Now I don~´t have very much time, so this might be a little shorter than all of us would like, but here goes: As I think I mentioned, I was called to be the district leader here for my district, which instead of being an overbearing responsibility has been a tremendous blessing. I get to interview people and see how they´re doing, which gives me a chance to feel of their spirit. I also committed myself to praying for each member of my district, my family, and friends each night, which has been immensely rewarding. It´s so nice to know that Heavenly Father has time to listen to all of us for however long we need to talk, about whatever is on our minds.
Brazil is sooo cool. It´s like a different country here! Seriously, even if everyone was white and it was all in English you would know you weren´t in America, and I love it even more specifically because not everyone is white and rich. There are lots of really humble people here who come from really humble circumstances, and it gives me such great motivation to teach them about the Gospel. Today being Pday, we got to walk around and see some more of the city, explore a bit. It´s so cool and slightly weird to see a small Asian-looking girl spouting rapid Português.
I got my first haircut today from probably the coolest Brazilian I´ve met so far. He was singing opera and asking me questions in Português (most of which I could actually understand), and that was great. The whole haircut took about 5 minutes, which was impressive. Plus now, according to my companion, I look like a Nazi. Woohoo. I got to accompany the choir yesterday, which sang A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. When I first started to play the music I was actually very frustrated and embarrassed because I wasn´t playing it as well as I thought I should be able to. After a while of feeling sorry for myself, I said a small prayer to be able to convey the Spirit through the song, not just make myself sound good at the piano. I noticed an instant improvement, and the performance went very well. Just another instance where the Spirit has been comforting according to my specific needs.
Today we get chocolate banana pizza! It is the best food. Period.
Also I got a bag for about 20 bucks that is like a small packpack just for your scriptures and other small stuff; it ahs my name and a symbol of Curitiba on it (two missionaries harvesting wheat, like D&C 4).
The CTM has been so dang good. The only difficult part about it is the language now, and even that is going well, though we dont´t exactly feel like we´re so great all the time - quite the contrary. We had the opportunity to teach Brazilians the first lesson yesterday and it was extremely humbling - I felt like I didn´t know any Português and it took forever, but we did it and it´ll help us in the long run. We´re all working really hard to learn the language, and it feels like we´re drinking from a firehose or swimming with flippers made of brick - tough to stay above water.
We´re surviving, though, and taking it one step at a time. I think that´s the only way to do it, honestly - one day at a time. Otherwise you´ll go crazy, with all the work we do. I also keep getting the feeling that I could be working harder, but looking back I know that I´m working as hard as I can; I will, however, keep improving so as to raise the bar higher, as it were. I´m pretty tired today, but I´ve actually had no problems getting up on time and helping the others get up on time and get to bed on time - again with the District Leader stuff. It´s been so nice to have that responsibility because of the trust and the extra spirit that it brings between our Heavenly Father and I. It´s been such a wonderful blessing, and though I won´t focus on leadership and the things which really don´t matter, I find myself yearning to do even more. I´ll just take it as it comes, I suppose.
Eu sei que Jesus Cristo é um Profeta de Deus. Eu sei que Joseph Smith foi chamou ser um profeta por disse dispensação. Eu sei que O Livro de Mormon é verdadeiro.
All my love,
Friday, September 25, 2009
Well, the good news is that Elder Brown made it safely to the mission field. Unfortunately, he was shot 56 times in the head with an assault rifle. Fortunately, due to his enormous brain, he´s just fine.
In all seriousness, the CTM (no I didn´t spell it wrong, that´s the name) is probably the best place ever, other than heaven. The first day we got here was one of the best of my life - orientation, unpacking and meeting the companions, eating (suuuch good food), volleyball, and studying the scriptures. Life surely doesn´t get better than that.
Unfortunately, that was by the far the easiest day we´ve had here. Every other day has been absolutely pedal to the metal, studying Portuguese and how to teach the Gospel almost like a full-time job - like 8 hours a day. That´s been more than a little taxing mentally and physically (especially since I live on the 6th floor and going up the stairs is going to insure an Elder Brown with a very sculpted buttocks), but every second has been absolutely worth it. I´m finally feeling like I can do this, I can learn Portuguese without dying first.
Ok, every email I write will include a quick lesson, so here´s the first
one: thank you = obrigado. It´s used so much that I found myself used to it before I even got off the plane. This has been Portuguese time with Elder Brown. Todo bém! (which means everything from all is well to are you ok...very useful). So I´m sure you already have received the letter from my first night by now, but if not here´s my address for the MTC (if it´s wrong on Facebook have Mommy or Ali update it, please):
Elder Jacob Alexander Brown
Box 31, District 37 B
Brazil Curitiba Mission
Rua Padre Antõnio D´Angelo, 121
Casa Verde, São Paulo, SP
Well, to be honest, it´s not really fair that they only give us 30 minutes, but my typing has been pretty good lately so I´ll do my best to include the important stuff this last week. First of all, we were separated into districts; there was a little confusion because there were a few guys like me who were supposed to come on the 9th but ended up here on the 16th, so we will be at the MTC for one less week and our district has been here a week longer than us. Instead of being difficult to catch up with those Elders and Sisters, both in Portuguese and in the social aspect, we´ve all grown very close in the week that we´ve known each other. My companion is Elder Lott, and he´s a stud from Idaho who Ali would definitely have a crush on. The other guys in my room are Elder Hardy from Layton, Utah (easygoing guy who likes sports like me) and Elder Beckstrand (really nice guy with a big heart
- also a breakdancer, which in Utah they call "b-boy", which I admit is a little too gangsta for me...still cool though). They´ve been a great blessing to me because of their faithfulness and desires to keep the rules and work hard - it´s a great district. I was called to be the District Leader and that has been a huge blessing in and of itself - I get to have individual interviews with each member of the district and I´ve been so excited to be able to serve these great people in any way that I can. I´m just mainly trying to be the best example I can, work my guts out on the language and learning how to teach the lessons, serve the district, and more importantly, serve the Lord my very best. I can honestly say that I haven´t wasted a day here, and I don´t plan to change that anytime soon.
In short, it´s been very busy, very overwhelming, and very slave-labor-y, but it´s almost been one of the best weeks of my life because of what we´re
doing: serving the Lord. I want all who read this to know that I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that this is His Gospel and His church. I know that we can be happier by abiding its principles and rules than by any other way. I love you all with all of my heart, and though I know we miss each other, I´m doing exactly what I´m supposed to be doing.
All my love,
P.S. send me letters! Please!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Dear missionary families,
Attached are some picture of your missionary taken at the Sao Paulo Temple last Wednesday. My husband and I are also missionaries and have the privilege of serving in a branch presidency at the CTM on Sundays. We have loved being with this fine group of elders & sisters. They are going to be great representatives of our Savior.