Life in the CTM ;-)

I am having the time of my life here in Brazil!! We just went to the Campinhas Temple this morning and next week we’ll be able to go to the Sao Paulo Temple (because it’s opening back up.) We get to go out around the CTM on our P-day [*her preparation day] and it is so cool to talk with random Brazilians. Almost everyone is friendly and they are all receptive to ‘bom dia’ ‘boa tarde’ or ‘boa noite’ (which welcome depends on the time of the day.)

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It seriously is such a miracle that I got my visa because there are a TON of visa waiters that come through here and stay for only two weeks. Most of the visa waiters have spent about a whole year serving elsewhere. That is absolutely crazy for the sisters! Some of them will only spend 6 months in Brazil! I feel so very blessed to be here and there are a ton of people going to my mission. There are 5 people in my district alone that are going to my mission (including my companion Sister G.) So cool! That means that the people I spend nearly every waking moment with will be serving with me.

Sister G. (my companion from South Jordan) and I are on the same wavelength. I only say this because we frequently say the exact same thing at the exact same time. It’s pretty dang fantastic because then we work really well together on the lessons….If only I could telepathically tell her when I needed to go to the bathroom. He-He (We must remain within sight and sound of each other.) She is absolutely amazing! She never stops smiling and her fun-loving attitude is extremely contagious. I really admire her.

Oh, and I met a guy from Memphis and he knows Uncle Darrin and Aunt Lisa!!  His name is Elder Thomas. I thought it was cool and random that he knew them. :)

I have four more weeks here until I leave for Porto Alegre! I can’t believe how the time flies here. Literally every waking moment here is filled with fun, laughter, learning and excitement (that is except for the waking up part- that is hard.. Ha.)

Elder Holland was seriously amazing. Here are some random excerpts and thoughts from his devotional:

Some ask “why does it have to be so hard? Salvation is not a cheap experience.” We learn and grow from every hardship. That is how we change.  Also, something inside of you has to reflect Christ. We seek to emulate his virtues- charitable, kind, loving, patient, etc. We must also (in some small measure) experience the pain he did on Calvary. He went through so much strenuous pain (Gethsemane and the crucifixion.)

“. . . the road to salvation always goes to the summit of Calvary.” Now we must experience hardships to reflect him in some way to become the diamond in the rough. I know we all experience hardships, but we can get through it with His help. We can become all He wants us to be.

So my room mates have been having a bit of a rough time with the language. For example crying during Portuguese prayers, and just crying in general over the difficulty of the language. They are amazingly strong though. I love them to pieces. However, they had a seriously cool experience this last week. They taught their ‘fake investigators’ and when they came back they were smiling and in tears. I knew that something was up. Then our instructor (also their ‘fake investigator’) came back into the room and told us that Sister L and Sister R had spoken absolutely flawless Portuguese for 10 solid minutes of testimony bearing. Irmao A said that he had never in his whole life experienced anything like it.

Miracles do happen. The gift of tongues is real. I know that it will be there to help us in our moment of need. These sisters were in great need of some success after the last couple weeks of rough Portuguese learning. I know that God blessed them with the ability to share their testimony to their investigator that day. I hope that I can live worthy enough to get the gift of tongues when I need it the most.

My day goes something like this:
-wake up
-dress and shower for 1/2 hr.
-breakfast
-personal study
-teaching from instructor (and teaching ‘investigators’ practice)
-almoco (lunch)
-teaching from instructor (and teaching ‘investigators’ practice)…. again
-dinner
-physical activity… -volley ball, b-ball, juggling the volleyball. :)
-shower…? sometimes
-companion study (planning investigator’s lessons)
-lanche[snack] (one of my favorite parts of the day…juice boxes, crackers, and Brazilian tortoise chocolates)
-bedtime

I am so sorry this is so absolutely random. My writing is really improving (although I think I’m forgetting English.) :) I love you all and I hope you continue to do amazing things!

Oi from the CTM

I was so sad to see you guys go at the airport, but now that I’m here I just feel bad that you are sad at all because I am having the time of my life here! Oh my goodness gracious this has been the coolest week of my life! I still can’t believe that I am in Brazil. :)

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I might as well spill the beans now… ELDER HOLLAND GAVE A DEVOTIONAL HERE YESTERDAY!! I even shook his hand. More to come about that later.

So on the flight over there were like 10 elders and 5 sisters on the same flight which was really cool. The very first day here we jumped in with the language and I was in love! I love talking to all the Brazilians and impressing them with my language powers (still need much improvement!) It is fantastic to be able to understand them so well. My companion and my roomies are having a bit tougher of a time with the language. I feel really bad about that….

The elders from Cape Verde (Africa) are really hard to understand, as well as the Hispanics. The Hispanics are extremely hard to understand because I never really know if the are speaking Portuguese or Spanish (I feel like they mostly speak Spanish.) It’s alright though cause I can understand Spanish too!

My companion’s name is Sister G. from South Jordan. We sit (or at least try to) with the Brazilians at breakfast lunch and dinner. They are all so happy and excited. Sadly some of our favorite Brazilians left just this last Wednesday(the Brazilians only stay for 2 weeks at the MTC.) The Brazilians are so funny when they try to pronounce English words, or they’ll sing American pop songs (even though they don’t know what they’re saying at all.) One of the Brazilian Elders constantly winks at me and others (it’s a little disconcerting, but funny.) So a lot of the Brazilian Elders fist bump the sisters. One time I tried to show Elder L. the ‘turkey fist bump.’  I did it incorrectly and all the Brazilians laughed their heads off and by the end they didn’t even understand what I had been doing, they just thought it was weird and funny. Fail.

The Elders in my district are hilarious. This week has been really chill as far as workload goes. We have like 4 hours of ‘study time’ a day without an instructor. Needless to say it is very hard to stay on track. We laugh and joke around a lot. Based on what I’ve heard about the Provo MTC, this CTM is way more chill and relaxed. Don’t get me wrong, we still learn Portuguese. In fact my companion and I even have a fake investigator who is scheduled to be baptized tomorrow! We’ve been teaching him lessons everyday since day one. His name is Laecio, but we actually stopped teaching him yesterday (our last day to teach him) because he will actually become one of our instructors.

The food here is absolutely fantastic. Okay so the desserts are mostly disgusting (a lot of custards, odd fruity tasting jellos, marshmallow bowls, and flan [bad flan].) I miss cookies, but it sounds like Andrew is making the family quota of cookies for me. Anyway, the beans and rice are amazing. Seriously, I will never go back to American rice ever again. Wednesday is pizza night. Yay! They have a fantastic banana chocolate pizza.

Activity time is sooooo fun cause we play ‘vellyball’ with all the Hispanics (which means that you can use any body part you want). Super ‘legal’ right! (‘legal’ is Portuguese.) I wreck at heading the ball. All the Latinos are amazed. Hahahahaha!

I went to the Campinhas Temple today! What a neat experience!

Elder Holland truly is a man of God. I have a new dedication to this work. I guess I’ll write you a handwritten letter about Elder Holland because I’m running out of time. I love all of you sooooo much and I couldn’t be happier than to be here. Don’t worry about me! I am well taken care of!