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.
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.