November 8, 2011
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