Month One Done!

Oi Amigos e Familia,

“Sister Mills you only have two weeks left here!”  “Wait, WHAT!?!?!”  It doesn’t feel like I’ve been here for a month!!!  Yet I know that I will be leaving soon.

Wednesday was a whole bunch of fun.  We got to host some of the new sisters coming in.  I happened to host Elder Austin P.’s cousin, Hermana S. which was cool!  It took us a bit to figure out.  But we made the connection eventually.  Hermana S. is going to the same mission as my cousin Hermana Mikell W..

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This week has been really strange and yet good.  It was strange only having five people in the classroom . . . but good because we get more one-on-one time with our teachers.  On Sunday, I was called as the Music Coordinator for our branch.  Also on Sunday, I had the opportunity to be in the “Spotlight” during sacrament meeting.  I got to lead the music, give a talk, and say the closing prayer.  The branch presidency has an interesting way to decide who speaks on a given Sunday.  The missionaries in the branch write talks.  Then the branch presidency reads the talks and chooses an elder and a sister to speak.  We don’t know who is speaking until two seconds before it’s about to happen.

I told myself in my head “Sister Mills, you’re leading the music and giving the closing prayer, there is no way they will call on you to give a talk.” Then lo and behold. . . “Our first speaker will be Sister Mills.”

I’ve had some amazing learning experiences this week.  I’ve found that when I teach by the spirit that even though I can’t speak the language it speaks so much more powerfully than when I worry about the Portuguese.  I just have to have my companions continue to tell me that I can do it and to not worry about it.  Because we are teaching, I’m getting better.  When you let the spirit work through you, it makes your lessons go so much more smoothly.  Your say words that are not yours.

One day this week we got to teach our “investigator” Lenir (Irmao G.) and he said “I just can’t believe that God would answer my questions, He’s so big and I’m so small.  I thank him for everything I have but I don’t want to bother Him.”  I had the thought pop into my head “Talk about his dad.”  So I asked “Well you talk with your father right? It’s the same exact thing.  Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits.  He wants to talk to us and answer our questions, even though He is so big.”  He just started smiling and it made me feel really good.

Besides that everything has been pretty quiet.  No one has left.  We haven’t had any random calls to head down to the travel office.  We’re continuing to learn as much as we can but it probably won’t be enough.  I am sure that when we get to Portugal, we will all flounder for the first little bit.  But we’ll make it.

Tchau!! Bom Dia!

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Soooooooo…. I went to San Francisco and forgot to tell you guys about it… Whoops

Oi amigos e familia,

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As the title suggests, I flew to San Fran for a day trip this week.  The way this transpired was that Sister S. and I got a random call down to the travel office.  They told us that on Friday we needed to resolve some things with our Visas that couldn’t be done online.  It had to be done at the consulate.  They said we would be leaving for the airport at 4:30 in the morning to fly down to San Francisco.

After much confusion we realized what was happening.  Friday morning came and can I say that I never want to wake up that early again! 3:30 is not good for missionaries.  I have no idea how my dad does it every day.

Anyway we got up and drove down to the SLC airport sat for three-ish hours, met a soon-to-be elder who also had to go with us.  When we got on a plane, we met a very lovely lady named Heather.  She talked with us the entire way there.  I forgot to mention that this was Sister S.’s first plane ride.  She must have said at least 20 times “This is so cool! I’m so excited!”

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Once we disembarked we got in a taxi and drove to the consulate.  They had no idea we were coming.  The person who was in charge of the visas was on vacation or something, so we sat for about 20 minutes.  We had our pictures taken, verified our information and then we were sent on our way.  However, we had no idea what to do next.  We called missionary travel from the cellphone they gave us and they said, “Oh well get some lunch, get a taxi and head back to the airport.”  There was just one problem with that.  There was not a restaurant or a taxi in sight! So we wandered for about an hour trying to find a taxi when lo and behold, one was stopped at a light and we all climbed in.

After a few minutes of silence we started talking to the driver.  His name was Daniel.  He’s from Ethiopia and studying to become a radiologist.  After figuring out all this and another minute of awkward silence I finally brought up the topic of religion. He just said he was an orthodox.  I’m not sure what denomination but that’s not the main point.  We started talking about being LDS and surprisingly the only thing he had apparently heard about us was that we don’t go to college.  Anyway, the thing that interested him the most about the church was the humanitarian  things we do.  He then asked where the church was located in San Fran.  We didn’t know so Sister S. wrote down the LDS.org and Mormon.org websites down on a card and he told us that he would look at the websites and try to find a meetinghouse near him.  As we were exiting the taxi, he already had LDS.org pulled up on his phone.  Let’s hope he follows through with his promise.

That wasn’t the only adventure we had this week.  The day after that we lost the six Missionaries to the Brazil MTC, we received word that several others had gotten their visas as well, and then another group and another.  So this morning we said goodbye to another eight missionaries.  Now there are only four of us left in our district, Sisters S., A., Elder M. and I.  We went from 108 missionaries in our zone down to 11 in the space of a week.  How crazy is that!?!? It’s going to take some time to adjust but we’ll work through it.

Tomorrow the four of us get to be hosts for the Greenies coming in!  It’s exciting and I get to use my pack mule powers for good.  It’ll be really fun.  We will get a double shipment of missionaries because Thanksgiving is next week and they don’t send new missionaries in on the holidays.  It feels so weird to realize that I’m already halfway through my six weeks here.  I’m still not ready to go and I don’t think I ever will be ready.  But I know that the Lord will Guide me through it all.  Life goes on here at the MTC as good as ever.

Tchau! Bom Dia!

MTC 2!

Oi amigos e familia,

Week two has been a bit strange.  On Tuesday after my last email we all had the opportunity to hear a BYU devotional by Elder Evans of the Seventy.  He’s the one that said in his conference prayer “May our strength be faithened”.  He talked about tenacity and enduring to the end.  I had an Elder who was sitting in front of me who asked if I could take a picture of him… with my camera… just so I could have it…Very Mature!

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Anyway the rest of the week went smoothly.  We got a second teacher, Irma Kimball.  She was the one who played our first “investigator” or pesquisador.  She’s an awesome teacher and we’re her first district!  Most days, we spend ten hours in the classroom, either being taught or studying.  It gets a little repetitive.  But I am learning all I can.

Sunday was Amazing!  Apparently only the sisters here at the MTC get to watch the broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word which is really cool!  For Relief Society, we had Sister Bonnie Oscarson, President of the General Young Women’s give us advice on the mission.  She told us to be ourselves and to give it all we’ve got.  When we do that, we won’t have regrets.  The Sunday evening devotional was amazing as well! We had Elder and Sister Condie speak to us.  Sister Condie is a cute little German Grandma who talked about testimonies.  Elder Condie was Hilarious, yet also super spiritual.  He talked about a lot of things and did a pretty spot-on impression of President Hinkley.

Sunday was also kind of sad.  The majority of our zone left this week.  I’m a tad upset because they are the ones who I would turn to if I had questions about the differences between the Portuguese de Brazil and the Portuguese de Portugal.  Now there are only five sisters in the district including me.  Pretty soon I’m going to be the one helping out the cute new little sisters.  How Crazy is that?!  In addition to the sisters leaving, we got a new sister in our room! Sister Knapp.  Sshe’s going to Brazil but she’s what we call a solo sister, meaning that she is the only girl in her district. So what happens is she sleeps with us we drop her off in her classroom, pick her up again for gym time drop her off again then pick her up after our classes when we get done at 9:30 then rinse repeat the next day.

The weather threw us a curve ball.  The whole week we had nice weather then BAM! Monday comes and it’s freezing and the snow is flurrying.  I guess that’s life for you.  Everything is going fine and then suddenly you have to bundle up and push against the cold.

Another Monday Curveball.  Six of the missionaries in our district got their visas and are leaving tomorrow.  I’m sad.  But I know it’s for a good cause.  I was studying the Book of Mormon and I came across a scripture Alma 17: 13  And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, that they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that great was the work which they had under taken.

It made me feel better because I know that we all were supposed to meet again but our time together has been completed for now.  We will be able to see each other again.

That’s all I got for this week.

Tchau! Boa Dias!

Week 1 at the MTC!

Ola Amigos e Familia!

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Week 1 at the MTC has been a blast and yet stressful.  I got through Day 1 with quite a bit of confusion.  Irmao (Brother) Grey, the Portuguese teacher for my class, talked only in Portuguese and there was so much to do! I only understood him when he pointed at the English written on the board.  I have two companions: Sister S. and Sister A. and they are awesome!  We are the only three in our room but we’ve been told not to expect that to last.  We have 18 people in our class, consisting of 2 districts, 7 sisters, 11 Elders, and of those 18 missionaries how many of us are going to Portugal? That’s right just my two companions and I.  The rest are going to Brazil.  I feel bad for them because they all were meant to go to the Brazil MTC but their visas didn’t come through.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  We all get along really well and I’m going to be sad when we all have to leave.

Day 2.  We were told that we had to teach a lesson to an “investigator” the next day . . . In Portuguese… I was stressed trying to figure out what Irmao Grey was trying to say! How was I supposed to teach someone when I didn’t understand what was being said?! We decided to try and speak only Portuguese in our rooms.  We even put up sticky notes of what things are around the room.  That idea only lasted about 30 minutes due to the fact that it took us so long to shuffle through our dictionaries to find the words we wanted.

Day 3.  On day three Sisters A., S., and I struggled through our lesson and probably made no sense at all but we made it.  In the spirit of Halloween we “Dressed up” as each other.  In reality we just switched name tags but we changed back before the lesson.

So far I’ve met a couple of Elders from Vegas, Elder L. (In my district) lived near the temple, Elder T. knows the our cousins, the Crosses, and Elder D. went to Shadow Ridge High School!

Day 4.  Our first Sunday here was Fast Sunday and it was amazing.  I wouldn’t normally call it amazing but it was.  We heard from Bro. & Sis. R. a member of a branch Presidency, Pres. & Sis. H., First counselor in the MTC Presidency, and Pres. & Sis. N., the MTC President.  We got to walk around the Temple and it was cold.  Sister S. was laughing at me because I’ve started bundling up.  I am constantly freezing when we’re outside.  (Thanks for the wool Sweater Mom!)  I asked Elder J. to take a picture of all of the sisters in our districts.  I know now that was a mistake because he hijacked my camera and ended up taking a bunch of random pictures.

At dinner that night Sister H. dared all the Elders to drink a mix of all of the possible drinks including milk, soda and juice.  Elder M. took a sip but Elder J. downed the whole glass.  His face said it all!   For our evening devotional we got to hear from Sister Nelson, wife of Elder Russell Nelson.  She was awesome!

Day 5.  Monday morning we were all worried because Irmao G.’s schedule changed and we didn’t know what would happen.  We sat for a few minutes wondering if he would show up but we did our own thing until he showed up.  It worked out fine.    I gave my three extra bags of Jelly Bellies to the Elders and as expected, they were gone by the end of the day.

We were challenged by the Branch Presidency to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the 6 weeks we have here in English.  So far I’ve managed to make it to 2 Nephi.  Let’s hope I can do it.

Day 6 is Preparation Day.  That’s been my week this week!

Tchau( Pronounced Chaio) (Bye) Boa Dias (Good Day!)