November 24, 2015 – from Mission Home

Querida família de Elder Lawrence,

Aqui são algumas fotos de quando Elder Lawrence chegou aqui na Missão Brasil Fortaleza. Nós estamos muito animado para ver o trabalho que ele vai fazer!

Att,

Elder Mickel

Secretario da Missao

Interpretation:

Dear family of Elder Lawrence,
Here are some pictures of Elder Lawrence when he arrived in the Forteleza Brazil Mission.
We are very excited to see the work that he will do!

2015 11 26 a

Elder Lawrence with President and Sister Bonini

 

2015 11 26 d

Arriving at the Fortaleza Airport

 

2015 11 26 b

 

2015 11 26 c

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November 18, 2015 (week 5)

Last week in the MTC!! Wow, time has flown by in here. We have all learned so much! I by no means feel like I know enough Portuguese to go to the mission field, but I just have 6 days left till I head off to Fortaleza! I hear that your first while in your area you can’t understand anything, so I am definitely preparing for that. One of the instructors here (a native Brazillian) served in Fortaleza and she said when she first got there she couldn’t understand what people were saying there becuase they speak so quickly and with a thick accent in Fortaleza. Pray for me!

Não falo inglês (I don’t speak english) is my motto for this week! You learn fastest when you are using the language and so this week I decided that I’m not going to use any english, outside of 15 mins a day at the end! It is hard, but I know I am learning a lot because of it. I have so much to learn this week and I hope that this helps a lot! It’s actually kind of weird to speak english at the end of each day. You get used to thinking so hard to try to figure out how to say things that it is werid to just speak freely and at a normal speed, but it is a super nice break at the end of the day.

I want to share one short story from this week that I thought was really cool! So on Sunday we were talking about the priesthood and another missionary shared a story from earlier in the week. So one of his roommates had sprained his ankle really bad and couldn’t walk. His companion actually carried him to his room and laid him in bed. Then the guy sharing the story offered to give him a blessing and the guy with the hurt ankle thought that was a good idea. During the blessing the missionary giving the blessing blessed him that he would heal rapidly. Right after the blessing the missionary with the ankle injury got up and walked! How amazing is that! The spirit was so strong while the story was being told, I know Preisthood power is real!

Well not much else this week. Sorry for all the spelling mistakes, I’m sure there is ton. I am already bad at spelling and thinking about Portuguese all the time is definintely not helping! I also realize that for those of you who aren’t Mormon, you might not know what some of the things I talk about are. If you want me to explain anything I would love to, so please ask! I hope all of you have an amazing week! Oh, and this is mainly for my mom, but since I will be leaving for Fortaleza next week it might be two weeks or so until I can email, I’m not really sure.

Elder Lawrence 🙂

November 11, 2015 (week 4)

This week was great! We learn so much here and time just flies by! But at the same time it feels like I´ve been here for ages. It´s super weird. So this week we heard one of our instructors speak full English for 4 or 5 sentences.  It’s hard to describe, but it didn’t even feel real while she was talking. We cherish English when its used because then we can actually understand everything! It’s so hard to understand Portuguese, especially when it is being spoken fast!

So there’s a few short things I want to share this week. I write down stuff as the week goes so I have stuff to talk about, so that’s why my emails jump around quite a bit! First is the bugs here, the MTC does a pretty good job but there’s still tons! One morning during breakfast this big moth flew into this girls oatmeal (an American) and she let out the biggest scream haha all the Brazilians were laughing cause they’re used to it.

Next is a got sick :/ getting sick in the MTC is no fun at all cause you can’t take any breaks so it makes the work a lot harder when you’re not feeling well. But I’m mostly better and all is well! 🙂

Thanks for the emails! I appreciate them and look forward to reading them every Wednesday! It feels like a different world out here and so it is super nice to here what is going on back home!

So I thought you guys might want to know some of the common phrases I use! Probable my favorite is “que isso!?” it basically translates to “what is that” so we always use it when something weird or crazy happens! But Americans also use it for “what are thooooose!?!” (old people that wont make sense to you haha) Another common one is “como se diz…” (how do you say..) and “que significa…” (what does _____ mean) we use those last two all the time since we pretty much never know what is going on here haha.

So in the MTC I think stuff that isn’t actually funny become funny. There’s not much entertainment here, just learning, so we laugh at weird things something! I want to share two funny stories from this week! The first is during a lesson, my companion and I were teaching a pretend investigator and it was actually going pretty good! So my companion is talking and what he is saying is good, and he starts saying “we invite you to..” but then completely blanks! He just has no idea what to say I guess. So he sits there for like 10 seconds then turns to me and says “ajuda-me” meaning “help me” but I couldn’t cause I didnt know what he wanted to say! It ended up being okay but when we told our district they all bust out laughing! I think they know the feeling of giving a lesson and trying to find your words so they thought it was especially funny. The other story was from yesterday! So we are eating lunch and Elder Bain is drinking this grape juice. He says, “I’m just waiting for the day when a missionary spills it all over themself in the cafeteria” He said it jokingly but then at dinner he spilt grape juice all over himself! hahah I think God has a pretty good sense of humor.

Now a more serious thought 🙂 So this past Sunday I decided to commit to trying my hardest. We all work so hard here, and it is exhausting, but I know I could be doing more. Focusing harder, staying on task, speaking more Portuguese, the list goes on. In these two years I’m spending on a mission I really am on the Lord’s time. And I owe him so much more than I can give, but what I can give is my absoulte best! I know he will be happy with me if I give all I can 🙂 When I go to bed at night knowing that specific day I gave my all, I know I dont need to worry about the language and the hard work, because when we give all we can, the Lord will help us with the rest. How lucky are we!

That’s all for this week, I hope all is well with everyone!!
Elder Lawrence 🙂

November 4, 2015 (week 3)

Learning a new language is sooo humbling for me! I feel the importance of what I am doing and that gives me a lot of motivation, but it is so hard to learn a new language! It takes so much effort to try to understand Portuguese and when it’s from a native speaker I basically have no chance, but I’m sure I’ll get there some day soon! (ish haha) It’s kind of like solving math problems all day. I know that is kind of a weird way to put it, but it is! When you hear the words you have to translate as fast as you can and hope that you can do it fast enough and know enough words to get the jist of what someone is saying. It’s hard to keep up, even when they speak slow for you.

It’s a little scary that I only have three weeks left in the MTC! I definitely am not halfway to being able to have a decent conversation with someone, but I am praying and working like crazy in hopes that it does! I will definitely have lots to learn when I get to Fortaleza. There was a devotional this week that I really loved! It was spiritual for me 🙂 So it was basically about hardwork and sacrifice. And the story was told of a missionary (30 or so years ago) who gave up playing for the New Zealand All-Blacks (famous rugby team) to serve a mission. The speaker said we all give up things to serve! Some more than others, but everyone puts their life on hold for two years to serve the Lord and His people. I know that there are so many people who have given up so much more than I have to serve, it makes me humble when I think about what some people give up and it makes me realize how relatively easy my life has been. Then he talked about hardwork. People often asked him (the speaker used to be a mission president in France) about why missionary work is so hard, why do people not accept the gospel, or why is it so hard to learn a language or why do people not follow through on their commitments. and basically his answer to them was “Of course missionary work is hard! Salvation never was easy.” He then talked about the atonement and the incomprehensible price Jesus Christ paid for us to have the opportunity to live with God again one day. He told us how God called us to serve missions, and if we want our burdens lifted, we need to turn to Him” He won’t erase our problems and difficulties in life, but He will raise us up so we can bear them.

Thats all for this week! 🙂 I hope you guys all have amazing weeks! Sorry for typos and things that
don’t make sense in my emails, I’m just typing as fast as I can!

Till next week,
Elder Lawrence 🙂

October 28, 2015 (week 2)

“Pagar O Pre o” Seems crazy to me that I’ve already been here two weeks! I love reading your guy’s emails! Please don’t feel bad if I am not able to respond, I love reading them but don’t always have time to write back cause our time is so limited in the MTC.

I don’t have anything to share really, the days here are so similar, so I thought I would share a little story from this week! So one of our new instructors wrote “Pagar O Pre o” (pay the price) on the board this week then he said “Se voc s querem aprender Portug s, voc s t m que Parar O Pre co” (I’m sure the grammar is wrong on my end) but it means if you want to learn Portuguese, you have to pay the price! So far in the MTC I’ve been really frusterated with Portuguese because I’m bad at speaking and understanding it and I’m learning slower than most other people. I realized that I wasnt really paying the price. We have a lot of time with instructors, but we also have a lot of time without instructors where it can be easy to get off task. So this week I decided to “pay the price”. Now, I definitely could have done a lot better, but I was trying! I learned that even though we have to pay the price, we don t have to pay the full price. I believe that in any worthy endeavour the Lord will not only match but exceed our efforts.

Two days ago, my companion and I were teaching an “investigator” and he told us about a problem he had that. Our lesson that we planned would not have helped at all. So we decided to scrap the lesson and instead share a scripture we remembered and taught him about it. This was a leap of faith for us because neither of us speak Portuguese very well and 20-30 minutes is a long time to teach! But, it went so well 🙂 I’m sure the language was butchered, but we were able to get our points across. And the same thing happened later that day with a different investigator!!!

I know that that Lord will always help us when we try to do our part. So there’s a scripture in first Nephi 21:15 that says “For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee” When I think about how much mothers love their newborns, it really puts it in perspective for me when the Lord says that there s a better chance that a mother forget her child than he would forget us.

No matter how desperate we are, no matter how frusterated we feel, no matter how alone we think we are, He is always there. Waiting for us to turn to him in prayer. We are never alone.

Elder Lawrence 🙂

October 21, 2015 (week 1)

Hey everyone!!

I have officially been a missionary for 1 week! Sorry for sending another giant paragraph… some of the computers you can hit enter and make another paragraph so maybe I will be able to use one of those in future weeks.

So I have no idea where to begin! Time is the weirdest thing here. The days are so long. But not in a bad way. It just feels like so much happens in one day and when you look back at the end of the day it seems like the beginning was so long ago. Does that make sense?

We are so separated from the world it honestly just feels like another life. Its really weird… Portuguese is HARD! especially for the first 2 or 3 days. The way they teach is by not speaking any English and only speaking Portuguese. Pretty much the only English I hear is from other Americans in my district. I’m sure you can imagine how frustrating it is, especially when the instructor is talking to you. So the first while was really hard and it’s easy to get down on yourself. But the last day or two have been really encouraging. The instructor speaks realllllllllllyyyyy slow and I can understand a lot of what she says and can speak a little but. but I speak super slow and have to think a lot about the words to say as I’m saying them. It takes me a while to translate in my head while I speak. My instuctor’s name is Irmâ Araujo and she is full on energy! Seriously, I dont know how she can always be so excited and never get frustrated. She’s Brazilian but her English is pretty good, although we basically never hear it.

hmmmm what else! Well we have two brazillian roommates that speak  almost 0 english so its fun to try to talk with them. They are willing to help  and extremely understanding!

The days here are so similar. We get up at 6:30 and go to bed at 10:30. We have personal study, exercise, companionship study and A LOT of language study. We also teach an “investigator” every day (a Brazilian mormon who pretends to be someone wanting to know about the church). That is always interesting since our Portuguese is VERY limited.

Well, if there is anything anyone wants me to talk about in future emails let me know and I will! I’m not sure if I have time to respond to emails this week but I will take pictures of emails and hopefully have time to respond next week if I have time!

Oh, one quick funny story. A sister in my district was “teaching” the instructor and meant to say something like “you pray a lot like him” but accidentally said “I want you” when the instructor explained we all starting dying! It was on one of the first days.

Till next week!
Elder Lawrence 🙂