I made it! Sister Sanabria is wearing the black badge now. Woo hoo!
First few days were definitely different. Me, and the other sisters and elders that I can call my lovely District now, were totally lost on what on earth we were supposed to do. But it was good. My companion’s name is Sister Dustin. She’s from Montana, went to BYU-I for a year, going to Brazil Belen mission and she’s a pretty good companion I’d say, I’ve really got nothing to complain about. 😉 We keep each other organized and we get along, so I’m grateful for that!
The missionary MTC routine sure is different. So. Much. Studying. But it’s seriously awesome, I can proudly say I haven’t broken down yet! Really though, I actually love all the time I can just dedicated to scriptures and language study and teaching our “investigator.” I’m the most focused I’ve been in, pfft, I don’t even know how long!
The Portuguese is going really, really, really good. I’m not even joking. The gifts of the Spirit are completely real! I’m learning the language so fast! I’m able to hold up a conversation pretty well and I understand most of everything. In just a few days, the progress that was made is incredible. I’m probably the most ahead in my district/class, but I know the Spanish helps. Still, both my branch president and my teacher told me that it’s definitely the gift of tongues working in me– and I’m so humbled to feel it, because I know it’s the Lord helping me 100%.
A few cool things…
First day we move in, then on Thursday, the next day, after a workshop they ask all of the sisters to come for a Sisters-only meeting. I had no idea what it was going to be about, maybe some awesome spiritual insight, and then the MTC presidency are like “All sisters in building 17 M must move out tonight because there were incidents of bats –yes the flying animal things– reported in the building. And of course, that was the building we were staying in. Apparently a few sisters got bit and had to shots for rabies and all that fun stuff, but come on! Haha, we had to unpack and repack everything in another building. It sure was interesting, but I guess great practice for last minute transfers!
Another cool thing, is that this week was pretty special to come into the MTC. It’s the same week that all the new MTC presidents in the world were coming for a seminar, so literally, all of the quorum of the twelve, the first presidency, and President Monson himself were in the MTC at the same time. Sadly, I didn’t get to see any of them–except Elder Ballard in his car, as we were walking to the temple on Sunday (plenty of pictures from that!) and someone spotted his car so our whole zone waited on the edge of the curb waving at him until he’d roll down his window. Pretty great! I saw him for maybe like 2 seconds, haha.
Another cool thing though, is that I got to meet my mission president!!!! President Melo AND his wife. I am the only missionary here going to my mission, Brazil Teresina, so on Friday, I got to have like an hour, to meet my mission president. It was just me, him, his wife in a room and it was so intense but so so good. They didn’t speak ANY English, so I had to use my rapidly-improving-thanks-to-the-Spirit Portuguese and some Spanish because they had been in Venezuela before and learned it there. Talk about a challenge, but it was so good to talk to them. My president is public defense lawyer for poor people in Brazil, and he’s such a spiritual man. His wife is seriously the SWEETEST woman ever! She kept hugging me, and as I bore my testimony to them as best as I could, she was in tears and she kept telling me how excited they were to meet me. I was the first missionary from their mission they got to meet! Pretty cool huh! This is the first mission they’ve ever served together, so it’s new experiences all around. But I could tell President Melo is a man of God. He told me to work hard, to study hard, and to learn the language well so that when I see them in Brazil, I’ll be ready. We were all in tears by the end of our meeting, the Spirit was definitely so strong. I really am grateful for the opportunity to have met them here during my first week at the MTC! Then, they wanted to take a few pictures of me with their camera, because they wanted to capture the moment of meeting their “first missionary”, haha. I gave them your email address, Mom, so I don’t know if you got the pictures! But yeah.
My district’s teacher is Irmao Machado, and he’s young, Brazilian, and the most spiritual guy ever. He’s super cool, funny, and you know he has such a strong testimony of the gospel. My entire district is actually improving so fast, other missionaries in our zone can’t believe how well we’re all learning the language!
A few facts about my district– there’s just me and Sister Dustin, Sister Dickerson and Sister Packard (they are so great, we’re all great friends by now, and they both went to BYU. Me and Sister Packard know we’ve seen eachother before, but we just cant remember when! Haha, it’s so frustrating), and then a trio of Elders– Elder Plogher, Elder Lewis, and Elder Smart (they are seriously hilarious. They’re all really different heights, and different personalities, but it’s so much fun. Especially Elder Smart– oh my gosh, Elder Smart…if he talks one more time about how beautiful of a man President Uchtdorf is, I’ll seriously lose it)
Oh, another thing– I was called to be the sister training leader over my district! I’m still too not sure what I’m doing, but I’m learning, and after the presidency meeting on Sunday, I’ve been coming to really appreciate and realizing the responsibility I’ve been given. After all the talks on Sunday, it’s become really obvious how much this work is not about me, but about reaching outwards.
It’s been good, folks. My testimony has definitely grown, and I can just see that the path in front of me is only going to go uphill. It’s an exciting thought! There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing right now. The church is true, the Spirit works, and the scriptures are really the most direct way to become closer to your Heavenly Father.
Love you all, be well!! Until next time!
(PS. My P day is Tuesday… so send me the goodies! Just kidding.. maybe not. 😉 )
(PS PS, please send me emails of people you know who’d want to be on this list!!)