Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Alina's Letter - 8/26/2015

Tudo bem everyone!!! I have officially completed my first week here in the São Paulo, Brazil CTM and life is good! Typical week includes getting up at 6h30 everyday and being in classes and studying most of the day learning portuguese and how to be a missionary with exercise time thrown in every day too. Sundays though we have church, choir, and devotional and free time and that is awesome. Today is p-day (kind of like a more free day that we have once a week) and we actually have to wake up earlier than usual to go to the Temple (São Paulo temple is GORGEOUS google it), then email everyone, and go wander the neighborhood:) That is very nice since it can get claustrophobic being inside here all the time. Unfortunately I don't think I can send pictures while here, but you'll get some eventually. The first day was honestly pretty difficult! I was missing home, I hadn't slept in something like 36 hours because of the long flight, and everyone was speaking portuguese to me (it is pretty much a total immersion program here) and I was just stressed! Now though, I am loving it! Minhas companheras são MUITO bem!!! I have two companions and they are sweet and hilarious and think I'm hilarious, so there is not much more I could ask for! We also have two Brazilian roommates and they are some of my favorite people ever! Sister Miranda and Sister Cousta are delightful. They help us speak Portuguese and we help them with their English (although their english is way better than our Portuguese hahaha). I am definitely going to cry when they leave next tuesday, since they are from Brazil and don't have to learn a language they are only here for 12 days. My district (group I study with and do activities with every day) is amazing as well and funny! Sometimes it is hard making eight 18 year old boys focus for tons of hours a day, but they're actually all really good guys too. We all had a moment Sunday night where we discussed why we were here and such after watching a devotional by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. It is actually a 2013 Provo MTC address, but LOOK IT UP AND WATCH THE WHOLE THING. He talks a lot about why missionary work is important and why we're so lucky to have the gospel and share it. He also talks a lot about staying strong after the mission and doesn't mince words about return missionaries who go astray in life. Overall though, it was just such a powerful video and made us all think about what we're doing here. We've all been under a lot of stress (learning a foreign language and being pushed to speak it as much as possible all day can get stressful) and everyone opened up a lot. It was a good moment for bonding as a district, getting to know each other, and discovering a renewed sense of purpose and confidence for why we're here. Giving up the life you knew for 18-24 months is a sacrifice, but I have already felt the incredible joys of being a full time missionary. I used to think missionaries were just being dramatic when they described their missions as containing the highest highs and the lowest lows, but I am only a week in and I already know that they weren't kidding! I know this is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done, but I also know it is the BEST! So go on a mission, all the cool kids are doing it;) Also, study some Portuguese because by the time I come home I am going to not speak english so well, so if you want to communicate with me it will be the only way ;) I love and miss everyone! I hope everything is going well back home (KY, Utah, pretty much anywhere on the North American continent) and that everyone is doing well and making good choices! I wish I could write about everything, but it honestly feels like I've been here at least a month and there is way too much to even sum up! I am writing in my journal daily so maybe I'll let some of you read it when I get back. 
Life is good! Choose the right! Watch that address by Elder Holland foreals!

Much love,
Sister Neal

PS: Email me and write me letters, I appreciate it:)

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