Bom dia friends and family,
Another week is in the books, which means I only have one week left in the CTM. Crazy right!?! I’m not going to lie…I’m getting a little stir crazy here at the CTM. We spend the whole day learning, teaching and speaking in Portuguese. I feel like I’ve almost reached my maximum capacity of learning with 8 other Americans and not in the field. I still the CTM though. Our district is currently the oldest district in the CTM at 5 weeks. So you could say we pretty much run this place. Because not a ton has happened this week, the majority of this letter is going to revolve around a story that happened last p-day.
I’ve always had the fear of going bald. Luckily, I haven’t had to worry about that to much because my mom’s dad, the Silver Fox, has a full head of hair. Last week, I was in real need of a haircut. My hair was looking really poofy. Here at the CTM the barber is known as the hack shack. Pretty much he just gives you a good ole buzz cut, but with one of his hands in his pockets and in about 5 minutes. So I knew I wasn’t getting my haircut from him. There was a kid in my hall from Panama who cut hair. Unfortunately, the guy who had clippers left so that left so that was not an option. So finally, I was left to get a haircut at a barber outside the CTM on p-day. We asked a couple of people, and we found out there was a barber only a couple streets away from the CTM. So my companions and I went and checked it out. It looked legit and was pretty cheap. Both Elder Callahan and I needed a cut, so we decided why not??? There were two barbers in the shop, and we waited about 20 minutes for one of them to free up. During that waiting time, we talked about what we were going to get. We decided that the haircut numbers were universal, so I was going go with my classic 4 on top and 2 on the sides (which I now realize is way to short for a missionary). I think Callahan was going to get a 5/3. The first barber freed up, so I kindly invited Callahan to go first, but he countered my offer. So I took the chair (rookie mistake). The cut started off with a nice shave and warm towel treatment, so I thought, “This is going to be legit!” I then explained to the barber that I wanted a 2 on the sides and a 4 on top several times (in Portuguese). He said alright, and the cut began. He finished the sides, and it looked like my classic cut from back home. Then, without a moment pause, he took the sheers and cut directly down the middle of my head (with the 2)?!? My companions laughed historically as I realized that it was too late. I couldn’t fix his mistake. I would have to get the rest of my hair cut at a 2. For the rest of the cut, I was in shock. The worst part was when I tried explaining his mistake he couldn’t understand me, so I still had to pay for it. Luckily, it was only $5 (worst 5 bucks I ever spent). My hair was/is so short. Those first day, I couldn’t even recognize myself. Also, I got so much hate from every Brazilian, Hispanic, Americans and instructor. I tried wearing a hat (one of my companions has an Indiana Jones hat) for a day, but they’re not allowed in the CTM. I had to explain myself so many times. Pretty much anytime I saw anyone or they saw me, they ran their hand through their hair. Even my branch president, who hardly speaks English, said to me, “What happened to you hair? (jokingly in front of the entire branch)” Luckily, I can take the 24/7 heat, and by the third day, I was owning my military/soldier buzz cut. I have learned my lesson when it comes to hair cuts: 1st – speak better Portuguese. 2nd – always let your companion go first. 3rd – always say what you want multiple times throughout the cut. 4th – don’t go bald because I don’t look too hot.
Sorry for that obnoxiously long story, but that’s pretty much all that has happened this week.
One super exciting part of the week was going proselyting. Once again, we went to the busiest street in Sao Paulo, Rua Polista, and handed out copies of the Book of the Mormon. As a district, we gave out 50 and got 32 phone numbers/addresses. My favorite part of that experience was when my companions and I saw three men sitting separately along the street. We each chose one to talk to. I felt very compelled to speak with this one guy wearing a chef uniform. So, I went up to him, and he told me to just sit next to him and talk. So we just had a conversation about family, religion, God, Christ, and the Book of Mormon. We talked for about 10 minutes, and I was able to give him a Book of Mormon with my testimony and favorite scriptures. It was one of the most peaceful and rewarding conversations of my life. I can only hope to have more conversations like this on my mission. I can’t wait to get to the field and have experiences like this everyday. I’m extremely nervous and excited for this adventure ahead. I know that my time at the CTM has helped prepare me so much for the filed. I can’t thank enough my family, companions, instructors, friends, leaders and my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Without them, I would be nothing. I can’t wait to talk to every in two weeks from the field.
Love, Elder Dave Bodine