Oi everyone! como vocem estam? tudo bem? I am still loving Portuguese and love teaching in this language. This week has gone by pretty quickly but days are SOOO long. Our schedule just changed due to the thousands of missionaries here so now we have to wake up at 6 instead of 6:30 and breakfast is at 6:30, class is at 7. Sister Empey and I have had a much better week as we've prayed together and gotten to understand each other more. It's still difficult being with basically a total stranger 24/7 but I guess this is what I signed up for right? I've also learned a few lessons on patience and how if the person isn't going to change, that I need to change my attitude and focus on why we're here. Anyway, she has such a strong testimony and knows TONS about the Book of Mormon so it's been awesome teaching with her. I'm learning a lot. Speaking Portuguese in my district is coming along and sometimes we'll have an English fast and strictly try to speak Portuguese for a whole meal or for a couple hours. There is power in disciplining yourself enough to do that and that's when we all learn the most or else we just wind up saying "como se diz" (how do you say)...and then continue in English. Not quite as effective but it's funny. Oh. Do not mix up pecado and pescado! Look it up...You cannot repent of your pescados haha. We laugh about everything here because that's honestly what gets us through the day.
Chad Lewis (Eagles Football Player) came to speak to us Sunday night and it was so cool! He spoke about his own mission in Taiwan and how this time in our lives is incredible and to seize every moment. Such a powerhouse!
So in the past week I have been asked multiple times if I am Tongan or Samoan, to which I politely say no but I've been making a lot of friends this way, it's pretty funny. This place is so mentally and spiritually exhausting but I go to bed every night thinking "I love being a missionary. Absolutely love it and cannot wait to get to Brazil! It might be a while but I'll get there eventually and I know wherever I am that's where the Lord needs me. This past week a whole district got re-assigned to the Washington Spokane mission because none of them got their visas for Brazil. So I will not be going there since they're full now but I could go anywhere! Every now and then there's some screaming in our building and it's either because visas came or people got re-assigned. The biggest challenge for me this past week was feeling inadequate. I compare myself to others way too much whether it's the lack of knowledge of church history or someone's extremely powerful testimony or someone who already seems fluent in Portuguese. I know I'm really hard on myself so that doesn't help but I got advice from one of the counselor's in my branch presidency. He said that if they wanted perfect people to teach the gospel, we would have no missionaries. I soon got over those feelings and just have to pray harder and rely on the Lord and know that He will give me strength to get through any of those feelings that I'm not good enough. Also, we sat with some Elders and Sisters going to Japan for their missions and they are so overwhelmed and said they can't even read they nametags so that made me feel a lot better haha. I shouldn't be complaining that it's hard sometimes.
Also this past week we have read the Book of Mormon with a question or a purpose in mind. Mine was to look for scriptures of God's love and strength. There are SO many if you will just look for them. I have no time to waste here and we talked about how this really isn't our time, this is the Lord's time so studying the scriptures is a necessity and so wonderful and uplifting at the same time. Every day is different and I never knew I could feel so many emotions in one day. Sometimes I wake up really happy and by the end of the day I'm worn out and sad or just exhausted and other days it's opposite and I'm super happy at night; it's weird. Some days I feel a bunch of different things throughout the day but it really is always the same at the end. I'm where I'm supposed to be and have no regrets. I have seen blessings in my life from being here already and the lessons you learn on a mission are irreplaceable. I really miss music though. No music in the MTC besides hymns we sing on Sunday and before class.
My birthday is in just 3 more weeks! And it's on a P day so I can email all you wonderful people that day :) Can't wait. I'll be expecting...I mean accepting packages from now until then but please no more cookies! We have them in the cafeteria as well and I have to resist every time because I have some in my room. I really do appreciate them though. Love you Mom and Garcia's!
Your notes made my day. This past Sunday was an important day for 2 very special people in my life. Happy (belated) 21st birthday Chris! And Happy 2 months to my beautiful, sweet niece Gianna. I love and miss you both! I feel so blessed to have such an amazing support system home and here in the MTC as well from little uplifting notes Jeff leaves me on my desk to the Elders Chris served with just giving me a friendly smile. It's the best. Sometimes this place feels like a high security institution because you have to swipe your cards to get into every building and when they unlock it's super loud...freaks me out every time. But it's really such a great place and it's starting to grow on me...Only 4 weeks left here can you believe it? Gym time keeps me sane, especially when you're in the same little room with the same 12 people every day; but we have become like a family and I love it. Last week someone found out my first name and said "Alyssa" to get my attention and you wouldn't think it would be weird but after being called nothing but Sister Cox for 2 weeks, I answered then everyone froze...awkward.
Anyway, I love you all and am so blessed to be a missionary. It's wonderful! Remember we can't grow without trials and this increases our faith. 1 Nephi 15:11. Keep the letters coming you have no idea how much I love them! Miss you all.
Remember, you can write me letters on DearElder.com that I will get same day at the Provo MTC, Box #133, Mission Code BRA-SPS 0604; you just have to set up a free account.