My P-day has finally arrived! Its every Friday, but missionaries don't get P-days during their first week in the MTC, so we pretty much had the maximum possible time from MTC entry to P-day arrival.
The MTC is fantastic. It is exhausting and ridiculous and very rewarding. I am learning MUITO in a very short amount of time. My teacher, Irmão Rodrigues, is fantastic. I feel the spirit every time he teaches us. He also speaks perfeito portugues e ingles, because he was born in São Paolo, grew up in the states, and served his mission in Portugal. He is also a ridiculously handsome guy, which makes class very entertaining because all of the sisteres in our distrito have what might be termed "missionary crushes" on him.
I LOVE my district. My companion, Elder Rogers (ala Best Two Years) is fantastic and a lot like me, which makes it easy to get along (because who wouldn't get along with me? just kidding). Elder Zendejas does a great job as our district leader, and Elder Graff takes the role of the tough, gruff, tri-cities WA elder. Then there is Elder Copenhaver, a portly, bespectacled Elder with a lisp and a fantastic sense of humor, who before his mission worked variously in construction, a chicken processing plant, and composing the epic 21st century masterpiece BERGENSTOFF, a story about "Five modern day children who are magically transported back in time to a mythical land filled with satyrs, centaurs, and troblins (half-troll, half-goblin). The author himself treats us to renditions of this epic work when we jog with him during exercise hour. Then there is Elder Edwards (in brazilian Portuguese we call him Edgey-warjees) who is the always reliable New England ginger of the district, and Elder Wambach, a hidden gem from Montana. He doesn't say much, but what he does say is either inspired or hilarious or both. We also have five (formerly six; one received her visa and is now in São Paolo) sisteres in our district, who are all really wonderful.
We spent our first week teaching Larissa, que é Brasileira. Except that Larissa is not really Brazilian, and her name is not Larissa. Her name is Amelia Jean Wells and she is from Utah of all places, and after we finally committed her to baptism, she became one of our instructors along with Brother Rodrigues. It is hard to decide who is a better teacher--Irmão Rodrigues or Irmã Wells. Even though they weren't real, the lessons with Larissa were very instructive and kind of nerve-racking, because unlike Sister Wells, Larissa fala solo Portugues. And even though we knew she wasn't a real pesquisador, we were still psyched when she decided to be batizado. It is incredible how much we learn in here. I am already reading O Livro de Mormon em Portugues and entendendo most of it. I think my five years of Spanish was a HUGE help, but a lot of it seems to be divine intervention. Muito obrigado a Deus.
It is definitely exhausting here; I spend about half of my day feeling 100% ready for a nap. But I am glad that we don't waste time here. It makes you feel like you are using every day to its full potential.
Thanks to Brother Minor for all his letters! There should be a response winging its way to Medford for him. As to err'body else, let me just say that letters are the best. Also, Sam: Send me a package already! It costs two bucks via BYU mail.
Mom, Dad, Justin, Vivi, Sam, Anna, Rachel, Grandma Hamblin, Grandma McSheffery: I love you all and miss you muito! I hope you all have a good week. Até logo!
PS I just tried to attach some pictures that I took during our temple walk but haven't figured it out. If I do figure it out before my email time ends, I'll send them in another email.