WHAT UP FAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO I survived the first week and I'm STILL a missionary!!! Who would've thought am I right??!?!?!! The MTC is as fabulous as ever. Alright I guess it's time for honesty hour: some things are starting to wear down here at the Center for Missionary Training. The food being one. Actually the food is pretty much all of what is wearing down. Poor Sister Selk and I BOTH had food poisoning at some point in the week and the elders are basically always sick (they really shouldn't eat 14 hamburgers a day though). But real talk: if anyone ever feels like sending any packages (and I will love you forever and ever if you do) please feel free to send some edible food in there. Edible and somewhat healthy and food that's not going to poison me by degrees, OBRIGADA!!!!!!!!!
Speaking of packages, THANKS TO ALL!!!!! I feel so so SOOOO unbelievably loved here!!! The district teases me because I practically a package and a letter a day and they're all jealous. Seriously y'all, thank you so much!! There is absolutely nothing better than getting a letter or especially one of those package slips and getting to run down to the package place and open the package and everyone is jealous cause it's a package and YAY PACKAGES!!! Special shout out to Melanie, who keeps making me feel very very loved here with the packages and letters! Also to Jacob for his adorable letter that literally had me in tears and an extra-special, out-of-this-world THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Megan, who sent 2 of the most UNREAL packages ever and it was just the best!!!!! I have the coolest family/friends ever!!Alright, now to talk of the actual missionary work, eh???! (OI VEY Sister Selk is getting me to sound like a Canadian) But anyway, Sister Selk and I just had the craziest roller-coaster of a week ever. It started on Wednesday, when we were teaching Joao (still with a squiggly over the a, which i still can't figure out how to do because these computers are still from the 19th century) for the 4th time. We'd had a pretty decent lesson on the Atonement all mapped out and we went in pretty confidently, and then in the middle of the lesson Joao said he had a question. "Where do we go when we die?" Shoot. We hadn't really planned for that one. We scrambled up a response the best we could considering our Portuguese is still at a less-than-kindergarten level, and he seemed reasonably satisfied, but then came the kicker: he told us he'd just been to the doctor and found out he has cancer, and he's going to die soon. Oh man. How do you comfort a dying man in a language you don't speak??? Sister Selk was absolutely frozen up and I just rambled on the best I could about "through Christ I know you can be with God again" which is true, but I felt so horribly inadequate and unhelpful it was just awful. We finished our lesson and prayed with him, then left and Sister Selk absolutely lost it, she was so upset we weren't able to help more. We care SO much about Joao and just love him so much, it was completely heartbreaking and so frustrating.So, a lot of prayer later, we prepared for our 5th lesson with Joao the next day. We didn't really know what to teach other than to comfort him in his time of need, so we basically just wrote down some basic testimonies and planned to sing "Families are Forever" with him. We also made him a card for him and left him with a bunch of scriptures of comfort. That night, crazy enough, was the night I was super super unbelievably sick from something I ate. We wanted to teach Joao SO badly but I wasn't sure I was going to make it, so Sister Selk asked the Elders in our district if they would give me a priesthood blessing.HOLY COW Y'ALL. The priesthood is the absolute best thing in the world!!! I actually teared up watching all 4 of the elders in the room immediately get up, put on their suitcoats, find me a chair and sit me down. I just LOVE watching worthy men exercise their priesthood. CHURCH IS TRUE MAN. Shoutout to Elder Reni who gave the actual blessing, blessing me with comfort and to be well enough to teach. Man it was the best. I didn't actually feel much better, but I was a lot calmer, it brought the Spirit, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to do the lesson without it.AND THEN. OUR. LESSON. It was THE most unreal thing to ever happen to me, ever. I don't even know what happened!! We went in and started off with a basic lesson, and then sang "Families are Forever" with Joao. The Spirit in the room was UNBELIEVABLE. I have never in my life felt that kind of peace and just overwhelming warmth. We bore our testimonies to him about Christ and being with God again and he read our card we'd made. He kept saying "Eu sento.... paz. Espirito Santo, e paz". I feel peace. The Holy Ghost and peace. EU TAMBEM, JOAO. EU TAMBEM. By the end of the lesson all 3 of us were crying, and we invited him to be baptized in 2 weeks and he said YES. Yes, of course I will!! GAHHHHHH. Sister Selk and I completely freaked out and we couldn't stop crying for the next like 20 minutes. Seriously you guys, this is why people do mission work right here!! It's only been 2 weeks and I already love that feeling and I want that with EVERY PESQUISTADOR!!! I LOVE THIS WORK!!!Okay, now here comes the biggest MTC plot twist of 2015: Joao is not actually Joao. In fact, his name is Irmao Belchoir. As in, OUR NEXT TEACHER!!! WHAT THE WHAT???!!!! Turns out he's a convert, he's from Mozambique, English is his 3RD language and he's been actually like an investigator he taught on his mission this whole time. And let me just tell you, dude's a spiritual POWERHOUSE. The first day he taught he had us close our eyes and raise our hands if we were nervous about Portuguese, leaving the country, our mission, etc (I'm sure we all raised our hands" and afterwords he said (in his sketch English) "Elders and Sisters, I invite you to repent". Wait what??? He basically said that we need to trust God and His ability to make us the absolute best missionaries we can be. It was insane. Everyday since then he's had some sort of amazing, super-powerful and spiritual insight or crazy mission story, including, but not limited to: when he was teaching a preacher on his mission who told him he was going to hell, and when they left he told the preacher "hey man, I'll see you down there!!", or when he had us go outside and teach the Restoration IN PORTUGUESE to people in the REAL WORLD or when he was surrounded by teenagers and they all told him they were trying to deliver stuff to their drug dealer, and he said "you tell your drug dealer to repent". Oh my goodness, he's just hilarious and amazing. We're lucky to have 2 of THE BEST teachers in the MTC!!!We just got one of our new investigators (it's Irma Wilson) "Claudia" and she said she's only interested in meeting with us because she has a Mormon friend and she thinks they're weird, and she doesn't think Mormons do anything better than Catholics. She doesn't understand what we have that she doesn't. Seriously, she's a tough cookie. Any suggestions??Funny moments of the week:- After our amazing lesson I randomly realized that when we gave Joao our card, I totally wrote out all the scriptures in English. Whoops. That night, during companionship prayer, I was praying and I said "please bless Joao to be able to read those scriptures even though they're in English" and Sister Selk DIED laughing and we couldn't stop laughing for about 20 minutes- Elder Reni and I having a spontaneous dance party since we both know all the words/ all the dance moves to Uptown Funk and Love on Top. This was during personal study. Again, whoops.- We were learning Portuguese and using words to describe ourselves and our teacher goes to Elder Hinkey, and says "Elder Hinkey e....." and he looks up, so proud of himself, and says "muy intellihente" which is a) wrong, and b) the worst pronunciation ever. Something about the fact that he was calling himself intelligent but just butchered it and was so proud of it..... I still laugh every time I think about itQuotes of the week:- Elder Cervantes sings all the time and it can be a little annoying, so during class once Elder Hinkey goes "he man, do you take requests?" "yeah!" "please stop". SO FUNNY.- We thought about making a Portuguese rap about the BOM to sing to Joao and I was like "Rapping is the best way to do it, he can totally relate!!" and Elder Hinkey goes "Yeah I'm pretty sure that's just racial profiling"- We were talking about Brownie points and Elder Hinkey was like "dude forget the 72 virgins, they better have 72 brownies up there to make this all worth it"I feel like these quotes aren't actually that funny when I write them but trust me, they're funny. No really.Okay WOW I rambled on and on and on today. Sorry fam, I just LOVE BEING HERE!! It is tough for sure, but I have made the most amazing friends in the world and I feel the Spirit everyday and I know why I'm out here, and that makes all the difference. I miss all of you lots and lots, but there's nothing else I'd rather be doing and there's certainly nothing else the Lord would want me to be doing right now.Thanks to all for the love and support, it means to world to me!!! AMO VOCES!!!! Y'ALL ARE THE BEST!!!!P.S. NEVER sing "Ye Elders of Israel" in English ever again. The Portuguese aren't sexist so they have parts for women too, and Irmao Belchoir had us all stomp and clap while singing it (the benefits of an African teacher, eh?) and the Spirit was insane. Do it. Portuguese forever