CTM – Missionary Training Center in Brazil
Courtyard in the CTM – Missionary Training Center in Brazil
Every P-day when I walk into the computer lab to write home, I feel like a kid in a candy store, I want everything and I want it NOW! lol Well 7 weeks into the CTM experience and 3 weeks from today I will be arriving in Rio de Janeiro! That being said time has truly flown by! I have loved my experience here at the CTM. It has really been a faith promoting experience for me, and I have learned to rely on the Lord a lot! Something that I learned this week is that a lot of the time we don’t let people know what impact that they have had on our lives. It may be difficult at times but as we share with people how important they have been in our lives our love for them will grow!
Someone that a lot of the time we forget to let know how much we appreciate in our life is God. The times which I feel my faith and my love for our Savior are the times when I pray and thank my Heavenly father for everything that he has given me in my life. Prayer is the best thing ever, and I know that our Heavenly father will answer our prayers every time. At times that I may feel inadequate, I pray and ask my God, to let me know that he has my back, and without fail He always shows me His unconditional love for me. How great is it to know that we have a living, loving, and generous God! I know that He lives! He wants to hear from you, and has so many blessings that he is eager to bless you with!
Today our roommates from Africa left to “o Campo” (the field) and I am definitely going to miss them. They showed me that We don’t need things to bring happiness in our life. I feel so blessed to learn from their example of humility and hard work. Elder Fernandez always testified to us about everything about the gospel. Last night we were chatting (which really was just him speaking Portuguese really fast, and everyone else trying to keep up with him lol) and he let us know how big of a role the Gospel of Jesus Christ has in his life. He shared with us that he loved us and truly cherished the time in the CTM feeling the Holy Spirit in all things that we do here. We ended the night singing “God be with you ’till we meet again” in Portuguese, and expressed to each other how we would meet again, either in this life or in the time of the Lord.
I am so thankful to be here in Brazil with the opportunity to serve the lord. I know that a mission changes lives because I know that it has already changed mine in so many ways. I know God lives! He does, and He loves each and every one of us by name, He know our weaknesses and knows exactly how to bless our lives. I know Jesus Christ lives, He is our best friend whenever we need him! I look forward to showing my love for them these next couple of years, and will exhaust myself in His work, trusting that he will energize my soul when I need it!
até mais tarde! a fé é tudo!
We snuck out of the CTM and watched the Dark Knight this last weekend! Haha just kidding, it is a movie that we are all happily missing in Brasil! But we talk about it a lot, I seem to be the only person here that has any faith in Anne Hathaway, but that is only because I am going to marry her when I get back home.
Wow, we just got back from our first authentic Brazilian Rodizio, and let me say, after 5 weeks of CTM food, it was super nice to get some real Brazilian food! Pao de Quijo was my favorite, I followed a Yost tradition (that I don’t think is continuing at home because my parents are looking great and thin!) I ate until I was full and then ate until I was sick. The sick part followed promptly after we were served chicken hearts… One thing that I love about meat, is that a lot of the time I have no idea where from the animal the meat is from. But when I saw those chicken hearts, I knew all of the anatomy of what it was, how it worked and what it was going to taste like. I need to stop thinking that much about my food! The cool thing about Brazil is that a lot of things here are very cheap! For example the all you can eat rodizio was 20 Reais which is exactly 10 American dollars! Totally worth it for a great meal!
Well Not much new is happening, the days keep blurring together here at the CTM and not much changes haha. But! Yesterday we started a “jejum de ingles” or a Fast of English, which was great! It was pretty quiet a lot of the time but it was a good exercise of faith!! Its getting a lot easier to speak Portuguese when we are practicing the lessons, and I am feeling pretty confident about giving lessons in the field ( I memorized the first vision in Portuguese “Vi um pilar de luz acima de minha cabeça…) but as far as just chatting, its a little tougher, but I guess that all that I need to really study is what I have been called to do and that is preach the gospel in Portuguese!
I couple of scriptures have stuck out to me this week, the first is Mosiah 12:27. Abinadi is giving his sermon to the King Noah and the wicked priests of the church and he says to them something along the lines of this “You haven’t applied your heart unto understanding, so what are you teaching to this people?” wow this scripture wasn’t calling me to repentance but rather gave me a warning that when we study we need to understand what we are teaching so that the Spirit can testify with us when we need his help (which is always!). That was super cool and then the other scripture was the whole chapter of Mosiah 18 which talks about the joy that the Church brings into peoples life! It is so true! this week we focused a lot on the importance of getting people to church, which is so true!
Alright! I have to get off now! I will send more to you through mission ties! if you don’t know what that is don’t worry! I love you! I pray for all of you at home! and pray that you will know that the lord is supporting and loving all of you!
a fé é tudo!
This Friday will be my one month mark here in Brazil! I cant believe that it has gone by so quickly! It is crazy to see every week who comes into the CTM and who of the older people are leaving, and then I think. WOW that will be me in a month! First off our Brazilian roommates Elder Rochas do Santos, and Elder Tomaz, left last week, and so this week we got 2 New roommates straight from Africa! They speak such different Portuguese so it is even more difficult to understand them (if that can be believed!)! But they are great Elders who are so excited about the work! We are teaching them how to tie their ties and they are preparing to go to the Temple for the First time on Thursday, and they cant wait to go! I think they are super cool and they always teach us some gospel in Portuguese that whenever we are all in the room! Any way they are super cool! and I will send home some pictures hopefully today!
Well we said farewell to a district that was In our branch as they headed off to the Mission field, and because they left they had to call a New Assistant to the Branch President. So They called me to be the new AP! Now I can check off the list that I was an AP and never have to worry about assignments like that in the mission field. I expressed to my teacher Irmao Israel, my new assignment as AP and he told me to remember that my calling is to be a Missionary, so no matter if you are an AP or a district leader or whatever, your calling is to be a Missionary for the Lord Jesus Christ! SO true!
So this is going to sound super lame, BUT as I was lifting weights at the CTM gym (which is really a sad excuse for some exercise equipment) I thought the following metaphor. Life is like when you are benching weights and It feels that with every time you bring that bar down, some one keeps on putting more weight onto that bar. There comes a point where your arms are tired, your sweat is pouring down your forehead and you are giving all you got to try and push that bar back up, But you physically cant to it. But we have someone standing over us waiting for us to ask him to pick up that bar of weights. Christ is our eternal “Spotter” we need only to tell him that we cant do it alone, and we need his help. When life seems so difficult let us not forget to turn to Christ to make our burdens light!
I love all of you! and I hope to talk to you all soon!
This week just flew by! Surely enough it was Sunday and now it is P-Day! P-days are like gold! Mondays seem like the longest days because its sandwiched between awesome Sundays and p-days! I figured I would give you a brief outline of how my days usually go. Up at 630 then off to breakfast where we usually make our own breakfast grilled sandwiches. Personal and companionship study in the morning and then GYM. Gym is pretty cool, we have a small track surrounded by 20 foot walls with electric fences on top of them! I don’t know if they are trying to keep people out of the CTM or keep us crazy missionaries in! They don’t let us play futebol here at the CTM because I am sure that someone would likely die if we did! So we usually play volleyball with the Argentinians and not gonna lie, I’m getting pretty freak-in good at volleyball, so watch out! Right after gym is lunch (almoço) which always includes rice, beans, and some sort of chicken and beef. That being said I am still not sick of rice and beans after 3 weeks here at the CTM! wow 3 weeks already, in less than 2 more weeks it will be a month! I can’t believe that I have been here that long! Time flies when one is having fun!
My 4th of July Rocked! We had trouble getting to bed on the 4th because the fireworks from the South American Futbol final game kept us up! The Sao Paulo Corinthians beat the Argentina Voca team so the whole city went crazy! Especially because the game was in the city! The CTM’s neighbors projected the game onto a wall near the CTM so as you can imagine everyone went to the track in order to see the game! even the president of the CTM watched it for a little bit!
The next day after the game we headed to the Police department to do some visa work and the whole place was so excited for the outcome of the game. Vai Corinthians!!
So last week I talked about how my TRC was a total failure, well this week it rocked! I was able to understand most of the questions that were being asked (mostly concerning prayer) and was able, for the most part, to respond to those questions in conherent portuguese! I came out of that training feeling like a Million dollars! Prayer seems to have been the focus of this past week. It is the most humble prayers that bring the mighty changes of heart. Everytime God’s gospel has been brought to the earth (I think , someone correct me if I am teaching false doctrine) it always starts with a humble prayer. Its amazing to think that the reason that I am here today serving this mission is the result of a young man’s search for truth through prayer! So my challenge to all y’all at home is to find time to truly pour out the desires of your heart to your God in prayer (Matt. 7:7-11).
Well I am out of time!
I love you all!
Mom and Dad you guys look so great!
It seems that every time you loose weight I am picking it up! haha! Well the food here is great! there is Rice and Beans all of the time and we are all loving it! Tomorrow I hear we will have Hamburgers, French fries, hot dogs, and ice cream so I will you know how that goes! HAPPY 4th of JULY! Tomorrow there is a Huge futebol game in Sao Paulo just a few miles away from the CTM! Corinth is playing Argentina for the last round of the South American Finals! so no matter what we will have fireworks on America Day! P-day is so great! last week I bought a jersey for 25 Reals (12.50 Dollars) for the Gremio team! They are sponsored by the “Topper” shoe company so on the jersey is embroidered “Topper” haha!
Well this last week I got a new companion. His name is Elder Andreas-Miller, and he just got his visa cleared. He is great! He is 22 and has a strong testimony. He came on a mission against the will of his mother and has been an inspiration for me. It was difficult adjusting to having a new companion and the first couple of days it was pretty rough getting to know him. We don’t have much in common, but I know that we are going to get along just fine!
My first TRC was this last Saturday and we were assigned to to teach in Portuguese some local church members who were posing as investigators. We got into the room with the members and my Portuguese must have stayed behind because I totally choked! It was so embarrassing! First off they told me to be calm. But since they said that in Portuguese I had no idea what they were saying so I progressively more stressed. And my companion didn’t know any Portuguese so what ended up doing is rambling about the Gospel of Christ with sentences that were about as deep as “Repentance is very important.” Once again I was greatly humbled! The language is so tough! It is like a drunk Frenchman trying to speak Spanish. It has been the number 1 stress as I have been here. I continually pray for help to come with the language, and at times it is great, but other times it seems too difficult! But I know as I keep learning it that I will be helped!
I love all of you back in the US! Know that God loves you so much more than I do! Keep writing! I love the letters!
Today is my first p-day and I am so excited to read your letters and emails! Directly after getting off the plane in São Paulo, I could tell that I was not in the the United States anymore, nobody spoke much english in the airport and all the signs were in Portuguese. Needless to say, I had never been more excited in my life. It was Baptism by fire and I loved it! On the way to the CTM the traffic was terrible, the drivers were crazy, and the occasional brick roads were so cool! The CTM here is AMAZING! We have Israeli trained guards and the place feels like a prison at times because there are big metal shutters on our doors. It was awesome that we arrived on wednesday because wednesday nights are futebol nights, and the sky was filled with fireworks, as if the whole city was welcoming the missionaries! São Paulo is HUGE, it seems like the largest city that I have ever been in before, which is saying something because Los Angeles is huge!. When we look out the window at the rest of the city, there is no end to the skyscrapers and highrise apartment buildings.
Let me tell you a little about the experience that I have been having at the CTM so far. By the way, the CTM is just the portuguese translation´s abbreviation for the missionary training center here in Brazil. I didnt expect to have so much fun while being in classes all day long! All of our professors are Brazilian and they live here in the city, so they commute here to work and teach our district as well as the other districts at the CTM. Let me tell you a little about my district. The American district that I am in is composed of five Elders and 1 Sister; Elder Cetraro, Elder Anderson, Elder Boeme, Elder Gee, Sister Gee (yes they are siblings in the same district at the CTM at the SAME TIME! how cool is that!?) and then me, the District Leader Elder Yost! This means that the lone Sister in our group (Sister Gee) has the hapy opportunity to have al of us Elders as her companions, I wonder how long she will be able to stand us… My companions are Elder Cetraro, and Elder Anderson. And having two companions is a little more work because it is difficult to keep track of each other sometimes, but I love them and we are getting along just fine here. OS MISSIONARIOS BRASILIANOS HERE ESTOUS LOCO! haha but they are so much fun! we have 2 brazilian roommates who are the coolest guys ever! Most of the brazilian Elders grew up herer in brazil and know only a bit of english! (except elder Tomaz our roomate who spent 1 year in Utah). But One of my favorite thing to do is to sit next to the Brazilian Elders during lunch and try to have a conversation using my broken portuguese and their broken english! but we get along so much because there is such a love for each other that we share here! The brazilian people are so nice and fun loving! they are an example to me of patience and love. I wish I had more time to write but I only have a half hour while at the CTM to write e-mails every week!
I Love you all at home! I wish I could express to you all how much of an amazing example of loveing the gospel that you have been in my life!
out of time!