Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Week of Ups, Downs, Urinals, and Evil Spirits 7/28/15

"Oi tudo mundo!

Wow, so many things happened this week...not quite sure how I´m going to organize this into a cohesive email, so bare with me :) Also, my English has definitely started to deteriorate, so forgive me Mary ;)

Sad things that happened this week: Sunday night, we heard an announcement that Elder Bush needed to go to the information desk immediately (Elder Bush is our elder who is quiet, funny, and super sweet). We all had to go back to our residence hall, so we didn't get to find out what it was about, but we figured he had gotten his VISA, so we were happy for him, but pretty bummed to be losing one of our beloved elders. In the morning, we found out that Elder Bush's dad died of a heart attack. It was a pretty emotional day for all of us. We've all grown super close, and seeing him suffering was way hard. The hardest part was probably not being able to hug him and comfort him in our usual way. Instead, we fasted, made him lots of cards, cheered him up, bought him candy, and tried to just be there for him. It was a long day yesterday, but we all bonded even more as a District. My companion, Sister Moss, was able to comfort him a lot because her mom died of a stroke two months ago. Elder Bush is doing really well, and we're all taking good care of him. He can feel his dad with him, and he's got a lot of supportive people here. Please keep him and his dear family in your prayers.

Crazy, yet awesome, things that happened this week: Sister Moss and I went into our second lesson with Jussara, planning to teach her about The Plan of Salvation. When we followed up with her commitment to pray, however, she told us that when she tried to pray, and evil spirit came into her house and started knocking things over, and that she never wanted to pray again. Sister Moss and I were shocked; we were not expecting this. Regrettably, we laughed, which was a terrible way to respond, but a natural response to the awkwardness of the situation. However, what happened after that was amazing. We both had to completely rely on the Spirit to guide this unexpected lesson (in Portuguese). We both immediately had the same thoughts. We told her that Satan doesn't want her to pray because he knows that when she prays, she will be able to feel the love of God and the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We opened our scriptures to the account of Joseph Smith's First Vision, and the evil spirit that he felt when he first began to pray. She loved his story, and we promised her that if she would continue to pray, God would overpower any evil and answer her prayers. She recommitted to try praying!! The Spirit was so strong :) Funny side note: at the end of the lesson, we asked her to pray for us, and as she was praying, a bunch of noisy elders started mooing down the hall...she asked, "Evil spirits??" and we simply replied, "No, just stupid boys." Luckily, she believed us :)

A couple funny things that happened this week: Irma Read was showing us pictures of her wedding, which was about a month ago (so cool!), and she was pointing out her many sisters in a picture with a bunch of women. With each sister she pointed out, she would say "Ela and Ela and Ela and Ela..." Ela means "her" in Portuguese, but Sister Walton got confused and blurted out "They're ALL named Ella??" We all laughed hysterically, and she finally got it :) Another funny Portuguese moment happened when we were practicing the verb "Dever," which means "Should." The teacher would ask us a question and we were supposed to respond with an answer and explanation. The teacher turned to me and asked "Should the Elders exercise?" I didn't want to be rude, so of course I replied no, but I had to provide an explanation as well, so I ended up saying something like, "Nao, nossos Elderes nao devem exercisio, porque nossos Elderes sao perfeitos," which interpreted means, "No, our Elders shouldn't work out because our Elders are perfect." Everyone laughed and my face went the shade of a ripe tomato and they have not let me forget about it :) 

Awesomeness: Our Elders were tossing around a roll of tape after gym, and as it whizzed by my head, I reached up and caught it one handed. I turned around stunned, and everyone freaked out (porque they know that I never catch anything). It was an awesome moment. 

In other news: I got called as the music coordinator in my ward (shocker, I know) so I'm in charge of bugging people every week to play the piano, lead the music, or give a special musical number. It's pretty fun! This coming Sunday, Sister Moss, Elder Payne, Elder Christiensen, and I are performing an a capella version of "Nearer My God to Thee" with all four parts in sacrament meeting and we're pretty excited about it!

To answer some of the questions I keep getting asked...

1) No, not all the people in my district are going to the same mission. I'm the only sister in the MTC right now going to my mission, but Elder Bush is coming with me!! The other members of my district as going to Santa Maria, Masseo (sp?), and Porto Alegre (sp?). We have a bunch of people in our zone (branch) who are going to Mozambique or Cape Verde (Africa) speaking Portuguese. They're speaking a slightly different dialect, but we can all understand each other.

2) I have sung in the MTC choir, yes! It was fun, but it takes a lot of time and my companion doesn't love it, so we're only gone twice. We do get to sing with the whole MTC at devotionals, though, so that is pretty cool! They have different lyrics for a couple of the hymns that center around missionary work, so that's always fun to sing.

3) Yep, Elder Bingham and Sister Bradley are now gone! But I got to see them quite a bit, so that was cool! I have yet to see Elder Burgoyne. And Elder Hudak comes in tomorrow!! I might be his host!

4) Yes, we have a ton of awesome speakers here! No general authorities yet, but the speakers have all been really great :) I'm lucky to be here!

P.S. I included the urinals part because Sister Moss and I had to clean a bunch or urinals for service this week...it was surprisingly fun."

First Week in the MTC 7/14/15


So I don't have a lot of time, and I'll try to write as much as possible, but I apologize if there are spelling mistakes and it's super scrambled and disorganized :) Also, my English is starting to leave me already, soooo #MTCprobs. 

Hi!!! I just got all of your emails so that was awesome! I love hearing from you guys!! Just so you know, there is this thing called "DearElder" where you email the MTC and then they print it out and give it to me that night, which is awesome. I don't know if it is expensive or not but it's a great way to talk to me during the week, instead of just on P-day. (And it's the best feeling ever to get mail :)). Oh my goodness, I miss you guys so much!! But I'm, doing well here :)

The MTC has been a crazy experience. Every half hour is scheduled from 6am to 10:30pm, so we are extremely busy!! I don't even have time to miss home haha Learning Portuguese has been exhausting but very rewarding. We study the language for about 10 hours a day, and we try not to speak English during that time, which has been a big adjustment for me. It takes a lot of focus and diligence to study a new language for that much time, but I really do love the language. Surprisingly, it has been relatively easy for me to speak the language, but understanding and translating the speaking of other people has been very difficult for me. My companion is good at it, though, so that's helpful. We've already taught 3 lessons to an investigator, IN PORTUGUESE ONLY! It is very slow, and we use the dictionary for every other sentence, but it's so rewarding when you make it through a whole lesson in a foreign language :) We just pray for the Spirit to carry our message and to bring things to our minds. The gift of tongues is very real and I have felt that this week.

Minha companhera, Sister Moss, is super spunky and blunt, but also very funny and kind :) We get along very well even though we have different interests. She loves volleyball, so we play volleyball almost every day with a huge group of elders (The kids will be happy to hear that I am actually trying to play, even though the elders get very frustrated with my lack of ability). She also eats very healthily (salad every meal)...which is great :) I don't always do that, but that's okay. Overall, we get along great and we laugh together soooo much :) We've laughed so hard that we've cried. 

The rest of my district is phenomenal as well!! we have two other sisters, Sister Davis (the redhead) and Sister Walton (the blonde). They live with Sister Moss and I and they are both hilarious and so fun!! Sister Walton was in my FHE group at BYU! The four of us sisters do everything together, so we're basically like a quad-companionship. The four of us together have so much fun :) We also have two elders in our district, Elder McKeen and Elder Bush. Elder Bush is super quiet, but hilarious when he finally opens ups. We all try to make him laugh as much as possible. Elder McKee, our District Leader, is super charming and funny and adds a lot to our group. Our teacher is Irmao Barlow, and he is super great! He's very understanding of our weaknesses and he lets us speak English when we get super frazzled. We all love him a lot :)

The food here is good, but very heavy. I think we're all suffering a bit from it ;) The atmosphere here is amazing, since everyone is trying to learn a language and be righteous. It's hard to sleep, and I've been sleep talking every night haha but I'm definitely feeling more rested than the first couple of days :)

I've gotten to see Kirstin, Elder Bingham, and Elder Ramsden and Adam all a few times. All of us missionaries are doing well, I think :)

  • Love My companion Sister Moss!
  • My good friend Elder Ryan Bingham from back home (and his companion)
  • Ran into my friend Adam from BYU. He works in the MTC

 ....everyone keeps asking what my basic MTC schedule is like, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to share that...

-We usually wake up sometime between 5:45 and 6:15
-Two days a week, we have service (mopping stairs, washing windows, etc.) for an hour and a half.
-The rest of the week, we get up, get ready, and then have about 45 minutes of studying.
-Breakfast is usually at 7:45, and I usually eat cereal, fruit, and a donut. No shame.
-We then have Portuguese/teaching class with Irmao Barlow from 8:15 to 12:30.
-Lunch is at 12:30.
-We then have class with Irma Read (remember Cristiane from last week? She's actually our teacher!) from 1:15 to 4:15.
-We then get gym time from 4:25 to 5:15! I hated this the first couple of days because it's kind of a pain to change into workout clothes for such a short period of time, but now I look forward to it every day! It's such a nice break from class. We usually play volleyball (Kids, you would be so proud of me! I'm definitely improving, and I'm starting to genuinely enjoy it!)
-Then we come back to the room, shower, and get ready for the rest of the night.
-Dinner is at 5:45, and we usually sit with our zone, which consists primarily of a huge group of hormonal, bored, teenage boys whose only time to let loose is meal time...I'll let you imagine how that goes. 
-We then have three more hours of study time, from 6:30-9:30. During this time, we work on the language, our homework assignments, and planning lessons for investigators (we have two investigators right now, who are actually our teachers acting like real investigtors they had on their missions. It's pretty stressful to teach your teachers, but it's nice because we get feedback the next day, which really helps us improve)
-Around 9:40, we get back to our rooms, open any letters we got that day (yeah, we have to wait all day to open them!!), get ready for bed, write in our journal, and have companion study time.
-10:30 is lights out, and I usually fall asleep by 11.
-In 7 hours, the whole thing starts again :)

On Sundays, it's a totally different schedule, and P-days we can kind of do whatever we want as long as we get up by 6:30 and are back into church clothes and missionary attitudes by 6pm.

So there you go :) Sounds fun, huh? It's actually pretty fun :) We spend A TON of time with our district (class time, meal time, and gym time) so I got way lucky with how awesome my district is. I'll try to send some pictures of them :)

Anyways, I love you all!! Be strong, and don't forget how much God loves you! The Atonement is real and the scriptures are amazing!! Don't forget your prayers and take lots of pictures!