Andy's Mission Scripture

Andy's Mission Scripture:

"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."

~Alma 29:9

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Our First Snail Mail!

Sat Jan 29, 2011  4:15 pm

Hello again!

I guess I just found out that I will not be able to email you all my thoughts and concerns because I can't get it out in 30 min. at least here at the MTC because things are a lil crazy.  My first four days here have been truly muito oitimo (so awesome).  I'm already, seriously, confusing some words in English with Portugese because of how much time I'm spending studying it.  I've probably spent over 40+ hours in a classroom learning Portuguese and studying how to preach and that may sound bad, but I can't get enough of it.  Time just flies by in that classroom, and probably because I have two of the most amazing teachers!  Brother Cannon and Brother Porter.  They both are returned missionaries from Brazil who speak Portuguese fluently.  In our classes they only speak Portuguese.  I'm in this thing called the "pilot program" and they say missionaries who have gone through this program are far more successful with the language on their mission.  First day meeting them was a bit overwhelming, but they were surprised that I was responding to them and understanding what they were saying.  Thank you so much again for Rosetta Stone or Eu Sou muito agradecemos por estudio isto. 

I got my first companion.  His name is Elder States.  Well I don't know if a companion at the MTC truly counts as a first, but I think it does.  I actually first met him before the MTC at the airport going there.  He's from WA and is also going to Brazil, big surprise right.  I call him Elder "Estados" and I love him like a brother because he is so awesome.  When we were eating lunch one day and we were just nonchalantly eating and I look up and he says "you want to see something cool" as he has this gigantic scar from his wrist to his elbow on the bottom of his right forearm.  I just choked on some food and said "that's cool" and he began to tell me how he was on the road to a football scholarship and everything was going his way.  Then one game he jumped up to catch a pass and a guy clipped his legs and his whole bodyweight fell onto his right forearm and just shattered his bones almost out of his skin.  He almost lost his arm. He questions himself if he would be serving a mission if that didn't happen to him.  It was such a humbling experience he said as Heavenly Father helped him get through that pain.  I call it his "testimony scar".  He has physical proof of a testimony, how cool is that.  The scar is pretty sick as it has staple marks going up the side of it.  It's so gnarly.  God works in mysterious ways. 

When I first received my "missionary package" in the bookstore on day one, I was welcomed by an awesome "shirt and tie" letter (the letter was actually shaped like a shirt with a tie).  It was from Elder McComber, Elder Black and Elder Cardon.  As the guy handed me the package he said "that's a real cute letter you go there" with a smirk on his face.  I laughed and walked away. 

The 2nd day is somewhat of a blur of Portuguese to me right now.  On the third night we met our district leaders and had a testimony meeting.  My district is comprised of 8 elders and 4 sisters, named Elder Holston, Collett, Welch, Howell, States, Gariety, Galvez, Clason and Sisters Bailey, Taylor, Jessie and Myers.  The sisters bring a real sweet spirit to our district versus our obnoxious elder behavior.  That night was really profound.  One testimony in particular really struck me and that was Elder Galvez's.  I don't want to get too specific but his mom was a drug addict and his dad's not a member and his brothers and sisters have really looked to him for strength and he has brought his family closer with the gospel and his testimony of it and I think his mom is about to be baptized and he decided that he wanted to bring more families together by serving a mission and hopefully his example will touch his father.  I really admire his strength and will to be able to leave his family which he basically took care of to serve the Lord.  To show his appreciation to the Lord.  I thought I had it hard.

Well, the food here is great and I love my roomies and I can't describe to you my love for our Church and I pray that you guys are doing as well as I am.

Until next week!

Lots of love,
Elder Howell

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