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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Halfway There

Well, this week FLEW by! Another day another dollar as Sister Parkinson would say. 3 weeks in the MTC and 3 weeks to go! Hopefully I can remember somethings that happened during this crazy week! 
Wednesday was insane. We taught Abrao (Irmao Belchior) and after he was able to give us some feedback on our teaching.....but it wasn't exactly the feedback I was expecting. He simply told us:
"I don't want you to use your notes anymore." 
hahaha WHAAAAA?! Are you kidding me? I don't speak Portuguese, so you have got to be kidding me! I just looked at him shocked and asked POR QUE?!?!?!
And this is what he said,
"I haven't told this to anyone else in the district, do you know why?....Because you are ready. Your Portuguese is good, now you need to have enough faith that the Lord will deliver your message."
What were we supposed to say to that? We just gave him blank stares and nodded our heads in shock.
I knew Sister Parkinson was ready for the challenge, but me....that is another story. It took me a few days to really trust in the Lord with this new challenge. Sure enough 2 days later we were teaching Abrao without notes. Just speaking from our hearts- I am pretty sure whatever we were saying was not even close to Portuguese, but after our lesson we asked brother Belchior how he thought it went and if he was sure he didn't want us to go back to our notes again. However, he looked at us again (i swear he literally looks into your soul when he stares at you) and he told us that it was our best lesson yet....Besides our last lesson with Joao. 
The gift of tongues is real. I've learned that the gift of tongues doesn't necessarily mean that I will speak Portuguese perfectly, but what is most incredible about the gift of tongues is that my investigators will be able to understand and feel the truthfulness of the message despite my horrendous Portuguese. So Cool.
We started TRC this week, which is when we get to teach volunteers at the MTC who are members of the church. I was kind of nervous for it, but in the end it was so much fun! We talked to this girl who went on her mission in Brazil and she had the Craziest accent! It was insane, and she talked SO fast! I thought that would have intimidated me, but I was loving every second of only understanding two words of what she was saying! hahah
We had a bit of excitement this week with Sister Parkinson and I. Sister Parkinson has been feeling super nauseous throughout the day, and it has progressively gotten worse. We stayed home most of Saturday and she slept while I studied, and we also had to stay home from our meetings on Sunday. I was able to be really productive during that time and get lots of studying done, but poor sister parkinson just feeling awful. We got her some pills on Sunday, which made her feel a lot better and we got to attend the Sunday devotional. I'm not going to lie, I was very grateful to get out of our room for a few hours. I've also had a really bad head cold but nothing that has kept me from the work, which I am so grateful for! We've felt a bit like we are living on a prayer with all our illnesses, but God answers prayers, so things have worked out!
Also, Huge shout out to Rawley and Lindsay for their package this week! The MTC is getting old real fast, so healthy food from the outside world was like heaven. I am sure Lindsay thought of that whole package, so Rawley tell her I say thank you......but also thank you to Rawley for choosing to be with such a thoughtful woman! That was so nice!
Success Story of the week:
I haven't gained a single ounce of weight here at the MTC! Whoooo! hahaha I eat pretty dang healthy here, and Gym time is my favorite thing in the world, so it has been good! Also I just found out that they have rice in the cafeteria everyday, so I am pretty stoked about that, because eating salad 2x a day gets old sometimes. I literally thank my heavenly Father ever night that I am only in the MTC for 6 weeks and not 9! 
P-day has been good so far! We went to the gym first thing this morning, did our laundry, and we are getting ready to head to the temple later this afternoon. We are also praying an apostle is coming to speak at our devotional tonight since we haven't had one since being here!
Sorry this email was so scatter-brained this week! A lot when on in a short amount of time, but hopefully I can compose my thoughts a little better next week! Eu amo voces! 

-Sister Selk
We didn't quite make it to the temple on our temple walk and decided to take a nap instead.

We couldn't find a single rock on the MTC campus so we decided to give our investigator a prayer acorn instead.

Meet Irmao Belchior/Joaol/Abrao/ the coolest person you will ever meet in your entire life.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

What Are You Worried About?

Minha Familia!!!!!
Wow. This was honestly the most amazing week, and I have been stoked to tell you all about it, so let's  get started!
Tuesday was our first P-day at the MTC, and it went by soooo fast! We went to the temple and did a session in the afternoon that took us 3 hours, and it was a nice peaceful vacation from the chaos that the MTC is! I'll be completely honest though, it was a struggle to stay awake.....Hopefully it won't be so hard today! Later that night we had an awesome devotional all about utilizing the Book of Mormon and not being afraid to teach from the Book of Mormon with our investigators because it truly is the most powerful tool we have-especially when we pair it with the power of the spirit.
Wednesday was definitely the hardest day for me so far at the MTC. Sis. Parkinson and I had planned a really good lesson for Joao, but shortly after we got in the room to teach him, he started talking about death-that's about all I picked up from what he was saying, and I was getting pretty frustrated that I couldn't understand what he was saying. I just prayed during the lesson that I would know what he was saying, or that I would know what to say, but nothing came and Sis. Parkinson took control of the rest of the lesson. When we got out of the lesson Sis. Parkinson said, "I can't believe Joao just told us he has cancer!" It was at that moment that I felt absolutely helpless and like I had failed as a missionary. I cannot even start to explain how it feels to just sit there not knowing how to comfort someone as they express their difficulties with you. It crushed me. I was frustrated that I couldn't understand what he was saying, I was frustrated that I didn't know what to say, and honestly I was feeling quite down that I didn't receive the help I needed at that time. We were walking back to the classroom after that meeting and I couldn't help but cry because Joao was in so much pain and I couldn't help him at all. Needless to say, it was a pretty rough night, but after lots of prayer and comfort from those around me, I was able to realize one thing:
I may not be able to speak Portuguese (yet), and I may not be able to perfectly answer our investigators questions, or understand them as much as I would like, but if there is one thing I can do-I can love my investigators.
Joao was only our first investigator, yet I have felt so much love for him. I wish I could explain it. We only taught him 5 times, yet the love I feel for him is unreal.
Now, with that being said........Thursday we saw miracles happen. Miracles. After being a little depressed at our teaching job the night before, me and Sister Parkinson were determined to nail our next lesson with Joao. The first miracle occured when the Elders in our district gave Sis. PArkinson a blessing before our lesson with Joao because she was feeling really sick, but as soon as we got into the lesson she felt fine. For our lesson, we decided to keep it really simple-we explained more about the spirit world and answered some of his questions, we sang families can be together forever for him in Portuguese.....Let's just take a moment and talk about this for a moment:
First of all, I know what you are thinking-"Michaela.....Singing in front of people? No way." If you know me, you know that is probably my least favorite thing in the whole world, and I was very nervous about it at first, but as my and sister Parkinson were practicing it brought the most amazing spirit and I know that is exactly what we needed to do in that lesson. Also, Portuguese hymns are probably my favorite things in this world, so I would highly recommend it to all of you.
So after we gave our short lesson and sang with Joao, we gave him a card to let him know we were thinking about him and then testified simply and boldly. He read the card and got emotional as he was reading it. The spirit in there was unlike anything I have ever felt before. It wasn't the typical feeling of the spirit that I have felt, but it radiated out of the room and felt so warm. We sat there for a minute in silence just soaking in that feeling, and then I asked him if he would be baptized in 2 weeks. Before he even responded I knew what his answer would be. He said YES!!!!!!!!! He was super emotional and said he felt the spirit. Sister Parkinson and I didn't even know what to do! We were so happy, and as we were saying I couldn't hold the joy that I felt inside of my and I just started to cry. We said goodbye and as soon and we got out the door I just gave Sister P. the biggest hug. We couldn't believe what we just experienced. It was incredible. As the other Elders and Sisters went in to teach Joao after us, they came back and told us that they could still feel the spirit in there as they walked in the room.
The church is true family. I know it. It is incredible.
On Friday we found out that Joao is actually our new Language teacher...aka Irmao Belchior. Now we had heard rumors that our first investigator really isn't an investigator, but is actually your teacher, but I didn't think about it like that because I wanted to see this person as a real investigator. Let me tell you a little bit about Irmao Belchoir. He is the most solid individual ever! He is from Africa, but I am pretty sure he will be an apostle one day, because when he speaks to us it just honestly blows me away how powerful he is. When he first came into our class on Friday the first thing he did was call us all to repentance! He asked us a few questions:
"Are you worried about you missions?"
"Are you worried about the language?"
"Do you believe your call was inspired by God?"
And then he asked us to all open our eyes and he told us:
"What are you worried about? Are you doubting God? If so, I would advise you to repent."
Now obviously it was a little bit more detailed than that, but it definitely hit me like a ton of bricks!
I am running out of time, so I will summarize the rest of the week really quick!
-Saturday was Valentines day..... #tear
-Sunday was great until I got food poisoning.....Literally felt like someone was stabbing me in the gut......but I'm better now and that has been the only bad experience I have had with the food here so I consider myself lucky compared to most.
-Monday we had class again with Irmao Belchior and my new name is "DJ Selk" so I am pretty much the bom digity of the class room.
I am loving my experience as a Missionary! It definitely has its ups and downs, but the downs are so so so small compared the the highs I feel here! It is incredible! Thanks for everything you guys are doing for me! I really appreciate everything. Amo Voces!
Sis Selk
Elder Reni and Elder Papa T and  another moose....
Elder Hinkey and Elder Papa T. (Elder Hinkey is the biggest crack up of my life!!) And yet another moose!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

MTC & Lovin' It!

Ola Familia!
Lets be honest I just really wanted to start off with that to make it seem like I know some Portuguese-but the truth is.....I still feel like I know absolutely nothing! haha
Oh my goodness, where to start! This week has been absolutely insane! From the moment we said goodbye, it has been nonstop chaos! I have to say that I think our goodbye went well, no? I was able to manage with only a few tears and then it was all smiles from there on out! Literally for about the first 6 hours I could not stop smiling! After quickly dropping my stuff off at my room I was taken to my classroom where a teacher was speaking nothing but Portuguese from the moment I stepped in. I thiought it would be more overwhelming and stressful, but to be honest, I was loving every minute of it. My teacher is the nicest person in the world, and we love her to bits. I said that I know nothing in portuguese, which is true in a way, but at the same time, it is hard to comprehend how much i have learned in the past 6 days. I know the basics of a simple prayer and testimony, and I have already felt the help of my Heavenly Father guiding me while learning this crazy language. Most the time I think they are speaking a combination of spanish, italian, and weird!
Mom, I know you have been dying to hear about my companion, so let me tell you a little bit! She is AWESOME! Honestly, we get along SO well! to give you an idea of what she is like, she reminds me of a combination of Bethany Sugden and Mason's sister Megan. And guess what her name is? SISTER PARKINSON! She is the one that was in my mission prep class that I met briefly before! Crazy eh! I have loved being her companion, we agree about everything, teach with the spirit, and she makes me laugh constantly. It is great, so you can take a nice deep breath about that! 
I am not going to lie, the first day at the mtc Draaaaaaged. I was smiling for the first few hours, but then after awhile I felt everything hit me. It hit me big time and I was more exhausted then i have ever been, and asking myself what the heck i was doing here, but that first night was the only slightly hard time i have experienced here. I have loved everything about my experience here, and i know a big part of that is because of my heavenly father and the people I am surrounded with. Which leads me to my district. My district is honestly my family. We get along like peanut butter and jelly, and have had no problems. We have barely been here a week and i already have so much love for them. It is going to be so hard leaving them at the end of this 6 weeks. We are all going to Portugal except for elder mills who is going to Angola, but we have no idea whether we will be in the same mission after they split the mission. Sister Barratt-the one who's missionary is in Mason's mission is in my district as well, so that has been fun! Actually about half our district has a girlfriend or a boyfriend waiting for them which i thought was pretty interesting! i have never been so mocked for being Canadian in my life! my district just loves the canadian jokes! But most the times it's just an insult to them and not to me, so it doesn't phase me!
Like I said before, i have loved learning Portuguese! I was a little worried that I might be overwhelmed and stressed out about not knowing anything, but it has been amazing!
My birthday was definitely a different experience here in the MTC, but I loved it. It didn't phase me one bit not being home celebrating with everyone. Thank you mom and dad for your letters and gifts- they of course made my bawl, and I am so lucky to have such amazing parents and examples. Thanks Jantz and katie for the pictures-again that definitely made me tear up this morning seeing nix and benz! man I miss those two! And thank you Rawley and Lindsay for the cupcakes! it was the first and only mail I have received at the mtc, so it was very nice! i was so blessed, and the church meetings were amazing! Every sunday night you get to watch a movie at the MTC and we decided to go to the talk given by elder Bednar called "character of Christ". It is strictly and MTc devotional, so you won't be able to find it online unfortunately, because it is one of the most incredible talks I have ever heard! it's all about forgeting yourself and "turning outward", so my challenge to you all this week is to think about yourself a little less, and turn yourselves towards serving God and Others. i know I am striving to do that here at the MTC. He also talked about being converted to the Savior, and that the only person you should be committed to is the Savior, Jesus Christ. Something to ponder.
Also! You should all figure out what dear elder is.....hahah because everyday when everyone else gets a trillion dear elder letters, it looks like my family doesn't love if you are bored and love this sister missionary, you will go check that out! Mom, if you have ever thought "man, I wish Michaela were here so i could tell her this", you can with dear elder because it gets to me the same day :) Maybe you have never thought that, but i would definitely take advantage of it while I am here! 
We taught our first investigator Joao on friday in Portuguese, it is absolutely insane walking in to talk to someone in Portuguese when you don't know squat! hahaha and i can testify that it definitely is not pretty, and the gift of tongues definitely does not mean that the words will flow flawlessly through your mouth, but it is an incredible feeling nonetheless. Even though we don't think he is actually a real investigator, it is amazing to feel the love that grows inside you for these people! We have taught him 3 times now, and everytime I think we get better. I wouldn't even say we have gotten a whole lot better at Portuguese, but we have improved on utilizing what we do know, and doing a lot of object lessons!
My new motto here at the MTC is small victories. The days are long, (but honestly now I feel like they are not long enough), and discouragement it real, but i have learned to appreciate every small victory even if it is not perfect.
I have a million other things I could write about, but as you probably know, I don't have a lot of time! Thank you so much for every thing! 
Eu Te Ama!!!
Sister Selk.