wow, this week has really flown by fast. Elder De Hoyos and I were laughing because every wednesday is pizza day and we were both kind of shocked that Wednesday already happened and then P-day! Hahaha, it's crazy. Let me respond to some of your guys' comments.
Mom- Thanks so much for the pizza! I made sure to share it with the guys I room with. Each of them made sure to tell me to tell you thank you. I'm not going to lie, I don't care much for the MTC Pizza. It's mostly just cheese and no sauce and some random toppings. I miss red sauce. And about the package, I'm excited for that! seriously, anything at all would make my day, big or small :) The ties thing would be cool but probably not til I leave the mission field. They have a rule that you're not technically supposed to trade ties and stuff. I'm thinking about checking Sonia's ties later next P-day because they sell cheap ties and I might get some as gifts. And yeah, the whole washing machine thing I do appreciate, haha. we have them here, but sometimes I hand wash our own to lighten the load. It's hard to have any time to let them soak because we have such little time. This is why I'm kind of excited to leave the MTC so that P-days will have more time.
I had a few hard nights going to sleep because of my throat but it's substantially better now. Tell the new missionary I give him my best! By the way, did my pictures send through yet? I gave them my SD card last P-day so I don't know if they did. I'm going to try and do it today as well. I'm really sad to hear about your struggles with your work. I know you will get used to it. I pray every single night before I go to bed for every one of you guys and I make sure to pray to God that he will help you with your new job. Kind of random, but I wanted to share a small spiritual thought with you. Every night before I sleep, I try and read a chapter of the Book of Mormon in Portuguese and I can understand quite a lot. Anyway, 1 Nephi 5:1-9 when Nephi's mom, Sariah, was having a hard time not having her sons around because they were told by the Lord to retrieve the brass plates from Laban, insomuch that her faith began to waiver a bit. But she also expressed so much relief when Laman, Lemuel, Nephi, and Sam returned, and it humbled her and strengthened her faith. This reminded me of you because all mothers can relate to Sariah. It's hard to send someone you care about on the Lord's errand. But just remember what President Bawden said when he set me apart: that I'll come home safe and sound. I just want you to remember that no matter what thoughts you may be having, I'm okay and I'm where I need to be. I love you, Mom!
Tommy, mah man! Miss you a bunch, buddy. How was the Sao Paulo temple like? It was really interesting. It's a fairly old temple and the first one in South America so you can tell it has a lot of history behind it. You can definitely feel the Spirit there, that's for sure. So do you remember the time when we were singing our own version of that song that goes "Do you like pina coladas? and getting caught in the rain?" and how we changed it to "getting SHOT in the rain?" hahaha! Somehow our district got to singing that song and I changed it and they all got a kick out of it. Don't worry though, I made sure to give you the credits. You and Maddy better promise me that once we get back, we're going to play some Battleblock Theater, alright? ;) <- Tiny Monkey. By the way, if you were wondering how to say "behold, thou art a robber and I will slay thee" in Portuguese, it's "Eis, que tu es um ladrao e vou mater-te!" hahaha.
Hey, Maddy! I've been thinking about you a lot too lately. I miss you guys a bunch. But just think about how fast my time here has been, and especially how fast it'll go once I get into the swing of things. By the time next P-day comes around, I'll only have to do this 23 more times and then I'm home! anyway, I miss you a lot, and love you a lot. I pray for you and for karli, and for tommy all the time. Love you lots!
Karli! hahaha, I laugh every time I see "ELDER YOGIE BOGIE!!" hahaha. I'm glad to hear school's been going well for you. Cherish it. Because after high school, you're an adult now. It's crazy how fast life goes by. I've been thinking that a lot lately. I'm on a mission for crud's sakes. Anyway, If you ever need any kind of advice, I can do my best to help you out. I love you lots, Karli! Miss you a ton as well.
Hey, Dad! I really miss watching the ball games with you. As soon as we get back, I hope we get the chance to go see the Devils play football or something awesome like that. Root extra hard for me against the Giants! Hahaha. The Campinas temple is awesome. While we were waiting for our session today, we were talking with an 11 year old kid with our best Portuguese we could. It was pretty funny. I could tell he got a kick out of us not understanding him. Thanks for encouraging me about being on a mission. I really want to make you and Mom proud and that I can be able to tell people that my mission was worth it. Thanks for supporting me through it all. I love having P-day because when I email you guys, it feels almost like talking to you. Love you, Dad!
Onto my week.. Well, this was elder hoopes' last week at the MTC. Before he left, he had this cool idea where had had people sign the back of one of his ties. I thought it was an awesome idea, so I had him sign the back of my Brazil tie. I was hestitant because it's a precious tie to my, but I thought it would've been cool to have a mission tie like that. It's rained a few times here since we last talked! The first time was last P-day. We were in a drug store because one of our elders needed cold medicine and it randomly came, rained pretty solid for like 5 minutes, and left. Some of the shops here are interesting. The entrances of some of them have 2 parking spots leading directly into the store! it's weird. Last P-day, I had the chance to buy a card reader. So now, once I get to the mission field, I can hook the USB up to the computer and put the SD card inside and directly upload pictures. Pretty cool huh? They won't let us use them here in the MTC though. Physical activity here is pretty fun. I forgot to mention it the past two times. To warm up, we run a few laps on a really really small track (1 lap = 1/14th of a mile) or something like that and we can play volleyball or basketball. Volleyball is fun because we play with another district but lately I've been shredding it up 3v3's with our district in Basketball. Oh yeah! so get this, in Brazil we need to have a "minister license" or whatever it's called, signed from the Prophet. Supposedly they expire a month early or so because Hoopes showed me his and we get ours as we're about to leave. He got here Sept. 11 or something like that and it expires in Aug 20, 2016. He goes home a month early or so. I wonder if it'll be the same for me? Maybe you guys could look up information about it. If you ever want to look up the peeps in my district, here are their names. I'm pretty sure they all have Facebook: Hayden De Hoyos (Goiania mission), Spencer De Coursey (Goiania), Tshegotfatso Mochaki (Angola), Morgan Harrick (Porto Alegre south), Charlene Persence (Cape Verde), Nickolas Nickerson (Salvador), Matthew Sterling (Salvador), Jared Madsen (Santos), Hunter Hesselgesser (Santos). I don't know how easy they'll be to find, but that should be all of them!
Something that kind of made me happy this week. We were somehow talking about what we've been writing to our familes, and elder mochaki mentioned to his family that the top 2 people he's met so far on his mission that are the most Christ-like are our MTC president, President Swensen (who is a phenomenal guy. On sundays, he teaches awesome doctrine classes) and me. I don't know, just hearing him say that in his personal letters was really touching to me.
As far as the language goes, I would say I can speak faster and faster now. Our MTC president gave a devotional this week and obviously it's easier to understand him because he doesn't have a Brazilian accent, but I didn't need to use headphones that translate to English and I could understand well. All in All, I really love learning the language. Portuguese is fascinating. Hard to listen to and understand sometimes, sure, but I love it. I've heard that Brazilians love American accents and they pay extra attention to American missionaries when they teach. Supposedly. Like, they treat Americans like American women treat British guys. Some of the ladies that serve us food say they really like my bright blue eyes. hahaha, I need to be careful around here I guess.
2 days ago, we went proselyting in Sao Paulo for the first and only time while at the MTC. It was an interesting experience. The bus driver doesn't care if there are people walking looking for a seat. He just guns it as soon as the last person gets on. The city itself is a whole new world. The buildings are all fairly colorful, but dingy. It's rare to see a building without graffiti. Even statues have it. Trash can be found littered around the streets and often there's a stench of sewage. Poverty is a reality here. Parks often have homeless people with blankets over themselves in broad daylight. On the way to both temples, I've seen a few favelas scattered here and there. It's sad but humbling. Everyone was pretty nice to us. Elder Mochaki and I had no problem handing out 2 books of Mormon each. Mochaki is a stud. He doesn't have a tough time breaking the ice whereas I'm really reserved. I do jump in occasionally and clarify/bare testimony so overall I'm happy with my progress. It helped me learn to be more vocal and improve for the real deal.
Um.. I can't think of much else to say. Next time around, I'll see if I can toss in some Portuguese here and there. I could use the practice. Anyway, I love you guys a bunch! I really can't wait to get out into the mission field where I can have more time to speak on P-days and that sort of thing. Time is really really flying here! Before you know it, I'll be at my 1 year mark. Sorry if I didn't address everything! I really do read but don't have a lot of time. Talk to you guys later!