Week two of the MTC here I come!!! I love this place! A lot of people here get stir crazy, and can't wait to get out, but I haven't felt that yet. There's still so much for me to learn!!! It is incredible how fast you are able to pick things up here. In just this short amount of time I'm as comfortable (if not more so) with Portuguese than I was with Spanish after 3 years of school classes. Isn't that AWESOME! Portuguese is actually such a fun, chill (suave) language. There are so many catchy little phrases. It's funny, now in regular conversation I'll respond to questions with "sim" or "ta bom" or some other Portuguese quip. For those who wonder, let me give you a quick rundown of what life is like here.
Our district wakes up at 6:00 and has breakfast at 6:30, then, throughout the day we have 6 hours of class time, 1 hour of language study, 2 hours of personal/companionship study, and 1 hour of gym with lunch and dinner in between. The entire day is packed to the max! It is helpful for people like me who aren't necessarily the most self-driven individuals. Also, part of our class time is dedicated to the teaching of "investigators" ( teachers posing as non church members) IN PORTUGUESE. Yeah that's right teaching in Portuguese! The first lesson ( over a week ago) was super tough and really stressful. I couldn't understand hardly a thing our "investigator", Antonio, was saying, let alone respond. However, the lessons gradually got better and better as our (me and my companion) had a better grasp of the language. We taught Antonio his fifth and last lesson last Friday, and we "committed him to baptism" (but not really because he was just a teacher playing the part). Regardless, it was a super cool, and really beneficial experience. This week we're getting 2, yes 2 new "investigators" to teach!
Now about my district. I don't remember if I mentioned this in last letter, but I am so blessed to be in a totally awesome district. The elders and sisters are all champions! My companion, Elder Hinckley is especially great. He is truly gifted with the language. He picks it up so fast. His vocabulary and knowledge of the grammar is eons ahead of the rest of the class, especially me! The other elders in my room ( Elders Anderson and Tibbits) are also great. We have a trio of elders in the next room in our district ( Elders De la Rosa, Goodrich, and Bascom) who are also really fun. In fact, sometimes we all get along a little too well, and end up getting distracted, but we made a goal this past week to try and avoid that. The sisters in our district are all spiritual giants. They consistently show us elders up by their hard work, focus and determination. Elders Anderson, Tibbits, and Goodrich are all going to Cuiaba like me, while the others are going to either Curitiba, Curitiba de sol, or Belem.
Now for fun stories. First off, I had my birthday in the MTC which was way legal (cool). My district sang happy birthday to me in Portuguese, and that night all the elders in my district had a festa (party) in the residence hall! It was soooo much fun. We had all sorts of goodies and snacks, complete with birthday hats and balloons (so thank you to those who contributed via packages :). What made it even more fun was that Elder Hinckley had his birthday the very next day!!!! So we did the same exact thing the following night as well. Needless to say, that weekend we were all feeling a little bit under the weather from overindulgence. I don't think I've ever eaten so many cupcakes, doughnuts and candy in such a short span of time.
There are so many more great stories, funny moments, and spiritual episodes that have happened, I wish I could share them all. There are so many that I don't even have time to write them all in my Journal! In closing, I'd just like to let you all know how much I love all of you. That's a weird thing to say in a mass message, but It's true. I have so much more of an appreciation for the worth of my fellow men ( and women :). Keep the lord and the holy spirit with you tudo dia todo dia ( all day every day). PAZ! (peace) - Elder Johnson