First P-Day! So much has happened this week. It's pretty much been the longest week of my life.
When I got to the airport gate Wednesday morning, I met 4 other missionaries including Sister Jessie Young who is going to the same mission as me and knows President and Sister Allen. Tender mercy right there. I sat next to a sweet girl a year younger than me on the plane, we talked a little bit and she shared some Christian music with me. I had lunch at Costa Vida with Amy, Molly, Grandpa and Grandma Shipp, Julie, and Stacy. Amy gave me a letter from herself and one from Kelley before we said bye. It was so sweet! I called mom one last time and cried and said goodbye. Molly dropped me off at the MTC. I picked up my name tag. I am still Sister Shipp! Apparently they call the Sister missionaries Sister in Brazil instead of Irma like the sister members of the church. We go around saying "Seestair!" :) My companion is Sister Marchant from Cincinnati, Ohio. We have a lot in common! She was also at BYU this past year studying pre-nursing, but has not yet applied to the program. On my way to pick up my books, I ran into Sister Brynne Chamberlain from my BYU ward. Another tender mercy. We started learning Portuguese the first day. The teacher spoke it a lot and it was a little overwhelming. Later in the day, I ran into Elder Brett Nebeker from my FHE group! Another tender mercy. There are 8 elders in my district and 6 sisters (although 2 elders got their visas and left today). We are going to the Riberao Preto mission or Natal mission. Sister Jett Hoffman from my BYU ward is in my district and in my room. There are 6 sisters in my room! It works out just fine. There is plenty of space and I love the sisters. The companionships are so inspired. Each companionship became instant friends. Our personalities are so similar and together, we are hilarious! You really see your view of entertainment change in the MTC. Earlier today, for fun, we threw a little football around the room at each other. It was pretty much the best thing ever. Would you normally think so? Probably not. I am on the top bunk. Brings back memories of when I was younger.
I cannot express to you the amount of studying taking place here. I don't think I've ever studied this much (maybe besides finals week). We taught our first investigator in Portuguese on Friday. Did you catch that? After being here for 2 days, we had to teach a lesson in Portuguese. Luckily, Sister Marchant took 4 years of Spanish in high school and studied Portuguese during the Summer. She has a pretty good handle on the language. We somehow made it through, but didn't feel like we could really connect with Lucas because we were mainly reading from our notes. On Friday, I received 5 letters, a postcard, and a package! Thanks for all the love. Everyone was jealous! I am now known for taking up half of our district mailbox each day. Largely thanks to Kelley, who everyone now knows about, and who will be reporting here tomorrow at 2:30! Crazy. On Saturday, we taught Lucas again. The lesson went better. I could understand a lot of what was said, but still felt like I couldn't really contribute. Learning a new language is definitely a humbling experience.
Everyone kept telling me to make it to Sunday. Well, I did! Fast and testimony meeting was in Portuguese and I could understand almost all of what was said! I know God is helping me with the language. There's no other way I could have made this much progress in less than a week. At night, the devotional was performances and a talk by Elder Oak's daughter, Jenny Oaks Baker who is an amazing violinist. It was amazing and the Spirit was so strong :) Then we watched an MTC address entitled "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. It is an amazing talk. Go look it up if you have some time to spare. It gives great insight on who we should become, especially as a missionary.
During gym time, I've been playing volleyball! It's so nice to play again :) Sister Marchant played with me yesterday. For not ever playing, she is actually pretty good and it was tons of fun! I ran into Sam Whitworth (my friend from nutrition class that teaches Iclandic at the MTC) yesterday! Another tender mercy. We talked for a couple minutes. Sister Marchant and I taught Lucas for the third time last night. We went in with only a few words written in English as an outline. Our teacher had told us not to use notes on this lesson, but pray before and ask for the gift of tongues. I was really nervous going in, but we actually taught about the Atonement for 35 minutes! It was great. Sister Marchant did a lot of the talking, and I got lost a couple times, but I was able to add some comments and a good testimony. The Spirit was definitely there.
It's been a little hard to get used to the schedule here. Since we are visa-waiters and weren't supposed to be here, we have breakfast at 6:30 instead of 7. We also have a way early dinner at 4. That means I get to bed at around 11 and am waking up somewhere around 5:30 or 6. I woke up with a fever today after having some strange dreams involving a lot of Portuguese. I'm feeling better now. I've spent most of the day writing letters and doing laundry. P-Day is definitely too short though. We have a devotional tonight with Elder Christofferson! I am super excited!
So there's a tree here that smells like Cream Soda. Literally. We took a picture with it. Sister Marchant and I are trying to take a picture everyday holding up the day number we are on. One of them is in front of this tree.
All is well here! I love the MTC and am doing great!
All is well here! I love the MTC and am doing great!