Friday, June 7, 2013

First week down!

Hey family,

First off, I love you all to pieces.  Its so fantastic to get mail and packages from you guys so freque
This past week and a half has been super hard, but so rewarding.  Very first day I walked into class and my teacher instantly started asking us to do things.  One problem, he was speaking in Portuguese.  It wasnt a super huge problem because what little Spanish I know came back and I was able to pick out what he was saying.  Things have gotten better, as I now know a little Portuguese.  I can introduce myself, pray (kind of, it is difficult, but Im getting better as time goes on), bear a brief testimony, conjugate present-tense regular verbs, use a few irregular verbs, among a few other things.  I still have to refer to my notes a lot, but Im learning a ton and its been pretty awesome for the most part.  I would love to be out in the field, but seeing how much I dont know, Im slightly glad that Im here instead of straight out.

First day I met this fantastic Elder named Elder Smith.  He and his companion, Elder Childs, were our zone leaders for the first few days and they helped the transition so much.  From the first second I met Elder Smith he just exuded the love of our Father and Savior and it was the most fantastic thing ever.  I felt so loved and seeing how he has loved, I was able to glimpse how much Christ loves me, my companion, and especially the people in our district.  I know the Lord blessed me with a fantastic zone leader because I coudnt have gone through the first week anywhere near as well without them.

Our district is pretty cool.  We are evenly split between Elders and Sisters which is kind of fun.  In addition, every person in our district is going to Fortaleza, so we are all tied together there.  We have Sisters: Walker (West Jordan), Sherman (Texas), Brown (Riverton) , Tenney (California), and McBride (Idaho).  All of us Elders are bunking together as well and we have Elders: Lash (Idaho), Hartman (Georgia), Stratton (Holladay!!), myself, and my companion Elder Pimentel (California).  We all work pretty well together, though like any gathering of ten people, we have our struggles from time to time.  The zone leaders have really helped me to see what things I can do with our district to increase unity and love for each other and the Lord and our Father in Heaven has given me some very powerful and divine guidance as to leading them.  (I'm district leader, but no one needs to know that)

The food is, alright.  It's definitely cooked to feed the masses and not to please the individual.  Fortunetely, I've converted my companion to the ways of cereal and we have a bowl every meal.  I was eating Raisin Bran every meal until I discovered the generic Honey Bunches of Oats and I've since started on that.  I know it doesn't sound super healthy, but I'm pretty sure everything else in the cafeteria will kill me if I eat too much of it so I figured that Raisin Bran and Honey Bunches of Oates were my best options as far as "healthy" foods.

On Sunday we had the most fantastic devotional buy a man named Ted Gibbons.  It was unusual for a devotional and I'll explain why.  Brother Gibbons told the Joseph Smith story from the perspective of Willard Richards, only he told it as if he was Willard Richards.  He testified of the truthfulness of the work and how Joseph Smith was a prophet.  He went through and explained Joseph's life, prophecies, persecution, and then took us hour by hour through the martydom.  It was the most amazing experience to hear this man testify of the validity and divinity of the work of the Prophet, Joseph Smith.  I know he was indead foreordained to bring forth the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world in this, the great and last dispensation of the fullness of times.  This past Tuesday Tad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife gave us a devotional of great power.  Sister Callister bore powerful testimony of the Divinity and power of the Book of Mormon and what a blessing it is to all the people who read it.  Elder Callister explained how blueprints for buildings only perfectly match one building, the building they were created for.  He talkied about how Christ established a blueprint for the Church and it is found in the New Testament.  He then quoted scripture after scripture regarding the organization of the Church that Christ established in the New Testament.  Afterwards, the member of the Branch Presidency our district met with said that that devotional is likely the only one we'll every hear in the MTC where they only use the BoM once and never reference Preach My Gospel.  We also had mission conference earlier in the week on Sunday because it was fast sunday.  One of the speakers talked about the creationi of Pregar Meu Envangelho (Preach My Gospel in Portuguese).  I can't reccount everything I said, but he said it with power.  Every single member of the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency had part in creating that book.  Even though Elder Holland and Elder Oaks were on extended assignments in far away lands, they made sure that they contributed.  Elder Maxwell was struggling with health issues so bad, that he could barely see, so he had people read the manuscript to him multiple days in a row, then wrote down his notes and sent his secretary as a representative to the meeting so his thoughts could be shared.  PMG is inspired!  It is powerful! It is beautiful! And we are so luckly to be living in a time when it has been brought forth to the world.

So I keep running into people I know.  Literally ten minutes after leaving you guys, I saw Amie Bitter.  Since then I've seen Chris Anjeweirden, Peter Searle, Pedro Chipana (we live on the same floor actually), Sarah Howard, Matt Conley, and other people from Brighton and Olympus all over the place.  It's been awesome.  Which reminds me, I'm not actually at the off-site MTC.  I'm in the normal monastary, my address is just a little funky for my mail.  I don't know why, but it is.  Anyway, it's been way fun to see people I know.  In fact, I run into Elder Anjewierden all over the place because we're on the same schedule.  The portuguese and spanish speakers share the same scheduling times so I see him a lot.

So family, I love you, and to all who aren't family, I sure love you guys too.  I hope everything is going well.  I pray for you guys every night and I know the Lord will bless you for it, and for me serving a mission.

Questions?  Let me know.  It's generally easiest to write or Dear Elder me because I have limited time on the computer so I like to spend the whole time writing you guys.  I get the letters within the day or sometimes on the next day through Dear Elder.

Thank you everyone.  May the Lord bless each of you with peace, love, and a testimony of the truth.

Elder Trent Evans

P.S. I apologize for a lack of apostophes in the first few paragraphs.  My keyboard was set in Brazilian portuguese, and the apostophes are not where they're supposed to be.

P.P.S. I love you! and God loves you even more!ntly.  Thank you so much for the food, body wash, hangers, ensign, loving notes, and all the other fantastical stuff I recieved.

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