September 25, 2013
First of all, howdy to the kids :) I love hearing how you're doing, and what's happening in school/church/home.
Emma: Congrats on making Student Leadership rep! You're going to do a great job. You're a very responsible girl. And cool that you decided to do percussion! I hope you have fun. That's awesome. And the weather here in São Paulo is actually really cold right now, but when I get to my mission, it's going to be reeeeeally hot :P
Nathan: Holy moly, you have walking pneumonia kid! That's no fun! Get better soon, okay? I'm proud of you for going to the dance and planning it even though it wasn't that fun. Good for you for doing it anyway. How is sophomore year going? Reading any good books lately? Are you almost done with marching band? Also, Nathan, I go into the field in less than a month, and actually I haven't met anyone from my mission!
Rachel: My goodness, Rachel it sounds like your head is a rainbow of bruises right now! :( Send me a picture! Hope you're feeling better, and stop throwing yourself around, you silly girl! ;) The daddy daughter picnic sounded really fun! What are you reading right now?
Laura: Good job on marching band!! Was it better than you expected? The P party sounded very fun! What are you reading right now? How much longer do you have to do marching band for? Both of my companions are just with me for the MTC and are going to different missions after we leave. I'll get a new companion when I get to Recife.
Life sounds crazy as ever for you guys. Welcome home Grandma and Grandpa! Glad you made it back safe! So glad dad was able to surprise Bethany. So much fun to get together :) Thanks for the email, dad :) You rock. It was great to hear from you. I'll pray for Grandpa Hicken. He's a tough old fellow.
Thanks for keeping me updated, mom. You can post my talk on the blog, I don't mind. Thank you for sending it to me!
So, with time remaining, random thoughts from the week:
So far, I have met no one else going to Recife. I've met 2 sisters from there, but no one going there. But whenever I tell people where I’m going, they always say that it's hot, a poor area with a really different accent, but very beautiful, and the people are wonderful. Nothing to do at this point but brace myself I guess!
This week we continued teaching our old investigator and got a new one (who is our current instructor). We made no progress with the old one, but now we don't have to teach him anymore because the instructor is leaving. We liked him as a teacher but he is a tough investigator! Our new one, Augusto is really great. We've become better teachers, but also he is very receptive of what we teach. We've really been able to feel the spirit in those lessons. Too bad he's going to "die". Haha not really, but Irmao Barros who plays Augusto is getting married this Saturday and will be gone for the week, so both our investigators will have died. We'll have to get new ones. Teaching is really hard, because you have to plan, but you can't just write out everything you're going to say. It's not like a talk. You have to prepare, and then go in and ask questions, and interact with the investigator and go by the spirit. And it will go in any direction, depending on what they need. Hard enough in English, but reallly difficult in Portuguese. We're improving though.
The language itself isn't difficult for me. It's a challenge, but in a good way. I can definitely feel the gift of tongues working for me, because I was never able to understand Spanish this way. I love speaking the language, and learning it and hearing it. It's helped a ton making Hispanic and Brasilian friends, too, because it forces you to speak the language, and they help you learn it. We have made friends with a district of four sisters and 3 elders across the courtyard from us. Our classroom windows face each other, so we wave at each other, and that's how we met them, haha. They're from all over South America. They are fantastic, so loving and patient with our Portuguese, and they're hilarious. They leave for the field next Tuesday, and we are sooooo sad. It is not going to be the same with out them. But we've made other friends too. I love the people here. Haha, we actually taught them the cup song from Pitch Perfect and we were all doing it at dinner the other day, and then other people joined in, and it was pretty much awesome.
Every Tuesday and Sunday we have devotionals, and last night we watched a Jeffrey R. Holland talk from a few years ago that he gave at the Provo MTC. It was incredible. He has a way with words that just pierce straight to your heart. It made me reevaluate what kind of missionary I want to be and just how serious this work is. After that we had a district meeting (which means just the three of us because we're still the only Americans/Australian from this week) and made goals to help us stay focused and work hard. I'm trying hard today to stay focused even though it's P-day so that I don't lose the Spirit I felt last night.
What else, what else. That might be it for now. But one last funny story. This is one of those classic language stories that I thought would never happen to us. Luckily, I didn't say anything wrong, but my companions did. We had TRC, and were giving a lesson to an "inactive member" and Sis. Cameron thought she said, "We want to give you a message" but she actually said, "We want to give you a massage". And then in that same lesson, my other companion accidentally said a really bad word. He didn't tell us until after. Ahhhhh Portuguese.
I love you all and miss you and pray for you! Thank you for your emails! I'll talk to you next week!