Has it really only been one week?! It feels like I've been here for months! :) That's okay though, because I love being here at the MTC. On Wednesday when we were saying goodbye I was so excited that I kind of just ran off and left you all standing there... sorry. I was pretty excited and I didn't want to wait any longer.
So on Wednesday my host sister missionary took me to all these different buildings and I got checked in. It was nice because there are volunteers telling everyone where to go so I didn't have to worry about anything. I got my name tags, my ID card, and my residence key in this little yellow envelope. Oh! In the envelope there's a little ministerial card that we have to sign that legally certifies us to go into different countries and serve as missionaries. It's pretty spiffy. Anyway, we dropped my luggage off at the residence and then my host sister took me up to my classroom. I got in there and the teacher, Irmao Gray, was only speaking Portuguese. My first thought was, "Holy smokes... I don't think I'm gonna be able to speak that language." It was an adventure trying to speak in class that first day... oh man. That was hard. :) We had a meeting with the MTC presidency for all the new missionaries and they made a lot of Idaho jokes... a lot. They called out the names of all these places and we were supposed to stand up when they called our state or country. They skipped Idaho until the very end, and then when they had us all stand up they starting making jokes about getting up early and milking cows..... I didn't get up early, or milk cows though sooo.... it was weird Funny, but weird.
I actually have two companions. There are only three of us going to Portugal so Sister Mills and Sister Anaya are my companions and we are a cute little trio. They're pretty nice and we get along, but you'll just have to wait until I come home to hear about them. We have an hour to email on P-days and there's just so much I want to tell you!
So in my class there are actually two districts, so our class has 18 people in it. My companions and I are the only three going to Portugal and the other 15 are all going to different missions in Brasil. They were all supposed to go to the Brasil MTC, but none of their visas came in so they're here with us, but I'm so glad they're all here. We're all pretty good friends. One of the sisters going to Brasil is named Sister Pace (her mom is actually Brasilian, but she's so white she looks very American) and she and I get along really well. Actually, we're just kind of goofy together, but we have a lot of fun. When I first saw her she reminded me of Katie Rundall. She's just so nice, and I'm so glad that she's here instead of in Brasil right now.
Anyway, back to all my stories. Thursday we spent almost all day in class. We starting doing a lot of Portuguese learning and memorizing. I can kind of remember the missionary purpose... at least the first two or three words: Convidar as pessoas a achegarem-se.... I don't remember the rest. I think the Lord is humbling me, because this language is my personally challenging language. I will get it eventually, but for now it's hard.
We taught our first lesson in Portuguese on Friday... it was.. um... Well, the three of us kind of slaughtered the language. Our "investigator" Carol was just staring at us because she couldn't understand us. We taught another lesson in Portuguese on Saturday, and holy awesomeness. This is one of my cool stories of the week: We were teaching the first lesson and we were talking about how a restoration needed to happen. We were talking about that and then all of a sudden Carol starts asking us what this one word means. We couldn't figure it out at first, but then Sister Anaya realized that she was asking what "sacerdocio" was, the priesthood. We had't prepared for that question so we didn't know what to say. My companions started looking in our manuals to try and find something and then all of a sudden the words "autoridade de Deus" were put into my head. I said it as soon as I thought it, and it was so fast that I didn't realize what happened. After we left the lesson Sister Anaya was saying, "Sister! How did you do that?!" And then I realized what happened... awesomeness, huh? I had a little moment where the Spirit guided me because I'd been so prepared.
Sunday was Fast Sunday so we went to our Branch's fast and Testimony meeting (I'm in Branch 69... the Portuguese branch) and then after that we had a mission conference. I loved the mission conference! The Spirit was so strong when President Hackey talked about the First Vision and when we sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" I was so choked up that I couldn't even sing the last verse. I also saw this one lady who was in a Church movie that we watched in seminary. She played John Tanner's wife in the "The John Tanner Story." It's on the D&C dvds so you should go watch it. She and her husband are going on a mission, but it's weird to see Church actors in normal people clothes... and using technology.
Monday we taught another lesson in Portuguese, but I didn't have the gift of tongues yesterday. I couldn't understand a single thing she said and I got really discouraged. It seems like everyone else is learning a lot faster than I am, but at the end of the day Irmao Gray was telling me that it's a process. He told me that I'm doing well and he gave me some more ideas for practicing Portuguese. His main point was that I need to quit being so hard on myself. He's right... I'll work on that. (The girls in our class think Irmao Gray is just the cutest thing to ever walk the earth and that's all they ever talk about... it's kind of awkward).
Anyway, my p-day is Tuesday so you'll have to email me on Monday nights while I'm here at the MTC. I also found out that President Fluckiger doesn't allow the missionaries to Skype home on holidays, so we'll be doing phone calls. I'll attach some pictures of my class from our temple walk on Sunday (the two districts) and the view from my bedroom window (I can see the mountains through the smog... but you can't in the picture). There's also a picture from Halloween... we switched our name tags. Poor Irmao Gray... he was so confused.
I love you all and have a great week! The gospel is true, and I love it more and more everyday!
|Sister Smith and her companions Sister Anaya, and Sister Mills|
|Sister Smith and her companions switching name tags for Halloween|
|All the Sisters in Sister Smith's class|
|Missionaries going to Brazil and Portugal|
|Sister Smith's view from her bedroom window|