Wow what a week.
Someone once told me that the first week at the MTC is a marathon at 100m pace. Boy are they right. From the get go, you sprint from place to place in a mass of confusion. After I got my name tag and my ID card, they told us to go pick up our language learning material. They say that the study material weighs 8 pounds -- I'm pretty sure that their scale was off because that thing weighed at least 5000 pounds. It was painful.
Once you get to the classroom, they only speak Portuguese at you so you don't understand what they’re saying. It's great. They had us trying to say basic greetings like "Hello" which proved too difficult for some. When anyone would speak at me in Portuguese, I would respond instinctively in French. My teacher laughed at me when I did. I do have one thing going for me, the pronunciations of continental Portuguese are more like French than Spanish.
We've also taught our first investigator twice in “Portuguese". My companion Elder Angulo is originally from Mexico so he speaks Spanish. When we try to teach, he does most of the talking. I don't know if it's in Portuguese or Spanish but our investigator knows we like Jesus, hopefully. I write out what I will say beforehand and read it. Often I'm just making random noises with my mouth. (*all the time).
I have "learned" how to pray. I think I'm saying the words correctly, who knows. Everyone else sounds similar. The Elders that speak Spanish before they came to the MTC have an advantage because it's so similar. Sometimes they have trouble with the pronunciations of words because they’re sometimes more like French then Spanish. But I usually butcher words so I have a very little advantage.
My zone is entirely made up of Portuguese speaking missionaries. We have sacrament meeting in Portuguese. All the talks, hymns, everything. Every missionary must prepare a talk for sacrament meeting and they choose who speaks randomly. Thankfully I didn't have to give a talk. Our zone sings hymns together often. I don't know what they mean but it's nice to feel the spirit.
Earlier our branch president gave a talk about how we should leave childish things behind because we are now missionaries. So naturally the older missionaries pulled a prank on the younger missionaries. They told us that one of the older missionaries was a native Portuguese speaker. He wasn't - he was from Utah. Way to leave childish things behind. Also, most of my branch is from Utah, Idaho or Arizona.
I haven't had much time to study the scriptures. I wish I had but I'm usually studying the language I did go to a workshop where we talked about the Gospel. Any problem can be solved with faith in Jesus Christ. His Atonement covers not just our sins but also overcomes our weaknesses. Through the Atonement we can change and become more like what our Heavenly Father wants us to be.
Until Next time,