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.....