Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Week two in the MTC

Oi Familia,

Sorry for the boring subject line, I feel like its a Grandma Boone letter :).

Mom, thanks a ton for sending me the extra suitcoat, I mean suitcoats. Just one wouldv'e been fine but I've worn both so thanks :). Also thanks you so much for the chips and salsa. Those were such a nice break from cafeteria food. Also, I forgot to tell you thanks for the Mangos last week, that was the best surprise ever. I know you sent me more, but I can't remember everything but thanks for all of it. You're the best.

This week has really flown by. I can't believe I only have four weeks left here. It's kind of overwhelming to think in a month I'll be teaching real people in a language I barely know, but I think that's why they focus so much on learning the language of the Spirit instead of the language of Portuguese. We do a ton of Portuguese, but most of the focus is learning how to depend on the Lord and rely on the Spirit for teaching, because he is the one who really does the teaching. We watched a taped devotional by Elder Bednar and he said that most investigators think the missionaries are crazy the first time they meet when they talk about angels and gold plates and a bunch of other crazy stuff, but they invite them back because they feel good when they are there. So I think it's more important to bring the feeling and invite the Spirit to do the teaching. I definitely think it's good to know how to teach as well, and listen to investigators concerns, but that will come as I learn to depend on the Spirit to speak the language. With that being said I think I've made huge strides in the language. We taught a lesson yesterday and understood most of what our "investigator" was saying, and was actually able to answer some questions. That felt amazing :).

Probably the biggest challenge for me is that my district tends to get distracted really easy and it's kind of frustrating when people are goofing off. But it's getting better. They are all great guys, but 13 of us crammed into a tiny room leads to some challenges.

Saturday I sprained my ankle really bad playing basketball. It looked like I had a baseball in my ankle, and got a nasty blue and purple color. I walked around on it for a few days, but decided to get it looked at yesterday. The doctor thought it was just a sprain but sent me down to the BYU Health Center to get X-Rays just in case. Haven't heard back yet but it should be good. It's not very painful, but it's kind of ugly looking, and the doctor said no basketball for the rest of the time here. That will be tough to swallow.

Like I told Amy, my favorite part is teaching our "investigators". It's really good practice, and I love the progress we make every day, both with the investigator and in the language. Every day I see improvement. Still have a long ways to go, but I'm getting there.

Sorry, I have so much more to say, but am out of time. I've learned so much but it's kind of hard to express in a couple paragraphs.



P.S. the computers don't pick up my camera so I'll use my comp's SD card reader to send pictures next week.

Os três amigos

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dazed but happy

Evan's friend Brandon Wiscombe (on his way to Mexico) saw Evan on Thursday. His mom forwarded this to me from his email that day: Just saw Evan not 2 hours ago!  He looked a little dazed, but happy!

Here's some of Evan's letter that came yesterday:

Oi Familia!

Como vai?

The first week has been great!  When you guys dropped me off, they gave me a name-tag, dropped off my bags in my room, and through me into a Portuguese class, and the rest has been a blur.  The first few days were really long, and more than once I felt like my brain was gonna explode, but it was so good to finally be here so I guess dazed and happy was a great way to describe my emotions.

I have two companions, Elder Sprague and Elder Mckay.  Elder Sprague is from Albuquerque and is a do it all adventurist who builds his own cars, loves adrenaline rushes, and is quite the wrestler.  Elder Mckay went to Timpview, and kind of reminds me of Brandon Wiscombe, tall and calm.  I almost feel like I'm a combination of the two of them.  We all get along great, and as of right now there are only the three of us in our room but that will probably change tomorrow when we get 26 new Portuguese Speakers in our branch.  Our district is made up of 13 Elders and 0 sisters so I'm kind of disappointed about that.  Supposedly 39% of the MTC is sister missionaries, so I guess we are just unlucky.

We don't get outside a ton, but since it's p-day today, we laid in the grass reading scriptures and writing letters for a couple hours which felt amazing.  We usually go outside and study for about an hour every day just to escape the classroom.  The exercise field is still closed for whatever reason, but I spend gym time playing basketball which I would probably do even if the field was open.  Gym time literally is heaven. Easily the best 50 minutes of the day. 

We only have a teacher 3 hours a day, so most of the rest of the day is spent teaching ourselves the language and the gospel. We taught our first lesson on Friday, and spent a lot of awkward pauses desperately looking through the dictionary to find something to say, but each lesson has gotten better.  When I realize I've only been here a week, I realize how much we've learned in such a short amount of time.  I still can't speak very well, but I have started to understand my teacher a lot better, and if you give me enough time, I can say a lot of what I want to.  I've started saying all my prayers in Portuguese, which has really helped me learn faster, so I think that's been good.

Everything is going great, I'm sleeping well and am loving the work. I really look forward to getting out in the field, and hope everything is going well back home.


Elder Evan McDaniel

P.S.  Please send me letters on DearElder or snail mail.  It's more fun to get mail throughout the week instead of reading emails on p-day. Oh, and I'll try to send some pics next week.  Out of time today.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Our last night and morning together...

Evan taught the girls to ripstick on Monday. By Wednesday they were pros.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Leaving for the MTC!

Well, it's finally here.  Tomorrow I head to the MTC!  I can't wait to go serve as a missionary of Jesus Christ, and know a great experience awaits me.  Thanks to all my friends and families who have helped me grow and develop into the person I am today.  I'll see y'all in a couple :)