I have to recount a joke Elder Swinney told 2 days ago.
During George Bush' presidency, a General came into the oval office and said
"Sir, I regret to inform you that 3 Brazilians died in combat last week." When President Bush heard this he just put his head in his hands and said, "General, I have just one question to ask you. How many is a Brazilian?"
By the way, Elder Swinney loves puns.
First I gotta say, you all are slacking. Not my immediate family, but the rest of you are totally dropping the ball! I don't have any addresses of any of my friends from home, so I kinda need those.
Enough guilt, to the good part!
So this week was incredibly long. Not actually long, just percievably long. It feels like I have been here for about 3 weeks now... but that is sadly not the case. Don't get me wrong, I love what I'm doing here, but I'm not exactly loving the MTC as a location (most of that can be attrtibuted to the food *gurgle*). So far, we have taught three lessons in Portuguese, learned a ton more and basically have just been doing that. It feels like ever since I started learning the language, I've known exactly what to say about the gospel, its just I have no idea how to say it in the language I'm supposed to be speaking. Go figure.
Anyways, my first day was super crazy and hectic and everything, but I got to see Elder Winterrose and Elder Kopp (a friend from school). My companions (yes, 'S'!) and I were just like deer in the headlights the whole time. Elder Swinney (who is from Fresno) is super awesome and goofy like me and Elder Heath (from KENNEWICK!) is awesome too and we all get along really well. Our district is crazy awesome too... we have an elder, Elder Baldwin, who is like an LDS version of Jack Black. I love that elder so much! The other people in our district are Elder Gallion (the DL), Elder Sabin (from Gig Harbor) Elder Shellie, Elder Lamb and Elder Nethercott. We also have three sisters whose names escape for the moment (except for Sister Thomas, who is going to FORTALEZA! With Elders Swinney, Heath and me.
Our first class I sat down and my teacher Irmao Perkes said something along the lines of "Elder Cornwell... I knew an Elder Cornwell!" But of course I couldn't understand him because it was in Portuguese and I only knew how to say "Oi, tudo bem?". Anyways, he was one of Zack's companions in Portugal. Such a great coincidence! He is such a great teacher too, I know way more Portuguese than I could have possibly learned in about 15 hours of classes outside of the MTC. Most of that is probably attributed to our teaching of Silvana (one of our "Investigators"). She loves to ask questions using words we have never heard uttered in our lives. Somehow we manage to put words in between our stammers, but its a great learning experience. We have gotten really good at planning lessons and answering questions that she has (and asks in Portuguese). Last night, when trying to teach the atonement, Elder Heath started taking about "espacao" which actually means space. It took me about 15 seconds to compose myself so I could be able to correct him without interrupting the spirit. (the correct word was Expacao... I think) Silvana was sooooooooooooo confused, and we scrambled to open up the Pracer Meu Evangelho to find the right word.
Oh and by the way, I really like Portuguese. Like a lot. We have figured out its spelled like spanish, with grammar like french and pronounced like Italian. And it manages to sound like Russian 50% of the time. Super awesome.
Our church was kind of different to me mainly becuase we didn't have sunday school. I was confused about that until I realized where I was and what I do for 16 hours of the day. Either way, we were told to prepare 5 minute talks on faith, and then we would either be called up to speak or not. Sadly, I wasn't able to speak, but I had a great time preparing for it and I was greatful for the opportunity. After that, we got to attend a fireside that was a rebroadcast of the Music and the Spoken Word program for 9/11. It was super spiritual and I really enjoyed it.
Everyone had been telling us how if we made it to Sunday, we would be fine. They weren't kidding. It went by sooooooo slow until we hit Sunday, and now all of a sudden its P-Day. Yikes!
Seeing how today is P-Day, we got to attend the temple this morning, which was awesome to do with my companions and my district. We had a really enjoyable experience in there and we even got some ideas for teaching while in the temple. I am so glad we can go once a week!
I guess some other things I wanted to mention are that we live on the top floor of a four floor building and we go to class on floor five of another. I am getting major conditioning in.
I should also mention how good it was to see Michele, Drew and Chrissy on my last day as a "normal" person. It was great to see them, but I was distracted by the fact that I looked like a missionary. I could never figure out why. Anyways, after Michele picked me up and dropped me off with Drew, we went to Braza Grill. I have never been so excited for food in my life. It was sooooo good and the owner of the place said Fortaleza was the most beautiful mission in the world.
To close, I would just like to ask you all to pray that the Consulate can get our Visa's going and we can all get down to Sao Paulo and be better prepared for the other 95 weeks of our mission. I would very much like to be there right now, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be at this time. I know this church is true and this work is true as well.
P.S. please post my address and email on my facebook for me and tell my friends they need to write me! Muito Obrigado!