Elder Fleming here. Thought I should start off by making some announcements/recommendations to clear the air. So I have 30 minutes grand total per week to read every email that is sent to me and write responses. As you can probably imagine, that is not nearly enough. I can write letters on Sundays (3 hours) and Wednesdays, but only SEND letters on Wednesdays (~3 hours), which means that Wednesdays are already a little crunched for time. In an effort to more fully utilize my 30 minutes, I have started taking photos of emails sent to me, reading them in the later bits of Wednesday and Sunday, and writing responses by hand (when I have addresses) during the rest of my free time. So! Please don’t feel offended if you write an email to me and I don’t write back or if I write back and my response is not at all related to what you wrote. Chances are, I’m writing you back by hand if I have your address and, if I don’t, I will ask you for it (or ask someone to ask you for it). Also, I can only receive from and send emails to family. So, if you’re not that, I’ll write you and ask you for your address and then we can snail mail! Cute? Cute.
Okay, so, Brazil.
September 7th!!! Dun Dun Dun Dun. (Think that timpani line from the beginning of 2001 A Space Odyssey). Why is writing melodies so stinkin’ hard on a computer keyboard? Anyhoo… September 7th was Independence Day! Which means: Unlimited Ice Cream! Yellow, Green, Blue napkins! Fejoada! Brazil! Eu Fico! (For those who are interested, just type in ‘Eu Fico, Brazilian Independence’ in Google). And! The national anthem. Our Mission President just happens to have been a professional improvisational ragtime pianist for a silent film theater back in the day, which means he can whip up a mean national anthem on the piano. If you haven’t heard it, hear it. It basically sounds exactly like what you would expect from a 20th century Latin American Dictator. (Although I’m not sure if it was written during a dictatorship? Sorry if I offend…) In all fairness, the Star-Spangled Banner came from an old tavern melody, right?
Our Brazilian roommates left, but not before leaving their mark on the MTC. One of their favorite things to say was (in English, with a pseudo-Italian accent), “Elder Fleeeeeeeeeeeming, What is this, man?!”. Almost like “What is that, man?!” But not. It was endearing. I’ll miss my boys, Elder Silva and Elder Lima (looking those last names up would be like looking up ‘Chen’ in the Shanghai Phonebook or ‘Smith’ in the Salt Lake City phonebook. So don’t get any ideas). I feel like this email is really un-PC. I’m sorry. Welp. At least you know I’m still me?
Ooh! Yesterday we put on a little musical number as a District. We weren’t expecting to put one on. But the other group cancelled and it turns out my district has unforeseen musical talent. We even made people on the front rows cry! Music is wonderful. Just not as wonderful as sugar. Which is why I’ve taken to making makeshift apple pies by hollowing out a roll, filling it with butter, sugar, and apple slices, and throwing it on the Panini maker. Creativity means survival.
On another note, you should all look up David A. Bednar’s recent Mormon Message on “Patterns of Light“. It’s brilliant. Being here is wonderful because I feel like I can devote all my time to receiving revelation. Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet, and his method of finding spiritual truths (through prayer, study, prayer, earnest faith, prayer, etc.) will lead all who try it to the truth. I invite any who have not yet done so to read Joseph Smith’s First Vision and the Introduction to the Book of Mormon.
I love you all. God Bless You. (He Does.)
-The Elder Fleming-
P.S. I’m sorry if I offended anyone with my “Lima” “Silva” or “Latin Dictatorship” comments.