Not so Funny in Portuguese

We’ve been teaching a family this week with a father, a relatively younger mother, and their adorable 1 year and 6-month old daughter called “Olívia”. The father has been visiting his son who was placed in a prison called “Abreu e Lima”. It’s one of the more well-known and well-feared prisons in Recife. There, the prisoners are in charge. When there’s a riot, the guards all run to save their own lives. Needless to say, the father we’ve been teaching has been amply worried about his son’s well-being. He has been visiting the son on Sundays and as such has not been able to come to church. But, this week we taught him about the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. He decided to talk to his son’s mother (they are divorced) to switch his visit day to Saturdays so that he can go to church on Sunday.

This last Sunday they all went to church. And the little daughter tried conducting in the front of the chapel. They all loved it.

I mentioned in the last email that I have come to the second half of the mission and, by and large, I’m starting to understand how the mission ought to work. But, I would be lying if I said that I’ve fully come to understand the culture and language. There are still various moments in the week where my Greenie-status still shines through.

One young girl we were teaching recently said that she wanted to be an “aeromoça” (plane stewardess). She said she was going to do a “curso técnico” in order to qualify for the job. I asked her, “Então, o que é que uma pessoa aprende num curso desse. Lá, eles ensinam como abrir uma embalagem de amendoim?” (So what does one learn in this course. There, they teach how to open a pack of peanuts?) I giggled. So did my companion. But…she didn’t understand. We just let it go, moved on, and started talking about the Holy Ghost instead.


Another time, she mentioned that she hadn’t read the pamphlets we had left her. Her being of the younger generation and me trying to establish ourselves as spiritual-but-not-stiffs, I asked jokingly, “would it be easier if we sent it to you through Facebook?”. Another fail. She looked at me confused. My companion explained the joke and we all chuckled a little.


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