So this week was really cool for a few reasons. And we learned a lot of fun stuff. First off: Elder Merrill and I were called as Zone Leaders* on Sunday, so that’s super fun! Also, fun fact, in Portuguese, if a word starts with an R, the R makes an H sound. So "rugby" becomes "hugby." Hugby does not sound as frightening as does Rugby. Also, we went to the temple today, woot! We also listened to a General Authority speak to us and went proselyting for reals. Also we fasted from speaking English for a whole day as a district which was super hard. We did it though and had fun! God wants us all speaking Portuguese anyway haha.
We all know about enough Portuguese to get ourselves into trouble. We’re really good at nodding and saying "Sim" to the instructors here when they talk to us too quickly, and half the time we don’t have any idea what we’re agreeing to hahaha. Nothing totally bad has happened yet; knock on wood. We’re at the point where we can pretty much understand most of what people say to us, only we don’t have the vocabulary to fully respond to people so we do a lot of nodding and saying “Sim” (yes; pronounced like ‘seeng’”). We’re also good at saying “Tudo Bem?” (all good?) to which one responds with “Tudo Bem!” (All good!) Some words here are a mouthful, like “ressurreição,” pronounced “heh-soo-hey-sou.” I personally like the word “feijoada,” which is a delicious food thing. The language is super sweet and now we’re starting grammar lessons so we can speak like real Brazilians.
This week we were all slaving away studying when we heard that someone exciting was gonna be the devotional speaker on Tuesday night. We heard this on Saturday, so there was a lot of anticipation for it. Tuesday came, and the speaker was Elder Claudio Costa, Presidente of the Brazil Area. It was super cool! He’s super funny. He counseled us about the importance of listening to and following the Spirit. It was great.
On Wednesday afternoon we went proselyting at a big bus stop in downtown São Paulo (downtown is really relative here cause the city is so huge haha). We practiced up our best Portuguese and did all we could to get ready for not understanding a thing, but Elder Merrill and I actually did really well. We placed our copies of Livros de Mórmon (we each had 3) in about 15 minutes and invited people to read. Then we didn’t know what to do, so we taught The Restoration, Plan of Salvation, and Gospel of Christ for another two hours to people. One man said he wanted to be baptized too! It was super cool. I found myself saying words in Portuguese I’d probably heard before, but didn’t really know them well, you know? The words were just put in our mouths when we needed them so we could teach what each person needed to hear. The Brazilians are so open and interested in talking about Christ, and people know the missionaries really well. On the bus ride to the bus stop, we had some confusion about who had the magical card that could get us off the bus (you can get on the buses just fine here, but you have to swipe a card to get off). When we got to where we needed to go, the bus driver looked back and said, "Elderes e Sisteres!" and we were all thinking, "Thank goodness! A church member is gonna help us out!" He helped us out, and we were able to talk with him for about ten minutes about the US because his daughter lives in Salt Lake City, UT. Turns out he wasn’t a member of our church, so I gave him a Livro de Mórmon and he said he was gonna go read it. And all that communication with him was in Portuguese too, so that was cool!
Our instructor Irmão Severo brought his first ever Livro de Mórmon to class two days ago; it was about 15 years old. He was a convert to the church in 2000 when he was 8. The missionaries who initially taught his family gave him his own copy; and they all wrote their testimonies in it and we could tell it meant a lot to him. He served a mission in Brazil and was telling us how the gospel of Jesus Christ means so much to people, and how it can change their lives. It was really cool to see his testimony just by him holding a book that meant so much to him.
So another really fun part of the MTC is translations. We often try to translate American jokes with Brazilians at meals and it’s something else. They don’t always work but we all laugh really hard because we don’t make any sense to each other. Many Brazilian elders here speak some English from learning it in school, so it’s fun. On Sundays after church, we have Filme, which is when all the missionaries get together in the auditorium and watch Meet the Mormons, or The Testaments, or things like that. We don’t always understand what’s going on, but we try to laugh when all the Brazilians do ’cause the films are obviously in Portuguese since there are far more Brazilians -- and we’re here in Brazil.
Also, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this, but for some lucky reason, the President of the MTC, Presidente Swensen, teaches the Americans in the Gospel Doctrine class on Sundays! It’s super cool, we learn a lot, and it’s a blessing.
Well, that’s about it for this week. I can’t believe I’ll have been here for a month on Wednesday. This has literally been the fastest month of my life and one of the most fun ones as well. I can’t wait to hear from ya'll next week; love you!
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* We coordinate with the districts, assign people to play piano and such for Sacrament meeting, and report to the Branch President about how things are going in our zone. We also check on the other districts to make sure they have everything all right, and welcome the new people!