Monday, December 31, 2012

Elder O and I being silly with a machete
 
The dead lizard we found in our water pipe.
Our washer is still flooding. Maybe there's one more in there.



Christmas!

I spent my Christmas morning (about 1 am) sitting on the floor of another companionships house. After the caroling and HUGE dinner on Christmas Eve, we waited for a taxi because our house was super far away. A taxi never came because they were too busy driving all the drunks. A miracle happened and somehow a nonmember stopped by and gave us all rides, but this was already at about 2 in the morning on Christmas morning. While we were sitting, waiting for a taxi, I was talking with another American about how we spend Christmas. It definitely brought back some really good memories of all the lights off, except the Christmas tree, and how cozy it felt. Also about how you would make muffins after opening gifts, and it would smell the house up. There were a lot of other details that we talked about that I never realized before until I didn't have them on my Christmas day haha. It was good though! It made me really appreciate the tight family we have because on Christmas day (after lunch) we went to work. I saw a lot of people sitting on the sidewalks that have absolutely nothing (including a house) except the clothes on their back and a bottle of alcohol next to them. It was really sad... We seriously have it SOO well in the US where we live. I wish you could spend one day with me and see the things we see.

That Christmas package was AMAZING!!! I absolutely loved all of the gifts that went with the scriptures and a lot of them made me laugh!! Thank you soooooo much!!! The other missionaries that I'm living with were drooling over all the candy and snacks inside haha :)

FREAKING BRAND NEW HOUSE!!! So this past week we moved houses because the house we were in sucked hardcore haha. Long story short, the house is amazing because the house was just built and we're the first ones to live in it. The only problem is that when we started our washer for the clothes for the first time, it started to flood where the dirty water exits. It wasn't that big of a deal because it's outside, but we found the problem of why it was flooding. A dead lizard (about the length of your hand and fore-arm combined) was hanging out in the piping when we turned on the water. It drowned him out and we found him floating at the top of the pipe that went into the ground. We think there's another one in the piping that's stuck because we're still getting flooding, so yeah..... hahahaha. Fun stuff :) I'm sorry, I don't have any pictures right now, but I'll work on it!!

A challenge for you and dad... I highly encourage that you read and study "Teaching Chastity and Virtue" by Matthew O. Richardson (Oct. 2012 Liahona). I was studying this talk during my study time and all I could think of was Parker. We need him to know NOW that our bodies are sacred. I just don't want anything to happen to him. You and dad are AMAZING parents, but it's scary how early kids are doing things. I've seen kids (about 10 years old) with cigarettes, tattoos, a bottle of alcohol next to them, and who knows what other things they've done. It's weird... It's so weird...

We were FINALLY able to get a family of four to come to church with us and it was amazing!! I thought it went really well and they said they liked that, so I take that as a thumbs up :)

PS. Tell John Timms I said hi!

LOVE YOU SOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!
Elder Steed

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The last 3 weeks-Humbling

(Tuesday 11/27/12) It's so hot here. Hahaha. Immediately as I stepped off the plane I started melting in my suit. The first day I got to Teresina, we all went to the mission home and were taught about how to survive here. Hahaha. President Seidschlag and his wife are so awesome! I feel like they're going to be great. I had hardly eaten anything all morning long, so at about 3:00 pm President and Sister Seidschlag took us all out to this buffet restaurant where I ate like a king. I felt like I cleaned them out. We then just sat around the mission home (it's more like an office type setting) until we were interviewed. The "Portuguese 24/7" thing is killing me. There's been some Brasilians here that speak pretty good English, so they've helped out a lot. Oh, I forgot to tell you . . . I went up with Elder R, Elder W, Elder A, Elder L and three other Brasilians.

Later that night, we took our stuff to an apartment where we stayed that night. That night was probably the hardest night since I've been in Brasil. I was covered in sweat and felt so nasty, we had one little ceiling fan that hardly worked, there were ten of us in a room, about the size of our living room, on bunk beds. And then six others that actually live there slept in different rooms. The place was so nasty and packed, but I guess I'll have to get used to it. We never got dinner (I think because of the big lunch) so I munched on some Doritos that you gave me (thank you so much). I definitely cried that night to myself and said, "What am I doing here?" I prayed really long and hard for strength and some sort of hope to get through this. I really started having doubts and regretting my decision to go on a mission. I really hate to say that, but that's what was going through my head that night. That day was not good to me at all.

(Wednesday 11/28/12) I definitely think my prayers were answered because the next day was a lot better. We were at the church all day learning about the specifics about being a missionary, our credit card, baptismal goals, schedule, teaching techniques, stuff like that. We also got our companion and area. My companions name is Elder O. He's from Sao Paulo and has super dark skin - haha. He's been out for a year and eight months. He seems like such a cool guy, but he speaks way crazy fast so I have him repeat almost everything he says or I just nod my head and pretend like I know what he's saying. I haven't had/ to do that a lot though. I'm going to Sobral which is right next to the boundary of the Fortaleza Mission (to the east). I was told it can get a little windy there, which is awesome. I also heard that it's a fairly well rounded area. What that exactly means, I have no idea. We were at the church from about 9 am until 7 pm. It was lots and lots of Portuguese-only. After that we went to President and Sister Seidschlag's place to eat. They literally live in this penthouse in a skyscraper apartment thing. It's so nice and they had maids working for them. That was such a glorious dinner. I slept a lot better that night.

(Thursday 11/29/12) I've been writing all of this on the six hour bus ride to Sobral. This morning has been a little rough on me. I said goodbye to the last Americans I know and I'm pretty much throwing away English for the next couple months. It's been so so so hard to communicate with my companion because I know what I want to say in English, but I'm having to baby down my sentences just to get my point across. As we were sitting at the bus station, waiting for the bus, I started thinking about stuff and all of a sudden I started to ball my eyes out. My companion asked if I missed my family and all I could do was nod my head. I kept saying, "It's so hard, it's so hard." He put his arm around me and said that everything is going to be okay. I immediately stopped crying, shook it off, grabbed my things, and followed him onto the bus.

I'm now in Sobral and it's Monday, December 3rd. I haven't had any time to write because I've been so busy. Things are definitely a lot better now. But seriously though, I can't describe it on paper and I did a crappy job at trying, but I was a mess those first couple of days after I left the CTM. Mentally, physically, and spiritually drained. I think once I got settled in, things started to roll. My companion has been a life-saver. I'm living in a "descent" apartment with amazing elders. The people here are amazing, the members have been so loving, and the Portuguese is coming a little better.

The first morning I woke up here, I woke up to what sounded like screaming children (I kid you not). It turns out they have a pig and goat/lamb auction thing right outside our window. They're all still alive and they know where they are going and so they scream bloody-murder. It's such a weird thing. I guess they do this almost every morning, but it's only happened three (I've lost count - hahaha) times since I've been here.

Also on the first day, I got to go to the ghetto of Sobral. It was seriously probably one of the most humbling things I've seen. I felt embarrassed to be an American and about the things I complain about. We went to go meet the Bishop there, to have lunch at his place. They're probably one of the nicest families I've met and they made us a huge lunch that was so good.

Every day here we've had lunch at a members house and they've fed us well. I don't eat dinner until I get back at 9:00 pm which kinda sucks, but whatever.

It's amazing how accepting the people are here. You can almost go up to anyone, talk to them for a little, and then ask if you can come by some other time and they'll almost always accept. This first week, we've only met members and done street contacts. We haven't taught any lessons yet.

Ah! If you can find it (I'm pretty sure you can on Youtube), look up "The Atonement: How It Applies To Missionary Work". That stuff gets me going . . . To me, I think this is the best thing the church has put out. Actually, I don't think the church made it. It might have been a member. It has President Eyring and Elder Holland speaking in it. It's got piano music in it if that helps at all. It's such an inspiring video non-the-less. (Here is the address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6FKiNVbw3Y)

So some basics about how I'm staying alive . . . haha. Each morning for breakfast I have oatmeal with cut up bananas and apples along with some bread. I thought I was super awesome for eating healthy, but it's starting to get really old. I think I'll need to change it up real soon here. And about the piece of bread . . . I've been eating hamburger buns. Why? Because that's what missionaries do! And plus I can. Hahaha. For lunch we've always eaten at a members place. Nothing too crazy yet. Always rice and beans along with possibly spaghetti noodles, lasagna, some sort of meat, and soda haha. For dinner, we don't eat until 9 when we get back. It's usually just been snackyish foods or something really easy to make like top ramen.

The language is going okay. I can communicate with my companion fairly well, but with other people it's a little tricky. My companion knows how I speak so he can understand. With other people, some things don't make sense because of the way I say it. The hardest thing of all is understanding . I'm having the hardest time understanding people. During a lesson I can follow along fairly well because it's gospel material, but most things outside of that, I'm lost. There have been many lessons where all I've done is bare my testimony at the end. One of the other elders I'm living with said that a super great way to speak is to literally drop all English, especially with studying. I should only use my English books if I can't figure out what it's saying. Another good thing he said to do was to read the Book of Mormon in Portuguese out loud.

About washing my clothes, we've got a washer here to ourselves. But we don't have a dryer . . . so we have to hand dry everything. It's actually not too bad, just a little time consuming because the washer takes about three hours to do its thing, and then hand drying takes another good couple of hours.

THE TAN LINES ARE BEGINNING TO FORM!!!!!! I've got a descent watch tan line now and I know it's only going to get worse hahaha. It gets sooo hot here, but the super amazing part is that there's wind here in Sobral. There's almost always a nice little breeze, which saves me from the heat. But really . . . it's hot here.

I'm not sure if I made this clear, but I'm living with three other guys. My companion and another companionship. The other elders are Elder B and Elder A. They're both Brasilian, but Elder B looks like he's American. They're both so amazing, pretty clean, very organized, and on top of things. I think the messiest one is my companion, but it's not even that bad.

So I'm working on a package to send to you guys for Christmas, But I know you won't get it in time, so please be looking for that! I haven't sent it yet because I'm still trying to figure things out and make it. It won't be much, but I'll do my best :).

After the first four days, we started walking A LOT! Each night when we would come home, I would be absolutely disgusting, covered in sweat and feeling so sticky and everything would hurt. I would shower, eat a little, write in my journal, and as soon as my head would hit the pillow, I'd be out. I remember one night as I was laying on my bed, about to go to sleep, I was saying to myself "OH MY GOSH! THIS BED FEELS SOOOO GOOD!" even though it's probably the crappiest bed. Hahaha.

As a missionary, I'm starting to appreciate some of the simplest things. One time a member gave us some ice cream. I lit up like a Christmas tree because it was so hot and it was the most perfect thing at that moment.

I love you so much!!!!!!
Elder Steed

Monday, December 17, 2012

Great Companion!

So I guess I was able to get a little email time in today! I'm in Teresina right now because we had a conference with the Area President (or something like that haha). It was amazing.. at least for the parts I could understand haha. We spent 8ish hours traveling yesterday by bus to get here. We've got until I think 10:30 pm to do whatever (because that's when our bus leaves).

About the Skype and Christmas situation... I have ZERO idea about what's going to happen and it's so frustrating. I'm for sure going to figure it all out this week and then I'll be able to tell you next Monday (Christmas Eve).

So it turns out I've got one of the better areas in the Teresina Mission. It's also one of the hotter areas (right behind Teresina). We've got cleaner water here (I'm still not going to take my chances and drinking it) in Sobral. Today at the conference, people were telling me that they were jealous of my area haha. Being here in Teresina, I miss Sobral because it is soo miserably hot here!!

About the missionary work... We haven't baptized anyone yet, but we're getting close :) We met this lady because she was sitting outside of her house one day and during the conversation she just starting crying really hard and she kept telling us that her life is really difficult right now. We set up another date to return, but she wasn't there. And ever since we've been stopping by about every day to see if we could chat for a little and she's either gone or her husband tells us to leave without letting her know that we came. I think on Saturday, we FINALLY were able to catch her while she was home and teach her. Right after the lesson, we invited her to be baptized and she accepted. It was really crazy seeing someone accept a baptismal invitation right after the first lesson. We're trying to get her baptized sometime in January.

We've got another kid (just turned eight) that we're teaching and we're planning on baptizing him at the end of December. His family is only family members with no one holding the priesthood, so that's why we've been teaching him. It's been super exciting!!!

We also have this husband and wife we've been teaching that seem pretty golden and they've been progressing really well! We were finally able to invite them to come to church, but we forgot we weren't going to be there because we were going to be in Teresina. We had to quickly run by and ask if a member could come pick them up and take them to church. We were praying yesterday that everything went well and they enjoyed it.

I really love the members here. We've been fed really well and they've been helpful with helping us out with random stuff.

So I've heard from a bunch of different people that I'm with an amazing companion. And it's definitely true. He's been very helpful and very good at teaching the lessons. I'm still struggling with the language and so sometimes I'll sit the entire lesson and not say anything (even though I'm trying so hard to think of a good question or comment). But my companion has been really good at letting me bare my testimony and making me read some scriptures if needed.

Craziness... Literally as we were walking out the door to go to the bus station for Teresina, we were locking the door behind us and the frickin key broke and half of it was stuck in the lock. We were able to get the little piece out, but we couldn't lock the door. Being already a little late, we were running around the house, grabbing anything valuable, and locking it in a suitcase that had a padlock on it. We were kind of freaking out because our room would be completely open to anyone. Lucky our apartment building has a gate on the front to keep out any creepers, but still... We had to say a quick prayer right before we left. We made it to the bus station with only a minute to spare haha.

About me and my body... I haven't gotten sick yet which is awesome for being an American and for the first time being out in the field, but it's bound to happen soon. I do have the squirts though about every morning in case you're wondering ;) The only problem with my feet is that the arch support has been sliding forward in my shoe a little, so there's been a little gap between the back of the arch support and the heel part of the shoe. I've been getting some weird rubbing there, but it's starting to caulis up and been fine. I was using the mole skin which helped!
And for my weight.. I don't think a whole lot has changed. I'm pretty sure I've gained a little, but not a whole lot. I've been the only guy in my apartment to work out every morning using an elastic band and basic pushups and sit-ups. So I'm kinda proud of that.

My time is running thin, so I gotta bounce! I sent a letter through MissionTies so I hope you got it!! I'll definitely let you know about the Skype thing this next Monday. If for some reason something doesn't work out, just be on Skype all day long and make sure the computer stays awake.

I love you sooo much Mom! I think about you guys every day!!

Elder Steed

Monday, December 10, 2012

Life in Sobral

 Tracting the streets of Sobral.
 Our apartment enjoying some pizza!
Map of where Sobral is in northeastern Brasil.
My room!

Elder Stee-jee

Ola :)
 
I first wanted to start of with that I don't think we should use Mission Ties any more. I only get mail once a month so I think it would be useless for you to send me mail through Mission Ties every week and I get it all on one day. So I think the best thing to do is to just stick to emailing. And another thing... I hardly have any time to write ;( So emailing would be better!!

I'm so sorry, but I still haven't been able to send that first letter off with all the details on it because I've been soo busy. I'm planning on doing that today or in the next couple days.

I think today I'll just write a bunch of random things that has happened, but next week I'll start doing a day by day thing using my journal so I don't miss anything.

I still haven't gotten the Ensign grandma sent. They probably had it at the mission home, but they didn't give it to me because they were worried about getting me the package you sent. I'm going to Teresina next week for a conference, so I hope I get it then.

People pronounce my name so funny here. I think for the next two years I'll be known as Elder Stee-jee (or Ste-jee). Kinda funny.

Fun fact. I've already had a shoe thrown at me. It came nowhere close, but some group of kids were hanging out (and I actually think they were drinking), but as we were walking by, they tried to throw a shoe at us! I actually thought it was really funny. After it was thrown, we just kept walking as if nothing happened hahaha.

The tree is up!! After about a solid 30 minutes, Elder O and I finally figured the tree out hahaha. I've got it taped up right now and it looks awesome! Thank you soo much! I also noticed there's an ornament for each day, so I've been puttig one up each day. Once Christmas rolls around and we've got all the gifts and ornaments up, I'll send you a picture!

A super hard thing for me right now is the water. I've been told that the water in Sobral is pretty good, but I don't know if it would be good to me, being an American. So I've been having to buy all of my drinking water. It kinda sucks, but I'll have to get used to it. I've tried boiling the water, but for some reason it tastes so nasty and bleaching tastes worse haha.

I love you sooo much!!!!!
Elder Steed

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holy moly Teresina is hot!!

President & Sister Alvacir L. Siedschlag

Welcome to the Brasil Teresina Mission

Elder Steed's trainer Elder O

Comforting Elder W
I'm alive!!! :) :) :)

Holy moly Teresina is hot!! So I get an hour every Monday (my p-day) to email, but I still need to kindof make it quick! So I'm serving in the city of Sobral. It's actually SUPER amazing here! They've definitely got some of the saddest housing I've ever seen, but then they've also got some really awesome parts! I'm not going to bother sending you any pictures because it'll take to long, but I hope you look it up and possibly google map it.

My trainer is super amazing! The only bummer is that he knows very little english... hardly any. So it's been EXTREMELY difficult to communicate with him, but I think I know enough to get my point across :) His name is Elder O. I'm currently living with two other elders. They're both super awesome and they both know a lot of english which has helped me out a TON. Elder B and Elder... shoot, forgot his name haha.

Literally every day I come home feeling sticky and nasty haha. I guess this is a better area because there's more wind here.

I'm going to end this email and try to send you some pictures. If I have more to say, I'll come back and keep writing. I'm also doing a missionties letter that will be in more detail.

LOVE YOU SOO MUCH!!!
Elder Steed

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Last days in the CTM

Holy moly. So by the time you get this letter, I'll already be in the field for one day. I haven't gotten the details yet, but I'll be leaving the MTC sometime on Tuesday morning. We had a health seminar on Thursday night about how to literally survive. Hahaha. It definitely scared me a little, hearing about all the weird bugs you can get. And I guess about 2 months ago, they discontinued these water bottle/water filters because they haven't been working and missionaries have been getting sick. So for the next couple months, I'm going to have to rely on store bought, boiled, and bleached water. I had no idea you could bleach water and still drink it. We also got an elastic workout band and a small book on some of the most ridiculous ways you can use the band. There is some of the weirdest stuff in there! Sadly enough, I'll probably end up using it to work out. A cool little statistic they gave in that seminar . . . If every missionary talked to ten people each day, which would be about 1 person every hour, about half a million people would hear the gospel each day in the world.

On Thursday we decided to play volleyball with the other district that we came out of Atlanta with. We haven't had the same gym time the entire time we've been here, so we thought it'd be fun to play against them. We knew it would kind of be competitive because we jokingly talked some trash before hand, but nothing too bad. We started playing and it started to get really bad. Long story short, I left that game extremely frustrated and it kind of ruined the spirit for me for the rest of the day. We wanted to play again on Saturday and do the same thing, but do it a lot more low key to make sure we don't have the same problem as last time. We started to play and it was going really well up until the end. A questionable call was made and everyone started to raise their voice and get extremely angry. Right as that happened, Elder Farr (another elder in my district) and I left immediately because we didn't want to be involved in that again. We decided to go lift instead, which was a super good choice. This was my little proud moment of the week for walking away from something like that instead of arguing and getting angry.
On Friday, we had seminars all day long and they were ALL in Portuguese. I guess it was no different from out normal classes because they're all in Portuguese too. I think the thing that made it really difficult was that we had to sit American, Brasilian, American, Brasilian, etc . . . They forced us to share with the Brasilian next to us about what was being discussed. So I literally think I went from lunch until bed time (not including dinner) speaking Portuguese only. In our normal classes, our teachers generally know enough English to help us out when we don't know something in Portuguese. It was definitely an eye opener on how the field is going to be like. There are some Brasilians here that love to help you with the language and are super patient, but then there are others who absolutely hate Americans. There are only a small handful, that I know of, who hate Americans. The rest either mostly love to help you or they don't have the patients to teach you something about the language right on the spot.
Today at church I was called on to give a talk. Right after the sacrament was over the conductor of the meeting stood up to say who was giving the talks that Sunday. I had no idea beforehand because they tell you you're speaking at the last minute. They called on me, Elder A, Elder H and Elder L. I was the first one to speak, which was awesome because I really didn't have time to be worried about speaking. I spoke on humility and it went really well. We're only asked to speak for 5 minutes, but in all Portuguese, so it wasn't that bad. I also was the conductor for music today as well. I totally killed it :).
I shed a small tear because today (Sunday) would be the last day that I would take a nap in the next two years. I've been told all about how Sundays will be the busiest day.
So we went proselyting today (Monday, Nov. 26). Not as successful as last week, but it was still awesome! We took public transportation to a place that literally looked like New York. There were blocks and blocks of huge skyscrapers. It wasn't as packed as New York, but SUPER cool non-the-less. We left late so when we got there, we only had 10 minutes to proselyte which really sucked, but we gave away two copies of the Book of Mormon in that amount of time. Do you remember that CRAZY car ride when we were in St. Thomas going to Sapphire Beach and we thought we were going to die? The huge buses here drive that exact way. But you're standing up on the bus, holding onto the railing for dear life. I felt like I was on a Disneyland ride. Super interesting :).
One of my teachers here served in Teresina, so she showed us pictures because it was our last day. It's actually extremely pretty in a different way. She told us that us "white people" are guaranteed to burn no matter what and poop ourselves (diarrhea) at least once. Hahahaha! I think I'm always going to have some extra panties on me for the first couple of months. Hahahaha!
I'm going to try my hardest and best to write back as much as I can, but I have no idea how it'll go the first couple of weeks. Here in the CTM I've actually been writing a lot when I'm not supposed to. I hardly get any free time here, so I don't know how it'll be out in the field. I love you so much and I'll try my hardest to write as much as I can.
I got your package thing last Wednesday! Thank you so much! I also got your letter today (Nov 26). I haven't had time to read it yet because of departure meetings and packing! So I leave the CTM at 4:20 am on Tuesday, Nov. 27 and I arrive in Teresina sometime around noon. It's been crazy today! I love you so much! I'm having another elder give this to Cheney's so hopefully you'll get it :).
Elder Steed

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Temple-super cool experience

Mom! Hi... :)

So I definitely had no idea that I got a Thanksgiving thing from Chenney's, but we're going out right after this, so I'll have to stop by and check! Thanks! When Sarah and you told me you were going to Utah for Thanksgiving this week it definitely made me a little homesick, but not too bad! I just liked going to Grandma's house and hanging with everyone. You need to get Steven to email me!

I heard that there's been been no school for the past couple days and I wish that was the same case here ;) We got to do something super cool this past Monday and so you'll get to read all about it when you get my letter from Chenney's!! And sorry I haven't been sending you more pictures. It's a real pain to do the whole process, but I'll definitely be sending more once I get out into the field because I'll be able to email them, so no worries!!

Today was the last time I'd be able to go to the temple for the next 22 months. It was a super cool experience. I spent a good 15 minutes praying in the celestial room about lots of stuff. It brought back memories of the first time we went to the temple together. It was definitely a good morning!

So I put this in my letter, but I really want you to watch a video with everyone when you get up to Utah. It's called "Cabo Verde. Land of Light". They speak portuguese in the video and I was able to understand most of it which was super awesome! I felt I could really relate to that video because that's almost EXACTLY how we talk here in Brasil. I feel Teresina will look pretty close to Cabo Verde (which makes the video even better). I think I've seen that video about 8ish times now. It gives me chills every time. Yeah, it's really hard to explain, but just watch it with everyone :)

Tell everyone I said I love them!! I miss you a ton Mom!
Love Elder Steed

Stuff got real!

Each week after church, we do a district meeting and it's where we meet up as a district, talk about goals, and have two people give about a 15 minute lesson each. I was asked by Elder A to give one of the lessons at the meeting, but he didn't ask me until Saturday afternoon. I was super sour after he asked me because he forgot to do his job and he only turned to me because I was his companion. And to top it all off, our Branch President came to sit in on the meeting at the last minute. Saturday night I prayed for a soft heart because I was so angry. It literally ruined the rest of Saturday night for me because he asked me to give the lesson. I didn't notice a huge change in how I felt after my prayer, but I did notice that I said to myself, "Eh . . . I was assigned to do the lesson and it won't get done by me complaining." This morning (Sunday) when I was preparing the lesson, my mind felt so open and all sorts of ideas of what to talk on came to me. We had to talk on a Christ-like attribute and I chose humility (haha . . . so fitting) for some reason. The lesson turned out amazing and I actually had more material prepared than I needed. The spirit was definitely present when I taught because I could feel it there. I'm in a lot better mood now thanks to a poor choice made by Elder A - hahahaha.

I don't think I gave you a FHE idea last week, but I've got a really good one for this week. It's another video on lds.org called "Cabo Verde, Land of Light". (http://www.mormonchannel.org/video?v=1621834644001) It's about this small island off of the coast of Africa. It talks about how the church was started there. It's a newer video made by the church so it was really well done and the coolest part about the video is that the people there speak Portuguese. Even though there are subtitles, I was still able to understand what they were saying which was really awesome. The elder who showed us this video said it reminded him of how Teresina will be. The people in the video have a slight different accent than what we're speaking, but for the most part, listen to how they talk and that's pretty much how we sound. It definitely gave me chills after watching it.
So I hit 174 lbs a couple days ago and that's the most I've been.  It was right after I ate, so I'm a little less than that, but I was about 160 when I left. Haha.  16ish pounds while I've been here.  That's my goal though, I gotta put on some pounds...in a healthy way.  I've been working out a little, so I hope I come back completely ripped...almost like a Greek god.  Bahaha, yeah I wish!  I'm sure I'll sweat it all off when I get out into the field in a week.
One of my teachers here is so crazy.  In a good way.  He's probably one of the funniest, most random person I've met.  He's a white ginger from Italy that speaks Portuguese and lives in Brasil.  I don't think I've learned one thing from him because all we do when he teaches us is mess around which kind of stinks, but he lightens up my day.  This past week we had a peanut butter party.  Our teacher makes his own peanut butter, which is the coolest thing.  So we bought the bread and some honey and spent some good bonding time eating peanut butter and honey sandwiches and chatting.  The peanut butter was super good!  It definitely beat anything you could buy at the store.
Oh dang!  So we went proselyting (don't know how to spell it) this past Monday and it was super awesome!  Each elder was given two copies of the Book of Mormon and so being in a triple, we had six with two extras from Elder A.  If I did my math right, that should be somewhere around eight copies of the Book of Mormon.  All the other companionships had only four copies.  At the beginning, we had a goal of handing out three copies.  We ended up handing out all eight.  The first man we approached was unloading bags from a car and we thought we could help him and then share a message.  As we awkwardly walked up to him, he rudely said "no".  We didn't really know what else to say, so we awkwardly walked away.  If I was watching from a distance, I would've probably laughed so hard because of how weird and awkward it was.  In the moment, I told myself, "crap...this is going to be a long day."  But looking back on it now, I'm laughing as well.  Probably no more than 8 minutes later, we gave our first Book of Mormon to a lady trying to jay-walk.  About ten minutes later, a business man who looked like a he was in a hurry approached us.  I was the one who started the conversation with him.  He said he was late to a meeting and so we asked if we could walk and talk with him, and he accepted.  He ended up being extremely interested in the Book of Mormon.  He said he's always seen the missionaries, churches, and temples before, but he's never bothered to talk to anyone about it.  He was so excited that we gave him the Book of Mormon for free and he said he would call the church if had questions while reading.  We then went about Sao Paulo (the same area/boundaries we have for P-Day) and talked to a few drunk people (they love to talk) and to this stubborn Chinese lady.  She was so committed on the bible that she didn't believe in another book.  We probably spent 20 minutes talking with her, but she still wouldn't take a Book of Mormon.
About this fourthish book we handed out was to this motorcyclist.  This was probably the coolest thing that happened this day.  So we were stopped on the sidewalk because we were writing the phone number people can call for questions about the church in the front cover.  As we were doing this, I noticed a guy on a motorcycle pull up about 15 yards away.  After we were done, I said, "let's go get that guy on the bike."  He had probably been there for a good five minutes before we approached him, just sitting on his motorcycle, as if he were waiting for us.  So we started talking to him about the Book of Mormon and a little about our purpose as missionaries.  I know for a fact that the Holy Ghost was testifying to him about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon as we spoke to him.  I know for a fact that I saw the Light of Christ in his eyes.  I know for a fact that that man had no reason to stop, except to hear what we had to say to him and to be given the Book of Mormon.  I say this because right after we gave him the Book of Mormon and started walking away, we saw him put his helmet back on and ride away.  The smile he had on his face when we were talking to him gave me hope that maybe these next two years are possible.  That maybe I can speak Portuguese with only eight weeks of studying.  Stuff got real that day.  These are real people, not just members or other missionaries pretending to be investigators.
Elder Steed

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Senioritis

During Sacrament meeting today, Elder A leaned over to me and said that he's starting to get senioritis for the CTM. Haha. I'm starting to feel the same way. It's really cool to see all the smurfs (new missionaries) struggling with the language because I used to be in that same situation. I still struggle a lot, but I know a LOT more than I did when I first came in. We're one of the older groups here so it literally feels like being a senior in high school again, where you can joke with the teachers, mess around, and still get away with it. Hahaha. I'm starting to feel like a robot though. I was just about to get in the shower this morning and I started thinking about random things and all of a sudden I was walking back to my room. I was so confused and I told myself I needed to go back and take a shower, but I already had and I didn't realize it. It was seriously one of the weirdest things.
A super funny thing to do to the Brasilians here is to have them say "world, word, ward". They just look at you with the most lost expression on their face because to them, it sounds like the same exact word. Hahaha
So in my last letter, I mentioned that I was going to try to wake up early to study. Every day, except for the day we went to the temple, I woke up at 5:00 am to study my scriptures for an hour. I grabbed my scriptures and a chair, went out in the hallway, and started to study (not just read) under a dim light. Even though I was pretty tired throughout the day, it was worth it. My mind was clearer and I was able to study (during personal study time) the things that would help me the most. It was a huge sacrifice because as a missionary, you need all the sleep you can get, but I figured I could sleep as much as I want after these two years :).
Today at church, for some reason the AC wasn't working and it was ridiculously hot. We STILL had to have our suits on. They opened a window and turned on a fan, but that hardly did anything. Someone then told me that this will be nothing compared to what it is like in Teresina.
I had TRC this week and we were investigators. I had to be the main investigators in one of the rooms and I was kind of nervous because I didn't think my Portuguese was good enough. I ended up doing a really great job and the elders teaching me did a really great job as well. There was this funny TRC this week. Some elders in 39-B (the other half of us that came out of Atlanta together) played a super funny harmless prank on these two weekers. Right when it started, and they all sat down, the investigators (my friends from 39-B) offered the two elders some cracker type thing. They put it on the table and said in Portuguese, "if you eat this, you will die." Having no idea what they said, the two elders said, "Oh, thank you!" and started to eat them. Just how smooth and perfect it went, made it that much funnier. We were all laughing so hard because these guys were so clueless. The guys from 39-B went up to the two elders afterwards and told them what they did and they started laughing because they thought it was the funniest thing as well.
Dad, so about the mission prep class you're doing . . . something that I thought was really helpful is knowing when to transition between each elder so the lesson flows real nicely. Have them learn the first lesson about the restoration and then get them to plan out who will say what and so forth. And then have them flip the roles, so each elder will get a chance to teach the other side of the lesson they didn't get to the first time. They need to know BOTH sides of the lesson, because here in the CTM, they stress the point of "teaching people, not lessons". Yeah, sure, it's awesome if they can teach a planned lesson, but sometimes they'll need to teach about something they didn't plan before hand.
Another thing we do is a simple mock investigator session. One companion teaches another elder that becomes an investigator. That one elder, who is the investigator, thinks of a friend back home and becomes that friend or person he knows. We usually try to pick a friend that has some sort of problem or questions about the church. The companionship then teaches this investigator as if it was the first visit. So all they're trying to do is figure out the problem, get to know what the person knows about the gospel, and then go from there. We usually don't teach a full-on lesson. It's just the first visit, so maybe also have them quickly introduce the Book of Mormon and invite the investigator to read and pray about it.
Another fun thing that I think you guys would get a kick out of would be doing something like TRC where you teach a lesson while being recorded. A good situation for that would be that it's just a follow-up visit to see how the investigator is doing. The investigator has already been taught the first lesson or so. It turns out that the investigator hasn't been reading the Book of Mormon or praying because they don't have enough time. The companionship then has to teach why the Book of Mormon is so important, the importance of prayer, and then maybe teach how to pray. This would be good practice for the young men to stay on their toes. We've done this situation so many times here so it's just natural for us. It would also be good for them to see body language, posture, and how they looked when they reacted to certain situations.
I hope that helped. It's not a whole lot, but it's some super basic things that'll have them be ahead of the game when they serve a mission. Oh! Another thing - teach them some "confusing" scriptures. I'm sure you can talk to some super scriptorian about more scriptures in detail, but there are some scriptures out there that are confusing (and I'm sure you already know this). For example . . The Lord's Prayer in Luke 11:2-4. The Lord says that when you pray, always use this prayer. You can counter this with the first sentence in 3 Nephi 13:7. Another one is John 17:20-23 and Mosiah 15:2-5 where it talks about the trinity and how Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one. Dang, so I don't have my scriptures on me right now, but you could use the scriptures where Christ is being baptized. Anyways . . . I hope you get my point with this.
So real quick, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy came and spoke to us today, Elder Costa. It was really awesome.
Love you!
Elder Steed

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Minha Familia (My Family)!

Minha Familia (My Family)!

These weeks are starting to go by faster and faster. It's weird to think that I'll be out in the field in a couple of weeks.

Getting enough sleep each night is rough. I'm grateful I've got good Brasilian roommates who want to go to bed on time, but sometimes they're not so great when they wakeup. The Brasilians have their P-day on Thursday and the bus for the temple leaves early in the morning, so they wake up before us. They are SOOO LOUD! It's funny because it's as if Elder A, Elder H and I don't exist. This past Thursday they even turned on the light and started messing around. Luckily I was already up by then, but the other two were still trying to sleep. Other than this, my Brasilian roommates are awesome. I don't think I've had one night here where I've slept through the entire night. It's either too cold (surprisingly), too hot, someone wakes up to go to the bathroom, or someone starts talking in their sleep. I always wake up in the middle of the night. I'm also waking up with little tiny red bumps on me and we're pretty sure they're bug bites. I've only got a couple so I'm not really worried. Although, I do have one on my right butt cheek. How this happened . . . I have no idea.

This past week, we've been giving an elder a taste of his own medicine. It's seriously been the highlight of my week. This is about the one elder that I was struggling with at the beginning of my time here at the CTM. For some reason he loves to steal and hide everyone's stuff. Multiple times he's taken my pen, scriptures, and books when I haven't been looking. And it's not just me, he's done this to everyone in my district. A couple of elders in the next district thought it'd be funny if they hid his bag. So they took it and placed it on the ledge just outside of our window so it couldn't be seen unless you leaned out of the window. Once this elder realized his bag was gone, he snapped and it was probably one of the funniest things I've seen. He started to go off on elders in our district and blaming it on them, even though we had no idea who did it. He threatened us multiple times, with things if he didn't get his bag. Elder R and I were busting a gut because of the way he reacted. To top it off, he said, "It's one of my biggest pet peeves when people touch my things and especially when they hide it from me." After crying about the whole thing, he went and got a teacher to talk to us about it, but we had no idea who did it. We didn't know who did it until after the bag was given to him. You really had to be there! :)

Thank you SOOOO much for that candy loot you gave me :). It definitely made my day! Even though we didn't do anything different for Halloween here in Brasil, I still felt like a little kid while digging through all the candy to see what I got. Too bad I don't have Parker here to pawn off all my gross candy on for better stuff :). No worries though, I went through all that candy to make sure I didn't get any of those orange prescription bottles with animal crackers in it. (Background info - Several years ago a woman took her old prescription bottles and filled them with animal crackers and gave them to the children at the church trunk-or-treat. Thankfully the parents discarded them before the kids ate the contaminated crackers.) Oh the weird stuff you get at Trunk-or-Treats. I guess the lady at Chenney's is using my picture to advertise for that special package thing, so you should try to look for that.

FHE idea of the week: There are three videos on the lds.org website that are about three minutes each. It's with Elder Bednar and they're about the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost. I'm pretty sure they're one of the newer videos on there, so they shouldn't be too hard to find. I was very impressed at how well the church made these videos. I hope you haven't already seen them! 

Here are the videos Connor referred to:

We just found the most horrible thing in the scriptures. The word "burnt offerings" in the Portuguese scriptures is "holocaustos". That translates to holocaust. Terrible :(.

So this past week (only Monday and Tuesday so far) I've been waking up at 5:15 am so that I can get more personal study time. I wake up, roll out of bed, grab the chair from my room, and go out in the hall to read my scriptures for a good 45 minutes before I have to start getting ready. I've actually started to notice a difference by doing this. First off, I hit a huge wall, get super tired, and eventually fall asleep at around 2ish. But it's only about a 5 minute power nap and then I'm good to go again. Second, I really do think waking up earlier has helped me throughout the day. For some reason I'm more willing to open my books when everyone else is messing around. I've also found that I've had better/more effective study sessions. Coincidentally my morning study sessions match up with what I'm taught in the afternoon by my teachers, so I get a super helpful review, along with help if I didn't understand something I studied that morning. I thought it was super awesome! Awhile ago when I was up at school, I wrote a quote in my scriptures. "Put your trust on the altar of God and quietly walk away." I'm honestly trying my hardest to do my part to study the language and to gain a stronger testimony. I'm trusting in God that by taking that blind step and waking up earlier, I'll be blessed with help in the language.

For any potential missionaries who are going to Brasil, please read this. I guarantee it will help. I wish I would've known this before I got into the CTM, but for studying . . . Make a goal each week to memorize a column of irregular verbs on the yellow verb conjugation card they give you when you get here. Also, during your language study time, start in the green book with the world on it. Even if the topic doesn't make sense, study it anyways and do the questions that come along with that topic. If something doesn't make sense or is really confusing, ask your teacher in the next class that you have with them. Good Luck!

We had devotional last night and they played a video of Elder Bednar when he spoke at the Provo MTC a couple of weeks back. It was an amazing talk. He spoke on the pattern of teaching effectively. Sounds kinda weird, but it was super good. He asked us to go through the General Conference Ensign and highlight the doctrine taught, the invitations sent, and the promised blessings if we do those invitations. I really want to do that, but they only have Portuguese Liahonas at the Distribution Center. I don't know how this would work, but if you could figure out a way for me to get one , that'd be really awesome!

So about washing my clothes - I do it like any normal washer and dryer.  They have a machine here that automatically pumps the detergent. They have four washers and four dryers for each floor. The dryers are a little too powerful so I think I'm going to start hang drying my pants. Everything else is fine, but they chewed up Elder A's pants a little bit a couple of weeks ago.

Love You!!
Elder Steed

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Connor's New Scripture Marking Method

Connor's New Scripture Marking Method

Elder A, Elder H and Elder Steed

Halloween Package - That's a lot of candy!


Halfway Point

I hit my halfway point in the CTM this past week. I do not know if dad ever did this, but when missionaries here hit their halfway point, they tie their ties half-as-short. So you'll see a bunch of elders walking around with extremely short ties and so you will know they are halfway through. About a couple of weeks ago, the mission president said to "do away with traditions" so now we cannot do the half tie thing anymore. I was actually really excited to do it, but now we cannot. Oh well!

So in the last letter I told you I got another companion. His name is Elder H. He is from Oregon and he came from the MTC in Provo. So now it is Elder A, Elder H and I in a trio. He is a super great guy so far. He knows a lot of the language already and has helped me out a lot.

With getting Elder H, Elder A and I had to switch rooms. We were really bummed because we had a perfect room right by everyone in our district and all the friends I made. They moved us to the other end of the hall. I had been praying a lot for help with the language lately. I was becoming really discouraged because I felt I have not been progressing at all. We ended up moving into a room with a Brasilian trio. They turned out to be way awesome and super helpful with the language. After being really hard on myself with this whole new companion and switching rooms situation, I slowly began to realize that it was a blessing to be getting Brasilian roommates. My prayers were being answered even if I did not like the way it came :). The only bad thing about my Brasilian roommates is that they do not like the fan on at night because it is too loud. So we have gone the past four nights without a fan. It is slowly starting to get hotter, so I think the fan situation is definitely going to change real soon.

I FINALLY was able to find and buy those colored sticky note tabs to mark my scriptures. I have been looking for the past two weeks for those tabs. It is super popular to do that here. So almost all of the stores are sold out. When we found them, we literally raided the store and bought every single one we could find . . . even though there were only about 7 packets left. Hahaha. I will take some pictures and send them in so you can see how pimp my scriptures look!

About two weeks ago I ordered this scripture case for my Portuguese triple (3 books that are together - Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price). There is a local guy who hand makes these scripture cases just outside the CTM. It is a leather case and I think he uses a wood burner and burns images into the leather. I am getting the picture of John the Baptist baptizing Christ on the back and "Book of Mormon, D&C and Pearl of Great Price" on the front. I am also getting my mission and name on there too. I was not supposed to get it until November 7th, but some elders who had their P-day today told me they saw mine and it was ready. So I am going to pick it up tomorrow. I am super excited because I have seen a bunch of others and they have turned out really well. It was about $50 which is about $25 in the states. I wanted to get a bigger one to fit my Bible too, but the Bible is smaller than my triple, so I am going to try to make a ghetto cereal box one for the Portuguese Bible and my English quad.

I want to try to do a thing every week where I send you something really great that I have learned in my studying. It might be a story I find in preach my Gospel or even one scripture, but I think It would be cool if you would share it for Family Home Evening. A story I have for this week is from preach My Gospel on page 199 and it is the last paragraph that starts with "Brigham Young". The idea behind this is how bearing a testimony can be an amazing tool to conversion.

A sister missionary approached me yesterday and asked if I knew a Michelle Steed. I guess her mom and Aunt Michelle are really good friends and they told this sister missionary to look for me. She said she had the hardest time trying to find me because she was looking through all the blue dots (you get a blue sticker for the first week here to show that you are new). I then began to tell her that I had already been here five weeks. She kinda got embarrassed because she had been asking all the new elders that came in if they knew an Elder Steed. I thought it was pretty funny. Hahaha.

To answer your question about when I get mail . . . I can get mail all throughout the week except on Saturdays and Sundays. Mondays are usually a bigger mail day because of all the mail that stacks up from the weekend.

Last P-day I bought a super popular picture book. I guess investigators love seeing pictures about the church and it has almost every church picture imaginable. The word on the street is that this book is the bee's knees. It was really che. . . (there is a big scribble on the page here) WOW! the punk in front of me on the bus just reclined INTO MY LAP!!! Hahahaha. Oh my gosh . . . I cannot believe that just happened. Hahaha. I was doing so good with writing while on the bus and then BAM! He is leaning back into my lap as if he wants a head massage from me. Hahaha. We take charter buses to the temple each week, so we have got those nice seats that can recline back. Ahh . . . some people! Hahaha. To finish my sentence earlier . . . It was really cheap.

Gotta Go! Love you!
Elder Steed

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Another district pizza party


Week 4!

Friday
It feels like it's been forever since I first got here! Today we had TRC (teaching while being filmed) and Elder A and I had a really good lesson planned and everything! So we got there and since he's district leader, they asked him if he wanted to be an investigator instead of teaching because they didn't have enough teachers. So instead of teaching we got to sit back and have a companionship in our district teach us. It was sooo much better than teaching, but I was a little sad because I was actually wanting to teach this lesson.

 I was coming off a good note this past week with teaching. I think on Thursday I had a really good day with teaching. Elder A and I probably had an almost flawless lesson. We didn't really do anything a whole lot special beforehand, but for some reason it was a million times better. Elder A (like I've said before) has the tendency to go on and on and on without letting me say a word. But with this lesson, I actually talked a lot. I honestly think it had to do with the investigator. He was really clear with his words and responded back with more than "yes" or "no"  responses. I was able to talk a lot more because I actually knew what was going on hahaha. I feel I can hold my own with talking, like I can get my point across with words I know. but then I have no idea what people are saying back because they speak EXTREMELY fast and there's a lot of different types of Portuguese spoken. Like Brasilians from the south sound way different from the Brasilians from the north.

 It cracks me up when I think about TRC (where they film you while you teach) because it's almost identical to Monsters Inc. There are a bunch of doors on either side of this hallway and your companion and you sit right across from the door. A little bell rings and we all go up and knock on the door at the same time. And then you enter through the doors. The first time I did it, I paused a second and laughed to myself because I thought that's what we were doing.

 We get lab time everyday to get on the computers and use this program to help us with the language. But lately they've been having problems with it so a couple other elders and I have gone onto the LDS  genealogy site and have looked through our ancestors. If I counted right, I'm 73 generations away from Adam and Eve. We've been able to find our lines all the way back to the beginning. Now I don't know how much of that is actually correct, but it's pretty neat none-the-less.

 Answer Time . . .
*I'm on the 4th floor. I forgot how they have it in the states, but in Brasil they have floor "T" or "Terra" which means Earth. After that, the floors go normally, so the one above floor "T" would be first floor. If you're counting the main/ground level floor as the first floor, we're technically on the fifth floor.

 *My roommates were Elder A, Elder C, Elder W, and then the two other Brasilians (Elder S and Elder D). The Brasilians left this past Tuesday and no other new ones have moved in , so it's just the four of us.

 *Schedule
Levantar, orar, proparar-se         Wake up, pray, prepare                  6:30-7:00 am
Estudo Pessoal                               Personal Study                                  7:00-8:00 am
Desjejum                                         Breakfast                                            8:00-8:30 am
Estudo do Idioma                           Language Study                                8:45-10:00 am
Gym                                                  Gym                                                    10:15-11:05 am
Lab                                                    Lab                                                      11:20-12:05 pm
Estudo c Pratica                              Study and Practice                           12:05-12:45 pm
Almoso                                             Lunch                                                  12:45-1:30 pm
Gramatica                                        Grammar                                           1:30-2:30 pm
Fundamento                                    Fundamentals                                   2:30-3:45 pm
Ensinar Instructor A                       Teacher A                                           3:45-5:00 pm
Jantar                                                Dinner                                                 5:00-5:45 pm
Fundamento                                    Fundamentals                                    6:00-7:30 pm
Gramatica                                         Grammar                                            7:30-8:15 pm
Ensinar Instructor B                        Teacher B                                            8:15-9:10 pm

 *Each Sunday we study and eat breakfast before 8:30ish. Church starts at 9:00 am. We only have sacrament meeting and Priesthood. They don't say who's speaking in sacrament until the announcements. They want you to have a talk ready to go. Six weekers have to do their talk in all Portuguese and everyone before then can do theirs in English if they want. After church, we all have district meetings where we plan goals for the coming week and after that my companion and I go to a leadership meeting with all the other District Leaders. That ends at about 1:30ish. After that we can do anything we want until 6:00 pm and that's when we have a fireside.

 *I wake up at 6:00 am every morning to get a shower without waiting because the schedule time to wakeup is 6:30 am.

 *Every class is with your district. You're assigned to a room at the very beginning and you have to keep that room until the end.

 *You can only go about a mile radius around the CTM on p-day. They give you a map.

 *There are security guards, but not in the towers or anything like that. the CTM is surrounded by about 12 feet walls with barb-wire on the top. I don't know about the rest of Brasil, but in Sao Paulo, it's a normal thing to have a tall wall around your house with barb-wire on the top of it. We passed by a favela (the ghetto . . . look up pictures) on the way to the temple. Instead of having bar-wire, they had shards of glass embedded on the top of the wall. These weren't just little pieces of glass. They were big pieces-some bigger than your hand. Crazy stuff.

Tuesday
Oh man . . . What a funny morning. So I roll outta bed, super tired. Walk into the showers, turn on the water, and it's only at about half power for some reason. Oh well. Start soapin' up just like any other day. About halfway done, water really starts dying down. Other guys start complainin' because their water turned off. I'm rushin'! Water is literally dripping out when I finally clear off the remaining suds. Justice. Hahaha. I don't really know why I wrote that story like that. It's probably cuz I'm really bored right now and SUPER tired! Anywho . . . The funniest part about this was that there was this hilarious African American elder (Elder S) running from shower to shower, butt naked, trying to get any last drops to wash off the soap. That was his last day at the CTM so it definitely wasn't a good morning for him. But because of his reaction to all the water running out, it made that whole experience worth it. I wish you were there to see it . . . haha maybe not the best way to put that, but you get what I mean :).

 I'm on the bus right now so my writing might get a little sloppy with all the crazy driving. So last night, this administrator guy came into our classroom and told us that we would be getting another missionary from the Provo MTC. He would be in a triple with Elder A and I. The only bummer is that Elder A and I would have to move rooms all the way down the hall from our district and everyone we know. It's gonna be weird trying to teach with three because my companion and I already know how each other teaches. We also have no idea how much Portuguese the new guy knows and where he's at with the language. I'm really hoping that he has some sense of direction.

 More answers . . . from the Missionties letter
*Yes, I have been getting the pictures and letters. I think it takes about 2 days for the letter to get to me.

 *Elder M is on the Fall-Spring track at BYU-I. We've been talking and if things work out and we both go up the same semester, we'll probably room together.

 *So about the Elder Baby Horse nickname . . . I guess there's a girl on the women's USA soccer team (Alex Morgan) that has the same nickname. I told this guy that I was going to marry her and he was going to marry Hope Solo. It was just coincidence that she had "horse" in her nickname and so it stuck. A lot of people call me that hahaha.

 *I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure I was about 158ish pounds before I left. This past week I hit 170, but that was right before eating. I'm eating a lot and trying to gain weight. I'm trying to work out and eat really healthy.

 *Elder L and I both did the pizza party thing last week. Today I've got that second one along with someone else.

Love you so much! Talk to you later :).
Elder Steed

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

 View from bedroom
 Touring Sao Paulo
 Classroom - studying
 Missionaries
 Pizza from Pizza Hut
 Elder Larsen & I
 Missionaries
CTM Nation Flags