Another fast week. I still feel so blessed to be able to be here and learn in the presence of such a great spirit of learning and teaching. Grant Barnes sent an email reflecting on how awesome it is to wear the nametag. I agree 100%. That is one thing that I put on as soon as I'm out of the shower and it doesn't come off until after my prayer at night. I love being able to rub my fingers over the indentation of the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I heard the saying this week that we should be the type of messengers that match the glorious message. Elder Ballard said that to Br Marion, a member of our Branch Presidency. What a statement to remember now of course, but also throughout life.
I need to be sure and say thank you to all who continue to consistently support me through letters and packages. It is such a wonderful blessing to hear from loved ones and there was not a day this week that I didn't get something. I don't expect that kind of thing every week, but I do want to say thank you for these physical reminders of how much I am thought of. The other thing that is helpful beyond words is all the prayers for not only me, but all the missionaries who are serving. Please keep them coming, as they are working! Last wednesday marked our fourth week here and our teacher said we should not speak english anymore in class. It is amazing to realize how much the Lord has blessed us with being able to learn this language. Even after that, all the Elders in our district try to speak portuguese as much as possible throughout the days. I even had the experience of having to think a little harder to speak english one night when I had to talk to some other missionaries in our zone in english.
That was a neat article that Alex Espinoza wrote in the Sun. The Jex's also sent me a copy of it, which was awfully thoughtful of them. Thanks mom also for the copy of it and also the nice thoughts about how many people it had touched. I know I never did appreciate the reporters as much as I could have (maybe at all in some cases) but this article was definitely unique and the work I am doing now made it all the more meaningful. It is neat meeting other Elders with athletic skill here. They shut the soccer field down during the poor weather, so I played a lot of basketball this week. There are a couple of Elders that played there first year of college and can dunk and all. But since I like a challenge, I always take them on and end up frustrating them pretty good. That's about all I'm good for though is hustle on defense. When I shoot how my natural strength tells me too, I also push it far, so my shooting % is not great. But I still like hustling for rebounds and throwing good passes.
Another Elder in our district got his visa this week, he leaves tomorrow morning. All of us that are going to Porto Alegre in my district have not even done our electronic visas which is the first step in moving closer to getting the visa. I have learned there are a handful of portuguese missions in the US, including Florida, Alabama, Massachusetts, Alberqurque and Portland from what I here. There are way too many Elders waiting on visas than those missions need, so many Elders get reassigned to english missions while waiting.
We received a little cold weather this last week which was nice. No snow stuck on the ground at the MTC, but the mountains around us were shining brilliantly with the pure white powder on them. Certainly reminded me of Reno and the wonderful mountains to the west, although here, they are just to the east of us.
Sorry that I don't get to write more handwritten letters to more people, but Pdays go fast here and I will continue to try to make the most of my time. We got to take a picture of the three of us here in the MTC from Reno. Elder Calinog, Sister Viland, and myself. Too bad Sister Forman aleady left. It has been wonderful to continually see familiar faces. The opportunities to continue serving other missionaries come frequently and I can feel the Lord's hand guiding me in what to say and do.
A neat thought I had this week was that Christ's kind of love is charity towards us. He not only loves us, He cherishes us.
With love and charity,