Monday, July 25, 2011

No toil nor labor fear

Dear Mom and Dad and everyone else:

Happy pioneer day! I have recieved many thoughts about our ancestors both in the MTC and in emails today. I miss this holiday more than I missed the 4th! I keep telling elders in my district how cool the parade is, but really this is a great holiday I can't wait to tell people about in Brazil. NO more visa work. Patience.

As a recap of my week:
I sure am spoiled! In the last two weeks I have recieved packages from Grandma, Aunite Kristin, Mom and Taci. I am spoiled and my district loves you all! thank you thank you! On the days that I just can't take another minute of Portuguese, I remember how many people are on my team back at home, and I remember the prayers and support and it all becoms alright again. I can feel how I am sustained. I am so blessed! I can't tell you how much it means to me that I get to be a missionary right now. There were many things to stop me from going, but I am glad I had help to pull through. I need to be here right now, I feel that everyday. I love all the things I get to do, even when I complain and say I don't like it. I really love it.

Let me tell you about the goings on during my past seven days:
Our Zone leaders left for Cape Verde. They are going to do so well! what a bittersweet time, the elders that were experienced when I came to the MTC are now greenies! What? Our branch of 50 sang them off singing in Portuguese. We had a day teaching in the TRC, a volunteer thing where people pretend to be investigators. We BOMBED. It was awful. At least in the field, my inexperience will be compensated by another missionary. Humbled humbled humbled. Oh my. I don't make enough eye contact. I speak too much. I don't expound enough... how does that work? IT was a hard crummy day. But eventually I will be glad that happened in the MTC not in Brazil. Still I didn't enjoy being called out with my companion by our teacher so harshly. Sometimes, I just wonder, I am trying to teach people about CHURCH, how can I do a bad job?

ON Sunday I sang a solo in sacrament meeting, they were desperate for a musical number. We all lived, barely. Singning How Great Thou Art as a soprano at 8am? I lived, and that is accomplishment enough. Anything else new? We are trying to speak Portuguese exclusively. Tough! But when I get to my mission I won't have a choice about it so I better practice now. I am not worried, practice never hurt anybody. Unless you consider sports injury, I hope I am safe. The other day we had the fire alarm go off right before bed, some sweet sister with thick hair was straightening it and there was smoke. There you have it, 4 floors of missionaries evacuated in jammies. Enough newsy bits.

As I continue to be busy, I continue to become more aware of my weakenesses. I can't focus on reading for hours sometimes like i am expected to, I can't study, go to class, speak only Portuguese and not be tired. The day I realized that I by myself am not enough as a missionary was a tough day indeed. What does one do at a time like this? I realized that my Savior makes up the difference. I realized that all I have to do is try. That is what I tell investigators to do - turn your flaws to the Lord and just try everyday. There is so much hope when we fully understand, or just increasingly understand that Merciful Father in Heaven will bless our efforts. I am so glad that I am imperfect, because I really do need divine help and my imperfections soften my heart towards other children of God. I always said that going on a mission would make me tougher. But really, if I do this thing right, I get a softer heart. I have a testimony of this. We need our Savior. I get to spread this hope of my newfound capability to other people.
What a job!

Lots of Love,
Sister Smith

Monday, July 18, 2011

week 3

Hi Howdy Hello!
Life at the MTC must carry on, business as usual. I have been here almost three weeks, wild!
My companion and I remain blissfully unaware of when the final installment of our visa will come through, and thusly I don't even think about repacking. We will most likely be here the whole 9 weeks, considering others who are here still.
In the past week, I have continued to make mistakes in Portuguese and laughed all the way through. I didn't tell a man that his dead wife had it coming to her like another elder did, so I must be improving.
The weather has been warm, but I have actually never known the temperature. So really, how tough have I been while running around outside in the afternoon? Is Teresina going to be small potatoes compared to a July in Utah? Where is Brooke to give me weather updates? I keep thinking how glad I am that I'm not here during the winter, we study outside all of the time, the headcount in the MTC is currently 2600!
I still haven't met another soul preparing to go to Teresina, at this rate, I will be the only blonde on at my zone conferences. I got the inevitable this week: a cold. This is the kind of place were a sneeze is like a dandilion gone to seed. Poof! Sister Ricks and I had our elders give us blessings, for some it was the first healing of the sick they have ever done. It was a great experience and very touching. Thank heavens for the Priesthood, I can tell what a difference it makes.
I got a package from Grandma B, thank you!!! My district loved the cookies, everyone was so excited for PUMPKIN:) Every Sunday after the fireside, our branch watches a movie from media library and we share our snacks from packages. My grandmother is a popular woman. yesterday we watched the 2010 christmas devotional. The holidays are going to kick my trash! But I have to say, hearing the voice of the Prophet makes me feel at home no matter where I am. I love President Monson. I read that my accepting my mission call is a way of sustaining him, that made me feel good, I love sustaining such a great man.
I missed a family party! Sister Ricks has a birthday next week, but how do you surprise a companion who is always with you? I love her and am thankful for her everday. her knowledge of the scriptures is great.
I love telling people about my family, from the large cookoffs to the aluminum christmas tree to costco stories, it is so much fun to explain where I get my "fun" personality.
We, meaning me (I am with someone all the time so often I am a we) just love the opportunites to learn and grow. Practicing teaching the Plan of Salvation in Portuguese in humbling, but thankfully the Spirit knows no language barrier. I jsut have to put all the love I can muster in my smile and tell people how much they are loved and adored by their Maker. What a job!

I love you family!
Have a great week,
Sister Smith

ps. - what did missionaries do for exercise time in the field? I need some ideas, and I am thinking about asking mother for a jump rope for that cardio excersise I am encouraged to do. Ask around for advice, Thanks!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Portuguese Progress

Dear Family,
Thank you for all of the dear elders, letters, and package(momma) There is nothing like a word hug from home, and we can read dear elders and letters everyday! And I like to get more than the elders in my district.
I am in the swing of things, struggling along in Portuguese, It is tough because my companion and I are on different levels and we struggle to work together sometimes. I naturally speak faster so our investigators speak faster and she gets lost, embarrassed and I feel bad. My goal this week is to slow down, focus on helping her rather than trying to progress myself. I am so thankful that they give us a forced 8 hours of rest, even when I can't sleep. Nobody is allowed to bother me!! My companion and roommates are very kind, but my patience needs an 8 hour break too:) Earplugs, pillow over my head and mandatory quiet time? The Lord does love me immensly, and this is one of those tender mercies that I am very aware and thankful for.
My branch has 50 elders, 3 sisters. Great odds for a singles ward activity eh? It is also nice here, we rarely open doors and always get the fun wheely chairs in the classroom.
Almost everyday, we have 6 hours of class, and about 80 percent of it is taught in Portuguese. I understand most of it, and now I am learning how to teach it. We have already taught about the restoration and the plan of salvation. You try to conjugate translate into past tense. There was a new batch of missionaries this week, I am no longer the newbie! Watching them get dropped off was killer hard though. The sisters that came in with me who are going english speaking have less than a week left here. Time flies!
Being around elders all fo the time is a blast from the past. They talk about high school sports, 17 year old girl friends and explosions. They reverence my star wars quoting and college football knowledge, but I still scare them. I always cry when we watch video clips about families being baptized. It is just so beautiful! The temple is awesome! I cry everyday because of something touching, I am giving sisters a bad name:)
Gym time is precious, don't take wearing pants for granted! The gym floor is being refinished this week, so we have been outside on the field. Mid day, right after lunch. this is worse than middle school gym with Mr. Reno. I have a healthy companion who likes to run uphill. We got stuck in one of those freakish 5 minute rainstorms the other day. We were running to get back inside and water got up my nose and I chocked. What am I a chicken?
Here is a nice anecdote for you:
I was contacting in portuguese and asked someone if they wanted a massage about Jesus Christ, rather than a message. I can not live that down in my branch. Then I proceeded to ask a 17 year old if he had a wife and children. I thought he said 27. Save that lesson about eternal families for later.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a missionary. I have been extended and humbled. I have begun a countdown and fallen to my knees to thank my Heavenly Father that I can be here. Uncle Ryan was right: 2500 missionaries singing called to serve is electrifying!

I still haven't worn the same outfit twice... I think I brought too many clothes.
Taci: my compainion respects my scarves- everyone does
Brooke: thanks for your dear elders they are the light of my life
Mom: You dear elders keep me going!

I love you all! Thanks for all the love and support. I pray for my family every day, and remember missionary prayers are extra special:)

love love and more love,
Sister Smith

Monday, July 4, 2011

My first P Day

Dear Family,
I don't have taci or taylor's mailing addresses, just so you know.....
but I sent you both letters care of cleo and mother so look forward to that. The MTC is marvelous. Hard the first day, i am sure my first letter scared you a little bit. but I am doing just fine. My portuguese is coming along great, what a blessing that has been. I bore my testimony in portuguese in my branch yesterday. Many of the elders who have been here four weeks say that my pronunciation is better than theirs. I hope I can stay on top of it.
Thanks for the dear elders, my pday is monday so that is when you should email me... well do it sunday. My first day i got 5 dear elders from all of you and 2 packages. Nann sent me a PRIMO package. I shouldn't be surprised. She is a loving lady. but it was super nice with tons of treats and patriotic what not. I loved it. We did watch the fireworks from the stadium of fire. There was a program beforehand, and 2500 missionaries sand yankee doodle. Kind of surreal. but it was fun. They had a program where everyone cheered for thier mission, I totally cried because I am part of God's task force right now. Incredible.
I love it here. The spirit tells me everyday that I need to be here.
The visa sitch is still up in the air. They say that the online visa is the key, and even if you have that you won't elave provo for 4-6 more weeks. so I am here for a while. nope, haven
t done it yet.
Okay, I must sign off, Love you all! DEAR ELDER. thats all i am saying.