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."