Learning the Ropes

Brazil Sao Paulo TempleLong week lots to say. Just got back from the Sao Paulo Temple, so beautiful. The interior has a lot of dark wood panelings and it was a great experience. I can now keep up with Elder Neerings on our morning runs around the track, I sometimes feel like he is letting me keep up with him, but I am proud of my accomplishment anyways. Been reading a lot in the Pearl of Great Price as I prepare for the temple each week. Getting so much more out of every session it is incredible the things you learn.
This week Elders Bastos and Santana left for the field so we got new roommates, one of them is Brazillian and the other is Portuguese so they argue about the language a lot. Listening to them speak is certainly a very different language. The portuguese elder will teach us words that are common to use in portugal that end up being exceptionally rude here in Brazil and vice versa. I guess that is why they keep us quarantined here in training.
Elder Neerings and I are also getting much better at the language. When we teach lessons now we are completely speaking normally, meaning we do not have our words written out in front of us. The Spirit is really strong in our lessons and it is incredible the progress we are making. Despite the occasional language mishap we are pretty good. Last lesson we taught our investigator was about the word of wisdom and he got really confused so a few minutes and we could not tell what his problem was, we eventually figured out that I have mixed up the words for alcohol and water… oops.
It can be really scary sometimes being a missionary. We are in a different place far away from home where we only have a basic grasp of the language. Although a scripture that has given me hope this past week is in 2 Timothy I believe the first chapter where it says that God has not given us the Spirit of Fear, but rather the Spirit of Love. I felt that a lot today as we were travelling back from the temple. I got my first look at real fuevella. The dwellings were blowing in the wind like they were made of cardboard and built just in a row on the side of the highway. They were covered in grafitti and the clothes that were hung out to dry were dirty because of the dust thrown up by the highway. These are the people I am going to be teaching, and I cannot wait to meet them.
Before I forget, on Christmas we are not going to be able to Skype from the CTM because of the internet connection. However I will be able to call for 30 minutes. My time slot is 1500 hours to 1530 my time. If you guys are three hours behindd Sao Paulo that means I will be calling noontime your time on Christmas. Hope all is well on your end, and I hope Tim enjoys the movie tonight, I am kind of in a sort of mourning right now…. but I will be over it. Thank Audrey for packing Boba Fett and Darth Bane along for the ride. They will certainly be featured in pictures.

P-Day #1

Sorry I have not written recently, since we got in in the middle of the week last week they figured we did not need a P-Day, so this is our first P-Day.
Sao Paulo MTC
Centro de Treinamento Missionario de Sao Paulo

Where to begin. The language is difficult but somewhat familiar. My companion, Elder Neerings as it turns out is a workout fanatic, so he has been making me run laps each morning… love it…. The food is exactly as expected, rice and beans with some really good fruits. They feed us so often here at the CTM, like once every two hours it feels like, apparently we need to fatten up because some missionaries tell us we only really get one meal once we are in the field.

I wish I could send pictures but I cannot right now, CTM rules, I will have to wait until I am in the field. I am the District Leader for my District and it has been a humbling experience. At first I thought I was the cool guy on the block, but then I realized how many mistakes I was making. The first week I was responsible for our District being late to most of our meetings since they are always closing down hallways for renovations here and we were getting lost quite a bit, but I think we got it down now.
I have also made quite a few language mistakes with our “Investigators” in which I accidentally admitting fault for the death of our Investigator’s wife by saying “Desculpe” instead of the phrase “Sinto Muito”. Because of all these mistakes I was rather discouraged the first week but recently I was reading in Isaiah in personal study and I came across Isaiah 6:5-8 which gave me some comfort. My P-Days are Fridays and we go to the temple in the mornings on P-Day. Campinas Brazil LDS TempleWe took a trip into the countryside to the Campinas Brazil Temple. Everything is so cheap out here, we’ll be heading into the city today after I write this email, really just as far as two blocks away from the CTM but it’ll be cool to get outside these gates with my District. I got to go out when Elder Neerings needed shots and then spent a while in the waiting room trying to translate some pamphlets on how to not get malaria. I got most of it. I think.
Cooper Brothers Premium Handmade Neckties
Cooper Brothers

It takes about 2-3 weeks to receive mail here however I cannot get packages. Please don’t try sending packages it’s like with Elder Cooper. Speaking of which my Cooper Brothers Tie has gotten some attention here, some Elders are apparently writing home to have their parents order them some. President Swensen, the CTM President likes it even. I also met my Mission President when we went to the Federal Police to finish our Processing into the country, he was there reviewing his visa, but his assistant had told him I would be there so he found me and introduced himself. Super cool guy.

I’m rooming with Elders Bastos and Santana, native Brazillians, but Elder Bastos is half German. He was sharing his life story with us last night. His great-grandmother came to Brazil, and he was born when his dad was 21. Such a cool guy. I also met a Brazillian on my floor about my age, Elder Silva, who’s been supporting himself for the past 5 years. Crazy, made me think of what President Dionne said when I was getting set apart.
You’ve never heard such loud typing than a computer lab full of missionaries.
Hope all’s well at home, no group email this week. Can’t get wordpress in the CTM. Love you all!

Safely Gathered In

Made it safely to Brazil. In the MTC right now. Not much time to write, lunch coming up in 10 minutes. Met up with other missionaries wandering around Atlanta, most going to Durban South Africa. Met my current companion, Elder Neering there at Atlanta. Cannot send pictures right now, will be able to send picture after I leave the MTC. It is beautiful here and I already love the people and the place never thought I could instantly love a place so chaotic and, frankly, dirty. But I love it, even the graffiti. Okay will write more P-Day. Mom do not worry. It is great. The MTC is looking like a prison with many guards and high walls with barbed wire. So I am safe. Love you all! Be well.