Last week we didn't get an email because Katie traveled from the MTC to Santa Maria. She was able to call and talk to me (mom) for a few minutes, which was priceless. She sounded SO HAPPY and was really excited to be out in the mission field. This is her first email from her area.
Oi familia!!! I am so so happy to finally be able to talk to you and tell you all about life here! Ive got a lot to tell you, not a whole lot of time, and a weird keyboard, so bear with me :)
I am here! It´s real life! I still am a little bit in shock!!
But FIRST! BABY IS HERE!!!!! HE´S BEAUTIFUL!!!! Congrats Kels and Joe!!!! Oh he looks so precious. I want to just hold him and kiss him and love him!! You guys look so happy. Thank you for all the details and stories about it :) I cant wait to meet him! Please give him lots of love from me, okay? Keep sending stories, updates, and pictures! Oh he´s so precious!!! I am so excited to meet him! Congrats again! So very happy for you :) Im so glad everyone is happy and well. My prayers are always coming your way!
Okay... I´ll just jump in because I gotta hurry!
So, I am here! Okay, so we arrived at the airport on Tuesday afternoon and the APs picked us up.. guess who? Ross Pagotto! So strange! Such a small world. Then that first night we met our President and his wife, they are wonderful! Then we met our trainers! Sister Nascimento is my companion :) She is darling. Smaller than me.. for the first time in my life I feel like a giant. She really is wonderful. So sweet. Such a hard worker. She is Brazilian, and does not speak English :) She has been in the mission for 15 months already.. she´s pretty sure this will be her last area. She leaves the week before Mother´s day I believe? She is from Joao Pessoa which is northeast. Side note... my companion in the CTM is going to Joao Pessoa and I´d always tease her because the accent from the northeast is so strange and so difficult to understand. So we were always talking about how difficult it was going to be to get used to that accent and that she was going to talk funny too..... and then I got a companion with that very accent :) Funny. At first it was so hard to understand her because it really is very differenet from the Sao Paulo accent which I was used to. But, now I can understand her better than any one else here! But Im going to talk so strange... Sao Paulo mixed with Northeast mixed with Gaucho.... ooorrr... probably I´ll just have an American accent :)
Anywho, she´s great. So patient. And works works works. Its so good for me. I know Im going to learn a lot from her.
Okay, we are here in Santa Maria. Not in the city itself, we´re 30 mins outside of the city. And, yes, we are opening the area. I don~t know exactly what the elders who were here did, but from what we can gather they didn~t work much. We were left with no direction, no investigators, no support from the ward, and a very very very messy house! (We spent the first two days here just cleaning. Then luckily the mission presidents wife came and saw and sent someone to clean it for us because it literally would have taken a week.. it was outrageous! But a huge blessing that we got help. Now its a great house! The biggest and nicest one in the mission in fact! Its great.) So anyway, we are starting from scratch here! Its going to take a lot of work to turn this place around and to find people, but were going to do it!
Its definitely not like I imagined it... But it´s beautiful! Very diverse... everything from rather rich to dirt poor. It´s been humbling.
The language.... Oh the language.... I thought I was getting by okay in the CTM..... Truth is, they just talk very very slow in the CTM and we only talked about gospel matters which is the only vocabulary I know.... So... that´s also been an adventure! I really can´t understand much of anything. Ever. My companion is a professional, and so personable and is great with the members and everyone we meet. I am doing my best to understand bits and pieces... It´s going to come. I know it will. But right now, it´s just a huge struggle to follow any conversation. I can communicate with my companion fine. But when we´re with other people and they´re just talk talk talking a million miles an hour... I´m completely lost. So I don´t say much then. But, it´s okay :) I´m pushing through it and know that the language will come with time. I just need to be patient!
I logged on to my email and their were a few emails from other missionaries that I read and were exactly what I needed... just about having an optimistic attitude, being humble, and having hope and faith that things will get better. And one about the Savior and everything that He endured during His mission, and when we put that into perspective we have nothing to be complaining about. And we were called to do what the Savior did, and we stand as His representatives, so we need to keep going, work hard, have faith, and serve with our whole hearts. So thats what I´m going to do! Everything will fall into place. One thing is for sure.. I have never prayed so much in my life :) And I have never been so sure that God lives. I am absolutely certain, with everything that I am, that God LIVES. That He is in the details of our lives. He is watching out for each of us at every moment of every day. He is guiding us and pouring out His love to us. I am certain of that. He loves us more than we can even begin to comprehend. He IS our Father in Heaven and we are His children. I have never been so sure of anything in my life than I am of that one fact. I love my Father in Heaven and am more grateful for the knowledge of His love than words can express.
Okay, time is up... I´ve got to go. But I love you with all my heart, cute family! I miss you! Know that I am well. That I have an excellent companion, and that I am in the Lord´s hands. And doing my very best to do the work I´ve been called to do. I pray for each of you every day! You are the greatest examples to me! Thank you for all your love and support!!! I LOVE YOU!!!