Hi there! It´s another p-day! Everything is going really well here. My Portuguese is slowly getting better and I’m having an easier time understanding people (when they talk really slowly and say each word clearly, that is). We gain new "investigators" almost each week. It’s pretty intense.
Sister Dixon is from the Bay area. She actually knows Ben Wheeler! a guy from school. Her brother is also serving in the Portland mission right now. Everyone I meet here is sweet and nice. Sadly, I don't take many pictures because my camera is too big to have with me a lot of the time. It would be nice to have extra SD cards. Thank you.
And thank you so much for the Shari’s story! That really made me laugh hard! I even told sister Dixon. Guess that means you are really in the high priest group huh? No, dad, you don't look that old. I may make fun of you, but you really don't. I haven't given a talk yet. But I know I probably will soon. Hopefully my sentence structure will improve before then.
We found out last week that 3 of our Elders got their visas. They all left today. We had about 85 total visas come in that week. Our zone shrunk really fast. We had 10 people leave with visas, and about 20 people (2 districts) that were at their 9 weeks. I think all of them got temporarily reassigned some to Milwaukie and some to Salt Lake. I really feel for them. We have been taught how to preach in Portuguese. It’s hard in English now! This Sunday in relief society a woman spoke about her mission back in 1964. She had been assigned to Brazil, Rio. After being the only sister at the MTC here learning Portuguese, her visa hadn't come yet. So she went to Connecticut (then the New York mission) to wait for her visa. It still hadn't come, so she went to the Philippians. She said it was crazy, but good. It was really inspiring for at least sister Dixon and I. I know that I am here because God needs me here. And if I end up in the states for a while, it is because Heavenly Father wants me to teach someone there, that only I can really touch "I will go where you want me to go dear Lord."
To answer your question Dad, no, I will be here for a while. I still don't have my electronic visa in yet. And once I get that in, it can take 3-5 weeks for any word. It is going faster, but I think that I will be here for all 9 weeks. If I do get my visa, I will get to let you know right away. So have no fear, you will know before I go to Brazil.
After I wrote you last week, that night we had a devotional. Elder Richard G. Scott spoke. It was awesome! He is so amazing. He really hit us with the Spirit when he bore his testimony to us. He even called down blessing for the missionaries. That was so cool! He also was telling us to keep with us always a pad of paper and pen to write down revelations and promptings that we receive. When we do that, we can receive more and more. He was so inspiring. After the devotionals we get together as a district and talk about it. We always have such great discussions.
Sister Patton is now my "other" companion. Her companion got her visa, so now she is what they call a solo sister. So she is with us on p-days and most other times during the week, but for her classes and meals she just has to have 2 elders with her. Today we all went to the temple again (we get to go every week!) and we did sealing’s. We can only be proxy for children. But it was amazing (I use that word a lot, my journal would know!). The rooms are so beautiful and it was really big! I really can't wait to do that again. I was paying close attention to what the sealer was saying. I really like the oaths that are taken. Dad, you need to get to work on family history, we are going to be going to the temple A LOT when I get back! (It’s kind of like a high; I look forward to it each week).
Oh, and thank you for the birthday card! I LOVE it! It made me smile. Thank you Dad for picking it out. I got a letter from the relief society too. But that's it so far. I haven't gotten mail yet today. I can't wait to get a package! Those are always exciting around here. Our district has a running joke that Dear Elders count as letters. So at a lull, someone will say "oh, you didn't know, dear elder counts." it's pretty funny for us. Those are our jokes around here. Melissa has been sending me dear elders. And I’ve gotten a couple of letters from Ryan. But other than that I don't get much. I wrote to Chris and Jessi and the kids last week. They weren't much. But there's something there.
I’m only 3 weeks in. I hope you are doing well with my being here. And dad, I bet you could say that you are "well please" just like Heavenly Father was with Christ. (I’m a missionary; all I know is the gospel!)
Give everyone my hellos; give Kellie a giant hug for me! And I love you so much. I’ll write you again next week.