Friday, October 17, 2014

"Presente Para Mim?"

Hey guys!
I'm so happy that another P-day is here. I can't believe how quickly my stay here at the MTC is going. Already a little more than 2 weeks, it's crazy. What to start off with? I'll answer some of your guys' questions and comments first. I love hearing all of your words of encouragement. All I need when I'm having a hard day is your guys' letters. I'm glad to hear about your lives. It makes it feel like you guys are still around. From this letter on, I'll try to personalize these emails and try to talk to you guys individually :)
I'll be sure to share some awesome scriptures I come across with you as well! :) As for you, Maddy, I am craving some serious Mattas. hahaha. The food here is alright, but it lacks flavor. I keep telling myself I have to eat just to be fed. But it's not terrible though, so don't worry :) The Sao Paulo temple is a lot smaller in person than those pictures. It's kind of a cozy looking temple. I'll do my best to go to Mr. Cheney's so you guys can see some of my pictures. Tommy! How are you doing, my best friend? I miss you so much, man. A lot of my thoughts are occupied with quotes me and you used to do. Seriously, like when you guys sent me in your emails some quotes, I was cracking up hahaha. Keep sending them! "We got the cheapest cheep-cheeps in the world!" As far as panini's go, I get a lot of sandwich meat and swiss. Turkey, ham, even salami-type stuff. They're not too bad. I always fear that somebody will take my sandwich while im busy getting my drink. Hahah! Hey, Karli! As far as the MTC goes, it's not too bad. I feel kind of frustrated sometimes because the instructors all have their different rules and so they often clash. Like around conference week, we had to wear our suits but none of ours were matching. One of them told us it was fine, so we walk in and some guy tells us to change. We run all the way to the top (6th floor), change, and run back down and then we got some dirty looks for being late. Like what the heck? haha. I like to think I'm more eager to get to Salvador already. Less missionaries to put up with, more personal time and more time on P-days, more motivation to learn the language, and your own apartment. But it has its down sides too. Less comforts like AC and that sort of thing. I'll just have to do my 6 weeks like everyone else and pray for the Lord for guidance. It's not very humid that I could notice, but I'm sure once I get to Salvador, I will notice. All the instructors tell me that it's "Muito quente em Salvador". (very hot). As far as temples, I like Mesa way more. I'm more used to it, it's bigger, prettier, and it feels like home. Hey, Dad! I miss you so much. Thanks for still emailing me. That other guy, I still haven't met him. DJ Arneson? I'll continue to keep an eye out for him! I actually was reading in Mosiah the other night concering King Benjamin's address. I thought of you when I was reading it because it mentioned some really awesome stuff and I remember you said you liked it. I'll be sure to give Elder Mochaki a warm embrace. Him and I are becoming some pretty sweet friends. I remember you said something like that last time. I'm constantly just reminding him how I feel about him as a companion and telling him he's awesome and stuff like that.
Okay, so last P-day after I wrote, we got to go walk around the city a little. I felt like I was in a different world or something. Like most stores you walk by won't really have signs, so you kind of had to discern what's inside based on the first couple of things you see. Plus, traffic is kind of scary. Cars and motorcyles don't yield to traffic as far as I'm aware, except for stoplights. For our shopping, I had to buy some hangers and triple A batteries for my alarm clock as a backup. I also bought this peanut butter candy that tastes like Reese's Peanut butter. It's called Pacoquita. I would send you guys some, but as far as I'm aware, we can't send packages out from the MTC yet. Once I get out in the field, I'll be sure to send back some awesome little things for you guys when I can. :) The watch I borrowed I decided to buy from the guy, Elder Hesselgesser. He didn't expect any money but I gave him 22 reais for it, which is pretty good for a nice watch. He's a really nice guy. I'm going to do my best to treat the money I'm given from you guys with respect and not spend it frivolously. I hope there doesn't come a time where you feel like I'm just wasting it. Last P-day, I also stopped by Mr. Cheney's and got my free cookie because of my sticker. They're some pretty good cookies actually. Their M and M ones are pretty chocolatey. So now, I offically don't have the little newbie sticker on my nametag anymore! I put it on the back of my tag as a little memory of my stay at the MTC. So Wednesday, the non-English speaking elders in our room left. One of them, Elder Dehnike, gave each of us a tie as a parting gift. Which is funny because he would always come up to you half joking and point at something of yours, usually a tie, and say, "Presente para mim?" which is him saying "present for me?" in Portuguese. So I sort of started up a running joke now whenever we see a guy from our district, we'd go up to each other and say that. It's pretty hilarious. I've got a group picture together before they left. I found out that Elder Mochaki's favorite movie is "Rocky". So now whenever we climb the 6 flights of stairs to get to our rooms, we throw our hands in the air, and do a slow circle saying, "Roooooockeeeeeey!" really slowly to which he usually responds, "I feel like Rocky from the first time" when he got beat up, hahaha. Sunday was cool. We have sacrament meetings depending on who's in our branch. There's about 34 missionaries in ours and our talks are completely random, meaning you better have one ready to give at a moments notice. Luckily, you only have to talk between 1-5 minutes. I haven't been called yet, but Elder Mochaki was called. And he was lucky, because the first week, you can speak in English if you wanted. So a typical schedule usually runs like this, total: 10 and a half hours of class study, 30 minutes of breakfast, 45 minutes of lunch and dinner, and usually physical activity for 45 minutes. Then we get a small snack before we hit the hay. The time is distributed throughout the day, so we don't sit for 10 hours straight, hahaha. That'd be nuts. It sounds like a lot, but it really flies by.
Kind of some random stuff, but the other day, we were eating lunch or dinner, and I had a few slices of Guava on my plate. They have lots of mini seeds in them. But anyway, I took a bite into a semi-mutilated one and thought it was kind of gross. Then like 5 minutes later, I look back at my plate and I see a maggot or weevil-looking thing about the size of a fingernail crawling around my plate! Yeah, I haven't touched a guava since. I've helped the Elders here and there with random tasks. Some of them didn't know to do laundry or iron a shirt so I showed them to the best of my ability. I even sewed up a belt loop for a guy and a tear in the pants of Elder Mochaki. In exchange, he helped show me how to handwash clothes, so it was cool. I've been using these essential oils here and there. Some kind of bug's been going around and giving everyone sore throats. I shared some melaluchia or however its spelled with a guy because it helped my throat.
 I feel like I'm learning more and more each day. Usually, I can decipher what someone is trying to say if I tell them to repeat themselves because they talk a little fast. I can almost understand our instructors entirely when they lecture, and my stack of flashcards are ever increasing. Mochaki's and my lessons are evolving to the point where we teach by explaining pictures on pamphlets without a script relatively well. We got an "investigator" to commit to baptism after he told us he already was baptized as a baby. I've gotten to the point where I just want to get out of here and into Salvador already. Which is kind of eager and maybe foolish, but I just want to serve, teach, love, grow, and learn more about the gospel, learn portuguese faster, and receive personal revelation like you mentioned, Dad. But I know I need to be here and I'm really not ready to go out yet. The MTC feeds us so dang much, so I'll stay here for my last few weeks. Hahaha.
I'm feeling a closer bond with some of the missionaries here. Like, my district is seriously like we're all best friends. We're just there to pick each other up when we fall. Like this elder in our district, Elder Madsen. Good guy. He sat behind me on the plane here. Lately, he's been struggling with the language badly. He finds comfort in reading the scriptures and constantly prays but feels like he hasn't received an answer and knew that the Book of Mormon was without a doubt true. So he, I, and our district leader Hesselgesser kind of pulled him aside and helped him through it one night. I can tell he felt better because he gave me a bro-hug after nad was happy. Elder Mochaki is such a funny guy, like whenever we walk to the bathroom, I'll start beatboxing down the hallway and he'll chime in with his own beats and after like 10-15 seconds of semi-dancing to our jams in the bathroom, we just start cracking up!
Oh yeah, over the course of these 2 years, you guys should keep a list of the good music you all individually like so that I won't miss any of it. I seriously miss listening to music here! And movies. I'm going to make a big checklist that I'll compile from now until October 2016. I can't wait to come home but I also can't wait to be a missionary.
Thanks for the Pizza party! I checked in and I have to return in a few hours. We barely timed it right after the temple. We went to the Campinas Temple today. Look it up, its gorgeous and way bigger! Anyway, thanks for the surprise. I was so, so, SOOO happy! I love all of you guys so much!
Until next week
Elder Skinner

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