Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 8 Sousa, Brazil

Minha nossa (that´s the Portuguese equivalent of my goodness), I don´t even know where to start! It´s been a crazy week with tons of stuff to adjust to. When I got to the airport, three elders came and picked me up. I arrived on the same day as but a few hours later than a group of missionaries from the Sao Paulo MTC, but they were all either Brazilian or Hispanic and had a huge advantage over me, language-wise, which was discouraging. We had dinner at President Soares' house, which has the most beautiful view of the ocean.

My trainer is Sister Coelho and she is Brazilian (from Rio Grande do Sul) but she speaks a tiny bit of English. She is very patient with me and I´m grateful for her. We had to stay in Natal for a few days to go figure out everything with my visa with the police, so we did not arrive in our area until Friday. I´m in an area called Sousa, and it is really poor and super duper, ridiculously HOT. I can´t even describe how hot it is here. Everyone tells me how white I am, but that´s not going to last too long at this rate :) I have never loved cold showers more than I do now. Well, I never used to love them at all, but now I do.

Everything here is so different. There are animals everywhere; cats, dogs, goats, pigs, cows, horses, donkeys, walking around in the streets. The food is really good, and I have had only had a couple of sketchy pieces of meat, so that´s pretty good :) We had this amazing dessert called dulce de leite that is this caramel stuff that you eat with a spoon. It is SO good. We also got this chocolate brigadeiro popsicles that are covered in chocolate sprinkles, and chocolate covered pizza. I love that Brazilians love chocolate. Also, Brazilian children are literally the cutest thing on planet earth. I can´t understand a single thing they say to me, but they are precious.

In our area, people are very kind and receptive of missionaries. We have already had lots of chances to talk to and teach people. I don´t contribute a lot right now, but it´s still a cool experience. 

The hardest thing by far is the language. In the MTC, I think I got a little bit overly confident, but it is so completely different here. It´s really discouraging to have no idea what´s going on 90% of the time and not to be able to really bond with anyone because I can´t communicate. I have never missed English so much. Everyone tells me that I´m speaking really well and that I´m speaking a lot better than other Americans, even the ones who went to the Sao Paulo MTC, but it´s hard to believe when I feel so incompetent. It´s very humbling, and I have never had to depend so fully on God for help and comfort when I feel alone. I know these next 3 months are going to be hard as I adjust to this new culture, language, and way of life, but I´m grateful to be here and I´m grateful for everyone´s prayers and support. 

I also might not send pictures this week, since I really am not in love with the way I look (sweaty and ugly, in other words). Maybe next week :) 

All of my love from Brazil,
Sister Weatherford

Amy said that Sousa was a nine-hour bus drive from Natal. (But the bus was not full of chickens as her Dad and I predicted.) So far, so good. 

Amy's Last Few Days in Provo

The photos below are of Amy's district in Provo on their last temple walk.  All of these missionaries are now serving in their field.  Amy was the only one to go to Brazil.

The photo below is of Amy and her district serving as welcoming missionaries for the new missionaries at the MTC.  They were traffic hosts on that Wednesday.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week 6 Provo MTC

This is the last time I'll be sending out a weekly update from the MTC, because I am off to Brazil in 2 days! 

It was a really great last week here in Provo. Our district got to be traffic hosts for the flow of incoming missionaries on Wednesday, and then Sister Thomson and I had a really cool opportunity to be actors in a role play in front of over 50 of the new missionaries. It was nervewracking at first, but it ended up being really fun. 

The rest of my district also got their reassignments this week, since I'm the only one who received my visa in time to go to Brazil right away. Sister Thomson and two of the elders are going to Las Vegas, two sisters are going to Washington Federal Way, two sisters are going to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the other elder is going to Atlanta, Georgia. I was a little bit sad not to be part of the reassignment-opening, but I am so grateful to have my visa. 

Right now, I can't even think of anything else that happened this week. I know it was a great week and that I had a lot of fun with my district and with my teachers, but the specifics are escaping me. I'm just in shock that my MTC time is already over and that soon I'm going to be in another country, so forgive this boring email. I promise I had a wonderful week, and I hope you all did too! 

Tchau! Next time I email will be from Brazil! :)

Sister Amy Weatherford

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Week 5 Provo MTC

A week from today, I will be in BRAZIL! It is so crazy and I still can't believe my MTC time is already over. I received my flight plans on Friday, so I leave for Brazil on Monday and will get there on Tuesday after a through-the-night flight. I am super excited, and a little nervous!

Highlights of this week:

On Wednesday, our district got to help host the new incoming missionaries and it was so fun! It was fun remembering when that was me on my first day. 

One of our teachers was telling us how the names of people in the Bible and Book of Mormon are pronounced differently in Portuguese, and he said that Ruth is pronounced as "hoochie." One of the elders said "Good thing there's not a book of Ruth!" and we all said "There IS a book of Ruth!" I don't know why it was so funny at the time, because now it really doesn't seem funny. :)

We also got to do our TRC appointments via Skype with Brazilians this week! We talked to a really nice woman named Claudia who would say "muito bom" (very good) after everything we said, even if we had just born our testimony or said a prayer. She was very encouraging of our rather unimpressive Portuguese :)

On Sunday night, instead of having a normal devotional, Vocal Point (BYU's acapella group) came and performed for us and it was so fun. It reminded me of how much I miss BYU. 

As a district, we decided that the punishment for being late is that you have to do a door approach, or in other words, pretend that you're tracting in the mission field. The elders were late, so our teacher opened the door and pretended to be an investigator. When they asked if they could come in, he said no and then said "Tenho visitantes. Muitas mulheres," which means "I have visitors. Lots of women." It was only the sisters in our district who were in the room at the time, which is why he said that, and it was so funny. The teachers here at the MTC are super funny and smart and spiritual and I love having class with them. 

And the biggest highlight was General Conference, which was absolutely incredible! One of my favorite thoughts was from Elder Bednar, who said that Jesus Christ is the only source of enduring peace and that one of the greatest blessings of being His disciple is "the peace of God that passeth all understanding." It was wonderful to hear such powerful testimonies and inspired words and to receive personal revelation during Easter weekend. President Uchtdorf said that we must never lose our sense of awe for the eternal sacrifice of the Son of God, and I hope I never do. I am so grateful for my Savior, and for our living prophet and apostles who testify of Him.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Sister Amy Weatherford

Here are the flight plans --
Depart from Salt Lake on Apr 13 at 11:19 am and arrive in Atlanta, Georgia on Apr 13 at 4:58 pm on flight DL 105 (on Delta airlines)
Depart from Atlanta on Apr 13 at 8:15 pm and arrive in Sao Paulo on Apr 14 at 6:50 am on flight G3 1240 VRG Linhas Aereas S A
Depart from Sao Paulo on Apr 14 at 10:15 am and arrive in Natal on Apr 14 at 1:58 pm on flight...I'm not sure.