Friday, February 24, 2017

Week 3 - February 24, 2017

President & Sister Grahl
with the missionaries that arrived in Brazil this week

So I am now at the Brazil MTC- which is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. It's a lot newer than the Provo one, but much smaller too. It's just one building with seven floors and with a garden courtyard thing in the middle, and there's only about 80 missionaries here. Most of those are native Brazilians- there are only two English-speaking districts and maybe one or two Spanish speaking ones- but that just makes it so much cooler. 

Brazil MTC
(stock photo)
All of the Brazilians are so, so friendly and very patient with all of the Americans' broken Portuguese. We get to go on splits with a Brazilian companion every other day for about half of the day; I haven't yet because I just got here, but I'm really looking forward to it. My companion, Sister Pertab (who was my companion in the Provo MTC before she got her visa), and I- in addition to the same roommates we have in Provo- also have two Brazilian roommates who are just the sweetest people ever and are so helpful with learning the language. One is serving in Uruguay and one in Argentina, so they're having to learn Spanish, which means we are all just kind of struggling together.

Brazil MTC courtyard
(stock photo)
 We went to the temple this morning- it was about an hour away- and it was crazy beautiful. We also get to go walk around Sao Paulo a little bit later today, which I am SO excited for. Tomorrow, we're heading to this busy street that's apparently always crowded with people and within a few hours we're supposed to hand out 6 Books of Mormon per companionship to random people on the street. I'm really excited for that too, though, actually. Even though I am sure my Portuguese will get laughed at and probably no one will be able to understand me, I've heard that it's fairly easy to give them away once you find the right people and it'll be great practice for actual missionary work.

courtyard from above
(stock photo)

The food here is super, super good. They have these amazing rolls with cheese that you can put in a panini press every morning. I can't tell what half the fruit is but it all tastes fresher than fruit in the US. There is meat and rice and beans with absolutely every meal, but it all tastes great. They also come around and give us juice and muffins and sometimes chocolate at about 8:30 every night as a little night-time snack (they call it lanche).

Sau Paulo Brazil Temple
(stock photo)
Anyway, everything is great. Portuguese is still hard. They only give us 45 minutes to email here instead of an hour, which is kinda frustrating. Brazil is hot and humid but crazy beautiful. Love and miss you all!!

Todos o amor,

Sister Coleman

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Week 2 - February 18, 2017

So my visa has come and I'll be leaving for Brazil early Monday morning...although not arriving until Tuesday because the flight will take alllll dayyyyy. Luckily I'm flying with Sister Sage, so we're planning on getting a lot of studying together; one of our goals is to memorize the First Vision in Portuguese while on the plane. I already have the Missionary Purpose and the baptismal invitation memorized (in Portuguese, of course), and I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty darn proud of that. I am so, so excited to get to the Brazil MTC; I know it's much harder because they try to completely immerse you in the language (which means even less English than I currently get to hear, which is still not a lot). But I also know that means I'll get to learn a lot faster, which I'm super excited about. I also heard that we usually get a native Brazilian companion for our last 2 weeks there, we get to leave the MTC and walk around Sao Paulo on p-day, AND we get to practice giving out Book of Mormons by standing outside the MTC and handing them out to people (which sounds crazy scary but also so, so cool). I'll also get to see Sister Pertab and all the other people from my district that are already down there, which I'm really happy about. Also the food is supposed to be amazing.

Portuguese is still really hard, but I do feel like I'm progressing and so many people have said that the most important thing is to love the people, so I've learned to not stress as much about learning the language because I know it will come with time. Today in class, we practiced having to teach the Restoration in under two minutes in Portuguese, and even though I know it was very broken Portuguese, I actually felt like I did pretty well and it made me super excited to go out and teach real people because this message is MUITO IMPORTANTE. Also, every Sunday, everyone in the branch is expected to prepare a 3-4 minute talk (in Portuguese) on a certain topic and then the branch president just calls on two people in the middle of the meeting. It's super suspenseful, to say the least, but I actually feel really good about the talk I prepared and wouldn't be TOO terrified if I was called on to speak. Again, I'm positive it's not perfect Portuguese, but I know I'm getting better and it's about the joy and blessings that come from repentance, which is always an amazing topic. (If you guys haven't read Alma 36 in awhile, I highly recommend it. Especially verses 19-21. I've really gained a deep appreciation for that chapter while preparing the talk.) 

One thing I've really learned here: learning a foreign language makes anything that you get to do in English (that you used to think was hard) because SO MUCH EASIER. I'm teaching the Relief Society lesson tomorrow, and as soon as they told me that I can do it in English, it immediately became the least stressful thing I've ever had to do here. Before this, I would have been worrying so much about what I would teach and how I would do it, but suddenly it's the easiest thing in the world just because it's not in Portuguese.

So since today was my last day of class before leaving for Brazil, I had to say goodbye to all my teachers. And it was SO SAD. I've only known them for a little over a week but they have been such a blessing and are honestly some of the kindest and most patient people I've ever met, as well as the most inspiring. In talking to one of my teachers- Irmao Macado- he gave me some amazing advice and some really thoughtful feedback on my teaching. First of all, he said that I shouldn't stress so much about constantly feeling the Spirit because, if I'm 1) being obedient and 2) loving the people, everything that comes to my mind will be from the Spirit. (How cool is that!?) He's a native Brazilian and lived there for most of his life, so he also was telling me about how bad the government and economic situation is in Brazil and how the people there just need hope. He told me to just love his people and do everything I could to help them be happier; it was super powerful. Also, because he was the teacher that was acting as my investigator for the past week or so, he knows the most about how my teaching is going. And you know what he told me? He said that he could tell that I had a really strong testimony of Christ and His love for me and for others, and that he knew that testimony would be what would carry me through my mission and that it would bless the lives of a lot of people. Like, wow, that's the greatest thing anyone's ever said to me.

Irmao Macado is also one of the funniest people I've ever met. He told us the other day that while the elders in my district were teaching him, he felt like they weren't really understanding what he was saying back to them, so he started answering their questions with things like, "I think I'll have a ham and cheese sandwich later" or "I had a burrito for breakfast" in Portuguese. And sure enough, none of them caught on. He says he didn't do it to me because he could tell I understood what he was saying back (woot woot!), but I also think it's partially because he felt bad for me that I was teaching without a companion.

Anyway, I know a lot more has happened this week, but I can't think what else to say. The Church is true! Study this wonderful gospel and never take it for granted! I love you all, and next time you hear from me I'll be in BRAZIL!!

Todos o amor,

Sister Coleman

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 1 - February 13, 2017

Things are looking up! Sister Pertab and the other sisters in my district left this morning, which was muito triste, but I am now companions with a sister from another district in my zone, Sister Sage. She's super great and very patient with my constant questions and worries. However, we're only companions outside of class time...which means I have to teach the investigator lessons alone. Which is still super scary, but I'm learning to rely on the Lord and trust that He wouldn't have me do this if He didn't know I could.

My Portuguese hasn't really improved since last time we talked, but I know that it'll come eventually. At the Sunday devotional last night, this guy talked about how much he was struggling with learning Japanese when he went through the MTC years ago. He said he broke down crying when one of his teachers asked him if he was okay (which is honestly completely relatable), and told the teacher that he didn't think he could do it, that the language was just too hard (also completely relatable). The teacher told him, "You have to give the Lord more credit than that." And it's SO TRUE. The Lord called me to a Portuguese speaking mission knowing that I needed to go to Brazil and speak that language. There's no way he would do that without providing a way (1 Nephi 3:7, obviously). So, it might take me like a whole year, but at some point, I WILL get this language down.

Another thing I've heard a lot here: I'm not at the MTC to learn Portuguese. I'm at the MTC to learn how to be like Christ and how to help others come to Him. If I focus on that, the language will come.

I also got to go to the temple today! That was really great, partly because it's so nice to have any amount of time where I don't have to be studying, but also because- duh- it's the temple. And I got to practice with the MTC choir yesterday and we'll get to perform at the devotional tomorrow. It was so, so fun. We're singing "Lead, Kindly Light" which is super applicable to everyone, but especially as a missionary, the words hit me every time we sang them. 

I'm hoping my visa will come sometime soon so that I can leave for Sao Paulo, but if not, I know there's a reason I need to be at the Provo MTC. Heavenly Father always knows what we need, and life gets so much less stressful when we realize that.

Anyway, I feel like a lot more has happened, but I can't think what more to say really. I love and miss you all! And am FOREVER grateful for your love, support, and prayers; I needed them, especially this last week.

All my love,

Sister Coleman

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

And so it begins . . . .

Last night Madison was set apart as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She was greeted at the MTC by a family
friend from the ward I grew up in.

She left at 5 am (EST) today, and arrived at the Provo Missionary Training Center around 1 pm (MST).

I was impressed that she could get all of her stuff to fit in the 3 suitcases.  She was concerned about being able to move them all on her own.

Piggy-Back Suitcases
We stayed and watched her until
she was through security.

Saying good-bye. . . 
more hugs.

As part of her orientation, she was able to send a quick email.  She seems great, and is so ready to serve.

Hey Mom!

As part of my little orientation I'm supposed to write you a short email. So far everything's gone great, but the teacher started talking to me in Portuguese and I had no idea what was going on, so that's great.

Anyway, I'm doing great, but I miss you guys! I hope you're not too sad...I'll see you before you know it. Thanks for all your love and support. Talk to you soon!


Madison? Sister Coleman? (Not sure how I'm supposed to sign these things)

From what we have been told, she will remain at the MTC for 2 weeks, and then will be transferred to the MTC in São Paulo, Brazil for her remaining 4 weeks of training.