Oi family and amigos!
Wow, the days have been long, but this past week has flown by like crazy. Being here in the CTM (Missionary Training Center in Portugues) has been such a blessing and I am SO glad my visa was able to come through so I could report here. The Provo MTC is wonderful as well, but here, I am completely immersed in Portugues and so I feel as though that's helping me learn the language a lot more quickly. Knowing Spanish has also helped a ton, so thank you if you're reading, Gundaroo and Profesor Cetz. I wouldn't be learning how I'm learning now without your help.
A few quick things. . . I'm still learning how to use these keyboards. My Preparation Days areand to answer some questions, I get to attend the temple here in Sao Paulo mornings. It is a beautiful temple--so big and just gorgeous. Also P-Days are the only days I'm allowed to take pictures, but I can't send any through e-mail. We do get to explore Sao Paulo within a certain boundary on P-Days though, so that's really fun (no pictures though so we don't look like tourists). The food here is iiiiincredibly delicious. I don't know what it is most of the time, but I just go with it and it usually turns out to be really good. Actually, it's so good that I've just been grabbing everything they have out. I should probably stop doing that though because I'm gaining some kilos!
Here's some news for the Ringger family--I found Sister Smith! She left for the field yesterday morning, but I was able to get a picture with her. She actually turned out to be my sister leader in our residence hall and I love her. I hope I can know Portugues as well as she does when I leave the CTM. And she says hello to all of you. She had nothing but good things to say about each of you!
Okay, to those of you who might care, my daily schedule varies depending on the day, but I usually get up at, study for an hour, eat breakfast, study more, work out, eat lunch, study more, eat dinner, study and teach a lesson, plan and then go to bed. Here's something incredible--on our first full day here, my companion and I taught a lesson to a "pesquisador " for 30 minutes in full Portugues. The second night, we went over time with 45 minutes and ever since then, have only gotten better. Since day one, our prayers have also been in complete Portugues. It incredible how much of a miracle learning the language has been.
Most of the people here are Brazilian or Spanish, so I've somehow managed to make a lot of friends through speaking Portugues. They're all so amazing though and every single missionary here is super friendly and patient with those of us who have horrible gringo accents. I seriously love them all so much. I'm so glad I'm here!
The weather here has been really nice. We're just getting out of rainy season, so it usually pours at night and then is warm in the day time. Not too hot, not too cold, not at all like Maceio is going to be, but perfect! I've also been able to celebrate Christmas in a few ways (Noelle haha). One of our sisters in our district has twinkle lights that remind me of my favorite season. And I've gotten our district and another to sing Christmas hymns twice now. It's fantastic!
Derek Morgan, if you're reading this, one of the elders I met up with at the airport is the blonde version of you. It's crazy.
Sorry I sound so scatter-brained, but time is running out! I think that's all for now though. I do have a quotation that I'd like to share from Elder Holland, one of the twelve apostles of our church. "You don't have the right to be any less of a missionary than what little children think you are. . . don't let them down." I've actually been telling myself something along the lines of this throughout the entire week. Every time I think of this quote, it reminds me of my brothers, sisters, cousins, my wonderful primary class, and every other child I know. And I think "child" can also be replaced with parents, or grandparents, or leaders or family or friends as well. Basically, I'm trying to be the best possible missionary that I can be because I don't want to let any of you down, or our Heavenly Father down. Eu seu que este evangelho e verdadeiro e que O Livro de Mormon e de Deus. Seu grato por meu familia e a oportunidade estar aqui com as pessoas de Brasil. I know that this gospel is true and The Book of Mormon is of God. I'm grateful for my family and the opportunity to be here with the people of Brazil. You guys are amazing. Thank you for your support and prayers. I feel them every day and can't wait to continue in this work. Hurrah for Israel!
Tchau com amor,