Transcription of Courtney’s first letter from Brazil, probably written April 4, 2012.
Title: São Paulo, Brazil (not Shippensburg)
Oí Mão e Pai! (Hello, Mom and Dad)
I guess mail gets to the MTC much quicker than we expected. So, you can post this address on the board at church if you want.
Sister Courtney Lynnette Fernelius
Box #25 District #14-A Brazil MTC
Brazil João Pessoa Mission
Rua Padre Antonio D’Angelo, 121
Casa Verde, São Paulo, SP
And it sounds like I’ll be in the CTM for 6 weeks—the original length of time was 9 weeks…so minus 3…anyway it’ll still go by fast. As I was going through customs the lady asked me in Portuguese how long I was going to be in Brazil. I stood there stunned for awhile and then stammered, “Repita”. She asked again and I replied, “Dezioto meses.” (I had just learned numbers on the plane! hee, hee. It’s basically nothing, but I COMMUNICATED!!) Then, when all of us missionaries were standing around waiting for others to exchange their money, I walked over to the Brazilian who had been helping us out and said, “Vocé é com aeropuerto ou a igreja?” (Are you with the airport or the church?) Who knows if my grammar was correct, but he understood enough to say, “a igreja”! ha ha ha J He probably spoke English, but we left before I could ask him that in Portuguese! I really don’t know much, but babies don’t know how to say much either and they still talk—Besides, how can I share this powerful message with these wonderful people if I can’t speak their language?! Yes, the Lord uses all kinds of ways, but I WILL be speaking Portuguese in 4 months at the longest! (Goal #1J) Four other sisters ended up joining me on the flight; none going to João Pessoa. The total of missionaries traveling together was 25! The power of those elders was tremendous!! Talking to them, hearing their testimonies, feeling their excitement, and already seeing their devotion to the work was incredible. Sister missionaries have power, but elders have a sacred obligation and a duty to their priesthood—and when they act upon it and live up to their divine inheritance, their power is remarkableJ!! Three other elders are going to João Pessoa! The night plane ride felt like sleeping in a pop up camper with someone walking around all night rocking the thing back and forth—it was fantastic!...We didn’t even get to take showers when we got to the CTM! We all look great---greasy faces, greasy hair, smelly clothes…BRING IT ON BRAZIL!