So, I don't have time to write everything to everyone, so this time it's going to be a group email!
Brazil is the coolest place ever! I've been here for 7 days, and I already love the food, the people, and the country! I have an amazing District here and it has been an intense week for us!
We are definitely blessed with the gift of tongues, we're not allowed to speak in English ever, and we go to our language classes from 8am-9pm and it's freaking crazy! We have three teachers and they are fantastic! I think one of them thinks I'm slow haha because for some reason, whenever they're around, Portuguese just leaves me. It definitely tests my patience, but compared to how great Brazil is, I could care less what they think! My other teachers have seen me speak and they don't have any problems about it. We teach three lessons a day, with various language classes between.
Sao Paulo is amazing! We don't see very much of the city, but it is awesome when we do! Karnival was here this week and we could here music playing at the bar down the street when we were in our rooms at night. We definitely didn't celebrate Karnival here haha and one of our teachers wouldn't even let us talk about it. We get four meals a day, and lunch is the main meal here, the food is great!
Turns out, we're a very special group that came into this MTC. I'm part of the first group of missionaries to come into the MTC after serving somewhere else in history. They are bringing more in this week, but we were the first group ever, and they have kept a very close eye on us. The President of the MTC usually talks to us every day if he sees us, and they are always taking pictures and videos of us when we teach or are in class. We asked what they were for and one of our instructors said that the Church is requiring a report on us and our progress every single day. They want pictures and videos, as well as written reports from our instructors and the MTC President. These reports are sent to the following people: Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Russel M. Nelson, Bishop Causee, and other members of the Church Missionary Council! No pressure right?
The Brazilians here in the MTC love Americans! They were practically jumping up and down to get us to eat with then haha and they always want help with English. When we eat with them, it's always a mix of Portuguese and English and it's a blast! Luckily for us, they are very patient, but I've already seen and felt an improvement in my portuguese. To help us improve, we play different games with the instructors when we aren't teaching, and we also speak 24\7. We have played 20 questions and a game similar to headbands (the church version) to help us learn. The other day, we had a devotional, and we sang the Spirit of God in 3 languages (Eng. Span. Port) which was awesome! Everybody only understood their own language, but it was still fun!
My district is fantastic! We have 8 Elders and 3 Sisters, 5 of us are going to Manaus! I am the District Leader which is usually a job nobody wants because it means you have to do a lot more stuff, but I am enjoying it because it has really made me work hard with the language! I think I work better under the pressure, but hopefully I can just be a normal missionary too haha. The Gift of Tongues comes and goes, but I definitely recognize it when it's with me. The hardest thing for me about Portuguese is listening to it. I can say it and I can read it, but listening is hard for me. Most of the time, I can get what people are saying, but some Brazilians talk way too soft or way too fast. Others I can understand perfectly fine! Speaking of the Gift of Tongues, we went to the temple today and they were going to speak Portuguese the whole time from what we could understand, I was praying really hard that I'd be able to have the Gift of Tongues with me, as I did so, I heard a temple worker say, "This session's in English right?" and I could feel that my prayers were answered haha! It was in English because it was only the Americans who were there!
I'm in Sao Paulo until tueaday I think, then I'll be flying to Manaus! Won't talk to you until then I think, so have a great week everybody and know that I'm praying for you always!