I am doing well here in Brazil, not just surviving.
Some highlights of this last week:
Elder Richard G. Scott came and spoke to us last Friday! You’ll probably be surprised to know that he’s pretty short - around 5 foot 7. Also, you won’t be surprised to know that he’s an incredibly spiritual man. It absolutely emanates from him, and it was awesome to be in his presence.
I also got to direct the choir twice!!! Once on Tuesday for the Devotional and again on Friday. It was absolutely amazing!! I was actually not nervous for several reasons - first, we prepared a lot. Most people here just try to throw something together in the last hour they have before the program starts, but not I. We practiced well beforehand and I stressed about what to do, and when it came time to actually practice, it seemed to just flow together perfectly. I felt the Spirit immensely, and I know that those who sang and those who heard did as well. I could literally see their testimonies on their faces as they sang - amazing.
Also, Elder Jay Jenson of the presidency of the 70 spoke to us, and his whole talk was about how hymns bring the Spirit - woohoo!! It was a very awesome experience, and I felt like I was at home up there, in front of everyone. They listened to me, did what I said, and we were all edified together.
I have developed how a theory on how to lead, so see if you agree: first, love the people. Second, love what you do. Third, take responsibility - you ARE the boss, and they must know and recognize that. When those three things are present, the people will feel that they are loved, that you sincerely care about them and also what is happening, and also that you know what you’re doing (or at least look like it :)) and are running the show. I really, really enjoyed that experience. I’ve also been able to play the piano several times for the choir/sacrament/etc. , and I´m singing a solo/duet with Elder Monson (I know; he is related) on Sunday for the mission conference meeting. It’s been great to be able to use these things that I love to do so much and with such variety.
I also need to bring back a copy of the Brazilian National Anthem - one crazy song. Tell Ali to learn that one.
Talked to one of our Zone leaders (a teacher) here about some people that are a slight concern at times, and got some excellent feedback on how I’m doing as a DL. He’s extremely sarcastic and funny and reminds me a lot of Papa Bear Brown. Anyway, he told me that I’m doing really well as the DL, which was a relief to hear, and that it’s good to see someone that genuinely cares about the people, something I’ve been working hard on here.
One thing I would suggest to everyone at home or otherwise is this: if you’re learning a language like me, say a prayer in that language. If you can, say the whole prayer, and if you can only do a little bit, say a little then end it.
Next, say another separate prayer for those whom you love - the prophet, your family, friends, dog, etc.
LAST, pray for yourself and what you want to improve on. Pray specifically for Christlike attributes and then, after you pray for it, make a covenant with your Heavenly Father. Promise Him that you’ll do something for Him and ask for that specific blessing.
I PROMISE that as you are faithful in keeping these special covenants that your sincere desires will not go unanswered. Also remember this: our time is not the Lord´s concern- we need to be concerned with His timeline.
Last, after you are finished praying, WAIT and LISTEN. You will receive more personal revelation, comfort, and peace in this manner when praying in the peace of the night, during your special time with your Heavenly Father.
Class is going well - I’m doing well in Português and getting better daily. I’m actually thinking a lot about being a linguist/international business major when I get back, just because I enjoy learning the language and feeling intelligent in that way. Maybe I could be fluent in 4 languages someday - English, Portuguese, German, and Spanish. If I could do that, I would be very pleased.
How is BYU Football doing? Have they given up yet?
How is the family? I heard that Peter is doing wrestling- awesome! Now he’ll stand a chance when I get back :) Just kidding, just be careful how much you feed the machine - you might create a monster. How is Ali´s SAT and choir and school stuff going? How tall are Julie and Kathryn now? Do we have a job yet?
I love you all so much, and love reading your letters. Thanks for being supportive in so many ways - I can literally feel the blessings of your prayers.
2 more weeks here!!! AAAAHHHH!!!
Love you all; work hard, smile often, pray always.