Tuesday December 23, 2014
Okay, so here's basically what's been happening since I got here.
When I arrived, an older companion led me through a bunch of different buildings and stuff to get like a ton of books and keys and cards (I still haven't used all of them) to carry around. They had us drop off our luggage real quick, then sent us to our classroom, where we watched orientation videos on the computers and had some guy (who we now realize was a substitute) try and teach us Portuguese without speaking English. Then we met the MTC president in a big meeting, and then went to another big meeting where we started to learn how to get to know investigators and tailor our lessons to their needs. That was pretty much what went down the first day. Oh, and I met my companion, Elder Wakeham. He's awesome. The rest of my district (it's 6 elders and 4 sisters) is really awesome, too. I met Elder Massey, he told me our parents met and stuff, and there's about 10 elders in all who are going to Cabo Verde (you're saying it right, btw), but Elder Wakeham and I are the only ones going in our district. Our actual teacher showed up like an hour and a half late on our second day, so we had some down time to get to know each other.
Our teacher, Brother Crestani, is really cool as well, and he's good at teaching us Portuguese (though he went to Brazil, so we have to bend some of the stuff he teaches to sound like continental Portuguese). At the end of the lesson, he told us that we were going to teach an investigator... the next day... in Portuguese. We all freaked out because we just got here and we had no idea what we were doing. We managed to script a pretty decent lesson, but she asked us questions and we couldn't understand what she was saying, so we kinda just tried to go as basic as possible with the doctrine. We've taught a few other lessons since then, and by the time we taught yesterday's lesson, we could actually get the gist of what she was saying and respond to her, which was a huge landmark for us!
We've actually felt the Spirit in our last two lessons, and it was really cool. The Spirit is so strong just like everywhere here, and even the people who kinda slack off and act a little too chill here have had spiritual moments here. Most of the other people in our branch (it's all Portuguese speaking) have only been here a couple of weeks more than us. They're awesome, though a little rowdy and they can sometimes get in trouble. They said they've had Gift of Tongues moments when they were speaking to investigators, and I feel like I've been blessed to learn it more easily, too.
Oh, I saw Hayden Smith here, too! We ran into each other on the second day, and I barely recognized him! (he could only recognize me when he saw my name tag and then he was like whoa!) The only bummer I've really had so far is when we found out that the temple was going to be closed for a couple of weeks!
I've received all of your letters, and I got your Christmas package (the other elders thought the missionary stocking was hilarious!) I'm sorry I haven't written a letter, they give us barely any time to write in our journals and write letters. This P-day has been sooooo relaxing already, (though Sunday was pretty relaxed, too, just a bunch of meetings.) Though there's a whole lot of stress going on trying to learn Portuguese to teach to Anna, (our investigator, she's really a teacher on maternity leave, but she's a really good actor, like most of the other "investigators") I've been having the time of my life here! My district seems to be really happy, though, so I think we're going to have an amazing experience together here!
P.S. Fun fact: if you want to look like you know what people are saying in Portuguese, all you have to say is Tudo Bem (pronounced toodoo bain), and you've got them fooled. :)