Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Letter 2: Dork Dot Removal

Dear Family and friends,
                  I have just finished my first week at the CTM ( that is MTC in Portuguese). It has been such a crazy week and it feels like it has been an eternity since the last time I wrote you guys and since I have left. So I will do my best to not forget any details!!
From the top. First question I was asked by my mother (mamai). How is the language? I have been in the CTM for 1 week now and I am amazed at what the spirit of the Lord can help me accomplish. When I first arrived at the CTM I lost all faith (fe) in myself. Everything here is in Portuguese so it is kind of the concept of sink or swim. All the signs are in Portuguese, all the instructors talk to you in Portuguese, everything is in Portuguese!!!! It is amazing though because I am now able to have a full 45 minute conversation with a member here in Portuguese and it wouldn’t be just about the gospel. Also I have taught 5 lessons in Portuguese in role plays. Down here they take the role plays so serious and it really helps. I know so much more and I am picking up so much more every day. To show you by the second day I could say a prayer, bear my testimony and give a full lesson from Preach My Gospel!!  Now my Portuguese is still in the works down here and for every missionary learning a new language for that matter the MTCs put a colored dot on your name tags showing that you are new.  Down here they call it the dork dot and I can finally take mine off today!!
Next, the blessings that I have seen down here are amazing!! To describe it would take more time than I would have time to and finish my letter.   It is so amazing what the spirit can help you accomplish if you put your faith in the Lord!!
Next, today I got to go through the San Palo Temple!! Even though it was small it was so beautiful!! I was so happy to be able to have the opportunity to do so.
Cool things I have done here. I have eaten Brazilian food for a week with no problems, I have run on a track that they have here which is a little less than a 200m and have been able to meet some really cool people.  First of all I never thought that I would be here because I didn’t think this time would come for a million years and now when I look at my name tag I feel so wierd!!  I kind of feel home sick but I would never want to miss this experience.  Also in my room there is one other pair of elders and our room has three bunk beds. Also every person’s closet has a small safe and the president tells everyone to lock their doors because there are a lot of poor Brazilians here and as they say the five finger discount is king. (Whatever can be picked up by hand is in a way to them free).
The people I have met here are amazing. On my floor of a 7 floor building there are a bunch of elders from Argentina and Paraguy but also a lot of elders from the US.  I have met multiple people from Arizona.  Elder Farnsworth is from Mesa and went to Mountain View but he played volleyball.  Also a few others like Sister Dumas who was serving her mission in our stake as a visa waiter but she was on the plane ride from Mesa with me and two other elders. My Companion . . . My companiero is Elder Fox who is a native from AZ but has been living in Utah since he was 14.  He is shorter than me by about 5 inches give take.  I love him because I have found that we have many things alike. The food!!!! I have enjoyed the food so much and have already gained 5 pounds because there are scales everywhere.  Also every lunch and dinner there are beans and rice. I am amazed and I have to say this but they are the cleanest beans I have ever had if you know what I mean.  To Hunter and Dallin I have not heard a barking spider yet!! hahaha
To let you know that I have a few letters coming your way.   I will mail them home.  I will also find out if there is a way to send a package or receive them because there is chatter of a place that does these things for the missionaries.
Next some amazing scriptures that I have found from people in my district of 10 people all from the states.  First is D&C 3 which Elder Camaco from Hawaii told me about.  Also Moroni 9 verses 6-8 which came from my companion Elder Fox.
Concerns:  I have been so thirsty for water here and the building has filtered water.  Many of the missionaries have filter water bottles and I was wondering if you guys could get me one and I will find a way that you can send it here.   Also I am dying because I have no Reese's...... I left them at home so yeah I am missing them.  I feel that when they feed us here they want to put me on a diet so for a treat they give us 1 stick of cheese or cream or something with carmel on top that is about half the size of a kitkat bar.  To Alicia Stigen, I miss being a choc-a-holic. Hahaha

It has been an amazing first week and I have had such a blast. I miss you all but I now I am on the Lord’s errand here. This city is very interesting. There are many poor people here.  When we teach we just started a thing called TRC where we have to teach a person (pessoas). First a member then a less active member and then a nonmember we have to teach while we are still learning Portuguese. Got to go but I love you all and will send you an email next Wednesday.  If you have any questions send them to my mother and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability!! Chow (goodbye in Portuguese)!! 

-Elder Hoopes

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