It is so good to hear from all of you! Thank you for all of your emails, DearElders and support! It means so much, especially to a missionary who lives for letters and emails!
HOLY MOLY! This has been the weirdest, busiest, most stressful, HILARIOUS, hardest, most spiritual, most uplifting, most fun, BEST 5 days of my life! It has been a roller coaster of emotions, but I seriously LOVE IT HERE! I have THE ABSOLUTE BEST companion- Sister Dyer. Seriously. We could not be more perfect for each other. She’s from American Fork, Utah and is going to the Mozambique, Maputo mission!!! (A.K.A. AFRICA!!! A.K.A. SHE IS THE BOMB!) We are seriously the same person. First, we have the same first name. CRAZY. AND she loves music. She played in a band with her siblings in high school and plays like 6 instruments and of course sings. So basically Mozart…Definitely not similar in that way BUT it’s so fun to sing and harmonize with each other. Anyways, we get a long so great. I am so lucky to have her as a companion. I am learning so much from her. My district is also THE BEST. We are already all super close and best friends. I love them!
So the first day is all a blur now but I know you probably want to her about the typical first day in the MTC so here is what I can remember. I was being shuffled from classroom to classroom, meeting a bunch of new people and all I can remember thinking is “Oh gosh. What the heck did I just get myself into?” The rest of the week was just a rollercoaster and all I could do was just hang on for dear life, while the Lord was dragging me along with Him. I would have ups and downs but the entire ride was A BLAST. I seriously LOVE the MTC. It is such a special, unique place.
Alright. I know you are all probably wondering how badly I am struggling and failing at Portuguese. Well, let me just tell you… PORTUGUESE IS HARD. I have never felt so overwhelmed in my entire life. The first couple days it is a lot to take in and I just remember thinking “How in the world am I ever going to lean this language?” But as the days have gone by I have realized that I just need to take it line upon line, precept upon precept, verb upon verb, tense upon tense, and vocab upon vocab. Haha! I have learned a great deal of patience with myself through learning Portuguese. I can’t just expect to be perfect at the language on the 3rd day! It is hard work and it takes time. Just like anything in life, we need to be patient with ourselves, others and with the Lord.
WE TAUGHT OUR FIRST LESSON ON FRIDAY ALL IN PORTUGUESE!!! No English whatsoever. Basically, it went like this… We would ask her questions about prayer or her relationship with God and then she would respond back in Portuguese, of course, but we had NO idea what she was saying so we just ignore everything she just said because we couldn’t understand anything and we just bore our testimony over and over about God’s love. And at the end we didn’t know how to say “Can we come back tomorrow?” so we just said “A qui… amanha?” *Translation* “Here.. tomorrow?” HAHA! It was awful Portuguese but she got the jist.
Another thing Sister Dyer and I learned this week is the power that comes from simplicity. We are both perfectionists and tried to write our second lesson word for word after our first lesson didn’t go so well but after we finished our prayer before starting companion study, we both felt really strongly that we should completely scratch our lesson and simplify it. AND OH MY GOSH. I can’t even tell you how much better our lesson was, and it wasn’t because of our capabilities or knowledge, it was because we allowed ourselves to be guided by the spirit and get out of the way. Our second lesson was absolutely NOTHING like we planned. We were able to listen to what she was saying and change the lesson according to her needs and her questions. Please keep in mind that we didn’t bring a dictionary or anything in with us so the lesson changed from Eternal Families to Joseph Smith and we hadn’t learned ANY vocab for Joseph Smith but the spirit was definitely guiding the lesson and that is all that mattered. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will ALWAYS be there to help IF we open ourselves up and ALLOW them to help.
So I am now serving as the District Sister Training Leader… Uh… WHAT? I feel so inadequate but I know that the Lord qualifies those whom he calls so I am just counting on that because I definitely need His help being a missionary and now as a STL.
Alright. One last really cool experience then I will get to the funny parts. So these past couple days, Sister Dyer and I have been talking about how badly we wish we could just express ourselves in English during lessons so that our lessons could be more powerful. On Saturday night, as I was pondering my day and our lesson with Michelle, I realized that because I don’t even know how to say barely ANYTHING in Portuguese, I have had to put my absolute faith and trust in the Lord like never before. If I were teaching in English, I would rely on my own knowledge way too much. But since I am so weak and so humbled to realize that I know almost nothing, I have had to rely on Christ like never before and use His Atonement in a way that I have never used it before. It is really a cool experience. I KNOW that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is NOT just to help us overcome sin or even to help us overcome sickness, it is also to allow Christ into our lives to help our weaknesses become strengths. It is to give us strength. It is to have Christ carry you when you can’t walk. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. It is for every single person. Sister Dyer and I, as imperfect as we are, had an imperfect delivery of a perfect message of a perfect gospel of a perfect being.WE are just instruments in His hands and we need to get out of the way so that He can touch the hearts of people. Right now it seems IMPOSSIBLE to learn Portuguese, but I know that the Lord will give me strength and qualify me if I put my faith in Him and use His Atonement.
OKAY! FUNNY STORY TIME: Elder Holley is the most hilarious human being ever. I DIE LAUGHING every time words start to come out of his mouth. It’s the way he says things. He is just so blunt and so animated. Some of his sayings include “Stop being such a toad.” or “He-ho-he-ho-he-ho!” “She seems as happy as a clam” and my personal favorite is when he was trying to speak English and he was completely failing so he says “Man, I can’t even speak English. Nothing makes sense anymore!!” HAHAHA! I think I was the only one who thought that was as funny as it was, but it accurately describes my feelings.
I had so much to say but not enough time to say it so I will tell you all about Elder Bednar’s talk “The Character of Christ” that He gave a couple years back at the MTC. It is INCREDIBLE.I also have some super embarassing stories for you guys next week because.. let’s be real… I’m still the same old Sister Keenan.
I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! Have a great week!
Quote of the week: “When you don’t think you can do this, you can’t. But with Christ, you can.” Elder Bednar
Scripture of the week: Alma 26:12