30 Sept. 2015
23 Sept. 2015
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.
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.
16 Sept. 2015
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
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,
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.
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
This blog is assembled and curated by his mom. Mostly it will be copies of letters and emails that he sends to his family every week on his one day off (called Preparation Day or “P-Day”).