Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

minha familia,

This week has been pretty slow. Pretty much nothing happened. I mean really I sit here and try and think of things we did lol and nothing is really coming to mind so I will just start writing and see what happens.
Tuesday was district meeting and it was actually pretty useful for once which was a nice change. then on Wednesday we had companionship study with the Zone Leaders and that was actually really good. They wanted to see how I was doing with the language and teaching so we did a role play kinda thing. where I had to be the senior companion and start the teaching and lead the whole discussion. and we had to teach the restoration. It went well I did a lot better than I thought I was going to do so that's always a nice surprise! I taught pretty good and when I got stuck I just looked at Elder Blanco and he helped me out haha but it went well and after the ZLs said that it was really good. They even said that I have learned the language faster than anyone they have seen before. After they said that I thought about it for awhile after and its pretty amazing how much Portuguese I have really learned out here. I have to say I am actually doing pretty well with it. its pretty cool how much the Lord has helped me with it. I know its pretty much all him because I know I couldn't learn any Portuguese by myself. So I am sure it is all a huge blessing from the Lord. I make sure to say thank you to him a lot for that. but that was a pretty cool realization of the week that the language is coming along good. I feel bad for the new sister who was with me in the MTC she is having a super hard time with the language and its really hard on her. She is really struggling with it. I try and help her when I see her but that's not much. It just makes me realize how much the Lord blesses me again when I see someone else struggling with the language. She will get it soon though. Anyway communication with people is becoming a little better which is really nice. I notice that I talk with people more everyday. and I understand a lot. but there are still those people who try and talk with me and I am pretty sure they don't speak Portuguese lol

As for the week of work... pretty much nothing. Work is really hard here around Christmas and new years because more than ever no one wants to hear about the church. lol its really amazing how slow it is. We are working and doing all we can to find people to teach but it feels like nothing is coming of our efforts and that's really frustrating at times. this week we knocked a lot of doors and just talked to people on the street when we passed. One good thing came of this. We where walking to our lunch and it is a pretty good walk from out house so we walked and walked and when we got there no one was home great!! just our luck lol so we had to start our long walk back to the house to make lunch for ourselves. While walking back we say a daughter who is about 10 pushing her mom in a wheel chair down the road. we decided that we would contact them and ask if they needed help. so as we started talking with them they where really nice and they invited us to come over and share a message with them later that week!! awesome!! so the time came for us to visit them the next day or so and we went and shared the restoration and they really liked it and they really liked that part about the authority of god for baptism!! so we soft committed them and asked if when they know that these things are true if they will get baptized and they both said yes!! wooohooo!!!! haha it was really cool the lesson went great. and the next day we went over and painted the inside of there house for them and that was really good to. they really appreciated the help and kept trying to give us money but we told them that we cant and it was all for free and because we like them lol the boyfriend of the mom really likes us but he is a die hard catholic but he is really really interested in the church and how it works and he asked some really good questions that we helped answered so I am hoping he will come around as well. but all this because our lunch canceled so God blessed us with a little miracle of finding the family. I am pretty sure lunch canceled just so we could find them and talk with them. pretty cool story of the week. other than this we really didn't teach much. we visited less active members and members which are pretty much the same thing here lol and yes we went of to Rose house and did some service for her that was good. I think we are going back this week to paint something for her. But as for new investigators we got those 3 which are great and nothing other than that so once again this week we are really trying hard to find new investigators we are going to be walking a lot this week. cant wait!!
this week was crazy as far as food... all but one lunch canceled on us so we had to eat in the house which sucks because we have no food so we live off of little roles and cookies. haha so we didn't really eat to much this week which was a bummer but a lady in the ward invited us over for lunch on new years and we hard a bbq which was good but I am sick a little from it today. lol So that's the food situation for last week.

this week we have interviews with the mission president so that's will be good. we where going to have them last week but he moved it. that's the only news for this week lol and there are some rumors that Elder Blanco and myself are going to be transferred to another city in Alegrete next transfer so that's kinda sad because I really want to have success in the area I am in now. but we'll see what happens with that.
news years was pretty good super lazy. we woke up and went to church. church was only sacrament again lol then we went home and studied for a little. after that we went to lunch and imra Daisy's house had a bbq then we went back to the house. we didn't work because there are to many parties and crazy things to work. hah so we spent the day in the house I studied for like 4 or 5 hours while Elder Blanco slept then after my study I caught up on some sleep. lol
New years eve night was crazy!! I have never heard so many fireworks in my life!! they where going off pretty much once it got dark then we went to bed and woke up to what I thought was the start of WWIII !! so many fireworks and it was so laud lol it was crazy how many fireworks where going off! I don't know where people got them but everyone and there dog seemed to be shooting them off at midnight! we woke up because of that and tried to sleep but that was hard with so much noise but I finally did it! lol
that's about it for the week nothing really exciting although we did get new investigators that seem to be pretty good! New years was pretty laid back didn't really do anything at all. and the week was good just being a missionary in the town of Alegrete lol no one likes the missionaries here and no one wants to help us!!! so keep us in your prays. that's it for the week. sounds like you guys are doing good keep it up lol thanks for all of you love and support love you all have a great week!!!

love Elder Novakovich

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week 3

Hello everyone!

This week has been a long one for me. To start things off, its so stinking HOT!!! I cant believe it! and its only going to get hotter here as the days go by, so I cant wait for that... haha thanks for all of your emails. I love hearing about your week, its great! This week has been pretty crazy. A lot of things have happened. At the beginning of the week we got an e-mail from the mission president saying that he needs baptisms from our area. So no pressure now lol. So this week we really focused on finding new investigators. This area is really slow lately and there hasn't ever really been a lot of baptisms come out of here but I really think we can get some. So we worked hard talking to tons of people and trying to find new investigators. The week started off really well and we found a family last week. This week was our first lesson with them and it went super well and we put one of them on date!! The mom is a member but she is not active at all. She was baptized 12 years ago and doesn't remember anything. So we were super pumped to have a person on date for baptism! Later in the week we went back over and had another great lesson about Joseph Smith. The spirit was strong and everything so we invited them to church and they accepted! On Sunday we went to their house in the morning to pick them up for church. and they weren't home which really sucked because well, first, they didn't come to church and seconnd, it was a really long walk to there house haha. We went by later on Sunday and we were going to teach a lesson but mom came out and said: I am sorry guys I cant let you in. The kids dad does not want you coming to our house anymore. I am really sorry but we cant have you teach us anymore. I felt bad because they where so good and really accepting of the gospel. So this week we are going to try and go talk to the dad and see if we cant figure something out. I hope everything works out so keep us in your prayers for sure!!

This week we really focused on finding new investigators so we knocked, well clapped, at a lot of doors. We found what seems to be some really good people. We found a young family. They have one kid. We found them just knocking doors and we came in to teach and while we where teaching he was asking all the best questions lol like ´if there were prophets in the past, shouldn't we have a prophet today? lol YES!!!! my companions and my eyes got huge and just looked at each other lol and we got really excited and we are going to teach him again this week I hope it all goes well and I hope we can put him on date with his wife. We will see!!
This week pretty much consisted of a ton of walking!! and knocking doors and talking to everyone we pass on the road. so to say the least, my body is pretty dead and I really started to feel it towards the end of the week. On Sunday I got pretty sick and I felt horrible. It wasn't very good and I still don't feel good today, but yesterday was a lot worse so after church we went to a members home for lunch. We eat lunch with members everyday. After that I had to just go home and lay down for a little. I had a fever and it just happened to be the hottest most humid day of my life!! I mean it was so hot I have never sweat that much in my life and I had a fever and felt horrible to begin with so it wasn't very fun at all! And Sunday we had to walk a ton more than the usual day so that just made it so much better haha. As we where walking my back was soaked! When we finally got to the house we where going to, we couldn't even drink the water because it was really bad and just didn't want to risk it. I felt like I was gong to die for real lol after the lesson we went to the bishops house to get water. It was so good!!!!!!! lol Then we had another long long walk home and when I got home I seriously drank 2 liters of water in about 10 mins no joke I was so thirsty and needed water so bad!
Now for the language... it stinks so bad and I am so frustrated with it. I am trying to be positive but it is so hard because I cant talk to anyone! I haven't had a conversations with someone since I got to brazil. Its really hard not being able to communicate with people and to make things worse, I am so sick of being made fun of. Its crazy how much I am getting made fun of! It was all funny the first week and a half and now its just really getting annoying! Its so frustrating to have a group of people just sit there and say things about you and I cant even defend myself because I don't know how to lol so the language really killed me this week I had a hard time with it. But its getting better but its still horrible I cant teach a lot more now than I ever could and I understand more and I can talk more with my companion but its still hard. I have been learning patience for sure out here.
Teaching wise, it's been a good week and we have about 4 or 5 good investigators right now that we are hoping on putting on date very soon. So keep us in your prayers and pray for new investigators! please we could really use the help!
So as far as the week in general, I have learned a lot about being a missionary. The biggest one is that I know now that missionaries are watched over and protected. I know that. We have had some sketchy situations that went a lot better than they should have out here. I am so thankful for the protection out here! And also, I am getting a lot more familiar with the culture but there is just one thing I think I will never get used to out here. the whole toilet paper thing. here you have to put the used toilet paper in the trash next to the toilet.. you don't flush it... its so strange and pretty gross! lol That's my thought of the week lol the week was long just because of frustration and sickness but nothing to bad.

Thanksgiving was kinda sad not having family around. Elder Gillett called me and wished me a happy thanksgiving lol it was funny. no one knows thanksgiving around here. They have never even heard of it so that was sad. In pictures of my thanksgiving dinner I made a sandwich and a chicken patty since it was thanksgiving lol usually I have to choose between the two since we don't get a lot of food around here. The other thing I have learned this week is that I can put the rice and beans down like no ones business! lol I can eat so much rice and beans! I don't know if its because I am starving or because I can just eat a lot of them haha but I find them pretty good now and I eat a ton when I can haha This week has also been exciting as far as almost being hit by things... one bus, two cars, three horse buggy and four motorcycles! I have almost been hit by everyone of those things lol the streets here are like a circus act! I came really close to a motorcycle. I mean super close. I felt the tire on my pant leg! lol kinda scarred me to say the least but don't worry, there were no accidents in my pants lol The dogs here are crazy!!! There are so many of them everywhere!!! They all just run wild and just are crazy. oh and there is a barn right across the street from us and on Saturday night they had a party there... all night long!!!!!! they played music so loud!! all night long, so to say the least, sleep was hard to come by. The party finally ended around 5 in the morning... so that didn't help my sleep issue lol I am still very much tired!!
Well thanks again for all of your emails and love. I am so thankful for all of you and all of your support out here! I think of you all the time and miss you guys a ton but the work is going pretty well and we have a lot to do here so things are good! keep us in your prayers. We can always use the help! I was pretty sick but I am getting better now so no worries. Its super super hot but that's to be expected! haha I am doing good and I am safe for another week lol oh you can send pictures for sure that's totally ok!! that would be awesome and in a package I need face cleanser and deodorant because they don't have that here... and I just ran out so... lol that's the only things I really need right now thanks! I love you all and I think that is about it for the week! have a great one be safe and have a ton of fun!! parabems on the license Darbi that's awesome!! thanks again for all of the love! have a good week!!

Love Elder Novakovich

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

1st Week in my new area

Hello my family!

First things first. I am so tired!!!!!!!! I cant even believe how tired I am! I haven't caught up from the no sleep for almost two days during the travel. I have never been this tired in my life! lol and I love reading your e-mails because one, well I just love hearing from you guys, and two they are in English and I can understand them!!
Right after leaving from the e-mail place we went and got hair cuts, my first one in brazil! it was well ok lol I couldn't really talk to the lady and tell her what I wanted so my companions just told her to do whatever and it ended up ok . Its not the worst thing I have ever seen. But the rest of the day was good. We went into town and shopped at some stores. Once that was over, we had to go back to work. The rest of the week was pretty much the same. I will do an overview so I don't repeat myself. We wake up everyday a little before 6:30, shower, and then its study time till around 12. After this we head out for the day and start working. Our area is pretty big. It takes a little over an hour to walk from one side to the other, so we got a lot of room to work with. Houses are crammed together and its pretty crazy. Everyday we have some people we try and talk to. We plan every night for the next day so we have a game plan of what we are going to do. Most of the time our appointments don't answer their door or are just not home. So we spend almost all our day knocking doors. Well, we don't knock here, we stand outside their gate and we clap and they come out to talk or they just act like they didn't hear us knock. We do that all day pretty much everyday. We talk to a lot of people but they just say they have another religion. That's been interesting to get to know all of those down here. I've met Mormons, lol Catholics, (lots of those) and even some devil worshipers... that's been fun. We walked by their so called church and its just an eerie feeling but there are just a lot of religions and no one wants to hear about ours so its hard to teach people. we just tell them our message will help them have more faith in God and Jesus Christ. We really don't get to teach that much here and that is hard. We teach 3 lessons a day if we are lucky and the rest of the time we are walking around street contacting and knocking doors. On Tuesday there was a church activity and we went to that. The whole ward comes because there is not enough youth, so everyone comes and they do a spiritual message at the beginning and then they do an activity. Its all combined, no one breaks off into groups like our ward, so its different but pretty cool. The ward is pretty close since there are less than 40 in it lol so everyone knows each other. So we have an activity, then they feed everyone! I love this part because I don't have to understand anyone to be able to eat! lol I know what to do with food. No one has to tell me that. lol Wednesday was district meeting. I got to meet everyone else in my district. They are all pretty cool. The sad news is the zone leaders taught what I think was a great lesson but I understood maybe 10% of it lol.

The language has been killing me... my head at the end of the day feels like it is going to explode!!!! it is so mentally draining to try and understand people all day long. I really haven't heard any English since being here. its pretty hard. I really don't even get to study in English. Its all Portuguese, everything! I guess I will learn faster haha but I just get so frustrated at the end of the day. About the last hour of working I just get so frustrated I cant even think straight. I have no patience with anything at the end of the day. All I do is put a big smile on my face and say sim, sim, sim, and nod my head or if when I say sim they give me a weird look I quickly change to nao nao lol then they realize I have no idea what they are saying and they say something to my companion and he talks lol but anyway the language is coming just really slowly. and I am trying my best. when we teach I say what I can, when I can, but its not much because usually I have no idea where the lesson is. I usually just bear my testimony at the end and that seems to be the best thing and helps the person.
So its just Elder Blanco and myself now. interesting story about that. we did have Elder Gillett with us but he is now a zone leader! lol he goes home in two weeks so that's cool for him! Elder Blanco and I get along pretty well. I mean we have our problems but the big thing is not being able to understand each other so sometimes we get pretty frustrated with each other. but its all good, we work well together and that's all that really matters. a funny story about us is last night he was snoring so loud I could not sleep. so I started clapping my hands till he woke up and I was able to chew him out and tell him to stop snoring, all in Portuguese, lol I thought it was pretty funny.
Everyone in our district calls our area the nova area lol They all say when my 12 week training is over, I will be district leader but I don't think so. I just really like to work hard our here. I don't want any regrets. I am working really hard and my companion likes it, he just gets tired sometimes and asks to sit down for a little rest. We walk a lot and fast, haha but we are doing as much as we can here. I think this areas is going to see some big changes with new missionaries working hard here. It will be fun to see! Our goal this week is to really find some good investigators so we are hoping to find the people the lord has prepared for us!
Another funny story for the week is one day we where working as usual and then we ended up back at the house and I asked why. Elder Gillett then said in English so I could understand, "We are dropping off our stuff. You need to take off your watch and leave your backpack and stuff because we are going to a part of town that isn't very safe"... that got my attention. It was very true and kinda sketchy where we were...but it ended all ok We only had an encounter with a drug guy who was up to no good but we handled it ok. haha we were all safe.
This week has been good though over all. I even had my very fist chicken heart burger!! lol pretty good actually until you see what you are eating then its kinda hard to get down. So I just don't look at the food, but it wasn't horrible, pretty tasty. Then I had my very first "chirrasco" its a Brazilian bbq with tons and tons of meat.

It was nice to be full haha, we really don't get to eat that much here. We eat one meal a day and that's lunch so I am super hungry all the time. It seems like it kinda stinks but we are going to the grocery store after this and I will get some goodies! haha
Its so HOT here!!! everyday it touches 100 degrees! And its humid, so I sweat so much you can see the sweat marks on my socks,

but I mean its so hot its going to take some getting used to for sure! And there is no AC here. No one even knows what that is lol so there is no way to get out of it! the best thing ever though is my camelbak!!! Another fun part are the bugs!! they are eating me alive and the scary part is I don't get bitten during the day... its only at night! I have bites on my face all over my arms everywhere! they love me! its pretty gross when you think about it... lol they only get me when I am sleeping. I try not to think about what goes on haha
Well that's about it for the week! its so crazy wrestling started! I miss it actually. It still haunts me how last season ended... it seriously keeps me up at night when I think about it. I can replay every match at state in my head. it just kills me. it really kills me when I think about it. but oh well tell everyone good luck for the season for me! I will miss being with them! I am doing good so no need to worry about me. I am really loving it in brazil even though I really have no idea what most people are saying to me! lol the people are pretty cool though! I have to say thanks to Madi for the hymn book because we sing hymns for this old lady when go over so, thanks Madi! haha I am just loving it! I am so thankful to be here. I love the area I am in, its perfect, and just what I have ever imagined! I am working hard and learning pretty quick about things here. Things are good even though I am so tired!! I mean so tired its crazy! but I am happy and love being here with the people and I love serving here its really cool! I am frustrated with the language but no need to worry, its coming, and I will get it eventually, just need the patience. thanks for all of you support I love you all. Have a great week in the snow. I will try and send some heat your way! lol have a good thanksgiving I don't get one :( thanks for the e-mails again I love you all so much thanks for all of your support have a great week!!!!!!!

love Elder Novakovich

Monday, November 14, 2011

Arrived in Brazil

Hello from Brazil!!!!

Holy cow this is the craziest thing ever!!!! I cant believe it! I don't have too much time so I will start from when I started to brazil from Atlanta. It took me awhile to figure out how to use this dang computer because everything is in Portuguese, lol, but we're all good now.
It was so great to talk to you guys. I loved it so much! It was amazing to hear everyone's voices again! I talked to dad last in Atlanta and while I was talking to him an elder ran over and said they were boarding the plane right away, so I had to go pretty quick. Sorry about that, but I walked over and got on the plane right away. It was a huge plane but unfortunately I was in the very back of the dang thing so my seat didn't recline at all. And lets just say that planes are not very comfy. So we got on and I was sitting next to the elder who was serving in Salt Lake as well, so we got to be good friends through out all this traveling. As we started to move, and the plane made its way to the runway, it really started to hit me that I was going to Brazil. It was the weirdest feeing I have ever had. I was so excited but really scarred at the same time and I had no idea what to think. The plane took off and I was on my way to Brazil. I watched all the lights of America pass away as we went out over the ocean. The first hour of the flight was great, then as time went on, I started to get super tired and I couldn't get comfortable to save my life. So I just looked out the window and watched Jamaica, Cuba and all those cool places pass by but I don't think I saw a little elder Romney running around in Jamaica haha, it was to dark, but anyway the flight went on and on and on and on and on for forever!! I am not lying, it was the longest flight ever. First, because it was just a long flight to begin with, and second, I could not fall asleep, it was horrible. I really only slept good for like 15 mins. I couldn't get in a good spot to sleep so I was pretty frustrated and the last two or so hours of the flight I just wanted to be there already. But the time finally came and we landed in Sao Paulo! Flying over the city was so crazy. It was morning and we could see everything. It is an impressive city for sure. It is so huge, like mind blowing huge! So that was really cool to see brazil and all the houses and buildings as we landed. I got off the plane and bam! HEAT and HUMIDITY! It smacked me in the face pretty hard lol I was sweating pretty good just walking through the tunnel to the airport. Once we got in, we had to go straight to customs. That was interesting. We walked into a big room and this lady was yelling, "Foreigners in this line!" I started walking the other way not realizing that I am now a foreigner lol. The lady nicely grabbed my shirt and put me in the right line. It was pretty funny. The other elders where laughing at me. It was weird realizing that I was now a foreigner. So I got to the front of the line hoping I had filled out all the paper work correctly. I went to the window and the lady said something that I didn't understand so I just gave her my passport and the paperwork and she did some stuff said some stuff and I just smiled at her because I had no idea what she was saying. She handed me my stuff and everything was all good. The next step was getting my bags. That went great and it was really fast. Then we went out of that room and there where two people waiting to help us with everything. They helped us exchange our money and then we headed over to get our plane ticket to Porta Alegre. I got my ticket and everything was going smoothly. We had a couple hours to sit and wait for our flight, so we went through security. I was expecting the same kind of thing as in salt lake, but no lol the security was pretty much nothing, so I made it through with no problems there. I found my gate and then tried to find a place where I could call you guys but there was nothing. Sorry about that. We had a long time to wait till the flight so a couple elders and I just sat and people watched the whole time. OH! I forgot we met up with some more elders in Sao Paulo and one of them was elder law from my district in the MTC. It was great to see him. We stayed together the whole time. We boarded our plane and headed out. The flight was good and took little more than 2 hours. I did get about hmm 20 mins of sleep so that was awesome! Well it was good until we started our decent to land and that was a nightmare. I don't know what was going on but the plane kept going up and down, up and down, and this is when I started to feel a little sick. lol not good. Just before I got to the point of throwing up on the plane, we landed. We headed out and met two elders who had been sent to pick us up. One was the assistant. We talked to him for a minute and then went out to get a shuttle. There were 6 elders and one sister, all new, going to Santa Maria, so that was cool. Outside was so stinking HOT and so humid. I was sweating big time haha. We were standing waiting for a shuttle and someone asked the elders how far to Santa Maria? They then informed us, .... 5 hours..... All I could think was NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol I wasn't to excited about the ride but I was excited to drive through town and see everything in the city. We started driving and I have to say the shuttle was pretty nice. I mean nice for brazil. haha We started and the city was awesome and I saw some super cool things, then we left the city and it is just grass and rice farms from there to santa maria lol with some houses and tiny towns mixed in. So the drive was pretty cool. The best part was I got like an hour of sleep!!!!!!!!! oh yeah!!! I was really excited as we got closer to Santa Maria, even though I was super tired. The first thing we did was went to what they call the big house. Its a... well.... big house that has 8 beds in one room. hah They use it for transfers and stuff. We dropped our bags off there and headed to the mission presidents house. He lives on top of like an 8 story building. We got there, said hello, or Oi, to the family and they took us to the roof to look at the city from there! It was so crazy. I will try and send pictures, but it was so cool. We could see a ton and it was surreal just to sit there and look and know that I was in brazil and this was my mission. It was a very special moment for me. After looking for awhile they got some pizza for use to eat and I was starving. We didn't eat a lot the whole trip. The last time I ate was in Atlanta and had Panda Express!!! yummy! After dinner, they told us we could call our parents and let them know we had arrived safely. I got so excited! We only got like 1 min though, so I called mom and that was great! I was so excited to call her from brazil! way cool! After everyone called their parents, we headed back to the big house to sleep!!! yay!!! The president wasn't at his house because he was traveling for zone conferences. When we got to the house, it took awhile for everyone to get settled down and ready for bed. When I first laid in bed, it felt wet, it was weird and I thought to myself, "What the heck is this?" Then I realized it was wet just because it was so humid! It was hard to fall asleep but I was so tired nothing could stop me, not even the bugs crawling on me. I woke up to a huge clap of thunder and a lightning storm, just my luck! The houses here don't have glass in the windows. They just have open bars or slats. It was pretty loud and it was raining so hard. It was actually pretty nice to just sit there and listen to the storm. I love storms haha I don't think the girls would have liked it very much. lol but it was raining really hard and it was lightning so often it was really cool. After enjoying that for a little while, I fell back to sleep and woke up in the morning getting about 4 hours of sleep. I was soaked. lol I had been sweating pretty bad. Getting ready was fun. there were 8 of us and only one shower. Ok. so the shower was the crazy! Let me just say this.. you could shower and sit on the toilet at the same time! It was still raining in the morning and we had to be at the church for zone conference. The good news was that mom got me an umbrella. It came in handy as we started walking in the poring rain. I was thinking that it would be just a short walk and we would be there. I was wrong. It was about a 30 min walk to the church in the rain on my first day in Brazil, but I have to say it was so awesome walking through the middle of the city. There were lots of people and it was like nothing I have ever seen before! The city is so awesome! I love it! When we got to the church, I met the mission president. He is really cool but he only knows a tiny bit of English so it was kind of hard to talk with him, but I had and interview with him and understood almost everything he was saying. He helped a lot by talking super slow. After the interviews, it was time for zone conference. There were a lot of Elders there and I even saw someone I knew from the MTC. Zone conference was all in Portuguese of course and I don't know Portuguese, so the president had the American elders translate for us.

Ughh I am running out of time so I need to cram a ton of stuff in really quick with not a lot of details sorry!
The conference was good. The next day we had training and we got our new companions! My companions names are Elder Blanco, who is from sao paulo, and speaks no English. The other is Elder Gillett. He is from Utah but he goes home in three weeks so its just for a short time. They don't speak any English with me, so most of the time it is hard to communicate. They are both super cool! We get along very well and they help with the language a ton. Portuguese is coming along pretty well actually. I am surprised I can understand Elder Blanco a lot because he talks slow for me. But when it comes to the locals... no chance.... I don't get anything!!!! When training was done, we headed to our areas. This is when I found out I had yet another 5 hour bus ride... ugh and our bus left at 9 pm so we traveled through the night. I didn't sleep at all on the bus, it was horrible. We got home a little after 2:30 am and went to bed around 3. I slept great for 3 1/2 hours.. till we had to wake up at 6:30. My first area is Alegrete! It is so awesome!! It is everything I ever wanted it to be!!! Its the coolest little town ever! I love everything about it! All the roads are cobblestone and most of the houses are brick shack things. The people are pretty poor around here. We actually live in a pretty nice place for the area, its not bad at all. It is pretty hot around these parts. haha, but its not horrible. I sweat a lot and when I get in bed at night my skin feels so weird; like salt. As for water... I have a little filter thing at the house that I use when I am there, but we aren't here a lot and I need water so we are forced to drink the regular water. Its probably not great but its either drink the water or turn into a raisin and die of heat exhaustion. I choose water. I probably wont die from it I hope lol sorry mom you probably don't like me drinking the water.... I love you!! but I have to. Anyway, my areas is so cool and my trainers are great, they help a ton. Church was ... interesting. There are only about 38 members who come so it's super tiny. It's weird going from salt lake to here. The singing in church was awesome lol there is no piano and everyone well is pretty bad at singing haha it was so funny to hear everyone sing. Everyone sings their own thing, its great! I contacted 8 people yesterday! The language isn't horrible. I am doing alright. I really like Alegrete. I love being in Brazil; its the craziest place I have ever been! I cant believe I am really here! I am doing great. Have a great week. I love you all!!

p.s. All I eat is rice and beans with some kind of meat lol and I got bit by a bug the other night and now I have a rash looking thing on my arm where it bit me. lol Fun stuff being in brazil but I am so excited to be here!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A really boring week!!

Oi familia!!!!

Crazy week and I don't have a lot of time to write but trust me I will make up for it in the next sentence....... I AM GOING TO BRAZIL!!!!!!!! Tomorrow!!!! Tuesday I am leaving on a jet plane to another country!! lol that is so crazy I cant believe I even am telling you this right know. I thought it would never come!!!!! ah!! I am so excited and so nervous at the same time!! I don't really know much about my travel because I get all that info tonight! I do know I leave at 11:25 tomorrow! That's all I know right now so I will call you from the airport probably earlier than that but I am not sure I have no idea what's going on! lol so I am going to try and call you before I leave I will probably go from here to Atlanta then to Sao Paulo then to somewhere close to Santa Maria! Then I have a 3 hours bus ride to Santa Maria. I will tell you guys everything tomorrow when I call! but that's the crazy news of the week!! lol pretty good news if you ask me!!
I found out in a pretty crazy way really lol this was Thursday. so it was just a normal day and we where out tracking a little and going to appointments and so forth, then we had a Portuguese referral to go to. so we headed over to that and right in the middle of the lesson we were having on their front porch the phone rang in my pocket and so I pulled it out to see who it was and it said "mission office" my heart started racing so fast but I got super scared and nervous so I just clicked decline because I couldn't open it in the middle of the lesson so we continued and just talked in Portuguese of course. lol oh by the way mine is pretty bad lol Brazilians talk so fast and I am not even in brazil yet!! haha so I can catch some things and can usually tell what's going on in the conversation but not all the time so they all have a good time laughing at me lol but its all good. I do get pretty frustrated sometimes though I just want to speak it well but I don't and now I am going to brazil so that will be interesting. haha so after the whole lesson we were walking to the car and I pulled the phone out and said hey Elders I we got a call from the mission office and they both went crazy lol they left a message so I listened to it. I was so nervous, my heart was racing pretty fast lol so it started "we have a message for Elder Novakovich... HIS VISA HAS COME!" lol he said a lot more stuff after that but I blacked out lol and didn't hear anything after that. until he said "he is leaving on Tuesday" I heard that haha I was so excited and in shock I didn't know what to do I was just like "my visa came!!" Elder Ramos and Elder Rogers where very excited for me! haha it was pretty cool. I will record the message onto my camera and try and send it to you guys later. So that's how I found out I got my visa! pretty funny that I was talking to a Portuguese family when it happened. so my day today will consist of trying to get everything ready to go for tomorrow! I have no idea how I am going to be ready in time! I haven't even started to do anything to be ready. And our night is pretty full of lessons and stuff so I will have to pack when I get home so not much time really. but I am sure it will work out some how. so that's that I will explain better tomorrow I hope!!
Anyway I will tell a little about how my week went. We had some really good expectations for this week and we where really excited to work hard and meet some pretty high goals we set for ourselves. So we had a lesson with this lady who is in here 20s and they have taught her like twice before and we went in planning on committing her to baptism. So the lesson was going great and the time came and we gave her the invitation and she said yes to being baptized which was awesome so we asked her to prepare herself for November 19. she said yes so we started making some plans and telling her about the stuff we still had to teach her in order for her to be baptized. In the middle of it all she kinda stopped and looked at us and said. "Is there anyway I can be baptized sooner than the 19th?" It kinda took all of us off guard lol we were like yeah!! haha it was really cool to have her ask that to us. It just amazed me how she was prepared to move forward. Its so cool how the Lord has prepared people even before the missionaries find them. It testified to me that there are people out there who are just waiting for the gospel. They are waiting for something but they don't know what it is and as soon as they talk with a member or a missionary they recognize that and accept it so willingly. that's the really cool story for the week and there are more but no time to write. I am sorry this letter seems short but I will talk to you all tomorrow and share everything with you!!!! but the other thing is this week that I have really realized is how real Satan is and how he tries his best to keep people from the church. We have a recent covert who is really struggling right know for some crazy things and its just crazy how Satan knows how to keep people from dong what's right. we have about 3 investigators right now who are really fighting Satan head on. they are so close to baptism but Satan is giving them everything he has to keep them from doing it. its really sad but we are doing our best to help them through it and get them to baptism. I will explain more tomorrow! haha
That's awesome that state was good! I am so proud of you Darbi!!!!!! I want to talk to you so bad about it!! lets talk tomorrow! haha but congratulations!!!! that's awesome! hope you enjoyed the letter this week haha sorry for the e-mail subject lol I thought it would be fun to put something sad so you guys didn't expect anything lol but it was a great week!!!! I promise!!!
I cant wait to talk to you guys tomorrow!! I hope I can talk to everyone!! have a good day I love you all so much and so excited to leave for Brazil in the morning!!!

Love Elder Novakovich

I cant believe the next e-mail will come from Brazil!!!!!

P.S. I gave a blessing in Portuguese this week super crazy story!! I will tell you tomorrow :) love you!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm a real missionary now.

Happy Halloween my family!!!!!

This week has been so crazy. I have no idea where to start! I have so many things to tell you I hope I can remember them and get them all typed in time!!! First off, I miss you all so much! Its been kinda weird not getting mail everyday, but at the same time I have no time to even think about that! lol Second Darbi!! ahhhh!!!!!!!!!! thata girl!!!! kickin butt, that is so awesome to hear you made it to state!!!!!!!!!!! I am so proud and excited for you!! You are so awesome! I was so excited to read the e-mails about it! I was thinking about you all day on Saturday wondering how it all went!! I bet you feel amazing! I remember when I crossed that finish line and I knew I had made it to state! It makes all the hard work and sweat all worth it. It's an amazing feeling and I am sure you felt that when you heard you had made it!! I am so excited for you! as well as the whole girls and boys teams!!! That's so awesome parabems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that's great I wish I could be there to cheer you on all around that place but that's alright I will be cheering from right here in Salt Lake City!!!! lol GO kick butt out there sis! All my advice I have to give to you about that is just relax and have fun with it. I know last year when I made it, I was so nervous I puked and could barely walk. But now that I look back on it, there was no reason to be that nervous. You made it this far and no one can ever take that away from you! YOU are a state runner!! That is so awesome! Go out there and have fun with it; enjoy every second; enjoy the energy of all the other runners; take a lot of deep breaths and go out there and give it everything you can because it the last time you will run cross for East Valley. Have fun, you going to do so great I am so pumped for you!!!!
Alright I guess I better start talking a little about my week. Crazy!!! So Tuesday morning I woke up at 5 but fell back to sleep till 5:30... oops. so I was pretty rushed to get to the travel office at 6. So I throw all that I had laying around in the bags and left. I had stayed up pretty late packing the night before, so I had most of it done. Anyway, so Elder Dean and I made it to the office on time and there were about 15 people leaving that morning so we got split up which kinda sucked but oh well. I got a seat on the van that was going directly to the Mission home and he got on the bus to go to the airport first to drop Elders off there. So it wasn't that long of a drive to the mission Home; 40 mins or so. When I got there, I was with 7 other Elders. So we were there and no one was at the mission offices so all the doors were locked and the bus had to leave so he left all of us waiting outside the office lol It was pretty dang cold but that's ok. So finally, about a half hour later someone showed up and let us in the office. We waited and talked a little till the mission president got there. We met with him and all the Elders who had just arrived and all the trainers and assistants were there. So we met everyone and had to introduce ourselves in front of everyone. So then the mission president went through and announced everyone and everyone claps and cheers as people meet their new companions lol so I was one of the last ones to go and the craziest thing happened!!

Do you remember when Bro. C took me out to lunch with the kid who was gong to the same mission in brazil as me? Well I guess he got re-assigned to Salt Lake as well about a month before me. And lo and behold we got put into a companionship together!!! how crazy, we got called to the same mission twice and now we are companions!! crazy!!! But he has been with an Elder from guess! Brazil!!! so his trainer is from Brazil and they have been companions since he got here. Crazy stuff!!! His name is Elder Rogers who I knew back home. And the my trainer who is from Brazil is named Elder Ramos!! lol He is awesome!! He Helps Elder Rogers and myself with Portuguese! He is a way cool guy and he has only been here for 5 months!! so still pretty new and his English is so funny!!! lol He speaks it really well but some things he says in the wrong order and it's so funny!!! lol I am laughing just typing about it!! lol he has this funny little Portuguese accent lol. He is so funny!!! But he is such a good missionary!! He blows my mind! haha I make sure to tell him that every night before we go to bed. haha but anyway yeah we are in a threesome. A lot of Elders are too because there are so many Visa waiters they are putting a lot of threesomes together. It is pretty cool I like having three. Elders Rogers is way cool too. By the way we get along pretty well and share a lot of laughs about elder Ramos English mistakes. lol So that's my new companionship.
After all that stuff we left to drop my bags off at the apartment. Dropped them off then we where out the door to go to work!! that fast, we were out working by 11 am!! pretty crazy lol I was expecting a nice little welcome day but no, straight to work which was pretty cool, though I didn't mind at all. So we went out to some appointments that they already had lined up. some were not home so they both thought it would be fun to try some tracking on the first day. lol We went to some condos and we were knocking and not a lot of people answered but there were some but nothing great. haha so while we were knocking a lady from a couple doors down opened the door and yelled "Stop knocking and go away! Everyone here is a Jew!!!" lol it was so funny I tried not to laugh but I couldn't hold it all in. lol so after knocking for awhile and doing some other stuff it was dinner time. This was one of the most interesting experiences of my life hands down. We came in and the house was so humble. There are four people in the family and one who is 11 has a mental disorder.. The house was very humble and it made me thankful for what we have. But she made spaghetti for dinner and it was pretty hard to eat just with everything being so dirty... I was good and ate all I could. The 11 year old kid who is not all there sat next to me which was all cool until he started wiping his spaghetti sauce fingers all over my suit jacket. lol I didn't know what to do so I just kinda pushed his hand away and he kinda stopped. This happened about three times, but I was being nice haha so out of no where he got up and left and a couple moments latter he came back... only he forgot something... all of his clothes!!!!!!! He came walking into the kitchen butt naked and wow that was a shock. yeah. So the parents just asked him nicely to go put some clothes on, so he left for a little bit but again returned with no clothes. He left and put some clothes on eventually though so that was good. It was about time to leave and we kinda had a testimony meeting and telling stories about our baptisms and stuff, it was cool. So that was my very first dinner appointments in the field. Pretty crazy if you ask me. We got out and I was kinda in shock not knowing what to think about it all and Elder Ramos just said out of the silence "So who wants McDonalds?" lol no one had eaten till they where full just because yeah. so we went and got some dollar menu stuff lol it was very yummy I hadn't had that in two months!!! lol After we went to more appointments for the rest of the night. It was pretty cool but I still have a ton to learn about everything and how to teach better. It was still fun to teach real people! We came back to the apartment and planned for the next day. The first day I taught 5 lessons!!! lol Bed time was much needed by the time 10:30 came.
The rest of the days we just taught pretty much all day long, it was pretty spiritual. The coolest one is this lady named Rebecca who is a single mom with two little girls. We taught her and she was planning on getting baptized on Saturday! So the next day we taught her again and it was really spiritual and we asked if she could say the closing prayer and when she was saying it in the middle she just stopped and started crying. The spirit was so strong. She just cried in the middle of her prayer and she ended and kept crying. It is amazing how the Lord prepares people to be baptized. She was so ready to be baptized it was so cool to see that. So Saturday came around and I had my first baptism!!! lol I really didn't do much just helped teach twice. so I wont count that one but it was way cool to see her enter the waters of baptism. I even got to be the witness for her baptism!! That's about it for the week. Sorry I cant go into details about everyday. I don't have much time, but we are in the less wealthy part of town for sure. Its really cool and I have met some really cool young families that fed us this week, some really good food haha which I was so thankful for!!!!!!!! but with the three of us we cover 5 wards!!!! Plus we cover a Portuguese branch because Elder Ramos can speak with them lol so we went there for a little on Sunday which was cool. Everyone is so nice!! last night we went to a Portuguese referral we got and the family was so cool they just had a little baby 10 days ago and they are super nice!!! We talked to them for awhile and they helped Elder Rogers and myself with the language it was pretty funny Elder Rogers did really good but me on the other hand, knew pretty much nothing. The couple really liked talking to me because I had no idea what they were saying lol but they laughed and helped me. they were awesome even though I left a little frustrated with the language thing. I have no idea how to speak real Portuguese lol cant wait for Brazil.
So I haven't heard anything about the Visa, we did drop an Elder off this morning to go to Brazil. I will let you all know as soon as I hear anything. the mission office address is 3487 S. 13 E. if you want to send stuff in the mail. We only get mail on Thursdays. Will you let Madi and who ever else know that for me please. Thanks!!

well that's about all I can put in this week I hope you get the pictures I put in haha enjoy I will try and send more later!! I am doing great!! the field is awesome and I love teaching. I just need a lot of help and have a lot to learn about everything! I am really enjoying it, its been great and this week we taught 37 lessons, with one baptism! lol I love it out here and the area is pretty cool Salt Lake isn't that bad lol still looking for that reason I have been sent here haha but I am working hard and trying my best out here! have a great week I love you all and be safe thanks for the e-mails!!! I love you all happy Halloween!!

Love Elder Novakovich "a real missionary now"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Last MTC Letter

Oi Familia

This is my last day!!! so crazy!! I cant believe I am leaving the MTC already! I remember laying in bed the first night and just thinking I am never going to get out of here. But now its my last day and I leave tomorrow morning!! Time has flown by so fast! I almost feel like I should stay longer! But it will be so nice to get out and really start the Lords work. I am super excited to start to teach real people but I am also so nervous! Its going to be so weird being in the field. I am so thankful for this time I have had in the MTC though. I have learned so much, its amazing! I feel like a completely different person. My priorities have really been changed and I know what I have to be doing right now. This mission has already changed my life greatly. I can really see the important things in life now and realize how much this church has blessed my life. This place has been amazing and I am serious when I say it is going to be sad when I leave... I will really miss it if you can believe it. This feels like my new home and I am leaving a whole new family! well actually they all left me! lol We started with 12 district members and now we are down to three! Elder Dean and Elder Harston plus myself. Elder Dean and I are really the last ones because Elder Harston should be gone already since he has his Visa but his knee is still hurt so he cant leave yet. poor guy, still has two weeks left till he gets to go to Brazil. The cool thing is Elder Dean and I have really become good friends and get along really well so it is pretty cool we both get to go to Salt Lake lol He is a great Elder and we have a really good friendship. Its still amazes me how well I have gotten to know people in just 8 or so weeks. A lot of them will be life long friends I am sure. Any way the MTC has been amazing and I have grown so much in here and learned even more. I will truly miss this place and the Spirit that it has. But I am so ready to get into the field!! Its gong to be amazing!! It really hit me pretty hard that I am actually going to be teaching people and be a true missionary. It is so exciting but at the same time pretty darn scary! lol But I am way more excited to get out and teach people and fall in love with all of the people I come in contact with! I am really excited to interact with people and share with them this great message we have! I cant wait to teach!! Even though it is in Salt Lake, which to be honest, really killed me when I first found out... I told my district a couple days before we got our re assignments that the worst place I could go is Salt Lake! lol But sure enough That's were I am needed so here I go. It took me a couple hours of feeling sorry for myself to snap out of it lol Lets just say I was not very excited about my call, haha. Then once I started to think about it, I came to realize that this is where I need to be. For some reason I have been called to serve in Salt Lake. There is something I need to do there, or something I need to learn. I am now pretty excited to go. it will be a great time for me I am sure. I will get to teach in English which is good but quit hard now... lol I haven't taught anything in English this whole time and the other day we did a little lesson in English and it was pretty hard really. lol Portuguese is still about the same as before. haha Yesterday at the Temple we where talking to one of our Brazilian friends and his family came to see him and we talked with them for about 30 mins in Portuguese!! it was pretty hard to understand it all but really cool how I could get a general idea of what they where saying. They where super nice and really willing to help us out with words and such. It was definitely a cool experience to have a conversation with real briziliaros. haha They are such nice people and I cant wait to get to brazil and teach them!!!
Today I am just getting ready for tomorrow! I am dong laundry right now. My clothes are in the wash as I type lol I have to admit I have become pretty good at the laundry thing. lol My day consists of trying to remember everything that I need to bring and getting everything into my suitcases. Who knows how that will go, should be pretty interesting though. So pretty much just packing all day for me and getting stuff ready to leave. I do get to go to Physical therapy with my companions though today at 2 30 lol that is always fun.
This past week has gone by so fast! not a lot happened but time has just flown by for sure. On Tuesday Richard G. Scott spoke at the Devotional!! its was pretty dang awesome to get to hear another Apostle! I have been so lucky to have that experience here!! its pretty rare for anyone to get this many during there stay here. So that is awesome. He did a great job and he spoke 100% by the spirit it was pretty cool to see.
It was so great to talk to everyone on Thursday!! It was amazing how moms voice just made me so happy lol To hear a familiar voice was great!!! It was cool to talk to Darbi and Zoe they sound great and all grown up lol its funny Zoe and Darbi sounded way different than I remember. lol I held up pretty good. I told everyone I was probably going to cry like a little baby when I talked to you guys but I held up very well lol there was only one moment when I was talking to Darbi that I almost lost it. Then when I had to say goodbye to mom that was tough too. I just wanted to talk forever haha we'll talk when I am in the airport going to Brazil in a couple weeks though. I actually want to stay in Salt Lake for a month or so. that would be perfect I think but less wouldn't hurt either the sooner I get to brazil, the better for my language. lol its going to be really hard to stay up on Portuguese but I will do my best.
Well this is the last e-mail you guys will get from a son in the MTC pretty crazy huh? I am so thankful for all the DearElders you all took the time to write me I appreciate it so much you have no idea. it will be weird just getting mail like once a week in the field. Thanks for all of the support you have given me through this MTC experience I love you all so much and am so thankful for all of your love and support!! Have a good week and never forget I love you all tons!!! have a great week!!!!!! Eu te amo!!! Next time you hear from me I will be a real missionary teaching the people of Salt Lake City!! Wish me luck!! thanks again for all the support up to this point!!! ah!! I cant believe the MTC chapter of my mission is over!! Love you all!!

Love Elder Novakovich (soon to be a real missionary!)