Well I have completed one half of my time here at the MTC! This week was great. Time is really starting to go by quickly, especially this last week. The first two weeks it was pretty hard to stay focused in a classroom for so long every day, hence the many different games we played that I wrote about last week. But this week it was not as much as a struggle to stay focused and to continue to work hard. This week I feel like my Portuguese has improved greatly! We started to incorporate learning Portuguese into our games and it's been pretty fun. In my personal language study, which is for at least 3-4 hours a day, I make flashcards to learn new vocab and it is crazy for me to think about how much I have learned already.
This last week we had the opportunity to participate in the TRC here which I think stands for Teaching Resource Center. Anyways, they have Portuguese-speaking volunteers come in and we just get to talk to them and get to know them and then share a quick gospel message with them. My companion (Elder Shelton) and I talked with two people for 20 minutes each and it was cool to interact on a personal level in Portuguese. I was very surprised that I was able to say everything I wanted to and they understood me and I understood them. It was a really cool experience and it helped me be a more confident Portuguese speaker. Elder Shelton and I also teach our teachers once a day in Portuguese. They act like people that are interested in learning about the Gospel and they each have their own stories and own concerns and questions that we have to help them learn and understand. That has been going on for awhile but this week was WAY good for that. It is awesome now that I can just speak to them in Portuguese and I am able to convey the message I want. Anyways, so Portuguese is going very well and I continue to work hard at it. I for sure know more Portuguese than Spanish now. It's crazy how much I have learned in just 3 weeks here!
Also, I forgot to mention that we have either personal exercise time or gym time for an hour 5 days a week. They have a sweet gym here and most of the time I play basketball. We play 3 on 3 and it is usually always good competition and a lot of fun! It's crazy how fast that hour goes by though! I feel like I've only been playing for a few minutes by the time our hour is up. It's good though, and is a really nice break from the regular day to day studying and classroom time here. A few times the Elders in my district all decide to play hacky sack together during our exercise time and that's been fun too! We play 2 hits and then you can catch it and throw it at someone to get them out. And sometimes we run around the MTC campus for our exercise - actually we only did that once. So most of my exercise here is basketball, which of course I love!
Elder Fuhriman left this morning for Arizona and I got to go up to his classroom last night and say a final goodbye to him and take a picture together. He was so excited and I know he will do great. It has been really nice to see him quite a bit throughout these last 3 weeks. He also gave me motivation last night that although it sometimes seems like I have been in the MTC forever, the day will quickly come when I get on a bus and head to the airport. Each week in devotional and other settings we hear so many incredible stories and amazing experiences that happen on a mission and it gets me so excited to get out but I know this time here is needed and crucial. Also, the district that is in our residence hall that got here a week after us just all left early this morning because they are all going English speaking in the United States. Everyone in our district are all excited to go but we know that we have 3 weeks left and we need to appreciate this time and the awesome place that this is!
I want to tell you a little more about my district. We have all grown so close over these last 3 weeks and I know we will continue to grow closer over the next 3 weeks. Our District Leadervhas been Elder Larkin (someone else will become District Leader this week) from Salt Lake City and he just finished his Freshman year at Harvard. He's a great guy and I really like him, he's going to Fortaleza as well. Then there is Elder Phillips from South Carolina, Elder Colvin from Washington, Elder Whatcott from Arkansas, and they along with me and Elder Shelton (my companion) are all goign to Fortaleza. There is a companionship with 3 Elders that are going to Porto Alegre, Brazil. That is Elder Nielson from Virginia, Elder Shreeve from Arizona, and Elder Barnes from Kansas. Then the four sisters in our district are all going to Rio de Janiero and their names are Sister Hess from Colorado, Sister Calder from Washington, Sister Trussel also from Washington, and Sister Tanton from Maryland. We all work hard and get along really well with each other.
I am excited for another great week ahead. Elder Solomone Wolfgramm is due to report here tomorrow so I am WAY excited to see him! I hope you all have a great week and thank you for the continued support and love!
Until next week.
This picture is me and the big map in the main building of the MTC pointing to my mission: Fortaleza, Brazil!
One of the Sister's mom's sent the whole district a creative candy package. We were quite excited.
A last farewell to Elder Fuhriman who left this morning for the Arizona Tempe Mission, Spanish Speaking. It was fun to see him so often throughout these last 3 weeks. He was very excited to go and I know he will be great!