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 building...so...there'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 around...it 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 up...so 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 lot...so 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 me...no 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 moviecalled 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!