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Week 1 Provo MTC

By 12:50 PM

Ola familia!!! 

Okay mom, you can freak out now... I'M GOING TO BRAZIL!!!!! I got my flight plans yesterday, my amazing companion Sister Arbuckle, and two other elders in our district all got their visas and we are flying to the Brazil CTM a week from today, Tuesday February 3rd! I feel so eternally blessed and am SO excited! 
The MTC is great. I love my district, we are already a family.  There are a ton of us (14) and we have a tiny classroom, which means it's constantly chaotic. However through all of this we still maintain the spirit and an atmosphere for learning. All the other districts in our zone love us and are constantly stopping by our classroom and bothering us during our study time haha.

On Friday me and Sister Arbuckle taught our fist investigator ALL IN PORTUGUESE. Do Dom de Linguas (the gift of tonges) is real. I had an amazing experience that I want to share with you. As we heard about our investigator's life, she told us a little bit about her background. Her parents had died when she was 16, and so we felt that we should teach her about the plan of salvation in lesson two and about eternal families.  We started the lesson, and I immediately began to feel the Spirit guiding us to say certain things to her.  At one point in the lesson, she told us that she believed everything we were teaching her, but that she felt like God had abandoned her for taking away her parents, and a bunch of other remorseful feelings.  As she was telling us this, the Spirit hit me like a train, and I began to cry right in front of her, because I KNEW what I was feeling was God's love for her, and I knew that I needed to tell her that. So in my broken portuguese, I testified to her that I knew that God loved her and loves all of His children. And as I looked into her eyes, I knew that she knew it too, and we spoke spirit to spirit in that moment.  That changed my entire perspective as a missionary. I want EVERY person that I teach to be able to feel that, and I know that it's not me that does the converting. It doesn't matter what I say, or how bad my knowledge of the language is, the true teacher is o Espirito Santo.

Since our first lesson with Larissa we've been able to teach her 3 lessons. Not all have been as amazing as the first, but as my companion and I have taught her we've learned through experience how to teach with the Spirit and convey the love of God for His children.  It's truly amazing. We had a lesson with her last night, and we felt we should extend the invitation for her to be baptized. She accepted our entire lesson really well, had kept her commitments from the week before to go to church, read Enos 1, and pray about our lessons with her, and we were like YES this is all working so good!! Then as we talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ from lesson 3, and talked about the importance of baptism, it was all going so good, and so we invited her to be baptized, and.... she said she had already been baptized by a pastor. NOOO so that totally threw us and didn't have anything prepared to talk about authority and the priesthood, and she hadn't really understood our lesson on the restoration of the gospel and so it all started to fall apart hahaha so we fumbled through trying to explain to her why she needed to be baptized again with the right authority... and then just asked her to pray about the importance of baptism again for our next visit haha. So... now we need to do some damage control for our next visit. Haha this is so stressful but I care about her so much and just want her to have this happiness!!!

Sunday was great, at least in our Branch, every single missionary has to prepare a 5 minute talk every sunday. The first two weeks can be in English and then it has to be in Portuguese. Then someone from the presidency will call up speakers at the beginning of the meeting, so no one knows when they'll be speaking. Sunday we also got to go on our temple walk!! It was SO nice to finally get out of the jail of the MTC haha. Feel like I hadn't seen the sun or the mountains in like 3 days. And I'm so excited to go to the temple and do a session with my district and zone today!

I can't remember everything I told you guys in my letter home, but I got called to be the District Sister Training Coordinator, which is the same thing as a Sister Training Leader for my district. I felt really overwhelmed with the responsibility but as I'm beginning to learn, the Lord qualifies whom he calls.

Learning the gospel em portugues is really amazing. Our classes are entirely in the language, and that's how we very simply learn how to teach investigators and answer their questions. As a district we've begun to memorize things in portuguese, like My Purpose and Alma 26:12. It's a lot harder than I thought but I can understand probably 90% of what our teachers are saying in class and I am even beginning to understand the scriptures in portuguese too. 

Sunday night we had a devotional from Stephen B. Allen from the missionary department, mom I think you've heard him speak before? He was hilarious and had the entire room roaring with laughter, but had some really amazing messages to share with us. After that we watched Elder Bednar's talk "the Character of Christ" that he gave at the MTC on Christmas a few years ago. During the talk I saw someone on the stand lean forward, and it was grandpa!!! It was such a lovely surprise to see his face. Then it panned over and I saw president and sister McIff sitting on the other side! It brought back so many happy memories of going to devotionals at the MTC when grandpa was the president. I saw brother Angus and went up to him and said hi and introduced him to Sister Arbuckle, he said he would get us good seats for Tuesday's devotional :) except we will be singing in the choir! It's so fun, Ryan Eggett is just as an amazing conductor as I had heard he was. Too bad it will be our only week to sing!! I really am so sad that I'll be leaving the Provo MTC. I LOVE my district and teachers so much, I wish they were all coming with me. It's hard to focus knowing I'm leaving but am going to work my hardest to build a good foundation while I can still speak English with people if I don't understand what's going on or really need answers to a question. 

Sorry my thoughts are so random, I tried to outline this email but clearly that didn't go over very well haha. The first week was SO crazy and so many things happened, so now that I'll be getting into a routine things will settle down a little. Although now that I think of it I won't be able to email next week because I'll be traveling. Sister Arbuckle, Elder Thomson, Elder Markham and I have to leave for the airport at 6 am on tuesday for our flight. I bought a prepaid phone card to be able to call you guys sometime on that day, not sure if it will be in the morning (our flight leaves around 11) or during our layover in NY. I won't be able to let you know so just have your phone on you that day mom :) 

To answer pending questions.. yes, dad. We finally had chicken pillows for dinner. Disgusting. We hate the food but what can you do. Our district motto is "food is fuel". But speaking of food... Please send me Swig this week. A large diet wildberry!! Send it in a water bottle or something, I NEED IT ONE MORE TIME! Oh and send me more Kind and Zone protein bars. Those things are saving my life and I need to restock my supply before I leave! I can get packages twice a day until I leave so send me things NOW while you can!!! I sent you my address in my letter but if you don't have it you can call the MTC and they'll give you my address. 

Also, look up the mormon message video "Our Temple in the Amazon" about the Manaus temple. I can't believe I hadn't seen it before I got here! Our whole district was practically cyring watching it, we're all serving in Northern Brazil (two elders are going to my mission, Elders Moffat and Reynolds) and it's a beautiful video about the temple there! The people of Brazil are so humble and love their Savior, they put Him first in their lives and it's so apparent!! Share that video on my facebook page or something, it's amazing. 

That's it for this week, time flies when you're working hard!!


Sister Brown

                                          Sister Brown and Sister Arbuckle

                                           Sister Brown and the other sisters in her district

           The district at the Provo temple….mom note:  I don't know how to turn this photo--sorry!

                     Cute Sister Brown and Sister Arbuckle…sorry again for the sideways photo….

                    Sister Brown and Sister Arbuckle got their travel itinerary….they leave for the Brazil CTM                 on Tuesday, February 3rd!!!

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  1. Sister Brown,

    I Googled the Brazil Natal Mission and found your blog. My son, Elder Reynolds, entered the Provo MTC on January 21, as well. He was supposed to head straight to Brazil, but sadly, no visa.
    I've been scrolling through your pictures, and there's my son. What a small, beautiful world this is.
    So happy you got your visa; we just have to have faith that Elder Reynolds' will arrive when he needs it.
    Happy travels and happy mission.

    Melenie Reynolds
    Mesa, AZ


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