The high pitch beep of my alarm clock at 6:30 wakes me from glorious, far too short, sleep. However, there isn't time in the schedule to whine about being tired, and even if there was I wouldn't want to. The Lord has blessed me with a cheerful, optimistic spirit despite my perpetual state of exhaustion! Desejum (breakfast) is alwaysthe same: creamy oatmeal (with more cream than oats), bananas, and meat and cheese on a roll which I heat up in a panini maker!! After breakfast, my companion nad I stake out a table outside the CTM (yet still within it's walls) and do our personal study and language study. All morning, I anxiously await for the hour of 10:45, GYM TIME!!! For 45 minutes I do whatever sequence of workouts that can bring me the closest to throwing up or passing out. Since I don't have much time to really exercise, I've learned to make my workouts intense and effective in the short amount of time that I do have. And yes, for those of you who are wondering, I sweat like a cold glass of lemonade on a sunny, humid day in PA -- disgusting, I know, but oh so good for my soul after a whole day of sitting! The amount of time we're alotted to get shower and get ready is incredibly short...30 minutes! I've cut out all the fluff in my normal routine and only do the bare necessities to keep me from looking like I've walked through a tornado! (sometimes, though, I'm sure I still look like I've walked through a baby windstorm...) Lunch is another grand part of my day!! I get a tray loaded with meat, lettuce, beans, rice, and fruit and then scout out my favorite Brazilian missionaries to sit beside. The next 30-45 minutes is filled with excited conversation and frantic eating until I realize that I'm yet again 5 minutes late to my class! (It's not because I talk a lot, it's just because lunch is too short...hehehe) From 12:45-9:30 I have a marathon of classes. My two teachers split of the time. Irmao Mauricio is a short, large black man with the lowest, most awesome sounding voice that I have ever heard! We like to sing his name to the tune of 'Encarnacion' (Nacho Libre)! hahaha :) he thinks we're strange, but loves us all the same! My other teacher, Irma Pozete served her mission in Joao Pessoa and has such a punky, fun-loving personality! Both of them were converts to the church only a couple years before they served missions. They are incredible people with powerful testimonies! I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to learn from them. Dinner is at 4:15...much to close to lunch for me to be hungry, but I eat anyway because it adds variety to my day and I can socialize with the Brazilians! As soon as dinner ends at 5:00, I begin to look forward to lanche (snack) at 9:30! Every night at 9:30, all the missionaries in the CTM storm the auditorium to eat some variety of cake, drink chocolate milk, and eat an apple or banana. At 9:45 we're all literally 'herded' upstairs to our rooms. I like to linger for a few extra minutes in the stairwell with som Elders and Sisters before we say 'boa noite' and head into the Sister's hall to continue talking and laughing for a few more minutes. The CTM is my kind of environment; small, close knit community of missionaries, friendly, relaxed, and spiritual!! With only 250 some missionaries it's easy for me to get to know quite well other missionaries that aren't in my district. Since the Brazilian missionaries are only here for 3 weeks, I've had a lot of friends come and go. It's always difficult to have to say goodbye to Elders or Sisters that I've grown so close to in such a short time, and know that I might never get to see them again.
Apparently, in Brazil, it's totally acceptable for a guy to paint his fingernails, but only with a clear color. I was talking about this one day during lunch with my Brazilian friends, and one of the Sisters told me that she wanted to paint my fingernails. I told her that I never paint my fingernails...right now, I'm typing this letter with pink...yes, pink, fingernail polish on my nails...I'm either easily persuaded or I'm blaming it all on the language barrier! hahaha!
In Colossians 1:23 is reads, "continue in faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel." I love the final four words, "hope of the Gospel." As I studied more about this phrase, I came across a lot of inspiring scriptures and insights. Some of the versus I studied were, Moroni 7:41; Moroni 7:48; and Ether 12:4. I know that this Gospel is true! As a missionary, I have the grand opportunity to share this 'hope of the Gospel' with the people of Brazil! And as a member of this Gospel, I have the wonderful blesses that come from the 'hope of the Gospel'! Stay firm in the faith; doubt not, fear not!