Hello Family and Friends!
So I’m officially 2 weeks into my mission! That is so crazy to me. You know I may not need the next 4 weeks because I think I got this language thing down! Just kidding about that! I probably need more like a year here! But I’m definitely progressing quickly, and I feel like I have made leaps and bounds in learning the Portuguese language. It is a very beautiful language and I can’t wait until I’m fluent in it. I have two teachers who teach my district of 8 missionaries. Both have served in Brazil, both are incredible teachers, and both serve as our teaching investigators. Irma (Sister in Portuguese) de Campos has implemented a new teaching method to help our class progress in the language and I’m straight up nervous about it. She wants us to teach without any books, dictionaries, or anything that is already translated by us! This is going to be a big exercise of faith for me because my lessons were written out in English in my notebook and then translated into Portuguese. So in other words, say goodbye to that method of teaching for Matt!
This week has been an incredible week of growth for me and has definitely helped me learn a lot about myself and about how hard a mission is. Missions are incredibly tough and test missionaries beyond what they can handle. But what makes missions so amazing, is that those testing moments help us come to understand God and recognize him more in our lives. I know he is real and I testify of his love for each of us. In my opinion, one of the greatest evidences of a God is the trials we are given. He gives us trials so that we can grow and without that growth, we cannot return to him again.
These last two weeks were filled with amazing speakers. On Sunday, Chad Lewis (former tight end for the Eagles and former BYU football player) came to speak to us, along with his wife. Both provided such incredible advice about pressing forward with faith. And today we get to hear from another amazing speaker who spoke in General Conference (for those of you who are not members, it is where the LDS leadership speak and provide wisdom and words of advice to the members). He is a member of the Quorum of Seventy and he was the one who spoke in his native language, which you might have guessed is….Portuguese! My companion and I are very excited to hear him tonight. We found out because, as we were waiting in line to get breakfast, his son was there and told us about his dad coming to speak! He was also bragging that his dad is going to take both him and his companion out to dinner afterward. I know, not very fair is it! I’m also excited that the missionaries will get to see the movie “Meet the Mormons”. So a lot of things to look forward to!
A Funny MTC Experience:
1) You are not going to believe me but there is a clone of Conan O’Brien, the late night talk show host, at the MTC! I call him Elder O’Brien! I smile every time I see him and he just shakes his head and laughs. I feel bad though because I’m sure he gets a lot of people that say, “Did you know you look exactly like Conan O’Brien.” And then I’m sure he responds with, ” Wow, I never heard that before.”
*Sorry about the lack of funny experiences, but I will make up for it next time! The one I chose was pretty good though, wouldn’t you agree??
I know that a lot of you are going through tough trials in your lives right now and I feel impressed to share a few thoughts with you. I hope you will find peace, strength, and motivation as you read this. For those of you who may be praying and crying out to God for help, I think it might be worthwhile to remember the experiences of the Prophet Joseph Smith. After being wrongfully accused and thrown into prison, he prayed to God and said, “O God where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?” As you read the answer from God please act as if God is answering you. God answers him with this, “Peace be unto thy soul. Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.” What an amazing answer to prayer. If we endure our trials well, we can have peace unto our souls and triumph over all our trials. Before my mission, I was going through a really rough point in my life when I found this scripture. It brought me such solace and peace. It is found in 1 Peter 5:10. It reads, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” I know that God molds and shapes us through our darkest moments. I have seen this in my own life. I bear my testimony that you can find peace, understanding, and strength through Christ’s atonement.