Thank you for writing to Nathanael. He is feeling your support. He is still struggling with some anxiety but he's working his way through it. I know your letters and prayers are helping him to feel strength and are responsible for some of the "tender mercies" he is feeling. It's a blessing that we are allowed to "chat" every week for a few minutes. Going from chatting every night before bed to not chatting at all is rough. I think that the mission president allowing that communication is key to us being able to help him work through some of these issues. Nathanael is strong, but has insecurities just like the rest of us. I keep reminding him that all the struggles he's having are normal struggles and he is progressing just as he should be. This is a growing time for him and growing times are the hardest. He's doing really well.
I think it's funny to note the misspellings in his letter. I remember that happening to me as I became more immersed in the language and started spelling words they way they are pronounced. It made me giggle.
Here is his letter. If you have any advice for him, feel free to reach out to him. I know he would appreciate any advice. Enjoy!
First I just want to say thanks so much for the emails. They really lifted my spirits. This week has been incredibly tough for me but I've had lots of tender mercies, too. And the work has been progressing! So that's great. I want to talk about it but first some fun stuff about the culture that I've been noticing: First of all, what do they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Brazil? Answer: a Quarterão. Dad, there are tons of Volkswagon Buses here -- they're about as common as CRVs in America -- and every time I see one I think of you. Also, remember that song "Saudade" by Love and Rockets? The word saudade is Portuguese for longing or nostalgia. There's no direct translation but that's roughly the meaning. I thought you would appreciate that. The weather here is nuts. It's been raining like crazy here. The first real rainstorm was last Saturday. I forgot to write about it, but dang -- the streets were literally flooded, and we went tracting!! My shoes were soaked until or . We are definitely in the jungle, even if we're not, you know what I mean?
Anyway, the people here are great. We have a teaching group of about 15 that we are working with right now, and all of them are interested in what we are teaching. It's great. The most exciting thing about this week was that we marked a baptismal date with Marcello! He will be baptized . He is so excited and happy and we are too, haha. I have been struggling with stress but when I think about him I feel joy. It's really amazing to be a part of this work sometimes.
Luckily for all of us, I found some ramen and oatmeal at the store last Monday and I've been eating three meals a day ever since. Thank goodness. I have felt physically a lot better. I forgot to buy sugar unfortunately, but I'll get there.
I'm starting to get used to going to church and not hearing English or seeing anyone I know. The members for the most part are really friendly and I'm getting to know them a little bit. It's fun to eat lunch with them and then see them at church. The lunches here are amazing by the way.
I'm glad to hear you guys are doing good. Sounds like you have a lot going on as always but you are handling it. Glad the Primary program went well! Mom, I hope your wrist is feeling better. It looks sore. I loved seeing all the pictures you guys sent.
I already have a few funny embarrassing moments. I'll tell you the best one for now and save the rest for later. ;) It was actually at the MTC and I just forgot to tell it. We had divisions with the Brazillians, and my companion told me about a missionary companionship that was in his ward. It was a trainer and a greenie, and the trainer told the greenie to introduce himself to investigators by saying, "Hola, eu sou frango!" which literally means, "Hi, I am chicken!" meaning the food. I thought this was hilarious and went up to a bunch of people and said this.
I'm glad you guys are getting in the Christmas spirit. I've been listening to a lot of Christmas music. Stores are starting to put up tinsel and trees and snowflakes and stuff which is awesome but kinda weird because it's so hot, haha, but it's cool. By the way, when it comes to an Xbox One or a Playstation 4, I would go for the Xbox. ;) The Playstation will have Uncharted but the Xbox will have everything else. Have fun!!!
I heard that Trump won. I honestly can't believe it, but it's done now, haha. Craziness! I'm not really happy about it but like you said there's not really much we can do and it will be all good.
Guys, my anxiety is really, really, really bad right now. I'm talking bad like it was when it's been the very worst. I don't know what to do. Like I said, everything else is going well but man this anxiety is just unbearable. It's more than stress, you know? My thoughts and feelings have been my worst enemy lately. Do you have any suggestions? I feel stuck. I know before I came here I said I would never give up, and I felt very confident in myself, but I honestly never thought my anxiety could be this bad here. Do you guys have any advice?
Anyway, I don't want to worry you guys but that's how it's been. I love you guys, and just want to say thanks so so much for all the words of incouragement. They are invaluable to me.