Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sept. 25, 2012 First Email from the MTC!

New "greenies" at the MTC

From: Brad Sears 
Subject: My first P-day!
Date: September 25, 2012 12:42:22 PM EDT

My dearest family (and everyone that I consider family),
This is absolutely crazy! (not my mission, don't worry, but the fact that I'm staring at a timer that says 21 minutes left to email!) I get 30 minutes once a week on P-day (which I found out is Tuesday, not Monday) to read all the precious emails from you and try to respond to them, as well as mention everything that I want to try to include. So, here goes!
First of all, I am here safely and I really am enjoying my time here so, so much. I miss all of you and love all of you almost as much as I love nap time on P-day and Sunday. Haha, just kidding! I love you lots, lots more. My flight left Atlanta around 9:30 last Tuesday night but before I could even board the plane God had already sent me one of His tender mercies. I turned the corner to where my gate was and saw Elder Nutall (he would have been wearing glasses with blonde hair in the picture you all hopefully got), who I served in the Sunday School Presidency with at BYU! It was incredible. I flew down with everyone in my district except 2 that had had flight problems, so that would be 10 of us that all flew down together. I tried to sleep on the plane but the leg room was almost non-existent! I tried talking a little bit with the Brazilians sitting next to me, but ended up having to communicate pretty much solely through gestures. That was fun. I felt all excitement and no nerves at that point, and surprisingly I haven't felt much of any nerves the whole time I've been here. We got off the plane and waited in a 5 minute line where we showed our passport and an immigration document we had filled out on the plane and that was pretty much it to enter the country. We picked up our baggage, exchanged our currency (about 1 dollar to every 2 'Reals' (pronounced 'Hay-ai') and met a representative from the MTC who took us straight to O Centro de Treinamento Missionario and put us to work!

That first day was crazy. Sao Paulo seems like an endless city with buildings at least 15 stories tall everywhere, and I mean everywhere, you look. A lot of people live in poverty here and the city isn't that clean--good thing they keep us locked in the same building about 95 percent of the week :) My companions (yes, we're a trio) are Elder Johnson and Elder Carter. Elder Johnson is from Morgan, Utah and Elder Carter is from Virginia. Both of them are super friendly and dedicated and I feel like we've already become really close friends and companions and roommates. The rooms are bigger than I expected. I'll try to send home a picture of one (but they won't let us email so I'll have to print it out and mail it by hand). Thank goodness my companions are organized--I haven't ever really had to lay down the law. Our district has 9 Elders and 3 Sisters. We have had so many fun moments and spiritual moments together already. It's really something else to feel the bond between us servants of the Lord that has grown so much already.

As for the really important things, the food here "e muito bom." I really like it, especially lunch, which is the biggest meal of the day by far. We just swipe the cards that they gave us the first day and we can enter the cafeteria. My instructors are Irmao Mauricia and Irma Kikuchi. I love them both. They're really patient and knowledgeable and full of the Spirit. My CTM schedule looks a little bit like this:
6:30- 7:30: get up, shower, eat breakfast, pray
7:30-8:30: personal/companion study
The rest of the morning (until noon): language and gospel study with Irmao Mauricio
12:00-12:45: lunch (almoco)
Afternoon until 4:15: language and gospel study with Irma Kikuchi (that includes teaching full-on lessons in Portuguese--we started that our first full day here)
4:15-5:00: dinner (Jantar)
5:00-8:00: study time (planning, gospel study, language study, district goal setting, etc. --but we're entirely on our own, no instructor or anything). I'm sure that's different for the Provo MTC, but I kind of like the independence. Everyone that wants to progress progresses. I feel like our district is really good about that.
The rest of the evening: snack (Lanche), gym time for 45 minutes on Wed. - Fri., service (Monday), planning, preparing for bed, etc.
I've had so many amazing experiences already. The Spirit here is incredible and it is an absolute joy to be here. I wish I had more time to go in detail here, but I will do so in my indiviudal letters that I'll be writing by hand and mailing later today (3 minutes left on computer).
I can't remember every single question you've asked, so I apologize. You can resend them next week when I'll see them and I'll try to respond to them that way. Maybe my mom can just compile all the questions in a single email so it's easier for me to read them and respond to them. I love you all so, so much. I pray for you every day and think of you everytime my mind isn't filled with something else.

Thank you for your prayers, support, interest, and love. God bless you.
My dad can tell you about a faster way to send letters by hand--he should have gotten an email about an hour ago about that, since postage takes a long, long time down here.

Really quick, about the language: I'm doing great. I've had so many people tell me I sound like a missionary that's been here for a month or more already. I know that God is blessing me tremendously and I am so thankful for that. I'll try to share some individual experiences in my hand-written letters.
Love you!

Elder Kevin Bradford Sears

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