Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Latest from Sao Paulo

Hey all ya´ll!

You know, it bothers me that when they teach us Portuguese, they don´t distinguish to us you (singular) and you (plural) like Mrs. Camp did with all ya´ll. For instance, they´ll put a sentence on the board for us to translate into Portuguese: you are going to the store. A part of me breaks inside because I don´t know which you they mean! haha it´s just a really really minor inconvenience that I´m blowing way out of proportion in order to eke out a laugh or two from all ya´ll (see what I did there?). Or maybe it´s because I feel especially witty today! I cherish these moments because they are few and far between.

Now to the nitty gritty, this week went by so quick! Every Saturday, I write a letter to my Branch President telling him how my week went, my successes, anything I´m struggling with, concerns, etc. All of the missionaries here at the MTC are divided into Branches. The person who is in charge of the Branch is the Branch President. We meet on Sunday as a branch for Church meetings. So anyway, this Saturday I was writing the letter and I was like "Gosh it feels like I was writing a letter to President Brinton just yesterday!"

I mostly enjoyed my 32 hours and 15 minutes of class this past week. I can get through my morning block of class no problem, but the evening class is hard. We´re all tired so my district gets a little overactive and unfocused. But we learn, and that´s the important thing, I think.

My morning instructor, Irmao Nascimento, really helped us understand that we can be completely fluent by the time we leave the MTC. He gave us 4 rules that every missionary he´s taught that left the MTC fluent followed.

1. Be happy. You can´t learn if your sad and such.
2. Be obedient. If we´re not obeying the rules, we won´t be blessed with the Holy Spirit. I can testify that when I was obedient, my learning capabilities were increased tenfold then when I wasn´t obedient.
3.Participate in class. Ask questions about things, use the language in class, make mistakes. All of those things will help learn the language quickly.
4. Work hard. If I stretch myself every day to learn portuguese I´ll learn that much faster. There are days that I really push myself and I can literally feel myself grow in the language. It´s an amazing feeling.

My goal is to leave the MTC fluent. I think it´s possible. Irmao Nascimento has seen it happen. He´s had missionaries that can understand what he says even if he speaks fast, they understand when he makes jokes in portuguese. I am confident that if I apply those 4 rules, I will be able to be fluent.

I´ve been sleeping better. I´m not sure what it was. Of course I still sometimes get droopy in class but I think that´s more from sitting still for 4 hours straight than from how much I slept that previous night.

This past week or two, I´ve became friends with a few of the Brazilian missionaries that live in our hallway. The Brazilians only stay at the MTC for 19 days because they already speak portuguese. So today they left for their individual missions. I was sad to see a few of them go, because they were a lot of fun. Apparently I´ve married of Lysa and Stasi to two of them. I was showing them pictures of my family and they said "namorada!" and pointed to Lysa and Stasi. Namorada means girlfriend. Then they started calling me conhado which means brother-in-law. Hahaha, Lysa and Stasi you have 2 years to get away before they start coming after you!

On Tuesdays we have a devotional, and today I´m conducting the choir! I´m pretty excited! I decided that we´re going to sing Abide With Me, ´Tis Eventide. It´s a beautiful song. I just have to remember that a choir isn´t the same thing as a band, and I´ll be good to go! I hope I´ll do well, but it´s not like it´s the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or anything so I should be fine.

In 4 short weeks, I´ve already become more organized and focused! It´s not like that was hard though, considering my state of organization skills when I left. But out of everyone in my district,
I´m almost always the person who knows where we´re going, when we have to leave, what we need to be prepared with, etc. I think it has something to do with the nifty little planners they gave us. And when I was in charge of keys, I never lost them! My companion and I have been pretty much the most on time out of anyone else, which is a surprise! This is coming from the kid who could count on his hand how many days he was actually on time to things.

I can feel my wrist becoming carpal tunnel-y. I don´t really have much else to say for this week. Here´s to hoping for another quick week!

Wth love,
Elder Rackham

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