Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Week 5

Oi family and friends!
Yep, you read the subject line right- WEEK 5 people! Time flies here in the MTC. I cannot believe that one week from tomorrow I get my reassignment! Wahooooo! I am stoked! No one got their VISAS this week, and I don't really think any of us will in the next two. However, we are all thrilled to go where the Lord wants us to go! The Portuguese is coming along. It is so humbling to learn another language. Tomorrow we plan to commit our investigator to baptism, so I will let you know how that goes!
Ok this week was Otimo! (Awesome) Why? Because last Tuesday Richard G. Scott came for devotional. It was amazing! He talked about prayer. He said that answers come in 3 ways: 1) peace (the answer is yes) 2) unsettling feeling/ stupor of thought (the answer is no) or 3) No response (no answer). I'll bet we can all agree that #3 is the hardest. We may even think that God isn't listening to us or that He doesn't care. Wrong. When He witholds an answer it is so we can exercise faith. It is because He trusts you. Don't sit around, passively, waiting for the day you think He will respond. He wants to see if you have the faith and knowledge to act based on His principles and teachings! And don't worry if you think you will make a mistake, or an incorrect choice. He won't let you continue too long before He corrects the situtation. Anyways, I thought that was REALLY cool to think that not receiving an answer means Heavenly Father trusts us to make a decision. Additionally, here are some other ideas I had about things he said: 
1. When we pray, we should talk TO the Lord, not AT Him.
2. It takes faith to pray, but it takes MORE faith to listen.
3. Learn to stop asking for things you want- and learn to start asking for ways to do what HE wants.
4. He will seldom respond when you're on your knees- even if you are pleading for an immediate answer. Instead, the spirit will touch your heart and mind when it will be of most benefit to the individual. God knows you. When you really believe that, you will also come to believe that His timing is ALWAYS right, even if we thought "our way" may have been better. Maybe we thought an immediate answer would have been a greater blessing in our lives- but I testify that God will do everything He can to bless you- even if that means delaying His response to your concern.
5. What is best is rarely what is easiest. Impossible circumstances are wonderful opportunities to fall to your knees and pray.

Elder Palmer, in my district suggested that we try to imagine that Heavenly Father is kneeling on the other side of the bed, across from us. It should be a conversation- it should be that personal.
In sacrament meeting this week- Brother Bartholowmeu shared a quote by William McGill: "The value of consistent prayer is not that HE will hear US, but that WE will hear HIM."
Prayer is so cool, huh? Ok. Fun story. We just got a new teacher- Brother Mateer. We all had to introduce ourselves. So I told him I was from Alpine, and he said, "I know." I gave him a puzzled look, and he continued, "I know your brother- Conner." I am completely baffled at this point. And yes, I can feel myself fighting back tears because I'm jealous of this guy I don't even know- because he gets to see my brother, and I don't. Anyways, long story short: His is Sydney's (Sparky) Brother-in-law. COOL! Small world. Yep, we had a good, long conversation about Conner. :) * Sorry to all of you who have NO idea what I am talking about- that story was mainly for Conner, and my Dad.
Ok, another point to that story was that Bro. Mateer shared a really cool thought with us in class the other day, about a talk Elder Holland gave. Here is the general idea of what he said: This is real life. Our investigators are real people, with real needs. They face real tragedy and stand in need of real assistance. The medicine is the Atonement, and Jesus Christ is the master physician. We, as missionaries (but also all of you) are the tools in His hands. We are not the physicians- we would be terrible physicians, because we don't understand people as perfectly as our Savior does. We have no power to heal because we can't know their needs the way He does. His point was this, because our job is to be the tools in His hands, we need to stay sharp. You wouldn't want someone operating on you with a blunt scalpal, rusty blade, or dirty gloves. Right? No. As the tools in His hands, we want to be sharp, useful, clean, instruments readily accesible in His hands. I thought that was so neat! Ultimately the idea is to stay worthy, and do your best to learn about Christ and His gospel. These are the ways that we can best prepare ourselves to be instruments in His hands.
So here's my challenge this week: If you have not already done so, watch the John Tanner movie or "Only A Stone Cutter". These are  amazing films about men who gave EVERYTHING they had to the church. It was so humbling to watch these movies last Sunday because I feel so far behind. I am not doing enough for the Church. I want to do so much more. It completely changed my perspective- and I realized that I have so much more that I need to do. I am just left with the question of how do I ive my whole life to the church? Because whatever that way is, I want it. But watch it for yourselves, and see what the Spririt teaches YOU.
My scripture for you this week is Alma 37:16: "But if ye keep the commandments of God, and do with these things which are sacred according to that which the Lord doth command you, (for it must appeal unto the Lord for all things whatsoever ye must do with them) behold, no power of earth or hell can take them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all His words". Alma is talking about the plates, but I'd like to think it can also be likened to our testimonies, our savation, and our families. If you are obedient, and you keep the commandments, again I say that NO power of earth or hell can take your testimonies, your salvation, your joy, your faith, or your families. Obedience is everything- it is the first law of Heaven. I am learning more about obedience here on a mission than ever before, and I know that it brings blessings- even miracles.
I was thinking, and I realized that I have learned so much in these last few weeks... but what I've really learned is that I don't know anything. I don't. I thought I had my life figured out- I thought I knew what was important. I had an idea, sure, but I really didn't get it. I'll admit, I still don't get it all the way- and I'm not sure I ever will, because I cannot fully understand the mind of God. But this much I know is true: Nothing aside from building the kingdom of God matters. When you understand that, it will change forever the way you live your life. And when you change the way you live your life- it will bring more happiness and peace than you have ever known. I challenge you this week to think of what it really means to follow the Savior. To make everything else secondary to our commitment to follow Him. Obviously, we can't put everything aside, as nice as it would be. But maybe we can in the sense of priorities. We all have ideas about what it means to follow Christ, but lets look a little deeper, and strive every day to be a little bit more like Him. I love you all so much. Your support means the world to me! I hope you have an amazing week! May the Lord bless you with whatever you stand in need of. You are in my prayers.
Sister Seal

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Week 4 Message Home

Oi family! Como vao voces?  

The MTC just keeps getting better! Is that even possible?? I don't know, but I guess so. I love being a missionary. Sorry, Mom... I don't think I'm ever coming home.
So last Tuesday! Devotional: Gerald N. Lund (former general authority) talked about receiving revelation. Three key points I want to share with you:
1. What we receive is FAR more important than how we receive it, or when it comes.  
2. "Always expecting the spectacular, many will miss the constant flow of revelation". Ah so true, don't expect a vision like Joseph Smith. Remember that Laman and Lemuel saw angels - and that didn't help them.
3. D&C 85:6 characterizes the Holy Ghost as a still, small voice that whispers. Lund asked, "How can a voice be still?" His answer: It is a "still" voice because you don't HEAR it, you FEEL it. Otimo! Que legal!
He also said it should and will take faith to follow the promptings. Remember this when you are wondering if your prompting is coming from you or Heavenly Father.
I also loved a quote he shared by Neil A. Maxwell, which said, "It is not enough that we say 'thy will be done'... we must also be willing to say 'thy time be done'."
I really love this idea. I have been learning a lot about patience here in the MTC. Patience with my VISA, patience with the language, patience with myself. It doesn't come easily - for none of the attributes of Christ do... but developing these characteristics will ALWAYS be worth it - no matter the cost.
On Sunday, Mary Ellen Edmunds talked to us in Relief Society, and I have two things I'd like to share from her talk:
"No one was foreordained to fail. He [Heavenly Father] will move Heaven and Earth to help you." But may I add, that this help comes IF and WHEN we seek it.
Also, "You learn more from those you teach than those you teach learn from you." This is true. It really is. Right now we are teaching Steven and Guilherme. And I know that I have learned far more about missionary work and the gospel of Jesus Christ than I have taught either of them in any of our lessons. I guess I'm realizing that Missionary Work isn't so much about teaching as it is about learning. This is so cool to me!
Ok! So I mentioned my investigators. Steven is our English investigator. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation last week and we asked him if "when he knew these things were true, he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized". He accepted! We are thrilled. Guilherme is our Portuguese- speaking investigator. We have another lesson with him tomorrow, and I will let you know how it goes. He is definitely teaching us how important it is to "teach people, not lessons". My companion and I are realizing we don't understand what he is looking for... so we are going to make that our first priority tomorrow, as it should have been, already.
Sunday night we had the Director of Church media talk to us. He told us that 44% of missionaries here at the MTC are sisters! What??? Crazy! I didn't realize it was that high. That is amazing! His message was about Heavenly Father hastening his work, and he showed us a lot of new advertisements and campaigns the church is doing- Check out New York and London! It is amazing. He also talked about Revelation 12:11. He said, "We all have already overcome Satan with our faith. We are only helping people rediscover a faith that is ALREADY there! I love that!  
Sister Woodland, a sister in our district, got her VISA last week, and she left for Brazil this morning! Our district is having really good luck with VISAS. However, I'm sure I will get a re-assignment before I get to Brazil. But that is A-OK with me! I'm stoked! It doesn't matter to me where I go, because I plan to share the gospel everywhere before I die! ;) Ha Ok, that's a dream. But it's also the plan! On a side note: So great to hear about all of the new mission calls and those thinking of starting their papers!  Missionary work is awesome, and you will love it!
In closing I want to share 3 amazing scriptures I've found recently. If you have a chance, look them up, because they are awesome!
1) 2 Nephi 33:3-4. This is like the coolest missionary scripture ever. I love it.
2) Mosiah 24:16. I testify that faith can heal you! I testify that God will comfort you and lift the burdens from your back, as you trust Him, rely on Him, and ask Him to help you.
3) Alma 13:22-26. I specifically LOVE verse 25. Lately I find myself thinking more and more about the Second Coming, and I wish every day that He, our beloved Savior, would come. I so badly want to see the day of His reign on Earth. I thought it was SO neat to hear Alma say that too, "Would to God that it might be in my day..." but then he continues, that he will find joy in the Lord's timing. Yet again, I am learning patience!
Well, this letter is short this week. Maybe that will be refreshing for all you who read these posts, anyway. But, of course, I want to end with my testimony.
I know without any doubt in this world that this gospel is true. I know that Christ will come again, and I cannot wait for that day. I know that as you focus your life on the Savior-  your life will change in ways you had never before imagined. I know that God will not change you, but He will provide opportunities to change. Embrace these opportunities, for though they will challenge you, they will bless you in every way you stand in need of. I know that families are eternal, and I am amazed by our perfect God who loves us enough to allow that to be possible. I love my family, and I am so grateful to know that I will never lose them. I know that God speaks to us today, through a Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. He does so because He LOVES US. But, He also does so because He has a plan for us. I know that God's plan is a perfect plan, and that we need to have the faith to not only accept His will, but His timing.  I know that God loves His missionaries, because I have seen Him bless them- here in the MTC, in the field, and all over the world. For those of you considering the opportunity to serve the Lord, this is my promise to you: You will never regret that decision, and it will bless your life, throughout this life, and on into the life to come. I love being a missionary- I have never had a greater calling or opportunity in my life. It is hard. Every day is hard. But EVERY DAY is worth it. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and though I am so far from who I am supposed to be, I am grateful for a patient Heavenly Father who allows me to become more Christ-like every day, with small and consistent efforts. I pray for you, and hope that God may bless you with every blessing you stand in need of. Pray, and never stop praying, because your Father wants to hear from you. He loves you. This I know and testify. I love being a missionary. I am so grateful for your support. You mean the world to me.
Eu amo voces!
Con muito amor,
Sister Seal

More Week 4 Photos!

More photos for Week 4!

Week 4 Photos

Lots of great photos from McKenna this week. Here are a few. 

MTC Desk in the room

MTC closet she shares

MTC room

McKenna's district in class learning Portuguese

Yes, those are McKenna's arms - someone likes the gym!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Starting Week 3

Oi familia! 

Como estao voces?? You must be doing GREAT because last week was Conference. But, we will get to that in a second because I have a fun story first. Guess what! My companion and I got to take a little field trip yesterday -  to the Orthodontist. It was so weird to leave the MTC. Unfortunately, my retainer broke, so I had to get a new one. And, sorry Daddy... it was a little pricey :/ The best part was driving past Wyview Park. I saw Katie's Mustang parked outside her apartment. Don't ask me if I cried... because I won't tell you. :) 

Anyways: Conference! Thanks to everyone who sent insight and favorite conference messages, I really loved it! One reoccurring theme I saw was obedience! I had a lot of questions going into Conference, and yet the answer seemed to be the same: obedience. I thought it was neat how many times I heard that it is SMALL but CONSISTENT acts, every day that bring conversion, success, happiness, etc. It is small, but simple acts of faith, love, service, charity and obedience, among various other Christ-like attributes that will build our testimonies, help us be happy, and even become better missionaries. Remember, "Obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles." I tell myself that every morning. (Yes, morning. Because without that belief, what in the world would get me out of bed at 6:30?). So... I loved all of the talks, but one of the coolest parts of conference was also just the announcements, especially our Prophet's opening remarks. It reminded me of Conference 6 months ago. I can hardly believe that those very announcements changed my life. It is the reason I'm here in the MTC right now, and I am SO grateful. This was also cool to me because though I always believed Thomas S. Monson to be a prophet of God, when he stood before the entire church to share with the world that inspired revelation from our Father in Heaven, I knew. I know President Monson is a prophet of God, and that he receives direct revelation from our Father in Heaven, on our behalf, and for our benefit. How amazing is the gospel? How amazing is this church? 

Some talks I really liked were:

Elaine S. Dalton- I realized that I am so blessed! She said, "What 'er thou art, act well thy part!" I realized that I get to be two of the coolest things in the whole world: a missionary and, one day a mother. 

Craig A. Cardon- "The Savior allows improvement over time, rather than demanding immediate perfection. The Lord isn't always interested in our actions, but He is ALWAYS interested in our hearts. This is true for our family members who may not necessarily be making correct choices. As our Father in Heaven shows us, we too must show our family members steadiness, love, patience, and confidence. 

Henry B. Eyring- "Draw near unto Me and I will draw near unto you" (the Savior's words). Again, I thought about those simple, consistent acts of obedience, which will only allow our Savior to draw near unto us as we follow Him with exact obedience. 

Richard G. Scott- I love what he said about how "Little things lead to BIG things! (This again demonstrates my point about small, consistent acts.) The natural consequence of obedience and service is power from God. Power! That entails: power to change, to be better, to influence, and to be more like Christ, among many other things. I also love what he said about family members who we pray every day will return to the path towards Christ. He said, "Trust in the Lord and His timing regarding family members." This can test our faith, patience, and endurance but remember this: As much as you want them to come back, God wants them EVEN MORE SO, to come back to Him. I would again add that this progress is made one consistent step at a time.

Neil L. Anderson- We are the eye witnesses to the fulfilling of the prophet Daniel's prophecy regarding the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, rolling forth to fill the whole earth. How cool is his promise that, "As surely as God is inspiring more missionaries to go out and serve," He is also opening the hearts of more good people to receive the message we have to share.

Elder Holland- overall this was my favorite talk. His always are. But if I were to recommend a talk to watch, or even re watch, this is the one. What amazing insight about faith stemming from a simple desire to know. I LOVED this talk.

Alright, also, we have had some stellar devotionals! For example, during class, Brother Owens showed us a small segment of Elder Holland's talk awhile ago about investigators and conversion. He said, "Everything must happen to you BEFORE it can happen to them." I testify that this is true. You must love this gospel and believe its principles before you can help other people to know these things. Also, it's important to remember that God cares just as much about your conversion as He does your investigator. If we want our investigators to pray sincerely, so should we. If we want them to repent, so should we. If we want them to keep commitments and covenants, so should we. If we want them to learn of Christ, so should we. If we want them to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, so should we. We should feel and know these things to our core! I testify that I know these things, of myself, and that is why I am here! Because these things bring me so much joy, and I have no other desire but to share that with everyone. I love the idea that as much as I will want my investigators to do these things, God wants ME and YOU to do them also. 

Also, last Tuesday night for devotional, Michael T. Ringwood gave a great talk! He shared a well-known quote stating that the most important work we will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes. Then he asked this question, "Why are all of you here... serving missions, if the most important work you ever do will be in your homes, with your families?" He let us think about that for a moment. I didn't have an answer! I knew, obviously, that missions prepare us to better teach our children... but his question was interesting. It seemed that the answer I previously thought reasonable was no longer enough. Then he said something that stunned me, "There was a reason Nephi went back to Jerusalem for the plates before he went back to get a wife." His point is this: missionary work is not to "baptize the world". That is NOT, nor will it ever be the end goal. Our goal is conversion to Christ, and ENDURING TO THE END. One of the greatest things missionary work can teach you is to endure to the end, it can also teach you obedience (two things Nephi learned by getting the plates before getting a wife). Thus, he said that perhaps we go on missions to learn to endure to the end so that we can do our most important work- to teach our children to endure to the end too. Awesome talk! Wish I could explain it better, but I hope you can see my point.

Sunday night, Vocal Point (from the Sing Off) did a devotional here. It was amazing. They are very talented. Cool thing: every one of them served missions. My favorite thing they said was, "Please do not try to tell God what he can and cannot do with His children, and with you." Let us remember that He has all power. Never give up on the family member, or the friend that you're waiting for to come to Christ, and receive His restored Gospel. Never give up on the child- your child- that has gone astray...the one you pray for every night, hoping they will come back. And never give up on yourself when you are blind to your potential, only willing to see your mistakes. Remember that it is not, nor will it ever be the way God sees you.

We also got to watch a talk by Elder Holland called "Missions (or Missionaries, I can't remember) are forever". He told us to go out and astonish somebody! "Learn to be as persistent as the Avon lady!!" He also said, mission work is hard "because Salvation isn't easy. It is hard for us because it was hard for Him (Jesus Christ). The road to Salvation goes through Gethsemane." That means the language, the temperature, the food, getting a VISA, or waking up early. That means missing our families, our homes, our friends. That means agony when you know that your investigator knows that your message is true, but won't accept it. But there is comfort in knowing that every tear you shed will one day be worth it. All your heartache and anguish will one day be matched with peace and joy.

I guess I will end with a thought I had during a district testimony meeting. So: I am a "pro's" and "con's" list kind of girl. I guess I get that from my Dad. And if I had made a list before I decided to serve my mission of all of the "pro's" and "con's" of going on a mission, we know that the "pro's" list would be lengthy, and possibly infinite --  beyond our own expectation and comprehension. But the "con's" list would only have one thing: That I'm afraid. Thinking about this I realized that this idea must have held true in the Premortal existence. We knew earth life would bring joy, happiness, and experiences only capable of benefiting us in some way... but I'm sure we all wondered if we would make it. I'm sure we were all afraid. but, we all made that decision, because we are all here today. We acted in faith in spite of fear. Though we must have seen our potential more clearly then -- In Heaven. My prayer is that we continue to see ourselves with that potential, with hope and confidence knowing we can act every day in faith despite our fears. For surely, with confidence, potential is what God sees in us.

Well, I love you all so much and I am so grateful for your examples to me. I am so grateful for your letters, too. They keep me going, every day. I think of you all the time, and I pray for you every day. Know that I have full confidence in each of you. May I leave you with a charge to find something every day to bring yourself closer to your Savior, for as you draw near to Him, He will draw near unto you. Never forget the importance of small, but consistent acts, for surely they are the means by which we improve in whatever aspect of life we stand in need of improvement. Eu amo voces! God be with you 'til we meet again.

Sister Seal

MTC Classroom

District Sisters - with the only boys at the MTC they can hug

A little downtime...

Loving the MTC

Sooner or later this is where she will be

Joao Pessoa, Brazil - just waiting for a VISA

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Photos of the First Week in the MTC

Well it's official - she has a name tag!

Sister Seal and her companion, Sister Morgan from Colorado

Her District - more sisters than elders!

The entire district is assigned to Joao Pessoa, Brazil

No bikes on her mission - they are on foot or travel by bus where available

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week 2 Letter (4/2)

Oi family! Como vai? Wow what a week! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the MTC. I LOVE being a missionary! And I LOVE Portuguese. I also hate Portuguese... but that is another story.

We have 8 sisters and 5 elders in our district. Muito bem! I'm going to give you all a moment to think about JUST how COOL that is! .....

..... Okay. There was your moment to realize what just happened here. More sisters than elders? When does this happen?! It is really amazing to see the ratio when all of the missionaries are together (at devotionals for example). Anyways, I love my district, we all get along really well. Cool side note: One of our elders got his visa last Thursday! He left for Brazil this morning. Ah, jealous! But I am happy to be here at the MTC in Provo, and I know that God needs me here now. Back to the district, most of the sisters go to BYU! Otimo! That is exciting because it means I will probably see some of them when I get back to Provo. Speaking of recognizing people-- in RANDOM places, might I add-- almost every day here I have someone tell me they are sure they know me from somewhere. Sometimes they are right, and sometimes, I guess we'll never know. They say I have a "familiar face". Whatever that means. Usually I don't recognize them at all. So, I was washing my face Saturday night, talking to a sister who is going to Korea. All of the sudden, she asks, "were you in a beauty pageant, by chance?" I said yes (DYW/ Jr. Miss). She said, "I did your make up!! I remember because I thought 'Wow she's beautiful'." I am buckling over laughing at this point because I really don't understand how she could remember this-- it happened a YEAR ago people. She continues, "Yeah! I even took a picture of the makeup I did on your eyes and it is still in my portfolio!" HA. Well, maybe you had to be there, but I thought I'd share. 

Alrrriiiiggghhht. Now for the good stuff. Daily schedule: It is something I will tell you once, and never have to tell you again because it NEVER changes. (Except on P-days and Sundays). So here goes. We wake up at 6:30. Yes, AM, folks. And no, I couldn't believe it either. Then we do personal study until breakfast at 7:15. Then we study again until lunch at 12:15. then we study again (and most likely  have class) until dinner at 5:15. After dinner, you guessed it! We study again (and probably have class again) until 9:30 when we head back to our rooms and go to bed. Today, Tuesday, is P-day. Obviously. Since today is the day I am writing. Ha. Studying consists of personal, companion, and language. It seems like a lot, but boy do we need it. We learn so much! And I've never said this before, and I promise I'll never say it again... but I actually love studying too! The MTC is a wonderful place. The spirit is everywhere here, and you can learn a lot, if you work for it. Studying (at least on a mission) is a blessing. Sim! 

The language is coming along great! Thank you Dani and Craig for the Rosetta Stone!! It has helped so much. I understand 99% of what my teacher-- Brother Owens-- says. No exaggeration. And of course, this will change. Obviously he uses simple vocabulary to help us understand. But I'll take what I can get. However, just because I can "hear" it, doesn't mean I can "speak" it. My accent is horrible, I'm sure. And I say a lot of Spanish words. But I am confident that when the Lord wants me to learn Portuguese, I will learn Portuguese and not one day earlier or later. 

Speaking of the language. We have been teaching Vasco, our "investigator". It is amazing! Even though we all know he is not really investigating the church, we all treat him as though he truly needs help and answers. It is the weirdest thing, and I wish I could explain this better. Right now we are working with him to help him pray because he wants to know if God exists. And I want him to pray so badly! Really, its almost ridiculous. I am SO excited to go to Brazil, because you really do love your companions, districts, leaders, and especially investigators almost immediately. Missionary work is so cool. We have taught him three lessons now, and I am so grateful that I took Mission Prep seriously, both stake and ward mission prep. Shout out to Brother Reynolds: Thank you SO much! Anyways, go to mission prep! It is one of the greatest things you can do to prepare for a mission! 

One thing that was stressed in every Mission Prep lesson is that exact obedience is KEY to being successful. "Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles." This is true. I've already seen it. In fact, this is true, even and especially when we don't understand why we are being asked to obey the rule. We even have district- specific rules too. Some of them are extremely important, and others are actually kind of funny. For example: we are not allowed to swear by using 4 letter words. These words include "guys, dude, and VISA". We are supposed to refer to missionaries as "Elder" and "Sister" out of respect. We really aren't supposed to say, "hey guys". I understand the idea. The funny one is "VISA". A lot of missionaries are bummed out because some get visas, and others don't. I also think they want us to focus on the work we have here instead of longing to be somewhere else, like Brazil. 

So my companion is Sister Morgan. She is the second youngest of 12 siblings! Crazy right! I thought our family was crazy. She is from Colorado. She is super sweet and we get along really well. Sometimes we even wonder if we are the same person because we have a lot in common. I really like her. She is really good at volleyball too. To conner: She doesn't know what her favorite food is, but she doesn't like breakfast or Chinese food. Haha!! She also says her favorite activity is missionary work. Good answer! Haha but she also likes sports. 

Ok. You probably want to know about the food. It is way better than everyone says it is. Especially the pineapple. Oh boy I could go on ALL DAY LONG about the pineapple. I eat it every meal of every day. No joke. I also drink chocolate milk- regularly. But don't worry: we have gym time. Ha. So the food, it isn't Grandma T's cooking, but it is still good. I can't complain. I haven't had anything I don't like yet. And they have cereal. So basically I'm set for life. Gym is fun too! I ran up and down stairs the first day and we have quite a few sisters in my district who love to lift weights. I definitely have the best district that ever existed. But don't be jealous ;) 

Bem. Well, on Sunday we had Sheri Dew talk to us in our evening devotional. She is amazing! Really. And later that night I watched Elder Bednar's talk called "Character of Christ". It was a Christmas morning MTC devotional, and it has changed my life. I absolutely loved his message and I STRONGLY recommend you all watch it. Seriously. I will make you report back to me. If nothing else, do this. Please. 

I love missionary work. Really, I am so excited to be here. We all thought getting up in the morning would be a challenge, but I really just "bounce" out of bed each day excited to do God's work. Dad- don't have a heart attack. And no, none of you should expect me to do that when I get home. Waking up really isn't hard when you think, "Well, this is the time the Lord has given me. Lets get to work and make the most of it". I feel so blessed to be here serving a mission because I wasn't sure it was going to happen, though I always wanted it to. I am SO blessed. We all are. You are all in my prayers, and I love you so much. Please remember what I said in my last letter about missionary work. We don't have to be full- time missionaries to bring others to Christ. It isn't what we say, but what we do. I hope you are all having a wonderful week, and I hope you enjoyed your Easter Sunday. Thank you all for your love and support. Keep the letters coming, each and every one brings a smile to my face. I hope this letter finds you in good health and happiness and may God bless you with whatever peace and comfort you stand in need of. Amo voces. 

Sister Seal 

P.S. We actually don't say "Irma" in Brazil because other religions/ groups call themselves "Irma" and the Church doesn't want us confused with other organizations. So Eu sou Sister Seal ou Sister Foca. Tudo bem! 

P.S.S. Anyone who knows Portuguese: forgive me, I am not using a mac computer and I have NO idea how to do accents, etc. So... the grammar... not so good.