Oi! Como vai! I'm almost halfway through my stay at the MTC (tomorrow will be the halfway point). Time has crawled and flown at the same time!! This week has been pretty standard. We did our first TRC (Teaching Resource Center) this week. That's where missionaries are able to talk with member volunteers. It's way more relaxed than the "pescisadores" (investigators). Speaking of investigators, we upgraded from one to two!!! That's right! Now Elder Hinckley and I are teaching 2 different "investigators". Their "names" are Bernac and Tomas. Bernac is a budhist who believes in communication with spirits via meditation as well as reincarnation, so those lessons are...fun to say the least. Tomas is a hard working family man, who was raised catholic, but has turned away from organized religion because of the lack of continuity among christian interpretations of the bible. Our language and teaching skills continue to improve, but I for one have a looooong way to go!
Last Wednesday, out zone got a new district of 13 elders (now 12, but that story is coming up).
Gotta go check the laundry, I'll finish and send the rest of the e-mail later!!!
Alright back to business
(add on from last sentence)
...It is pretty cool because all of them are Portuguese speaking, but none of them are going to Brazil. Instead they are going to Portugal, Mozambique, Cape Verde and Canada! One of the elders is Italian and he is super cool. The new district is on our floor of the residence hall, so it's like having new neighbors. It's also nice not to be the "baby" district anymore. In fact, my companion and I are at the point where, when we do street contacting practice to the new elders and sisters, we're able to see that they have the same kind of awe to us as we did to "experienced" missionaries in our first week. It's so funny. They think we actually know what we're saying. Jokes on them though, because I'm pretty sure my Portuguese grammar are less than that of a Brazilian kindergartner. Ah well, we're all still learning. Back to the new district story. There was one elder in the new district who was just seemed really homesick. His family lives 10 blocks away here in Provo, and I than must've been really hard. Anyway, he arranged to go home yesterday morning. BUT, instead of waiting for the morning he just up and left in the middle of the night. Literally just walked out and walked home. He left his bags and everything! Anyway, his companion woke up in the morning and had no idea what happened, so that was a little bit crazy.
That was the biggest event of the week. Other than that, nothing super exiting has happened. I "played" piano for my zone's sacrament meeting, but they were all hymns that I am not good at playing so it was fairly embarrassing. As for district leader duties, the biggest most important one is to pick up the mail for my district twice a day :) Other than that, I just lead district meetings, and report on my district's progress to the branch president.
Now to talk about lessons learned. It seems every week or even every day, a different aspect of the gospel is emphasized. You learn something new and powerful just about every day. These past couple of days, I have been taught about o Livro de Mormon. For the first time in my life, I am truly loving my study of the Book of Mormon. Previous to my mission I had a hard time studying the Book of Mormon for more that 15 mins at a time. Not anymore. This week during my personal study, I read the Book of Mormon (in English and Portuguese) for an hour straight, and after the hour was over I didn't want to put it down. I felt like I had to tear myself away! I was learning so much, and feeling the spirit so strongly! The very next day in class, we talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon as a tool in conversion for our investigators. The spirit was so, so strong as we all shared our own testimonies of the Book of Mormon. It helped me realize of the very real power that is in the message of the Book of Mormon. If we, as missionaries, can do nothing else but get that book into the hearts and minds of our investigators, it will be enough. So if you haven't had opportunities to really study the Book of Mormon lately, I encourage you to do so. Just sit yourself down. Open it up. Say a prayer, and enjoy! You won't regret it!
love, Elder Johnson