So basically my sister Kieren, who now goes by Sister Kieren Smith, is probably the cutest best missionary I've ever heard of. I guess this is how everybody feels when they hear from their family. Enjoy! And don't forget to write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are more colors on the buildings in Brazil than anywhere I know in the U.S.! The roofs are terra-cotta orange or straw and the buildings are pink, red, bright blue, green, and the most common of all, graffiti colored craziness.
More about the food. It is kind of a big deal here. So a typical breakfast consists of a milk-like thing with small bits of grain or oatmealish stuff and it really sweet and delicious. There are all sorts of fruits like papayas, bananas, marajuca (usually more in desserts), and this small pink fruit, green on the outside, that I can´t remember the name of. They also serve ham and cheese paninis every morning for breakfast along with various other options. Lots of juices and guaraná. I usually drink orange juice or water. I might talk about lunch (almoço), dinner (jantar) and lanche (pronounced lawnshee, its our late night snack) next time if I remember.
My companion, Sister Cummings, is from a family of 13 in Virginia. She is so nice and so fun to be around. She is also very tall so you can probably pick her out of the picture that got sent earlier. I can´t email pictures from the MTC, so the ones from the MTC presidency to mom and dad are the only ones that will come for a while.
I went to the São Paulo temple today! It was beautiful and the drive was amazing. We went right through the middle of São Paulo and saw all of the poorest places. Some people life under bridges in small wooden shacks. It seems like just a step up from being homeless. I thought I realized before how blessed I am but I am beginning to realize that I have no idea.
There are more Brazilians and South Americans than people from the U.S. here so it is really weird and fun to be a minority. Every meal, we try to sit with Brasileiros and practice conversation. Everyone says Smith like Esmeechee. The most common last names here are (de) Souza and (da) Silva. It is super fun and sister Cummings and I are both picking up on the language really quickly. It helps that we took Spanish before and that I studied some portuguese before. Really, we can talk to anyone here because they either speak English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Our district is amazing and the teachers were saying that we are one of the fastest progressing districts they have ever had. As missionaries, we are are entitled to the gift of tongues if we work hard, and I have definitely seen that coming into play here.
On Tuesday, we listened to a recast of a devotional by Elder Holland where he was talking to missionaries in the MTC. He said that every single missionary should have at least one convert, and it better be yourself. He was talking about how in order to bring people unto Christ, we have to be there ourselves. We cannot guide someone to a place we have never been. I also thought it was cool to think about how we are all God´s investigators. He is up there, hoping we keep our committments and keep progressing, just as we as missionaries pray for and sincerely hope our investigators read the Book of Mormon when they say they will and go to church and keep on the path toward happiness and eternal life. Also, it is nice to think that we ourselves count as a convert. The scripture in D&C,15-16 (I think, I dont have my D&C here) talks about how great our joy will be even if we bring one soul into the kingdom of God. That includes us! And our families with whom we have so much influence. I am so grateful for loving parents who brought me to Christ.
My red email light is flashing and telling me to leave, so I have to sign off for now, but much love to you all!!!