Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bon Dia Mi Familha!!

Hello from the MTC!! It's already been about a week but honestly, it's felt like a year. The days go slow here, but I am really enjoying myself. It started out pretty crazy with just being kinda dropped off at the curb and being rushed inside like they're trying to make sure I don't run away or something...I met my companion, Elder Dawson, from North Carolina, right away. He's a pretty funny guy, tall and an aspiring beat boxer. Our teacher, Sister De Campos, didn't waste any time with speaking only Portuguese which I barely know, so I just responded in Spanish, which she got fed up with really quickly. I really underestimated how long we would be spending in the classroom every day. We do it in 3 3+ hour blocks where we're either reading the Book of Mormon, studying the language, or preparing for our lesson with an "investigator". Elder Dawson and I taught our first lesson in all Portuguese on Friday, after having learning Portuguese for only three days. We basically spent about four hours making a lesson plan in English and slowly translating them into Portuguese with dictionaries. Then pretty much just read the lessons from our notebooks to our investigator. As easy as it sounds to just read out of a book, it was actually really frustrating because this guy was giving us NOTHING. We would ask him questions throughout the lesson and he would either answer with No Seu (I don't know) or Tudo Bem (good). It took us a while to realize that he would only really open up to us if we opened up to him, so in yesterday's lesson, we went in with no notes at all and it was really really brutal. I'm pretty sure nothing we said made any logical sense and I'm surprised he had any idea what the heck we were talking about. There were a lot of awkward silences when we were translating in our heads or he said something and we just kinda looked at him with no idea what he was saying, and every time this happened, he just kinda smirked at us... really nice guy haha.

I came in here on Wednesday expecting six weeks of torture, but it really hasn't been that bad. The schedule takes some time to get used to, but I've learned soooo much from the seminars and devotionals. I feel like I've grown a ton in the last six days. My district of elders is really fun. There's ten of us in total, two being sisters going to Brazil, the seven elders of the Angola squad, and an elder waiting for his visa to come for Brazil. These guys are super crazy! We have to be one of the loudest and most irreverent districts here. When we have study time, we all have to go in separate small rooms, or we will literally get nothing done. Sister De Campos gets really frustrated with us sometimes, but I know she enjoys that we're so animated. We share a floor with other missionaries going to Brazil and they are just as crazy. When we all get back at the end of the day, it's a party on our floor with people running around with nerf guns, doing freestyle rap battles, and having tie drafts. It's really funny, for some reason there's also a room of four elders going to Russia, and they HATE us. They're always shutting themselves in their room and telling us to be quiet haha. But its ok, we're just embracing our culture while they're embracing theirs. 

I've seen a lot of people here that I knew from school, which is really fun. I saw Ryan Nearon in the first 30 seconds that I was here and he gives me Warriors updates every time I see him haha. Speaking of them, there's an Elder in my district from Ohio and a huge Cavs fan so we always get into these debates over James vs. Curry, but it sounds like the Splash Bros and the rest of the Dubs are in good shape. Shoutout to Maddy Auman and Maryn Smyth who just "happened" to be at the temple on our Sunday Walk and to Josh Miner who will be joining me up here in a week and gave a killer farewell talk on Sunday from what I've heard. Finally, I learned yesterday that my dog, Max had passed away on the day I left. I know that he'll be missed by a lot of people out there and definitely by me. He was a huge part of my childhood and a really awesome dog. 

Have a great week,

Elder Christensen