Hey guys!!!! How's it going??
This has definitely been my busiest and best week yet. Last weekend I got sick (sounds like we were all sick at the same time, sorry to hear that) but I'm feeling much better now. I've been doing this thing where I only speak Portuguese unless I'm eating or playing volleyball (have I mentioned the volleyball here? It's the best) and it's been going really well, for the most part. I don't always make it the whole day because it's super tricky but I do about 10-12 hours a day, and I feel like that's been helping me.
The kitchen looks so great!!! I love the creepy dude in the window. I also loved those Cornbelly's pictures. It looks like you guys had a great time. I showed the picture of dad sitting next to the unicorn to Elder Work and he thought it was funny. You guys are great. Sounds like you have a full month! I know you guys will be able to do everything you have planned. It sounds stressful though. Definitely send lots of pictures. It sounds like you guys are getting into the halloween spirit too so that's good. My first P-day in the field will be Halloween I think so I will definitely celebrate in style. By the way, since Mom asked, the food here is not great. I hear the food in Piracicaba is better but man. My stomach has not had a good day since 9-12. My suit pants are a little baggy on me now haha! But that being said, I'm doing great and feel more or less healthy, just a little tired. Still getting used to the time difference I think, and the schedule.
My companion and district are awesome. Elder Work and I have been getting to know each other better and it's been really good. He's super into anime (specifically Naruto) and he loves The Legend of Zelda so we've been bonding over that haha. He's also a super hard worker so we have been motivating and helping each other. It's been great. He really is an example to me of working hard to learn the language and I appreciate it. My district is cool too. I think I've talked about them a little bit but there are 4 elders and 4 sisters. We all are really different but we get along most of the time haha and it's really good. My instructors are also amazing. I took pictures with Irmão (Brother) Meiatto and I'll be sure to get some with Irmão Diego too because they both are amazing. They are really helping us learn the language -- I mean, that's their job, but they really care about us and want us to be good missionaries. Our classes are always great because of that.
The temple's good too! We've been four times now. I did today's session in Portuguese and only missed a few phrases, so I felt pretty good. It is a lot easier to understand than to speak, and it's a lot easier to understand and speak about gospel stuff than anything else, but hey, I'm feeling good. I know the gift of tongues is real. It's crazy how fast we're learning here and I know I can't attribute a ton of it to myself.
I have anxious days every now and again here, but this week I haven't had as many. Usually so far it's been 50/50 but this week I only really struggled a couple days. I think I'm really adjusting to CTM life. It'll be interesting to see how my first several weeks in the field are. I think it might be pretty rough for a while but I'm ready and excited. It's really genuinely hard here. It's hard work, it's hard being homesick (don't worry, just a little!), it's hard speaking a foreign language, it's hard to focus all day, and it's hard to be away from home! But it's really good. I have a very, very strong conviction that this is where I'm supposed to be and I feel good about it.
My main concern really is that I won't come through. I've been stressed about that. I really want to have success. In Preach My Gospel it says the true definition of success is (in short) the amount of effort you put in to your mission, not the number of baptisms, etc. I believe that, but I've been worried lately about myself. I really want to be the best missionary I can be, and I feel like I can be a really hard worker, but I think my fear right now is that I'll get out there and not work as hard as I could. I know I have control over that sort of thing, but I just feel like I'm really weak and I want to do a good job so bad but don't know if I'm up to it. Does that make sense? Anyway, I'm trying to set a type for myself right now by working hard here. I'm not even in the field yet so maybe I should just stop stressing out, but anyway. I want to be able to feel proud about my mission, not guilty because I never worked very hard. So I have been feeling some anxiety over this. Today when I was sitting in the temple I had this overwhelming feeling that everything is going to be ok. I feel like I've never really given up on anything that really mattered to me, and this might be the most important thing I've ever done so far, so based on past experiences, I'll be all right. I just want to serve well. There's a lot of pressure and a lot of worry. I'm doing well though, I'm working harder than ever, and I feel good. Maybe I should just chill a little, haha.
Miss you guys always but I'm getting more and more used to the idea that I'll be gone for two years. After being gone for a month (as of yesterday!) it doesn't feel as long as I thought it would. I'm starting to find it easier to focus on the work and be happy. So that's good. I think I'm already learning a lot from this experience, and it's just been great so far. I want you guys to know I will serve well. I've been working as hard as I absolutely can (or trying to. I'm always trying, haha) and I'll keep doing it. I'm determined to be able to look back in two years and feel very satisfied about my efforts, no matter the outcome. I know that working hard is the right thing to do. The Lord is really helping me every day and without His intervention I wouldn't be here. I'm having a really good experience.
I think that's all I have time to say this week. Love you guys so much!!! If you have any questions about mission life let me know. Next P-Day's my last one here so that's pretty crazy. I'm nervous for the field but also very excited. Good luck on all the crazy October stuff, don't get sick again, enjoy fall, and have a great week.
Love you guys (Amo vocês? Do I dare use portuguese in this email? Too late!),
p.s. if you guys want to know how to say something in Portuguese, let me know. I don't know if I mentioned but I've been learning a little bit on the side from the Brazillians here and I'm getting pretty good. I hear it comes in handy in the field.
p.p.s. sorry for the lame joke. Miss talking face to face with you guys haha.