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

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