funny thing is, the night before I opened my suitcase to double-check the size while Elder O was taking a shower. Then I got a phone call, talked for a minute, and went to bed, forgetting my suitcase was wide open with a bright-orange shoe box sticking out. When I woke up to do my pushups, I thought for sure he already saw it, but after he got out of the shower he was so tired that he went straight to bed - phew!! You should´ve seen his face! You could tell that he was questioning himself if it was real or a dream haha

You can see the floor through the bottom of his shoes.  

And now, my new companion is...........Elder T. ! Not American, Not Brazilian, he´s.....from Peru! He´s got just over a year on the mission, but he´s been in Brazil for 5 years now. He´s got a really cool story. His mother died when he was 19 (5 years ago), and his stepfather wasn´t treating him very good, so he packed up and moved to Manaus, Brazil - alone! Got a job working on Honda motorcycles, and made a living for himself there. Not too long after, the elders got in touch with him, he accepted the gospel, and waited for his Brazilian citizenship to get finished. He´s definitely a miracle-missionary, like definitely against all odds he wouldn´t be here. He´s a straight-forward and serious guy. Hard worker. We´ve been getting some good work done in the last couple days since he´s got here. 

I´m super pumped for Christmas! It´ll be great talking with you. Tell Ninnie I´m loving all the Christmas stuff she´s sent me, especially the 25 Missionary Stories I´m reading every day. 

I love you all!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!

Elder Nissinen

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