Minha familia e meus amigos!!!
I can’t believe I’m on my tenth day in the MTC. Everyone says that the days go by slow and the weeks go by fast and that is absolutely true! I don’t remember what I said in my letter home on day one so I’m probably going to repeat myself a lot. The hour we get to write emails seems so extremely short! A lot of people write bullet points of what they want to say before they come in to write their email so they can be more efficient. I feel like I have so much to cram into this one email. I’ve also learned that if I print off the emails I get during the week, I don’t have to spend my precious email time reading them. Also, if you send me an email, you should include your address so that if I don’t have time to email you I can send you a letter instead. I was so excited when I heard the Emmetts could come! I’m so sad that I missed them!
I love my district. If I can get a picture of our district together I will send it. We have eight elders and four sisters. My companion is Elder Huch. He is from Chicago and ran track for BYU. He can run a 4:11 mile and ran 15 miles a day until his mission. Crazy. He is the senior companion because our branch president assigns senior companions based on who’s last name comes first in the alphabet. Elder Palmer (James Palmer’s younger brother) is in my district and Elder Starr is in my branch. I’ve seen Elder Braun, Elder Capell, Elder Hardy, Sister, Colvin, Elder Colvin, and a bunch of other people that I definitely I’ve probably forgotten about. If they are here, I’ve probably seen them.
I’ve definitely had plenty of opportunities to play the piano… which I am SOOO grateful for. I played prelude for Priesthood meeting on Sunday. There is also a girl in our district (Sister Larson) who likes to sing, so we auditioned to do a musical number for Sunday night devotional. It was pretty intense. You go into this board room and play for a whole panel of judges. We performed “I Know that My Redeemer Lives”. They said we will definitely be doing a musical number, but probably not for two or three weeks. I also sang in the MTC Choir, which was awesome! Our entire district sang in the choir, and there were over 900 people in the choir! We sang the Mack Wilberg arrangement of “Praise to the Man”. There were so many people that you could barely hear the other sections since they were so far away, but it sounded great.
Portuguese is… coming. It’s amazing to realize how much I have learned in Portuguese, though. I can pray in Portuguese, teach all of the lessons in Portuguese, have a casual conversation to get to know people in Portuguese, bear testimony of what I know to be true in Portuguese… I learned more in one week at the MTC than an entire year of French in high school! If Mme. Klingback is reading this, I apologize, because I have literally been praying to forget French. I wish I could be fluent in both French and Portuguese, but my French keeps getting in the way of my Portuguese. The “gift of tongues” apparently doesn’t differentiate between languages, because I can remember every French word I have ever learned. I’ve also learned that Brazilians must really not care about pronunciation, because they definitely don’t pronounce anything how it’s written, even though in Portugal, they pretty much pronounce everything how it is written. Plus every letter can be said about twenty different ways. Oh well. It’s all good.
We taught our first “investigator” the day after we got to the MTC. His name is Pedro. He lives in Portugal but grew up in Sao Paulo. No one in our district really thought we were going to be able to talk to someone for 1/2 an hour in a language that we had only studied for about five hours, but incredibly, we did. That was definitely a miracle. Even more amazing is that he understood what we said and we understood most of what he said!!! We have taught him five times now and we won’t be teaching him anymore. It is amazing to compare our conversation at our last lesson with him to our conversation at our first lesson with him It was a great experience.
Our district committed yesterday to speak ONLY portuguese while we are in our classroom… which is about eight hours a day. We can ask permission to speak english, but if someone speaks English out of turn, we mark it on the board and everyone has to do that many push-ups at the end of each hour. However, for every hour we go without someone messing up, a checkmark gets taken off. If we don’t have any checkmarks, the teacher has to do a pushup for every hour we speak only portuguese. It’s worked out pretty well so far.
The most important thing that has happened for me at the MTC is how quickly I have strengthened my relationship with my Heavenly Father. The belief that many people hold that God is a distant and angry God is so foreign and ridiculous to me. Being on a mission has really helped me align my priorities in the proper order: God, family, friends, and everything else after that. I know that everyone can develop a personal relationship with God and that God wants more than anything for us to speak to him. I am so grateful for my family. I love you so much!
PS: If you ever feel like sending a package again, I wouldn’t mind if you could include a few sticks of Burt’s Bees (just the normal kind) and maybe a couple more t-shirts. Or even one of my plaid shirts. And if you’re really feeling up to a challenge you could send my graduation quilt. But none of those things are really vitally important. The one thing I would appreciate the most if you could send is more pictures of both family and friends. I’m so grateful for the package and letter. The wallet is perfect, Mom! My old wallet was pretty much ripped in half. And my hair is super grateful for the gel.
PPS: I’ll send pictures next week!