Oi! Como vai!!!?? Tudo Bem!!! Hello Everyone! I am so excited to finally be writing to you all! My P-Day's are Tuesdays, and I have been looking forward to it! Where do I even begin!? There is so much!
I absolutely LOVE being a missionary! And I love the MTC; (CTM in Portuguese). It is incredible. The spirit is ever present, strengthening and uplifting. I love how friendly everyone is here and being greeted in numerous languages.
I also really appreciate the structure and order. I thought it was going to be a hard adjustment but it happened more easily than expected. The first and second days flew by so fast! Sunday came in the blink of an eye. I can't believe it will be one week tomorrow! That is amazing.
We are just so busy here; we don't even have time to think about anything else! My thinking time is usually when I am trying to fall asleep. For the first time in my life I have trouble falling asleep!!! (Those who know me know I can sleep anywhere; anytime. Ha ha!)
It is when the day comes to a close, I am thinking of you all and how much I miss you. And I do miss you, so very much. I am also very grateful I decided to serve a mission. I am so happy. I am learning so much and feel very productive.
I'm in a Portuguese District and Zone. (Zone 70- District D). There are 8 sisters and 3 elders in my District. We are all going to Brazil and we are all ‘Visa waiters’. This was explained to us in other terms saying we are guests at the MTC (since we were supposed to go to the CTM in Brazil). In other words we are being worked into the MTC schedules.
We have an odd meal schedule. Breakfast: 6:30am, Lunch: 11:00am, Dinner: 4:00pm. I thought I was going to be waking up at 6:30am; but I guess not!! It has been fine though. I adjusted with no problem.
My companions name is Sister Downs. SHE IS AMAZING! I am sooooo blessed to have her as my companion. We work so well together. We both want to be the best missionaries possible and it is so helpful to have someone with the same goals. The first day she turned to me and said, "Sister Edwards, I want to learn Portuguese, and I am going to do whatever it takes. Are you with me?" "YES!" Ah, I am so grateful for her. I love her! She is from Kayesville, Utah and is 21. I am the only one going to Londrina! We have asked pretty much everyone going to Brazil and so far I am the only one! I hope I can find someone!
As for the Portuguese- oh my goodness! The very first hour I was here, was the first class. It is coming along really well, it is incredible. I have already taught 3 lessons in Portuguese. I had no idea how muchSpanish I actually know because it is helping me tremendously and… also messing me up a lot. I talk span-portu-glish. ;) Sister Downs and I have made a goal to use the language as much as we can.
I have never thought so much about what I am going to say. We will be walking to dinner and I have to think about how I am going to say, "That was a great class" or "I am hungry." I also realized we use so much slang in English. I can pray in Portuguese and bear my testimony (simply- but it is progress!) I am really excited for it to come! On Sunday in testimony meeting, missionaries who have been here for 3 weeks got up and could just speak smoothly. We sit with them at meals and converse in Portuguese. It is awesome! I can't wait! It gives me a lot of hope. Side note: The food here is delicious! There is so much and yeah…enough said :)
My branch President's name is Pres Nielson. He is a great man. I had an interview with him and he is very full of love. I love the attitudes of the leaders and teachers at the MTC. They just love, encourage, excite and affirm you.
Sunday was probably my favorite day so far. It was fast Sunday so we had a lot of time to study since we had no meals to go to. It was great to be able to have time for personal study because so much of our study time is used for studying Portuguese lessons we are preparing to teach. Significant time is spent translating and learning right now. So it was great to do stuff in English on Sunday. Then we had mission conference. INCREDIBLE! I loved every talk. Here are some notes on from the talks:
-Our relationship with Jesus Christ is so sacred. He was our brother in the pre-existence, and now He is our Savior and our Lord. It is so important to reverently worship him in all we do; especially in our language. We should not think we bring Christ down to our level to get closer to him. We must rise up to him and become like him. He is not a man- he is a God. He is our Savior. We owe everything to him.
-"If you are going to live in a tent in the wilderness you are going to need a liahona!" (compass) Be prepared and gain a firm testimony. You are going to need to rely on it and your obedience for direction where ever you go in life.
-Become a "preach my gospel missionary." President Roach talked about the history and development of Preach my Gospel and how to effectively use it. He also showed us how they use to teach discussions with felt boards. That reminded me of when we were younger.
Times do change and progression is essential. Teaching by the Spirit and teaching to the needs of the investigator is so important. I challenge you all to begin to read Preach my Gospel. It is an incredible book every member missionary should read! aka everyone :)
-Endure to the END (Forever)
Then later that night we had a devotional from Ted Gibbons. Google him! He is a very inspiring man! He got up on the stage and began telling the story of Willard Richards (Pretending that he was Willard). It was beautiful. This was probably the strongest I felt the spirit my whole time here.
My testimony of Joseph Smith has grown tremendously. I know he was a prophet of God. I know it with all of my heart and being. We all sang praise to the man after hearing the story. I couldn't help but choke up with tears. The line "Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven" stood out to me especially. I know that so much of our life in the gospel is sacrifice.
Just before the devotional I was thinking about what I might be doing if I wasn't here right now. (Probably be in my YSA ward or spending time with Brayden and his family). I felt really homesick. Then I heard and sang that line from the hymn, and… I know that every sacrifice we make will bring forth the blessings of Heaven. I know this is where I am supposed to be. I know I am supposed to serve a mission and I love doing it!
Note to: Rebecca, Jessica, Jeffrey and Ryan! Get ready for the best thing EVER! It really has been life changing and it is only the first week. I look forward to so much! Please keep in touch! Written letters would be amazing! Emails; too. I'd love to hear from you! Thank you, Mom and Dad for the letters and pkg.
My mission is May 29, 2013 - November 25, 2014. I am going to make the most of it. I may be reassigned to a different mission on July 8, when I leave the MTC, until my Visa goes through. I will let you all know!
Okay time is up. I love you all so very much and hope life is going well for you! I pray for you every night!Hope to hear from you soon! Tchau!!!
Love, Sister Edwards