July 2, 2010
I am having just a terrific time here at the MTC (still). I appreciate all of the letters, packages, goodies, smuggled goods, Guaraná, and so forth. My district sends their thanks for the good eating! This week has been great, but slightly more uneventful. I am finally settled in, and the Mission Conference is over, and things are pretty much getting normal, (Missionary normal anyways). To pick up from last week, we had an awesome fireside from Elder Oaks where he basically gave the first discussion to us missionaries. (You can bet there were a lot of scribbling pens!) I really learned a lot and I'm better gradually better and better at teaching. After the fireside I got to meet with Pte. Tavares and his wife. They are the nicest people ever! They speak primarily Portuguese and a little English. When Pte. Tavares first walked up to me he unloaded this stream of Portuguese and I pretty much froze like a deer about to be hit a truck. My district still teases me about that.... Once we started talking though he sort of slowed down and between my poor Portuguese and his English we managed to communicate pretty well. He and his Wife are such wonderful people. They genuinely love people and the Gospel and I am very excited to get down to Brazil! Apparently I am the only missionary here right now who is going to Londrina, so that’s kind of cool and we got some good one on one time. I even told him I loved Guaraná and he said "Muito Bom!" Mom, you asked if I gained any weight. The short answer is: No. The long answer is: Nope. I'm doing really well with the diet and schedule and I haven't felt sick or (overtly) tired or anything. I know the Lord is really blessing me. Our rooms are actually really nice. There are two bunks to a room (so four people) we each have a personal desk and closet and drawer set. Everything is really nice and functional except that my bed squeaks like an angry esquilo (*squirrel) and since I roll a lot that is pretty obnoxious. It’s actually funny because one of my roommates is sort of a messy person and always leaves stuff all over, and periodically they do cleaning checks rating us Celestial, terrestrial, telestial, or outer darkness. They don't tell us when, but this morning Elder Larsen and I just happened to be in the room as they started coming. We hurried and grabbed all the other Elders stuff and shoved it in his closet and made the beds and dumped the trash and we totally got Celestial! Our poor district leader was out doing laundry and sine all his clothes were out he got OD. Our classroom on the other hand is tiny. It is maybe 15’ X 20’ and there are 11 people in it. Also there are no windows and the MTC food is giving some people gas. Hahaha. Oh the good times! That’s cool that Sharon saw me playing hacky sack! Yeah, I must have been at gym. We get 50 min each day to go exercise and we can either go to the field or the gym. I like the field because we can play Frisbee and actually see the sun! I'm trying to teach my district the love of hacky, but they'd all rather go play some fake sport like soccer or basketball. Sheesh. haha! My favorite part of the MTC so far is the TRC where we get to go role play teacher volunteers who pretend to be actually investigators. I love teaching and I really feel the Spirit when we do this. Last time I was even able to explain in Portuguese why we are all called Elder! Mayhap I'll learn yet! I am getting along great with my companion Elder Larsen and our District works hard and has fun. I know the Lord is really blessing me and I pray daily for Him to bless you. How are things at home? You'll have to tell me about the 4th and stuff. I've had the chance to talk to Bishop Sampson a lot and he tells me the family is doing well! How was Sharon’s EFY trip and all her crazy adventures? Does Ryan McChad-the-Burn have his mission call yet? Also where is Bryan going? Also I love you all! That is all.
Elder Steven Markham