Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Missão Brasil Fortaleza: A Day in the Life

6:30 am: wake up
1 hour personal study (including scriptures, gospel principles and language)
1 hour companion study
Breakfast, shower, etc.
9:30 am: teaching
12:00 pm: lunch
1:00 pm: teaching
5:00 pm: dinner
6:00 pm: teaching
9:30 pm: arrive back home, time for writing in your journal, have a snack, prepare for bed
10:30 pm: go to bed

Last week I posted about my mission. It turned out to be a rather lengthy post, but I didn't say nearly everything I wanted to say. How can you sum up 18 months in 2700 words? Even when you factor in 1000 words a picture {there were 16, just so you don't have to go back to count and yes, I did the math: 18,700 words}, I still haven't said much on the subject.

The schedule I listed out above is roughly the same schedule every missionary in the entire world follows. There are variations to this, such as Sunday mornings, when you attend church from 9:00 to noon (or sometimes from 11:00 to 2:00 or even sometimes from 1:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon). Once a week you are encouraged to help out with a service project somewhere in the commmunity. And one morning a week you have a meeting with your zone {a mission is divided up into zones, the zones are divided up into districts and the districts are divided up into areas}. The schedule and rules are adaptable to each mission. At 4˚ south of the equator, an addendum was added to the 9:30 - 10:30 pm time frame at the end of the day and that was that you were to take another shower. It was a mission rule, not that I needed telling twice. And because the sun rises every day of the year at 6:00 am and sets every day of the year at 6:00 pm in Fortaleza, we were to arrange our schedules to that we had as many appointments as possible in the evening so that we weren't left knocking on doors after dark {it's not fun in the daytime either, but it's not fun and also not a super safe idea at night}.

The main purpose of a mission is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. All other distractions are eliminated and you focus solely on learning and teaching about our Savior. There are lots of rules to follow, like no swimming and no TV and no dancing. It is difficult. It is a pretty rigorous schedule {Mr. Bug and I used to joke that it was my secret Wonder Woman training in the Amazon. That was before I had kids and totally lost my super powers}. But you grow and learn and become a better person.

In between all the teaching, you still have everyday kinds of things that you need to take care of, so one day a week {called Preparation Day, or P-Day} you have from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm to do laundry, write letters home {it's a rule; you have to write your family every week but it only makes sense. If you write them, they'll write you and getting letters on you mission is a good thing.}, get groceries, go to the bank {you and/or your family pay your own way, but it is parceled out from home bi-weekly}, etc. Since laundry was all done by hand {see illustration at right}, I would sometimes wash that day's clothes after I showered at night so that I didn't have so much to do on P-Day. See? The schedule is totally adaptable.

Not too long after I arrived in Brazil, my mission president arranged for a little day trip on P-Day for everyone. We went to the beach, which is a pretty strange place to go for a group of people who aren't allowed to swim. The first thing the mission president said to us when we got off the bus was that if we set so much as a big toe in the water, he'd send us straight home. It was enough to keep us all dry. We had a picnic and explored and climbed on the dunes. The mission president arranged us into the initials of our mission and took photos for us.
Leading up to this trip, I kept hearing that the beach we were headed to, Morro Branco {White Hill}, had areias coloridas. Being a little wet behind the ears {translation: completely inept. Oh, and I wasn't really wet behind the ears -- remember no swimming} with the language, I had to look this up in my handy dandy English/ Portuguese dictionary. It means colored sands. I was intrigued. I verified with my companion, Sister Soares, that I had indeed understood correctly -- the sands at the beach we were going to were colored. I envisioned pink and blue and green and yellow; a rainbow at the beach. I'm still scratching my head over that one, because all the sand was, well, sand colored :confused:.

Looking back, I spent an unusual amount of time at the beach for someone who couldn't go in swimming. My zone went to Praia do Futuro {Beach of the Future} about four months later.

I even went on a little river tour with my district in Aracati. The boat we rode on is in the background. While we were stopped at the mid-point of the trip, my companion {who, I must say, followed all the rules} had the idea to wade out to this little fishing boat and take a snap shot. It was near the shore and the water only came up to mid-shin. I took a picture of her with her camera and then we switched and she took a picture of me with my camera {I wish I'd have thought to take a picture of her with my camera too}. There's nothing like breaking the rules, taking a picture and then posting it all over the internet. It's been sixteen years. I wonder if there's a statute of limitations on something like this or if I can expect to be struck by lightning any time now?

This is another zone trip, this time to Cofeco Beach {no translation for Cofeco} six months after Praia do Futuro. Notice that all of the footprints in the sand are parallel to the water. A few come pretty close to the water, but none go in.

Our entire mission even went to the beach at Christmas (between the river trip and Cofeco beach). Volleyball anyone?

This boardwalk goes out over the ocean and continues out for quite a ways. This landmark is called Ponta Metalica {Metalic Point} or sometimes shortened to Pontão {The Point, but the 'ão' at the end indicates size. For example, the root word is ponta (point). Adding 'inha,' pontinha, makes the point little and adding ão makes the point big. You can do that with almost any word in Portuguese}. As beautiful as it was, it really didn't seem like Christmas.

Besides visiting the beach on Christmas, we stopped for ice cream and the mission president took us to another landmark in the city, a mausoleum. This is a postcard I bought of it.

This is me with the mission president's daughter, Lúcia Maria, under the mausoleum. Recognize her dress?

The president gathered us and his daughter took a picture of all of us together. He and his wife are in the bottom left corner on the front row. These are all the missionaries who were serving in our entire mission at the time. See if you can find me {click on the picture to enlarge}. It is kind of like Where's Waldo? I'm even wearing red and white stripes.

1 comment:

Quilt Nut said...

that's a lot of words for a few pictures lol.

what an amazing experience, thanx for sharing it with us.