HAPPY FRIDAY!!! I have been looking forward to P-day all week. When you sit in a classroom for 10 hours a day (seriously), and your head is spinning with so much Portuguese you are about to explode, you kind of start to go crazy! As stressful as it is sometimes, there really is no place I'd rather be right now. I know I am supposed to be here and I am so thankful for the Lord's help through this adventure. I am SO blessed to have such supportive and loving friends and family. I feel your constant prayers and thank you for the letters of encouragement. They are much appreciated!
I hope everyone had a great week! Portuguese is still a work in progress (as it will be for a very long time). We do lots of grammar lessons, vocab flashcards, and role playing of teaching situations. We also do an hour of online language study each day. The program we use is kind of like Rosetta Stone but it follows the Preach My Gospel lessons. It's very helpful! I can now recite my missionary purpose and Joseph Smith's First Vision in Portuguese! We've been practicing while we exercise. I forgot to mention this in my first letter but our classroom is on the 5th floor of our building. We climb 96 stairs (yes, we counted) everyday- actually multiple times a day. I can totally see my Heritage dorm building at BYU from the window in our classroom. It's so close!
In the middle of our busy days, we have an hour of gym time. My companion and I either go to the fitness center or run laps around the campus outside. The weather has been super cold and rainy lately, so yesterday we went to the gym that has an indoor track. It's nice but it's very small. 10 laps is a mile. I ended up running around the track 30 times. It took a lot of mental effort but it's so nice to be able to have that stress-release after being in class all day. I love exercise time. And I'm glad I have a companion who likes to exercise. She doesn't like to run as much as I do, but we work it out. Between going up 96 stairs and running, I think we're (hopefully) making up for the delicious cookies and ice cream in the cafeteria :)
I met a girl in the lunchroom going to the Birmingham, Alabama mission! She was so sweet and friendly. I wish I could remember her name. She leaves on Tuesday. I still can't believe that English-speaking missionaries are only here for 2 weeks. I told her she was going to the best mission in the world! So watch out Birmingham.... You've got some awesome missionaries headed your way! This just reminded me how we now have tons of Russian-speaking sisters on our floor in our residence. Russian?! I am so glad I only have to learn Portuguese. I've met some missionaries who are here at the MTC for 12 weeks because they have to learn two languages, like French AND Tahitian. Holy cow.
So just a quick note about the visa thing. It is very rare for Brazil-bound missionaries to get their visas while in the MTC and almost all of us will have to be temporarily reassigned to another mission. My companion and I were talking to President Nally, the MTC President, on the way to lunch the other day and he told us there are over 1,000 "visa-waiters" in other missions around the country right now. As much as I hope I get my visa soon, it probably won't happen. If I do get reassigned, I will find out the Thursday before I leave the MTC (which happens to be Halloween!). Lots of Brazil missionaries have been getting reassigned to Texas and California. So we'll see what happens!
This week I have been learning about the power of sincere prayer. It's so comforting to be able to kneel beside my bed at the end of every day and just pour out my heart and soul to my Father in Heaven. I know He is listening, I know He cares, I know He truly wants to help me. Prayer keeps me humble as I continually acknowledge the blessings- the countless blessings- that He gives me each day. At first I would pray "Heavenly Father, please help my visa to come so I can serve you in Brazil" because I REALLY just want to go to Brazil! In Jacob 4:10, it says "seek not to counsel from the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand" (also see Isaiah 55:8-9, the Lord's ways are higher than our ways). I have to trust that the Lord is in control and He knows what He is doing. He has a plan for me, just like He has a plan and purpose for all of us. My prayers have changed. I say, "Father in Heaven, I am YOUR missionary. I am here for you and I am your servant. I'll go where you want me to go and I'll be who you want me to be." Prayer is essential to developing our relationship with God and feeling His love in our daily lives. We can pray anytime, anywhere, for anything! When life becomes more than you can stand, kneel. Ask God for help. Pray to have more faith. Pray to be more loving. Pray to be more humble. Pray for inspiration and guidance. Pray to be an answer to someone's prayer. He is always there to listen!
I love you and miss you all!