Soooo, since I last wrote, I have finished my time at the Missionary Training Center in Sao Paulo and arrived at my first area. My area is called Jardim(Garden) Campinas--i thought that this was pretty ironic because my whole district in the MTC is going to the Campinas mission-- and it is so different that any place I have ever been. I love it! It is a favela with lots of trees and plants. I will try to send pictures.
My companion is Sister Dantas. She is from Brazilia, Brazil and she has been a member of the Church for like 4 years. She is super bold and loud and loves to talk. We get along really well. We also had another companion, Sister Ovejero for like 2 days until she got transferred to another area.
Daily life here is really different but good. Lots of walking and many mountains to climb (figuratively and literally). On Saturdays and Sundays its like a huge party in the streets because people don`t have work--the music is so loud its comical! Lots of soccer too...shocker there :)
Portuguese. What can I say about the language?... I am so grateful for the MTC! I learned so much there and can speak quite decently to teach and talk about certain things. Yesterday at church, we had Fast and Testimony Meeting where members can share their beliefs and feelings. Near the end, Sister Dantas said ``Voce vai prestar seu testemunho.`` At first I thought it was a question like will I. Nope it was a command. So we went up. I shared my testimony of the universality of the gospel and the church--how it is for every person in the world and how great of an opportunity we have to share that with other people. I felt pretty good about my Portuguese at that moment--it was probably the most fluid I have ever spoken. A member of the bishopric told me that it was perfect Portuguese. It was a pretty sweet feeling. I am far from fluent but small victories. Also EVERYONE asks me to say the prayers. Oh also, one time when we left the house, I tried to contact a lady we walked by and the first words that came out of my mouth were English....awkward. I tried to recover but it wasn`t great.
I stick out sooo much here. I am way taller than like everyone and I am so white. I haven`t seen another person here with naturally blonde hair and fair skin. One of the old ladies in the ward told me that I need to wear a ton of sunscreen because I am so white...thanks :) Also one of the members was driving us to the mission office to drop off Sister Ovejero and I tried to nap on the way--which by the way is impossible because the driving is so crazy here--and he commented: ``They like to sleep alot in the United States.`` I was pretty sure that was a slam... haha ;) Overall the people are really chill here and like to hear me speak.
I´m sure there are a lot of spiritual experiences we have had but I don´t understand really what is going on so I can`t really tell you what happened. Just know that I am happy and healthy and trying to do the Lord`s work here. I love the gospel. It is the same in every country and in every language. I loved, loved, loved General Conference and it totally answered tons of questions that I had. I am grateful for a living prophet and apostles to give us the words of God for our specific concerns at this time. The Church is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. We are doing the most important work in the world.
|pics from the MTC|