I cannot believe I've already been here for 3 weeks. I feel like I got here yesterday but at the same time it feels like I've been here forever. This past week has been amazing and I've had such a change of heart. I always joke about the MTC being on lockdown, but it really is a special place and I might actually miss it. It's like a little safe haven before you go out into the real mission field and people fully depend on you. It's a lot of pressure!
I thought I had been studying and working hard but Sunday night we went to a recording of Elder Holland's devotional called "Missions are Forever" and I realized that even though I'm working hard I need to work harder. I can't even put into words how amazing his words were. He told us how every thought, word, deed, and effort should be directed by the spirit of the Lord but we need to be worthy of that spirit and if we're not doing our part, how can the Lord bless us with his spirit?
He stressed obedience to each and every rule and how we should be excited about this work we're doing! We need to make it personal as we teach to be more effective.
We had another devotional before that on creating our mission culture when we do get there. How will I finish the sentence? "In this mission we ___, when we get to Brazil." Some people may say we are obedient to every rule; Some may say we baptize a lot people; or we don't get to teach many lessons. I don't know what mine will be until I get there.
Because our visas are delayed, we'll likely get re-assigned. I'm taking guesses of where I'll go... Mission call round 2! There is also a possibility of us having to stay here another week while they find somewhere for us to go because right now there are hundreds of visa-waiters in the states. They're running out of room for us. So glad I'm not the one that has to plan this stuff. Anyway, there are tons of rumors so who knows what's going to happen. We should find out in 2 weeks where we'll go.
Our lessons this past week went really well. We do them entirely in Portuguese and they're about 30 minutes long. We always start with a prayer, share our lesson, ask questions, bear our testimonies, and end with a prayer. Sounds easy but I can promise you it is not. It's fun though. I love the challenge of having to find different ways to explain something when someone doesn't understand a certain concept.
This week we also had TRC (Training Resource Center) which is when a member of the church comes in...typically a student from BYU who served a Portuguese speaking mission and we just share a spiritual thought with them. It was the coolest thing ever. We went in to teach this guy but he wound up teaching us. We wanted to share the importance of prayer with him and he helped us to realize how prayer blesses our lives. Deus quer ouvir por nos. God wants to hear from us and I know prayer is amazing and can help us if we use it. He hears and answers every prayer. I know it.
Our teacher taught us this week to make sure we have a specific lesson planned and then change it as we feel necessary and as we are guided by the spirit. Our first lesson we kind of had an idea of what we wanted to teach but nothing really specific-it crashed and burned. My companion just went on, I bore testimony once, but it was so scattered and definitely our worst lesson. It happens. It was a learning experience. The next time we taught him about faith and Joseph Smith and how he restored our church to the earth. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and asked him to pray to know if it was true. Remember, we were actually teaching our teacher as he pretended to be an investigator; someone that he himself actually taught on his mission in Portugal.
He told us it was a complete 180. The spirit felt in that room was amazing. We learned the difference between being prepared and not in that lesson. What a difference. Miracles come if we prepare. We are learning 2 languages here. Portuguese and the language of the spirit. It is such an amazing thing to feel prompted to teach something even if it's not exactly what was planned because you really can feel what this person needed to hear.
Finally, Sunday morning in Relief Society we had Janice Kapp Perry come speak to us and for those of you who don't know who she is, becasue I didn't, she has written a bunch of Primary songs and is just a musical genius. She wrote "Love is Spoken Here" and "A Child's Prayer" to name a couple. It was like the Grammy's for Mormons because everyone freaked out and they had to say no photographs or autographs. I thought it was hilarious. She also wrote the music for "As Sisters in Zion" a personal favorite...and she just wrote new lyrics for it and titled it "The Sisters of Zion" specifically for all the sisters serving missions right now. We were the first to sing it! The strength of all the women in that room and the spirit was undeniable. I was crying, of course, but happy crying. It just reminded me of all the reasons why I wanted to serve a mission and I'm so happy that I'm here despite missing my wonderful family...but I know they're all ok! I have come to find that there is nothing better than singing "Called To Serve" in a room full of missionaries. Coolest thing ever!!!
I was sick this past weekened but I'm a lot better now. I just think I overdid it because I never get enough sleep. I'm tired all day studying and teaching so when it comes to gym time Sister Dixon and I work out hard; run, do lunges and abs and a bunch of other things to wake us up. That's probably not the best method because then we're over exhausted. Ugh!. But it feels so good to get out and run around because we're in a classroom all day long!
My district leader has now made it a game to "hide Sister Cox's letters and make her think she didn't get any mail." It's really awesome. Not. My birthday is in 2 weeks! So exciting! I still can't believe I'm out of here in 3 weeks. Nuts. I apologize if this was boring for anyone, but for now this is what happens in the life of missionary in the MTC but I must say - I love it!
Love you all so much and miss you all!
Love you all so much and miss you all!