August 6, 2010

Bom dia Momma!
This week has been pretty exciting actually. Thanks for sending your pictures of your black hair! It looks good actually. I tried to send you some pictures from here, but I can't put pictures on the computer and the photo shop machine thingy was broken this week. Oh well, I'll try to get some off eventually. Tell Mary Ann Happy Birthday for me! It really sounds like you're all having fun back at the ranch. So, basically tons of stuff has been happening this week. Like you said Nils and also like a bazillion other Brazilian missionaries got their visas and all left this week. Our district actually lost three missionaries and now we're down to only 5. Bit of a bummer, but it’s ok because now that there aren’t too many people in our classroom, we journeyed down into the dark and perilous bowels of our building. When we got there we discovered a huge treasure trove of really really comfortable chairs and tables. Our old ones were really annoying. So we brought them up to the fourth floor where we are. (Our teachers still can't figure out how we did it.) And now we're living in style. Elder Funk made us all laugh by quoting that bad guy from Testaments: "Jaaacob. One must procure the finest of things in life." He’s pretty funny. Also this week in the TRC we had to teach lesson 2 in Portuguese. It was great, but the only thing was that it was a family with 2 really little kids who loved to run around screaming (remind you of anyone you know?) It was sort of hard to focus, but we ended up whipping out our Hymn book, and we totally sang, “Where can I turn for peace” for them. It actually got the kids attention and afterwards the older one (probably 2~3?) started clapping and gave us high fives. I love doing TRC stuff because it’s pretty realistic, sort of. Also this week we got to start progressing investigators with our teachers. That is where they pretend to be investigators and we have legit lessons and stuff and they stay in character the whole time and never give us any feedback. It’s cool, except if we mess up, they really will dump us and we'll just have nothing to do in class! No pressure. One is named Scott and we're going to try to commit him to baptism tonight. The other is named Pedro and he thinks if he disobeys us God will kill him. Interesting nao e`? We keep on having great devotionals and stuff and I am feeling happy as ever. Some more funny stuff is as follows: About three days ago we found some random Christmas lights in our dorm room, and so of course we did the only logical thing. We brought up all the lights early to class and decorated our room and then when our teacher arrived we pretended it was Christmas and sang him O little Town of Bethlehem in Portuguese. It’s a good thing he has a really good sense of humor. He laughed and laughed and the said "Vozes Mórmons são muito estranho, não e?" {Mormon voices are very strange aren’t they} (Another hilarious thing was that Elder Larsen found this pine cone that was GIGANTIC! So we were walking around practicing contacts and we saw these two Russian Elders who were looking kind of bummed out about something (probably because the Russian "pocket" sized dictionary wouldn't even fit in my suitcase.) We thought they could use some cheering and so we walked up and Elder Larsen gave them the pine cone and said "This is a gift from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", and then I said: "because isn't it about...... pine." They laughed for about 4.7 hours and I hope it made them feel better.

Lest you think all I do is goof off though, I promise we have been working very hard. I have learned so very very much about the Gospel and how to teach it. We actually were chosen to demonstrate how to begin teaching an investigator in front of the whole new group of missionaries this Wednesday. Yikes! Pray for us that we don't goof up ok? I absolutely love being a missionary even if I don't have my visa. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. It really means a lot to me. This week I have gained a much stronger testimony of The Atonement in my life and I am just fit' to burst with excitement to go teach. I love the Lord and I know he blesses our lives and answers our prayers. Preach my Gospel is one of the most inspired books I've ever read and it helps so very much. I'd say it’s probably #3 on the list after Book of Mormon and Bible. Also, the district thanks you for all the goodies. You are keeping us pleasantly plump, so thank you much. I can't really think of much to say other than I love you all! Please feel free to write with any question, comments or concerns! Oh! Also down in the dark underbelly of our class building we actually found a piano! So I've got play a little bit which makes me happy. Have a great week!

Elder Markham

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