Dear family and friends,
This week has been crazy! I remember thinking when I got my call that Brazil was tropical: jungle and sunshine…… RAIN! We´re talking rain like hail storm winds and needles haha. I did not come prepared for this (mentally, don´t worry mom, I am prepared clothing wise). The apartment is a little cold, I won’t lie, but we are adapting and learning to live in the cold (lots of warm food and layering). This week, with the dreary weather, we´ve had to find many ways to stay cheery.
I live with 3 other Brasileiras and our favorite thing to do is sing and talk about American entertainment (not really, our favorite thing is the gospel, but we find humor in trying to sing one another´s native music). I live with one sister, Sister de Jesus, who I absolutely adore (She´s from Manaus-the Amazons!)! We were trying to communicate tastes in music and she told me how she likes Guns and Hoses lolol. Brazilians don´t have a hard R sound at the beginning of words, it comes out like an H. We also talk a lot of Disney. I realized how grateful I am that my country claims Disney. The whole world loves Disney and I have the privilege of watching Disney movies in the language it was created. I also am very excited to be able to watch the translated versions though too; it´s like my repertoire of movies just dubbed. I have also realized that Brazilians have a very slap stick taste when it comes to humor. Everyone here LOVES SpongeBob! I remember eating at a members house and I heard the Portuguese Spongebob speaking… it was very strange.
On a more spiritual note, things are blooming here in Brazil. So many people have open hearts to hear our message and I am coming to love them and learning how to speak by the spirit when I don´t have the words to express what I want them to know. I can´t wait for the day when I don´t need to translate what our investigators are saying. I have a goal; I want to be somewhat fluent by August! I hope and pray for this miracle and I am so grateful for the prayers of you all. I love you all so much and am soooooo happy to hear your missionary moments and see the pictures! Stay warm and dry for me!
Queridos e amados família e amigos,
Brazil is so wonderful! Yesterday we watched a husband and wife that we´ve been teaching enter into the waters of baptismo! It was one of the most exciting and peaceful moments of my life. It is funny how we met Izael and Denise. We were originally teaching Denise´s mother and her husband, but one night Denise joined in on a lesson. We chatted and were at her house the next day and before we knew it they were dressed in white! I am so blessed to be doing the Lord´s work here.
Denise and Izael have were so prepared; we were just there to nudge them in the right direction. They have two beautiful children, Gustavo e Victoria. Gustavo is 6 and just about the cutest 6 year old in the entire world! They are already talking about setting a date to be sealed in the temple 🙂 I wish I wish I could be there to witness it, but I am overjoyed to know the temple is in their sights. We have 2 more weeks left in this transfer in which we will keep working with their family and I have a feeling both Sister Cassiano and I will be here at least one more transfer. The actual baptism was beautiful and slightly funny. Denise went first and when Izael was up, he practically threw himself in the water and there was a bit of a wet audience lol. After the baptism sister Cassiano and I sang “A Child’s Prayer” in Portuguese and English and it was beautiful. We keep joking with all of the members how at our next baptism I´ll be singing the Portuguese part and my Brazilian companion will sing English 🙂 With lots of prayer, we hope to soften the hearts of Denise´s family; Denise and Izael are shining examples of believers of Christ to their family and we´ll see what time brings.
In other news, I finally know why everyone asks me if I know the TV show Supernatural haha! All of the Brazillians here try to say my name ( sEEster Jean/Geen) and then they ask me about Supernatural; Dean is the name of one of the main characters on the show and everyone here loves watching dubbed American shows! It was a funny moment of realization for me and my companion, I will have to start using that as a street contact “do you know supernatural? I´m related to the main character… well we have the same first name… can we share a message about how Jesus Christ can defeat all of the demons in your life?” I´ll polish it out later.
I have also discovered that the bugs here are very different and exotic. I saw my first hot wheel sized barata (cockroach). Those little devils can really move. I´m a little terrified, but I have an iron resolve to conquer the wild life here (found a lizard in the shower the last night and I didn´t even whimper). Also the moths here are ginormous. I was watching one the other night and I realized these moths are so big; they flap their wings like birds.
I am truly grateful to be here despite the bugs. My mission is a once in a lifetime chance to have the power and authority to introduce the gospel into the lives of Heavenly Father´s children. I am soooooooooooo beyond grateful for all of the support, letters and prayers I have from you! Te amo!
I`M IN BRAZILLL!!!!!!
I`ve been here a week, and it feels like a year. Brazil is so beautiful and extremely different! The plane ride over took me about 36 hours (layovers included) It was a very demanding trip lol. I flew into Sao Palo (I couldn’t believe how big the city was) from there I took a little plane to Londrina and met the mission president and his wife, they both can speak a very decent English thank goodness 🙂 . I met my companion sister Cassiano and we stayed the night in Londrina and the next day we took a bus 8 hours to our area, Cascavel. My companion is Brazilian but she can speak some pretty decent English as well… I got lucky and I am very thankful for this. I am learning Portuguese very very fast but I now know what it feels like to be the foreigner; lots of smiling and ´´como se diz/how do you say)´´
Londrina is a BEAUTIFUL city and Cascavel is just as great. Lots of rural and urban in my area… lots and lots of hills too. The weather too is beautiful. My roommates think its çold when in reality it´s about the same as a Wisconsin spring day lol. My time is limited so |I´ll make a list of some of the new/different things about Brazil:
-Bugs here are very scarily exotic. We saw an Oreo-sized spider last night -_- thankfully we live on the 5th floor of our apartment building where not many bugs get to besides these microscopic ants.
-The people here are sooooooo friendy NOTHING like the people in LA. lol
-The food is good and strange- The first time I walked into a Muffatao – the closest thing there is to a Wal-Mart I was stunned. There is nothing American… just lots of bright colors and foreign labels… it’s really hard to go shopping too because nothing is packaged here like it is in the US either. the milk comes in boxes and the ketchup is bags.
-Brazilian plumbing is a little scary. I miss American bathroom and I will never take a warm shower for granted again.
-There are dogs everywhere here. It breaks my heart a little, but that’s how it is here. There are dogs here like there are squirrels there.
-I rode a bus for the first time (and a taxi) we take the bus about two times a day; once in the morning to the area we´re working in, where we walk all day then home.
I love you all so much and I promise to write better letters once I get my feet under me
Cascavel, Brazil May 12, 2014
Nothing too new to report on today. Last night it was mother´s day which was soooo fantastic! It was so good to hear from you all, but I won’t lie, it made me a tad home sick. I´m already about….. 1/5 of the way done I think. Time truly is passing by so fast. Matt is getting sooooooo big!!!! I need family pictures stat!
We´re teaching many people here. The people of Brazil are polar opposites from the people of Los Angeles lol. The people were wonderful everywhere, but here they are very receptive and friendly. There is one couple we are teaching who are preparing for baptism that we´ve been praying for earnestly the past week to aid them with their Word of Wisdom struggles. Cafe is so hard for them to let go, but they have both stopped smoking in 3 days time and are staying strong! I am so amazed at their will power and the help that they have received from the Lord. We continue to pray for them to see more miracles.
Just some little funny stories that I related to my family about my 2 weeks in Brazil: Lots of people here wear shirts with English words but you can tell they were Brazilian phrases that were Google translated don’t make any sense in English. It´s super funny. I´ll have to make a list of the shirts I see this week and send them in another letter. Also I am in need of blonde bobby pins! there are none here because there are no blondes. One of the sisters I live with asks me to do her hair every day in this quick bun and yesterday she handed me two bobby pins, one was blonde. hahaha, At least it will be easy to keep track of my bobby pins here.
I´m loving missionary life and am so grateful for your support and prayers. I´ve been thinking a lot about family lately and I am so grateful for you guys. Friends and family, I pray for you and realize how extremely blessed I am to have you in my life.
Dear Family of Sister Dean,
We are writing to inform you that on the 29th of April, 2014, Sister Dean arrived very well in the Brazil Londrina Mission field. We are very happy to meet her and to know that from now on she is part of this great and wonderful army of the Savior. After a long wait and much preparation, she along with other missionaries arrived at the mission home safely and very excited. They had lunch, and afterwards, a great testimony meeting. The Brazil Londrina Mission is a blessed land where the people are hearing and accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ in such a joyous way. It is an honor for us to be able to receive your daughter in this area, and we know that this is possible only because you have so lovingly taught, guided and cared for her until she could arrive here. We want you to know that we will look to fulfill all her needs, and will take care of her as if she were our own daughter. Thank you for trusting us with your daughter for this short however fundamental period of time in her life!
We are at your disposition to clear up or help in any way during this time.
With love and gratitude,
President and Sister Genaro
Sister Americana (1)