Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Just a heads up, you cannot e-mail me, but you can write to me through Dearelder.com. If you write in the morning, the letter is delivered that afternoon. My mailbox number is 72, and I will be in the MTC until aprox. July 10.
I'M FINALLY A MISSIONARY! Can you believe it? After wanting to serve since I was three, I can finally serve now! After I got my name tag (so cool) and put my luggage in my room, I went straight to class. The teacher only spoke in Portuguese in the classroom. Well, she spoke a little English to help us follow along. We practice asking and answering questions in portuguese!
We had a large meeting where President Roach spoke and we all sang hymns and heard a musical number. The cafeteria is HUGE! After lunch we went inot a little classroom where there was an investigator. (role playing) They start out by giving us their background, then two missionaries came in to start off the conversations' then it turned to the whole congregation of missionaries to ask questions and/or answer hers/his. The second investigater was a woman named Barbara. (someone is role playing her) She had a father, who was a survivor of the holocaust, and was an orphan at the age of 16, so she went through many foster homes, and religions. She expressed how she didn't know what God is. Everyone kept trying to explain,then it turned to the three seperate beings, and how she was confused on the whole matter. Everyone kept making it so much more confusing for her, so I raise my hand and received the mic. They pause the scene for a moment to talk about it all, so I said multiple prayers that I would be able to say something that would touch her and make sense to her. When the time finally turned to me, I explained how Christ's and Heavenly Father's purpose are one. They are two seperate beings, but both have the same purpose. Christ was born on this earth, but through prayer, He knew the will of the Father, which also became His will. She still looked a little confused, so I tried to relate it to her life. (remember, this isn't a real investigator, but she acts like one really will). I told her that her and her husband Harvey picked a house together. I related how they are both two differnent people, but they both had one purpose of buying their home together. She really started to understand as she gave a similar example. Then I expressed about how through prayer, Christ knew what God wanted. She then related it to when she was on the phone with Harvey and they figured out what each other wanted, and  they didn't have to be right next to each other to be able to do this.
I brought up how she too could know what God's purpose for was, by praying to Heavenly Father.
We were then stopped and recognized how she would probably be challenged to pray that night, and how intrigued she was. I felt SO happy!
After 3 investigators, we met our zone leaders. The next day in class our teacher only spoke Portuguese again (always does). For a third of the class time, I was HIGHLY confused :)  But I did end up learning a lot. I can now somewhat say a prayer in Portuguese!
We were interviewed that night by our Branch President. Comp or (companion) interviews were practiced that night as well. One of the things Sister Shaw said to me was she loves how strong the spirit is with me! How instantly when I start bearing my testimony, tears are in my eyes. That really means a lot to me because I have always wanted people to be able to feel the spirit when they are with me!
I absolutely love the missionary spirit here!
On the 24th, we didn't get to have breakfast because we were already late to class which starts at 7:45. Class seemed to go by really slow. I was pretty much confused for the most part trying to understand all of the Portuguese! When lunch finally rolled around, our district made it a goal to only speak Portuguese, it was pretty quiet! LOL  After lunch we went back to the classroom and did the final touch ups on the lesson we would be teaching our first investigator. Later, we met up in the computer room to do a program called TALL. It's somewhat similar to Rosetta Stone, but it has religious phrases and words. I'm actually learning something! Amazing! We work on that program everyday. After dinner, we went back to the classroom with our district and talked alot and went over our lessons. Carlos was our (extremely good looking) investigator for the day. (real name Jason) He recently returned from his mission in January and represented a man that he taught while on his mission. When it came time for my comps and I to teach our lesson, I thought we would do ok. We said a prayer and had everything written out. I didn't really understand a WORD he said! My comps seemed to get the basics of the conversations! I felt so lame.Whenever I wan't reading off my script, I was only saying, "sim, sim" Which means, yes,yes.
When we got back to our room, I went into the bathroom and cried and prayed, asking for help and strength. I then received peace. Later I talked with Sis Shaw, and she helped me to feel even better.
On the 25th, I wrote in my diary, "Today was amazing! Between praying for help, only talking in Portuguese at lunch and dinner, and the program TALL, I was able to really understand Carlos in our second lesson! You cannot tell me there is no such thing as the power of the spirit! It's only been three days, and we have come SO far in learning our language! I am Truly grateful fo God's help!
Sacrament meeting was really was really amazing getting to hear the sacrament prayers in Portuguese. We went to choir after and it's HUGE. On the 24th, we'll be singing in the Marriot Center!
One of the Elders got his visa to Brazil just 2 days after arriving here. Here's hoping!
We had a great Sunday night devotional and watched the funeral for President Monson's wife afterwards. You could really see the pain in his face. He looks so much older since losing his best friend.
I had one really tough day. Nothing seemed to go right, I was overtired and so my perspective on everything was off. My comps and I talked together about everything always starting and ending with a prayer. We've learned alot about each other and supporting each other. We've had some amazing spiritual experiences and priesthood blessings. It's definitely teaching me alot about myself and others.
We had a neat experience with our investigator, Carlos. In one of our lessons, I was struggling to understand the conversation. My comps were doing most of the talking with Carlos. At one point, they were both unable to say anything, and my heart started pounding. It got stronger and stronger and I kept getting the feeling to bear my testimony, which was not part of what we had planned to do. So I started talking in Portuguese, and said, " I don't know alot of Portuguese, but I do know that this church is true, and I know what they are saying is true. I talked about how important this gospel is to me, and finished my testimony. I told him that I know that if he prays to know that this church is true, he will get an answer. Carlos decided to get baptized and stop drinking coffee!
Well, out of time, would really love some letters! I get to go to the Temple today!
Sis Thomas

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