August 15, 2013
How are you doing? I loved getting the letter from mom, it was so nice to hear your thoughts about my visa and about everything that’s going on right now. i am so blessed to be a missionary that has the full support of my family back home, and i feel your strength every day. we’ve been teaching our investigators (aka our teachers, but they are very good actors) a lot about eternal families recently and it has really brought my mind back home to my family and so much more excited to start my own family one day.
i have to tell you about choir practice! it’s incredible! Choir is mandatory here, every Sunday and Tuesday. We all learn a musical number to sing for...ourselves haha. The CTM doesn’t get visitors. But it’s a very moving experience. The way its set up, we (all together, the whole CTM) sing a hymn - one verse in \Portuguese, one verse in Spanish, and one verse in English. Everyone learns everyone's language. It really unites us and brings a very special spirit. I sat next to a sister who spoke Spanish, and we shared music. it was so sweet, she was very concerned at being able to pronounce English correctly and kept checking her pronunciation with mine. I believe it really increases our respect for each other and each others cultures. There are really no words to describe it. Also, this past week was the independence day of Ecuador, so they invited the 4 Ecuadorian missionaries to come to the front of the room and they played their national anthem. very cool.
my district loves singing, thank goodness! We sing every morning and night to start and close the day, and then we sing for our teachers because they like listening to us. Everyone picks out harmonies and it’s like a little a capella choir. My teacher, Irmao Allan, says "Voces sao meus olgulhos! Meu proprosito Tabernacle Choir!" (In case I didn’t\'t remember the translation correctly, it means You are my pride! My own Tabernacle Choir!) Other teachers come in during class and ask us to sing our national anthem; it’s really very flattering and brings me a lot of joy as well. We’re going to sing for a devotional in a couple weeks. also, sister Shirts (my companion) and I are going to do a musical number soon. She plays flute really well, and I will either play the piano or maybe try something on the violin (they don't have a viola here unfortunately. I’m not all that surprised). it will be good, whatever we do!
Fun fact about Brazil culture - cough drops are candy! Our teachers have been telling us off for bringing them to class (oh yeah, everyone has a cold here. I’m just getting over it now. it wasn't fun, but if this is the worst sickness i get from transitioning to Brazil \I’ll be grateful) because its "food". Then we explained that it was medicine and they just laughed and laughed at us. I still don't think they believe us. but now we offer cough drops to our teachers and they’re really happy and go a little bit easier on us. Because its candy, apparently.
Oh! Sister Shirts and I have new roommates! We haven’t met them yet, but the odds are good that they don't speak English. So it will be good for our Portuguese for sure.
My first Brazilian friend, Sister Rodrigues, left today to go to her mission field. It was really quite sad, and amazing how close we've gotten despite not speaking the same language. she wrote a list of Brazilian foods and drinks that we need to try while were here. yes Mike, acai was on the list. She told me that my Portuguese was so much better than when i first got here, and I’ve only been here a week. This gives me hope! it’s encouraging to note that even the natives have noticed a little bit of improvement in me. Granted, it was so bad when i first got here that it’s impossible NOT to get better from that.
We got to go to the temple this morning! Sooooo beautiful! The Sao \Paulo temple is closed for cleaning, so we went to Campinas instead, just about an hour and a half away. There were beautiful blue and purple stained glass windows everywhere, and honestly I don't think I’ve seen a more beautiful temple. The Spirit was so strong there and I just know that I\m where \i\m supposed to be. I was so afraid to come here, but the Lord knows me better than I know myself and He knew that I would want to have this experience. ||There are just little moments every few days that say "Aha! That's why I’m here! So I could experience that moment!" and today was definitely one of those days. It’s crazy, we talked to some missionaries at lunch about temples. One girl from Argentina said it took 10 hours to get to one, and an Elder from Columbia said it took 8 and they usually flew because it was cheaper. When I said that I could walk to the temple while at BYU, they were absolutely astonished. I am too. I have so much that I’ve taken for granted, so many blessings. Guys, go to the temple!!! As much as you can! It’s a huge blessing, and you can only show gratitude by taking advantage of the opportunity. Sister Shirts and I were thinking, ten years ago it was almost the same in the States. I mean, it would take 8 hours to drive from NH to the DC temple. But now there is one just an hour away. Where we were 10 years ago, Brazil is right now. And \I am so excited to see where things go in the next 10, 15, 20 years. Temples will be everywhere! Everyone can go!
I know my friends are too busy to read this, but \just a quick shout out to Rachel Williams for her wedding this week! I love you!
I love you all, they're telling me to get off, so keep smiling and remember the gospel is true, the lord loves you, and everything works together for our good.