Querido família e amigos,
This week in the mission was incredible, as is to be expected. This week, my testimony has grown so much on the reality of personal revelation, and the truth that through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we can find solutions to all of our problems. I remember back to the conference talk titled “Ask the Missionaries They Can Help You!” and feel like that is true only because the missionaries spend all day as representatives of Christ, sharing his love for all of Gods children, and inviting others to become more like Christ everyday. Without Christ, everything that we have would not mean anything. We are incredibly blessed.
I have had so many opportunities to feel the spirit this week, through hinos (hymns), heartfelt prayer, scripture study, the words of others, ways all around the board. I KNOW that our Heavenly Father knows us and wants us to be happy. And I challenge you all this week to take some time to think of Christ, and receive some help for some things you want to change in your life. Begin with a prayer, write down a question you have, open the scriptures, and pick just a few verses and PONDER them. The Lord speaks to us through thoughts or small feelings, but we have to be willing to be still in order to listen and be willing to act. In an appointment we had this week a member (instructor) told us that we can have a sacred grove around us all the time as we keep a prayer in our heart always. I promise that if you do this this week, the Lord will speak to you, and testify of his love for you as his child.
This week I have made a goal to sing more hinos (hymns). Somehow, there are ALWAYS songs from back home popping into my head, but I have been trying to think of Christ more because it changes my day so much! I have also grown to love (even more than before) keeping pictures of Christ around, and yesterday even started carrying around “The Gospel of Jesus Christ” pamphlet because I love the picture of Christ it has next to the section on fé (faith). For any of you RM´s out there, you know what I´m talking about. If you have been wanting to feel the influence of Christ more in your life, I challenge you to keep more pictures of Christ around, and sing more hymns. The hinos are really sacred to me, because one of the many things that drove my desire to come out on this mission was the spirit I feel as I sing himnos in Spanish (first at the Easter Pageant on Spanish night and then at BYU Tunnell Singing.) Plus, I love music so much anyways. I LOVE being able to sing the hinos in Português, and the spirit it brings. This week, my favorite song is “Abide with Me”. (shoutout to Kris for the best gift ever!)
I set this goal around the second week of the CTM to write down 1500 words in Português by the time I leave. Let’s see how many of those words I actually learn by next week 🙂
Oh, before I forget, to my immediate family (you know who you are) please write to me and tell me how you are, and let me know how I can better pray for you! I love you guys a lot and think about how lucky I am to have you. My Worldwide stamps don’t work here since Brazil is a bureaucracy or whatever, so its harder to send letters, but I just love you guys a lot!!! (and all of you, really! xoxo) But please know that I think you guys are the best family EVER! Not many of the Brazilians were born in the covenant, and everyday I think of how lucky I am to have people like you all to love and support me. On that same note, CONGRATS TO JOSH AND MIRANDA! Please send me pics 🙂
Tomorrow we get to go proselyting out in the rua (street) again. PRAY FOR THOSE PEOPLE WE FIND TO SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH! I am so so so excited for the campo (field- mission field). But, I am excited to be able to proselyte tomorrow too. The Olympics started today I think but there are some events in São Paulo for futebol (soccer) so maybe I will run into some of that fun (not actually, but it’s fun to think about).
For anyone who wants a good laugh, or to learn more about Brazilian culture, ask someone who knows how to do that cool little snappy thing you do when you’re impressed or angry or just whenever you want (or YouTube it). And then imagine me learning how to do it. Sister Cook during the second week told me I look like a chicken flapping its wing when I do it. And I get my face of concentrating really hard on. But, when she told me that, she also used the word for the kind of chicken you eat, not the live one, so it was a double insult. I love her more every week, and am not ready to leave her.
Its sorta weird that next week we will be the oldest Americans here in the CTM! It feels like we are sorta just barely getting the swing of things in time to leave. I really do love it here, and am excited to send you pics in a bit so you can see more of what its like.
I also love my district. Last week, Sister Bailey met a convert of her Dad when he was on his mission here that went to the temple to find her, and then she gave Sister Bailey this paraphernalia with Pictures of Sister Bailey on it! Personalized flip-flops and a towel. We DIED because its so funny, and Sis Bailey is embarrassed so she puts them under her bed so nobody will see, haha I love it. Also, Elder Manning always makes the best mistakes speaking Português, such as introducing himself as “Hi, we´re missionaries. Can we give you a massage” or “So, did your family all die in São Paulo” (…when he meant to say does your family all LIVE in São Paulo) both in the same half hour appointment. We love him.
I am always looking for things to laugh at to brighten our somewhat repetitive days here. So this week, I thought it was pretty great when I found out that you pronounce the word for yogurt exactly like you´re-gucci. Plus, sometimes they have this yogurt drink at breakfast, and I love that, so it’s an important word to learn!
The track here has become my best friend! Its really tiny and narrow, so you can jog one lap in probably under a minute, but Sister Gates and I love running together (p.s. its so fun to have new guys in our district) Also there are pull up bars in the middle of the track and Sister Cook loves them, but she gets to help me do pull ups whenever I want to. Its a win win situation for us because we both get stronger, right? Our punishments for when we loose focus is that I have to do more pull ups and she has to run more laps.
There is only one other missionary here for my mission, and her name is Sister Cunha. Other missions have up to 10 people, an average of like 6, so thats pretty rare! We are SO EXCITEDDDD!!!
Just a few last things, I have a collection of tiny books that I love- a dictionary, my book of words, my planner, tiny book of mormon (also a great last hour of Arizona life investment) and my hino book. So for anyone who knows that I love tiny things, know that I haven’t changed much. I also LOVE my yellow sandals, so loving yellow hasn’t changed about me either.
But what has changed in me is my love for the Savior and this gospel. I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn everyday. It is so easy to be happy when you are constantly serving others. P-Day is sometimes hard for me because when I think about myself here, it’s pretty hard. I am grateful for the HUGE amount of preparation I brought with me. Between hearing lots of stories about the difficulty of missions and having a hard time initially deciding whether to come or not, I have been pretty well set, for the MTC at least. Sister Cook and I are always surprised to see Americans having such a hard time. We are so lucky.
I LOVE YOU ALL! (and am constantly giving you all hugs in my imagination)
Have faith, have hope, live like his son, help others on their way.
3 Nephi 20:1
St. Matthew 6:32