Monday, November 17, 2014

First Week in the Field

Seriously I have so much to tell you it isnt even funny. Im worried that Im going to leave some things out!! Ok so my last few days at the CTM were bittersweet. Saturday was our last lesson with our teachers and our female instructor shared her testimony with us in PERFECT English. We were shocked and kind of mad that she understood everything we said in english from the beginning!! so funny but i love her. one thing she told us was that if we were real missionaries on the street and we contacted her she would let us into her house because your spirits were so strong. that was what i needed to hear.

Sunday was the last sunday and in our branch they dont announce before who will be speaking. they just call you right up after the sacrament. Before church Elder Nickerson said, who do you think theyre going to call? I said there is no way that theyll call 4 from our district because there were 2 other districts in our branch. Well i totally jinxed it. all the speakers were from our district including yours truly. I wrote a talk the second week in the CTM so it was pretty rough but I honestly was thankful to have words on paper cause once i stood up my mind went blank.
Monday starting at 8 am and finishing at 9 pm we had orientation. If i thought i knew a little portuguese at this point it went right out the window.Literally knew  nada. The best part of the whole day was that my friend Sister Morley leaned over to me and said, How much of this are you understanding right now. I said 10% and she goes me too. made me feel so much better. all of us americans were scared because we were going into the field the next day and we didnt understand anything that was going on. oh well.
later that day all of our instructors came in to take final pictures. and literally the second i saw my instructors a river of tears just started to flow. I love them so much and I just wish they could be here with me. I have to many pictures to send but i forgot my cord so ill send some next week.
we got done at 9 and then they gave us an HOUR to pack. 1 hour!! well i didnt finish until 12 and sister swensen yelled at me a few times. oh well it needed to get done because i was waking up at 4.45 the nest morning and knowing me i wouldnt wake up in time. mom packing was so incredibly easy. maybe because i didnt take everything out but it was a success and the weight didnt matter! it was a miracle.
next morning i left with sister Aune, a sister who was going to Santa Maria which is right next to Porto Alegre. I was so glad to have someone i knew with me. 

The flight was about 2 hours and I knocked out. mouth open and everything,we landed, picked up our bags and were met by the presidents  assistants. so many Americans and they were so nice. later the president and his wife walked in and love just radiated from them. They are just simply incredible. So kind.
There were 18 missionaries from the CTM and 2 of us were American. We then went to dinner and the food was to die for but i didnt eat a lot because i didnt want to look like a pig.after dinner i think we went to the mission home but i have no idea because it didnt really look like a home. there we had more orientation and i just sat there and went into my thought because i knew nothing. when we had breaks, the american elder was like i understand nothing. I felt so much better because he was one of the brightest in his district. I had an interviewwith the president and it was great because i understood what he was saying/asking. 
My companion is Sister Costa. She is Brasilian and speaks no English. She is absolutely adorable. She has been out for 3 months so im here first trainee which scares me a little.We´ve had a few instances where you can tell this is new for her. But shes great love her.
After we boarded the bus and were dropped off at the bus station. I had no idea what was going on but all i knew was that we had to wait an hour for the bus to arrive. S. Costa asked if i was hungry and i was but i thought that we were going to a house for dinner and didnt want to ruin my appetite but she went and bought cookies and water. and thank heavens she did because guess what. we werent geting dinner. in fact we were riding a bus for 4 hours to our area. ya 4 hours. we got on at 7 and arrived at 1020. sister costa had to ride the bus here to get me and then ride it back once she had me to go home. crazy day for her.
a member picked up us and dropped us off at my new home. the area im in is called Cachoeira and its very rural. but i like it. we share an apartment with another companionship and one of the sisters is american thankfully. sometimes there is too much portuguese that i just need a break and its so nice becuase she said she went through the same thing so she knows exactly how i feel. her name is Sister Foutz and shes been out 11 months. her companion is sister A. Oliveria and shes brazilian and loud and hilarious. 
our apartment is gross. the tile is just dirty and we wear flipflops everywhere. there are two separate rooms and we all share a bathroom. But the longer im here the more i like our apartment. dont worry the area we are in is so safe. not dangerous at all.
ok so the first real day i was here i was starving cause i didnt eat the night before except for some oreo things and one thing i learned really fast is that there is no food in our apart. none. what was for breakfast the first morning? cookies a member brought. not very nutritious. we left at like 930 that morning in the pouring rain to attend my first district meeting. we had to take the bus because its far away. we have 12 missionaries and 8 of them are american. we introduced ourselves and then practiced contacting. i failed and i understood nothing so i was a little down and of course they asked me to say the closing prayer. lol.
oh in our meeting we made a goal to have 3 baptisms by the end of the month and to fast that day. so i was starving and they were already asking me to fast? seriously?? But i learned that we would fast after lunch. hallelujiah.

When i was in the CTm the last day, pres swensen told us that we would have a baptism our first week and i learned that a woman we were teaching, lucia was scheduled to be baptized on saturday!! except she cant quit smoking. i met her and immediately loved her. i had no idea what she was saying but i wanted to help her so much. She wasnt baptized this week but hopefully in a couple more lessons we can get her to commit.
the streets here are cobblestone and only the main streets are paved nicely. the poorer areas are dirt. so when it rained the first day i ruined my leather shoes. some members here live in shacks. legit shacks. i have no idea how some have electricity but they do. one thing that amazed me this week was that these people are so giving. they are thankful for what they have and when they have extra they give. for example. we have a recent convert whos name is joão and his two kids are taking the discussions. they live in one of these shacks that has four wooden walls, a mud floor, two mattresses and a bathroom all in the same room. its quite uncomfortable and i am so mad at explaining. but they have nothing. yet when we stopped by he save us a bag full of potatoes. he could have saved them for the next nights meal. but he gave them to us. such humble people.
this week we talked to 81 people about the gospel and some even gave us their addresses to come back. the work is good and itll be awesome once i understand and can speak the language. oh sunday i was asked to come up introduce myself and bear my testimony. i was shaking i was so nervous. but the second i stood up in front of the congregation, i was washed over with a feeling of peace and comfort and i delivered as much as i knew in portuguese and sat down. Sister foutz said i did better than she did the first week so that was comfoting.
oh my gosh i forgot to tell you. there are dogs EVERYWHERE. literally everywhere. people here have at least 3 dogs and none of them have bit me so i think im good with the rabbies. we had dinner at a member house the other day and she had 9 cats. 9!!!!!! the sister wished us luck and told me, if you dont look for hair in the food you wont find it. hilarious. hilarious. didnt look for it,or at least tried not to.
love you so so much! xoxo
sister harrick 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Last Week in the CTM (Missionary Training Center)!

Oi minha familia!!! Eu amo voces!!                                        Friday, November 7, 2014

yep and that about all i will write for now.....
GUYS ITS MY LAST FEW DAYS HERE HOW CRAZY IS THAT???? I can't believe that i will be leaving for Porto Alegre on tuesday. Apparently I get to call you at the airport so you might get a call early in the morning or later morning. 

this past sunday was fast sunday and on fast sundays we have CTM conference. and guess what. we had a special number by yours truly. I sang with sis p and 2 other sister missionaries in our room. Sister P woke up sick that morning and was super bummed but it all worked out for the best. WE sang I Stand All Amazed and i picked it because it reminded me of Jace and how much I loved it when he sang it for the first time. I sang a solo and it was probably the most terrifying moment on the mission yet but it was super fun.

This week was hard like the rest. Except one good thing was that Elder Pride is amazing. we had the best week and i was beyond thrilled. except now we have elder negative. He is constantly complaining to the point where I have to plug my ears every time he talks. Just one trial after another here jeez. But i do love these guys and will be so sad when the time comes for us to go. I will probably never see Sis p and Mochawki again because theyre from south africa. literally hurts my heart when i think about it.

Ok so this week is the week when the language either takes off or it doesnt. so on monday our instructor sat down with each companionship and basically gave us a progress report. he started off with Sis p which isnt a good sign because you always start with the good news. he basically said how she is soaring with the language and turns to me and pretty much says that I havent progressed since after the second week. Ive never wanted to cry more in my life. I have been told by so many missionaries, "dont compare yourself" yet here is my instructor comparing me to my whole district. And I feel like i have been working so hard and the language just doesnt come. I totally understand it I just cant speak it. Im hoping that once im in the field itll be better becuase I will be forced to learn it. After crying my eyes out for 30 min after meeting with my professor, i stopped and took a second to think. Its not fair that hes comparing me to everyone else becuase we all learn differently. plus ive only been here for 5 weeks so im clearly not going to be fluent. And once i thought that I literally felt His arms wrap around me. I felt His love so strongly like I do every single day here. It is amazing how much he knows and loves me as He does everyone of you.

Later that night I was feeling down cause I just had the worst day and I was talking to Sister Morley in my room (she sang with me) and she felt the same way. Its actually kind of ridiculous how similar we are. We are both loud and crazy and love to laugh. She has an amazing spirit but she feels like me when it comes to the language so I felt a little better. Plus, missionaries from the Provo MTC come every week and I know more than them cause im literally immersed in it so that boosted me up a little too.  Im just scared to speak. Im terrified of looking like a dork which is so dumb because i dont want to fell that way. I want to speak it freely and not care but i guess im just scared of being judged by people since ive been here 6 weeks and still know nothing.

I think im just ready to get out there. here we teach our teachers who arent real people and I want to get to know actual people with actual problems that need His help. I want to be His instrument more than anything right now.

My new favorite book in the LDM (BOM) is 3rd Nephi, especially the chapters when Christ comes. those are just the best. in chapter 18. Christ knows each of us, every struggle, worry, loss, pain/feeling we have ever felt. We are HIS sheep and we are of HIS fold. He loves us and will seek after us until we are found. How amazing is that to know that He will come looking for us if we wander off. Sometimes it is that thought only that gets me through the day.

Halloween looked so much fun! so sad i missed it!! and KADE! I HEARD YOU DID AMAZING I cant wait to see it once I get home. I thought of you all night knowing that you were going to bring the house down. love you so much bud!! xoxo

ok Jaces picture? best thing ever. everyone i showed it to, and i showed everyone, thought he was 20. and all the girls think hes a babe. which he is. Hope his leg is better. love that boy. GOOD LUCK TONIGHT JACER. Youre amazing in every way shape and form. youll be awesome ill be cherring for you down here in brazil.

Mikah, I had a feeling that you should get your patriarchal blessing. I just know that my senior year I wish I had it and it helps me so much. I think it would be awesome blessing for you too right now. I hope all is well with friends and high school. best of luck with the application, youll be great just get it done and youll fell so much better. do not procrastinate like me. WRITE ME and tell me how you are!! ALL OF YOU WRITE ME! AND BE GENEROUS. haha i just love you all so much.

love, sister harrick

I am literally getting eaten alive out here. have 20 bug bites and theyre all scarring. YAY.....

Friday, October 31, 2014

October 31, 2014

(This is a picture taken on the day Morgan arrived in the Missionary Training Center with the other missionaries who arrived with her.  There are normally 200 to 300 missionaries at all times at the Training Center.)

Well i love halloween so I am kind of depressed that they dont celebrate it here but oh well.

I wish i had super funny exciting stories to tell you all but it is honestly the same here every single day. I realized that I havent really told you about the elders in my district so ill do that.Elder madsen and Elder Hesselgesser. Botha re from utah except H is a cowboy. Like straight up cowboy. He greqw up on a rach herding sheep and doing all that fun stuff moms misses. But he loves it and wants have his own ranch when the mission is over. He is our district leader and hes just great. He actually has Brazilian citizenship because his mom is Brazilian so you think he would know portuguese right? Actually no. His mom has been speaking it to him every since he was little but he just decided to tune it out so now that hes older he is really kicking himself. hes awesome. one of my favorite elders. His companion madsen is a blond blue eyed elder and hes absolutely hilarious. he is tall and as skinny as a toothpick but literally has the wittiest comments that just make my day. he isnt as strong in the gospel and he has admitted that he leans on us. i love this kid. honestly  best spirit. (these two were on my plane and madsens parents went through security with him. the one i told you about)

elder de coursey and elder de hoyos. De Hoyos reminds me of Jace. they look the same and they are both super athletic. He spoke spanish before the mission so he caught on to the language super fast im just grateful that he has the patience to deal with all of us asking him questions cause we ask  A LOT. omg his laugh? is probably the best think ive ever heard. Its so contagious. he is a drummer so he is constantly banging on his desk but i dont mind.......
his companion is a little weird. hes just one of those super nerdy intelligent guys so he doesnt really know how to interact with people. he just does stupid things like sing really loud while we are all trying to study. or hell walk around and try to figure out how everything is put together. he does pick his nose and eat is occasionally and ive full on witnessed it. he farts ALL THE TIME. and its alwasy him becasue hes the only one who doesnt own up to it or doesnt smell it. so gross. we all get on him for it. but he is a super nice kid and sometimes says the funniest comments ive ever heard. ill share them later. these two are our zone leaders.

elder skinner and elder mochawki. m is from South africa like my comp but they didnt know eachother before. he has the best accent ever and he is an awesome guy. he does have his eyes on mikah though so im watching him carefully.... No but him and i are close. He loes when i sing so i sing to him all the time. one funny thing about mochawki is that while he is speaking portuguese, in the middle he'll say "what is it". its hilarious. elder skinner is by far the elder who knows tha most port. he literally knew everything by the first week so he is ready to get out of here and into the field. I think he gets frustrated with us sometimes because we ask him everything but he has a lot of patience too. He loves peanut butter so were friends. thats all i need to say. no but hes one of those super smart kids too who loved spongebob. you can say any line from that show and hell know what your talking about. children these days.

eder sterling and elder nickerson. elder sterling is elder pride. this week it got bad so we went and talked to the president. but when we were about to go in hesselgesser and madsen walked out and we knew that they came to talk about him too. the president met with sterling and its been great so far so idk what the president said to him but its working. Our president is amazing. idk if ive said that enough or given him enough credit but he is great. and sterling really isnt that bad. yes he gets on our nerves but so does everyone in some way. him and i actually were the first to really click in our district because he knows every single disney song ever made. so we sing all the time and de hoyos joins in. we have a blast. elder nickerson is the elder who is struggling the most in our district. the language still hasnt come and we are all trying to be supportive but he isnt really trying to learn on his own. like he wont look up the words himself hell just expect us to know everything. he is the only boy of 4 girls so he is so babied. like ridiculously babbied. he recieves hand written letters every day ad one day he got 11!! and the other day he got 8. i kid you not in the time we have been here hes probably gotten 30+ letters. its actually pathetic. hes a farm boy like hesselgesser and the only phrase he knows is "i wish i could just do this in english"

i love my elders. i really do. we are close and i am so sad to think about how i wont be with them after a week. i will cry i already know it.

one really cool thing that happened this week was that i was in a slump like i was last week and a sister who i became close with talked to me in her room. we were just talking about random things and then she told me about this super awesome experience she had in the temple and she continued to tell me that she has this gift of reading people. like she knows things that theyve never told her. so i was curious and was like "do me do me". bad choice. ok not bad but she knew things that i havent told anyone here. and i was like how does she know that?? and what she knows about people are not bad things. they are just private. And there is only one way/one person who could have told her these things. Christ. She says that she cant do it whenever she wishes and she cant do it to herself. he only lets her do it when it lifts others and i was fortnate enough to be one of those people. She told me things that only I had told Him, that I had earnestly prayed about. Ive never felt His love for me so strongly before. of course i was crying.
here are some of the things He advised me through her:

Dont be afraid of people anymore. Trust with all your heart and those walls will come down. When you open your heart the language will flow, your heart will be overwhelmed with love and joy for the people. Dont just take a step into the unknown, SPRINT into it knowing that HE will be there to catch you.

Literally the Lord is amazing. in so many ways.

love ya, sis harrick

Morgan and her companion from South Africa, Sister Presence, on P-Day (Preparation Day)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 10, 2014

Editors Note:  I am late getting this post off because I am trying to figure out how to download the pictures.  Next post should have them.  For those of you not familiar with missionary work, the missionaries only have one day to wash clothes, write letters, relax, etc.  It's called P-Day which stands for Preparation Day.  

I know Morgan would love to hear from you.  She will be in the training center until mid-November.  Her address in the Missionary Training Center is:

Sister Morgan Harrick
Brazil Porto Alegre South Mission
Brazil Missionary Training Center
Rua Padre Antonio D'Angelo, 121
Casa Verde
02516-040 Sao Paulo - SP

Here's Morgan:

Holy cow                                                                               

may i just start off by saying that i literally cannot type on these computes. they are ANCIENT.  I’m so glad that I have the opportunity to write. Friday is officially my p-day (preparation day). My whole district has been dying because it has been over a week and we never get a break so we are definitely loving p-day. Today we went to the Sao Paulo temple and is it beautiful! I absolutely love that I have the opportunity to go to the temple every week and feel the amazing spirit that thrives there. (no dad i forgot the picture but there are 4 weeks left!)

Ok first things first. My district:  there were a bunch of elders on my flight to Brazil that were super intimidating? Ya well they’re all in my district. How funny is that!! But man I love them. There are 10 of us. 8 elders, 2 sisters. We have some pretty great memories already and its only been a week! I’m so excited to spend 6 weeks with these guys! I kid you not when I say that we spend 12 hours in the classroom every day. We wake up at 6 to get ready and then we study from 7am to 9 at night. I’ts crazy.

Ok working out here is not working out. first off we didn’t even get to work out until monday, thats 5 days without any physical activity. not smart to keep 8 18 year old boys in a small room for 12 hours a day 5 days a week. So when Monday came I was super excited. Working out here is run three laps (not long at all) and then playing volleyball. And you’re not allowed to run longer because the supervisor has to see everyone and the track is held outside.

the food. is. awesome. sometimes. I think they really like to experiment here because there is literally cheese in/on everything. But most of it is pretty good. I try to eat vegetables and fruit at every meal and dessert is pretty gross because they turn everything into pudding. you think im kidding but cake was turned into pudding.

Next, my companion: She arrived late Wednesday night and she is awesome. She is 33 years old and from South Africa. I totally got excited when I found out when she was from there because I thought of Sister O'brien and how much I love her. Sister Persence is a cosmetologist so she has been doing my hair every day and it comes in pretty handy. I go to sleep with corn rows and wake up with waves. Oh, it is the life.

Our room is tiny. There is literally no space to put anything. and we have bunk beds so of course I’m on top because Sis P pulls the excuse thats shes too old and I kid you not that this bunk bed is 10 feet high. One of these days i am going to fall and seriously get injured.

My first week was amazing. Sorry to admit it but i was not homesick whatsoever. But did you catch the word WAS? Everyone comes in speaking portuguese and if you say anything in english they say "no falar ingles!" basically I don't speak English. They basically force you to speak portuguese which is awesome but I still don't have it down and it is super frustrating because an elder in our district already is fluent. Like how is that even fair. Another elder is pretty fluent as well and I just sit there frustrated as heck. I totally had a meltdown the other night because everything hit me at once. I got dad's letter. PLEASE SEND ME LETTERS. I LOVE THEM.  Letters are the best because we only have 30 minutes to write and i can't read all of the emails.

We have the best professor and when we tell all the older missionaries who we have they are so jealous. He is funny yet serious. Entertaining and a great teacher. He is 25 and really wants to get married.

Every day it blows my mind how much the Lord loves and knows each and every one of us. Like i was saying i had a meltdown because i was feeling super depressed and was very homesick missing all of you and I read dads letter and he wrote about sometimes we have to put on a happy face whether we are not feeling it. Its what we do in serving the Lord. I am so incredibly grateful for how in tune with the spirit my parents are. I literally needed that phrase at that exact moment. Same with the scriptures. 2 Nephi chapter 2 hit home for me this week. It is so awesome that I cannot even express my feelings.

I got to watch general conference in english THANK HEAVENS and wasnt it amazing? especially the Saturday sessions so mom and dad you got to watch those because i know that saturdays are way hectic.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Brazil, First Week, October 1, 2014

(Editors Note:  The reference to driving in Brazil was a story I told of when I served in Northeast Brazil which is a poorer region of the country.  The taxi drivers do not turn their headlights on at night because they think it runs out the bulbs, which I guess is true, but better to shine lights then end up in the morgue. To compensate at intersections the taxi drivers used to blink their lights a couple of times before flying through the intersection.  I don't know if I should have told Morgan that story!  Back to her:

hey hey hey!!

Well after a whole day of flying, I made it to Brazil in one piece!!
these computers are so weird so forgive me if some things are off!
My flight was good, it was long as they always are but I ended up with a middle seat and I was super dissapointed until the man asked if we could switch so he could sit next to his wife! Miracle number 1 in the mission!! I maybe got 3 hours of sleep so ill sleep well tonight for sure!!
Everyone here is so incredibly nice so I think that I will make lots of friends! I already met a sister who is going to my mission so hopefully we will be companions in the future!!

(Note:  This picture was taken the day Morgan arrived at the Missionary Training Center in Sao Paulo with the other missionaries who arrived the same day.  The Training Center houses about 200 to 300 missionaries at all times.)

My companion is not here yet and they said that an elder and sister missed the Atlanta flight so maybe thats her, or maybe shes coming later. I am now officially a missionary because i have my badge!! Oh it is an awesome feeling. I now represent the Lord in every way I act and in everything I say. A little pressure but I think I can handle it. Im so happy to be here. I was nervous and of course a mess hearing your vioces again but I know this is where I am suppose to be. I know I am going to grow and thrive here and I honestly cannot wait to start the language!!
But after a whole day of flying I just want to brush my teeth and take a long hot shower but im in the MTC and we get straight to work so Im not counting on that until tonight. Our room has three bunkbeds but for now Im in a threesome so idk if another pair are coming in or not. I think theyre the mission presidents and his wife in the MTc, they are great. Super nice and very very welcoming.
I miss you guys already but dont worry about me because the MTC is gated and it looks like we have guards, probably not though, so im totally safe.
Oh my gosh dad you were right. the driving here is absolutely crazy. I cant even imagine how it is at night... I secretly hope ill never have to experience that. The ambulances come on the freeway and go in between two lanes and the cars around just move into other lanes and I swear there were going to be at least 5 accidents.
It is so pretty here, green and the weather is absolutely perfect. There is a breeze and its not humid yet!!
Well I love you guys lots lots, ill talk to you on P day!!

with all the love in the world,
Sister Harrick

P.S. my baggage came through and yes they were all staring at me but I got over it...kind of

P.P.S. I have no idea where the apostrophe is so sorry for all the grammar errors!!