Missionary blog of Sister Emily Heyer, Brazil Campinas Mission, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sister Heyer

Half way point

Oi! Tudo bem? :)
Things here at the MTC are pretty great! Actually that is an understatement. I really love it here. The spirit is so strong, everyone is incredibly unified and kind, the work is hard, and the language is beautiful. This week was pretty much the same as last week. Just a few new events for my companion and I. This week we taught our new investigator Chris for the second time. We were able to teach him how to pray and he offered the prayer without any help from us. The lesson flowed and we were able to commit him to read the intro to the BOM and pray about its truthfulness. We will see tomorrow if he followed up on this commitment. Sister J. and I felt really good about our lesson and how our language went. We followed the promptings of the spirit and were able to teach him what he needed. :)
We also for the first time on Friday started what is called "TRC". This is where you have the opportunity to talk with "real" people. They are volunteers from around here who know Portuguese (usually return missionaries or members from Brazil who live here now) but sometimes they can be non member volunteers. Anyway, you go in a room with them and get to know them and share a message with them. Usually a short message like it would be for home teaching. Its really fun actually! They are so nice and very patient. It is great practice!
On Sunday we had the big broadcast! It was AMAZING. When the quorum of the 12 walked in...everyone stood and fell silent. The spirit just flooded the room. I couldn't help but tear up. These are truly men of God. The messages were very inspiring and made me even more excited to fulfil this calling as a missionary (if that's even possible to be MORE excited). It sounds like the members have a lot of work to do. ;) It also sounds like this will be very helpful for us full time missionaries. It will be interesting to see how the technology will work. I don't know if I will really get the chance to try it out in Brazil but we shall see. Singing was the best part. There is something truly powerful about standing as one as 1500+ missionaries singing praises to God and singing about strength. We really truly felt like the army of Helaman. We are united in one voice and one purpose. It was also really neat to walk around and have members smile and wave and say "hello sisters!" Wearing this nametag makes me feel so special. It is such an honor. I love wearing it.
The best part for sure was when some of the 12 Apostles turned around to watch us sing. Elder Nelson, when he walked in turned around and waved to all of us. Elder Bednar gave us a thumbs up. Elder Holland also waved and mouthed "wow". It was so amazing. My companion and I were FOUR rows away behind them. They were so close. Their spirits are overwhelming.
Anyway, that's about it for me. Three weeks in. Three weeks to go! Time is flying. We are all waiting to hear about visas. But if no news comes we will get our reassignments on Thursday of our 6th week and leave as soon as that following Sat. It will be interesting to see what happens!

MTC life

I asked Emily questions that I needed to know as a mom...like are you sleeping?  Eating well?  Having fun? Are you happy?  etc.  This is her reply...

I am good! I love it here. :) I am rarely sad and rarely homesick because I am always busy and always studying. Blessings of the MTC.  Hopefully the field will be just as distracting.
We go to bed everything night at 10:30 and usually get up between 5:45 am and 6:00 am. Breakfast is at 6:30 every morning for us. We were blessed with the earliest shift. -_-. But yes I am getting enough sleep. I am tired because you literally can't go to bed earlier than 10:30....which we honestly would if we could....so we are scheduled less than 8 hours. But if Sister J. and I are really really struggling than we take a power nap at the end of additional study. Our branch president said that he read that sister missionaries should try to take a little nap everyday they are in the field during the day to keep their energy up and not get sick. So if we start to get realllllly overwhelmed and can't stay awake in class we "practice field napping". ;) But for the most part we are good on sleep. More sleep than I used to get that's for sure.
The food is okay. It tastes fine but its not very good for you. The portions are HUGE cause they are serving everyone the same thing and we are surrounded by big elders. So I made a goal not to eat any cooked breakfast. (So I get cereal, bagels, toast, fruit, etc.) and cut the portions in half for lunch and dinner unless I am starving. I am trying to stay fit. I desperately don't want to gain weight. :(
We go to the gym or go out to the fields for different sports every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and on Wednesday we have personal exercise time where we can do stuff in our residence or on the lawn or run. We have gone to the gym a few times. Every Thursday we go play sand volleyball as a district. We have done badminton as well. Its really fun. We don't run as much as Id like though. We don't really go all out and burn nearly enough calories for me. I think its starting to stress me out. Getting outside is awesome but I don't get my heart rate up enough.
I'm not sick yet. Although most of our branch and half the MTC got the stomach flu so now no one is allowed to shake hands. Pray hard. I am literally wiping myself down with anti bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer and drinking tons of my emergen-c stuff.
Yes I am happy. :) I love it here. The spirit is awesome. Nothing is cooler than wearing my name tag. Seriously it is the best feeling in the world. I feel weird without it. And ugly. When it's on I always feel pretty. Weird.
Yes I have lots of friends. ;) My companion and my fellow district sisters all room together and we have a blast. The elders are like my brothers now. It is so fun. Our district laughs all the time and we crack jokes and do fun things to learn the language and bond (like volleyball). We also have tons of spiritual moments too. Its amazing. They are all very spiritual and serious about being here. They are the best. They make all the stress bearable for sure. I am also making friends in my branch. The other sisters are so sweet. They come visit us every night and we chat. I have also made friends with a few of the elders in other districts. I met two other elders outside our district also going to Campinas and one is HILARIOUS. The other is really shy and....is Courtney's cousin. Small world. They are awesome. Everyone here is pretty great. Including the teachers. We are very blessed. I almost really really don't want to leave here.
I am definitely learning a lot about myself and how to be patient. But mostly I am learning how to listen to the spirit and how to become fully converted. It is amazing here. I love the language. It is really hard. But it is really starting to click for me. I love it. I can't wait to be fluent. They said we should be fluent by like....month 16. ;)  But still it's awesome. They only thing is that as Portuguese gets easier, English gets harder. I feel sooo illiterate. I am really going to need you to edit my letters before posting so no one thinks I'm uneducated. But seriously my brain thinks half in English and half in Portuguese. Every word (Toda palavra) I know ( Eu sabe) in Portuguese (em Portugues) comes to my mind (minha cabaca) when (cuando) I write (eu escrive). Its a blessing a curse.  As we would say in portuguese NOSSA. which means like...."Oh my gosh or goodness or wowwww).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Miracles already

Well...I have 16 minutes to summarize 4 days. You know me and summarizing...this will be a challenge. 
As you know I got here on Wednesday and immediately started learning Portuguese. We were then told that we were to be teaching an "investigator" already on Friday completely in Portuguese. These "investigators" are paid workers here at the MTC and they pretend that they don't know anything about the church and you have to knock on their door and sit down with them and have a lesson discussing the doctrines and answering questions....all in Portuguese. My companion and I were pretty terrified but we spent hours praying and planning.  I never ever thought that after one day at the MTC learning Portuguese I could knock on a door and have a whole discussion with an investigator about the church. The gift of tongues is so real. 
Our first time meeting "Andre" we didn't really understand anything that he said. It was really hard coming back to the classroom and sitting down together and trying to piece together what we thought he said he needed and wanted to learn from us, and then on top of that trying to create a second lesson centered around his needs? It was so hard. But we managed to figure it out enough to create a second lesson. 
The second lesson Sister J. and I went into a classroom right before the lesson and just prayed that we would know what "Andre" was saying to us so we could be effective. We went in feeling the spirit so strongly and what happened next was just truly a miracle. We sat down and started talking and not only did I understand almost everything he said....but I just started talking in broken but totally understandable Portuguese all about the spirit and prayer and Joseph Smith and the power of the Book of Mormon. We read scriptures with him and he even gave the closing prayer for us! We got to bear our testimonies and he said we could come back.  I'm still not exactly sure what I said but I know that the spirit blessed us with this miracle because we went into it only having two Portuguese lessons total and were totally able to communicate. It was crazy.
On Saturday night Sister J. and I were pretty tired of studying so we decided to go to the basement where our classroom is with the other sisters in our district and find the Brazilian missionaries who are learning English. We found them and were able to help each other speak the languages! He would speak to us in English and we would speak to him in Portuguese. It was realy neat to be able to help each other and practice in such a real and effective way that was so much more helpful (and entertaining) than reading our language books. The Elder told us that he has a friend serving his mission in Campinas and his friend just wrote to him saying that they met a lady who is not a member who had a dream that sister angels were coming to Campinas to teach her the truth and she was waiting for them. This Elder was so excited to meet us and he took a picture with us and sent it to this missionary to show him he "met the angels that are coming to Campinas to teach this lady". It was so amazing. I'm still blown away. This church is true. My testimony is constantly being strengthened and I feel so blessed to be able to have this experience.
Well it is coming on two minutes left now so it looks like I will have to wait to write all the rest!
Sister Heyer


Monday, June 10, 2013

1st Letter

We received our first letter from Emily today.  Val got the mail and placed it on the table unopened with the idea that we would open and read it all together as a family.  I didn't know this...or think of it.  I, instead, opened and read it all by myself.  When Val explained his reason for saving it, I declared "Mother's right" to open it ASAP and read it so I would know what is happening to my daughter.  This is, after all, the longest I have ever gone without hearing from her.  So, here, in part, is what she wrote:

"The MTC is amazing!  Very scary and very hard but it is a wonderful place.  I walked into my class right when I got there and my teacher immediately started speaking Portuguese to me.  Definitely not what I was expecting.  We learned an entire basics Portuguese lesson already.  We are required to learn the purpose in PMG [Preach My Gospel] in Portuguese by Sunday.  And every time we learn new words or phrases we have to speak them all the time.

OK.  There is so much to tell but so little time so I'll just jot down the jist of my first day.

-My companion is Sister J.  [people will be referred to by initial only] I adore her already.  She's from Utah (Weber City).  She's 20 and she is assigned to Belo Horasanche (sp?), Brazil.
-We are in a room of 4.  It's air conditioned!
-M.A. [daughter of Val's former MTC district sister mentioned in last post] is my sister trainer!  She lives next door!  She is leaving next week or 2 though.  Her and her 3 other roommates still don't have their visas.  They will find out where they are each reassigned soon.  It will be US english speaking.  When/if their visas ever come they get to choose if they want to stay or go.  Sister A said that this will probably happen to us four as well and the rest of our district (12 of us... 8 Elders and 4 Sisters).  Kind of frustrating but they have such a happy/chill attitude about it that I figure I can too.
-My p-days are Tuesdays.  We get an hour to email.  And we get to go to the temple at 7:10am every p-day (with our entire district).
-My name tag is so cool.  I love it.  We also get a card that says we are legal ministers!  And a missionary I.D. card that get's $8 a week for bookstore stuff (which is all 40% off of marked price). [That made us smile.  Same old Emily-- loves to shop and spend $ even if it is only $8!]
-I live on MTC campus.  Bottom two floors are elders and top two are sister.  There is a card swipe for each floor though so there's no possible way to cross paths.  Plus no one would try anyway.
-Everyone is SO happy ALL the time.
-I'm exhausted.  We actually get up at 5:30 -_-.  Oh well.  Tudo bem.

Wish I could write more but I've got to study!  I love you all and I love this gospel!  Ciao!
Love, Sister Heyer (Uma Missionaria da Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Ultimos Dias.)

Scriptures and quotes Emily included in the margins:
2 Nephi 33:1
2 Nephi 2:8
Mosiah 4:27
"We are not teaching lessons.  We are teaching people."-my language teacher
"Which road is harder?  Whichever is harder--choose that one."-investigator "Doug"
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."-unknown (to me)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

And she's off!

Yesterday, Val dropped Emily off at the MTC in Provo.  She was happy and eager to start serving the Lord full time as a missionary.  Her address is:

Sister Emily Heyer
2011 N. 900 E. Unit 291
Provo, UT 84602

We got a message from a Sister who was in Val's MTC district years ago.  Her daughter is in Emily's district now!  They were Pleasant Grove Library buddies when 6 years old and now they get to be MTC buddies.  It is an amazingly small world!

We aren't sure when we will hear from her, but will post as soon as we do.