Dearest Poppy and Moedur,
I am sorry that you haven't heard from me yet, but prepare to be pleasantly surprised. Including this email, you will probably be getting three letters in the next few days. I am sorry that I didn't write sooner, but today is my P-day. I have been adjusting, getting used to the time schedule to make sure that I am obeying with exactness.
So, I suppose I'll give you an overview of what is going on here, since you haven't received any of my letters yet.
My companion is Elder Young. He's from Layton and was a student body officer at his high school. He has been involved in theater stuff for most of his life from what I understand, so there have been some conversations concerning that. He's just a little guy, and we get along really well.
Our first week in, with only a couple of days of experience, our teacher, Irma Ricks, had us teach an "investigator" completely in Portuguese. I really enjoy how we're just jumping immediately into the work; it has helped me to pick things up quickly. Meu Portugues e muito bom. The first words that we learned here were "Tudo bem", which essentially means anything that you want it to. The pronunciation of words is so much fun, and it makes the language somewhat difficult but very fun to speak.
Like I said, we've been teaching this investigator named Amadeo. I think at some point he is going to be our teacher, but for now he is our practice investigator. So far we have taught him about prayer, the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon. It is surprising how quickly I can pick up the language. Spanish has helped a lot, and even though some Spanish words that aren't Portuguese slip into my lessons, Amadeo is really helpful.
Other than study time, probably the best time of day is gym time. Basquete (Basketball) is the ish at the MTC. It is so fun. There is one elder in my zone, Elder Wells from Wellsville, and this kid is an ox. He has worked on a farm his whole life, and weighs about 260 lbs. And we are the power duo whenever we play basketball. Which means that whenever I miss my shots, he takes up all the space under the basket and just keeps rebounding until it goes in. We've developed quite the brotherly relationship. He told me today that he drinks milk that comes directly from the cow, and his favorite words in Portuguese are "Tenho fome". It's great fun.
Our previous Zone Leaders left yesterday. They were supposed to go to Joao Pessoa and Rasife, Brazil, I think, but for now they have been reassigned to St. Louis. They are really excited, and I can see why. They have the chance to teach in English and develop a dynamic there, and then transfer that over into Portuguese. They are awesome, and I was always amazed at the fact that they are my age.
What else... So far I have seen Elder Howell, Elder Taylor Larsen, Elder Spencer Crithfield, Elder Jay Mortimer. I saw Elder Larsen for the first time this morning, 15 minutes before he was leaving to the airport to fly to Washington. It was a good stroke of luck. We had the chance to go the temple today, which was cool because we went as a district. We have 13 elders in our district, all going to Brazil. In district 54A, the other district that came in the same time, most are going to Cabo Verde, but a couple of them are going to Brazil. Others in our zone are going to Mozambique and Angola, Portuguese speaking.
We have a good branch president, Presidente Hodges. A couple of days in, his wife, Sister Hodges gave us the locking your heart talk. The only allowed contact between a boy and a girl is a two-pump handshake; no lingering or daudling, just two pumps and step away. All the leaders here take it extremely seriously, which is nice. I am glad that the girls are here to actually serve missions, and I have yet to see a girl who was being flirtatious with an elder, which is fantastic. You know how I feel about flirtatious girls.
I'm trying to take a lot of pictures, but I don't really carry my camera around. I've gotten a few good ones, and I've made some good friends. Elder Gannoway is our district leader, and he is a great example to all of us. He keeps us on course, is always looking for opportunities to study and learn more, and truly is a consecrated missionary. He is giving everything that he has for this mission, and I hope that I can follow in his footsteps.
We have a devotional tonight, and I think a general authority is coming, which I am really excited for. But it's a bout time for me to go. I hope my long spiel has eased some of your pain, because I love being able to hear from you guys at night. Your letters are the best.
Love you so much!