I LOVE Brazil! i alrady have 4 mosquito bites, i'm railey ever not sweating, i finally know how to take a luke cold shower instead of a freezing one, i got to bed every night to a chorus of dogs barking below my window, i haven't developed a taste for rice and beans, i'm in a constant state of exhaustion...AND i couln't be more happy!!! i'm a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints serving the Lord and the people of Brazil! Esta muito bem!!!!
the ver first night i got to the CTM i was unpacking my bags when my roommates came in. they greeted me excitedly and i quickly found out that they were all Brazilians and could speak about as much english as i could portuguese! however, with my spanish background and the little bit of portuguese study that i had done before coming to Brazil i was able to speak enough portuguese to communicate with them. as we were kneeling down for roommate prayer that night, a cockroach cam curring out from under one of the beds! all three of my roommates started screaming and stomping at it to try and kill it! i just stood there and calmly watched - i swear it had som orange color on its back! hahaha - that cockroach probably just wanted to welcome me to Brazil! my roommates asked me if i knew how to pray in portuguese and i was happy to inform them that i could!! i was a little nervous and messed up a ton, but after i said, amem, my roommates were all like, ahhhh - i won't lie, i kind of felt like a 2-year old who had just prayed for the first time!! heehee, but i liked it! speaking portugues that first night broke the ice for me and made me even more determind to learn portuguese as quickly as i could. the CTM president on the first day encouraged us to sit with the brazilian missionaries to practice our portuguese and to learn from them. i started doing this immediately, even before i had my first official portuguese class. i began by eating breakfast, lunch, and lanche (snack) with the brazilians and dinner with my district of elders. by sunday i was eating all of my meals with brazilians!!! i can't say or understand a lot, but what i can is enough. i try, and the brazilians love me for it. yesterday a whole table of missionaries shouted excitedly at me when i came into the cafeteria! haha! i could feel the love! i spend 7 hours a day in class learning portugues, but my real learning comes during the random moments when i talk to my brazilian roommates, eat meals with brazilian missionaries, or talk with brazilians in the hallway! the only thing that i can't stand is that there is hardly enough time to talk portuguese AND eat during a meal! haha! the brazilians that i talk to have all been very impressed with how well i can speak and understand already. one elder told me that most americans can't speak as good as me until after 4 weeks of beign in the CTM!! another told me that i didn't even have an american accet! the elders in my district call me 'the wonder kid'! haha! the brazilian CTM also teaches portuguese to missionaries who are from hispanic countries but have been called to Brazilian missions. on thursday we got a bunch of issioanries from argentin, bolivi, and chile!! i sat beside a ssiter from chile and during our conversation we spoke 3 languages - english, spanish, and portuguese! it was AWESOME!!!
one night, i was feeling a little lonely (i don't have a companion yet, and i'm the only sister in my district with 8 other elders...and yes, this means i spend about 8-9 hours everyday with the same 8 elders...then, on top of this my roommates don't speak english, so i was feeling a lack of that necessary time every girl needs to simply talk with another girl)! anyway, as i was heading to my room for the night, i stopped to talk with a brazilian sister missionary who had arrived on thursday. i asked her where she was from and she said, salvador. i then asked her if she knew a Sis Petty. she got super excited and pulled out a picture of her with Sis Petty!!! i literally almost started crying it made me so happy to know that this brazilian sister knew and loved the same person that i knew and loved!! it was definitely a tender mercy there have been many times this week that the Lord has blessed me with small tender mercies that make all the difference in my day. i know that the Lord is aware of each of us and that if we look for His hand in our lives we will see it!
saturday night, all of the sister missionaries (about 30) crammed together in one of the rooms to take a picture and then to say a prayer. a brazilian sister said the prayer in portuguese, then a sister from one of the hispanic countries said a prayer in spanish, and fianlly an american sister said a prayer in english! the spirit was intense in that room and you could really feel the love that we all had fro each other. we may all come from different countries and speak different languages, but we are united in our love for the Gospel, our love for each other, and our love for our purpose - MISSIONARY WORK!!!!