Friday, August 7, 2015

One Month

Street view of Missionary Training Center in São Paulo.
Oi! Tudo bem? Hello! We’ve reached the month mark! Woot! Time goes by really quickly and I like the MTC, so I want to stay; it’s a little sad for us to have two weeks left haha.

This week was fairly low key but that is just fine. We fasted from speaking any English from Monday to this morning when we were going need it for our preparation day, and that was exhausting. We’re getting pretty good at Portuguese though, and the Brazilians are telling my companion and I that we have a good accent (though we think they are being nice haha). Here’s a fun word translation: Jardin da infância, which means kindergarten, but translates directly to "garden of infancy."

On Sunday night we had Filme, which is when all the missionaries here get together and watch films in Portuguese of church stuff; this past Sunday we watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. It was cool to watch that because we watched it our first Sunday here and understood slim to nil, but now we understood almost all of it! It was awesome! I even caught some of the jokes made in it so that was a personal victory for me!

The English fast was super hard this week. We need to step up our Portuguese game a bit so we can teach and speak completely when we’re out of the MTC. Elder Merrill and I haven’t been using notes in lessons or anything for two weeks, but we learned more grammar this week, like the subjunctive tenses (Ugh. Should’ve studied them more in Spanish class). However, we started a tally mark game to see who could use the subjunctives the most and that motivated us to try harder. I have expanded my vocabulary quite a bit and I am using words like "inherently" which sound smart ha ha.

Tuesday night we had a devotional talk given by Elder and Sister Hale, who are a senior couple working here at the CTM. They talked about pioneers. Elder Hale, who was a Spanish teacher before the mission, mentioned how we often talk of our pioneer heritage as a completely separate thing from us in the sense that because the pioneers were so strong in their courage and faith that it’s sometimes hard to think we could be like them -- we only see how much stronger they seem to be than we are now. Then he concluded his point by saying that this was not how we should look at history, as something separate and unattainable for us, our pioneer heritage can motivate us to be better, to work a little harder, and gain perspective on how to endure challenges ahead in our own lives from the examples of those before us. The pioneer heritage, past and present is the heritage of the church, and we all can learn from it!

A Spiritual Thought: I’ve developed a love of the Bible Dictionary this past week, and the entry on prayer mentions how many prayers go unanswered because they may be selfish or aren’t asked in Christ’s name or aren’t humbly asking God for help. We use fancy words at times and ask for things we don’t necessarily need or that wouldn’t help other people. When we pray we need to pray only simply -- what we feel in our hearts -- like a child. Those are the most sincere and powerful prayers, and I’m trying to do my best to change how I’m praying!

Well, that was really this whole week. We’ve all been studying and reading and trying to soak in as much as possible with as much sleep when it’s time to. Playing volleyball for exercise saves us, I’ll tell you what. I love you all and will pray for you all too!

Elder Hughes
View across the street from the MTC.
(street views courtesy Google Earth.)

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