August 5, 2013
OPEN IMMEDIATELY PLEASE NOW
Dear family and Mike,
I'm in the computer lab and I don't actually have access to my family email address. ooops! So I'm sending this to Mike and begging him to find a way, facebook email phone whatnot, to forward this to you ASAP. Mike dear? ASAP. Please Please Please if you could I would love you forever and I need your help right now.
So here it goes.
I got my visa!!!!!! About 3 hours ago. I am leaving the MTC at five tomorrow morning, getting on a flight at 9:30 and heading to the Sao Paulo MTC. I know this comes as a huge shock. Believe me, I freaked out. I mean, they gave me less than 24hrs notice! But one of the Elders in my district just gave me a blessing and I'm feeling a whole lot better. Seriously, I'm feeling wonderful :) He's a really sweet kid, just barely graduated high school. I'm 95% sure this is the first blessing he's ever given. Just goes to show that it doesn't matter who or how old, if you are worthy and ordained to hold the priesthood then the power is definitely there.
I don't know what to say so I'll just give you the best run down I possibly can. Oh! Minha familia! If you want to talk to me, I will be calling you tomorrow. Mom, be by your phone! I have a layover in Minneapolis (Mom, does that make it easier?) from 1:22PM to 3:35PM. I'll probably call then. You can figure out what time zone that's in. I'm going to pick up some last minute stuff at the MTC Bookstore today, including a phone, scripture cases and a couple more skirts - I'm paying for luggage too, so could you just keep an eye on my bank account? I think I'll be fine but I'm not entirely sure. The only thing that's kind of a bummer is that they sell Brazil T-shirts in the MTC (Mike knows what I'm talking about) but they've always been sold out when I've come :/ Everything is so crazy, I'm traveling with another Elder and hopefully a sister too. My information says if you have any questions, ask the travel leader. Guess who my designated travel leader is? That's right, Sister Alysha Carroll! Hahahaha. My goodness this is going to be crazy.
But honestly that's the way it is here. We take care of ourselves, we teach ourselves. Or rather, the Spirit teaches. The very first day (Thursday), no teacher showed up. We just spent 4 hours in this little classroom (there are 13 people in my district, and the classroom is tiny! We've all gotten very very close. Both literally and figuratively. They've been so wonderful, like my MTC family) and tried to figure out what we were supposed to do. I think we started memorizing our purpose and trying to learn the first lesson, because we were scheduled to teach a discussion (in Portuguese!) the very next day (Friday). We have an amazing teacher, and it amazes me how much he cares and helps us, and he's just barely older than I am - still struggling with school and dating and finances and a calling and every other problem BYU students have. But he teaches us every day for 3-4 hours and he is so invested in us and cares and it is absolutely incredible to me how selfless these teachers are. Anyway, I've learned that we do not learn from our teacher. Not the language, not the gospel. He is here to help us learn how to learn directly from God through the Spirit. He gives hints and tips and advice, but the work primarily rests on our own self-discipline and relationship with God. I've been extremely blessed, I have picked up the language very quickly. French helped. And a good teacher ;) From the very first day, I have been able to (mostly) understand everything the teacher says and express quite a lot in my lessons with the investigator. But I know that there is no way it is from me. I have been blessed, and the Spirit has helped teach me because there is no way that I would be able to know this much after less than a week with the language. Go back and reread 1 Nephi 11-15. Nephi wants to understand his father's vision, so he prays directly to God and is given a marvelous vision of his own with more knowledge than he could have even thought of. Laman and Lemuel are also confused about the vision, so they ask Nephi to explain it to them. Almost the exact same thing is taught in each chapter, but Nephi's account is so much richer and fuller. So it is with me. I can ask my teacher to help me and explain things to me, and he will do the best he can and I will understand. But if I pray directly for God for teaching and guidance, I get the same thing a teacher would give me but so much better. So much. It sticks in my heart, if that makes any sense at all.
Its hard for me to leave, because I got through the first 4 days (which are always the hardest) and then this morning I woke up so happy because I finally felt comfortable and had gotten my feet back on the ground and was feeling so good about being here. WHAM. I'll be in another country tomorrow. Heavenly Father has a wonderful sense of humor :) It just goes to show how much He trusts me. I got through one challenge, and as soon as that was over He gave me another one. In a way its very confidence-building, because I know that I will grow so much and since I just don't get a chance to breathe, I just get to keep growing more and more! And Heavenly Father trusts me with that. There are wonderful things in store for me in Brazil, and I cannot wait to start learning even more. I love this gospel. I love my mission. I am so humbled and grateful for the opportunity to wear the name of Jesus Christ over my heart and represent Him in all things and in all places. Please pray to give me the strength to become more worthy of this trust.
I love you all SO SO SO MUCH
PS - From Tanner - wow, what a difference 24 hours makes - it'll be posting another message once I hear from her so stay tuned for Sister Alysha Carroll's adventure into the mission field!