Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm wollen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings... these may be a few of my favorite things, but they've got NOTHING on watching General Conference at the CTM, in a room packed with eager missionaries. Who knew the Spirit could be so strong? And HALELUJA!!! We are thrilled beyond expression with the announcement of the new missionary ages! I literally burst into tears when the announcement was made, as did the sister sitting beside me. Why? Because I have such a strong testimony that this is exactly what the world needs. I had just been thinking that week about how needed more sister missionaries are here, and I know that the number of them will sky-rocket now that they can come at a younger age. One of the elders in my district, Elder Bean, has a twin sister who was impatiently waiting to turn 21 in three years so she can go on a mission. Yesterday he got a letter in the mail from her that contained only a picture of her facebook homepage, saying "I'm Going on a Mission!" and he was crying tears of gratitude for the rest of the day. Y'all have no idea how amazing this is!
All of the talks in Conference were so AMAZING! Elder Holland and Uchtdorf were favorites of mine, as always. But Bednar-! Bednar took the cake for me. All I want for my birthday is my own personal copy of his talk in English. His message about the relationship between a testimony and being converted is so powerful. Especially for a missionary. You CAN NOT serve a mission without being converted. Having a testimony is essencial, but it's not sufficient. I learned that my first couple of weeks here. You really learn whether or not you're converted when you're put to the test. Good stuff. I could go on and on and on about this for ages, but, alas, I have no time!
I love hearing about Paul's progress! I can almost speak Portugues as well as he can speak English. And Brazilians think it's adorable to watch me struggle. Lovely. Paul and I have a lot in common these days.
Things are going very well here at the CTM. I love it here more and more every day. This morning was a rough one, though, as Sister Oliver and I had to bid fairwell to our beloved Brazilian roommates. Their 3 weeks with us passed like a blink of the eye, I swear! We came to be so close to them, it was hard to say goodbye and know that we will probably never meet again in this life. I'm extremely excited for them to go to the feild, though! Last week I finally reached the point where I just want to get out of here and start doing some serious missionary work! Can I speak the language? Not at all. I'm working harder than I've ever worked in my life, though. I've never pushed myself so hard physically, emotionally, or spiritually, and I'm beginning to see the rewards. Sister Marlette and I run together all during gym and help each other memorize scriptures and things in Portugues. It's so fun!
I love you all so much! My time is up now. I hope to hear from you soon!