Nicole's Blog

Nicole's Blog

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Last Week in the CTM!

Hey everyone! I can't believe I'll be in my mission in a few be honest, I'm dead terrified! But I'll be fine.
So, keeping things organized is hard. Sorry for the big jumble of an email you get.
First, I've discovered that I'm actually getting good at Portuguese...more or less. Sometimes I like to joke around and tell people I'm from Brazil, and they believe me! Haha, it's great. They say that my "sotaque" (accent) is really good, and that I'll be fluent pretty quick...which is what I needed to hear, because I'm SCARED.
I have an instructor who can speak Angry English and Gospel English..and it's HILARIOUS. The things he says are just so perfect. And the fact that he's white and saying all of this slang English stuff just puts us over the edge. He doesn't even realize half of what he says sometimes, he just picks it up. I love it. I think his favorite thing to say is "shut yo cracka face..." Haha, he's a crack-up.
My other instructor told me again that he's really worried for me because he said that everyone who goes to northern Brazil usually loses a lot of weight. It'll be an adventure!
I gave a talk in our Branch on Sunday about the Atonement. I wish I could go into detail, but I just can' time. I'll hopefully have more time in the field to email...this is kiiiinda ridiculous.
My trio is doing great. We're learning how to follow the spirit, and learning how to teach people, not lessons. It's exciting. We rely on the spirit a lot, and we've been getting the gift of tongues as we pray for it. It's awesome.
Also, if any instructors/investigators add me on FB, add them back, please! I love them!
Fun fact, people here like to play volleyball with no hands, just feet and head. It's awesome to watch.
My name sounds funny in Portuguese, it's basically prounounced like "Neo" so they call me neo from the Matrix. So every time they see me they do the whole matrix thing.
We get to go proselyting this Friday, just to practice contacting. Every time I think about it my heart starts racing...but it'll be fine! Wish me luck! You're all in my prayers!
I won't get to talk to you for two weeks probably, I leave on Tuesday. So talk to you soon! Sorry this email wasn't very informative...just know I'm happy and terrified! :D
Sister Neo :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sister Neal's Letter from 3/19/14

Hey everyone!
This week has been pretty annoying, mostly because my district was ripped apart. For like 5 days it was just Sister Taylor and I in a district, and because our instructors are the coordinators, they were super busy and didn't have a lot of time to help us out, so that was pretty stressful. But now I'm in a new district with my two companions. It's just the three of us, but we should be getting more people this week. Sister Haynie is from Provo, and Sister Pikula is from Australia. They're both awesome, and we're getting along great.
Some Americans came in last week who were previously serving in the States and just got their VISAS....and two of them just left the Oklahoma, Tulsa mission! That was super cool. One of them served in Riverside and knows the Warners. They loved serving in Oklahoma. Quad broke. My Bible just...fell out. So...I guess I'd better learn the language pretty quick, right?
I've decided already that moving back to America is going to be the hardest thing ever. I love the Brazilian culture so much, everyone is so nice! The Americans here (the whole 20 of them) Don't talk a lot or smile or anything. It's so different, I wish they'd just leave a lot of the time. :P
So, I have a new instructor who served in Manaus (the other Amazon mission) And he said that WHEN I get dengue fever to not worry, because it only lasts a month. :P Haha. Hopefully that doesn't happen.
My new companions and I have had some cool experiences with the gift of tongues. We'll be praying for each other during the lesson, and then we'll all start saying crazy stuff we didn't know how to say super eloquently and correctly. It's been awesome, and my Portuguese is actually getting pretty fast. Talking with the Natives is super helpful...but I also know that I'm only getting good at CTM Portuguese, the real world will be different. Oh well.
I love reading the BoM in Portuguese. A lot of the translations from Portuguese to English makes the scriptures have more powerful words and's like reading for a completely different perspective. It's AWESOME.
I also am starting to be disappointed because CTM missionary work with the fake investigators is kind of a tease. You invite the to church, they say no, you read a scripture, they say "yeah, when can I be baptized?" I just don't see that happening in the field. It makes me feel super successful for the time being, though. :)
The amount of food they give us is a tease too. They feed us at 8, 11:304:30, and 9. I talked to some Elders who have been out here for over a year and they said it's totally different. You eat breakfast, go to a lunch appointment (hopefully) and then work until 9. WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS TO US. WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE. :P
Well, everything's going well. Time is going by so fast. is my 1 month mark. 17 more to go. See you soon!
Sister Nicole Neal

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Letter from 3/12/2014

Hi everyone!
I'm glad you're doing well. I wish I could respond to everything, but it's impossible. So...I'll just tell you how it's going here!
My district went to a REAL Brazilian steakhouse last week and it was SO good. And super cheap. Like, 6 American dollars. And we never asked what kind of meat we were getting because we wanted to eat without fear...but we knew the word "coração" and "frango"...CHICKEN HEART. But we all ate it and it was super good. :D And we found out we also ate like a giant rat was all good so we don't question. :P
My district got ripped apart. The twins in our district left, their companion (they were in a trio) got moved to a Brazilian district, and so it's just Sister Taylor and me. We're learning a lot more than we were. But sister Taylor leaves next week, so I'll be in a trio probably on Sunday. My new companions are fresh from home. One is from Australia, and she's super awesome, and one is from Provo, and she's excelling in the language already. I'm excited.
I love the culture here, everyone is super nice. Especially because we can't really communicate very well...there's a ton of smiling and thumb's ups. :P There's an Brazilian Elder here who found out I was from Oklahoma and freaked out because he absolutely LOVES it. I asked him why, and he said "por causa NADA" and that means because he loves it because he thinks it's funny that there's nothing there. :P 
So, I've learned a lot more. There's this super boring language program called TALL...and I haaate it. So boring. I fell asleep yesterday. :P But I realized...after I woke up...that I'm not doing any of this for me. TALL is for me to learn so I can help other people and serve I'm trying to have a better attitude.
I've also learned more about humility. I am not essential to this work. If I leave, God's plan will not be ruined. So I need to be the best I can and rely on the Lord. (That didn't really make sense in writing...but it makes sense to
Have you guys gotten any mail? I've sent some stuff...but it takes forevvvver to send apparently. So...hopefully it gets there eventually...I think I'll probably just stick with email from now on.
Love you guys, you're in my prayers.
Sister Nicole Neal

Monday, March 10, 2014

Nicole's MTC Address

So many thoughtful people have asked for Sister Nicole Neal's MTC address and I have it for you! This address is for letters only. Packages should be mailed to her mission home. It takes 2 to 4 weeks for packages to arrive. She's supposed to leave the MTC on April 1st. After that, all of her mail should be addressed to the mission home.

MTC - Letters only until March 31st:

        Sister Nicole LeAnne Neal
        Brazil Belem Mission
        Brazil Missionary Training Center
        Rua Padre Antonio D'Angelo, 121
        Casa Verde
        02516-040 Sao Paulo - SP

Mission Home - Packages, then letters that will arrive after March 31st:

       Sister Nicole LeAnne Neal
       Brazil Belem Mission
       Av. Nazare, 532 Sala 412 4* Andar
       Nazare Royal Trade Center
       60035-170 Belem - PA

* = the degree symbol. I don't know how to make it on the computer. Also there are several marks above words in the address and I don't know how to make them either.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Powerful Words

Nicole quoted this hymn in her talk before she left on her mission. It's so powerful and so necessary to believe!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Nicole's Letter 3/5/2014

So, I'm not able to send pictures from the CTM, so you'll just have to wait for Belem. Also, we can only take pictures on P day, but NEVER outside of the's not really much to see.
My companion's name is Sister Taylor, and she's very sweet. I actually had kind of a hard time at first because we are both so completely different, but I have no problems now. I don't even get annoyed anymore. :P I figured I'd take dad's advice and "love who you serve." So I've been doing that, and nothing gets to me now! I really love her, she's been a big help for me.
So, Brazil is prettttty gorgeous. It's kinda weird, we're in kind of a slummy part of Sao Paulo, but the CTM is gorgeous, it really stands out. It's so fun to drive kinda feels like we're all in a video game. But the hills are so pretty and covered in little houses. All of the buildings are so colorful and HUGE. The city stretches out as far as you can see, buildings everywhere. It's really fun being immersed in the language, there are a very select few Americans here, so we're forced to communicate in Portuguese. It's definitely a good thing. Super confusing at times, but everyone's super friendly and willing to help. We actually get to leave the CTM on Pday and go around to the shops that they have. None of the stores have doors or anything, you kinda just walk into a room without a wall. And nothing is really organized. Everyone on the street around here loves the missionaries and loves talking to us.
My district is really nice, but also really mismatched. There are brothers who are companions (they're twins) and they are on their very last week here. Then their other companion (they're in a trio) is on his 5th week and my companion is on her 5th week, and I'm on my 2nd. We're just all jumbled I was definitely thrown into a more advanced group. At least I'm learning more quickly though.
So, I've learned a lot! In no particular order,

There was a musical number last night. It was a bunch of Brazilians singing Joseph Smith's First Prayer in Portuguese. Now, understand that a lot of Brazilians don't play the piano, so they have to sing acapella a a lot of the time the singing is very out of tune. Choir's...interesting. :P But anyway, it was just that. The piano was bad, the singing was worse. But the spirit and testimony they brought was beyond anything I've felt in the mission field yet. It was insane. During one verse, everyone was humming while one Elder recited the First Vision with such conviction and surety that most people in the audience were losing it. We were all in tears. It was a huge comfort to matter how poorly I speak Portuguese, the spirit is still there and people will be able to know that this Gospel is true, no matter how inadequate I am. I loved that.
A lot of the times, missionaries question why the work is so difficult. Why won't people just flock to the Gospel? Well, because Salvation isn't a cheap experience. It was never easy. There is always sacrifice. Why should the work be easy for us if it wasn't for the Savior? When we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, we are going to have to walk a little bit of the path that He walked. He was rejected, so will we. That was pretty humbling.
We watched a movie on Sunday called 17 Miracles, and it was amazing! It's about the pioneers. You guys should go find it and watch it. These people suffered so much, and endured all that is humanly possible, and they did it for the Gospel. If you ever start doubting it...not that you will...just watch that movie! They thought they gospel was worth dying for. All I have to do is learn Portuguese and serve for 18 months. Seriously, watch the movie. :P
Obedience TRULY brings blessings. I had a nice little experience about that. I wasn't as obedient as I could have been. I wrote a letter on a day that wasn't Pday. And that whole day was awwwwwwfuuuuuuul. I kept getting these nasty little thoughts telling me I wasn't good enough, that I should just give up and go home, I wasn't cut out for this. I couldn't even feel the spirit. So...I obviously repented. right as I did, the spirit was back and I was able to concentrate. But that whole day...I can't imagine my whole mission being like that. There is no way I could do this alone! He will not fail me, nor forsake me. I just gotta be obedient! :D
We're doing this thing in our district where we take on ourselves an investigator act, and get taught by the others in our district. I did that, and the elders offered me a challege to read 3 Nephi 11 and pray about it. I did, and it was reaffirmed to me that this church is really true. It was the coolest experience! GUYS. MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK IS IMPORTANT. Invite your friends! It's just an invitation! They don't have to accept it, but what if they do? It's worth it. It's not fair if you don't invite them, it's not their fault they don't know the truth! Invite invite invite.
I can definitely feel all of the prayers. Thank you so much, they're definitely appreciated.
Tell me how things are going! I miss and love you guys a lot!
Sister Neal