Wednesday, November 30, 2011

1st week in Brazil - Bairro Novo - 1st Baptism

November 30, 2011
Oi tudo bem familia!
OK I have to be quick today, we´re running a little bit late. This past week has been insane, I don´t even know how to describe it. Brasil is a really cool place!
So, I'm doing good. Today, for my P-day, we had a meeting, played some soccer (I´m horrible) and did some laundry, which was horrible, because the cycle for the laundry machine that we have is 2 and a half hours, and Elder Brino went first, so my clothes are still all dirty.
Pretty much all of my clothes. Pois é.
I actually haven´t met Elder Patton yet, he must have been talking about Barkdull and Trevisanut. Honestly, I have no idea how they are doing, but I´m sure they are doing great. Tell me how Sister Patton is doing when you find out!
My companion is great! He is such a good teacher, it´s incredible, he explains things in such a simple way. We´re teaching this family of 7, with three little girls under 10 years old, and they pretty much understand everything. Brino just knows how to teach things simply. Sometimes, it does get hard though, because he only speaks Portuguese, and I think he forgets that sometimes, because he´ll say something real quick to me, and then he´ll go off and do something and I have no idea whats going on. Like on sunday, at church, he was running around all over the place, and I just stayed in the Chapel, because I didn´t know what he was doing. It turned out that he was teaching a class with the new investigators, so he was preparing, but I had no idea. But he is suuuper patient, he never really shows that hes getting frustrated with me. I think sometimes he does get frustrated, but I can´t really tell. He´s good. Once I master the language, we´ll dominate Bairro Novo.
My area--Bairro Novo-- is fantastic, I already feel like we´ve had sucess! I keep doing contacts every day, at least 15, but our daily goal is 20. And out of these people, about half give me their adresses. It´s actually really fun, because the people here are so open to any kind of visit, and they all LOOOOVE Jesus. It´s great. When I´m doing a contact, I usually switch up
the phrase I say to them, but if it´s going bad, I have my secret phrase:
Realemente, nosso mensagem é sobre nos podemos ficar mais perto a Jesus Cristo, e conhecer Jesus Cristo melhor. Você acha que este seria bom? (really, our message is about how we can become closer to Jesus Chrsit, and know him better. Do you think that this would be good?) and they always say yes. It´s great.
So we already had a baptism!!! It was suuuuper quick, we start teaching this woman--her name is Fernanda--on thursday, and on Sunday, she was baptized. Really, she was already so prepared,
her parents were ´eternal investigators´ so she already knew most of the doctrine, and already felt like she liked the church. So, we went to visit her on Thursday, and extended a baptismal invitation (I actually did the invitation. Part of my training is that I have to take the lead with all baptism invitations. Which actually is really cool, and fun) which she accepted. We spent Friday teaching her about all of the important commandments (tithing, word of wisdom, chastity, sabbath day), Saturday was her interview, and Sunday she was baptized. The bishop of our ward baptized her, which I was sort of glad that he did, because really, I had no idea what was going on with Fernanda during the lessons. I didn´t even know her parents were investigators until at
the Baptism itself, which made everything make a lot more sense to me.
The language is indeed hard, way harder than I thought. Everyone speaks soooo fast, and really, for me, it´s hit or miss whether I understand them. When it´s during a lesson, and we´re talking about gospel stuff, I can more or less understand everything Elder Brino says, and a lot of what our investigators say. But anything outside of that is sooo hard. Honestly, it´s completely random. Some Brazillians I can understand just fine. Others, I can´t understand them, no matter how many times they repeat something. But, what I´m doing now is the best thing I could possibly do to learn, and really everyday, I feel like I´m picking up more. I carry a dictionary in my pocket everywhere I go, and I write new words in a little notebook. I´m going to Learn
Ok, I´m running out of time, I´ll try to write a letter soon. I hope all is well with you! I´m doing great here. It´s harder than I thought, but it´s also a lot better than I thought! I love you guys. Remember the Lord always. Pray to him, read about him, trust him. He´s with you!

With lots and lots of Love!
Elder Avram Twitchell
PS. I had an interview with President Cordon the other day, and we were talking about mailing, etc. It takes about a week or two for a letter to arrive, and about a week more for a package. DO NOT use Fed-ex because they tax the heck out of it, upwards to 200 or 300 dollars worth.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Avram with Mission President

President Cordon - Avram - Sister Cordon
New missionaries to Brazil Curitiba Mission
Arrived November 22, 2011
Dear Brother and Sister Twitchell
We wanted to share with you pictures of your son the day he arrived here in Curitiba. Elder Twitchell is a wonderful young man and we are thrilled to be serving with him. As he is obedient, the Lord will endow him with power and he will be part of many miracles here in Brasil.
May the Lord's choicest blessings be with your family as Elder Twitchelll serves here in Brasil.

Warmest Regards
Sister Cordon
Missao Brasil Curitiba

I'm in Brazil - November 22, 2011

Dear family,
My flight was pretty good, but honestly, I had no idea how long it was or whatever. We left at about 7:30 Atlanta time, and arrived at 8:30 São Paulo time. São Paulo is actually 5 hours ahead of California time, which I did not realize. During the flight, I only got 1 hour of sleep, maybe two. It was not good.
But, we arrived safe in São Paulo. I didn't get to see much of the city. Anyway, it was kind of a jungle in the airport, there were lots of Brazilians everywhere. There were lots of American missionaries with us on the flight, but pretty quickly we all split up to go to our separate missions, and it was just Barkdull, Trevisanut and me.
We went to our gate, which was really just a bus stop, where a bus would take us to our airplane. While we were waiting there, we saw some familiar missionaries: Elders Hobbs, Reeves, and Sister Horkley! It was really cool to see them again, I think they had a really good time in the São Paulo CTM.
Anyway, we got on the plane and flew down to Curitiba. This flight I got to sleep another half hour. Hurray. We arrived at the Airport, and we got to meet President Cordon and Sister Cordon! It was sweet! We all went down to their house to have Dinner (a typical Brazilian Dish: Beans, Rice, and some meat. Delicious!) then, immediately after that, we met at a nearby chapel, where we had a meeting to somewhat orient us to the field, and give us Credit cards. Que legal, I have money now. Also, we got to meet our new Companions! My companion is Elder Brino. At first, I thought he American, because he´s tall and white. In fact, when President Cordon introduced me to Elder Brino, Cordon said ´this is Elder Brino, from Texas´. But, in reality, he´s a straight up Brazillian from São Paulo, which is legit! He speaks a very small amount of English, so we have to mostly speak in Portuguese. Sweet!
So, after we met our New Companions, President Cordon told each of us where we were serving, and immediately afterwards, Elder Brino and I went and made use of the famous Curitiba Bus system, headed for my Area: Bairro Novo, which is a part of the city of Curitiba.
We got out of the Bus after about an hour, and walked to our apartment. The first thing Elder Brion said as we approached our apartment was: Não fica muito feliz which means Don´t get too (very) happy, and I could see why, because our apartment is quite small, and on the way, theres this little dog that barks a lot (no bite though, yet). It´s essentially a bedroom, a small kitchen, and another room to do study and planning. But, whatever, its all we need! I dropped off my stuff, grabbed a Livro de Mórmon, and at 6:30 PM Curitiba time, we went off to do some teaching appointments. Along the way, Elder Brino got me to do some contacts, which just means that I talk to everyone I meet on the street. Man, it is hard to understand what these people are saying! Elder Brino is a bit better, but I for the most part am too slow with understanding what they´re saying, so after I did the initial contact, Brino would take over. Haha, pois é. At about 7 PM, we got to his teaching appointment, which was in this man´s store where he sells clothing. we taught the second half of the Plan of Salvation, with me teaching the part about physical death, Spirit world, and the Resurrection. I think that our investigator understood. And then, Brino finished off the with the rest of the lesson, and got the man to come to church Sunday.
After that, we did some more contacting, and then we went to another appointment which was with these three young boys that Brino baptized last week. Their situation is a bit difficult, because their parents want to go to church, I think, but they refuse to go to church because their three boys are always fighting with one another and being unruly, and so the parents feel that it would be embarrassing going to church with them. So, when we got there, it was just the three boys, so Brino and I spoke to them a bit. Then, Brino asked me to teach them about Obedience real quick. I wasn´t prepared (whereas with the Plan of salvation, we went over it before the lesson) but I went ahead and taught it, and I think they understood. They did make fun of me though, because I talk funny. Lol, I should get used to it. Brino finished the lesson by telling the Boys that now that they were baptized they had to choose the right, and that they couldn't keep acting like they do.
After this lesson, we did some more contacting, and then went home, had daily planning (where we planned out our P-day, how fun!) and I finally got ready for bed, which for me, was mostly just cleaning up the mess I left when I dropped off all of my stuff. I went to bed at 10:30, and that was the end of my loooong day. It was very hard, especially trying to listen to the people speak, because I hadn´t really slept in more than 36 hours. I woke up at 6:15 on the 21st and I fell asleep at 10:30 on the 22nd. So, I was quite sleepy (still am). But, being in a new country helped, and also actually doing the contacts and the teaching helped out a ton too.
It´s so crazy I´m in Brazil! This place is nuts! It´s definitely not America, although it is pretty nice. Everyone speaks Portuguese, and it is hard to understand. A couple of times already, I was just thinking ´What am I doing here! I must be crazy!´ lol, but tudo bem, i´ll get used to it! It´s tons of fun!
Ok, i gotta go! Love you guys a ton! I´ll write again soon!
Elder Twitchell

Monday, November 21, 2011


We just got off the phone from talking to Elder Avram Twitchell. He was in Atlanta GA getting ready to board a plane to Brazil. He is so excited to be on this journey. He said it was weird to be out of the MTC, it has been so long since he was around people. He said the MTC was great but seemed like it took forever. He can't wait to get out there and teach the Brazilians.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nov 20, 2011 Last Letter from MTC

Bom Din Familia!!
Well, this last week at the MTC has been crazy!! There are tons of things to get down, lots of preparation, lots of good-byes. On Friday we had our in-field orientation, which just got us all excited beyond belief. It was essentially about how to be the BEST missionary possible by Faith, finding people, goal setting and planning and working with members. I never realized
how important members were for missionary work! Gordon B. Hinckley said that the most effective missionaries are the ones who work well with members, and use them for finding.
We had a lot of people from the district 2 teach us. I don’t know if I already explained the district 2, but it’s like a show where they followed around these missionaries with cameras for their missions. A lot of times in class, they would show a quick clip from the District 2 and then we would analyze what they did well/poorly and then try to teach in a similar situation. So, I know the 8 or 10 missionaries on the District well, through the show. But, seeing them in life was crazy! It was like seeing celebrities! I accidently ran into Elder Murray from the show in the bathroom, and all I could do was spatter a sorry “sorry” and then gawk. When I saw Sister Voyles from the District 2, it was worse. I just shook her hand and got out of there. Man, these missionaries are my heroes!! Ha Ha
In the middle of the in-field orientation, we took Sister Patton to the hospital again, but this time they actually did something to help her out. They figured it was inflammation in her wrist, so they gave her a shot in her wrist to de-inflame the inflamed part. About time, she’s been in pain for like two weeks, she’s gone to the BYU medical center twice, and the Hospital three times. For some reason, I feel like this is a bit excessive they should’ve fixed this in two visits, not five. Boise
Part of the de-inflammation shot is that the pain gets a lot worse before it gets
better. Today Sister Patton is fine, but Friday night and Saturday morning, she could hardly even move her right arm. It was really sad to see her hurting so bad.
We taught our last MTC lessons in the past few days. And holy camolie, Elder Barkdull is a monster at teaching now. He knows how to say and explain concepts so clearly in Portuguese. On Thursday, he was teaching Sister Patton and I as investigators (Maria and Jack, the
bickering Brazilian siblings!) about Baptism. Now, sister Patton and I had agreed long before that we would not accept to be baptized, especially not on the first invite. But in the lesson, Elder Barkdull spoke and taught so well that we both agreed to be baptized. So much for being tough investigators. Elder Barkdull and I had a really cool experience this past Wednesday at the TRC. I was already excited for the TRC, because it’s the only time Elder Barkdull and I teach together, and when we do, no one can resist our power and authority. Oh, and we’re super humble, too. Anyway, we did TRC a bit different. Normally each companionship goes in the room with the person they’re teaching, and it’s just them. But today we went to a big room with people we could teach sort of scattered around. So, elder Barkdull and I decided to teach this older man, thinking that he served his mission in Brazil years ago and that he’d have cool stories.
Nope, he was a real live Brazillian!!
He is living in Utah because most of his children live here, but he can’t speak English at all, I think. He grew up in Sao Paulo, near the Temple. He told us all about himself, Curitiba, and the gospel. It was sooo cool! It was also intimidating. Up to now, we’ve only spoken Portuguese with
Missionaries and return missionaries. RM’s (ie our teachers) speak well, but they all tend to 1 – speak high 2- really annunciate when they speak and 3 – use a fairly simple vocabulary. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that because they’re not active speakers, they speak a bit clearer, and are easier to understand. This Brazilian man spoke really fast, in a low voice, slurring a lot of his words and using words we didn’t really know. I mean, think of how we speak English: it’s quick, kind of mumbled and doesn’t always make sense. For example, we don’t really say “How are you?” but we say “How’re you”. It’s quick and slurred. So, it was very difficult to understand this man, but he spoke like a Brazilian. I wouldn’t say we were like that missionary from Best Two Years -- “Elder, what language were they speaking?” -- but it definitely different. We could
understand most of what he said, but it took us time to process what he had said. Luckily, he spoke a lot because every time we had to respond, it took us a several seconds to figure out what
he said and reply intelligently. Man, was this a shock to the system! We’re going to be
in Brazil in a few days, and hardly understand what they’re saying. This might sound weird, but I’m totally ready to be that awkward new missionary who can hardly speak! I want to be thrown in the refiner’s fire, and really be in over my head with the language, teaching, meeting people,
whatever. It’s going to be hard, and I’m going to get frustrated with myself, but I want to relish in the difficulty and the hard time, and just push onward, diligent and obedient, trusting in the
Lord. I only get to have this hard, awkward time once on my mission, in my6 life, actually -- and
I don’t want to waste it!! I cannot wait until I get to meet my mission President, my District, my Ward, the Brazillian people and especially my companion (especially if he’s a Brazilian!!) I’ve already prayed aobut all of these people a few times, that they’ll be led by the Spirit and be comforted in hard times, especially given that they have to deal with a gringo greenie like me. I’ve also prayed that I’ll be ready to met them, and be able to be a blessing instead of a burden. Actually, I’m just too EXCITED!!!
Yesterday (Saturday) was kind of a melancholy day, because we had to say good-bye to our
teachers. Nossa Seahord (Our lady. This has reference to Santa Maria in Brazil, and they say it to say “oh goodness” or something along those lines. I know, it seems a bit disrespectful, but
apparently even the Mission Presidents up there use it) I didn’t think this day would come. First we said good-bye to Irmao Maxwell. We (Elder Trevenant and I ) taught him one last time as Ronaldo, then he demonstrated teaching Baptism, and then we spent the last hour asking about his mission and about his life. This basically just got us excited for the mission! Also, we found out that he’s going to ask his girlfriend, Gale, to marry him in two weeks. What!? (Oh, ps, don’t tell anyone this. He said he would fly to Brazil to kill us if we told anyone) this was kind of funny, because not too long ago he had been complaining about his companion on his mission, and how quickly he wanted to get married. They were standing in the temple, and the companion turned to irmao Maxwell and says, “I will never go to the Temple again, until I find a wife. This is the last time I’ll be in the Temple single.” LOL. But Maxwell wasn’t bad, he’s been dating this girl for four months. Then, he gave us each a hug (except Patton, he shook her hand) told us good luck on the mission, and that we were going to do great, and then left. In the afternoon, we had to say goodbye to Irma Gonzales and irmao Simons. This was hard too. For the last hour, again, we talked about they’re missions. You could just tell how much they loved the people they served, and how excited they were for us. Simons told us to really enjoy the first several weeks, because it’ll be hard, but you’ll grow more than you ever have, and you’ll have a different kind of happiness, even though things are hard. We all sang Deus Vos Guarde (God be with you til we meet again), Irma Gonzales told us to be obedient and Dilligent. Irmao Simons told us to love
the mission and the people, and then we said goodbye. It was very, very, sad. Mas, Tudo
Bem! When we get comfortable in one place, the Lord changes things to help us grow.
The Lord does nothing that is not for our benefit. And I get to Serve in BRAZIL!! What could be more beneficial than that!!
I know that you are sad that I’m going to be so far away, but don’t be sad! It’s going to be so great and you are going to be so much more blessed with me out in the mission field than in the US.
Keep up all the good work! I am so jealous that you get the babies. It’s not even fair. Dad, good luck with the calling, I’m praying for you. Autumn, good luck with school! It’s sounds like English isn’t that great but you’re smart, you’ll get it. Mom, I’m so glad things have been getting better, and that you’re becoming friends with our neighbors. The best missionary work sometimes is just being a friend. And Amber and the babies, be good! I’m praying about you too.
Love you all so much! Read the Scriptures, pray everyday, and Trust in the LORD.
Elder Avram Twitchell

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 15, 2011 Last week at MTC

FAMILIA!!!Como vai!
Things just seem to be going crazy here. Everything seems to be wrapping up here, which is cool and kind of sad at the same time. It's all of a sudden very real--we're going to be in Brazil in a week, teaching people in Portuguese. Say what! I'm just feeling really serendipitous right now, having such a great district, such great teachers, such great leaders, and on top of that, learning
the best language in the world. Oh, and I have my Visa. No big deal.This past Sunday we had a "leaving the MTC" lesson with a member of our Ward Presidency, Brother Hodges. Haha, he's the most intimidating person I've ever met, but the funny thing is he doesn't try to be intimidating at all! Mom, I think you would have a hard time being in one of his classes, because he randomly asks people questions all the time. I remember the first lesson we had with him, we were talking about the 2000 stripling warriors, and he asked me,
"Who led the stripling warriors?" It's Helaman, of course, but I was so paralyzed by the intimidation factor, that I couldn't remember the answer! Lol, and then he asked me how many stripling warriors were, and I thought, 'oh, I know this one' with the certainty of a foolish novice. "2000!" I submitted
"No, 2060." Dang. Wrong again!
But he's really, really good at teaching. Anyway, he was telling us how we need to start packing early this week, and all of this stuff about traveling. He kind of got me freaked out, he said that people sometimes steal Visas or Passports, because there's an underground market for them. Man, I'm going to be guarding my Visa with my LIFE! I'll kill a man if he steals my Visa. Hodges also told us to make a good first impression on our Assistants to the Presidents, the Mission Presidents wife, and finally, the Mission President himself. A lot to remember! So, I think the
procedure is that I get on the bus to the Airport at 8 o'clock. It should be fun! I'm not sure exactly how everything will work, but I do know a few things. With regards to calling and what not, I really have no idea. As far as I know, I get to call you at the airport, but I'm not sure which one. They really haven't told me anything. If I had to guess, I would say I would call in Atlanta, but I have nooooo idea, but I think that a calling card would be a good idea. As for e-mail, I don't think I'm going to e-mail you again in the Northern Hemisphere. Me and Barkdull are now relating
things with regard to the Hemispheres, because it sounds so much more profound.
Like, ok, if I said today was my last P-day in the US, that sounds pretty cool. But when I say this is my last P-day in the Northern Hemisphere? Shoot-dang. That's not a light statement.So, I think I have some repenting to do. This past Sunday, I was pretty busy/distracted all day, so.... I didn't have time to write you a letter! :( I'm sorry! I promise I will send out another letter before I leave though. I'm sorry! Autumn can expect one , though. I finished hers before Sunday, so I'm thinking she could get it soon.Oh, oh, and another important thing, I cannot support or condone any sort of visit at the airport. That was something that they put on my traveling instructions
specifically, in Bold, on the courageous crimson paper--I cannot arrange these types of meetings. Sorry! Certainly don't come fly out for just that! I would love to see you, but I don't want to put that sort of financial burden on you, and it's against the rules. Thanks though! I know that you guys care about me, which is cool! I'll get to call you, though. Think, in a little over a month's
time, you'll be talking to me twice!
So Barkdull and Patton still do not have their Visas, but we're feeling really good about it. We're certain that Barkdull will get his, and Patton too! If not, though, they get reassignments on
Thursday, and Patton seems to be pretty excited about it. We're praying about it, and Patton will do amazing wherever. She is such a strong person, it's crazy! This past week, she has had this horrible horrible pain in her wrist, and they can't figure out what it is! We've had to leave the MTC three times so far, twice to the BYU medical center and once to the Hospital, to get her wrist
checked out. Yesterday it was hurting so bad that we had to go get her painkillers. It's really, really bad, and we have no idea what the deal is. But she is still suuuper positive, and hardly ever complains! She has to put up a hurting wrist, 3000 nineteen year old Elders, Elder Trevisanut, being a solo sister, etc., but she hardly ever complains. Even more, she's positive! She's such a great example to us, I just feel bad that we don't always appreciate that.
Speaking of, I'm glad you liked my letter I wrote about getting my Visa! I get bored sometimes here, especially with writing in my journals, so every once in a while, I'll just have some fun describing things in the most dramatic way possible. That whole scenario I described happened within a 2 minute period, and honestly was not that noteworthy besides the Visa. But I enjoyed making it seem like I overcame countless trials and traveled so far, all to get my Holy Grail--the Visa. I'm glad you all enjoyed it.As for staying an extra week, it's a little bit of a disappointment, but honestly, I was not terribly upset about it. We have amazing, clear, loving teachers here, and I'm excited that we still get to learn from them this week. Also, going down to the CTM would not have been that great, because we would have spent that whole day trying to orient ourselves. Also, I've heard that you don't learn the language as well down there. So no, I'm pretty happy where I am. Certainly ready to leave, though. I'm starting to get so anxious! I'm imagining teaching people, all the experiences I'll have, how cool it will be not speaking English for 22 months, and I just get sooooo excited. Honestly, the past few nights, I've layed in my bed for like 10 or 20 minutes just thinking about Brazil! As for the language, I think things are going pretty good. I'm understanding it more and more, which is really good. It's weird though, because with every day things, like talking about a meal or something, i have a really hard time. But during lessons and stuff, I can usually say what I want. The other day they had us teach in English for a MTC workshop, and I could not teach for my life. It was bad. I was teaching Barkdull about Chastity, and all that came out was what not to do, will you keep the Law of Chastity, and I know that you'll be blessed if you do. There was no substance to it at all! So yeah, I felt dumb.
I did Host last week, which was pretty fun. Although, it took longer than I thought--I only got through one elder and one Sister. My Elder was English speaking, and I didn't really know what to say to him. Oh, you're speaking English in Oregon? Cool... That will be fun... uhhh... you'll be able to say what you want in your own language, so that's a... bonus... And then the Sister was a Russian speaker. I get to do it again tomorrow, though, so I'll look out for E. Heiner. Trust me, if i get any Portuguese Speaker, I'm going to totally freak out in excitement. I'll look for him, and if I see him, I'll get him excited!
Sounds likes things are going alright down in San Jose. How is Dad doing with his calling? I'm glad you guys are doing extra stuff in the ward, I think you'll find that being more involved in church will bless you in pretty much every other aspect of your life. I'm super jealous that you have the babies with you. It's not even fair. They already look like they're growing up, which isn't
cool, they really should stop doing that. I hope you guys don't get sad that I'm going to Brazil, because for me it's the coolest thing ever. I'll still write, and I'll be sharing some legitimate spiritual experiences involving real investigators. It'll be cool. I'm super nervous, but excited too. I've never had to do something like this before in my life, and never will again. So, I'm just going to take things as they come, and give it my all. Gordon B. Hinckley said a few years ago that if he wanted any one trait in a missionary, it was being a Hard-worker. If you work as hard as you can on your mission, everything else that a missionary needs will come along with that.
Stay strong Family, I hope you guys know that I love you soo much and really appreciate all of the letters and support that you give me. In the next little bit I'll probably be gathering up items that I don't really need and sending them back to you guys, so expect that. I don't know of anything I still need for my mission from you guys, but thanks. I'm sure I'll forget something!Keep praying, reading your scriptures, and trusting in the Lord! I think about you guys all the
Love,Elder Avram Twitchell
PS. I've already decided that I'm going to baptize everyone on the plane on the way to Sao Paulo. What else am I going to do during that time on the flight?
PPS. Or maybe I'll read the BOM through. I think I have
PPPS. Or I could sleep.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Message from Sister Patton's mother

Hi Klaudia,
My daughter just e-mailed me and I wanted to share something with you. I thought it was pretty special and your son was involved. Kendra did get her electronic Visa last week so we think she will be in Brazil before Christmas. She has had a problem with her wrist and so has needed medical attention. It is strange. She is a very strong, athletic young woman so weare puzzled by what is happening. She is getting an MRI soon.
This is what she said:
"Something cool though, Saturday night I was in lot of pain, and Elder Barkdull and Elder Twitchell took me back to the residence hall to get medicine. On our way back, Elder Barkdull randomly said "You know we can give you a blessing if you want it." I don't know what prompted him to say that, we hadn't ever discussed it before, but I spent the next hour thinking about it and realized that maybe God was telling me to humble myself and askf or the blessing. So I did.
Elder Barkdull gave me the blessing, and it was his first one ever! You could tell he was nervous, but what was amazing was that as soon as he laid his hands on my head (The other two elders were also participating) the nervousness vanished. His blessing made me realize without a doubt that blessings come from God. He said actually what he needed to say. I know Heavenly Father is watching out for me, I don't know why I have this problem with my wrist but I hope it's for a good reason. I'm grateful for my elders, I have become close to them and they have been very helpful. They also have loved getting to leave the MTC :)
Sarah Castleton

Friday, November 11, 2011


So today after lunch, my district mozied over towards 2M to get our mail, like we do almost everyday. It was cold outside and we rushed toward the door. We realized that no one had gotten out their ID card, which we need to enter any building at the MTC. We all rifled through our
pockets. We only had thirty seconds, a minute, tops, before we would succumb to the merciless elements.As Providence would have it, Elder Barkdull procured his card first, and quickly swiped it, and all four of us--Barkdull, Trevisanut, Sister Patton, and I-- tumbled in, panting and marvelling at how close we had come to freezing to death.We collected ourselves, and proceeded to our mailbox. At this point we were in the depths of hopelessness and despair. Hope of anything good coming our way from the Mailbox had died. The mail area, once a place of good cheer and optimism, had been completely corrupted by pessimism and dashed dreams. So, like a procession of lamentation--with heavy hearts and downcast countenances--we arrived at Mailbox #333. But lo, what treasures were in store for us there. What happy tidings and good news dwelt within our mailbox. Elder Trevisanut reached into the mailbox, yea, with a sorrowful hand. He felt around and--what's this? Something's here? Immediately, he took courage. His emaciated hand seemed to strengthen, and he pulled out his hand with two papers the color of courageous crimson. He kept one for himself, and handed the other to me. Oh timorous arms, don't fail me now! I reached out for the paper--that courageous crimson paper--trembling slightly from excitement. I took one glance at the top of the paper, and read just two words--two magnificent words, that made the world warm and beautiful again, and the darkness clouding my mind receded entirely--these
two words being "TRAVEL ITINERARY."So yeah, i got my Visa today. Sorry, i'm a little excited, so i decided to dramatize the whole experience. It's really not that cold at all. And we weren't really that negative or downtrodden about anything. I actually thought today was already a good day before i got my Visa.I'm supposed to tell you all the information about my travel plans, so
here i go.
First Flight:Delta Air Lines, Flight #1912. Leaving Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) at 11:25 AM,
21 NOV 2011Arriving in Atlanta, GA (ATL) at 5:06 PM, 21 NOV 2011
Second Flight:Delta Air Lines, Flight #105Leaving Atlanta, GA (ATL) at 7:35 PM,
21 NOV 2011Arriving Sao Paulo, Brazil (GR) at 8:15 AM, 22 NOV 2011
Third Flight:TAM Meridionais, flight #3157Leaving Sao Paul, Brazil (GR) at
11:25 AM, 22 NOV 2011Arriving Curitiba!!!, Brazil (CW) at 12:27 pm, 22 NOV
So, as you may have noticed, i'm not leaving until the 21 of November. That means that i will have spent my whole MTC time here at Provo, which is cool beans. So, instead of going to the CTM in Sao Paul, i'm going straight to the field in Curitiba! Woohoo!!! Hahaha, i'm going to Brazil, i'm not going to have to get reassigned. I feel sooooo blessed right now, this is awesome.Also, you may have noticed that i have 5 hours of layover, and about 20 hours of travel time. So, in total, 25 hours round trip. I'm going to finish the BOM twice during that time. I'll be so much more spiritual when i step off the plane in Brazil.Elder Trevisanut is going to be traveling with me, so that will be cool. And Elder Barkdull's Visa should be here any time now, so there could be a possiblity that he will travel with us. Probably not, but i'm hoping.I don't know if you know this already, but Sister Patton got her Electronic Visa on Wednesday! So, she's definitely going to Brazil. She might get reassigned, but once you get your electron Visa, it's pretty much a sure thing that you're going to get your Visa. So, everyone in our District will be in Brazil! Certainly before Christmas! yeah!So, if you have any questions, please ask! i'm so excited, and i'm so glad that i get the chance to go to Brazil! Heavenly Father has truly comforted me during this time, and I know that I'm supposed to be in Brazil!I'll try to check my e-mail later today, so go ahead and send
Thanks everyone!
I love you lots!
Elder Avram Twitchell

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 8, 2011
Bom Dia!
I just went to get mail today, and I got the ensign and Liahona! That was so cool that you got both! I can't wait to read it. The Book of Mormon is sooo great. It was funny, because I had to sign for the Ensign for some reason, so in my mail they gave me a special green slip with a start on it that told me to pick up my Package ASAP. haha, I thought I was receiving like the literal Liahona, or perhaps the sword of Laban or something. haha.
TRC means the Training Resource Center, or something along those lines. Basically, once a week we go in and teach a lesson to a volunteer in Portuguese. For me, it's not really about teaching, but practicing getting to know someone in Portuguese. I always ask them where they served, and how they liked it, etc. It's fun, it's not as stressful as our other activities we do with the language and these people are just themselves--they don't pretend to be investigators. It's cool. A couple of weeks ago I met someone who knew Nate Tuttle when he served in Brasilia, it was really fun to ask him about that.
You know it's funny that you mentioned that about the CTM, because I’ve heard that it's not nearly as good as the MTC, in terms of learning the Language, because it's waaaay more self-directed, and oftentimes your teachers don't help out all that much. So, to learn the language, it's mostly based on how much you speak to the real brasilleiros, which can be intimidating for people. I don't know if that's true or not, but yesterday we got a letter from Elder Holland, who left like the first week for the CTM em Brasil, and his Portuguese did not seem that... good. :P
I also have heard about the crazy awesome stores down in Sao Paulo by the CTM. I hadn't heard about the cheap ties before, but I have heard about cheap watches and cheap socks that last pretty much the whole mission. Also, they have this really good bakery down there, apparently, and it has the best baked goods ever. And, they have these nice cases for your scriptures, and you can get a Brazilian flag on them, your name, everything. Oh, speaking of, I got my Portuguese Scriptures and my Portuguese Hymn book all engraven with my name on it. It's legal (cool)!
Yeah, I would say that we're having fun down here. Sometimes too much fun. It is really easy to get distracted, but for the most part we work diligently. The one thing I would looooove to improve is motivate everyone to speak the language more. It's ridiculous, our district is incapable of going through a whole day without English. A friend from Spring Semester (her name is Natasha, I can't remember her last name!) came in like three or four weeks ago, and is speaking Spanish, and she is already doing English Fasts! We are trying to have an English fast today, but our district is always trying to find excuses to speak English--oh, we need to go to the Travel Office, and we'll have to speak English. Oh, we're going to be doing Laundry today, and so we can't really be speaking English the whole time. Whatever. I think I’m going to start an English fast tomorrow for myself until I get my Visa. I'll speak in essential situations, like with our Ward Leaders or when dealing with non-Portuguese speakers, or when I’m writing family, but in all other situations, I think I’m done with English. It's stupid. Eu nao gosto de Ingles. Irma Gonzales really inspired me with this, because she said on her mission she pretty much completely stopped speaking English when she was out in the Field. Sometimes when she was with other Americans, they'd be speaking English, but she'd always stay in Portuguese. So, I’m going to try it.
That's so cool that Amber is there! I'm so jealous! Austin sounds like he's growing up so fast, I’m sad I’m missing it. He's going to be speaking like a champ when I get back. Thanks for the picture of Austin and I, by the way. That was cool.
How has Dad's calling been? It sounds like he's a bit overwhelmed, which is good. I can't even begin to imagine him presiding over Sacrament meeting. I'm sure he's doing fine though. So is he a lot busier now? How is he handling the new calling? It sounds like he's mostly been using his powers to spy on your YW lessons? :P What exactly are his responsibilities?
Sounds like the time change really messed you guys up. Having to fast for 26 hours... unheard of! I didn't have to fast that long, but on Saturday night, I didn't eat that much at all, because there really wasn't any good food. So I went into the Fast hungry. Heavens forfend! I was dying! Not really. I actually didn't really think about it at all. It's just not that horrible for me anymore, not eating that much. Pois e.
That's cool that the Records and Andersons all went on missions! Where did they all go? I have a lot of respect for the Sister missionaries here. They've had to give up so much to come serve a mission, and it's not even required of them.
I'm so glad that Elder Olpin is in Brasil now! That's such a blessing for him, I’m excited. Elder Nethercott got reassigned, and I think that he's leaving tomorrow morning. He was so excited about it though, because he's going with one of his friends from his district. If I had to get reassigned, I think it'd be cool to go with Elder Barkdull. For the Elders not calling, I’m not really sure what the rule is, but typically, I think they don't call if the travel plans are like a bus ride or
something. I do know that if I get flight plans for Brasil or something, I’m going to be able to call you. No worries. Now, if I get reassigned to SLC, I don't think I call. We'll see when I get my Visa. Honestly, it's not a good thing to think about too often. I pray about it everyday, but it's out of my hands, and I have to accept that whatever happens happens because the Lord wants it that way, and because there are still things I have to do or learn where I am.
I get to be a Host tomorrow! I think it's going to be exciting to talk to new missionaries! It'll be cool to see how anxious they all are, and to show them around a bit. We'll see how it turns out. Although, it's kind of weird, because I know that the next step after hosting is going out to the field. It's coming up so quick, I can't believe it. One thing I’m not looking forward to about tomorrow: the cold. It has been getting a bit colder, nothing horrible. But then again, I’m inside almost the entire day. Also, I’ve been getting distracted lately during personal study time, so I wouldn't be surprised if God sent down a Snow storm on me tomorrow to chasten me. Oh well, it's for the best. If I won't humble myself, I have to be compelled to be humble (Alma 32).
Thanks for the Christmas package! It'll be cool to have a package waiting for me already, even though I can't open it until Christmas. I've been getting a lot less letters the past few weeks, which is cool, I wasn't really expecting anyone to write me at all, but I can always count on you guys to send me stuff! And I occasionally get letters from random people, which is really cool.
Yesterday I got a letter from a friend of Joylyn's, who served in Portugal, so she wrote me a lot in Portuguese. It was sooo cool! And she sent me this diagram type thing of the Plan of Salvation, which was really cool too. The next time you see President Harrison, you should mention this, because she said her parents were the Harrisons? Anyway, I love the random love I get from
people, and it helps remind me that I have to be an example to everyone!
Ok, I am running out of time, and I’m trying to think of things to write about... It's kind of weird; my district is the oldest district in our zone right now. Well, we're the same age as this other district, but they speak portugal Porgtuguese, so they don't count. So the ward presidency asked my district to bear testimony this past Sunday, which we did. It was so cool to just go up and say what I know about the church in Portuguese. I know that the Spirit was helping me out, because I literally didn't have to think about it--it just came! Before, I was planning on confounding the newbies with all the most complex Portuguese I knew: Conditional tense, Past Subjunctive, perhaps throw in the words ferramentos, sussurros and misericordiamente for good measure. But, that's not what a testimony is about, and the spirit let me know that (although I still threw in the conditional tense).
I hope everything is well with you guys down in California! I think about you often, and pray about you often, too.
Keep faithful, keep hopeful, keep strong, keep reading, and keep remembering,
the Lord is with you.
Elder Avram Twitchell

Answer to the Question about temples

The answer to the question, how many temples is Elder Frahm touching
1 Provo Temple
2 Avram's body is a Temple
3 Avram's Temple in his skull

10/30/11 MTC life is Great

Oi Familia, Tudo Bem?
Here I am starting on week six at the MTC. It feels like I’ve been here a lot longer than that. Life
here is fun and I’m learning constantly but the days and the weeks all blend together, and it’s difficult to say when, exactly, things happened. Elder Barkdull has been a few days behind in his
journal lately, which exacerbates this faulty perception of time even more. The other day I was talking to him about talking to Brother Weatherly, Alexis’s fiancé, and he could not figure out when that happened. I kept telling him it had happened the day before, but he was convinced
that it happened five days ago. He was getting really tripped out about it, lemme tell you, keeping a journal is so important especially here. It helps me get a grip on reality. It’s something I can point to and say, “I know that his day happened, and that I did these things on that day, because I recorded it.” It’s very stabilizing. I do not suggest Elder Trevisanut’s method. He’s so fed up with life at the MTC. For the past few days, he’s just been putting stuff like “Another boring day at the MTC,” or “Same old day at the MTC” and that’s it. It’s definitely making him lose some Marbles.
It’s kind of funny how everyone is on the Missionary moms now. I don’t know, we just think it’s weird that our moms all talk to each other. We all hear the same things at the same time form the Missionary moms. It’s kind of fun. And yes, Sister Barkdull needs to join. Then we’d have the whole district in the group!
Having a four person district has completely changed the dynamic of MTC. All four of us have to go everywhere together now, because Sister Patton can’t be with just one missionary at a time, she needs at least two, but, if two elders are with her, that means that there Is one Elder alone, which can’t happen. Therefore, all four of us have to be together which is kind of fun. The
weirdest thing about it is teaching. Since we can’t be separated, we’re all in the same room together. But, teaching with four is overkill. So, we teach in the classroom now, but only two of us are teaching at a time. The other two missionaries are quiet, and we just pretend like we’re not there. It’s a bit strange. Also, we switch who we teach with a bunch. When I’m teaching our “investigators” (Irmao Simons & Maxwell) I teach with Elder Trevisanut,. We also started a thing where one pair of missionaries pretends to be investigators, while the other pair teaches, and then
we switch being investigators to missionaries. It’s pretty fun. When we do this, Sister Patton and I teach Santiago (Barkdull) and Khan (Trevisanut). When Elders Trevisanut and Elder Barkdull
teach, they’re teaching Jaque (me) and Maria (Patton), who are siblings. It’s a ton of fun trying to act like an investigator, and I try to be difficult for Elder Barkdull (but not over the top). So, teaching is very different (and admittedly weird, when teaching with just Patton) but it’s very rewarding. My only issue is that I don’t really teach with Elder Barkdull anymore, which sucks, because we were getting good at it. But, come TRC time, we’ll ask if we can teach with each other; that way we can teacher together two or three more times.
It’s been great, especially since we’re all at about the same level now in Portuguese. The only thing is that elder Trevisanut has been really down and negative lately. I can see why, because he’s been tossed from Companion to companion. He started with Holland, who left the first week, then went to Frahm, who left about three weeks ago, and then went to Glenn and Johnson who both left last week. So, he feels like he won’t ever get his visa, which is hard.
But it has taught me a few things. We have to always look up, and have faith that the Lord will help us with our trials. Also we need to pay attention to the blessings that we receive, instead of focusing on the difficulties. If you focus on the negative for too long, the world is going to seem to turn against you, and you will be a lone. You’ll be like Dudly in the 1st harry Potter, during his Birthday, when he gets 36 presents:
“36!? 36!? But last year, last year I got 37!”
And then no one like you because your Dudley. I would encourage you not to be a Dudley. Enough of that, I’m turning Dudley.
I’m doing well with Portuguese lately, although there are still some difficulties. These difficulties mostly have to do with grammar, for example, they have two words that mean for, by, through, because of, etc. These two words are por and para. But, you cannot substitute one for another. So, if you use one instead of the other the meaning completely changes. Here’s an example.

O livro de Mormon foi tradazido para nos.
The Book of Mormon was translated for us (True statement)
O Livero de Mormon fori traduzido por nos.
The Book of Mormon was translated by us. (False doctrine)
And the rules are pretty strange sometimes, so it’s hard to figure out, especially on the fly, in mid-conversation. Oh well, I’ll learn it eventually. It’s just difficult.
That’s weird that everyone is getting married. We have Gibson, Palmer, Tuttle, Porter all getting married. Oh, and Hull will be getting married soon, so that another.
That’s cool that you are reading the BoM so much! Reading the BOM is my favorite thing to do
here. It’s such a good source of personal revelation. It’s amazing how often the direction I get applies to a discussion or lesson we have later. It’s sweet! It just shows me that everything I’m learning I can use to help other. It’s cool beans. Feijao Legal (cool beans) (It’s funny, the Brazilians use the word legal to mean “cool” It’s a fun word though Que Legal!)
I hope everything is going well at home. Keep strong, and keep looking up! Show love to others, and especially show love to Heavenly Father! He knows you, and will help you in all things!
Keep it up, pray everyday, and read the scriptures!

Love Elder Avram Twitchell

PS The picture with Elder Barkdull and Hobbs jumping over the couple is a funny story. It was Sunday 10/23, and we were on our Sunday Temple Walk, so hundreds of missionaries were walking around. And then we see this couple, on the grass, making out. Which, first off, why make out at the Temple? Second, why during the time that all the missionaries of the MTC are coming by? Anyway we hatched this scheme to jump over them. Barkdull and Hobbs ran down and jumped over them and I snapped this beautiful picture. Lasciviousness does not go unpunished. Although, thinking back, we should have just taught them the Law of

More Pictures Nov

Elder Reeves, Elder Trevisanut, Elder Hobbs, Elder Barkdull, Sister Patton, Twitchell
An epic picture taken in front of the Temple on 10/23
Notice how I live up to my Jewish name -
I look like a Rabbi, studying out of the Missionary Handbook

Our later class, as of 10/23
Elder Reeves, Trevisanut, Hobbs, Johnson, Teacher Irmao Simons, Barkdull, Twitchell
Elder Glenn, Sister Patton
This picture came out horrible, but this was our morning class as of 10/24
Elder Johnson, Barkdull, Hobbs, Trevisanut, our teacher Irmao Maxwell
Elder Reeves, our Teacher Irma Gonzales, Sister Patton, Elder Glenn, Twitchell

Elder Barkdull and Elder Hobbs jumping ove a previously making out couple. This is the penalty for snogging outside the Temple during the missionary Temple Walk
Elder Hobbs, Elder Barkdull
Protective, but highly lascivious boyfriend: Scared, but none-the-less deserving girlfriend
Here's some Twitchell Artwork... Well ok, the Avatar Aang is mine, not the Genie version of Captain Moroni. Just for your information. I drew Aang without any picutre of Aang for reference
Rule #6 reads "Don't forget Sister Patton" We treat her well.....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 06, 2011 - MTC

Oi Familia,
So, I’m still here at the MTC, but all is well. It’s drawing to a close, and I’m starting to enjoy the MTC for what it is, a place to obtain the word of God, and learn how to share that word. It’s not easy. It isn’t supposed to be. There are lots of things to learn and understand and in reality I think I’ll be spending my whole mission, and my whole life seeking to understand these important things. How can I more fully come unto Christ? How can I show humility and love? How can I improve my life, and live in such a way that my Heavenly Father is happy with me.
It’s a lot to learn and understand. I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are lots of burdens and trials that bring us low. But, these are our special blessings, and it is only through them that we can learn anything, and strengthen our Faith.
Our district is small. Our district meetings are actually glorified discussions. I don’t think I really have a companion now. Everyone in the district is someone I look after, and they look after me.
It’s beautiful when it works, and for the most part, it does.
Sister missionaries do not have to be here, and they are truly the best missionaries we have.
Friends are not yes-men, but people who will push you to improve and become better. They support you through everything but they also want you to grow.
Let me focus on the positive, though. I feel like I have two true friends here, in my district.
Elder Barkdull continues to impress me every day. When I first got here, I thought he was really
immature, and sort of a goof. And while I still think he’s a goof, I’ve come to see that he is one of the most mature people I know. Sure, he quotes Avatar, Pokémon, and Dragonball-2 constantly. He breaks out into random dances, jumps over making out couples at the Temple, and plays horseshoes with hangers. But in real situations, you know he knows what’s going on. He understands people, and knows how to help them. When Sister Patton was sad the other day, he just acted even more like a goof, which cheered her up and made her happy again.
In the language, I would say we’re about equal. I might know more words, but he knows what to say better, I feel like. It’s too bad, because we only teach together on Wednesdays now, for TRC. But man, this Wednesday, we dominated our lesson! We’ve learned so much! It’s nice, to not have to worry as much what you’re saying. I feel like God has really blessed us with the language. We still have tons to learn, but we’re not focusing entirely on the language anymore, but more on the message. I don’t know, it’s nice.
Sister Patton’s great!! She’s got this thing down. I know she had a hard time deciding to come, because she left her boyfriend to come, but she is totally committed to the missionary cause! Also, she gets tons of food all the time and she shares it. It’s funny, so her boyfriend’s name is Mark, and she still talks about him a lot. We now have this joke of this guy named KraM, or the anti-Mark. He is the opposite to Mark in every way. Mrk is a 170 lb white guy, KraM is a 300 lb black guy. Mark is a good guy, KraM is kind of a sleaze. We blame everything bad – no more food at a meal, no visas, etc – on KraM. It’s good times. Sister Patton is crazy good at Portuguese. She did some research thing in Peru, and lived there for a few months, so she got really good at Spanish. So, she already has a solid understanding of Portuguese already, and she speaks faster than any of us. Also, she’s been practicing reading a loud the Scriptures in Portuguese, and so now she’s pro. She is so good at both understanding the scriptures and pronouncing Portuguese words. It’s legit. She certainly can read quicker than any of us.
That’s such good news that Elder Olpin is in Brazil!!! And he has a Brazilian companion, nonetheless. I want that so bad! I feel like that would be the best thing I could do to learn the language! Ahh, I’m jealous!
My Visa has not come yet, which is ok. At this point I’m fairly certain that I won’t get reassigned which is a blessing. It’s just going to be unreal when I finally get to Brazil! “Irma Gonzales said that she quit speaking English when she got out on the field, and I think I’m going to do that. No English for 22 months. I’m going to come back with a hardcore accent. I’m excited.
Oh, BTW, Elder Nethercott got reassigned to Nashville, TN and he seemed sooo excited! It’s cool.
That’s weird about that missionary, wanting to go home. I don’t want to make judgments,
but I’m thinking he has some sort of worthiness or testimony issue. Sorry, but thinking that the missionaries here are fake is not really a reason to leave, not a real one. And honestly, I think you see the missionaries home at their “realest.” Their all trying their best, so maybe they are all better than they normally would be, but they also share such deep thoughts and insights with you. Also, you get really bored here, so you see how people deal with that. People show what they really enjoy. For example, you’d be surprised how many Avatar fans there are in the world. People try to hide it, but you can’t hide it here. If I could talk to that kid, and that was his legitimate issue with the Mission, I’d tell him to stop focusing on what others are doing, and focus on what you know is the right thing. In terms of people leaving, I’ve heard the statistic of 3% of missionaries leave early, but I also know a good portion of those are for medical reasons or whatever, and they end up returning. I’ve only heard of about three or four missionaries leaving within the group of missionaries I know. The fact is, almost every missionary thinks about leaving at times. It’s only when they dwell on it, however, that it becomes an issue. A lot of times people say that it’s ok to go on a mission if you don’t know it’s true, if you’re just going because it’s expected of you. And yeah, it is a good place to be, but it is so much easier when you make the decision yourself, and you know it’s where you need to be. I feel blessed for the struggles I had with deciding to go on a mission, because it forced me to know it’s true. When I decided to go, it
was that -- my decision. And because of that, when I start thinking about how hard it is, I remember how much God loves me, and how much he wants to help, and I remember that I’m doing this because I know it’s where I need to be. Get that knowledge. Engage life, engage the Gospel. Don’t live going through the motions, and being acted upon. Seek the truth yourself. Stop relying on others to tell you what’s what. The Lord has provided the church, the scriptures, prayer, all for the purpose of gaining knowledge for yourself. So use those tools!!
I hope you all are doing well at home. I’m jealous you get to be with Elaina and Austin. They sound like so much fun! Tell them I love them so much. Oh and thanks for protecting my guitars and Dwight. I know their in good hands!
Take care, tell me how everything is going back home! I want to hear about dad’s calling! Keep
going, keep reading the scriptures. The Lord loves YOU, individually, personally, completely.
Love Elder Avram Twitchell

11/1/11 Oi Familia! Tudo Bem?

Oi Familia! Tudo Bem?
Wow, so I got tons of mail yesterday! I got three dear Elders, two normal
letters, and everyone else in my district got a letter from Mom! They loved
that! That was so thoughtful, thank you.
I'm glad you've been taking my suggestion for journal writing. It's been
something that's really helped me out, and I enjoy looking back. I don't know,
it's just a good thing to do, especially if you don't think anything good
happened that day.
I'm also glad that you look forward to my letters! I love getting your letters
too. And I try to put in as much detail as possible into the stuff I write, so
you kind of know what I’m up to. So, I’ll be trying to answer some of your
The speakers at devotionals:
There have been really amazing speakers here. I don't think i have been to a
Devotional or Fireside that has been so-so. We've only had on Apostle though,
Richard G. Scott. He was great, he taught about how important it is to record
personal revelation we receive. he encouraged us all to carry around a little
notebook to record any promptings or ideas that we received through the spirit.
It was a really cool, and interesting, talk
My favorite by far, though, was this past Wednesday, on 10/30. It was Brother
Robert P. Swensen, who is the director of missionary services or something. He
basically oversees the process when missionaries are called to their missions.
He gave the most amazing talk about bearing powerful testimony. You can't THINK
you know, you can't HOPE to know. You just have to KNOW when you're bearing
your testimony. It was sweet. And at the beginning of the Talk, when they were
introducing Brother Swensen, they said that he served in Curitiba, Brazil,
and was a Mission President there! When they said that, our little four person
district applauded silently, which Brother Swensen noticed. So, when he got up
to talk, he talked a little to us, and how much we were going to love Curitiba,
and a few times throughout his talk, he directed his words specifically to us.
It was soooo cool, I felt like it was such a personalized message for us. After
the talk, Elder Trevisanut, Barkdull, and I all went up to shake his hand. We
told him that we were the ones going to Curitiba, and he got SOOOO excited. He
literally had no words to describe how excited he was. He just said, "You’re
going to Love it! It's the best! It's the Best! It's just... the Best!"
lol, it was so funny, and it got us all super excited! I just wanna gooooo!
My schedule.
I thought I already described my schedule a bit? Oh well, I will talk about it
a little again.
We get up at 6:30 every morning, and get ready. Typically between 6:30 and 8 we
have some sort of daily planning session or personal study time. At 8 is
breakfast. What happens between 8:30 AM and 12:45 PM, 1:45 PM to 5:45 PM, and
6:30 PM to 9:30 PM changes every day, but we have the same activities every
day. It's always 6 hours of class instruction, 1 hour of language study, 1 hour
of gym, and 1-2 hours of personal study. So, typically we're in the classroom
for about 8-10 hours every day. It can get kind of rough, but for the most part
it's ok. And the Classroom instruction time is usually pretty fun, we're
typically teaching or learning the language, which are both invigorating. At
9:30, we go back to the residence Hall, and from 9:30 to 10:30 is our time to
do everything else we need to do: brush teeth, shine shoes, write in journal,
write family, read letters, etc.. It's really hard to get to bed right on
Do we talk with people on,
Nope. We do not do that.
Is the food good?
I don't know who told you it is good. It's not Horrible. But it cannot possibly
be categorized as good. I've kind of gotten to the point where I KNOW what is
going to kill my stomach and make me feel horrible, and what i can digest successfully,
so it's not so bad anymore. But for like the first two weeks, I would
accidently eat something that is not good at all. For example, the fruit here. The
fruit is almost always not good. I miss fruit. :( oh well. They occasionally
have some pretty good dishes here though, so it's not all horrible. I have
noticed that I’ve been eating less and less though. I started off eating two
and a half plates of food. Now I usually eat just short of one. It's not like I’m
starving either. I'm fine. It's just... food is not appetizing to me here.
When we first got here, I believe we had about 400 Missionaries headed to
Brazil? But now it's definitely diminished. One week we had like 100 Visas
come. If I had to guess, I’d say we have about... 100 to 200 Brazilian
missionaries here right now? But that guess really has no concrete evidence to
back it up, so I’m probably wrong. Also, we're supposed to be getting a ton of
Brazil Missionaries tomorrow, so we'll see. O trabalho esta progedindo, esta e
com certa.
You were so right when you said I’d enjoy the smaller district more. I feel
like I’ve gotten waaaay more out of my lessons now. It's mostly because
everyone in our district--Elders Barkdull, Trevisanut, Sister Patton, and
I--all are about the same level in Portuguese. Whenever I teach with them, I
typically don't have to worry about what they're going to say: they know how to
speak correctly for the most part, and they can say meaningful things in
Portuguese. Because of this, our teachers have been more challenging for us,
both during Language lessons, and when we teach them as investigators. Also,
instead of focusing on speaking the language during our coaching missionary
study, we've been focusing on the actual content of our Lessons, which is a
really good place to be. It's just a really exciting time, we're all so anxious
to get out to the field and teach for real! We know we're going to be horrible
when we actually have to teach real people, but that's ok. We just want to test
what we've learned.
So, that's why I’m soooo excited about my Visa! It should be coming anytime in
the next week, because that's typically the time frame they give to missionaries
who’s Visas are ready or whatever. I can't wait, I want to go to Brazil! Right
now. I'm really feeling like it's my time to go! Obviously, I might be waiting
longer, but I have a good feeling about it.
Olpin hasn't gotten his yet, as far as I know, nor Elder Morrey. Elder
Nethercott hasn't gotten his yet, either. I think he gets reassigned next week.
Hopefully they all get it soon, they deserve it more than I do.
It sounds like a lot of crazy stuff is going on down there!
What's the Basketball clinic that Landon is doing? That sounds like a ton of
fun. I would say that I have a Volleyball clinic here, of sorts. Elder Barkdull
played volleyball in High School, so he's been teaching me how to get better. I
can now spike the ball if someone sets me really good. Lately, we've been
playing Volleyball with some Tongans during Gym time. It's so legit! They’re
crazzzzy! They just loooove the big hits, so they do whatever it takes to set
someone up with the ball. So, when i play with them i get some pretty good
hits. My personal favorite was this one time, I was on the left side of the
net, and Elder Trevisanut was on the other team, right across from me. This
Tongan set me the ball, and I went up to spike it. Trevisanut jumped up to
block me, but... I slammed the ball, and it hit him in the Head and bounced off
out of bounds. That's one point for Twitchell. It was so funny, the Tongans
were dying with laughter. hahah.
That's so funny about the fruit. Lena probably thinks you guys are the worst.
Stealing all of her fruit. haha. Have things with her gotten any better, or is
she still angry at us?
Autumn, I’m glad you're still watching Office. That's very good. But what is
this Vampire Diaries shenanigans? Come on, i thought you were better than that
:P I can't believe a sister of mine is watching a television show that is a
spin-off of the worst series ever: Twilight. There is still a chance for your
soul, though. If you stop watching Vampire Diaries immediately, and watch
Avatar instead, I promise your life will be blessed :)
Speaking of Avatar... That little kid was sooooo cooool!!!! What the heck! I
want to meet him! If only I was a fraction as cool as that kid! It sounds like
you guys had a good Halloween! I'm glad! The party sounded cool, and the actual
Halloween day seems fun, too. It's cool that people still do Halloween down
I had a pretty good Halloween myself. I brought all of the Salt water Taffy
that I got and shared it with my District and Teachers during class Monday
night. Oh, and I didn't open your Halloween package until last night, I hope
you are proud. Those little fruit nuggets things or whatever were sooo good! I
was not expecting that! And the rest of the candy was great, too. Thanks!
Oh, and don't think that we didn't have a costume party. between 9:30 to 10, it
was a costume contest in our residence hall. We all just used random items in
our rooms for costumes--blankets, sheets, pillowcases, jackets, ties, etc.. I
was Neo, from Matrix, because I have that Big black coat, and Trevisanut had a
pair of sunglasses. So, I looked just like him. Barkdull was Darthvader: he has
a pillowcase with Darth Vader on it, so he wrapped it around himself, and then
put on all black. It was legit. There were also a couple of missionaries that
wore these blankets (and that's it) and then put some towels around their
heads, and voila, they were Egyptians. More specifically, Moses and Pharoah
from Prince of Egypt. It was legit. I got a picture of it,
but I realized this morning it was kind of blurry. I'll still send it, but it's
not that great of a picture.
THAT'S SO COOL ABOUT DAD'S CALLING!!!! What!!? I love the subtle blessings in
life, but you have to love it even more when you see a direct answer to a
prayer! Second Councilor in the Bishopric! That's pretty high up! That's high
enough in Church organization that Unrighteous Dominion actually matters. Good
work! I will take all blame for this calling. I'm ok with that. It sounds like you’re
going to be in over your head, dad, which is the only real way to do a calling:
when you have no idea what you're doing or how you're going to succeed. That
forces you to humble yourself and turn to the Lord. What a great opportunity!
I guess I’ll be praying even more for you now, dad :)
I love that Bishop Hoggan asked you guys to read the BOM. I know that it will
bless your lives if you read it every day. I agree with him too, you should put
aside reading other things, and focus on the BOM. That doesn't mean not read
the Old Testament, though. It's just that the BOM is so clear, and invites the
spirit so much, that you kind of have to pay more attention to it. I remember
when I first got here, I was reading through the New Testament, and planned on
continuing to read in it. But, they discouraged us from spending too much time
in it, and focus instead in the BOM. It was hard at first, but I’ve realized
how amazing the BOM is. I haven't quite on the New Testament, because it often
goes into subjects a lot deeper, and it can at times be a source of
clarification. But, when you get right down to it, the BOM is the most correct
book on earth, and you spend a lot of time reading it.
I hope you guys are having a good time, and are staying true to the Faith.
That's fun that Amber is coming down. Tell her I say hi! And Elaina and Austin
too! That's so cool how smart and faithful little Elaina is! You just know
she's going to be an amazing person when she grows up. It kind of reminds me of
this scripture I just read in Alma. I can't remember the Reference, but it's
when Alma is talking to his son, Helaman, and he says that if you teach your
children to walk in love and righteousness, they'll be blessed forever. I
definitely think Elaina is off to a good start!
Well, I think I have to go, I’m like ten minutes over my time. I'm going to
write Joylyn real quick. Keep reading, keep praying, keep pondering. God is
listening, always, and is planning out a path for you, more personalized than
you can even know!
Elder Avram Twitchell