Second week! Time passes so weird here, the days are like weeks and the weeks are like days. Sister Burton is already out in the field. How weird is that. Got a picture with her at our Sunday night devotional before she left!
I have been called to be the music chair! Well assigned really, because we are set apart as missionaries we can't be set apart into callings just "assigned". It is the same with the Zone Leaders, District Leaders, Sister Training Leaders and me! The music chair! I get to pick the hymns, assign choristers/pianists and special music numbers! There are only a few Sundays but it is fun. Our sacrament meetings are almost completely in Portuguese; they organize branches according to mission language. Our prayers, hymns, and missionary talks are in Portuguese and then a member of the Branch Presidency and his wife speak. We have a really nice Branch Presidency. All three counselors are lawyers and the Branch President is a CFO. Very intelligent people, and the wives are basically our new adopted mothers. Brother Jeffs(not related to Rick, don't worry I asked. Even though he does look like a Jeffs...) and Brother Jackson said they knew Grandpa!
Here are a few of the spiritual highlights/moments of the week.
First, I learned that to pray with "real intent" as mentioned so frequently in the scriptures is to pray with the intent to act upon the answer we are given. Neat right? I learned that prayer in teaching people about the gospel is so important because why would people follow commandments if they do not know that they are from God?
As we discus our purpose as missionaries and how we can learn to teach people not lessons, and really connect with each individual my teacher mentioned that "missionary work is the quest for knowledge and truth in this life." It is not member to non member, it is person to person sharing of individual truth. We have the power to edify everyone, even Thomas S. Monson with our own personal truths and experience. I really loved that.
God does not steer parked cars.
Another favorite quote of the week, (this one is from my sister training leader) "The Lord calls missionaries to missions in the language where they can best express the spiritual feelings of their heart and in which the spirit can best testify to them." Isn't that beautiful? It really gives me even more motivation to learn Portuguese.
Portuguese is such a fun language. Its really beautiful. Some things are easier, like much of the grammar is less complicated than English, but some things, such as verb conjugations are much more difficult. Like imagine if you had to change the verb depending on who you were talking about. I can say grandma read, mom read. I read, she read but in Portuguese you would say grandma reade, mom reodu, I readue, she readou. See what I mean? But quite a few words are very similar, because of the same Latin base. Here are a few examples, see if you can figure out what they are in English:
Its very nice to have so many similarities, it makes me so grateful to be speaking a Latin based language versus something like Chinese or Korean where you have to start from square one. Funny story about Portuguese pronunciation. One of my teachers last name is Henry. In Portuguese, H's at the beginning of words are silent, the combo "nr" doesn't really exist because R's alone make an H sound and Y's make more of an "ee" so basically to pronounce his last name it sounds like EHNN HEE its really funny.
Finally, my last story of the week. My patriarchal blessing is short and sweet. There are three main, specific paragraphs. I won't go into too much detail, but there is a substantial amount on how it is my responsibility to study, seek, ask about and research my part of Ephraim's work as I am a part of his tribe. Its been years since I first received my blessing and I have never really found anything worth while, so a few weeks before I left on my mission I got some study material from Grandma and Grandpa. A few days ago I really got a chance to read it, and here is a quote from the Mormon Encyclopedia, "Ephraim's descendants have the privilege and responsibility to bear the message of the restoration of the gospel to the world." Missionary work! Who knew that was in there? Notice the same word responsibility? High calling. I glad I decided to seek out what it meant, and its neat how you can learn new things from the same scriptural words, ie blessings, scriptures and prophetic teachings.
I must go!