So I´m finally in the field! You can tell because I don´t know how to make an apostrophe on this keyboard. My first week here was pretty crazy! On Monday, our last day at the MTC, we had a day-long orientation, which was lots of sitting but pretty helpful too. Then we had a long evening of goodbyes and packing! It was a little sad to say goodbye to all but 3 of my MTC friends, but they´re all off on their own adventures now. The Santos contingent was one of the last to leave on Tuesday morning, so we got to watch them all leave, and then we all got on the bus around 7:00am! There were 16 of us. 4 americans, all from my district, and then probably about an even number of Brazilians and Hispanics. The bus ride to Santos was stunning–the last half was through the mountains, and you could see the city of Santos in the distance as we wound our way through the jungle! We finally arrived at the mission home, an 8th floor apartment, around 7:30, where we waited for President and Sister Cabral to arrive. When they did, we all took pictures–did they email you mine?–and had some orientation training while President Cabral interviewed us all. After a delicious lunch and some more training, the missionaries who would be our trainers showed up!
It was pretty suspenseful how they revealed the new companionships in a Powerpoint by showing the area, then the trainer, then the new missionary, or maybe it just seemed that way because we were all pretty nervous haha. But anyway, my first area is called Boa Esperança! It´s a little east of Santos, on the coast, although because of the [gigantic] Port of Santos we never see the ocean. My trainer, Elder K, was born in Curitiba but lives in Portugal! He´s a little younger than me, but has already been out 6 months, and he speaks perfect English, which is helpful for when I don´t understand his Portuguese. We share an apartment with Elder O, a brasilian who arrived with me, and his trainer Elder S, from Colorado. We´re all 18 (for now!), and we have a good time together! [Mom’s note: Craig will be turning 19 on Thursday!]
On the first night we took a taxi to our apartment, then returned to Santos the next day for a mission conference, where we got to meet almost all the missionaries in Santos. Then the days after that have been spent just in Boa Esperança, mostly! It´s pretty cool to see all the people here–it´s a very different place than I´ve ever been before. Sometimes it´s hard to not understand a lot of what people are saying, but I´m learning. Usually we study in the morning, eat lunch with a member, and then work around the town until round 9:00, meeting people, teaching lessons, finding people to teach, etc. with a quick break for a snack at tiny restaurants around 6:00. I´m really enjoying the food here!
The photo I sent is from Saturday–After we had a zone conference, the ward mission leader for the Boa Esperança ward, Th, met us in the nearby city of Guarujá, which you might be able to tell is significantly fancier than BE. He took us to this really nice seafood resturant right across the street from the beach to welcome us to the area! It was really cool.
I´m not sure what else to say! Church yesterday was good–Elder K and Th gave talks and then the rest of us bore our testimonies. There are around 100 active members of the ward here. Then the bishop´s family gave us lunch and we went out to work!
Well it´s fun to read what everyone is up to in the States and all around the world–thanks for the letters and emails! Talk to you all next week!