Wednesday, May 23, 2012

5/23/12 letter from Laura

Family & Friends,
As a reminder we only have 30 minutes of computer time per week, so missionaries make writing home a priority and then read emails (time permitting) so if you want me to read it make the subject line a good one. Congrats to Paula & Jay for winning this week - Hannahs first walk, so cute!
Most of my family and friends haven't served missions, so I figured I would give a quick general overview. The CTM (Its CTM in Portuguese not MTC) is going great and I love my companions and district. The sisters have four beds in a room and a shower and 2 sinks. The Elders have 6 beds and shared showers for the floor. There are about 250-300 missionaries in the CTM at any given time. About have are Americans and the other half is made up of Brazilians and Hispanics (Argentina reps. a lot). I think there are about 25-30 sisters total). I will be in the CTM for 9 weeks total so we are scheduled to leave July 10.
My companions are S. (sister) Bradley and S. Matiaco from California and Oregon. We get along really well and have a blast. All three of us are pretty outgoing and we balance each other out well.
Portuguese, Portuguese, Portuguese is pretty much what we do here. Our day starts at 7 am with personal study for an hour. The rest of the day is spent studying, teaching, studying, learning portuguese, eating, and oh yeah we do all of it in Portuguese. I'm really enjoying the CTM though. I've never enjoyed being so busy before. We have a morning teacher and an afternoon teacher both of whom are native Brazilians. Our morning teacher Irmao (brother) Teixera had us believing he didn't speak English for our first week. The first 6 days were spent learning Portuguese with lots of hand gestures and pictures. It was hilarious and very confusing. Then one day he broke down and had to explain something in English because we were all very lost. In the afternoon we have Irma Kortch and she is very sweet and sincere and speaks both English and Portuguese.
On a side note- I am in District 19B and there are 6 Elders and us three sisters. I/we love our district. The Elders (all of which are 19) are very mature and respectful and we love learning together. The 9 of us represent Utah, Idaho, California, Oregon, Maryland, Ohio, and Alaska.
We started giving discussions our second day here. This is when we practice teaching our teacher who pretends to be an investegator about the chruch. Our first lesson was in English and after that we have done them in Portuguese. Our teacher told us yesterday that we were the first district to actually transition to Portuguese. Most groups try to talk in English and then the "investegator" gets really confused. But we all just plowed on and stubbled through trying to both learn how to teach and speak Portuguese at the same time.
We learned how to say a prayer in Portuguese our 2nd day here, and we have been saying our personal and group prayers in Portuguese since. It has truly made my prayers more sincere and more meaningful. We also learned how to bare our testimonies in Portuguese. Right now, Im working on memorizing the first vision, our purpose, and the challege to get baptized. Portuguese is going well. Both of my companions spoke pretty good Spanish before they got here so they are doing well and helping me learn. I get frustrated every now and then because Im not at the same level and have to remind myself Ive only been here for 2 weeks and the progress we have made is really pretty remarkable. At the same time we are loosing are English, so we're really just a mess, not speaking in fluent English or Portuguese.
About 3 days ago we started doing TRC. Which is a taped discussion that we have as missionaries with an investegator. Right now the investegator is another missionary, but eventually they will be members and then real-life (!!!!!) investigators for the church. We go in not knowing what they might ask, or have problems with and they record us doing this. Meanwhile having to do in in Portuguese. Our first one was... well okay. kind of... We went in expecting to have to struggle to get in the door but the invest. just let us in and we were thrown off my that (that will NEVER happen in the fieild) our teacher said that was unrealistic. Then our invest. told us about his baby who was dying from cancer and my companion misheard him and said that when babies die they return to heaven. Then he in return, burst into tears which turned into laughs and it was rough. but even though its an imaginary session it is really good practice.

The other day in class we had a rough discussion with our teacher we were talking about how God is the Heavenly Father of everyone and i went to say that he is Jesus Christ's Father, which would be "Pai de Jesus Cristo" i do believe but it came out "Jesus Cristo's Pai" and it was really funny and embarrasing but mostly hilarious. Even our teacher burst into laughter with us.

Anyways, time is up, Im loving the CTM & if you want more specific info, write me!

Love you all
Sister Bullen

Friday, May 18, 2012

First email home, May 16, 2012

In Brazil it is not called MTC (Mission Training Center), but CTM.  The first day their teachers told them they would progress from Mess before arriving at speaking in Portuguese.  Right now, they feel like they've lost a little bit of their English vocab and don't have the Portuguese yet, so they're a mess.

They have one teacher who they thought only spoke Portuguese but after 6 days of frustration and charades he broke down and now they know he speaks fluent English.

They went to the Temple Wednesday (16th) morning and enjoyed the session that was in English, the
majority of the temple workers are Brazilians.

Wednesday they miscalculated the time they had for free time on their P-day and only had 10 minutes to use the computer.  Her companion, Sister Matiaco couldn't get onto a computer that types right...
Most of their P-day they enjoyed the awe of returning to the world from the CTM.  They ate their first meal outside the CTM.  They enjoyed walking around and shopping a little bit. 

She says "Rice and beans, yum." and "Portuguese is fun."  I received several photos, will have someone at home walk me through posting them, soon.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Laura's day of arrival in Brazil May 9, 2012

First e-mail informing us that Laura (& other missionaries) made it safely to Brazil!!! I thought some of you might enjoy the letter. :)

Dear Parents,
We are happy to send the good news that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil MTC. What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they come through the front door of the MTC for the first time. We promise to take good... care of your missionary.
They now have companions and are settled into their rooms. They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study. The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give them a second greeting. These couples are rewarded in their callings through the love they always develop as they embrace and watch over the missionaries.
The MTC has a full time live-in physician to care for their health needs. He is assisted by his able wife. We are also happy to report that the Cafeteria food is abundant and very good.
Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple. This will be either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on individual assignments.
Your very important young person is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote by President Lorenzo Snow: “ There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children".
Please accept our love,
President Ralph Degn and Sister Mary Ann Degn

March 2012 trip to SLC Temple Square

Sunday, May 6, 2012

MTC address

My mailing address for the first 6 weeks of my mission will be at the Brazil MTC:

Sister Laura Bullen
Brazil Londrina Mission
Brazil Missionary Training Center
Rua Padre Antonio D'Angelo, 121
Casa Verde
02516-040 Sao Paulo - SP