Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 18, 2011

Óla! Como estão? Eu espero que vocês estão muito bem estes dias, e que vocês estão aprendendo as coisas que vocês precisam aprender em suas vidas:)

(I hope that Google Translate will work for you.)

{Mom E. ~ Google Translator says "Hello! How are you? I hope you are well these days, and that you are learning the things you need to learn in your (plural) lives:)"}

Life here at the CTM in São Paulo is VERY different than Provo. This is to be expected for many different reasons.

Firstly, one has to consider the logistics of the situation: São Paulo has a little over 130 to 150 missionaries right now. We are getting a whole bunch more because a slew of visas just came through from all of the consulates, but we still have a relatively few number of missionaries compared to how many we could have. The Provo MTC, on the other hand, has around 2300 missionaries; remember that a vast majority of these are 19 year old boys:) So, by natural circumstances and dire need, the rules, support system, and structure are much more strict and enforced. It´s a very tight ship over there:) Over here, there are less people, so, naturally, the enforcement and regulation/regularity of schedules, class start times, activities, branch structure and leadership, etc. will be less. It is an extremely different dynamic than the Provo MTC is.

Secondly (and I think this augments and multiplies the natural less strict atmosphere here), we are in Brazil. The CTM staff are Brazilians, teachers are Brazilians, the cooks are Brazilians, and most of the missionaries here are Brazilians (especially considering all of the visa problems that Americans are having these days). Therefore, everything is going to naturally be less uptight and strict because the Brazilian culture is very, very flexible with whatever is going on. It is definitely more laid back, and a very different experience.

I must say that I am glad that I was in the Provo MTC for the time that I was. I learned things that I never thought that I wouldn´t learn here. For example, when you get used to all of that structure, and everyone is saying all the time, in every devotional and fireside, ``Obedience, obedience, obedience´´, you adapt to the circumstances, and utilize that pressure to push you to do the things that you need to be doing. Atleast, that´s what I tried to do:) Here, however, there is very little of that. Because there is a lack of pressure, missionaries are more prone to get distracted and stay distracted, including myself. So, I am glad that I am getting frustrated with some of the laxity (if that is even a word) that is going on, because that says at least something about my own drive to stay focused.

So, we only have thirty minutes to read AND write emails in the CTM, so I don´t have as much time as I usually do. Also, I can upload some pictures to you, including the one for my missionary plaque. I don´t know if I will ever be able to do so again, but we will have to see:)

My mom asked me to talk a little about how Reid is doing, not just Elder Empey. Well, I am doing well:) It is a new experience, and there are struggles and trials and difficulties. It is hard when I get frustrated with others´ lack of focus. It is difficult getting used to the bumps of a new district, and a new companion. It is difficult when I don´t do the best that I can. But, I know that we are blessed when we do all that we can. I am grateful for the newfound meaning in the phrase, ``Do your duty, that is best, leave unto the Lord the rest.´´ This does NOT mean that you do EVERYTHING that you could possibly do. No, no. It means you do your very best, and what ever else doesn´t work out will.

Anyway, I need to go now, but I love you all so very very much! The postal system is supposedly still on strike, but the mail goes through. It just takes a lot longer:) Try Dear Elder again, I could swear that they send it to here too, it just costs money:) I love you tons and scoops and gallons and cider bottles and apple bins and Zoom-Zoom loads (my family knows what that means :) ). Know that I am doing well, and that I love you very much. May God bless you, that you may be filled with His love. Your prayers on my behalf are appreciated. I desperately need them.

I love you all so much!

Eu amo vocês sempre,
Elder Reid Empey

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