Friday, February 26, 2016

26 February 2016

Oi familia! Como vai?!

Is there still snow? What activities and such do you all have going on? Woohoo new niece or nephew! i´m glad everyone knows now. I think Mom is the winner, Legal Feijão = cool beans! Legal is how people say ``cool´´ and feijão means beans so Americans combined the two and it is great because it rhymes! (if you pronounce it right)

I can send pictures for free this afternoon at this delicious cookie shop across the street and can also send scanned letters, but I haven´t written any at this point so maybe next week. We went to the São Paulo temple this morning and I listened to the session in Portuguese with headphones which was cool.

Last Sunday was daylight savings here so we got an extra hour of sleep and it was the best thing ever. 101 new missionaries arrived this week, but my companion and I still don´t have new roomates! :(

So the big event of the week was proselyting. On Wednesday afternoon we rode the bus into town to get contacts and pass out Livros de Mormon. It was scary at first, but then it was SO FUN! Brasillians are the nicest people ever. EVERYONE we tried to give a book to accepted and agreed to have the missionaries come visit them. EVERYONE! And then at the end it poured rain on us and we did not have umbrellas. Every single day it is sunny in the morning and pours in the afternoon.

The food here at the CTM is good, but interesting sometimes haha. We always have 2 kinds of meat at every meal, we eat a lot of stuff that looks and tastes like sand (still have no idea what it is) and all of the desserts jiggle. Last P-day we got Brasilian hot dogs from a truck on the street and they were amazing! They were topped with mashed potatoes, cheese, and potatoe chip things. Oh and they have really good chocolate treats here.

Funny story that has happened TWICE now. It is like 10:00 at night and we hear a clinking sound outside our window and there is a bottle of Guarana hanging on a string for us. There are elders a couple of stories above us that keep giving us Guarana and it makes our day. 

Ok for a spiritual thought, I want to talk about prayer because we have been giving a lot of lessons on it and my testimony of prayer has really been strengthened. I know that God hears ALL of our prayers, even if we do not think He does because may not have responded in the way we wanted Him to. He does hear them all and He loves us at wants to bless us, just sometimes His will might be different than our will. So just have faith that He knows what He is doing and he has a plan.

Eu amo voces!


Friday, February 19, 2016

19 February 2016

Tudo Bem!

I hope everything is going well there! Happy Birthday Amy!!

Like I said, I can´t send photos here from the CTM, but hopefully you got the pictures that my companion sent from her camera this morning. Those were pictures from the temple last week. I will send more pictures when I go to Santa Maria. 

Today we went to the Campinas temple which is bigger but farther away. The Sao Paulo temple is about an hour drive because there is a lot of traffic. The Campinas temple was a hour and a half away but the drive was BEAUTIFUL through the country with small green mountains and the area it is in is really nice with lots of huge houses. 

So since we hardly have very little time to write, I just made a list of things that happened this week before this and I´m going from that. On Tuesday, all of the Brazilians that arrived the same day as us, including our roommates, left for the field because they only stay for 2 weeks. It was SO sad to say goodbye because I loved them all so much and I will probably never see them again. I am still not over it, I miss them a lot. And we did not get new roommates this week.

Sitting with our Brazilian friends at lunch, I said a couple of dumb things in Portuguese that made everyone laugh at me for a good five minutes, but it was fun. We had language study after dinner and I asked them if they did too and they were like, we already speak the language and I was like oh yeah... And another time we were talking about cursive and I meant to say ``I write cursive when I want it to be more pretty´´, but i accidentally said ``I write cursive when I want to be more pretty´´ and the elders were lauging so hard saying they were going to start writing cursive so they can be pretty. Yeahh, you had to be there.

On Tuesday morning we randomly went to the police station for 5 hours to do some kind of paperwork and finger printing, so that was a fun surprise. 

Cool story about the dedication of the CTM: President Nelson came to do the dedication and he knew absolutely no Portuguese, and his talk was 100% in English, but for the dedication prayer, he felt that he should do it in Portuguese so he gave a long (probably about 5 minutes) prayer in perfect, beautiful Portuguese with a perfect accent and then continued to speak in English afterwards. I read the dedication prayer hanging on the wall and I felt the spirit so strongly. There is no doubt the gift of tongues is real. It shows in me because I have only been here for 2 and a half weeks and my companion and I are already teaching 30 minute lessons in Portuguese without looking at notes. The language is coming along really well. And see if you can figure out what the subject line means!

There is probably a lot more I could write but I don´t have time so let me know if you all have questions that I am not answering.

Have a good week everyone! Tchau :)

Friday, February 12, 2016

12 February 2016

Bom Dia!! Como estam voces? That´s exciting that Hannah is getting her call soon, tell me when she gets it! Anything exciting happening with you all?

The CTM has been great so far. It feels like I have been here for way more than a week and a half, I already don´t really remember what life was like before this. Portuguese is coming along great! Knowing spanish really helps in a lot of ways but it does hinder in some too. But I can actually hold conversations with the Brazileiros here that don´t speak any English. But they laugh a lot at the things I say. My companion´s parents are Mexican so she speaks fluent spanish and her Portuguese is already so good that everyone asks her if she is Brazilian. My goal is to one day have that happen to me too. I will have to get some sun first. 

We have Brazilian roommates that are the best and so nice. They talk really fast so I have a hard time understanding them but they help me learn a lot and I can measure my progress by how well I understand them. I like my district a lot and they sometimes call me Sister Homie because Romney in Portuguese is pronounced ``Homay´´. Last week there was a HUGE torrential downpour with thunder louder than I have ever heard and the streets don´t have drainage so there was at least a foot of water rushing down the street. And it made the power go out and ever since then the power goes out like 5 times a day. It´s scary when it´s dark and you can´t see anything and you just hear voices like ``....Companiero...?´´ But then it only lasts like a minute because the generator goes on so it´s all good. Oh and Carnival is going on here right now so sometimes we hear music in the streets and driving to the CTM we saw a bunch of giant floats.

Today is P-day (obviously) and it feels like Christmas!! We got up at 5:40 this morning to go to the Sao Paulo Temple  and it was so beautiful. The temple is just surrounded by palm trees, cool plants, and green grass and inside is gorgeous. The session was in english but I think in 2 weeks we have to do Portuguese. Then we took pictures at the temple, but we can´t send photos from the CTM unfortunately. But, my companion can send photos to an email straight from her camera if she has wifi and there is wifi at the temple so maybe next P-day she could send some. After this we get to go explore the area and I am excited. There is a cookie shop across the street that everyone talks about and they do BOGO for new missionaries. And the owner I think is LDS and does some kind of business for sending and receiving letters and photos from families and printing and delivering them to the missionaries, but I do not really know how it works yet. Also, I don´t know my CTM mailbox right now but I can check for next week. But I didn´t know anything about the CTM president wanting us to send and get letters but I am really just fine with emails.

Every day this past week we taught an impostigator named Maria and it was good. We spend out days studying and planning lessons to teach her and its helping me learn a lot about teaching investigators. Now Maria is one of our instructors and tomorrow we get 2 new impostigators. By the end we will have 4+ to teach every day. I love my companion, Sister Gonzalez, we get along great. I feel like we help motivate each other to learn the language faster and strengthen our testimonies. I love the CTM because the spirit is so strong here. When we first got here someone said, the temple is the house of the Lord, but the CTM is the house of the Holy Ghost and it is true. On fast Sunday I bore my testimony in Portuguese! By having a limited vocabulary, I have learned how important and powerful just a short, simple testimony of the gospel is. One of my instructors shared a story of how someone who struggled with Portuguese shared only one sentence by the spirit and it changed someone´s whole life. 

Oh and I almost forgot, some older man who works here as like a medical director or something is related to us! His name is Elder Romney Burke and he explained how we must be related but I didn´t know any of the relatives he mentioned and it was kind of confusing.... but cool I guess! Oh and the food! Most of the time I have no idea what I am eating and the dessert is never solid, usually some kind of liquidy thing. The flavors here are different but it mostly tastes good! Ok I am out of time. Hope you all have a good week



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Arriving at the CTM in Sao Paulo, 3 February 2016

Oi!! I made it to Sao Paulo safely and was able to get a little sleep on the plane. I also sat next to the nicest people for both flights and gave out a pass-along card! Brazil is SO cool! but not temperature wise... it is actually really hot. I passed by a Fogo de Chao driving from the airport to the CTM. But there are palm trees and cool plants everywhere and I feel like I am at a tropical section of a rainforest or a zoo, but I am actually here! There are like 5 other sisters out of the 13 that are called to Santa Maria too. And my companion is Sister Gonzales, I think she is from Utah, and she is really cool! Thanks for the quote, pass this along to the rest of the family if you want. 
Sister Romney

Dear Parents,
Sister Swensen and I are very happy to let you know that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil Missionary Training Center.  What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they begin their missionary experiences with us. We will surely take good care of your missionary.                                                                                                     
The missionaries 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.  Their branch presidents and wives, will meet them this Sunday.  These wonderful couples are richly blessed as they work with, motivate, and interview the missionaries assigned to their branch.
The MTC has a full-time live-in physician to care for their health needs.  He is assisted by his able wife who is a nurse. We are also happy to report that the cafeteria food is plentiful, healthy 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 Wednesday or Friday, depending on individual assignments.
Your missionary is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of many others. President Lorenzo Snow said: “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".  We love these missionaries as if they were our own.  We will watch over them carefully to ensure they are ready for a wonderful missionary experience after the rewarding time they will have in the MTC.
We thank you for preparing such a wonderful representative of the Lord.
President Robert Swensen and Sister Julie Swensen

Saying Goodbye for 18 Months

Sister Romney’s Farewell Talk--31 January 2016

Sarah spoke in church on Sunday and Sister Jex recorded her talk: