Here are Kate’s first two letters.
Ohhhhhh ola! (accent over a. I’m not sure HOW to do that so work with me)
I’m happy I could speak with all of you on this fine, BEAUTIFUL Preparation day here in the MTC.
I have no words.
But also…. tonsa.
So, I am officially a missionary. I guess I’m really doing this, huh? The first day that I got here was the most insane experience ever. I walk into my classroom to find Irmao Walker just chatting away in Portuguese. He never broke out of Portuguese unless to clarify. “Chama-me Irmao Walker. Que Significa Chama-me?” (none of us knew so FINALLY he goes “my name is”) That’s basically how entire lesson is. You also are not supposed to talk to him in English, and normally he won’t reply to you UNLESS you speak Portuguese. Here at the MTC, they do this program called “SYL (Speak Your Language).” Basically, anything you CAN say in Portuguese you SHOULD. Districts that have been here for four or five weeks ONLY speak Portuguese, and break into English only for words that they are unfamiliar with, which to them, is like “shelf.” Needless to say, that was extremely stressful.
But, my Portuguese is getting better. I CAN PRAY AND GIVE DISCUSSIONS IN PORTUGUESE! #whatup. My district and I are working hard to do SYL but it’s difficult when we can only say a few words. So ours is English with a few Portuguese phrases thrown in. My district has me and three other sisters who I room with: Sis Christensen, Sis Taylor, and my companions, Sister Kunz. We are all headed to Lisboa, Portugal (I can NOT read that without a Portuguese accent now. Funny) The 8 elders in my district are headed out to Mozambique, with one exception: he’s going to Angola. It’s nice because we all are learning the same accent. The Brazilians here like to use “J’s” instead of “D’s” and LOVE to NOT slur the s’s. Weirdos. It’s hard trying to learn the correct pronunciations with all that weird going on around me. I am also really focused on speaking CORRECT Portuguese. I will not have a greenie accent when I get there. That’s for sure.
So, I was hoping to see Leslee, I mean Sister Openshaw, at least once while I was here. Luckily, she’s in my zone. I get to go to church with her EVERY SINGLE WEEK. She’s also on my FLOOR. How funny is that? Every single day I see her at least, five times. Every single night, especially my stressful first couple, Leslee would chat with me and make me less scared to be here. I am so happy, and so blessed, that Leslee could make an appearance. It has really helped me have a better time here at the old empty sea. (I suppose in Portuguese it would be the CTM, which you can’t really say a different word for. SAD.) The first Sunday here my branch president pulls me aside and says “Sister Azevedo, would you mind giving a talk about your conversion.” My first reaction was “IN PORTUGUESA??!??!?! NO WAY.” However, it was in English, which was a lot easier. Everyone here thinks it’s muito bem that I am a convert, and so I’m basically a local celeb out in district 70. I’m kidding. It was really nice to get to share my experience, especially because everyone in the meeting already knew Sister Openshaw, so that was really fun!
Days here are long. Weeks are short. (I hear.) Sunday was AMAZING. Sheri Dew gave an incredible talk in Relief Society. Then we had our normal meetings and an incredible devotional that night on the success of our missions only coming from OURSELVES. I am going to be the one who makes or breaks my mission. It’s all about my attitude. I’d like to think that you, as readers of my weird emails, can realize that this is the same for EVERY day of our lives. We are the ones who choose whether or not today will be a gem. So, let’s all be happy, eh? Seja Feliz. That’s my “residence’s” motto. It’s basically, be happy.
My roommates and I have Festas every day. They are fun. We sing and laugh and do some dancing (even if it’s not TOTALLY allowed.) ALSO: two of them are marathon runners and one is a crazy gymnast (my little companion, Sis Kunz kills it on those backflips). Because of this, we sprint about 2.5 miles a day. I think I’m going to die. But also, I won’t get fat soooo TAKE THAT ERIC. The food here is kinda gross and is always unhealthy looking. I go for it still though, because I am hungry. My brain is so tired, it needs nutrients. The elders in my district are just gems. It’s great to get to learn with them. I’d say my “bestie” would have to be Elder Edmeyer. He’s from Provo and actually just graduated a month ago. He loves Parks and Rec so we bonded HARD over that. He’s also the ONLY person who got my “NO TOUCHING” reference from the first, what six? episodes of Arrested Development that I watched before I came in here. We both think the same stuff is funny and he hates grape jolly ranchers and gives me all of his. That’s love.
So, everyone says the MTC is fun. At first I was like, nah fool. But it really is. That’s not the great thing about it though. The great thing is the SPIRIT of the MTC. It’s incredible how great the MTC can make you feel. All of the amazing missionaries around me give me such happiness. They are such uplifting examples. Also, let’s talk about how PRAYERS GET ANSWERED! That’s a GREAT thing that occurs here. (and really can occur ANYWHERE).
So I guess this makes me a zoob now. I like the MTC. #nojudgement
I’d love to hear from y’all. Send me letters! Dear Elder me. (Go on to Dearelder.com, the rest is SUPER easy so JUST DO IT) Everyone else gets letter. #guilttrip
Thanks for reading. Until next week!!!!
All my Loving,
Week Two was filled with RED, WHITE, AND BLUE. (#rhyme)
I had the BEST dia de indepencia of my entire life this week. Fourth of July in the MTC was INSANE, it was a festa like no other. I made my entire district be PUMPED up to be Americans. We all dressed up in our FINEST patriotic apparel and ate like the American champs that we are. For breakfast, they have these sausage and pancake on a stick things that basically look like corn dogs. Normally, I hard pass those. HOWEVER, due to the festivities, I FORCED the entire district to partake of these “freedom breakfast corn dogs.” I always was a leader, huh, Mom? Anyways, that night we had a special devotional. We were able to watch 17 miracles. That’s right: A FULL LENGTH MOVIE ON MY MISSION. It was a really awesome experience. You really don’t think of freedom until you remember that these English converts, who were not tough people, trekked over 1300 miles to be granted FREEDOM. The very same FREEDOM that this country was founded upon. It’s a sad little part of history, but those early Saints are my heroes. They had awesome testimonies to complete that journey. That helps me to know that I can TOTALLY be an awesome missionary. If someone walked over 1300 miles pulling a handcart through the snow, I can easily preach to those awesome people of Portugal.
Anyways, sometimes I go off on tangents. Sue me. After the movie, we were able to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks show from the MTC. It was a cool experience. All around me, there were these missionaries, many of whom would be leaving the United States, just PUMPED to be celebrating. Like, next year, we will all be off, I’m other countries scattered, probably NOT celebrating at all. But that day, we were all just having fun, eating ice cream and singing Patriotic songs. The finale ended with the best chant of USA! ever. Everyone knows that is my dream in life. It’s been fulfilled. The MTC is the best. Also, who knew I was so Patriotic? Cute n fun.
This week, Sister Kunz and I had our first lesson without ANY notes. That was difficult, but amazing. I was really impressed with the amount of Portuguese both of us know, and can understand. However, you all know that I am the QUEEN of messing up my language. Hay and Kara, remember “I wanna go on the boat with David.” Oh geez. Those days. In my lesson, I went to say God is our Heavenly Father and he loves us. He wants us to talk with him. (Basically, telling the investigator to try praying). I however, said “Deus es nos Pai Celestial y Ele amas nos. Which is correct. Except that I forgot how to say He wants us to talk with him soooooo I just continued, saying Ele queres nos amos e falar.” He wants our LOVE and SPEAK? What? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Sis Kunz was able to pick it up while I just say there smiling and trying not to look like I KNEW I was an idiot.
Anyways, the lessons after that have been A LOT smoother. You always need a starting point, so I’m not bummed. Yesterday, poor Sis Kunz had to go to the doctor. She had been having a really bad ear ache. Turns out, it is a BAD ear infection, so we were able to go off campus to get medicine. FUN. She’s such a trooper too. She doesn’t complain. She doesn’t murmur. She doesn’t try to get out of doing anything. She just wants to work. AWESOME. I just have to keep making sure she is taking her medicine. I’m basically her mom. It’s funny. Leslee has been re-assigned to the Cleveland, Ohio mission as she awaits the arrival of her visa. She leaves tomorrow. I can assure you that EVERY night has been a party because she is leaving and she is a funny bunny. It’s awesome to have had her here for my transition period in the MTC.
This past Sunday was Fast Sunday. However, our district goes a little ABOVE and BEYOND for fast Sundays. We had a “jejum de ingles” (Fast of English). Which meant that during our entire fast, we could not speak English. If you did, you would have to do push ups the next day at gym time. (we go big.) I had to do *drum roll please* ZERO. I really made an effort to ONLY speak Portuguese. That meant that most of the time, I used lots of hand gestures and my dictionary was my best friend. It was cool to see how far I have already come though. Portuguese is difficult, but that just means I need to study harder. At the devotional on Tuesday night, the speaker say “These days stretch you so you may become the person Heavenly Father intended you to be.” I LOVE THAT. That is my motto. Seriously. The MTC is hard. Portuguese is hard. BUT, I can do it! I can’t wait to get out there and preach because the MTC is cool, but PORTUGAL? SERIOUSLY? It’s gonna be legen *wait for it* DARY. Oh, ps. My favorite person, Elder Larsen watches HIMYM and he gets all my references. That’s always good. I have Elder Ebmeyer to appreciate Parks and Rec and now Larsen gets the Office and HIMYM (he EVEN laughed at my impression of Meredith dancing from the series finale. Inappropriate missionary conduct? Maybe. He was the one who started it so I blame no one. Except for him.) Other than that, the MTC has been the same.
Keep on loving me, and I’m gonna keep on loving you. It’s the only thing I want to do. I don’t wanna sleep. I don’t want eat. I just wanna keep on loving youuuuuuuu.
That’s only slightly true. I just really dig that song. But seriously, write me Dear Elders. It’s AWESOME to be ending a long 16 hour day and to receive a letter from the people I LOVE the most from home! Stay sweet.
I’ve loved you all for a thousand years.