I'm happy to saw that I am officially half-way through my stay at the MTC!
Thank you all so much for the outpouring of love I received this week. Your letters were very appreciated!
Well, where to begin... this week was great! Sister Dustin and I are getting along perfectly, and we are loving teaching together! There were some days that I could hardly keep my eyes open and some days that I could hardly go to sleep. Life is always up and down here!
I guess I'll go backwards. I just went to the temple today! It's been closed the past two weeks for cleaning, so it was so amazing to finally be able to go and feel the peace and love that permeates those walls. It was amazing. One of the elders in our zone had a stack of family names to do, so all of the sisters were able to do some! It was seriously so great.
Sister Dustin and I are loving the work! Our two investigators, Jose and Vania, and progressing quickly. We love them so much. We asked them to do some really hard things this week, and it has been so incredible to see their faith at work. It's also been amazing to see my own faith grow. Every experience is for our good! On Sunday we spoke a lot about enduring to the end in Relief Society; I was disheartened to hear so many sisters talk about enduring hard trials on their missions and how this life is about experiencing hard things. It's all true, of course, but it is so much more! Happily, by the end we were talking about enjoying to the end, finding joy in the journey, and how our entire purpose is to have joy. I love the gospel!
On Friday we had our first TRC, when we teach members. The two members we taught were return missionaries from Brazil--Mia and Chase. They were so cool! I felt like we talked more than taught... but it was an amazing experience! It also made me think more about this life. Mia expressed concern about all of the awful things going on in this world and how to deal with it. I got to thinking... if there really is opposition in all things, then if some of the worst things are happening today, then some of the best things are happening as well. When we are in the deepest of trials, we can find the deepest joy. Everything has its opposite, and often times its opposite is found right along its side. It's amazing! On Friday we also had the opportunity to watch President Packer's funeral. It was a sad experience, but it was also incredibly enlightening. That man lived an amazing life, and he is still touching people's hearts where he is now. We even got to hear President Monson speak at the funeral--he still looked frail, but he sounded so much more like himself than last conference. That boosted my spirits.
Otherwise, this week has been one of learning and practice. Learning and practicing a lot of Portuguese, teaching skills, and of course, teaching with the Spirit. It's amazing to see how much progress we are making. Sister Dustin and I had a confidence builder yesterday when a new professor from Sao Paulo who doesn't speak much English yet came into the class to chat with us. He spoke faster than any teacher I have ever heard at the MTC yet, but we understood every word! He said he was shocked because the missionaries who are leaving next week couldn't understand him, let alone respond. I'm not trying to boast, if that sounds like boasting. I'm just so extremely grateful that the Lord is helping me communicate in this language! The gift of tongues is so real!
Oh, I have one more fun story. The other day some elders going to Argentina came up to us for some "street contacting." What came next was about a half hour of a half-Portuguese, half-Spanish lesson. It was so fun! What was even better was that we all understood each other! (Most Spanish-speaking missionaries don't pick up any of what we are saying...)
Well, I would love to go on more about all the other little stories of this week, but I'm just about out of time! So here ya go--the highlights. I love you all so much! Have an utterly fantastic week!