It is so great to be here! I love everything about the MTC. Everyone is so happy and ready to work here. I love being surrounded be so many noble missionaries ready to take on the world. The Spirit is stronger here than I have ever felt anywhere else in the world. This mission thing is going to be great.
I arrived Wednesday at 12:30 much thanks to the love and kindness of Mrs. Jessica. They pushed us through registration and right on to our rooms. There were 700 missionaries arriving here last Wednesday! The MTC is bursting with happy missionaries running around preaching the good word of God. I am living with the five other girls in my district who are all going to Brazil, either Ribeirao Preto or Natal. They are great and really funny. My companion is Sister Shipp. She is from Houston, Texas and is coincidentally also studying nursing at BYU! We didn't know each other before but we were in some of the same giant classes there. We have very similar personalities and are getting along quite well. She is super fun and willing to work. These next few weeks are going to be great together. In our district we also have eight other elders, but two already got their visas so they will be leaving us today. Most of the elders are 18 and all but one of the sisters are 19. It is a fun group and all of us are working super hard to learn the language of Portuguese and of the Spirit.
Speaking of Portuguese, our classes are going so great! I love speaking this beautiful language. My background in Spanish plus the small studying I did in the few months I was home for the summer has helped me immensely. I know all of the basics so I can pick up the little extra things that we learn, and then focus on learning new vocabulary related to the gospel instead of so much grammer and conjugations, although I still have a long way to go on that too. Sister Shipp and I am learning a hymn a day, memorizing scriptures, and always reading O Livro de Mormon for our language study. It is coming along and we are getting it slowly but surely. I have huge respect for our teacher Irmao Chamberlain. He served his mission in Brazil and is now married with a baby on the way due in November (look for them in the hospital Nate and Jess!). He is so kind and really cares about us. I can tell he already loves us and wants us to be successful in learning the language. He is also completely dedicated to the gospel and want us to come closer to Christ while learning this language. I have a good feeling about this class.
The MTC cafeteria didn't let me down, especially since I know the food is being partly made by one very handsome, talented man. It is so fun to see Gil there! I usually see him about every other day for a quick hello. I am so glad he works here and he always lifts my spirits when I'm feeling down.
One thing that I am starting to really gain a testimony for is that with the help of the Lord and a lot of prayers, we can do difficult things. We have taught three lessons this week! Our current investigator is a 22 year old studying engineering and named Lucas. We started teaching him the second day we came completely in Portuguese. It is hard to muddle through the lessons with a lot of pauses and ums, but we make it through and every time we are getting better. This last time we had a really special experience where we taught him the atonement. We hardly used any notes except for a few scriptures and instead followed the Spirit by asking him questions of what he needed. We really got to know him a lot better and we actually talked about what he wanted to instead sticking strictly to the lesson plan. It scares me like crazy every time we go to clap at his door, but I know that the Lord is with us, that this is His gospel we are teaching, and that with a small drop of faith anything is possible.
Sunday was awesome. The whole day was relaxing and I learned tons from the different meetings. One of my favorite parts of the day was Sacrament Meeting. It was Fast and Testimony Meeting so we heard a long stream of Portuguese testimonies. We have one zone for our branch, and they are all going to either Brazil or Portugal. The missionaries here have such strong faith! It was amazing to feel the Spirit come through so strong in that small room of elders and sisters. And the best part was that I could understand them! I knew what they were saying in every testimony and could tell how much they loved the Lord. What a great first Sunday to be here! There was also an awesome musical devotional by Jennie Oaks Baker. She is the daughter of Elder Oaks and went to Juliard for violin performance. She gave a little talk interspersed with musical numbers which were all perfect and so amazing. Then after that we stayed to watch a recording of a talk by Elder Bednar given to MTC missionaries a few years ago. It was called Character of Christ and completely changed my life. If you can find it anywhere online I would greatly encourage you to watch it. I now have a different view on missionary work and what I should become. I am working towards that vision slowly but surely and am learning so much every day. Good things are happening here.
It was one of the greatest feelings in the world to finally put on the tag with my own name right above o nome de Jesus Cristo. Eu sei que este e o trabalho do Salvador e que o Espirito Santo e com os missionarios de Deus. A igreja e verdadeira!
P.S. Just so you know, my email and address are hungry and willing to accept anything you can send! Here they are again if you would be so kind as to send me a tiny note of love: firstname.lastname@example.org
2011 N 900 E Unit 284
Provo UT 84602
2011 N 900 E Unit 284
Provo UT 84602