December 14, 2015 (week 9)

This week was good! Definitely some frusterating parts but I have a lot of hope for the future and am excited to be here πŸ™‚ Thank you guys for the birthday wishes! πŸ™‚ I kind of forgot it was coming up haha because it will just be a normal day, but I appreciate it πŸ™‚ Sorry if I forget your birthdays, I dont have fb and twitter to remind me! And I am not the greatest when it comes it remembering things!

During the week I was telling a story to my companion and I said the word “voz” (voice) and he didn’t understand, but I knew it was the right word so I repeated it like 10 times and then he was like “ohhhhhh voz!” I wish I could use emojis because the emoji with the straight face describes perfectly how I felt. I swear he said it the same way I did!! (obviously not, but it sounded like it to me) In the mtc our instructors were suuuuppppper good at understanding our Portuguese, but here, they aren’t used to someone speaking Portuguese incorrectly and so people don’t always understand what I’m trying to say, even when I do know the right words. Hopefully I will get better at pronouncing words soon!

People here (during lunch) ask what food we normally eat in America, and I have no clue how to answer! Because here they eat rice and beans every meal (besides breakfast I think.. well actually I have no idea what they normally eat for breakfast) and so they what to know what the American “rice and beans” is but the problem is we don’t have anything like that! And besides, I dont know the names of many foods, especially American foods, so I just normally say that we don’t have certain food that we eat every day. I’m not sure they really understand always because that is a weird concept for them.

Yesterday we ate lunch with a member and they were playing Christmas music, and their house was decorated!! They even had a Christmas tree. It was awesome, and a great reminder that Christmas is soon! It doesn’t really feel like Christmas here because there’s no snow and people don’t really do decorations and lights like they do in the States. I couldn’t stop smiling during lunch because 3 of the songs were in English. Chestnuts roasting on the open fire, frosty the snowman, and I can’t remember the other. But it was so so so so nice! One, to actually understand all the words and two, it reminded me of home and Christmas there πŸ™‚ Christmas time is my favorite season!

Well, I think my name is going to be Elder “Lah-ren-cy” for the next 2ish years. haha when people ask me what my name is I say “Elder Lawrence and show them my nametag and then they look at it funny and say “Elder Lahrency?” at first I would say, almost! and then repeat my name, but Lahrency is kind of growing on me and so now I just say, “perfect!”

Well, the transition to thinking in Portuguese is not how I thought it was going to be. I don’t know why, but I kind of just imagined that one day I would start thinking in Portuguese, but it doesn’t work like that! At least for me. It’s weird, so some words (that I use a lot) I don’t translate them to Portuguese they are just words. Does that make sense? So if you asked me who our Heavenly Father is, there’s two answers, Deus and God. They’re different, but the same. Okay.. I know this is making no sense, but I don’t know how to explain it. hmmmm.. it’s like with some words I don’t think about the words, so if I want to speak in english I say the english word, I dont think it in portuguese then translate it, but if I want to say it in portuguese I just say it in portuguese I don’t think it in english then translate it. Well, hopefully that made some sense. I’m sure it will be a lonnng time before I’m actually thinking in Portuguese but I am excited to see it to slowly start happening!

During our companionship prayer at the end of one day this week, my companion was praying and I swear he said “that I can be a better missionary than my companion” I’m sure that’s not what he said, but after the prayer I couldn’t stop laughing hahah I didn’t tell him why either, I’m laughing now just thinking about it.

This week I’ve been studying a lot about faith. My mission president said if I want to speak Portuguese I need to have more faith. But faith is a hard thing to practice, you know? So I decided to read every scripture I can find on faith! (theres a lot! Definitely more than I thought). I started two weeks ago, and I’m not done yet, but it has been awesome, Ive learned a lot about faith and want to share a little bit πŸ™‚

In alma 32 it says “Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.” sometimes I think that I what a knowledge without first having faith. Faith isnt a substitute for knowledge, but a pathway to it! Faith comes first, then knowledge.
The other thing that I found in a lot of the passages about faith, is that the power of God works through faith. Ether 12 says “and neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God” All things are possible through God, but he words through our faith! So, for me, I need to have faith that God will help me learn Portuguese and be a good missionary and then act on that faith!

Well that’s all for this week πŸ™‚ sorry that it got a little long. I hope all is well with you guys and that youre enjoying the Christmas season! Drink some hot chocolate for me!

Elder Lawrence

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