Oi me familia e amigos!
AAHH where do I even begin?! This past week and a half has been absolutely crazy. The MTC is a really cool place! The spirit here is really strong and everyone here really works together to make it a pleasant place to be. I love it!
Well, right when I got dropped off here they took me in to get my name tags and a bunch of books then I headed straight to class! The teacher didn't speak any English to us. I met my companion there, his name is Elder Watchman. He's from Holladay, UT (Salt lake). He's awesome and we get along great. We have a lot in common! My district is awesome. The guys are hard working and fun to be around. We also have 4 sisters in our district. They are awesome as well! It's funny how sister missionaries can bring a totally different spirit and light into our district. Sometimes the elders get rowdy but they keep us in line :) I am having a ton of fun here and enjoying it a lot.
This week has been without a doubt the hardest week of my entire life. It has been an emotional roller coaster haha. We are seriously so busy! When we aren't in class we are studying or teaching. And when we aren't studying or teaching we are eating. My typical day consists of waking up, getting ready, eating, going to class, studying, eating, teaching, more studying, more class, eating, more studying, and either class or a devotional of some sort. We are all so tired all the time! Today is finally our P-Day, so we are doing laundry and cleaning our room, going to the temple and probably sleeping haha. It's weird being so close to home but being on my mission! I'm only like 20 min. away from everyone. But it's all good. I can't decide if this week has gone by fast or slow! Every day seems way long but the week kind of went by fast. Time here is weird. Also I'm already losing my nice tan haha because we are inside so much.
Well, on our third day here (Friday) i had to teach my very first investigator.... IN PORTUGUESE! Holy cow that was a train wreck. Basically all we could say was Oi, como vai? Tudo bem? (Hi, how are you? Everything's good?) We were able to use brief notes to teach the lesson but they weren't very helpful because we can't just read our script and leave. We needed to make it sincere and maintain eye contact so that the spirit was present. It was rough haha. The investigator is named Crispim, he is from Portugal. (He is a member of the church just acting for us). We taught him every day and now he is one of our teachers, so he gives us helpful feedback and helps us improve our teaching.
Portuguese is so hard! Haha. It definitely helps that I took a few years of Spanish, but that also messes me up because you pronounce things way differently in Portuguese. It's more like French, Spanish, and Italian combined. J's sound like the S in measure, R's sound like an H, if a word ends in "te" you say "chee". Also if there is an ao in a word you say it with the back of your tongue, sort of nasally. It's hard to explain but you'll hear me speak it in 2 years :) I can pray and hold a simple conversation in Portuguese now! I can also bear my testimony. Even though it is simple, the Spirit can still be there and touch people's hearts even if my words can't. That's what's awesome about teaching with the Spirit. All we have to do is do our best and study each day, and the Spirit will bear witness to the investigators. We just have to open our mouths, and the Lord will take care of the rest.
Well Mom i know you're worried about my knee, but I'm totally fine don't worry about it. I just hurt it the other day playing basketball and also jumping down from the top bunk to turn off the alarm in the morning. It was really weird my knee just popped and my whole leg was burning, so we went and got it checked out and they thought I might have torn my meniscus. I had to have crutches for a few days just in case so that if there was something torn it wouldn't get worse. The other elders in my district gave me a blessing and as a district we fasted for our Visas to come and to learn Portuguese and for my leg to be alright. And nothing ended up being torn and all is well! The doctor said i should take it easy and to not play sports for a few weeks.... Yeah that's not gonna happen haha! You know me. I can't just sit there and watch people having fun, i have to be involved. I played basketball yesterday with a little knee brace for support and after taking the pain medication and it did fine.
I can't thank you all enough for sending me letters and care packages! Grandma Cathy i did get the salsa and it was soooo delicious! Everyone in my district was like "dude can i have one more? one more? can i try some more?" haha. Thanks everyone for the cookies and candy and snacks. Especially your letters. It's crazy how much those letters and packages mean to me. They totally make my day. Whenever I have felt really discouraged throughout the day, my spirits are lifted when we go get the mail and i have letters waiting for me. It's awesome to know that I have my family and friends to support me.
Guys, being here at the MTC it has really hit me how much influence our actions and words affect others around us. If someone is negative they can really bring others down as well by how they treat them. It works the other way too. If we are all encouraging one another and being nice, we can uplift each other make each other feel better. Don't take for granted the people in your life. We are all so blessed to have each other to strengthen each other and become closer to our Heavenly Father. My challenge to all of you this week is to treat others as Christ would. Tell the people you care about that you love them, and do everything you can to serve them. You never know what they are going through or what kind of day they're having. I have had my all time Highs and my all time Lows here, but it is amazing how my attitude can change when someone in my district will say, hey, I love you and am here if you need anything. We can all make a difference in each other's lives by trying to be more Christ-like and treating one another as he would.
I will try to write more individual letters to you all today when i have time, and I'm sorry if i can't! I'll do my best. Please keep sending letters and packages, they help more than you know. I want to leave you with my testimony. I know without a doubt that this gospel is true. It is simple and powerful.It can bring more happiness and joy than we could ever imagine. All we have to do is be obedient and continually strive to improve, and the lord will bless us. I know that the Book of Mormon really is the word of god, and the principles and doctrine it contains are true. I know that families can be together forever and that we can all return to live with our families and with our Father in Heaven one day. I know that my brother Jesus died for me and atoned for my sins, so that I wouldn't have to. I love this gospel so much and I'm so excited to share what I know with the people of Brazil! I love you all so much and hope to hear from you soon.