30 Sept. 2015

30 Sept. 2015

Dear Family,
…….To be mayonaise, or not to be mayonaise? That is the question…….


Consistantly, some of the best, yet wierdest things in brazil are the assorted breads, fruits, cheeses, fruit juices, entres, side dishes, drinks and deserts that I eat/drink here. At breakfast each morning there is one thing you can almost always guarentee: the creme of wheat poridge they always serve will be sweet, delicious, and slightly different in taste and minutely different in texture from any other porridge that you’ve been served so far.


Sometimes its thick, and sometimes its thin. Sometimes its topped with a flesh colored skin. Sometimes your porridge is filled with small grains. And sometimes your porridge is textured like brains. About once a week, your porridge is cold, leading to feelins of sadness untold. But if you want breakfast you needent go forrage, Cause a good solid bet will always be porridge. (Yes, I did just write a rhyme about enriched farina… #bored on the way back from the temple)


Anyway, for lunch and dinner, the vast majority of the time, the meal consists of some meat sauce poured atop rice and beans served aside some variety of sesame or cheese bread. Guaraná is the drink of choice for every meal, although every time I drink it I get super bad acid reflux for the rest of the day. Almost* every dinner and lunch so far here in the MTC have been accopanied by some kind of pudding for dessert. There are aproximately a thousand different textures and flavors of pudding so thankfully we havent had the same pudding twice.


I love the food here, dispite the fact that most of the time I dont understand it. And although I’ve tried some of the best barbecue in texas, I have to admist that the bazilians make sausage better.


^^ *Unfortunately once this week for dinner they didnt serve us any pudding for desert. And my friend Elder Brown learned the hard way that a spoonful of mayonaise doesnt taste anything like vanilla.


                             …..Tio Facci, Irmá Correa and how to cast out an evil spirit…
here at the MTC I´ve been blessed with the best language and gospel doctrine teachers imaginable. Irmão Faccinetto (or tio facci as we call him) has been our language instructer since we arrived here. Hes a native Brazilian from Curitiba yet he speaks fluent english in a addition to portuguese. Facci has a GQ model’s smile and more heart than a crate full of middle school crush valentines letters. (Bytheway, interesting fact, the word for gym literally translates to “middle school of sports.” Yeah, I dont get it either.) Facci honestly spends time getting to know each and every one of the missionaries he teaches and hes one of the most gunuine, down to earth people I’ve ever met.


Just this week Facci proposed to his girlfriend after dating her for only a week!! The fact that she said yes is testament of the kind of man he is. My other language teacher is a 5 foot nothing, rugby playin, fire ball of a woman. She has no problem calling you out if you misspell, misuse or mispronounce a word. She honestly brutal, and brutally honest, but deep down shes one of the most caring people I know here; she gently shoves you into the deep end.


Each Sunday here we hav gospel doctrine class in which we can ask the mission president (President Swenson) and questions we have. This week someone asked “what do we do if someone claimes to be possesed by a spirit or wants one casted away?” The following 15 minute conversation about evil spirits was really cool and interesting. 🙂


This week has gone great and has been hard but I know god has been blessing me!!


Love and miss you guys a lot! xoxoxo


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23 September, 2015

23 Sept. 2015

Dear Everyone,

Each morning, after about an hour of studying, the elders and sisters here are given the opportunity to “work out” for 45 minutes. Because of the lack of decent gym equipment here, most often the elders and I play volleyball in the court they have here. However, when speaking of volleyball here at the mtc, its impossible not to mention my good Brazilian friend Elder Leite.



Elder L. is somewhat of a roving blackhole in the game of volleyball. Like Batman, Elder L. has no juresdiction, (he goes where ever he wants, whenever he wants to on the court) and just like batman, Elder L. always arives just in the nick of time, to bat his own team´s ball out of bounds or into the net. Don´t get me wrong, Elder L. is my bro, and hes well aware of his complete lack of volleyball skill, but Elder L. is a wonderful example of the fact that the brazilian population seems to be best at futbol!



Unfortunately all of my Brazilian friends here left this week. I´m gonna miss my room mates and I´ll miss elder L. and his crazy volleyball skills.



Flip-Snapping, Uh-oh Jeans and the homemade splint…

In Brazil, when anyone feels hapiness, exitement or wants you to hurry up, they will ALWAYS flip-snap their hand. ALWAYS! Now I´m well aware of the fact that “flip-snap” isnt an actual word, but after 10 minutes of attempting to create a new word to discribe this indescribable widespread phenominon, “flip-snap” was the best word I could come up with.



Basically to flip-snap you need to flick your hand in such a way that your pointer finger slams into the rest of your hand making a snapping noise. I´m telling all this because in my attempts to master this arcane technique I hurt my self enough to need a splint on my wrist. Of course, being myself, I wasnt about to explain to the medic why I needed a splint on my wrist, so |I decided to build my own. I cut and folded pieces of my binder and wrapped the lot in ace bandage from my first aid kit. A thats right… it fit and worked like a glove. Elder West – 1, Brazil – 0. Unfortunately, despite these efforts to avoid humilation, Catastrophe struck me from behind. Literally. While I was digging in for a spike on the court, both legs of my jeans tour laterally across the back of my thighs. Elder West – 1, Brazil – 1. Challenge accepted Brazil.



Portuguese… Real life isnt as easy as 1,2,3..



This week included our first venture out into Sao Paulo from the Missionary Training Center. Having only spoken portuguese for 2 weeks, its not supprising that I am nowhere near proficient to actually communicate with native Brazilians, but I´m proud to say that I was able to ask for, cummicate my price range of, and buy some brazilian shoes to workout in. (I neglected to bring some with me)



I´m learning portuguese incredibly fast here still. Each day here I learn more than a hundred vocabulary words in my personally study and I know how to conjugate all the verbs in the present tense. I can teach a lesson to an investigator now about almost anything in portuguese and I´m becoming really good friends with my roomates and my companion. 3 of my 4 roomates are coming with my to the Sao Paulo south mission so thats cool too.



I know that god is obviously blessing me here, I dont know how I would be able to learn this fast otherwise.



Everything Else…



This is the section of my letter that I didnt pre-write. This is the section that I am going to mentally dump in. So this week we went to the temple. Beautiful!! My teachers are great. the mtc is great and I miss all of you guys!! I have almost no time to write letters here so I hope you guys liked this little snippit of brazil.

Letter from 16 Sept, 2015

16 Sept. 2015

Dear Family,

This week has been the most exceptional week of my life. I
dont really know where to begin. I have 5 roommates: Elder Jefferies
is my companion, Elder Murray and Elder Mcgladrey are americans and
Elders Arujo and Rocha are brazilan. All of them are my bros now. The
first few days we spent a lot of time with elder Arujo asking
questions about Brazil. Although I’ve only been here a week it seems
like I’ve been here forever. At this point I can already understand
most of what people say in portuguese and I can basically communicate
anything I need to say back as well. Most days go something like
this…

I get up each morning at 6:30 am< and shave, get dressed and do some personal study. There's no air conditioning in my room so it gets pretty hot. Then we go to personal
study and breakfast. So far my favorite part about Brazil is the food. Everything they have served here has been amazingly good. Even the french fries and hotdogs they served were better than what actual americans make. After breakfast is basically a giant mashup of teaching and studying.

On only our second day they had us teaching a lesson completely unassisted to a Brazilian teacher we'd never even met. And whats more, it was required that we speak entirely and
exclusively in portuguese throughout the lessons. Currenlt we teach one actual lesson a day but this upcoming week we teaach 2 per day and from weeks 3 and on we teach 3 lessons a day. The lessons are usually about 40 minutes long, so I've had to pray (in portuguese of course) for help with speaking and understanding the harder than I've had to pray for anything else.

I realized once I got here that I actually forgot to bring "recreational" shoes with me so I'm having to workout in my dress shoes. But its ok, I'm not the only one. They only give us 45 minutes to write and my time is growing slim so I'll tell you some
intersting things about Brazil. The motorcycles can legally drive inbetween traffic here so you have to watch out when you're driving. Pedestrians have no right of way either so you have to be careful when you walk around the city because if you get run over its your fault. I didnt pre write this email so its the most disorganized mess of all
time but rest assured that my email next week will be better.

Oh yeah also, on day 2 Elder Mcgladrey's jaw swelled up because basically he got a kidney stone in his salivary gland and when he got here it blocked his salivary duct. he had to go to the hospital and have it removed. but hes fine now. I miss you guys a lot!! But I'm working hard and its paying off!

Love you mom and dad and kids,

Elder York

A Letter From the MTC President

After York arrived at the MTC we received a picture and letter to help us parents feel assured that we have turned our children over to safe hands.

Dear Parents,

Sister Swensen and I are very happy to let you know that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil Missionary Training Center.  What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they begin their missionary experiences with us. We will surely take good care of your missionary.                                                                                                     

The missionaries now have companions and are settled into their rooms.  They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study.  Their branch presidents and wives, will meet them this Sunday.  These wonderful couples are richly blessed as they work with, motivate, and interview the missionaries assigned to their branch.

The MTC has a full-time live-in physician to care for their health needs.  He is assisted by his able wife who is a nurse. We are also happy to report that the cafeteria food is plentiful, healthy and very good.

Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple.  This will be either Wednesday or Friday, depending on individual assignments.

Your missionary is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of many others. President Lorenzo Snow said: “There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord’s children”.  We love these missionaries as if they were our own.  We will watch over them carefully to ensure they are ready for a wonderful missionary experience after the rewarding time they will have in the MTC.

We thank you for preparing such a wonderful representative of the Lord.

President Robert Swensen and Sister Julie Swensen

Brazil MTC Group Photo