Writing From Sao Paulo!
Hello Family and Friends!
I don’t even know where to begin! Staying at the MTC here in Sao Paulo has been really fun, but really challenging as well. My trip to Sao Paulo took about 15 hours! We arrived at the airport not really knowing where to go, but there were people waiting for us at baggage claim. Then from there the journey continued! We took a van over to the MTC, which is a 6 story building with a recreational area. My roommates here are the same Elders from my district back at the Provo MTC. Our room is on the 6 floor, with our classroom on the 1st floor. My calf muscles have been getting HUGE going up and down those stairs every day!
The day we all arrived, we were immediately taken to our new classrooms. There were 3 people who were already in my room, including another Elder Nielsen! Haha. He is also going to Fortaleza East! This will be fun for my mission president. I hope we become companions at some point. We will be the Nielsen powerhouse in the field. Haha! This MTC is very strict on how we learn the language. Basically we can never speak in English or ever be heard speaking English. Both of my new teachers are from Sao Paulo and know very little English. So a lot of hand gestures go on during our class sessions! I like my teachers a lot. Each are really cool and helpful in their own ways. They have been very influential in helping me to learn Portuguese. I’ve learned way more being at this MTC than at the Provo MTC, even in this short period of time, that’s for sure.
90% of the missionaries here are Brazilians. Also, the number of missionaries here is really small. When we got here there were 300 missionaries compared to 2,000 in Provo. Now there is only 120 missionaries. More missionaries are expected next week to replace the ones that left to their missions. But there are a lot more teachers to help you. When our main teachers finish their session with us, almost immediately, someone else comes and fills in until we are done for the day.
Interesting MTC Experiences:
1. It’s P-Day today, so we are allowed to leave the MTC and talk to Brazilians and shop. So last week, we were waiting by a store and some man started smoking by us but apparently he didn’t like his cigarette. So he threw it on the ground after one puff. And then out of nowhere, this older lady jumps out and starts screaming at this man in rapid Portuguese about wasting that cigarette! It wasn’t about littering, but about throwing out a unused cigarette!
2. A typical MTC breakfast includes: Panini, juice, hot chocolate. Other meals include: Some form of meat, rice and beans and bread. The bread is awesome here. I actually like the food quite a bit, I just don’t know what meat I’m eating!
3. I am climbing endless stairs to get everywhere in this building! They don’t allow us to use the elevator!
Isaiah 55:8-9 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, saith the lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” I’ve been thinking a lot about receiving answers to prayers this last week and the patience I need to wait for them. We need to learn that answers to our prayers come in God’s time, and not necessarily when we think we need them. And answers may not even come in a way that we expect them to come. God could speak through an impression, through another person, or through a miraculous event. We need to have the patience to wait for it and trust that everything is in God’s hands. As Isaiah says, his ways and thoughts are higher than ours. We have to trust in his infinite wisdom. I know we all have a tendency to get frustrated because answers come slowly, or when they come, they are not what we expected. Answers come when we have faith and patience. I tesify that as you exercise faith and patience, that God will hear and answer you. He will answer your prayers and more than that, he will bless you for your patience. Please take the time to think back on all the prayers that have been answered by God in your lives. I’m sure there have been many. Remembering these moments will help you to have faith in him and in his timing.
Well I love you and hope you have a great week. I hope that everything is going well for you. I want you to know that I CARE about you and I pray for YOU. And I testify to you that God knows and loves each of you.