Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hello there!

There is so much going on here every week. Life is wonderful and I am learning a ton. Last Tuesday was super awesome. Devotionals are always fun because there are thousands of missionaries walking over to the Marriot Center all together. It kind of feels like I'm in a parade because every week there are a dozen or two people outside taking pictures of us walking down the sidewalk. I love being in the MTC devotional choir too because we always sing super great music and the conductor is hilarious. He always throws in a really interesting spiritual thought about what we are singing too which makes me want to sing with all my heart and testimony. Tonight we are singing an arrangement of Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer. I was really loving the song and thinking, wow whoever arranged this is a music genius. Then I looked down and saw that it was none other than Brett Stewart! What an amazing guy. He is always popping up somewhere with a new musical masterpiece. So for our devotional last week...Elder Scott came! His talk was amazing. He spoke all about prayer and how God will always answer in his time. He also gave us not one, but two apostolic blessings that we could have the gift of tongues through our study and faith. We are getting better slowly but surely, and I know those blessings were real. We can finally get through one or two entire sentences without any pauses. Foreign language is one of my favorite things to learn about so I am just fascinated by this whole process. I love learning Portuguese, and I know the Lord is helping us through.
My other favorite parts of Tuesdays is going to the temple! We have been able to go through twice now and it makes me so happy. I love being there again. There is no stress inside the temple and I feel such at peace. I love the new film and am glad I had the chance to see it before leaving to Brazil. Today when we were leaving the temple a member stopped us and asked us where we were serving. We told him and he said his son went to Ribeirao Preto too! He says they baptized more than any other Brazilian mission when his son was there, that it is the best mission, and that we were very lucky to go there. I couldn't agree more.
I've been wanting to talk to you a bit about my lovely roommates. Besides me and Sister Shipp, there are four other sisters who are in our district and also in our room. We have Sister Hoffman from Colorado, Sister Vanhoven (yep, she's Dutch!) from California, Sister Lewis from Oklahoma, and Sister Baker from North Carolina. And guess what? Sister Baker was in my Freshman ward at BYU! When she walked in on the first day we were both amazed and super excited. We knew each other well at BYU and talked about Brazil a lot. Who knew our paths would cross so close again? We have such a blast with these sister and learn a lot from them. They are hilarious and are always making me and Sister Shipp laugh. I am very blessed to be with such wonderful missionaries.
Our eating schedule here is pretty weird. Part of the reason I am so tired all the time is that all the Brazilian missionaries have breakfast at 6:30 so we have to wake up earlier to get ready than most people. Then we have dinner at 4:00 so we are hungry by the end of the day. It has taken a little adjusting to but we do fine. Especially since I get to see a handsome Gilbert in the cafeteria lots of times I go. I guess they just don't know what to do with all these Brazilians.
So something else pretty exciting happened this week...We were just starting class one morning and they called over the intercom, "Can you please send Sister Marchant to the travel office?" I almost leaped out of my skin. Could it be true? We raced there and then...they just asked me to sign a few more forms. No visa yet, but it is a good sign that they are working on it. Super big thanks mom for all your hard work helping me get my papers together! I have a feeling it will come any day now. :)
The other night I was walking into my residence hall like any normal night and I see this flash of red hair sweep through the closing door on the floor below us. I race through and eventually catch up to Sister SaraLynn Smith! It was super exciting to see her all dressed up and with her tag and just looking like a superstar missionary. She seems very happy and all is going well. It is fun to share this experience with her. We will probably sing together in choir so I can hopefully get really caught up with her then. I love this huge wave of missionaries! I have lots of friends here, and it is great to be all doing something so great together.
This week we also taught in the Teaching Resource Center (TRC) for the first time. It was a huge highlight of the week. Members volunteer to be taught in Portuguese by us as their own selves, no acting. It is kind of a relief to teach members because they already know all of the basics and will understand what we are talking about. They were so kind and gave us a huge motivational boost in our teaching skills. Most of them are RMs but there was actually a surprising amount of natives too. The first man we taught was Irmao Heiney and was super nice. Then when we were watching Music and the Spoken Word (yes, they broadcast it in the big auditorium for just the sisters every week. You could watch the same thing I am watching every Sunday!), Sister Shipp and I are pretty positive we saw him singing in the Tabernacle Choir. We met someone famous! He was the best and I hope we teach him again this week so we can ask him about it. TRC is once a week and I will be looking forward to it.
We received a new investigator this week. Instead of Manuel we now have Landon, who is actually someone Irmao Taylor knows in real life as a current investigator. It is very interesting to teach him because no one knows the true outcome of what happened to him, and we can pray for him as someone actually needing help right now. He is an RM who fell away. He just got out of rehab for drinking and has been divorced three times. He has been a little difficult to get started with getting him a desire to come back to church and have a desire to learn more, but we are trying some new approaches and I think our next few lessons will be good. Our other investigator, Vander, is progressing amazingly well. He is really quiet so he never really asks questions when we offer, but he is keeping his commitments and seems to be taking it well. We taught him the first two lessons last week and then committed him to baptism, and he said yes! It is really exciting to see someone progress so quickly. We still have a long way to go with him, but we are making some important steps. This is our first experience with actually teaching the lessons in order all the way through. Our two investigators are very different, and we are teaching them completely different topics. It has been really helpful to be put in such contrasting situations so that we can better know how to teach people from all different backgrounds. Teaching is still intimidating, but I don't get very nervous anymore and lessons plans come easier to us. Our classes really are making a huge difference.
Today I was reading the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5, and it meant a lot more to me now that I am in a position as one of the Lord's full-time called servants to work in His vineyard. All of my scripture studies are taking on a whole new meaning as I study with this different perspective and also am learning how to study more effectively. Chapter 6 was also hit me hard, and I would recommend studying those chapters again sometime. I love this gospel and I love the Lord! I will work in his vineyard as long as He needs me.

I love you all!
Sister Marchant

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