Ola from the MTC!
Well I guess the first night email thing doesn't happen anymore, but I do get a mini P-day today to do laundry and do email...
My mailing address is
Elder Conner Warrick House
MTC Mailbox #165
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT 84604-1793
My MTC companion is Elder Smith from Pennsylvania. He is going to Rio de Janeiro is also waiting on a visa to Brazil, but he's been here for two weeks longer than I. There are only a few Brazil bound missionaries here, and only one other one in our zone, Elder Garcia, who has been here for much longer than either of us. Most of the other Portuguese speakers here are going to Portugal, Cape Verde, and Boston. The language is coming pretty quickly, but I've been speaking a mix of Spanish and Portuguese so I get teased a little bit about speaking "Portunol." I am in kind of an odd situation because I am the only Portuguese speaker that came in this week, and usually they move you through the MTC with the people who came in the same week as you. So I am the only person in all of my classes, but sometimes the scheduling has been tricky if my companion has a slightly different schedule. Next week they'll have it all sorted out, and if I can keep learning at the pace I'm on, then I'll join Elder Smith and the other missionaries who came in two and a half weeks ago. Next week we have 20-some missionaries coming in for Portuguese, but I'd be taking a big step backwards to join them :/
They keep us running pretty hard around here, from 6:30 till 10:30 we are going non stop. The mornings are sUuuuper productive for me and I absorb information like a sponge, but by the afternoon, I'm a little bit saturated with information and it becomes harder. They certainly don't have you wait to start teaching. I've already taught a woman named Josiane in Portuguese, with what little I know how to say. Its a humbling experience because the Spirit was trying to direct me on what to say, but I didn't have the words to communicate properly. We asked her to pray and she was hesitant, but I told her that I would have an even harder time praying than she would, so she agreed to pray after I did.
Living here is a lot like Helaman Halls at BYU. There are four of us in a room and about 6 rooms share a big bathroom. The food is great, but I miss cooking for myself. Its cool to see lots of people from BYU... From classes, dance, church, etc. My zone leader is Elder Sorensen and he was in my same building at BYU. I saw Elder Paxon and talked with him for a second yesterday. Elder Yates didn't hear me when I called out to him, but I'm sure we'll cross paths, cause even though there are 2400ish missionaries, its a small place.
The Espirito Santo is very strong here and I can understand now why they ask that we leave facebook and normal music behind. At home, if you are listening to music that isn't necessarily designed to bring the spirit, then you can't expect the Lord to help you learn his doctrine and help you learn the language nearly as fast. The pace of learning here is incredible. There have been very few times in my life when my head has hurt because of so much learning, but for the past three nights, I've gone to bed having learned as much as I possibly could have... actually more. I can feel the help of God as I study and my prayers have become urgent cries for assistance. In Portuguese, the word for prayer sounds very similar to the word for cry. And that is what the prayers of a missionary are... a cry for help in learning the language and in softening the hearts of those who we teach.
I love you all and hope that the you can feel the Lord's love for you.
I'm praying for you, and remember, the Lord blesses those who pray for missionaries and send them cookies ;)
Elder Conner House