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week 4 (2/13/2015)

By 8:43 AM

Olá família!!
Wow this week was louco!!! So many things happened I don´t even know where to start. This week is week 4, so we started TRC, which means teaching a member a half hour lesson. Then we get to watch ourselves on the recording after and evaluate. It´s really cool to just take a second and realize that I´m having a conversation with a brasilian for a half hour straight in portuguese and I understand almost everything! But with the 4th week came a heavy work load - two investigators (our teachers Irmão Benatti and Irmã Alcalde), the elders acting as investigators, and twice a week TRC. We have studying homework and talks to write for sundays and leadership trainings and study! I´m learning the importance of time management and how sacred that last half hour of the day is for planning.
So mom, you´re going to die... Guess who is the ONLY pianist in the entire CTM? Yep. Me. I´m sure you´re just laughing right now and saying "I told you so" but honestly I didn´t think I would be the only one! So far I´ve been the accompanist for 3 of the devotional musical numbers, and the prelude for every meeting. Haha I can only imagine what it´s going to be like in the field... BUT my piano skills are increasing tremendously - another blessing of being a missionary!
The Portuguese is going really well. Some of the brasilian sister missionaries even told me that I sound brasilian! I think they were lying.. but then this morning at the temple Sister A and I were talking to some cute ladies in our session and they were like so surprised that we could understand so much and one of them said, "you understand really well!! You´ll be fluent in no time. Except they have a really different accent in Rio Grande do Norte so you´ll have to relearn Portuguese there." Great. Can´t wait! Haha. But honestly every time somone finds out that I´m going to Natal they all go "OOOHHH praias (beaches), a mer (the ocean), MUITO LINDO!!" Every single person tells me how beautiful (and how hot) it is there so I can´t wait to go!!
As for new experiences this week - we got to go out into the real world and PROSELYTE. What! I got to talk to REAL PEOPLE (by that I mean non-members) in portuguese about the gospel and WE PLACED 4 BOOK OF MORMONS. In 20 minutes. Sister A and I are such a solid team. It took the elders the full 2 hours haha but honestly I wasn´t even scared. You know me, and how nervous I would have been before the mission about something like that! But honestly we just started out right away by talking to people on the onibus on our way into the regional center (Paissandu?). I started talking to an older woman and Sister A talked to someone else. I mention this because from talking to this very devout Catholic woman about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon, the power and strength that comes from declaring in "twos". I tried my best to testify with power about the Book of Mormon, and the spirit was there, but I didn´t have my second half with me - my companion! She didn´t accept the book when I offered it to her but we had a nice conversation for about 20 minutes. When we finally got to the center we just started walking up to people and talking to them! It was awkward at first because we didn´t really know what we were doing but we definitely improved as we went along. I felt like we should walk up to two women who were observing us, and as we were talking to them about the Book of Mormon they started laughing at us and telling us they couldn´t understand what we were saying, like they couldn´t actually believe that these two, young, American girls were actually trying to preach about Jesus to them.. it was like a little embarrassing for us, but as I walked away from that experience I had this thought - why should I be embarrassed that someone didn´t want to listen to our message and even so rudely laughed in our faces? What, am I worried that someone is going to see that not everyone accepts our message? Who am I to fear man more than God? As a missionary, I have the power and authority to testify of the truthfulness of the restored gospel through the power of the Holy Ghost, so why should I fear? That was a good learning experience for me. It was just crazy to me that I wasn´t even nervous or scared to do that, and I felt SO GOOD afterwards. Like I just want to run around telling everyone!! Hey, we have a message for you that we testify will change your life!! You can receive greater happiness, peace, and blessings in your life than you have ever imagined if you will just accept what we have to say! You are a child of a Heavenly Father who LOVES you, so much that He sent His Son Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer so that we can be forgiven of our sins. Not only that, but we have another testament of His teachings and life - and it´s called the Book of Mormon. In it contains the fullness of His gospel - knowledge that we can return to live with God together as families, that through baptism with the correct priesthood authority we can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost that guides, comforts, and protects us as we come closer to Jesus Christ!  Ahh I could go on and on. That experience proselyting just made me so excited for the field, only 2.5 more weeks until I´m there (not like I´m counting)!
As a district we all had a really rough day on tuesday - not all days are easy and fun and exciting on the mission. I think every single one of us was crying at some point during the day. But it´s times like those where I look back and ask myself why am I here? And why Brazil? Our teacher asked us that in class that day. And I thought - why Brazil, Heavenly Father? Why send me here? And honestly I had a little thought - back to right after I opened my mission call, when I knelt down and asked Heavenly Father if this was really where I was supposed to be. And His answer came to my mind - "You will serve the people of Brazil, and they will love you." That was it, yet again. I am here because God knows how much I love to help and serve people, and just want others to be happy. The Brazilian people are SO loving and accepting and WANT to help you, and God knew that I just needed to be with people that loved me right back. I´m so grateful to be here.
Funny stories from this week - we´re beginning to have some language slips. Elder Markham asked his investigator "você irá batizára em 3 segundos?" Which means, will you be baptized in 3 seconds? Hilarious. Then one day when Sister A and I were practicing in class she said to me, "eu quero estar o banheiro!" Which means, I want to be a bathroom! Our instructor overheard us and we all just burst into laughter hahahahaha. It´s the district joke now, unfortunately for Sister A. So funny, I can only imagine what I´ll think I´m saying in the field and come to find out what I REALLY said...
Well I said the food is good here, and it still is, but they feed us SO much. I´m so sick of eating food. And in the brasilian culture you have to eat everything on your plate. Let´s just say we´ve all been a little sick around here.. It´s alright though! Comes with the call hahah. PS mom I got your letter!!! I almost cried when I saw it - got it on wednesday. That was perfect timing. Also Sister A and I had the opportunity to be the missionaries teaching a lesson for the People & Purpose activity that all the new incoming missionaries have on their first day - and the craziest part was that we had to teach in ENGLISH! We didn´t even know how to start.
Haha anyway, I´m out of time darn it. Please tell Max that I´m going to try and write him a letter next week - I´m so busy! I couldn´t even respond to peoples emails from this week, I´m so sorry. Adam I love you, I´m so proud of everything that you´re doing. Keep emailing me every week please please please. Dad, I love you so much. Thanks for your email too. Mom, you´re the only woman on this planet I can call mother and I love and think about you every single day. I can feel of your prayers for me and I am doing so well! Talk to you next week :)
Beijos,

Sister Brown

Sister Brown and her small district--the only Americans at the Brazil MTC!

This photo was taken in front of Mr. Cheney's store, right across the street from the Brazil MTC.

Sister Brown and her curly hair!

The adorable Sister Brown and Sister Arbuckle!

Enjoying a "pizza party" of Pizza Hut pizza, soda and cookies at Mr. Cheney's store (ordered through Missionties.com)

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