September 17, 2013 (week 1)

Hi,

Thanks so much for you letter! It has been a really interesting week full of lots of events.

I have so much to say I don’t know wehre to begin! So my first flight i was on got delayed which meant I had to stay in Detroit for an extra day.  I was really upset and overwhelmed by this because I was already overwhelmed and anxious about leaving for Sao Paulo but it ended up alright. I finally got here on Thursday morning and because I was a day late I was just thrown straight into classes without any type of orientation.  I couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying around me. Let just say I was quite the mess but trying very hard to hold it all together.   Luckily I have amazing companions who just laughed with me the rest of the day keeping my spirits up.  I thank Heavenly Father everyday for my companions.  Yes, I have 2.  (We are our whole district as well so we get to spend a lot of quality time togheter!)  Let me tell you a little about them.  First there is Sister Hicken.  She is from Michgan and the sweetest sister ever.  She is awesome.  Also, she speaks pretty good spanish so she was been the one that helps us get around this place.  My other companion is Sister Cameron.  She is from Australia.  How cool is that?  She is also so nice she is constantly laughing and having fun which has been a huge blessing.  Honestly, I don’t know what i would do with out them.  Almost no one in the CTM speaks english so it usually on ongoing game of charades.

Because I was late I had to teach an investigator in Portuguese my first night.  I was soo nervous.  Before had I wrote down what I wanted to say then translated it so during the lesson I just read straight from my paper.  It was alright but nothing really special.  The next night I wrote it out again but I tried to look up more and read less from the paper.  It went a lot better but still I didn’t feel like I was connectng to him in any way.  It was really disappointing.  Then the third night I wrote it in english with only the hard to remember words translated.  It went a lot better but as a whole we were still staying very much to the script of the lesson.  The last lesson that we taught we didn’t bring anything written with us except for a dictionary.  Our lesson basically turned into a question and answer session but I spoke the whole thing with my very limited portuguese.  For me this was a huge accomplishment.  Although I haven’t had any miraculous experiences with the language I have noticed a quicker improvement than I would have thought.  I thank the lord for giving me this tender mercy.  I see the blessing he has given me in allowing me to get my visa and attend the CTM down here.  My language skills will be so much better than if I were to attend the one in Provo.  Although the CTM has its challenges it really has been a great place to live and learn for the past week.  I can’t believe its already been a week!

Another blessing I’ve received this week is my instructor.  Irmo Barros.  He is amazing and exactly what I need from an instructor.  He is funny loving and so kind.  He brakes the rule all the time and speaks english to me so that I can understand what he is trying to teach me.  The first day that I was here I felt so lost and confused and really just didn’t know what to do because everything was so overwhelming. I think he saw that and realized what I needed.

This week has been ups and downs but so amazing.  I’m trying not to be so stubborn about sounding stupid so I can learn quicker.  I’m slowly being humbled enough to be taught which I’m so grateful for.

Blake, I hope so much you get your visa!!  You will absolutely love it here.  I think youll fit into Sao Paulo so well (much better than i would).  It’s a very busy place but so beautiful in its own way.  I think about you everyday and hope everything is going well in Atlanta.

Miss you!  te amo!

Sister Lawrence

PS I don’t think I would get to see Blake even if he got his visa in time because of the mission presidents. (sad face)

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