Monthly Archives: August 2015

A Trip to Sao Paulo City Center

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

AWESOME DAY! We went to the temple in Campinas again. It was beautiful. Again. I got to talk to a couple of Elders I didn’t know very well on the way there and back, Anderson and Hull. They’re both really awesome! Once we got back, we spent 5 minutes in the lunchroom and went up to email. I ACTUALLY finished writing this time, but didn’t get to respond to all of my emails because of the Email Nazi.

Our venture into the “city” around the CTM included stops at the Corrheios (for mail), a couple of food stores for junk food (more on that later), and the Brazilian “Deseret Book”. This guy makes leather scripture covers that are really awesome. There are scriptural depictions etched into each one of them. It took two weeks for mine to get done, and I just got it!! I’ll send a picture when I can. I bought a…significant…amount of junk food. They feed us plenty, but my sweet tooth got the best of me!

I was able to get some pictures sent. Hopefully, some will arrive every day this week. (We received 4 pictures this week and were so excited to SEE HIS FACE after two weeks of fasting.)

I almost forgot! Pao de Quejo, or cheese bread, is close to Jim and Nick’s cheese biscuits! I bought about a dozen for R$1.50 or $0.50 in USD. I can’t decide if that’s a good discovery!

Chapman's MTC district outside the Campinas Temple.

Chapman’s MTC district outside the Campinas Temple.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Upon getting into bed, I realized I had left my retainer on my sheets that I had sent down to get washed. I got super frustrated and double-checked EVERYWHERE for it. Hopefully, the staff will find it. If not, I hope the orthodontist has my impressions still. Until now, I’ve never missed a day!!!

The days are starting to go much faster. We’re just over two weeks left here. It’s nuts!

Friday, August 21, 2015

So, we got to leave the Fazenda do Missionarios (Missionary Farm)! We went to the Sao Paulo city center and handed out copies of the Book of Mormon to people. It was a really neat experience to see what REAL Sao Paulo is like, not our little secluded neck of the woods. A few observations:

  • People (maybe 5 to 10) smoked pot in the middle of the day, in broad daylight, with people around. That was a different experience. I guess the policia don’t care so much if they’re smoking, but dealing is apparently a more persecuted crime.
  • Busses are fearless. They get REALLY close to EVERYTHING!
  • Cars drive with inches in between them.
  • People EVERYWHERE. I heard someone say a few days ago that they’ve said 20 million people live in Sao Paulo for 30 years – that’s when they gave up and stopped counting.
  • There are lots of street vendors – similar to New York. Junk everywhere.
  • People, homeless, and sleeping on the side of the road.
  • A bunch of freaky looking people…

We were around the Municipal Theater of Sao Paulo. The experience REALLY got me excited to get out of the MTC. Talking to people is much more fun than sitting in a chair for 10 hours. There was music and people everywhere. I spent a lot of my time people watching!

When we started, I was really nervous. I don’t know what of, maybe rejection. I couldn’t get myself to talk to anyone. After I was prodded into talking to the first person, it got SO much easier. I felt comfortable talking to random people I don’t know and telling them about a book in an unfamiliar language. It’s so amazing though. I can’t wait to do it daily!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

We had a devotional tonight where we listened to a talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland two years ago at the Provo MTC. He is such a powerful speaker. He spoke a lot about our purpose as missionaries, which is to “Preach His Gospel”. I’ve been called of God, through His modern prophet, Thomas S. Monson, to be exactly where I am at this moment. My purpose here is divinely inspired and of no coincidence. I responded to my call and decided to obey God’s command…and I came to preach His gospel.

Holland said something that really hit home. In the scriptures, the times when the earth had the fullness of the Gospel, it miserably failed and always fell away from the earth. Even when Jesus Christ himself was here leading His church, it didn’t last. All they experienced, sacrificed, and wrote was in preparation for now, when the fullness of Christ’s Gospel would be put back on the earth. It has to last this time. We get no more shots. Those prophets persevered, knowing wickedness would prevail in their time, so they could prepare us, and the world for this exact moment. God has prepared 80,000 plus of his finest preaching His Gospel. We travel to the ends of the earth in a hereto, unprecedented effort to share the Gospel with the world. We, as missionaries, must be at our best.

Portuguese, so my instructors tell me, is the third hardest language in the world to learn behind Arabic and Mandarin Chinese. In calling me here, God has told me that I AM capable of fulfilling the call He extended. Were I not, He would have sent me somewhere else. So, He needs me at my best.

This experience really strengthened my testimony. I know God has a plan for ALL of His children. Each part of that plan manifests itself when He knows it should. His influence is evident in every aspect of our lives and we should take the time to do whatever it is He asks us to do. We should take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities He gives us to make ourselves better and become more like the perfect example, Jesus Christ.

I’ve only been gone for a month, and already I’m starting to realize things I didn’t before. Who knows what the next two years will hold!

Monday, August 24, 2015

During dinner, one of our instructors, Irma Fuoco, came to sit with us at our table. At some point, she started to show each of us the faces and things we make during class. It was absolutely hilarious! She was totally spot on and by the end of her routine we were all in tears from laughing so hard.

At the beginning of the meal, a couple of us were looking for ketchup and didn’t know how to say it. So, we asked our instructor. It reminded me of a few of the other Portuguese words that are really funny to those of us who don’t speak the language natively.

Ketchup – from how I understand it is pronounced “Catsh-shoopie”.

Hot Dogs – “Hot-chi-Doggies”

Ping Pong – “Pingy – Pongy”

That’s all I remember off the top of my head. Portuguese is way different than anything I’ve attempted to learn before. German was much easier. It’s like the child of French and Spanish…almost. A lot of the words are Spanish, but pronounced differently. A lot of the sounds are very nasal, like French. It is getting a lot easier to speak for sure.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Not much interesting…more and more studying! We go to the temple in Sao Paulo this week!

MAIL UPDATE: Elder Tew will be leaving the MTC (or CTM in Portuguese) on September 8. Starting now, all snail mail should be sent to the mission home. He will send his street address when he gets to his new area (wherever that is). That also means that September 2 will be his last P-Day until September 14. We’re trying NOT to be sad about the upcoming 12-day hiatus.

Answers to Questions from Mom

What is the MTC like?

I nicknamed the MTC the “Missionary Farm”. It’s a 7-story building built in a “U” around a central courtyard. The bottom floor is primarily open to the elements, so there is almost always a nice breeze. The bedrooms have big, metal shutters on the windows, presumably to keep us from throwing things out. The food is really good. We have beans and rice with every meal mixed with a protein, fruit, vegetables, and…dessert.  The MTC has two volleyball courts, 4 basketball goals, a running track, and a small gym. There’s a big auditorium we use for meetings and whole two and a half floors of classrooms. The whole place has security guards at the gates and cameras everywhere else.

Elder Tew and Elder Silfies outside the Sao Paulo Temple

Elder Tew and Elder Silfies outside the Sao Paulo Temple

What is your daily schedule?

6:30 – 7:00                Wake up and get ready

7:30 – 8:30                Personal study

8:30 – 9:15                Language study

9:25 – 10:10              Physical activity

10:45 – 11:30             TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning – Program                                              developed by BYU)

11:45 – 12:30             Lunch

12:30 – 1:30              Additional study

1:30 – 2:30                20 minutes to teach an investigator (3 groups)

2:30 – 4:30                Time with instructor – language learning, doctrine study, and teaching method study

4:45 – 5:30                Dinner

5:30 – 6:00                Additional study

6:00 – 7:00                Time with another instructor

7:00 – 8:00                20 minutes to teach an investigator (3 groups)

8:00 – 9:00                Time with another instructor

9:00 – 9:30                Planning

9:30 – 9:45                Snack time – AKA shovel down crackers and get to bedroom

9:45 – 10:30              Prep for bed

Have I played the piano yet?

Yes! I played a hymn (How Firm a Foundation) for one of our whole MTC meetings. We sing all songs in Portuguese. I’m currently practicing to play Tuesday, the day before you’ll get this, to accompany the MTC Choir singing “Help Me Teach with Inspiration”.

How do you do laundry?

We do our laundry throughout the week – the day changes depending on the schedule. The facilities leave something to be desired. The washers leave detergent stains sometimes and everything comes out of the dryer with tiny, little fuzzies on it. Hopefully, I’ll find superior machines outside. I think the problem largely lies in the other people not using the machines well. The detergent is automatically dispensed, so that could be a problem too. They have two deep sinks set up to scrub out collars in, so the sweat stains actually come out. Basically, it’s a small scrubber thing and a bar of soap. It works great! The irons are marginal, but they get the job done.

What have you done about a haircut?

They have a man that comes in the morning several times a week to cut hair. We went recently and he does a pretty good job. We got up early and went to see him at like 6:15 so we would have time to shower out the hair.

Pictures Coming!!

Update from this week:

Wednesday, August 12th 2015
We got to go to the Temple in Campinas, which was absolutely beautiful. The grounds around it were so amazing. All kinds of flowers that I didn’t recognize!! The bus ride to and from was kind of long…about 1.5 hours each way.
When we got back we emailed. ONLY 32 last week…I love hearing from home, but I still can’t get to them all. They only give us 45 minutes here, and the email nazi breathes down your neck the whole time. I’m thinking of drugging him next week…not such a good thought.
That afternoon, we got to go out into the city again. I picked up a few things I forgot to bring (like hangers) and a bunch of junk food I probably didn’t need! Nah, I did. I found a bakery and bought some kind of sweet bread for R$1. SO delicious, and cheap.

Thursday, August 13th 2015
We got two new sisters and one new elder from the MTC in Provo. Sisters Haynie and Pereyra are both from Texas, and Elder Rhead is from Colorado. They all seem to be really awesome. The batch of 30 or 40 that came with them has a couple of missionaries going to my mission in it, but I’ve only met two. One is from Georgia and I met her before I left on Instagram!

Friday, August 14th 2015
Only one cool thing to report: one of the sisters was having a difficult time grasping one of the concepts we were being taught, so we basically had an all-class discussion about it. When I started to talk, my words almost felt empowered. I knew that Heavenly Father was prompting me to say what she needed to hear right then, at that moment. It was such an awesome experience, and a testimony builder as well.

Saturday, August 15th 2015
Days are starting to go faster! We’ve already completed our third week here! Not much else to report…

Sunday, August 16th 2015
A prominent theme in church was Christ’s atonement for our sins and our taking advantage of that gift. The point that stood out to me the most was this: Christ paid in full. Whether or not we choose to accept His gift and repent of all our sins, He paid the price. So, we should use that gift and help others to do the same.

One of my instructors, Irmão Alonso, says that this part of our life, our missions, is when we “Pagar o Preço”, or “Pay the Price.” We are given so much and asked to do so little. When He asks something of us, we should do whatever that is.

Monday, August 17th 2015
I realized something interesting. On a daily basis, I play volleyball, eat meals, and converse with many different people from all around the world. From those I remember, people from Peru, Mexico, Columbia, Honduras, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, England, Spain, and New Zealand. We all have our cultural differences, but really aren’t THAT different. It’s so easy to coexist and get along really well with them. I love being able to ask them what it’s like to live in their country, and then be able to answer the same questions from them.

Tuesday, August 18th 2015
Not much to report! SLOW day, because P-Day is tomorrow (now TODAY).

I will be paying a third party service to send some pictures home this afternoon because the computers at the MTC are heavily blocked and won’t accept our memory cards. Check with my Mom for updates!

I miss home a lot and all the people I left behind. But, I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I should be doing. I believe me being here is divinely inspired and I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for me.

Eu amo Vocês.

Until next week,
Elder Chapman Tew

Bom Dia!

Sorry about last week…I was not prepared to email. I got 42 emails and responded to all but 6 of them. My poor fingers were tired. So, this week will be a slight re-do of what I wanted to say last week with new information from this week. SO…

The first day was pretty rough (Wednesday, July 29). They gave us a little time when we got here to unpack and shower. Around lunchtime, we started to do an introduction to everything at the MTC. It was really hard to pay attention because we were all so tired. We slept really well that night. When we arrived, we met our companies and our district, which was basically composed of everyone that flew to Brazil with us. My district has seven Elders. They are: Burnside (my companion, who is awesome), Moos, Fitzgerald, Silfies, Searle and Underwood. Kyle Underwood is from Georgia and lives a few houses up from Jeff and Marisa Humphrey.

The next day (Thursday, July 30) started classes. Our teacher, Irmã Fuoco, is really awesome. She served a mission a few years ago in Brazil and is a really great teacher. She’s very animated which keeps our attention. All morning we have time to study by ourselves and then, she teaches us in the afternoon. That day, we found out that we had to teach an investigator. We wrote out every single word we were going to say and actually didn’t do too bad. The investigator was one of our instructors, Irmão Alonso. His faux name is Vinicius.

The next couple of days were about the same – more learning Portuguese, more studying, and more teaching. The language gets easier as time goes on. We started to be able to understand more than we could speak.

For the first 3 days, everything was inside. All I saw was brick walls. It got a LOT easier when we started to be able to leave the building to exercise! The CTM does have this big, open garden in the middle, which helps. The whole bottom floor is large and open to the elements. The weather this time of year is amazing, so it makes it nice to walk around. I started to get some cabin fever and that’s when things got hard. My companion and I found a nice-sized, secluded, shady piece of grass on the edge of the compound. I nicknamed it “the sacred spot”. It has tables so we can go sit outside for a while. Things got easier after that.

Sunday (August 2) was Fast Sunday so we had a mission conference, sacrament meeting, a district meeting, and a devotional that night. The English speakers (like me) were able to wear headphones. A LOT of church made us super tired – all that trying to think in Portuguese.

Monday (August 3) proved to be a better day. We got to go outside and exercise for 45 minutes. My companion is a runner, so I did some fast walking…

Tuesday (August 4), all the English-speaking districts decided to fast from English. Meaning, we didn’t speak English all day. It was pretty quiet around here. I actually really enjoyed playing basketball with some of the other guys! Surprise!! I played the piano for the devotional that night which was awesome!

Wednesday (August 5) was P-Day. We got up early to go to the temple in Sao Paulo, which is about an hour away in the city. It was really cool to be able to see the change in the landscape.

One thing that’s interesting is the cars! The average sized car is about the size of a Ford Fiesta. Our family’s Suburban would totally be a land yacht. Most of the cars are Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Peugeot, Citroen, Mitsubishi, Mercedes, VW, BMW, and Honda, at least from what I’ve seen. Here, a Honda Civic is a luxury car. It costs about R$ 80,000.

After the temple, we went to the distribution center on site and I purchased a nice set of Portuguese scriptures. The drive back to the MTC was long because we were all really excited to check our email. Upon our return, we scarfed down some lunch and went straight to the computer room. I logged into my email and had 42 unread messages…I felt super loved, but super stressed. I tried to get to as many as I could, but I ran out of time. After I leave the MTC, it should be a lot easier to manage because I’ll have more time. That’s why my email was so short.

After emailing we got to leave the MTC and walk around for the first time. I made quite a few observations:

  • Streets are crowded with houses and vendors in every inch of available space.
  • The hills are steep and not fun.
  • Busses are fearless and take corners at like 30 mph.
  • Cars aren’t much better. They don’t stop.
  • Motorcyclists are fearless and weave in and out a lot.

We walked up and down the streets to find out where everything is. There are lots of bakeries that look delicious. There’s a guy that makes these leather etched scripture covers…I bought one. It takes 3 weeks to get done! I will send a picture when I am able. The cookie place across the street is really good!

It’s been different to spend the Brazilian money. Some things are expensive for them, but cheap for me because the $:R$ conversion is roughly 1:3. I found a place that has cans of Dr. Pepper <3. They’re R$6/$2 but I don’t care. All they have anywhere else is Guarana and some coke products. The drinks here are made with sugar cane, which is 10 times better.

When we got back to the MTC, we had some normal, routine things to do and we taught our first investigator for the last time. The day went by so fast!

The first week was super-long and tough, but the next few should be fast and easy.

A few other details:

  • It’s “winter” here, so it’s pleasant to open windows almost all day.
  • The room doesn’t have air conditioning, but the building has it throughout. So, some of it reaches the room and we have a big fan. We’re on the 5th floor, which is really the 6th because they don’t count the bottom, so we get a nice breeze too. Around midnight it gets very cool…and lovely.
  • The air is a lot thinner because we’re at a slightly higher altitude than other parts of the city.
  • All the houses have gates and bars.
  • There are no guns allowed, so security is more to protect from petty crime.
  • The MTC has a security team. Apparently, security is a HUGE business here.
  • There are a couple other people at the MTC going to my mission. The ones I’ve met are from Colombia, Mexico, and Spain!
  • Manny Curdy was on my flight to Atlanta…so I got to talk to him after we got off. That was awesome.
  • Everyone has to prepare a talk.
  • Brazilian hygiene
  • Brazilian shoes
  • McEscrava

Thursday (August 6) was rough. Because P-Day is Wednesday, Thursday is basically my Monday. The day was really long. We started off by going to the Policia Federal Building and registering ourselves with our visa so that we’d be “legal”. The building is HUGE. Tough looking policemen out front kind of freaked me out. The lines were long and slow. It took about 2 hours for us to all get through. When we got back, we resumed our normal day.

That night was rough. We were all visibly tired and having a tough time with our Portuguese. My mind was going 100 mph and I started to get stressed about everything. I realized how LONG two years is and everything I would be missing at home. But then, we read a scripture in Alma 29 about how God wants all people to be blessed by His Gospel. It was then I realized that everything I’m doing is worth it. In order for God’s will to be done, there must be willing and able people to do exactly what I’m doing. He gives us so much, yet asks so little. I know I’m here for a reason. He sent me because He knows that I’m capable of learning Portuguese and teaching these people. He knows that this experience is what I need to develop as a person and to prepare myself to be a father and husband. I know the road is long, but the destination is well worth the journey.

On Friday (August 7), we graduated from our first “investigator” to two brand new ones. They’re both instructors of ours. We had lesson with both but the first one, with our main instructor as the “investigator”, didn’t go so well. We really mucked it up. The second one, though, went great. We wrote down a plan of what we would say with every word in Portuguese we would need and didn’t end up using any of it. We completely changed topics and taught the lesson without notes. It was a really awesome experience.

Sunday’s lessons were all about faith. The MTC President gave a lesson on faith as it pertains to the Gospel. My favorite statement was this: “God has a plan. It is perfect because He is capable of no less than perfection. So, when he asks you to do something, DO IT!”

Saturday (August 8) and Monday (August 10) I started getting physical letters from Mom. There’s a business – missionties.com – that operates out of a store across the street that will print the letters she emails and then send them to me. Start-to-finish it’s in my hand two days later. Once I’m in the field, it will take 3. I would recommend this service to anyone else who serves here. The MTC is difficult because of all the adjusting that takes place. Words from Mom really mean a lot, since I only get email once a week.

By the way…I LOVE snail mail. I don’t know how long it takes to get here, so maybe wait until I get to my actual mission. But, I love getting letters, especially when they come all the way from the U.S.

Yesterday (August 11) was great! We “fasted” from English so ALL we spoke was Portuguese. It was so much easier than last week and I feel like I’ve learned a bunch.

I believe I may be able to send some pictures through the missionties.com place, so stay tuned!

Love,

Elder Tew

Alas, he wasn’t able to send any pictures he has taken. BUT, I did get this picture via missionties!!! He must have figured a work around for sending me a photo because he knows how much I MISS HIS FACE! Incidentally, it’s the first picture with a good shot of his tag! So, this is Elder Tew with his companion Elder Burnside from Texas.

 

Elder Tew’s MTC Address

Elder Tew would LOVE some snail mail!!! His computer time is very limited in the MTC.  Please write him at this address:

Elder Chapman Tew

Missão São Paulo Sul

Brasil MTC: District 30A Box 24

Rua Padre Antonio d’Angelo 121

Casa Verde CEP 02576-040

São Paulo, SP Brasil

Hello from Brazil!!

Things here are very interesting. The plane ride here was 10 hours long. I wouldn’t reccommend staying awake if I were you. Didn’t help me with being tired the next day!

I met a bunch of people going to Brazil the same day as me on Instagram and I saw them all at the airport! I must’ve seen 20-30 missionaries total…it was a neat experience.

First day was nuts. The MTC shuttle picked us up from the airport and brought us to the MTC. It’s set up in a big rectangle around a central open courtyard. The architecture here is different, but I like it! The buildings are basically built right on top of each other, that part I don’t like. 

My companion: Elder Burnside from Texas! He’s a great guy, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him. 

My district: Composed of a diverse group of guys – all the same ones who flew to Brazil together. There are 7 Elders total and no Sisters!

Daily Life: We spend about 10 hours a day learning in one way or another. Portuguese is the most difficult language I’ve tried yet. Spanish and German were significantly less complicated. It sounds like a mixture of French and Spanish. It has a lot of nasal sounds, like French, and a lot of words that mean the same thing in Spanish and German, but are just pronounced differently. 

Food: DELICIOUS. Lots of rice and beans…big surprise. We had American food last night which was great!

The city: Makes New York look like a puddle. Buildings as far as the eye can see. If I could send pictures, I would! 

I got 42 emails today, so this letter will be short. I know how to plan better for the future!

I’m so excited to be here! It really is the best. I’m excited for all that is to come.

Eu Amo Vocês,

Elder Tew

Chapman sent this to us from a local shop on his P-Day. It is SO GOOD to see his face!!!

Chapman sent this to us from a local shop on his P-Day. It is SO GOOD to see his face!!!